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Mickey Flash

I Have to be Seen to be Believed [Kinumo-Open]

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Igni gave out a deep chuckle that shook her whole body (especially her belly) at the sight of Rohini dancing and singing. She rolled onto her back, paws in the air and wings on the ground, watching the travellers from upside down.

“One day, when I’m not feeling so sleepy, I’ll show you how dragons dance,” she said to Rohini. “Maybe you can accompany me in spider form.”

Then she heard the howling, and raised her head. There was a rush of magic that set her floofy fur on end (and the hairs of anyone around her),  and a moment later she was right way up and on her feet.

“To me, quickly,” she said to those demons who had been grooming her earlier. Then to the rest she said, “Come closer, stay safe.” She curled her tail and neck around all who came, protecting them like hatchlings, even covering them with her wings.

“Blind one, come here an I’ll protect you,” she called out to Arielle. Just then a wolf ran under her chin, zipping past through the firelight. Then another, and another. Igni swatted at them like a cat at a mote of light, but just like the cat, she caught nothing.

Igni wasn’t afraid for herself. Her hide was covered in long, dense fur. Spears, arrows and swords could pierce her hide but a wolf’s mouth was too short.

She ducked her head beneath her wing again, checking on those sheltering within. There wasn’t really much space, for most of the space was taken up by her black-furred stomach. But there was enough to keep them safe, for the moment.

Then pain shot up her wing. Instinctively she flapped, sending the wolf that had been biting her wing fingers sailing over the canopy, into the darkness. The wind from her wings kicked up sticks and leaves and blew them across the campfire, spreading sparks and burning logs tumbling away to start their own little fires nearby.

“Woops.” To those under her wings she said, “Quick, on my back,” and started assisting them, pushing them up with her whiskered snout.

“Anyone else want a lift?” she said among the howling and humanoid battle cries.

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Eli gathered his weapons as Rohini spoke, listening intently. The man had a voice. In his words was a weight that strove to pull at Eli's strings. If the setting was different, Eli would likely have wept, captured by the song and dance of a man who had the moon's favor. He knew Mads was usually closed off to this kind of thing. Indeed, it was definitely strange, but they'd lived in strange for quite a while now. Glancing at Mads, he shrugged.

"I've never known the moon to be anything but distant," Merindas rumbled after some time. The golem's voice was deep, resembling the sound of stone against stone. He stared at the dancer, expressionless. "I wonder if I could manage it - I wonder if I could become graceful enough to talk to her. The moon."

They looked at their friend somberly, the sadness plain on their faces. Eli couldn't imagine it. They'd all lost something to the guild but Merindas...he'd certainly lost the most. Rohini's transformation would obviously spark an interest in the golem. Hope was dangerous, however. 

Thankfully, Briar chose this moment to speak up. Eli turned to face and blinked in surprise as an apple soared toward his face. He snatched it out of the air and studied it before tossing it in the air and catching it like a ball. Mads laughed as she caught hers. 

"I'm sorry, Briar," she said with a sigh, "but we can't." 

"There'll be a fight soon," Eli said matter-of-factly, "can't you smell it?"

"No time for rest," Merindas declared, slowly rising. "These two are useless with food in their system. And the wolves are almost here."

Eli caught the apple once again and looked at Mads, nodding. She took off immediately, body low as she sprinted into the foliage with her knives in hand. She was well suited for fights in the dark. Nothing like night vision, but more like instinct. "Merindas, follow her and find the regent. Skarcharm is our priority, and don't you two forget it. Protect him."

The golem stomped off, leaving the clearing. Wolves would be quite poorly matched against the stone construct, but Merindas would have trouble seeing in the moonlight. 

Have faith. Mads will keep him centered. 

A timberwolf tore through the tree line. Eli whirled around, eyes wide as the large beast howled a bloodcurdling song. It approached him with its hackles raised, saliva dripping from its bared teeth. It snarled. Eli cursed. He let loose the only thing in his hand with a shout.

It was a crimson bullet, streaking across the space between them to crash against the wolf's snout. The apple exploded upon impact and left the wolf disoriented, stumbling to the side. Capitalizing on this, Eli lunged forward and unsheathed his blades. They cut swiftly, one elven, the other human. Both plunged into the wolf's head and emerged bloody. The trees rustled and Eli looked up to see a dozen more arriving as he let their friend's body slump to the side. 

Behind him, more wolves. A different pack? They had different markings, and certainly regarded each other with malice. Two howls from opposing sides. A convergence on our firelight. Got it. He licked his lips, skin buzzing with excitement. Igni's wind sent dust and sparks into the air. It obscured his vision, but he made do, squinting. Waiting. He wouldn't be the first to move in this stand off. 

"I'm keeping close to the fire," he told Briar as he slowly turned to check his back. Igni was offering herself as a rally point, but Eli, Briar, and Rohini were the only ones near the campfire now. The wolves were advancing on either side, pinching them in. Suddenly, one made eye contact with him. His breath caught.

Another howled sounded, and then it began. Two sides pushing forward with the camp in the center. 

Two wolves on him first. He kicked one with everything he had, sending it flying back into a tree. It yelped and fell silent. Still, the kick had him put off balance. The second wolf rammed him fiercely soon after, sending them both into the ground. Eli swore loudly as he hit the ground, then louder when he felt a sharp pain radiate from his forearm. The damn thing had sunk its teeth in. He dropped his blades and grabbed the beast by the back of its nape, squeezing tightly through the fur. It glared at him with gleaming eyes. He squeezed tighter, inhuman strength aiding his grip. The wolf's jaw loosened as Eli crushed its neck. He pushed it to the side and hesitated, knowing that the other wolves had left him on the ground thinking he was done. Around him, they fought demon and wolf alike. Clashes of fur and claws and teeth and blade made for a morbid song, indeed. He needed to get back into the fight. 

He grabbed his swords from the ground and leapt to his feet, swinging wildly. He slashed a wolf on its back, staggering it in the direction of his second sword which sank into its flank eagerly. The wolf fell. He moved on, keeping close to the fire. He didn't have night vision. He didn't have Mads' instinct. If he lost the light, he'd be screwed. 

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YANTpUd.pngAreille laughed in response to his rapid questioning. The small circle of people who all had a hand in raising her knew of her blindness but did not treat her like some delicate doll that needed to be locked away where no one else could see her. Her parents took their jobs seriously; Areille was taught to do everything a child would do, like play, read, write, sing, dance, and all those other things children do. In truth, the only difference was she had to do the same things differently.

As an heir to the throne, she was also crafted into a leader. It was easy to fool the men and women in the political pool, circling her with blood-lust. They mistook her blindness as a weakness, something they have tried again and again to exploit.

"I am blind, Skacharm." Letting his hand go, she turned to face him. "I've no idea what color your hair is, and even if you told me I wouldn't have a clue. I don't know what your eyes look like, and I'm ignorant of how your smile or frown shapes your face."

She would like to know about colors and shapes and so forth. "I just know the outline, you see." She took a bold step forward and reached up, so her fingers swept up the edge of his tapered ear. Not knowing their height difference off the bat, the woman had to suddenly stand on the tip of her toes to satisfy her curiosity. "Hm, your ears aren't as pointed." Her disappointment palpable, the woman steps away from Skacharm before continuing her previous explanation.

"I know your scent, I can recognize your cadence, and if I concentrate hard enough, I can hear the rhythm of your heart. I'm blind, that's for certain, but I'm not completely inept." Pressing the palm of her hand against his chest, her fingers spread across the curve of his frame. "I can hear your breathing. I may not know how you look, Skacharm; I do know you in other ways."

Their conversation would be interrupted, no matter how she wishes to maneuver away from the outside world. The howls of wolves and the slashing of beasties can't go unheard, not when there are many lives at risk. Skacharm has brought them here, promising them riches. Thus it is his duty to fight alongside his crew. Of course, Areille will be there at his side - there is no battle too big or too small to keep her away.

"We should get out of here, Skacharm. I don't think our party is in the safest hands right now, with you gone."


uUs4xwD.png"Distant, like any good mother ought to be - I assume." Rohini acknowledged the golem with a delicate smirk painted across his lips. "She guides us gently and allows us to carve our way out of the lighted path she's provided. She is always there, watching and listening to us."

The growing howls flowing through their camp did not turn the man away from the ever-increasing conversation. He can talk for days about the moon and her wonders. "Talk to her every night, even when she is hidden. She is listening to you, no matter how graceful or graceless you may be." He spoke with keen certainty; he would not offer his company false hope, knowing well enough how painful it is when such a thing runs dry.

The fight was on! Everyone took to their stations and began to protect their little camping spot from the nasty wolfies looking for a bite. This entire situation is a mess, with everyone going off on their own, doing what they thought was best within their little group - a mess. They needed someone to bring it all back in, but that person was off somewhere in the trees with Areille. Rohini was undoubtedly not going to put himself in a position of leadership.

Exhaling, small plumes of smoke escape his lips as the attacks begin. His blade manifests in his right hand, just in time for him to slash at an over-exuberant wolf aiming directly for his legs. The sword glowed a bright green, and it looked almost ghoulish, which would make sense as it's an item made by Rohini's magic. Though the chaos of this battle is not ideal, it is a comfortable rhythm for him. Being near so much hostility gave him a sense of clarity.

He was able to deflect most of the incoming beasts, only accumulating a few owwies here and there. One brave wolf was able to get a taste, taking a small bite out of Rohini's thigh before the wolf met its demise. Their strength was admirable; he would give them that. So far, Igni was chewed on, and Eli had just gotten back on his feet to continue the fight; he wonders how the rest are doing. Not wanting to think too long it, he moves closer to Eli and instructs him to stay close.

"How badly are you hurt?"

The defensiveness of his magic grew when he saw the other man injured. It would do them no good to lose such a person, not that he thinks Eli is so weak he'll die at any moment, but injuries are always a cause for concern. When the question was asked, a wolf snarled at the pair and began to sneak closer, hackles raised and teeth bared in defense. Rohini stomped the ground, daring the beast to move forward while putting himself between it and Eli.

"You watch my back, and I'll keep the fire going - sound good, yah?" The wolf lurched forward and was smacked by a barrier created by Rohini's previous stomp. The barrier threw the wolf back feet away from them and those still around the camp. It would land in pieces, the strength of Rohini's magic shredding it to pieces.

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Skacharm feels Areille's fingers touching the tips of his ears and his cheeks flush with embarrassment. She sounded as if she were disappointed in the smallness of his ears, and he had to choke down an embarrassed laugh. He'd always took teasing over the smallness of his pointed ears as he was growing up. Now here he was a full grown elf, and this little miss was disappointed in them too.

Her hands slid down to his chest and he was very aware of the fact that they were alone in the woods. The feel of her tiny palm on his heart made it beat quicker, and on reflex his hands came up to encircle her tiny wrists. He didn't know what he was going to do, keep her hands closer or pull them away. He didn't have the chance to find out. The howls of the wolves set a feeling of alarm in his body. He stiffened.  

On 6/29/2020 at 9:44 PM, Aleksei said:

"We should get out of here, Skacharm. I don't think our party is in the safest hands right now, with you gone."

"Can you follow?" he asked, as he turned quickly to the camp.  If she were in agreement, he would quickly make his way to camp.  Fearing she was going to have troubles making her way, he would stop to check on her from time to time.  She was surprisingly adept at finding her way through the tricky foliage of the woods.  Still, he felt that they were running through thick mud, because he could hear the screams and growls coming from the campsite.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

By the time Malia made it to the camp the chaos was already underway.  She took in the scene for a second or two, and could see that the campers were holding their own.  There were some trained warriors in this bunch and they knew how to kill.  The wolves were skilled too, and natural born killers.  It was a good thing they were more focused on the other wolf pack then they were on the campers.  

One of the wolves had been attacked by a camper that used the only weapon they had at their disposal, it was a long piece of wood with the end burning on fire from the camp fire.  The wolf's fur had caught aflame for a minute, and the wolf was maddened by the pain of the burns.  He wildly screeched and growled, swirling around as if chasing after his tail.  In the corner of the clearing stood a young male demon.  He barely had his horns growing in.  He was the youngest person that Malia saw in the camp, the most vulnerable.  The wolf locked his crazy eyes on the young male, and roared as he charged.  

Malia swept in from the side, her dagger pulled from its sheath.  She quickly swiped the side of the neck of the wolf, cutting through the carotid artery.  The wolf did not feel it, and he was still charging.  She ran beside him and stabbed her knife into the side of his stomach.  It caught on his hip so he was kept from running for a moment.  He turned to look at her, pain and crazed rage in his eyes.  His muzzle curled up in a snarl.  His steps slowed though as his life's blood spilled out into the ground.  Another second and they faltered as he fell.  His labored breathing soon stopped.  Malia looked up to see the young male demon, still frozen in place.  Shock was on his face as he stared at the wolf.  It was the look you get when you realize how close you were to death.  Malia had no time to comfort him, nor did she want to. The fight was on, and she was needed.  

She made her way into the fray, screeching her own banshee song.  Her dagger slashed all the right areas to kill, and she moved with skill to keep herself from getting bit or tackled to the ground.  She had been taught well.  It wasn't often she got to use her skills in the other dimension.  If she were caught she would be killed there.  Things were wilder here, but with its own feel of innocence.  She felt justified in killing the wolves, wanting to protect ......... she'd almost forgotten she was here to protect Skacharm.  The bloodlust of the moment had taken most things from her mind but survival.  

There were other warriors fighting the wolves around her.  There was a dragon with some demons on her back about to fly away and blowing up dust and making the campfire bigger.  Action was taking place everywhere, and no one asked her who she was and where she came from.  Why would they?  To them she was another member of this large party, fighting off the terror that had entered the camp.  

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Skacharm came to the edge of the camp, and standing there were two figures he recognized.  It was Mads and Merindas.  He nodded to them, and made his way into camp, seeing the destruction, blood, and battle.  He closed his eyes for a moment, and used his energies to pull power from the surrounding forest.  Once he felt he had enough, he spoke an ancient language and his words were so loud they could be heard from miles away.  The power his words unleased blew the wolves back.  It knocked a couple of people back too, but not with nearly the same violence.  The wolves let out a high pitched yip as if they had been badly hurt.  They began to run from the camp, and when the majority started to leave the rest followed suit.  

He looked over the camp, trying to see the damage that was done and all that were hurt.  There were a few bodies on the ground.  Those that had been overwhelmed by the wolves.  A funeral service would have to be held to respect those that sacrificed their lives.  The camp was tore to shreds, blankets and tents destroyed.  There were also many wounded, already doing what they could to stop the bleeding.  And then he saw something that shocked him to his very core.

Standing in the middle of the camp, blood covering her from head to toe, strange clothes and tangled dirty hair, stood Malia.  Her face looked as wild as the beasts that had just ran away.  She was panting heavily, a dagger held tightly in one hand.  She looked toward Skacharm, and he didn't know what was going on in her mind.  That had never happened to him before with her in the past.  Her face used to be so easy to read it was scary.  Now he read nothing, and the demon had been right.  She had a maturity about her that the young queen never had before.  How could she have changed so much in the last two years?  Was this really her?

"Malia?" he asked hesitantly.  

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Pouring forth from both sides, the trickle of wolves had become a wave. Open jaws lined with razor teeth, ripping claws, and glowing, savage eyes were everywhere now, running through the camp like arteries through a body. In the darkness of the encroaching night they had transformed from simple animals to bloodthirsty monsters. But this was not the worst of it. Rysorian’s eyes swept through the battlefield, and saw what would spell the doom of many a human, demon, or whatever race that had joined this foolhardy quest.

The two packs had begun to cooperate. Whatever war for territory and prey they were at, was forestalled as they came to an unspoken treaty in order to kill the strange humans, demons, and others that had disturbed their grounds. Two wolves with different markings amongst their shaggy fur broke apart and charged one unlucky girl.

Sashara was sixteen, training to be a warrior of skill and valor for only a few months. She had been working among the demons in their farms, hoping to learn their ways and culture to enrich her personal experience, when Skacharm came. His handsome appearance and natural charisma lured her on the search for the queen. She was sure she could be of help; she could cook, she could track, and she could fight.

Now her bravery and wildly swinging sword proved of no use against the two monsters who fell on her. The warrior was turned into prey and screaming victim as the wolves snapped and claws at her, tearing away bits of armor to expose her young body. Their teeth latched onto her flesh and tore it away, devouring her even before she died.

Rysorian threw down his knives. As the blades buried themselves in the earth, he charged the wolves. They looked up and snarled. Was he suicidal, another victim, a willing victim?

One might blink, perhaps look to the wolves then back again. It was hard to tell. But suddenly in place of him there was a beast, a massive streak of silver fur and black spots, large even for his species – a jaguar at its prime perhaps – throwing itself at the wolves, now made woefully small in comparison.

One wolf was knocked aside by a wicked paw lined with shining claws. The other wolf was pinned beneath the weight of the new foe.

One vicious bite was all it took, tearing away the wolves throat.

The giant snow leopard straightened and screamed at the wolves, many of whom were already staggered by Skacharm’s magical shout. The wolves began to run, and Rysorian chased away the few stragglers until finally all of them had been routed and were fleeing.

One blink and Rysorian returned to human form. He yanked his knives from the ground, still snarling to himself.

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