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Hold Your Vines

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"I'm starting to hate the fact that I'm always late to the fight. Perhaps you could try moving faster next time," Shishi lamented while jogging through the broken plains. It seems that she had failed to join the main group and is stuck with trailing after them. What made things worse was that her companion does not share Shishi's desire for haste. if only this blasted woman could walk faster.

Shishi's companion, another woman, merely chuckled at Shishi's complaints. "Why rush? We'll be there soon anyways. The elders used to say, 'Haste makes waste' so I suggest you take it slow. For now."

Both women then grew silent as they drew near the horde of enemies. Shishi had seen such creatures but she has never fought one, yet. Perhaps now would be a good time to test her blade against such creatures. There's no time to think, only time for action. Soon Shishi was upon the creatures, her sword unsheathed, its blade singing with each swing.

Meanwhile, the other woman was content with watching from the sidelines and even took the time to smoke a cigar while Shishi laid waste to their enemies. Taking another lungful of smoke, the woman's sights finally landed on Gormaric. The sight brought a smile to her lips, the sense of familiarity seemed to put her at ease.

"I'm starting to regret not bringing Sera and Khaki here," she whispered to herself. "But Shishi isn't a bad replacement either."

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Will shot forward. His legs carried him far and fast, cutting across the a field of Chitin corpses. The quiver at his hip was uncomfortably light and he needed to get his bolts back, now. 

There. 

As he ran, his gaze swung to a corpse on his right with its punctured shell glittering in the cold sunlight. Will fell to his knees and slid next to the dead thing, hand seizing the bolt and removing it with a grunt as he slowed to a halt. He whipped around and slid the bolt into his crossbow, then aimed carefully and pulled the trigger. 

The bolt tore through the air and found its target, a Chitin that was leaping to attack one of the newcomers. The woman smoking her cigar would hopefully be thankful to find that the creature had been shot midair, though less thankful at the fluids that sprayed onto her clothing. The dead bug fell to the ground before her with a thud.

Will grimaced, but slowly shook his head. Where had she even come from? And the other two? The swordswoman and strange mercenary? Their arrival had been just as sudden as the disappearance of everyone else. He let the questions fly through his mind as he rose and looked for more bolts. He still had his enhanced ones but to use them here felt wasteful. He sighed and moved on. Whenever he found a free quarrel, he loaded it into the crossbow and killed another creature. It seemed to be an unending cycle and, though his breathing grew rough and his eyes dim with fatigue, Will didn't hesitate to kill a Chitin from wherever he stood. He lost count of how many fell to his projectiles, but never stopped shooting. 

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Bryant Eden had been tracking this group for a while now, and he was getting exhausted. Partially because he didn't get enough sleep last night, and partially because he had spent most of his energy (mentally and physically) searching for this particular band of people. As he was about ready to give up, he heard what sounded like a horn, somewhere to his left. He smiled. 

Finally. Bryant thought. Here we go. My chance for an adventure of a lifetime. He paused. Or about a month. 

Bryant started running to where he had last heard the horn, while pulling up his armor. He crested the top of the hill, and pulled out his sword, expecting a battle. He was not disappointed. There was the group, fighting a horde of chitten. He spied someone (a man, from the looks of it) using his crossbow to kill the beasts. The guy pulled a bolt out of one of the creatures, and used it to stop another creature from attacking one of the group members from behind.

Jesus. There are so many of them. Bryant thought, a little timid. But then he remembered that he was going to go down and help, and that's what he did.

Bryant roared while racing down the hill, looking for the nearest enemy to kill. Bryant's sword sang with each slash, and with each gash that was made in the enemies flesh, he felt a little more content, and less dragged down by the weights of his past. He'd feel weighed down again after the battle. But for now, it didn't matter so much. He could die, and never have to worry about it again. Or he could live, and keep fighting another day. He always stayed in the present, never dwelling on the past, or the future. And the present was right here, right now, in the midst of this epic battle. 

Bryant roared again, feeling confident. He saw three chitten approaching him, one in front, one on the left, and one on the right. He spun around, and saw that there was a fourth one, and that he was surrounded. He gripped his sword tightly in his right hand, and raised his arm and sword to be perpendicular to his body, and holding his sword out, as if it were just another extension of his arm. He grinned, leveled his arm to be at the height of the chittens' neck. He rotated his body backwards just a touch to the right, and spun with all of his might. When he stopped, the heads of all of the chitten were separated from their bodies, blood dripping from the necks. He grunted, and, without pausing, ran back into the battle. He had killed many of the chitten, but he wasn't keeping track. He was in the here, and now.

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Characters:

(Active):

Bryant Eden

(Deceased):

 

(Other):

 

Edited by Yorgie

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It was the headaches that reminded him that sometimes he wasn’t exactly made to be on this world. They weren’t constant, but it was clearly something that Ignored Leon to no end. Rubbing his hands in between both temples, it had been a while since he had started his travels. His travel through the Broken Planes wasn’t actually intentional, He just needed to get back to his ship. He had decided that it was a good idea to travel through Yh’mi. Looking down at what seemed to be a watch he was growing a bit worried. It was set to run out of power soon, and he would probably have to find a good means to recharge it. While he could do it himself, he would probably need that power for later.

Suddenly he heard a clash. Various weaponry being sliced through body parts, he would recognize that sound everywhere and while many probably wouldn’t have heard it from the distance that he was in, he was no mere human with a normal range of hearing. As his ears twitched at the sound, his blood began to stir. He looked on top of the hill, only to see another person running down it, as he came toward the top however, he saw exactly what was going on. Chitlins, and a lot of them, not something that he was worried about, but it seemed to be swarming a party. A Small nuisance and it would probably do him good to assist.

Time to put on a show.

He raised his hand into the air, as lightning struck the plains. With another strike reaching to his hand, unveiling his axe. Hopefully the lightning would gather the attention of the Chitlins, they deserved a show after all and nobody was set to ignore this performance.

 

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With so many attacks arrayed against them, even this great horde of Chhitten was felled. Parts of these creatures and their acidic blood were strewn all about this area of the Broken Plains. Umbra, Stella, and Tenebra moved close together, catching their breath and taking stock of the situation. Several of their original crew had disappeared, perhaps losing their nerve and fleeing back to the safety of Inns'th. In their place were several newcomers. The Ebon Triad, as the three women commanding the Aligorian garrison in Inns'th had come to be known, looked at each other and nodded. These newcomers would need to be questioned, their loyalties and origins ascertained before they would move on to the Whitewoods. Out of their original crew, aside from the Triad, the Warpgolem, and the Shadow Guards... only the crossbowman Will remained. Umbra rode over to him and spoke quietly.

"At least you're still here. Who knows what happened to the others... anyways, before we move on, I want you to help us talk to the newcomers. Figure out who they are, why they're here, and whether we can trust them not to stab us in the back. You... you can talk to the two women that arrived. You're a handsome enough fellow, you should be fine as long as you don't lose your tongue."

With that, Umbra rode off, before approaching the strange mercenary who wielded the power of the Inanis. As if reading her intentions, the mercenary spoke before she could even get out her questions.

"I... was dead. I was overwhelmed by the creatures that assaulted the breach in Inns'th's wall, part of the outnumbered and outmatched mercenaries who held the line before the forces of Aligoria and Uldwar arrived. Gormaric came across me when he joined the battlefield, after I was forgotten by my fellows and left broken on that bloody field. He gifted onto me the power of the Inanis... and with my new power and a life granted, I quietly took up duties helping to repair the breach and guard the wall. When I caught wind of this expedition, I finished my current shift and hastened to follow. Seems I arrived just in time. As for my name? You may call me Maric. My old name does not matter, for who I was before perished upon the Broken Plains."

Umbra pondered Maric's statements for a bit, then nodded.

"Welcome then, Maric. We'll be glad to have your strength and skill to aid us. As well, we will find a good place for you among our ranks when we return on Inns'th."


Stella approached Bryant with Anywhere the Warpgolem following behind her. The black-clad knightess smiled at the newcomer, trying to offset the influence of the intimidating construct behind her.

"Ah, hello there, sir. I saw your skill with the sword when you arrived here, and I must say I am impressed. So I am compelled to ask... what is your name? And have you come here to join our expedition into the Whitewoods?"

She tried not to let the bit of suspicion she felt be evident in her tone. Perhaps she shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth... but here in Yh'mi, a gift horse was far more likely to be part of a trap then it was to be benevolent.


Tenebra, meanwhile, approached the man who wielded an axe and cast forth lightning. Though there were others who wielded magic in the party, Tenebra was the most qualified to deal with this man. The most interesting and, perhaps, the most dangerous of the newcomers that come during this skirmish with the Chhitten. As she came closer to the man, her mouth had a slight smile, and she had an interested expression on her face.

"So, you wield lightning, then? It's an interesting element to study and control, as it chain through your allies just as well it your enemies if you lose focus. But, that aside, I do have some questions for you. You don't seem to be corrupted by Yh'mi. Are you here, then, to aid us in our expedition into the Whitewoods?"


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Will whirled around wildly at the sound of Umbra's voice, eyes wide and crossbow trained on her heart out of instinct. His blood was thrumming in his head, but he heard what she said. Slowly, the untamed look in his eyes was soothed by the realization that the battle was over. At their feet lay the corpses of a multitude of chitins, limbs twitching with the wind but certainly lacking life. He let out a deep breath and processed Umbra's words.

"Yes, ma'am," he panted, nodding more to himself than her. "I'll get right on that."

He turned away from her, and toward the newcomers. Two women, one doused in chitin juices and the other wielding a sword. He walked toward them, carefully. With each stride, he found himself removing bolts from dead chitin. Eventually, he reached them, however, and greeted both with a nod. The wind cut through the Broken Plains harshly, cold and unforgiving, tousling his hair but cooling his body. He welcomed it, though he recognized that he should probably find his jacket. 

"Hello there," Will greeted with a tired grin. "My name is William Sharr. Do you mind introducing yourselves?" He looked over at the dirty woman. Hesitating, he neared her and pulled a quarrel out of the dead chitin at her feet. "Sorry about that."

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The fight had been quite uneventful and Shishi felt more disgust than exhaustion as she seemed to have taken the full brunt of all that chitten juices. If she knew this was going to happen, she should have taken a less physical approach during their combat. While she was busy fighting, her companion was busy staying in the sidelines and smoking that damned cigar. Shishi would have chastised the other woman but she knew that her companion is only here as support. With a heavy sigh, she instead turned her attention to the approaching boy.

"Well met, William." Shishi regarded the young man who came to greet her. "No need to worry for my condition but do accept my apologies for our rather late arrival."

While Shishi was busy conversing with the young man, her companion would scoot towards the nearest chitten remains and would produce a mass of amorphous black blob from under her long coat. The blob seemed to have a life of its own and pounced upon at the chitten parts with great gusto. Chuckling, the woman cheered at that blob which seemed like her pet.

Ignoring the stupid antics of her companion, Shishi continued he conversation. "My name is Ravenbush. Shishi Ravenbush from the other Order.  The non-white one..." She gestured at her companion. "...and that woman is called Linda Linda. She's supposed to be some kind of healer but mostly a nuisance. Don't mind her."

 

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While Stella and Tenebra waited for responses from the newcomers, Umbra felt an odd sense of foreboding. She looked toward Maric, and the dark mercenary nodded as if sharing the same thought. The duo turned and scanned around the Broken Plain-

The roaring sounds of thunder echoed throughout the area. The signs of incoming Saevion. Umbra turned toward the source of the noise and saw seven Saevion cresting the rise, led by a notably large and majestic specimen colored black and gold. Maric grabbed the Shadow Guard leader and took off in a sprint, shouting at Will, Shishi, and Linda Linda as he passed.

"Run! To the Whitewoods!"

The Warpgolem Anywhere, along with Stella and Tenebra, ran and caught up with Umbra and Maric. The three Shadow Guards, however, cloaked and moved from the path of Saevion. They would separate from the main group to track these Saevion, especially the seeming leader, and lead the others to them when they had acquired the Tempest Vine. The group of Aligorians would only halt their sprint when the Saevion were far behind, and they stared into the mist-shrouded trees of the Whitewoods. Tenebra turned to the others as they arrived.

"We're primarily dependent on Anywhere for direction and navigation here in the Whitewoods. The Warpgolem is one of the Shadow King's finest, and if all works as it should, it should resist the effects of the Whitewoods' mist and be able to be lead us back to the Broken Plains after we have acquired the Tempest Vine. But if that fails, let us mark the trees as we pass as a backup. Also, before we enter, do your best to ward against the mind-altering effects of the mist. We'll be heading into the woods where they are thickest, so we must be extremely careful in that regard. Any further questions or concern before we depart?"

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It would seem that Leon was too late.

A part of relieved, he didn’t have to do much battling, but now he seemed silly with his over the top entrance. He clasped the guitar back into his back and gave a nervous laugh. Hey, even a good performer fucks up every now and then and this was certainly a fuck up, if not a very small one. “Apologies, I just thought you guys needed help, turns out you guys already cleared everything up…Splended.” He clapped his hands together as if to sweep this all under the rug. When he was told about the expedition to the Whitewoods however, Leon was stepped and confused. “Whitewoods? Not sure what you’re on about there, I’m just trying to find my…” He stopped for a moment and blinked, maybe he should just ride with this after all, who knows what he could discover. It was at that time when Leon’s blood began to stir. The adventurer gave a nod, recant his previous statement. “Actually, Yes. I mean, I wasn’t planning on it, but if you need assistance, I believe I can be of it.” He stood straight, back like a board as he gave a salute.

“Leontias Metalliene, Pleasure to meet ya”

It would seem however, that introductions would be limited. Leon already felt something…off.

"Run! To the Whitewoods!"

“I stress again, what the fuck is the Whitewoods?!” Another sign that Leon simply wasn’t from here. Yh’mi for the most part was uncharted Territory for the guitarist, he came for a job, to play backup for some wannabe guitarist who decided to quit a show at the last minute. He pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head. He already felt that this was going to be quite the conversation, and with it an adventure, he just hoped that the pay was good.

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Will flung his head around as the ground began to tremble. At the call to depart he set his jaw and nodded before looking back at the two women. Part him wanted to ask about the hungry blob. The other part wanted to collect his items.

"Follow us," he said urgently, "and please don't lag behind. I don't know much about the Broken Plains, but from what I've heard lonely wanderers are rarely seen again." 

Then he was off, sprinting toward his pack and jacket. He threw the jacket on as the wind began to pick up and slung the pack on his shoulder. His crossbow hung on a sash and he'd practiced moving with it for most of his life. He could chase the rest of the group easily. 

He hesitated, however. The feeling of being watched was strong, and bade him to look back at the horizon. What the hell are you...?

Six- no, seven- of them moved as a collective, large and sounding their arrival with thunderous footfalls. He knew what these were. Squinting, Will couldn't help but wonder if he was seeing something else. He reached for his enchanted monocle, pulling it out of the pack and securing it above his right eye. Yes, he'd been correct. The lead Saevion, resplendent in regal glory, had a rider. It was a short dirty and bearded man, clutching the antlers as he stood on the beast's head. 

And he seemed to be staring directly at the group while they fled.

Will's blood chilled. He swallowed hard and looked back at his troupe, then began to follow at a dead run. Upon hearing the leaders' instructions at the border of Whitewood, he walked toward Umbra. "Umbra," he whispered, "those Saevion were being guided by someone. I don't know who, but I think they were aware of our presence."

Then, after a pause, "And how would someone like me ward against magic? I don't really have hidden powers at my disposal."

 

 

Edited by ticklefarte

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With Will's words and the earlier prompt to run to the woods, the two women had no problem following directions. They both ran at a fast pace but neither of them seemed to feel any tiredness at all.

"Oh this reminds me of the good old days," said Linda who even had the time to light another stick of cigar and smoke it while running at breakneck speed. Her homunculus black blob had long since hidden underneath her coat through this whole ordeal and would most like be waiting for a chance to play again.

"When was that?" Shishi inquired before leaping over a fallen tree trunk. "Was it when you were still part of that awful criminal group?"

"Well, yes and no," came the curt reply. "This chase reminds me of that one time in the Velhetian desert where I had to scale a good portion of it running non-stop for days."

There was nothing Shishi could do but roll her eyes and continue running in silence.

The two slowed their pace upon reaching the troupe. The Whitewoods seemed familiar to them as they had heard stories about it. The only problem is not all stories are true.

On 12/10/2019 at 12:52 PM, ticklefarte said:

"And how would someone like me ward against magic? I don't really have hidden powers at my disposal

The woman named Linda Linda chuckled at Will's words. Grabbing the boy's arm, she pulled him away and then placed a slender arm over his shoulder. "You're sticking with me, sweetie. I can't let cute little boys like you fall in harm's way."

"Actually," Shishi butted in, "You're the dangerous one here."

A stream of giggle left Linda's mouth then her face turned serious. Something glowed briefly underneath her coat and then this invisible energy enveloped her, Shishi and Will. "This will keep us safe for now. Although this also makes any supernatural abilities you two have into utter shit."

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Tenebra turned toward Leon as she had finished addressing the group as they stood at the edge of the Whitewoods.

"This, in front of us, is the Whitewoods. If you are in any way familiar with the spires that arose in the cities of Terr- Fracture, just a short time ago, the mists in these woods induce similar mind-altering effects. The mists make it one of the more dangerous locales here in Yh'mi, but with us, you'll most likely make it through fine. If you have the capability of warding your mind against the mists, do it before we enter. Otherwise, I should be able to cover you. Anywhere... you'll cover the other three, correct? May be a strain on your power, but..."

The Warpgolem nodded in assent, and dark purple runes glowed to life on Umbra, Stella, and Maric in turn, as the Warpgolem extended its hand towards each of them. Tenebra would set a similar rune on Leon if he so indicated that he needed help against the mists' effects.

Umbra, meanwhile, turned toward Will with a contemplative expression, holding in a laugh at the two women dragging him in and bantering among themselves.

"Someone was guiding those Saevion, you say? I wonder if they've already tamed them? Regardless... the Shadow Guards will track that man and his Saevion, lead us to them after we return with the tempest vines. We only need to successfully tame one for the sake of the Order, to prove the effectiveness of the Tempest Vine. But if we can get a bunch tamed at once... that will be even better. I want to tame the black and gold one if nothing else, it's colors match that of Aligorian armor."

As Umbra finished speaking, Stella stepped next to the Warpgolem, clearing her throat to catch everyone's attention.

"Alright, everyone. If all of your preparations are complete... let's go get that bread. Or those Tempest Vines, rather. Anywhere, lead the way."

The hulking steel construct nodded, a mix of the dark purple energy of the Inanis and the light magic that fueled it forming an aura around it as it strode into the thickening mists of the Whitewoods. Umbra, Stella, and Maric followed close after it, with Tenebra trailing after them.

Edited by EpicRome23

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I would've thought that entering the Whitewood would've felt different somehow. I'm not completely sure what I expected. Maybe some barrier, invisible and intangible but somehow detectable. Something to signal our crossing, right? 

Well...nothing like that seems to be happening. 

Indeed as the expedition left the Broken Plains and passed the tree line, nothing seemed to change. His breathing slowed, eyes taking in the obscurity of their new surroundings. A forest floor underfoot, thick canopy overhead, and foliage as far as he could perceive. This did nothing to describe the cool feeling of the mists, thick and heavy and seemingly uniform no matter were they tread. Will swallowed and licked his lips in an effort to gain moisture that wasn't from this place. He didn't know where the impulse came from, but found that he appreciated it. 

He also appreciated Linda Linda's protection. In all honesty, he felt no different. Part of him understood that this was because of his own mundanity and lack of...extraordinary qualities. The thought made him want to curse in frustration, but he knew better than to fight one's own being. It wouldn't change anything. Besides, without this shield he had no doubt that these woods would consume him with ease, also due to his plain humanity. Gods I feel vulnerable, he thought through grit teeth. 

Rubbing a hand against his crossbow, Will opened his mouth to shatter the silence of the group. He seemed to have a knack for that. "So how are we to know when the mist is thickest? So far I haven't been able to see a real difference." He paused, then continued. "I'm just remembering what you guys said earlier. About finding the vine where the mist is thick. I wasn't sure if that was for dramatic effect or a real fact."

As they walked he made sure not to touch any plants for fear of touching the Tempest Vine through some stroke of very bad luck. 

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"No need to be worried there, big boy," Linda Linda giggled with nary a care for the danger they are in, "I keep cute boys like you safe."

Shishi, on the other hand, could not help but roll her eyes at that. Ignoring her companion, her eyes scanned the encroaching mist that obstructed their path. It was thick and cloying and very annoying. It did not help that she could not even use any of her abilities while under Linda's protection. Still, she knew that her companion had also used a second aura that would transfer any damage that 'big boy' or Shishi would receive to Linda Linda instead. 

The truth is Shishi is also at a loss on what to do regarding their current circumstance. With so little information and a lot of unanswered questions, she could not form a concrete solution to their problem. The most she can do is just trudge recklessly into the unknown and hope they all survive. She did have Linda so the 'reckless' part is a plausible answer.

"So," Shishi spoke as she turned to face Will, "So do we tread carefully or charge recklessly?"

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"This, in front of us, is the Whitewoods. If you are in any way familiar with the spires that arose in the cities of Terr- Fracture, just a short time ago, the mists in these woods induce similar mind-altering effects. The mists make it one of the more dangerous locales here in Yh'mi, but with us, you'll most likely make it through fine. If you have the capability of warding your mind against the mists, do it before we enter. Otherwise, I should be able to cover you. Anywhere... you'll cover the other three, correct? May be a strain on your power, but..."

“Sir I am merely a traveler of these lands, No knowledge just a good sense of adventure and a good tune. The best thing to have after all.” He shrugged as he walked with the party. This is what happens when you decide to travel and take random missions after all. It was usually apart of his plans, Take a few gigs in a city and then accept a job nearby. It paid enough and put food on the table, but It usually left him not knowing of his location of what was going on. He slid his hands into his pocket. As he heard the others speak he put it to the way that they were clearly knowledgeable of each other. He continued to merely listen and not speak much. He wasn’t much sure what to say until he found that there seemed to be a thick mist. His lone red eye seemed to dilate at this moment. The sounds of a mechanical whistle as the dilation started.

"So do we tread carefully or charge recklessly?"

“As much as I like things Loud, I think It’s best that we stay silent for now, I think if the mist worsens I might be able to work around it.” He pointed to his right eye which seemed to glow an illuminated red. He chose not to say much more than that, He was far from aware from the situation as the others were, he just so happened to take the job on a whim and with such was probably the least knowledgeable of the situation.

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