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EpicRome23

Hold Your Vines

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Umbra glanced sideways at those she traveled with, after they spoke.

"Continue to tread carefully. We are most certainly not alone in these woods. Oh, and Will? While the fog is as bloody thick as soup already, Anywhere will be able to tell us where the mist is thickest, even when we cannot perceive it ourselves. While I didn't intend to bring 'im along in the first place, he's proven invaluable so far. Neque knows how to build constructs, that's for certain."

With that, she fell silent as she turned her attention back to trudging through the mist. It was uneventful for a time. Then, Anywhere came to a sudden stop, the eyes of the Ebon Triad and Maric immediately turning toward him. White eyes glowed with a tinge of purple, and the construct finally broke his silence.

"... Analysis of Whitewoods mist is complete. It is indisputably thickest around this location. Would recommend fanning out and searching for Tempest Vines, however... enemies detected. 7 humanoids, approximately 12 smaller, skittering creatures. Likely 7 Fallen Knights and 12 Chhitten, incoming from all directions except our direction of approach from the southeast. Prepare for imminent battle."

Stella cursed loudly at the Warpgolem's news. She readied her sword and shield, as Umbra loaded her armbow and magic began to take shape around Tenebra. Maric, meanwhile, shouldered his greatsword and grinned cockily toward the shapes he could see approaching in the mists. 

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Will swept his gaze in a wide arc, scanning for...anything. The fog was thick, just as expected. He couldn't see farther than a few feet, and even then his ability to concretely identify things was weak. They'd been walking for quite a while, and his body was starting to feel the effects. It wasn't the journey, specifically, but the lack of of an obvious destination. Sure they'd gotten to Whitewood, but now what? How long until they found the Tempest Vine?

His questions were silent. They would go unanswered when Anywhere broadcast their announcement. 

Will's blood ran cold. Another conflict. Could he handle it in this fog? A bowman without a clear line of sight was dangerous to others. Swallowing hard, Will eyed a low hanging branch and grasped it tightly. With a grunt he pulled himself up and into the tree, scaling it until he could peer above the fog. The chitin would be invisible to him on the forest floor, but the fallen knights were tall. He could see hints of their figures as they approached. Grimacing, Will tried to get settled in the tree and began to aim. A moment later he would begin firing. 

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More Knights and Chittens?

The two women briefly looked at each other before moving in to flank Will's tree. If the boy plans to keep his distance, then the two girls would keep any enemy from getting too close to WIll.

"Gotta protect the princess in his tree house," Shishi chuckled as she pulled out her sword again. 

"Just stay back there baby boy," the female companion hollered at will , "You two mommas her will keep you safe from the monsters."

The two giggled for a moment then their faces grew serious. Their eyes peered  at the cloying mists but they have trouble seeing through. All they have is fog. Lots and lots of it. Like a cloudy blanket which gives zero visiblity. 

"Soon," the companion whispered under her breath as her hands began tracing magical sigils in the air. "It will begin soon."

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The fog was thick, and obnoxiously so. The aerosol seemed to leave a weird taste in his mouth as he attempted to stare into it. If he focused a bit he could probably see. the crimson colored eye would change it’s color from a dark crimson to a bright red nearing Orange in it’s shade. It would seem that Umbra was also detecting what he was, probably a bunch of smaller creatures. It would seem that they were also surrounded. There wasn’t much possibility of good movement. Leon’s hands began to twitched as he reached for the axe on his axe.

Electricity began to cackle around the instrument as Leon continued to focus onto the void, his ears proceeding to twitch, attempting to hear any sort of footsteps or anything that would give these creatures away. As the axe like guitar was fully unsheathed he proceeded to hold it by his neck with his right hand, his left hand clearly hovering about the body (And bit.) Of the guitar…

It’s showtime.

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The fallen knights stepped forth from the fog soon enough- six knights with a Chhitten on each shoulder. A simple but effective tactic most likely, the two smaller creatures would probe for openings in the adventurer's for their paired knight to exploit. But... what entity had the intelligence to come up with and implement such a tactic? As if in answer to that very question, the seventh knight stepped out of the fog. Unlike the swords that the other knight carried, this one bore a massive warhammer, paired with a hulking tower shield. This fallen knight opened its mouth... and unlike the chilling screams cries of the other Fallen Knights, words came out of this one- strained, hard to make out, but words nonetheless.

"Tempest... Vines. Can-not alloooooow... take."

Umbra spat and raised her armbow threateningly. The obvious knight leader continued unabated.

"Maric... your life's blood... given. to Yh'mi's soil... yet you walk. still... Unforgivable."

Maric's expression was obviously confounded as he readied his greatsword. Stella and Tenebra looked at him for a few moments, then turned their attention and weapons toward the Fallen Knights closest to them. Anywhere, meanwhile, looked all around the area. Light energy gathered around the construct's hands as it made one last pronouncement before combat would be met.

"Tactical analysis... chances of victory favorable. Fallen Knight with above-average intelligence... anomalous, can unfavorably shift combat outcome. Will personally eliminate in order to ensure our triumph."

With that, two massive blades of light formed around the Warpgolem's hands. Then, the construct charged forward, engaging the spoken-of Fallen Knight in a clash that would have been a good watch... were the rest of the adventurers not busy with the rest of the Fallen Knights, and their accompanying Chhitten. And indeed, Maric and the Ebon Triad had already locked down three such pairs, leaving the rest to the mercy (or lack thereof) of the rest of the party.

Edited by EpicRome23

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'Take care of the boy,' Shishi barked at her companion as she moved to meet the enemy. The pair of Fallen Knight and Chitten that approached the tree seemed dangerous enough that Shishi was forced to act. That and Will has not yet taken any action in response to such a threat.

Light was the origin of Shishi's supernatural ability so it was only natural that she would rely on that attribute. A sword of light manifested in her hands while her gaze was fixed on her opponent. The sword was good for close combat but Shishi was never one to settle for complacency. Even as she hefted her blade in a combat stance, her spiritual energy rose in accordance ot her will. As the energy reached its peak, it would shoot out of her body into a dozen or so spears of light that homed in on her enemy knight.

 

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The Ebon Triad- that was to say, Umbra, Stella, and Tenebra, engaged their chosen Fallen Knight-Chhitten pairs with power and ferocity. The intensity of these clashes, of course, were dwarfed by the scale of the clash between the Warpgolem called Anywhere, and the Fallen Knight 'captain'. But in any case, three of the knights and their leader were locked down by the Ebon Triad and Maric. Of the remaining three... one moved to engage the man with the axe-like guitar called Leon. Another, approaching Shishi and her companion. The last, closing in on Will in his tree- an easy shot, by all means, but one that the boy did not take for whatever reason. Perhaps it was nerves. Perhaps the effects of the Whitewoods mist had gotten him, caused him to forget why he had climbed into the tree in the first place. Whatever the case, he would be saved from potential death by Shishi's companion, who moved on her order to intercept the Knight approaching Will. 

Maric and Tenebra fought as a pair. The merc's greatsword slashed the leaping Chhitten in twain, as bolts of fire rapidly slammed into the Knight in swift succession. Overwhelmed by such (literal) firepower, the Fallen Knight soon succumbed to the onslaught, and was finished off with a decapitating blow from Maric. Stella, meanwhile, fought her Knight and Chhitten pair with sword and shield bravely wielded- she trusted in the Uru-inlaid armor, and indeed, the attacks of the pair could find not purchase against that well-made, strong armor. Finally, Umbra moved from shadow to shadow, agilely striking from unexpected angles at her opponent. The Chhitten fell victim to an armbow bolt from below. As for the Fallen Knight, it would find itself against the death of a thousand cuts, knife thrusts coming from all around it and occasionally finding purchase, as well as armbow bolts punching through weakened sections of its armor.

Yes, it was only a matter of time now. The intrepid adventurers were most likely to prevail against these opponents, and would thus then be able to turn their attention back to their goal of harvesting the Tempest Vines... if all went well, of course.

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Will hesitated. 

He was sure his companions had noticed. How could they not? As the Fallen Knights neared them, Will found that he didn't want to shoot. They'd said something that confused him. No, worried him. 

On 4/17/2020 at 11:01 PM, EpicRome23 said:

"Tempest... Vines. Can-not alloooooow... take."

Why? Why would the vines have their own protectors? 

The question floored him. Obviously the goal of the expedition was to retrieve the vines, but Will was now concerned about the implications. Calming Saevions seemed a tame venture at first, but the beasts were terrifying. If they could be domesticated, what else could the vines do? Was that why these knights challenged them? Was it right for the troupe to invade these dread woods, steal from them, and potentially ruin the world's status quo? 

Will's mind raced in the span of a few seconds. He had the crossbow trained on one of the Knights, and he grit his teeth. Regardless of the moral issues, he didn't want to be the reason someone died here. A bright light flashed before he arrived at his decision. "Take COVER!" he shouted from on high. 

He pulled the trigger. 

The explosive bolt flew through the air. A heartbeat later, the arrow plunged into the Knight's chest. Another heartbeat and a fiery explosion destroyed the creature from within.

The trees of the Whitewoods shook from the force, fog blowing back for a moment to reveal the forest floor. Will's eyes widened as he seized the opportunity, firing more bolts at the remaining Chitin to make up for his inaction. They landed with impressive precision, though he stopped when the fog began to roll back in. Five of the damn bugs down, some from the blast, the rest from his shooting. Once again, all he could see were the Fallen Knights. He focused on the one who had spoken, aiming at the Knight's head and breathing slowly. He no longer had an explosive bolt, but he was hopeful that he could still lend aid. 

Pfft. he fired again. The bolt shot forward, but was intercepted by Anywhere's blades. Will swore and looked around, thinking. He could reposition, but it would be risky. Bunching his legs, he leapt from the branch he'd settled on and toward the neighboring tree. For a few moments he was soaring, breathless in anticipation. 

The opposing branch slammed into his chest and he pulled himself up with a grunt, wheezing. He did this again, working his way around carefully until the Knight was in clear view. Will set another bolt in and aimed once again. He pulled the trigger and watched as the bolt flew. It punctured armor, then sank into the Captain's shoulder, distracting him. Anywhere had an opening.

He left Umbra and her companions to fend for themselves. They seemed more than capable. Instead, Will opted to support Leon as best he could. The man and his lightning still hadn't felled his opponent. Will attempted to fire at the Knight's head, missing both shots. At the very least they'd be distracting. 

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