Jump to content
Noko

[Dead] The Jungle Abides

Recommended Posts

It was odd, visiting the Grim Reaper in silence-- no screams, no pleads, no hair-raising crunching as the spider's carapace clicked, and ground, and carried it skittering backward as it dragged Riha like a downed kite being thrashed by the wind.

Her nails left long, ragged gouges in the soil as she open-mouthed screamed, but the noise disappeared into the void.

The arachnid recoiled, reeling Riha in rapidly as its hind lifted and two of its legs gripped the web it had repelled down on and began to climb back up it into the shadowy comfort above.  It would have her up there; wrap her up in its damp, sticky web, screaming until the last loops of moist, stringy silk wrapped over her mouth and finally silenced her.  

It could hear her just fine, after all, and it much rathered the silence.

But Aiden the Mercenary (gods, why was there always a mercenary) had other plans- he ran, and the Forest laughed.  

It wouldn't be enough.

He considered violence, and it welcomed him.

But then he looked; he used his brain, and calculated his risk, and threw the dagger with such precise savagery that the Forest sneered.  The knife parted the air and the silk with ease, hastening the spider's flight back up into the treetops and nicking its leg after freeing Riha.  The room-size creature floated up into the trees with ease- its midnight black shell was quickly subsumed by the shadow, and the grasping limbs, and before there was much of a chance to track it, the beast was simply gone.

It was not, of course, gone, but it was out of sight.

In the background, the world was quiet as Shikai set knife to flesh and cleaved through his own limb.  As he did, the flesh parted in wet slabs, spilling pools of blood out to seep into the ground and feed the Forest for years to come.  Along with the blood, spiders-- thousands, upon thousands, of tiny skittering legs and bodies so light that they skated across the earth and blood with equal ease.  Like an army, they rolled and flowed as one over the dirt and rocks, across the path, over rocks and boots, and bodies, in all directions toward the shadows and the nowhere places, where they could be safe and grow large like their Mother.

His agony had no audience, for the Forest swallowed it whole.

Safe, or at least no longer in peril of being hung for a dinner snack, Riha and Aiden came together of their own accord- driven by their own needs, wants, or simple acquiescence, and in their own time, the man allowed himself to be directed as Riha eventually turned her attention to the loose tendril, a gossamer, cast-aside ribbon of magic, unique in its counterflow, that leads perpendicular through a defined, but passable, fence of hair-thin webbing which had almost forcibly directed them along their previous path.  Passing through the boundary was as pleasant as one might think, sticky and lingering, and the Forest clawed and bit with anger at their newly-chosen path, but Riha and Aiden, and those that followed them, were eventually rewarded with a corpse.

The broken body of a small humanoid lay discarded on the dirt, legs and arms akimbo, and its neck snapped back over the small, spider-eye sized rock it had landed on.  Maybe that killed him; maybe it was the bone-handled knife driven into its throat, or the spider, for he was wrapped up to his mid-torso in the same silk that promised to make a meal out of Riha.

Zashii:

It would be nice, if precog worked as if could be summoned-- if it was a thing always was useful, and always on time, and never, ever, waited until you were almost killed by some horror that could have been easily avoided had you just seen it ahead of time.

It would be nice.

And maybe it did, usually, but something in Corum had broken it.

Regardless, it came in a flash now-- more or less a dozen of those small humanoids, with gaping black mouths and voids for eyes, dancing on strings as violins rained from the sky, their horse-hair bows like spears as they impaled flesh and broken bone.  The mercenary, took one in the gut and lay pinned and screaming like a insect specimen, his guts spilled like an overstuffed bird; Shikai, all in pieces, each limb bound in silk, drawn and quartered, and divvied up for the puppets, while the black bows found your eyes, both eyes, and the blackness that was seen as your future-sight faded was without end.

Edited by Noko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Dead Mistress frowned as the group marched in line. While she understood the need for haste, she could not help herself worry for Shikai and Riha. The troubled lady was torn between two choices- fall back to treat the wounded or press forward to accomplish their given task. Quite the dilemma but she already knew what the right choice was. All that was left was for her to steel her resolve and do what must be done.

The lack of hearing was disconcerting but not a problem for one such as the Dead Mistress. Her body had survived worse and if thing come to worse, then there was always the sword hidden beneath her coat. The final contingency plan. However, it was too early to bring it out. That and there was no assurance the blade would actually work in this realm. Still, the energy seeping out of it gave her comfort.

"Strange," she murmurred as she noticed the creatures skittering around the group. They remindned her of those eight limbed arachnids but uglier and creepier. "I've had enough spiders on my time. Perhaps these ones are endemic to this region. They clearly feel at home here. Ahhh! I can't wait to bring one home."

It seems that the land itself was slowly affecting her mental state despited her defenses. Any observer would easily notice the increase in her monologue as her mouth keeps on moving on its own accord. Or perhaps she's just used talking to herself. Anyway-

"Riha?"

The word felt awkward and raw out of her own mouth especially when she could not even hear herself. She turned then and sure enough her instincts were right, Riha was no longer her proper position, she was being dragged by something else. Without a thought, she was already moving to grab Riha before she becomes lost to them..forever.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/6/2021 at 3:32 PM, Noko said:

Safe, or at least no longer in peril of being hung for a dinner snack, Riha and Aiden came together of their own accord- driven by their own needs, wants, or simple acquiescence, and in their own time, the man allowed himself to be directed as Riha eventually turned her attention to the loose tendril, a gossamer, cast-aside ribbon of magic, unique in its counterflow, that leads perpendicular through a defined, but passable, fence of hair-thin webbing which had almost forcibly directed them along their previous path.  Passing through the boundary was as pleasant as one might think, sticky and lingering, and the Forest clawed and bit with anger at their newly-chosen path, but Riha and Aiden, and those that followed them, were eventually rewarded with a corpse.

The broken body of a small humanoid lay discarded on the dirt, legs and arms akimbo, and its neck snapped back over the small, spider-eye sized rock it had landed on.  Maybe that killed him; maybe it was the bone-handled knife driven into its throat, or the spider, for he was wrapped up to his mid-torso in the same silk that promised to make a meal out of Riha.

Aiden gained a temporary backpack, while she likely weighed no more than his metal armor and weapon when fully equip, she perched there. Arms wrapped like a vice about his neck and thighs clasping round his waist in a grip that wasn’t about to let go. Unfortunately, being of a taller height and having to work them out of the ..... sticky situation they were found in, she looked worse for the wear. Pale and shaken, covered head to toe in sticky webs and a little tail remained where the initial spider stuck her with its web. 

She knew she looked insane, tugging on the brute’s ears to direct him where to go, but it paid off when they reached what lay on the other end. The humanoid they came upon shared the fate Riha might have met had Aiden not acted quickly. In a rare show of affection, she patted his head with no little amount of gratitude, seeing for a moment her own face staring blankly at the sky thus. Most would try and examine the body, study it for clues to discover just what happened, Riha decided she’d simply talk to him and find out what happened. 

So she scrambled down from her ‘safe’ perch, finally relinquishing that white knuckled grip around Aiden’s neck and waist. She crouched down over the body and gently touched his forehead with a forefinger. A little flash of light freed the soul from the body and she stood as it rose to standing, choosing to take the loose form of the body it just lost. Common for they newly departed to do since they were still so attached to their physical forms. 

To those around her, it simply looked like she was poking at the dead spider snack. As she stood with the spirit, it became abundantly clear she was talking to something, but what that something was.... well it could very well be something only she saw, or more chillingly she could actually talk to the dead. She stood there for long moments, simply making facial expressions as if she were speaking without her mouth moving. 

 

Spoiler

“What happened here?” Riha asked simply, brow furrowing with concern. 

‘It caught me....” The other’s voice met her ears, it was a welcome sound, “I wasn’t fast enough.”

The two studied each other for a long moment, the spirit looked confused and skeptical of her. 

“‘Did it catch you to?” He asked a little regretfully. 

“Those damn spiders?” Riha clarified, then shook her head to answer his question, “No, luckily enough that big dumb looking one kept me out of harms way. So I am not dead..... yet.” 

“Yeah....the spiders.” He shook his head in disappointment over his own demise, “That’s good you aren’t...its the worst kind of dead I can imagine. All.....” 

He began to hold his limbs out and move them as if he were a marionette. 

“Oh, I can imagine it.” Riha added dryly. 

“I was hoping I could save them somehow, but.....” His voice trailed off, it was laced with deep regret and sorrow, then his tone suddenly changed, became urgent, “You should all really leave, you’re out of balance, you’ve got the Lyrei on you and you are walking right into the worst of it.” 

“Why would you want to save those things?” She shuddered rather violently, “Lyrei? What is that?! What do you mean we are walking into the worst of it?“

She didn’t mean to rapid fire questions at him, but her mind both imploded and exploded at the same time with the information she gleaned. 

“No - not the spiders! My brothers! They all went up the mountain to fix the aqueducts, but the spiders picked them all off... The other Vati....” His voice sounded very confused as to why she had no clue what he was talking about, “They don’t really like visitors, you throw the island off.

Haven't you noticed you’re in a tunnel? All the webbing on your sides?’ He chuckled at her the way a father would at a child being silly, “In about 100 feet you’re going to fall right in with my brothers.”

“Shit.” Riha plucked a stray web that was beginning to trail into her face out of her hair, “This is what happens when your brains replaces his leg with his arm and the other murders plants..... I - I cannot thank you enough for this. If you are amenable - we could make a deal of sorts. I know how to release you and your brothers from being all -“ 

She mimicked his earlier movements of being a marionette for a moment, fully knowing her onlookers likely thought her completely cracked. 

“Do you?!” The soul’s spirit radiated disbelief, happiness and gratitude all at the same time, “Sure! I don’t know what I can do from here. If I were alive I could fix your speaking problem, but whatever I can do to help my brothers from being those things puppets....” 

Riha tapped her bottom lip with her finger, realizing it was a mistake when the sticky webs and sap from tress left a terrible taste on it. Just how could she assist him in assisting them? If it was a body he needed....

”Alright. I think I have a solution.” She said slowly, hoping she wasn’t making a terrible mistake, “I can - allow you to share my body for a time. Temporarily mind you! If I did, could you borrow my magic and body to lift it?”

”I can try?” The spirit was willing to attempt it, “If you save them - my brothers - will you tell them that I came out for them? I was here....” 

“I can simply bring you to them.” Riha laughed softly, knowing full well allowing them to reunite would help release him, “Why not tell them yourself? I’ll free all of you together.” 

“How? I’m dead...aren’t I? I just couldn’t...they, it’s....they need warmth for....”

”I’ll just carry you” She tapped at her chest with a finger, “I’ve done it before, it’s uncomfortable, but you don’t have to stay near your body. Besides, I need you to tell me where to go so I don’t meet the same fate I am to find your brothers....”

She paused, thinking of those broken aqueducts, didn’t he say they were up on the mountain? They needed to get up that mountain....maybe she could gain something else out of this after all.

”Will those aqueducts, the broken ones, cause problems for others?” She asked, concerned. 

“Yes, the city is dying. There is no water, its been weeks....” He answered.

”If you and your brothers can get us up the mountain, we could see what is wrong. I’m sure brawn for brains might be able to do something if it is simple....If not....I’ll find a way to alert the city perhaps?” She offered.

”We’re not like the Lyrei - I’m sure they would keep with the Syrnei, and the damn spiders if they could. It’s a deal - whatever I can do.” He answered.

That was all she needed to hear, permission was permission. And she never allowed possession without dual consent from both parties. 

“Deal.” She smiled, reaching out her hand to him.

Surprised and confused, he took it - shocked to find that he did not simply pass through her form, but was met with warmth and firmness. 

 

Riha’s hand reached forward as if she were shaking hands, it clasped around something very real and very invisible. The second she made contact, the woman’s head snapped backwards and she let out a silent scream as she fought to curl inwards on herself. When she explained it was unpleasant, she didn’t mention it was physically painful to make room for the living to host two souls. His memories became hers, his life, his death, those who loved him and those whose he loved. But just as much as she examined his life, he could hers. It wasn’t easy being two people in one vessel. Clashing personalities, thoughts, wants and needs. Riha had to hold on to hers and protect the integrity of his. 

Once the struggle was over, she shakily wiped away the sweat the beaded on her brow and took a deep breath in, then she began to sing. At first it was silent, then its sound reached the ears of her companions. The muffled nature of their party removed like noise dampening earphones ripped away from their heads and the double vocal sound of her song wove around them. The words came out foreign, sounds Riha’s tongue wouldn’t even be able to form without having grown up with the language. Yet it still flowed from her mouth, in her lovely gravely voice. It countered the webs and threads they were tangled with and snapped marionette strings that were beginning to attach. 

“Mín were walking into a nú, im found ammen a guide na get or- i orod plual ered.” The sound actually reached her companions ears. 

They paused, Riha and the spirit, what she said didn’t sound right. They searched for the correct words, the correct language, it was buried deep within their memories. 

“We were walking into a trap, I found us a guide to get up the mountain.” They said together, that sounded better. 

 

Edited by DarkHorse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The repair was less than ideal.

For one thing, a persons legs are obviously longer than there arms, and possess much more muscle mass. If the infestation had progressed any further up his leg, his severed arm would not have been able to reach the ground when he stood up. Lack of muscle mass also meant that his agility would take a hit. Thanks to his training he would still be able to run at a decent speed, but he wouldn't be performing any acrobatics for the time being. He would have to fight more conservatively for the remainder of the mission; having effectively lost the ability to dodge. All in all, it was a suboptimal fix, but it was all he could do at the moment. 

By the time he caught up with his companions, Aiden had managed to recover Riha, who seemed to be crouching over a body with a thoughtful look on her face. Remembering that she possessed some manner of psychic ability, he guessed that she was using her abilities to gain some kind of insight. Moving to stand beside Aiden, he glanced over at the corpse. It was already undergoing the process of decomposition, but still looked usable. When Riha announced they had a guide, he figured there was no harm in asking.

"Do you think he would mind if I took a few parts? It's not like he's using them anymore."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 2/7/2021 at 7:48 AM, DarkHorse said:

So she scrambled down from her ‘safe’ perch, finally relinquishing that white knuckled grip around Aiden’s neck and waist. She crouched down over the body and gently touched his forehead with a forefinger. A little flash of light freed the soul from the body and she stood as it rose to standing, choosing to take the loose form of the body it just lost. Common for they newly departed to do since they were still so attached to their physical forms. 

To those around her, it simply looked like she was poking at the dead spider snack. As she stood with the spirit, it became abundantly clear she was talking to something, but what that something was.... well it could very well be something only she saw, or more chillingly she could actually talk to the dead. She stood there for long moments, simply making facial expressions as if she were speaking without her mouth moving. 

I can not believe that worked, Aidan thought to himself as he fled the mega-spider. It was of course slow going as he had a young woman grabbing him around his neck, with her legs wrapped around him, and the straps of his pack pressed so tight that they were cutting into him. Some guys actually pay for this kind of thing, he grinned with success as he came across the others. He supposed that if they were going to get lucky just once on this mission, luck when it mattered most, was most welcome. Aidan thought it was a bit weird when Riha started examining a corpse that clearly was not on the receiving end of fates blessing with the natives. She had needed to escape death on more than one occasion already, and Aidan had gotten the sense that there was something more to her that he was just not seeing. Thinking of this, he let her be and left her alone aside from pulling out the spare dagger from his pack, and handing it over.

Shikai on the other hand, seemed to be missing a few things. Hobbling around with his arm stitched on his knee to make a functioning leg ... it was gruesome. Aidan had seen and even received some fairly horrid injuries in battle before, but he had never seen anything this. For once, he was truly rendered speechless,  other than staring in awe of what must be an unmatched pain tolerance.

On 2/12/2021 at 3:10 AM, danzilla3 said:

Moving to stand beside Aiden, he glanced over at the corpse. It was already undergoing the process of decomposition, but still looked usable. When Riha announced they had a guide, he figured there was no harm in asking.

"Do you think he would mind if I took a few parts? It's not like he's using them anymore."

Aidan couldn't do anything more than try not to stare at him and hold out the last of his whiskey.  

"I'd think it's probably fine" he managed to stammer out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Do you think he would mind if I took a few parts? It's not like he's using them anymore."

"I'd think it's probably fine

This conversion was not happening, right? Right?! They looked between the two men as if they’d lost their damn minds. The shinobi had somehow managed to replace his leg with an arm, had Riha not been sharing a mind, she would have vomited yet again. Her other half kept her from doing so and they held steadfast in that aspect at least. 

Rage, indignant horrified rage filled them. How could those....those intruders think it ok to do such a thing!? How could their body be returned home honorably if they were missing parts! As if it was some old discarded object used for spares! They would never rest in the halls of their fathers if they were missing a leg, an arm or even worse....their head. To think they’d be carted around on someone’s person for....spares! 

“Mana i fuck na- raica as tye? -o nút- tye cannot yuht- mime hrondo an spare parts! Mana care- tye osán- ni am? Some sort -o yer- useless piece -o trash? Ni aught ana rip your other telqui au- ar keep i ‘faila -esse case’ ni maure!” Riha’s mouth spoke, but it clearly wasn’t her. 

Spoiler

“What the fuck is wrong with you? Of course you cannot use my body for spare parts! What do you think I am? Some sort of old useless piece of trash? I aught to rip your other leg off and keep that ‘just in case’ I need it!“

They closed their eyes a moment, the words sounded right, but very obviously were wrong....these people didn’t understand their dialect. They were also....friends? How could they both be friendly and harmful all at the same time? It took them a long few moments to clarify just where they stood on this matter. No - the body could not be used in that manner, and no they could not rip off the other leg in a rage as revenge for even thinking it. 

“No you may not. It violates our laws..... we - no - I have made a deal with him...” They pointed to dead body, “and we have a plan to get us up the mountain. But first, you have to fulfill our end of the bargain and if we do it right, not only will we have a guide, but we might have help getting up the mountains.” 

It was then that they outlined the problem, relayed to them about the dead mans entrapped comrades and the request to help them, the aqueducts that were not functioning properly up on top of the mountain, the deal that could get them to where they wanted to be.....They even told the comrades about the curse silencing them and how they helped lift it so they could talk. Now all that was left was to wait and see what they others thought of the plan. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shikai may not have understood the words that were coming out of the psychics mouth; but righteous indignation was a sentiment that transcended language barriers, and he guessed the specter had not been receptive to his request. Frankly, it seemed a bit selfish to him. After all, it wasn't like the unfortunate soul could take his flesh with him to the next life. Why not let someone else get some use out of it if he could no longer do anything with it? In different circumstances the shinobi might have scavenged the corpse anyway, but he had seen the way Riha had reacted when something in the jungle got pissed off. He wouldn't intentionally do anything to cause her that kind of pain.

"Alright, alright, I didn't mean anything by it," he held up his remaining hand in a placating gesture, "So what's this bargain?"

It sounded simple enough. Rescue the dead mans friends, and they would help the group to get to the top of the mountain; standard quid-pro-quo. At the very least, it seemed like a better idea than wandering through the jungle blindly, hoping to stumble upon the solution to their problems.

"Sounds good to me," he nodded, "Though if I find any other bodies that don't belong to your pals, I am going to strip them for parts. Non-negotiable. This patch job is less than ideal."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aidan started sipping more water as the others tried to figure their shit out. It was hot as hell in this place before I started running around he thought to himself, barely resisting the urge to openly start panting like a dog.

On 2/22/2021 at 11:33 AM, DarkHorse said:

“Mana i fuck na- raica as tye? -o nút- tye cannot yuht- mime hrondo an spare parts! Mana care- tye osán- ni am? Some sort -o yer- useless piece -o trash? Ni aught ana rip your other telqui au- ar keep i ‘faila -esse case’ ni maure!” Riha’s mouth spoke, but it clearly wasn’t her. 

“No you may not. It violates our laws..... we - no - I have made a deal with him...” They pointed to dead body, “and we have a plan to get us up the mountain. But first, you have to fulfill our end of the bargain and if we do it right, not only will we have a guide, but we might have help getting up the mountains.” 

The girl started speaking in odd tongues, some sort of gibberish that he did not understand. She's clearly pissed at the suggestion - that much he did not need any help translating. A guide they could use though he wasn't sure how much help a corpse would help. Maybe from studying it, she figured out where they needed to go? Aidan for one welcomed that thought. This whole expedition was a shit show from the start, and any help they could enjoy to make it smoother would be much appreciated.

17 hours ago, danzilla3 said:

"Sounds good to me," he nodded, "Though if I find any other bodies that don't belong to your pals, I am going to strip them for parts. Non-negotiable. This patch job is less than ideal."

Aidan shrugged his shoulders at the ... whatever he was. 

"Or not, I don't care." Wasn't his body parts that needed fixing after all. He looked at the group now that they all had a moment to catch their breathe,

"Well. I'm ready when you are. If we have someone who figured out where we are going, I don't mind bringing up the rear".

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Dead struggle.

Caught unprepared by the island's seeming sentience and the Vati's wicked predicament, they claw and scrape their way up the mountain.  On the way, they battle through the spiders, but fail to free the infected villagers.  That failure costs them in the way of lost knowledge and ungained advantage, as half their number remain cursed by their own disharmony. 

At the top of the mountain, they encounter the islands Syrni-- research would have prepared them, or conversation with the rescued villagers, but without that their battle is hard-fought and costly.  Alone among them, Riha emerges unscathed-- protected by the spirit she befriended, who remains grateful for her intervening on its and its brothers behalf, she provides the direction which eventually allows Shikai, Aidan, and The Dead Mistress the knowledge with which they defeat the lost and twisted Vati, but at a cost. 

They all take significant injuries, infections, toxic reactions or poisonings, which harry them for weeks.

They plant the totem of Alignak at the mountain's top-most peak.

On the way down, the spirit makes one last request of Riha to clear their blocked aquaducts. 

They do, or do not, and the way out is otherwise unremarkable.

OOC: Okay folks, there you go -- I figure you can take one last whack at this and we'll close it out.  See y'all on the flip side!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...