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Dolor Aeternum

[Event] Darkness and Havoc - Illyria Arrives

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Further investigation was required, as the threat was most certainly not resolved in this place. Chaos still reigned supreme, with many more threats lurking just beyond, waiting for a chance to strike. Sanguine wasn't entirely certain of where he was going, but surely as long as he continued in any given direction, there was a good chance fortune would smile upon him. Of course, the smile was always rotten, crooked and stained with blood.

Caw! Caw!

"Yes...it has been some time since I have fed. The hunger gnaws at me, puts me on edge. It won't kill me, but it's just so...frustrating." He said, sucking air through his teeth, regretting not draining the enemy he had killed previously. His personal code of ethics prevented him from forcibly taking the delectable life water, so he must do without for now.

Voices carried through the trees, and the undead vampire hid behind a tree, peeking over to get a look at what was coming.

Caw!

"Yes, Dux Gravis. They are certainly peculiar things. Do you think they are here on the same mission as us?"

Caw! Caw! Caw!

Nodding, Sanguine didn't seem to notice just how loud his feathered companion was, believing that just because he was the only one who could understand the raven, must mean that everyone else would simply ignore him. Never mind that such a bird would be highly unusual in a tropical climate such as this, but the haunting knight didn't appear to be completely hidden by the tree he was hiding behind. His shoulders, cloak and much of his armor could easily be seen, not counting the bird on his shoulder moving its head to and fro.

"I think that's a rather unfair criticism, Dux Gravis. Sometimes you can't judge someone by the company they keep."

Caw!

"Well yes I know my own reputation is elevated since we became friends, but its the principle that matters."

@HollowCipher @Zashiii

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On 9/30/2018 at 9:18 AM, Dolor Aeternum said:

Darkness continued to blanket much of the Garden Groves and the Tekker Medical Center. Luz could also see it slowly creeping its way into several other districts. As she turned her head toward the castle to the north, however, her mouth parted in surprise as a large crackling sound could be heard. An orb much like the ones littering Ceyana’s landscape was starting to increase in size. A blinding light seemed to flicker from within the darkness of the orb, a glimpse of a large structure Luz was obviously familiar with coming into view periodically.

 

“Oh no. This is not good. Everyone move quicker!”

 

She began to lengthen her strides, walking as swiftly as she could and too distracted now to care if she was leaving any stragglers behind. Just as she made it to an intersection of the groves, an Anular burst through a mango tree that was about two hundred feet to their northeast. Luz seemed visibly distraught now, frozen in thought while the Anular slowly began approaching them, the creature’s speed very limited though the true threat was the flickering green barrier Luz was trying to maintain. The more distance the Anular eliminated between it and the group, the weaker the barrier she held became. Starting to strafe along the path, Luz seemed all too willing now to take Al up on his offer to come up with a plan for dealing with the large Anular in the distance.

 

“So….what is your plan?”

 

Luz shakily delivered her question, unexpectedly affected by a fear that was deep-seated and one that she incorrectly thought she could overcome. The normally confident expression she held was gone and now she was so distraught she even willingly relinquished control to a non-Illyrian. Was the gnome capable enough?

 

Al had never seen a creature quite like the Anular before, and his mind went in two directions at once. His logical half began making observations; size, speed, effect on the environment, relative intelligence level, and other details that a trained magus could make use of.

His emotional half was working very hard on controlling his bowels*. 

The flickering of the barrier, as well as the way the orbiters left a wide berth around the creature, was cause for speculation. Was that an anti-magic effect? Or something else?

Al moved with Luz, and the rest of the survivors followed like sheep, many with exclamations of fear or disgust. 

The gnome wove a mystical pattern in the air and produced a weeny fireball, which he regarded with a look of distaste before launching it at the hulking creature. It sped towards its target, then flickered and vanished.

Data point.

His hands moved again, adrenaline giving them enough speed that they looked like faintly-glowing blurs. A purple ball of pure mystic energy leapt from his fingertips and made a wooshing noise as it pierced the air, before also flickering and dying well before reaching the beast.

Al's mind worked**. His eyes narrowed. He calculated. He scampered alongside his compatriot. 

The gnome's hands moved again, but this time, to his pockets. From those voluminous compartments emerged a pair of compact, rubbery-looking devices, definitively shaped to maximize their aerodynamics. 

The Anular drew closer, causing the green barrier to flicker more severely. 

On the devices, panels popped open. Al stumbled over some rubble as he frantically made a series of adjustments; he recovered his footing but lost valuable space. 

As the beast lumbered forwards, Al made one final set of calculations. The panels closed. He second-guessed himself; maybe plan B was better? No, too late to switch now. The barrier was nearly down.

If he'd had a free hand, he would have crossed his fingers. 

He threw both devices, one after the other, at the approaching horror. They flew through the air, two tiny little dart-shaped things, each hardly bigger than a can of Magi-Cola. 

They passed the anti-magic threshhold, and began to grow. And grow. And grow.

The magic of the Expanding Buoyancy Adjusters was in how they were compressed, and in adjusting how much that compressed mass needed to expand for a given emergency. Once inside the anti-magic field, there was nothing keeping them from enlarging to the fullest possible limit of their pre-compressed size. And since Al hadn't known exactly how big any given drowning Orisian would be, he'd built in a rather significant amount of extra tolerance***. 

As they expanded, they lost their magically-granted dart shape and took on the form of multiple (still expanding) cylinders connected by tough guidelines. By the time they reached the Anular, they were each roughly the size of a decently-well-off gnome's front yard, and the ballooning cylinders were as big as tree stumps. And they were just the tiniest smidge heavier than air.

The Anular was now faced with a pair of enormous floating nets drifting happily towards it, ready to save its life from any possible kind of aquatic emergency. 

 

 

*This was not included in the "effects on the environment" observation, but might should have been.

**Any later reports of smoke coming out of his ears are purely apocryphal.

***He never specifically found any references to giants living in the islands, but he'd have felt like a real heel if he let one drown due to a failure of imagination.

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"I'll take it from here."

The new voice came before Dan could even lead the way. Khaki turned around to see the Mistress with the rest of the crew catching up to them. She remembered that cartel had been inside the library when Teddy lead her to the forest. How the Mistress had caught up with them bewildered Khaki to no end that she could not close her gaping mouth.

"Close your mouth Khaki. And Teddy, good judgement on your part. Next time, try to keep the portal open for a bit longer. I'm not used to entering tight entrances."

Khaki could see Teddy blush at the Mistress praise. Dan should be thankful now that he won't have to take point. With the Mistress here, their expedition through the dark forest would be less dangerous.

As the Mistress led them deeper into the forest, Khaki would follow in the woman's wake hoping Dan would as well. She could only pray in her heart that no more monsters will bar their way.

 

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Luz remained frozen during Al’s data collection, watching him throw what she considered first level magic at the Anular. She could have told him that none of what he was attempting would have worked and saved him the trouble but she was too preoccupied with holding this barrier up, maintaining it by infusing some of the magical energy she sensed within the humid air of Orisia to barely maintain it. Al had to step out of the barrier slightly to continue his data collection so after the mystic projectile he launched at the Anular naturally died off she was about to yell out another order at the gnome. Another Anular in the distance caused the people around her to gasp and start whimpering. Lacking any empathy for their plight, she opted to do what she did best to get people to do what she wanted which was insulting them into submitting to her will. If it worked on Illyrians then it could work on Orisians no?

 

“Stop whimpering you weaklings. Would your precious vampire queen cower when confronted with these horrors? You pitiful Orisians do not know what true hardship is. Now move across that bridge now!”

 

She motioned over to a bridge that had a few orbiters roaming around but was a good distance away from both Anular then began moving expecting them to follow her. Most of the people moved without hesitation though an orbiter picked a straggler outside of the barrier off and began gnawing on its newest snack. Several of them dispersed and she rolled her eyes before witnessing the unorthodox way the gnome decided to handle the Anular.

 

“That cant possibly….”

 

Eyes widened as the Expanding Buoyancy Adjusters managed to tie down the Anular so much that the large beast tripped due to the floating nets getting tangled in its arms and legs. The creature fell with a large thud and still attempted to move toward the group but just couldn’t. Luz looked at Al, shook her head, and then began moving toward the group she had just ordered across the bridge. With the looming threat of another Anular, a few of the younger ones attempted to cling to her in their fear. Shaking them off almost in disgust, she called out to Al again.

 

“I can’t believe that worked. Let’s go before the other one reaches us.”

 

She figured the gnome would be able to catch up somehow so she began moving further north, stopping when she noticed a slanted path through an orange grove that could lead them to higher ground.

 

“This way.”

 

All they needed was to get to higher ground so she could properly analyze the situation.

 

In the distance she noticed a blinding light flicker into existence near the area she intended to go to that reminded her of the spire back home but it disappeared soon after so she disregarded it as just another odd anomaly from this whole event. The distraction, however, did not prepare her for the render that burst through the grove and searched hungrily for its next victim. The blade moved to impale one of the Orisians near her but collided with the barrier she maintained. A flurry of strikes commenced against her barrier, the creature swinging his blades In several arcs. The barrier held, but it was obviously taking its toll on Luz.

 

“I will not be able to hold it much longer. Find a way to distract it so that we can make it to higher ground”

 

Her arm’s glow dimmed ever so slightly. She was half tempted to allow this Render to feast upon one of Al’s charges but she kept on reminding herself that isn’t what their Light would do. Lucky them….

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Dan was both relieved and irritated. True enough, he didnt have a clue where he was going, but it wouldnt have hurt to have at least given him a chance to try before strolling up and demanding leadership and talking about how she entered loose people.
I.... dont think thats what she said.
Dan had a slight scowl, but followed anyway. Not because he was allowing himself to be led around as if he was a subordinate, obviously. Dan was a subordinate to no one, least of all some cartel leader he just found out existed. But because he stood a better chance of finding what he was looking for in a group. 

So, ya think this bitch knows where to find the one responsible?
Of course not. Then she'd be in on it.

After a short while of walking, Dan stopped. He heard... cawing. Raven cawing. Ravens in the jungle..... Not likely.
Dan fanned his air sensory out, looking for an ambush. After a few more steps, he sensed the breath of someone hiding behind a tree. When he got to the right position, he stopped.
"....You gonna come out, or keep watching me like a child predator?"
Dan lolled his head in the direction of the vampire who thought he was all hidden and stealthy.
"Well?"

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On 10/7/2018 at 12:39 AM, Dolor Aeternum said:

“I can’t believe that worked."

"I had about 75% confidence," Al panted, as he scrambled to catch up. "Are there a lot of those things, where you come from?"

 

On 10/7/2018 at 12:39 AM, Dolor Aeternum said:

In the distance she noticed a blinding light flicker into existence near the area she intended to go to that reminded her of the spire back home but it disappeared soon after so she disregarded it as just another odd anomaly from this whole event. The distraction, however, did not prepare her for the render that burst through the grove and searched hungrily for its next victim. The blade moved to impale one of the Orisians near her but collided with the barrier she maintained. A flurry of strikes commenced against her barrier, the creature swinging his blades In several arcs. The barrier held, but it was obviously taking its toll on Luz.

 

“I will not be able to hold it much longer. Find a way to distract it so that we can make it to higher ground”

Al reached into his pocket again and hesitated. If there was another Anular lurking around... 

The way the Render was assaulting the barrier told Al that this creature was not immune to magic; Al could probably deal with it on his own terms. He decided to save Plan B, just in case. 

"I've got this!" he yelled, as much to his followers as to Luz. "Get out of here! Go! Follow the beautiful young woman!"

Taking a deep breath, Al stepped outside the barrier. He wished he'd spent more time learning Summoning, or even Illusion, but a young hot-headed Al was only happy at the thought of coming out of the Gnomish Academy as a right proper destruction-slinging badass gnombre. Evocation solved problems, but only in the same sense that a sledgehammer solves problems*.

"Excuse me!" he called to the Render. "I see you're having some difficulty with that barrier! I'm quite confident that, in this specific instance, the error has something to do with an insufficient user IQ!"

The thing appeared to be earless as well as eyeless, but it turned towards Al anyway with a low, threatening growl. 

Al didn't wait to collect any further data on the spikey-looking beast; his hands flew as he began to cast the most powerful, versatile spell he knew**.

The Render darted forwards at an astounding speed. A brilliant cone of multicolored light erupted from Al's fingertips. 

The beast's attempt to interrupt its charge in favor of a sidestep was not quite successful, and it caught a bright yellow beam directly in its midsection. Electricity raced through the Render as Al backpedaled to try and keep a distance.

Good news: the Render was successfully distracted from the group of refugees.

Bad news: the Render was successfully distracted from the group of refugees.

 

*Gnomes with sledgehammers, however, tend to solve gno problems.

**Well, to be fair, calling down a swarm of meteors would probably be more powerful, but Al figured the city currently had enough problems.

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They had been discovered, how Sanguine couldn't know for certain, but it was clear they could not remain as impartial observers forever. Slowly, with his arms up, he walked out from the tree.

"Not quite a vampire. Something...close to one, I think."

Caw! Caw!

"I don't think they would understand too well, my friend. Anyway, I am Sanguine. Who might you two be?" He was genuinely curious as to their identities, tilting his head slightly to the side, as Dux Gravis told him people sometimes did when they wanted to appear interested. The raven had been studying humans for a very long time, longer than most birds did, Sanguine thought sometimes.

"My bird and I have come to this place seeking someone, whosoever might be the cause of all these problems. We wish to vanquish it, though we realize it may be a more difficult task than previously thought." Killing the beast wasn't very difficult, though it was worrying there was something out there watching him, perhaps even one of these so called gods. At the very least he could prove a poignant challenge for the twice dead vampire, and perhaps even shed some knowledge on who he is.

Caw!

"My friend wishes to know if you wish to join us on our quest to try and stop this catastrophe." After a quick peck, Sanguine realized his head was still inclined slightly, and quickly righted himself. It was difficult at times to remember your body's positioning when you couldn't quite feel it.

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23 hours ago, Veloci-Rapture said:

"Are there a lot of those things, where you come from?"

“Unfortunately, though they had previously been confined to a remote sector miles away from our city that we cordoned off centuries ago.”

 

The stress was evident in the rushed way she had answered Al, a grimace contorting her usually calm demeanor as she struggled to keep herself alive which in turn benefited those around her. She kept her arm up with her free hand but that glowing arm began to pulsate as she tried to centralize what energy she could from her surroundings to maintain the barrier’s potency. She felt an Orisian woman stepped up hesitantly to help keep her arm up, placing a hand underneath her elbow. Wanting to shrug the woman off, she shifted abruptly to turn toward the path in the distance but the woman held on fiercely motivated by survival as much as the burgeoning gratitude they felt for the Illyrian. Luz looked visibly frustrated at the aid provided until Al spoke up again.

23 hours ago, Veloci-Rapture said:

"I've got this!" he yelled, as much to his followers as to Luz. "Get out of here! Go! Follow the beautiful young woman!"

Her face softened considerably at the words the gnomes spoke, being called beautiful seemingly a rarity that caused eyes to widen but her current position would not allow anyone other than the woman that annoyingly helped her to see. She heard most of what the gnome said to the Render as well which caused her to smile lightly before she began to speed up as much as she could while keeping everyone near her within the barrier. Orbiters flew quickly through the trees but were unsuccessful in their attempts to grab those under her protection as they all huddled around while power walking their way to the beginnings of a steep incline that leads up what was left of the Tranquil Heights (D).

 

Screams could be heard above them before the sight of several bodies being tossed or jumping off of the heights toward the ground near where she stood caught her attention. She began to question whether ascending was the best option but the altitude was necessary if she was going to come up with a proper plan.

 

“Stay close and lets continue up there.”

 

Some were rightfully hesitant to do so given what they had just seen but were inevitably dragged by others who did not wish to see them snatched by any more orbiters. It would take several minutes to reach the top of the path, many of those following her gasping for breath proving their lack of endurance which only served to annoy her more in this moment. Piercing eyes surveyed the Tranquil Heights, noticing the destruction caused by Renders as well as some elephant like creatures that had trampled their way here after some time. The Renders seemed preoccupied with those larger creatures as their massive size allowed them to bowl over several of the creatures while others were sliced and fed upon. She sighed and then slowly began to scan her surroundings, turning the barrier off momentarily which caused several of those under her reluctant care to fidget and cringe in fear. Remaining vigilant should any creature approach them with malicious intent, she took in the sight of several dimensional portals across the landscape, all of which had begun to expand as they eliminated whatever Orisian structure or people were nearby. Lips shifted into a frown and then her eyes began to water lightly before she spoke aloud, not caring she was in the middle of complete strangers.

 

“What I am seeing confirms the worst of the theories I had about what is occurring…”

 

The blinding light that she had seen before suddenly appeared behind her again, only this time she understood what was causing it and was filled with horror. The crystalline palace most Illyrians knew as the Spire began to appear fully, a dimensional tear expanding slowly to consume creature and structure alike. Renders were eradicated completely along with the buildings of the Orisian elite. The light of the spire began to shine upon the entirety of Ceyana now, the intensity of the light disorienting Renders nearby to the point where they fell face first or began ramming into nearby walls. To those sensitive to magic, they would be able to either feel or see a nexus of varying energies all resting atop the spire.

 

Aside from the spire, she began to see several other buildings starting to appear as well. The Military Division headquarters slowly came into existence to her west, the magical division appeared far to the south, and several buildings encased in a crystal that seemed to feed off of the Spire near her slowly began to cross the threshold into this realm. Luz began to cry at what she was witnessing as her home’s stable structure was basically butchered by pockets where the tropical environment of Orisia still remained. Something of this magnitude was unheard of in all of her years of being a magiscientist and it showed in her defeated stance. Even though the appearance of the Spire clearly began to turn the tides of the massive attack from these creatures native to Illyria, she no longer saw a clear way to reverse what was going on immediately. She had hoped to halt the progress of her world bleeding into this one, but she failed. She had failed her people and felt the immense magnitude of this undertaking drive itself hard against her confidence. This was the work of a deity…she could feel it. What could she do against a god? Only her Light was capable and she resigned herself to waiting for his arrival from within the Spire miles away.

 

Snapping herself away from the Orisian woman who had helped her, she began to look down the incline they just climbed for Al for reasons unbeknownst to her at this time, not noticing the effects that the Spire’s light had on the spherical anomalies nearby. Violent spurts of energy shot out of those pockets, threatening the environment around them with sporadic snaps that began placing objects unwillingly between realms. The Anular they had avoided was halved, its large torso seared and falling upon some fallen oranges. A swarm of orbiters was sucked in its entirety never to be seen. The brunt of the damage caused by beings of immeasurable power had just been delivered and Illyria’s best magiscientist could do with a firm nudge in the right direction right now.

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As the marines began to usher the civilians toward the other boats, the Golden Arrow pulled away from the docks and began to head into the open bay. Eckhart orders his sailors to move the women and children below-deck, where they would be safest from the sharks, while the men were asked to help assist in the upcoming engagement.

Spoiler

 

It didn’t take long for the eel-sharks to spot the approaching vessel and charge it. As the black shadows slid to and fro under the vessel, the men steeled their nerves as they made ready with their guns and cannons.

“Steady men.” Eckhart maintained his post atop the aftcastle bridge, so he might survey the scene and direct orders.

Then all at once, they came. One shark came from the port, the other from the starboard, each attacking their target with ferocity befitting their appearance. Cannons boomed and rifles cracked as the men tried to down the sea beasts, one of them suffering a glancing blow from a large shell and both being peppered with small-arms fire.

But this didn’t stop the sharks from clamping their terrible jaws onto the decks, dragging wood, cannons and men down with them as they withdrew. They had lost two more deck guns now, which further reduced the weapons on-hand to fight this enemy. But Eckhard ordered the men to stay clustered around the remaining cannons, forcing the sharks to expose themselves to firing arcs of the deadly weapons.

The strategy soon produced fruit, as when one of the sharks emerged again, it took a 2.2 Caliber shell right in the center of its middle torso. The HE round exploded upon entry, destroying the monster’s internal organs and leaving a disemboweled mass of flesh floating upon the once pristine waters of the Antigua Harbor. The other shark also took a hit from one of the guns mounted below deck, but the wound was not fatal.

Unfortunately, these sharks were smart enough to learn. And what doesn’t kill you…

The gunnery crew that had just scored the hit was still in the process of reloading when the shark abruptly returned, jaws biting through the wooden hull of the vessel and crushing two men inside, before dragging them and the cannon out from within the ship and into the water. The result was a gaping hole in the side of the vessel, though thankfully it was above water-line. But the shark apparently wasn’t done learning, as it now dove deep and came up upon the wooden vessel from below. A massive cracking sound was heard as boards were torn free and water began to freely flow into the bilge. A few more chomps, and the Golden Arrow was now beginning to sink into the bay. Now the shark just needed to sit back and lick its wounds. Dinner would soon be delivered…

“Sir, the ship is taking on water too rapidly! We only have a matter of minutes!” one of the crewman reported to Eckhart in a panic.

The squire wiped his forehead in frustration. If they tried to abandon ship in the longboats, the beast would pick them off one-by-one with ease. If they remained on the ship, they’d all just be taken into the depths to be drown or devoured anyway. Worse, the shark was no longer attacking the deck, indicating it would not be presenting them a target again. With no way to kill the shark, they were sure to be at its mercy no matter which way things went. Eckhart realized that in his eagerness to defeat the sharks and clear the water of threads, he had doomed his ship and crew to certain death.

Unless…

“All hands! Load one of the lifeboats with every explosive material you can find! Shells, ammunition, petroleum drums, lamp oil, rum! Anything you can find that will explode or burn! Lowest decks first before they flood! With a will, men!”

“Sir?” the first mate looked baffled.

“These things target vulnerabilities first, if you haven’t noticed. Any boat that we lay in the water is sure to be its first target. But if we make that first boat into a floating bomb…” Eckhart explained quickly, as he descended from the aftcastle in order to help loading the rowboat.

“And then someone can shoot and detonate it! Brilliant, sir!” the mate’s eyes widened.

“Less flattery, more effort!” Eckhart snapped, “We need this boat in the water before the Arrow goes under!”

The next few minutes were frantic ones, as crewmen and civilians alike ferried every explosive crate or barrel they could find onto the deck, then loaded it onto the designated lifeboat. The lower deck was already rapidly filling with water, which impeded their progress. But at last, they had loaded enough material into the boat to make a suitable bomb.

“Prepare to lower it, men!” the mate commanded.

Spoiler

 

“Not yet.” Eckhart stopped them, as he himself now climbed into the longboat.

“Sir, what are you doing!?” the mate exclaimed

“Someone needs to row this thing a safe distance from the arrow, otherwise the detonation may kill more people onboard. Beside, we can’t risk that thing being smart enough to figure out the boat is a trick and there’s no one on it. Someone has to be there to ensure it draws the monster’s attention… and to ensure the detonating shot doesn’t miss.” Eckhart stated, “As soon as the thing is dead, abandon ship and signal the docked ships to pick you up. Now, lower me.”

The men hesitated, not willing to just send their leader off to his doom. But his argument made sense; if the shark ignored the lone rowboat, they’d have missed only chance. This had to be done right the first time.

“Do it.” the first mate finally spoke, “Good luck, sir. It’s… it’s been an honor.”

Eckhart simply nodded to the mate, and to the other men who shared similar sentiments as the lifeboat descended into the water. Once freed from the ropes, Eckhart drew his revolver and set it on his lap, then rapidly began rowing away from his doomed ship as fast as he could. The greater the distance he put between himself and the ship, the better he could admire her beautiful lines one more time. Though the captain wouldn’t be going down on his ship, he would still be going down with his ship. Eckhart wasn’t normally a man for sentiment, but one’s impending death tended to bring out emotions that would be otherwise suppressed.

He wasn’t near as far as he wanted to be when he saw that accursed black shadow slide through the water not far away, beginning to circle his own little vessel. But he couldn't afford to be caught with his hands on the oars, so he halted his rowing and fingered his pistol, pointing it at a old keg of gunpowder that had been found in the hold. It would be the best detonator to set off everything else. All he had to do with pull

There Eckhart sat, his boat now gliding to a halt without its propulsion, while below the surface, that monstrous abomination lined itself up for a vicious death-blow on the seemingly helpless rowboat above. These few minutes, or perhaps seconds, seemed to drag out forever, as the squire’s thoughts drifted. Why was he out here sacrificing himself? He had always been a cold businessman, a gentleman of logic and efficiency. He always did his duty to his lord and to his house without regard to sentiment or feelings. As a servant of House Karradeen, his duties had always been focused on profit first, chivalry second. Even when he delivered the news of the lost Orisian ship to the local admiralty this morning, the deed had been done more for the purpose of currying favor with the businessmen and elites of the island than out of common decency. It was funny how much a man can change in matter of a few hours, wasn’t it?

In truth, the whole thing made him reflect on his life from an entirely different angle.All his accomplishments and ambitions now seemed so trivial now that he was set to depart from this world. So wrapped up, he had been, in advancing in the business and political realms of the House he served, that he had ultimately failed to experience the other aspects of life. Now it was too late to know what it would have been like to be a husband or a father, his efforts at procuring marriage having been wasted on Abigail Karradeen, who had never loved him nor he her. It had always been a political pursuit, encouraged by the late Duke Karradeen who wanted to see Eckhart raised to lordship, and his spitfire daughter forced to act like a proper woman. Even after old Firmus’s death, Eckhart had still held onto hope he could one day convince Abigail to marry him, which would now have even greater benefit since she had become duchess and matriarch of the household in her father’s absence. But it all seemed like foolishness now.

The squire cocked his revolver as the shark’s head emerged from the water, its maw opened wide enough to take the entire boat in one gulp. As he stared down the literal jaws of death, Eckhart simply nodded to himself. He may have been a fool with his life, but there would be many other lives that would be saved due to his efforts this day. Those people would get the opportunities he wouldn’t, and he hoped they made the most of it.

But as for him, he had a one final score to settle. The shark’s jaws were nearly enveloping his entire boat, while he was faced with the view down the creature’s throat. Perhaps it was out of a desire to have a final second of defiance, or perhaps he just wanted to be like the heroes of lore who delivered dramatic last words, but whatever the reason, he felt the need to say something as he squeezed that trigger. What was it that girl with the sunbeams called that monster again? Oh, right, it was beastie.

Hello, beastie.

No.

“Goodbye, beastie.”

Spoiler

c-mine.gif

 

 


 

From the deck of one of the fleeing vessels, the marines watched as last of the monsters was destroyed. Thanks to the sacrifice of their leader, they had a chance now to escape this place alive. It was good timing too, as the men were running low on ammunition and more and more anomalies were popping up around them. As many citizens as they could muster were crowded onto every boat and ship anchored at those docks, then one-by-one the ships set sail for the open ocean. One of the ships stopped to pick up the survivors of the Golden Arrow, which was now nearly submerged in the sea.

The first mate, now acting captain of not just the Karradeen forces, but this entire hodge-podge fleet of refugee ships, took up the bridge position on the vessel, his eyes watching as the masts of the Arrow vanished into the depths. The ship, and her captain, had gone down for an honorable cause, and the mate figured one couldn't ask for a better way to go. Finally tearing his eyes from the wreckage and gore that floated all around them, he turned his gaze toward the sea, where freedom and safety awaited.

"Lieutenant Pickett!" he barked.

"Aye sir?" the young man replied, his face showing signs of having aged greatly from the young man he'd been this morning.

"Signal the... fleet. Form up on this ship, we sail for Orisia Island..."

Edited by Tyler

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Kestrel sees the first monster go down, riddled with holes, and allows the victorious yell to erupt from her chest.

Fuck yeah! Now, that’s how things should be. She nods to herself and continues to bring all the people out in the sea back onto steady ground, where the still-hale-and-whole ships stand ready to take them away from all this stupid chaos.

Her leg begins to bleed in earnest, but she shrugs it off — not now, not yet — and keeps herself going, keeping a close eye on the Golden Arrow.

It’s a losing battle against those other monsters. The lump in her throat threatens to choke her, then and there.

After a few moments, she spots a lone rowboat pushing out into open waters, and even with the short span of time they’ve fought together, Kestrel recognizes that figure on the boat. That bastard! What the hell is he doing?

Then she sees the beastie coming out from the depths, its jaws flinging open to envelop the tiny boat, and oh shit, oh no. Kestrel stands gaping as a few moments later, the explosion sends a towering stream of water spiralling into the air. The monsters hadn’t stood a chance.

Oh gods.

The world is short out of good men these days, and so all she can think about is I could’ve saved him. She could have.

“Fuck,” Kestrel swears emphatically, crouching down on the dirt, her head in her hands, the world wailing in chaos all around her. “Fuck.”

But there is no time to mourn, not when there is still work to be done.

She drags in a weary breath, rises to her full height — which is not much, but it’ll have to do — and barks at the congregation standing shell-shocked on the docks to move, damn it, get on the boats! They scramble to obey, and in a matter of moments, the refugee ships begin to set off into the distant seas, loaded to the brim with civilians, wounded and unscathed alike. Kestrel stands clutching the railings with tight fists, staring out into that sudden night eclipsing the sun, eclipsing the city.

Her heart is set. There is no saving her home, not anymore. She turns her back on Ceyena, collapses down onto the deck of the ship amidst muffled shouts of concern, onto a slow-growing pool of crimson at her feet.

Fuck, but it hurts.

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Khakina Khatun

They had been discovered, how Sanguine couldn't know for certain, but it was clear they could not remain as impartial observers forever. Slowly, with his arms up, he walked out from the tree.

This man smells funny. Why would he come out now? Khaki could not help but giggle at the funny man. She had seen through his hilarious efforts in hiding and yet the funny man acts as if he had done nothing wrong. Such gall.

"Not quite a vampire. Something...close to one, I think."

So that must be why the man smelled funny. He was a vampire. Khaki pondered why a sucker like him was hiding from the travelling pack of defenseless food. Is he hunting us? He must have been hungry since the monsters were stealing all his juicy human meals. She swore that the man's eyes are already sparkling with hunger.

"I don't think they would understand too well, my friend. Anyway, I am Sanguine. Who might you two be?" 

Two? Hunger must have overtaken the vampire Sanguine's sense of sight. Khaki's eyes could clearly see the long trail of ladied behind the Mistress and Dan. Or perhaps the vampire only acknowledges those who have non human blood? Like Dan is half-alien and the Mistress is Lady Blackbush's daughter so she's half-tentacle. At this point, Khaki would position herself near Dan. If the vampire would jump at her half-alien friend then Khaki would stop him. 

"My bird and I have come to this place seeking someone, whosoever might be the cause of all these problems. We wish to vanquish it, though we realize it may be a more difficult task than previously thought."

Classic alibi. All human eaters pretend to be just nad righteous before they pounce on you. Khaki's shook her head at this absurd statement. Helpful vampires? Truly absurd- or maybe he truly is a good vampire. The cartel are branded terrorists after all but here they are trying to save this dying city. Now she felt bad for judging the supposedly friendly blood sucker.

My friend wishes to know if you wish to join us on our quest to try and stop this catastrophe."

Join who what now? Is this man for real? Khaki knew humans don't befriend their predators. The vampire must be pretty stupid to think we will relent to his absurd requ-

"I AM THE MISTRESS BLACKHEAD. MY FRIENDS AND I DON'T USUALLY CONSORT WITH CREATURES SUCH AS YOU. SO WE HAVE TO DECLINE YOUR KIND OFFER-"

Khaki's eyes lit up at the Mistress curt refusal. No stinky vamps in her team. Token Dracula would have to find another groupie to welcome him. Take that fanged hypocri-

"HOWEVER, YOU MAY JOIN US IN OUR QUEST TO VANQUISH THE SOURCE OF THIS CATACLYSM. CHOOSE QUICKLY! I DON'T HAVE THE TIME NOR THE PATIENCE FOR SILLY INTRODUCTIONS WHEN COUNTLESS LIVES ARE DYING BY THE MOMENT."

Khaki's heart seemed to fall at the Mistress' words. Why? Why bring discount Vlad to their party?? Oh the horror!

Dejected, Khaki followed the Mistress, her hand latched onto Dan's pulling the lad with her. It seems the Mistress is done with their conversation and is more interested in actually doing something other than talking. Khakina could not help but shed a tear as their party began to pick up the pace. Bloodsucker or not, Sanguine would have to fall in line.

@HollowCipher @Grubbistch

 

Edited by Zashiii

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Weird. The last time Dan was around vampires, they sensed his divine blood and almost killed each other over who got to suck him off. Dan however, was not up for grabs. He had a boyfriend, and he would be very upset if he found out someone had left hickies on Dan. So, he had slaughtered them all.

On 10/10/2018 at 7:26 AM, Grubbistch said:

"My friend wishes to know if you wish to join us on our quest to try and stop this catastrophe."

..... It didnt look like this guy knew how quests worked. The big group doesnt join the small guy if they had the same goal, the one guy joins the group. However, it didnt seem to be a problem, as the head hoe declined. Which was fine with Dan. He'd had monsters on his team before, and it didnt go well. Granted, that monster was a Lamia, a creature who lived to kill and eat cute boys like him, but-
Dan was snapped out of his train of thought as the Ruler of Gunterkind did a complete 180 and said he could join them. Dan didnt like this. At all. But, the more people the better, he guessed. There was always the miniscule chance that Dan wouldn't be able to take the enemy alone, and thus more backup was good.

Finally, Khakis grabbed Dans hand and pulled him along like some kind of excited girlfriend. Well to be fair, he HAD been eyeing Dan up like a pedophile, and cocking his head at him like a weirdo, so Dan could understand Khakis' desire to get him away.
"So uhh... She knows where she's goin, right?"

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Character: Havoc

Location: Unknown

Objective: Observe…but that is boring.

 

The manifestation of his presence within this realm of Valucre had been allowed partially to annoy his partner within this scheme that saw this island under the rule of the deity’s obsession completely overtaken by the kingdom of the whelp he was training. This was all intended to be irreversible. A grievous wound dealt to both worlds that would undoubtedly wreak havoc on the relationship those two held and introduce strife between the people they governed. Everything was going well….so well that his success began to bore him. Even as foreigners and locals alike aimed to resist the chaos he so generously provided for them, few had actually relished in success and even fewer piqued his interest enough to be more active in this event of his creation.

 

He had toyed with Sanguine earlier just to pass the time, feeling unchallenged and therefore uninterested. All hope for something of interest nearly faded until he turned his attentions toward the gathering of Sanguine, Dan, and several others. Dan’s specific energy signature was mildly intriguing but nothing that warranted any further investigation. With the arrival of the Spire in the distance and the myriad of Illyrian buildings foreshadowing the complete success of this endeavor, Havoc decided to toy with the new gathering.

 

The thick mist that settled throughout the jungle continued to make it difficult for anyone without any extrasensory abilities to truly see where they were headed and it conveniently began to spread until it spilled out of the conglomerate of large trees. The sounds of large thuds and trees snapping in the distance foreshadowed the arrival of a group of completely black Anular, three in total. Veiled by the approach of those large slow-moving creatures was a silhouette of a more compact figure that even the Anular began to avoid. With a potent anti-magic field slowly moving toward the trio, Sanguine would notice a familiar light burning through the creatures’ eye sockets similar to what was witnessed before when the white Render had been dispatched. No words were spoken this time, however, as the deity did not deem the others with the intriguing Sanguine worthy of dialogue just yet.

@Grubbistch @HollowCipher @Zashiii

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"More guests have come to engage us in conversation." Mused the dead vampire as he turned towards the threats approaching them. "I fear they may be perturbed by our presence."

Caw!

"I am sure if it was just you, the monsters would be much more willing to sit down and chat. Alas, I am here, and so they are angry. Will you forgive me, Dux Gravis?"

Caw! Caw!

"As always, you are tough but fair." In a fluid motion, his sword was taken out of it's sheath, and it was time to begin the fight.

With the combination of both the anti magic field and the obscuring fog, Sanguine was at much more even odds with these new monsters. Much to his surprise his ability to dissolve into darkness was halted by this field of anti magic, thus severely limiting his options when it came down to mobility. If he wished to survive this encounter, then he was going to have to rely on raw skill alone.

Though he was unable to use his signature ability, the vampire still proved a remarkably agile fighter against the undead abominations. His style has always been to outlast his opponent, to keep chipping away at them until there was nothing left to fight with. Once they were exhausted and near death, then he would deliver the killing blow on them. This so far has been the only style of combat he has been comfortable with, as far as he could remember that is.

Caw! Caw! Caw!

Just as before, Dux Gravis was in the air, finding a suitable perch in the treetops to give encouragement and advise throughout the battle. His choice of words were always so elegant, so moving. If only other people could understand him, then perhaps they could realize just why the dead vampire cared for him so much.

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Sera shivered as the anti-magic field washed over her and the others. It reminded her of the Legions failed attempt at Last Chance where the Terran defenders kept throwing anti-magic bombs at her. But she and her team had come prepared.

"I CAN VAGUELY SENSE SOMETHING COMING BUT I AM UNABLE TO DETERMINE THEIR IDENTITY. IF THESE ARE ENEMIES WE BEST BE PREPARED. SANGUINE, SERA, LITTLE SANS. YOU FOUR ARE WITH ME. WE'LL TAKE THE BRUNT OF THE ENEMIES ATTACK. DAN, KHAKI, SUPPORT US FROM BEHIND. ANA, TEDDY, WOLNOUGHT, AND HOLLY, PROTECT OUR FLANKS. BE CAREFUK OF THE ANTI-MAGIC FIELD. IF NEEDED USE PURE PHYSICAL PROWESS OR SWITCH TO KI OR PSIONICS."

An eager grin formed on Sera's lips as soon as she heard the Mistress' orders. Together with Little Sans, she took her position up front as one of the vanguards. She can sense the presence of her other companions moving, presumably following the orders of the Mistress.

She's so excited now. Soon she'l have another fight. Even without the annoying field, Sera would still fighr tooth and nail with the approaching enemies. An all out brawl is the best way to enjoy a battle. She can already feel her insides squirming in anticipation.  Yes, she had been waiting for such a thing to happen for so long. It's coming. The battle is coming.

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