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  1. #161
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Eliona & Commander Filip Ryth

    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom...

    Eliona steps towards Nalia. She takes hold of Nalia's hand and holds it out between them with the palm up. Eliona's left hand holds Nalia's wrist, with a thumb on Nalia's pulse. Eliona rests the index and middle fingers of her right hand on the center of Nalia's palm.

    Nalia will recognize this. It's the test. The test Nalia has undergone several times in her life. The test for a link to the white light of life. Only a trained healer of the White Towers can successfully perform this.

    Eliona performs it with little effort.

    Unlike every other time Nalia has been tested, this test has an immediate result. The air around Nalia grows warm, like the sun in springtime. Immaterial shapes begin to glow around Nalia. They are organic lines flowing out from Nalia, much like branches grow out from a tree trunk. The portions of these branches that are closest to Nalia glow brightest. The ends of the branches appear to fade away into nothing. These branches represent Nalia's connection to life around her. Only a wielder of the light of life will have this connection.

    The branches are disorderly, tangled. Like a tree tied up into a knot by its own limbs. Nalia's connection is obviously in a state of chaos. Eliona looks around at the state of Nalia's power. There's a determined seriousness in Eliona now. The study and mastery of these forces is her calling, where she had once dedicated so much of herself.

    If Nalia had ever taken a life, these branches would still appear, but they would be dark and lifeless. This mystical construct would be a husk, existing only as a reminder of the lost connection to the light of life. Instead, Nalia's tree is bright, living, and still growing.

    "You know the responsibility that comes with this power," Eliona tells Nalia. "You may not have the training on how to properly use it, but you were taught why it must be used. You were taught by the best. And anyone that has this power, and knows why it must be used to help those in need, will not needlessly endanger a life.

    "I trust you. If you tell me the dark sorceress is genuinely helping, I will believe you."

    Ryth puts his forehead into his hand and groans. His hand runs down from his forehead and over his frustrated features, as if trying to wipe away the anger. Now he's the only one in the room that thinks killing the princess is a horrible idea. Typically, when he finds himself disagreeing with a whole room of trusted, or once trusted, friends, it's always been because he's wrong.

    Even if he is right, he's definitely not in a position to stop it.

    He slips his pistol into his side holster, bringing an end to any threat of violence. Ryth storms away from the others, muttering curses to himself. He kicks over a table that's cluttered with books before finally making his way to the corner of the room that's farthest from everyone else. It's just Ryth's luck, the whole world has gone insane and he's surrounded by people he can't punch, shoot, or strangle.

    Eliona releases Nalia's hand and wrist. The tree of light slowly fades away. She now focuses on the exhaustion in Nalia's features.

    "You shouldn't use the light until you've begun your training at the White Towers," Eliona sternly advises Nalia, as if she were a healer diagnosing a patient. "You're a wildling. Without training you'll only do harm to yourself, and possibly others. It's like trying to light a house by setting fire to the furniture, eventually you'll burn the whole house down. The trainers at the Towers will teach you how to craft lanterns to light that house.

    "Recently, I did something similar to what you've been doing to yourself. I used the light without first shaping it. That's fine in small doses, but I used too much at once."

    Eliona looks down at her hands, which are still wrapped in bandages.

    Across the room, Ryth glances at Eliona. Some of his anger melts away to reveal a moment of remorse. It's his fault that Eliona can't use her healing power now. If she could use the white light there might be another way to help Pasce. It doesn't seem fair to the soldier. He's an old man that has lived far longer than he should have, and has possibly outlived his usefulness. Pasce is just a kid. She should have her whole life ahead of her.

    Ryth looks away from the room once again. It's all too sickeningly unfair for him to look at any longer.

    "The light burned me," Eliona explains to Nalia. "I won't be able to help anyone until it heals. It has to heal on its own. Even the healing light of another would only make it worse."

    Eliona then nervously looks at Olivia. The necromancer appears to be in some sort of trance, holding her uninjured hand out at the mostly dead princess. Eliona isn't sure what's happening, but it feels wrong. Everything about Olivia and this ritual runs against every instinct Eliona has.

    Her attention gradually focuses on what's important: Pasce. Eliona's time avoiding the world, and celebrating every vice she could, has left her unaware of most of what's happening. However, even Eliona has heard the talk about the long missing princess. Now it seems that Pasce's absence is much, much worse than many have speculated.

    "Does she truly possess the ancestral spirits? Is that why she's been missing?"

  2. #162
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Alain LeCavalier

    The Ailes Bones: The Cross-Shaped Island...

    Alain is not surprised to discover that it does indeed hurt.

    Power always comes with a price.

    It surges up from the opened rod and through Alain. It's like a tidal wave of cosmic forces rolling through every cell in the man's body before it strikes his mind. It hits Alain's psyche with staggering force. The Nightmares clawing away inside of Alain are washed away by limitless energy.

    This power pauses in the man's mind, and lets his wishes reshape it. Most people would want to claim this power for themselves. Allow it to take root within their bodies and grant them some form of godhood. Alain is not like them. He has never sought out power. He has only ever tried to claim that which is needed to slay his enemies and protect his people. It is these fundamental qualities that reshapes the power before it can pour out from him.

    Alain's instincts turns the power into lightning that strikes out at the Nightmares.

    Alain now gazes out at the world around him. His eyes glow with scarlet and golden fire. Everything around him is chaos. Lightning. Thunder. The wind roaring like an apocalyptic beast of myth. Alain turns to look at the cause of that sound, the vortex. The wind is roaring as the opened vortex greedily devours anything and everything that its pull can latch onto and draw into the void.

    He hurts. The forces flowing through him and around him aren't meant for the hands of mortals. Fortunately, one of Alain's hands isn't mortal. Some exchange is taking place between this rod and Alain's stone hand. A communion. An understanding. The mystical limb is somehow negotiating a ceasefire between the man and infinite forces of the rod, saving Alain from its pull into the void. It's also saving him from the full brunt of the rod's power.

    Alain knows his good fortune won't last. He isn't like Nalia, he doesn't possess the natural ability to understand and master Totems. He has no intuition on how to permanently evade the wrath of this rod of power. Soon the forces he's unleashed will begin to burn him out. Soon the mysterious nature of his stone limb will fail and the vortex will claim him. Alain guesses he only has a few more minutes before this kills him, or exiles him to some otherworldly void.

    It's not entirely a void. There are stars. Stars Alain can read. They tell the man tales of cosmic gods, worlds of infinite power, universe shattering wars, and eons of adventures beyond mortal comprehension. He sees a young godling leading a rebellion. The boy is a selfish bastard that would break the world in half if it helped him to achieve his ambitions. Then eons pass and that godling, eternally young, fights against a starless night of horrors. By his side is a pale goddess shrouded in darkness and tragedy. Alain turns away from the stars, knowing that his mind just might be lost in the unending sagas they shine at him.

    Alain turns and seeks out Darmon. His red and gold eyes hunt for the undead fiend, and soon discovers Darmon lying on the ground and shouting with unfulfilled wrath. The vortex has not yet pulled Darmon into the void.

    Alain ponders the situation. Darmon needs to be exiled soon, or the power of this rod will end Alain and this entire strategy will have been for nothing. The pull of the vortex would be greater if it had more to take hold of. Darmon has only ever been a scrawny husk of a creature. However, his body is the doorway to a realm of infinite mass. Opening that door would give the vortex something to latch on to. Once it has a hold on the mass of the door, and the realm beyond the door, the vortex will never let go. It will drag that door, and the monster it's bonded to, into the void.

    Alain needs to force Darmon to open that door.

    ~You've lost, Darmon,~ Alain's telepathic voice lashes out. Even if he could be heard over the roar of the void, Alain doesn't think he can speaks anymore. It feels like his insides are boiling. ~I have the power to destroy your pathetic Nightmares. Can you sense them dying? Soon you will have no Nightmares to serve you.

    ~Pasce has promised to change the laws, Darmon. My relationship with Nalia won't be forbidden any longer. We will be together. I'll marry her, and we'll raise our child. We're going to be happy Darmon. There's nothing you can do to stop that.

    ~I'll win!~

  3. #163
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Sari & Ráichéal of Haven, Nicolette of Palios, Kiyoko of Rekōdo, Eilwen of Eloruh, Dominika of Krig

    The pillars were dead and the feeling that they were not far behind was a thought Ráichéal tried to keep from her mind. The only thing between them and the Nightmares was the power of the white magik that she and Sari wielded. The could not hear the conversations going on between Nalia’s trusted six, one of whom was now their acting Guild mistress.

    Ráichéal and Sari had been here only a few more years than Kali, a time in which Ráichéal had spent dedicating to their new home and watching over Sari. She did not know much of anything concerning this temporary leader, but she had come to trust Nalia, as all of them had. Now, as she gazed into Sari’s eyes, she prayed that her trust had been worth it. Not for the sake of herself, but her younger sister, who had so much to live for.

    Their protective dome was beat like a drum as the Nightmares tried to shatter it and both sisters knew that the other could feel it reverberate back into their very bones. For all the horrible things that might happen to them, Sari gave her older sister a smile, a genuine smile.

    “I don’t think I’ll be able to feel my arms for a while after this Ráich.”

    Despite herself Ráichéal laughed.

    “You and me both kiddo!”

    Kiyoko had been “listening” to their surroundings, and what would look like a fruitless effort, gazed out into the tar pitched darkness of Nightmares.

    “Eilwen, Nicolette, Dominika, do you feel that?” Kiyoko asked.

    “Something pierces the veil.”

    Eilwen had felt it too and when the markings along her weapons and body flared to life, the Shamaa woman of Eloruh let out her own battle roar of joy.

    “It’s Shamaa! They have sent the Dream Speakers!”

    A resurgence of strengthened hope went throughout the group and the dome seemed to brighten and shimmer at the news.

    Kiyoko, ever so keen and listening to the world around her could sense the intentions of Dyani and Kali.

    “Be prepared sisters, it is almost time.”
    Last edited by Tigers; 02-05-2018 at 10:41 AM.
    Peace is a lie
    There is only passion
    Through passion I gain strength
    Through strength I gain power
    Through power I gain victory
    Through victory my chains are broken
    The Force shall set me free

  4. #164
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom

    Attachment 2312

    Arion, Acting Guild Master of Taroc and Nalia of Enchantry

    Her initial reaction came out before she could rein it in: Nalia's hand jerked back in Eliona's touch. She tried to free herself from the Astral woman's hold before she could stop herself. The entirety of Nalia's body shirks away from her, but as soon as the woman's fingers take their place upon her wrist and palm, Nalia goes entirely still.

    She opened her mouth to protest, to shake her head and let Eliona know it is futile, useless. She has failed this test more times than she wants to remember. She had yearned to take this test since she was a little girl because she knew, she knew that she had her mother's light. She knew this in her core, but she had not shown that power as a little girl and she never got to take that test before... before-

    And, as if to add further insult the circumstance by which she was eventually exiled, they used this very test to check her for the white light she'd snuffed out over and over again. Each time she failed, it sealed her fate and their opinion of her: She had murdered her mother. They used it as a litmus test to prove that the child of Silvyan al'Vatar could only have no light within them if she had been the one to kill Astral's greatest healer. She was just a little girl. She was not mature enough for much of her abilities to procure themselves yet. But she was the child of the woman who had been born with the power of the light. Why shouldn't she have it in the same way? For them, it was solid proof that she was the monster they so needed to pin her mother's death upon. Every time she failed it was a nail in her coffin of exile.

    But Eliona performed the test again despite Nalia's want to protest and this time she passed.

    The light of her product immediately took root and reflected in the depths of her eyes. And then everything else around her caught on and began to glow. She remembers this test being performed at the towers and she remembers being there with her mother to watch. She remembers the trees of light and life that blossomed into existence for novices entering the towers. The tree's size and influence varied depending on the strength of the connection to the light. But trees could grow.

    She remembered her mother's. It could fill an entire room. The branches seemed to flow like waves of an ocean, like rivers coursing and carving through the land. She remembered looking, but the ends of those branches passed outside the walls of the room, beyond her ability to see. Pearls of light, like blossoms or seeds grew and spilled even smaller pinpricks of light. Seeds to sow a new generation of life-giving light. She had been so sure, as a little girl, that she had been given one of those seeds.

    Nalia's eyes are wide as she observes her portrayal of light. The shock of seeing all her desires to pass this test start to fade. Her tree does not look at all like her mother's. It does not look right at all. It is tangled like bramble. Nalia's breathing changes. Her breaths become short and shallow. This is not how a tree of light is supposed to look. Something is wrong.

    Then Eliona speaks to her. Nalia's emerald eyes moved from looking at her knotted tree to the healer before her and do not leave. Her gaze becomes stern, intense, in the same focused manner as she would when she was a child listening to her mother tell her of the light. Nalia nodded at Eliona once, firmly. She knew the responsibility. She knew it better than any other had during her time in Astral. She knew it from a young age and had taken everything that went with it to the core of her being.

    Ryth abandons their small triad of calming chaos. For a moment, the sight of him walking away rattles Nalia. She opens her mouth to call out to him, but suddenly Arion is in her sight. He radiates calm in a way that only he can. Subtly he held up a hand for Nalia to stay. He turned and walked with a slow, lengthy gait to Ryth's self-imposed time out. Nalia watched a moment longer before returning her eyes to Eliona. The healer would see a moment of deep hurt and regret recede from the pregnant woman's face.

    "I do" Nalia said quietly. She wished she could look behind her to Olivia, so she could make sure her friend was both okay and had heard her vote of confidence in her. Eliona's sudden trust in Nalia eroded her resolve. Her emerald eyes shifted uncertainly to the healer. No one in Astral had ever spoken such words to her. Nalia firmed her eyes and re-centered herself.

    "I trust Olivia with my life and the life of my child" she said with resolution. "I trust her in this and in all things."

    Then Eliona calls her something she'd only ever heard when she spent time in the White Towers. A Wildling. Nalia's heart quickened in her chest, but outwardly, she remained perfectly calm. A Wildling was someone who came into their power of white light without training, through an emotional experience or something to suddenly trigger its onset. There were those in the Towers in Dayena dedicated to monitoring the presence of healing light in Rekōdo. if sudden spikes appeared, or anyone with divining power and the white light foresaw a Wildling's power, they were found and brought to the Towers. Wildlings who were not trained to control their powers and use them properly often ended up harming themselves, burning out their ability to use the white light and sometimes all magik at all n a form of unintentional self-quieting in order to preserve their life. In the worst cases, a Wildling had caused their own death or deaths of those around them, which was why it was imperative that the Towers kept watch for them.

    Nalia's free hand subconsciously crept up to her womb and to the unborn child within. Nalia took in what Eliona said and then looked to the Astral woman's hands. When Eliona asked about the Princess and the Ancestral Spirits, Nalia finally turned to look at Olivia and the dead Princess. There was something far away in her eyes. Her hand that had come to instinctively touch her unborn child had remained. A tightness crossed Nalia's features.

    "Yes" Nalia said gently.

    She paused a moment and Eliona would get the sense that she was very carefully picking and choosing the words she would use next.

    "At her coronation, the Ancestral Spirits were called to the Princess. At the time it was unknown as to why, but it was not of her choosing or will. They were forced upon her. Jinai of Da'Jinn attempted to take all the Ancestral Spirits unto herself, but she could not hold them all and they fled her. The only one who could house the Spirits was the Princess, but no mortal is meant to hold that much power for themselves."

    The fullness of Jinai's treason would be made known by the Prince if it hadn't been already. The conjoined attack upon Capios by both Maginus and Da'Jinn signaled that Jinai and Darmon had broken the Treaty of Tradisi that ended the Great War. This would have been blasted across every holonet and Magi-news channel in Rekōdo.

    "With the Ancestral Spirits gone, the Masters of the Provinces were without power. The Princess was taken by Jinai to Da'Jinn. She attempted to take the Spirits for herself. Alain of Taroc, Prince Eri, Branwen of Shamaa, my Second Kali and Adaya of Astral combined their efforts to save her."

    Nalia stopped speaking. Adaya only got an honorable mention because Eliona was of Astral. She did not know how the woman felt about Astral's trickery with Da'Jinn. She did not know if she knew Herotus was imprisoned in a lamp or that Adaya had chosen to end her life in Mararat.

    "The Spirits were killing her" Nalia began again. There was a tightness to her voice and she attempted to mask it by looking at the Princess and Olivia.

    "Balance needs to be restored to Rekōdo. Our land needs its Princess to lead it back into that balance. If the Princess were to perish on her own, she could not be revived. Olivia's methods are against everything the White Towers teach about life, the light and the sanctity of their preservation, but she does not wield knowledge of life. She wields knowledge of death."

    There is something of a smile on Nalia's face as she looked at Olivia.

    "When I first met Olivia, everything she could do felt wrong. Everything. But she almost lost everything of herself to save me. I saw how her knowledge of death could also bring forth life. They are partners, life and death. If the Princess and then Rekōdo are to survive this, then both must be put into balance."

    Arion came to stand silently behind Ryth. He gave him enough distance that he could not reach out and touch him without moving from his spot. Arion said nothing to Ryth. He simply stood and waited and listened.
    *The Golden Goddess|The Goddess of All Motherless Secundae*
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  5. #165
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Vucan had appeared back at the entrance to the cavern, without the need to focus on Laelis, he could cut loose. But before the dragon could even lift a clawed hand, his eyes cut through the darkness to the lone soul that he saw through the pitch of darkness created by the mass of Nightmares. He shook his scaled head with a disgusted sigh.

    “These humans…”

    With a flick of his wrist he set the wards and strengthened the barriers, it would take these darklings sometime to pierce his magik and it would be more than enough to keep the Nightmares at bay until the last of these fleshy beings were well into the cavern and headed to safety. As to what this other one was doing, in the form he was currently in was anyone’s guess, and frankly it was not something Vucan cared to know. He had given his word to help Kali, he was bound to her through their father and as such he would aid those on this little isle until it was done.

    With a flash of Dragon’s Fire that scorched the Nightmares around him, Vucan simply vanished from the mouth of the Cavern and next to the astral form Sacha. His blades whirled around him like the force of a hurricane as he cut through the Nightmares around them. A sniff of the air and a toothy grin touched his lips.

    You…are not from this isle. You wreak of the delicious smell of the place this Darmon hails from.”
    Vucan stated as a matter of fact.

    “These creatures do not care from whence any of you come from, they will devour your souls with no discrimination.”

    There was a slight pause as he breathed, Dragon’s Fire spewed from his mouth in a cone that seemed unnatural for his current form.

    “So, being from Maginus, do I let these creatures devour you or let you pass? Are your intentions here against those of my charge? Speak your intentions or I will simply pluck the information from your tiny little brain.”

  6. #166
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    The first of these new twisted creatures had come upon the beach. An unholy form of the bodies of those that had died twisted to the will of the Nightmares. There was a moment that Branwen could feel the revulsion of her people as Commander Weir confronted the first of them.

    “Be on your guard, others come to the surface!”

    Blades, staffs, bows and magik filled the air with the sounds of battle. The sand and water formed into runes burst into pits of quicksand pulling the monstrosities to the very core of the planet. Branwen flourished her staff, carving an eloquent circle around the Maloto Tribe, sending word into the dream scape through the spirit animals.

    “Tell them not to move their bodies from their spots.” She sent as she quickly created the same runes all around them.

    If the creatures got past them, they would be sucked to the core of the earth and devoured by the planet itself. In unison with the elements around her, the runes swirled all around the still bodies of her brothers and sisters, while her staff connected with the body of one of these creatures. They were beginning to pour out of the sea like the rushing waters of a broken dam.

    Branwen rooted herself into the energies of the planet, a living battery drawing from the earth itself as she moved with grace and eloquence around the bodies of her people. Her staff connected again and again as creature after creature rushed upon the shore. Had Kali or her brothers been here, they would have been able to draw off the energy that fed Branwen. But the Lack of memories did not allow her to encourage those that might be able to do the same, but if her brothers and sisters were aware enough they would know that they could.

    With a mighty groan, she moved with the water, pulling with the tide to drag as many of the creatures back into the depths. She urged the spirit animals of the sea to call upon their living kin to aid them in battle for the sake of all living things. A swipe of claws at her being and cuts formed along her legs and face, blood streamed from the cuts along her body, but Branwen did not feel them. The paint along her exposed skin flared and the twisted Nightmares would cry out, but they would always be replaced by another creature, or more claws. They would not cease until they’d reached their goal, the total annihilation of them all.

    In a flash of emerald upon the shore, two bodies appeared. Warriors fighting upon the shore recognized the colors of Enchantry and calls rang out to the ears of the others. In one deft movement, the women were gathered and brought up to Branwen, as she beckoned the waters of the sea to keep the unholy Nightmares at bay.

    They had brought healers with them, and Branwen called to one of them to check on the condition of the two women of Enchantry. With a quick glance, she could tell that one of them was in bad shape; her heart clinched in her chest and a dreaded tightness formed there for Enchantry, and for Kali.

    “You are safe for the moment.” Branwen called to the sisters of Enchantry, as she fought to keep the monstrosities back.

    Each step her people took, a wake of the purist white sand appeared glowing all around them, evidence of the power of the Dream Speakers. Their prints began to form a barrier of white light all around the bodies of the Maloto Tribe and the beach was becoming littered with the glow. Branwen cast a glance in the Commander’s direction, a smile touched her lips as she watched the soldier holding her own. It was of no surprise, Taroc’s warriors were some of the best.

    “How can we help your sister?” She asked breathlessly.

    She had not meant to be rude, introductions would have to wait as her energy was expended upon keeping the shores safe for her people and now for the two Enchantry sisters in their care. Branwen was unsure if the Shamaa healer could help her, but her people would do all they could to not lose one more of their allies today.

  7. #167
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Dyani’s touch upon her shoulder roused Kali from her inner musings. Aide had come and it reflected along with the distant fading feeling of tumultuous emotions that only Dyani could feel from her. The twinge in her heart about the potential loss of Fateema and Merriam remained, but now it was surrounded by the fact that Shamaa had come to Enchantry’s aide, that Branwen was close by. It may not be as joyous as fighting side by side, but it would have to do.

    Her words to Dyani died on her lips as the sky seemed to crack open and illuminate. The air filled with another energy, one that Kali and Branwen’s souls would remember, even if they didn’t. The earth shook in response to the events taking place not far from them between Darmon and Alain. It crackled in the air like a roaring fire and Kali’s entire visage glowed with universal energy, and her eyes mixed with red and orange, before being completely engulfed in the universal glow.

    Her body felt alive as never before, and her voice tore through the air with a roar as her wings extended and flexed around the two women’s bodies. Emerald tipped horns and glowing orange eyes regarded Dyani and Kali smiled. She followed suit and laid her hand upon Dyani’s shoulder.

    “Be safe, and send as many Nightmares back to the pit as you can. We will meet you at the forest’s edge near Laelis’s beacons.”

    “So long as there is light, there is hope.” She repeated before taking to the air with a flap of wings.

    “Take Blas and Kai with you.” And then wasting no more time, she took off toward the farthest three pillars.

    Her wings sliced through Nightmares as she made her way to the farthest pillar, blasting Dragon’s Fire along the way. She circled once at the closest pillar, shouting out instructions to form up and be ready to move. The power of the Shamaa Dream Speakers had begun to shine through and any of their kin that now lived in Enchantry had renewed hope as more and more animal spirits poured through their protective barriers.

    Kali could feel their fear beginning to ebb, and that fighting spirit renewed. By the time she’d reached the 2nd furthest pillar, she heard and felt more than saw the crash that happened within Capios’ docks. The noise causing the Nightmares to pause. There wasn’t time to investigate, as she turned back to the group of women struggling to maintain their barriers and took advantage of the distraction.

    Cries rang out just as an explosion shook the area where the initial crash had sounded. Kali didn’t hesitate, the other pillar was falling fast as the women’s barriers were failing. They had already lost several of their fighters and one of the novices who could wield the white light.

    Had there been shadows cast, her form would have shown the transformation from humanoid to dragon. Her size allowed her to circle the quickly shrinking group of sisters as she let out a ring of dragon’s breath around them. Nightmares scampered from every direction or exploded on contact. Kali let out a dragon’s roar of challenge that drowned out the startled screams of her Enchantry sisters.

    As she swooped low to the ground her form changed back, as her feet touched the ground.

    “Reform on me!”

    As her fellow sisters reformed on her, their sister of light ignited a new barrier. Several of the remaining fighters took stances back to back around their “light” barer. Animal spirits quickly bound into and around the barrier, led by the cries of Dyani’s hawk who added strength the new fortification.

    “When the others come up from the last barrier, move into formation, fighters on the outside, sisters of light and the injured in the middle.”

    Momentary fear touched their faces and Kali gave them all a reassuring smile.

    “The barriers will hold until we are upon you, then we will add your strength to theirs. We are almost there, hold on a little longer. “

    Kali was aware of the looks, the apprehension, she was not aware of what the expulsion of universal energy had done to her visage, but her sisters had maintained their heads and assured her they would be ready. With a assurances, Kali took to the air again, speeding to the last pillar. They were almost in as bad a shape as the pillar. Many of their fighters were injured, some infected with the darkness that threatened to consume them.

    But traces of Shamaa’s presence were all around and those infected were fighting a different battle, almost as if someone was helping them to purge the Nightmares from their bodies. Kali picked up the slack and took on the role for several of the fighters as the barriers were reinforced. Injured and infected were kept toward the middle and away from the sisters of light as they made their slow progress back to the middle pillar.

    The sisters that had been infected would slow their progress as the fell to the ground, purging tar like ooze from the eyes and mouths. Kali could swear she felt a presence, so very close as if they were right beside them.

    “Whatever you’re doing, it’s working. Thank you.” Kali whispered to their unseen allies.

    Her eyes scanned the area, and even though she could see what most of her sisters could not, she could not see into the realm of dreams. As each infected sister was purged of the Nightmare infection, she insisted upon taking up arms again and continuing. Dyani would be proud of them. Kali pulled back from the barrier and took up her arms outside as an extra layer of protection.

    They quickly made their way to the second pillar and Kali silently breathed a sigh of relief to see that they we all still safe. Like a well-oiled machine, they absorbed the sister’s into their fold and fortified the barrier even more. The closer they got to the last group, the more the sisters spirits soared with renewed hope.

    Kali’s eyes cast themselves through the thickness of Nightmares once more toward the docks. Surely these “spirits” her eyes were beholding were not those of their fallen Enchantry Sister’s. She had watched them consumed by the Nightmares, it was a vision that she was glad that her sisters could not see. What brought her the most unease, was the flicker of the human aura that called through the darkness.

    “What in the bottomless pit was going on at the docks.” She thought to herself.

    She turned back toward her their growing group, she couldn’t risk them all for just one being, but it didn’t mean that Kali wasn’t struggling inside to keep one more person from falling to the Nightmares. She pushed forward.

    “Aaira, keep the others calm. We need to keep as many of these creatures at bay as we can.”

    The seasoned fighter just nodded to Kali, unsure of what she would do but familiar enough with her to trust their acting Guild Mistress. Kali’s form morphed and grew, over-shadowing the women. No one had really seen Kali in a true dragon’s form, but Aaira had known that she was capable of such feats. Maybe if they’d had several dozen dragons at their disposal, they wouldn’t have lost so many.

    Luckily, the women all seemed to ignore Kali’s transformation and focused on their last group, moving as quickly as they could now that they had the added support. A cone of Dragon’s fire spewed out in front of them, clearing their path toward the final pillar. It was now a race against time, and they were all of the mind that they would let no more of their fellow sisters fall to these things. The ground shook with Kali’s movements, this giant emerald colored dragon with glowing orange eyes. But she was making the way clear to the others, and giving them a chance to survive for another day.

  8. #168
    The Ailes Bones: The Cross-Shaped Island


    Darmon, The Returned

    Darmon's back arches in an volatile mixture of agony and rage. The Universal energies clashed violently with the unnatural magik of the High Priests of Maginus and mixed with a saturation of violet and gold and crimson within his throat. The triad of colored energies seemed to be at war with each other. They flexed back and forth until the crimson swallows the gold and bleeds into the violet light. Darmon fights against the agony and throws his fists to the ground. His back is hunched before Alain and the starry void behind him.

    At the sounds of Alain's psychic taunts, Darmon's head snapped up. His pitch black and glowing violet eyes pinpoint on the Master of Taroc. He grits his teeth in a horrifying maw of twisted anger. All around him he could feel them and see them without being present for their deaths. He was given a birds-eye-view and a view from within the core of the eradicated Nightmares as they met their end. It was a front-row seat to the death of each and every Nightmare mass he's summoned from the doorway to the Realm. It was agonizing, and Darmon's agony quickly turned to irate rage.

    ~No!~ He shouted back to Alain. ~I will destroy this entire planet before I allow that to happen!~

    Darmon's hands bled into black talons that gripped the earth beneath him. The island trembled, both the the surplus of universal energy and the pain of Nightmare claw piercing its soil. He used his solid grip upon the ground to push himself up to a knee. The blisters on his skin began to boil and burst. From the festering sores dripped Nightmare ichor. The globs of it congealed into miniature damnations. He leaked the dark tarry pitch from his eyes and nose and the corners of his mouth as he stared down his most hated enemy. The took root int he ground and sprouted demons of darkness up from the earth as he rose to his feet beside them.

    "You will never be afforded such happiness, LeCavalier" One of his clawed hands pointed a finger of promise at Alain. "You are first and then I am going for them."

    The door of his dark army flew open, burst from Darmon's body with internalized, angry vengeance, and came at Alain.

  9. #169
    The Ailes Bones... To the Southwest: Dragon Scale Island

    Zarena, a Dream Speaker and the Maloto Tribe, Fateema of Ordh'u and Merriam of Clow, Sisters of Enchantry

    They had come. She knew, they all knew, that it was only a matter of moments before they would. Once the Dream energy had been sent forth to Capios, they would not stop their hunt until the source was found. The whispers of their coming came to them in Dreams. Spirit Animals came to be beside them in the World of Dreams. They did not float or bound or swim as they did in the Waking World. Here, they could be as they were naturally. Through the pure Spirits, they saw Branwen as she wove her runic circle around their bodies upon the rocky shore. Their bodies remained still, kneeling in obeisance upon the earth.

    Message received, Zarena and her people continued to pour forth their healing cleanse into the soils of Capios.

    But it was upon the shores of the Dragon Scale Island that two women were hastened form the sea and surf onto drier land. Claws of Nightmare hands grabbed at the hems of their cloaks, but the water was a wall of protection against the foul beasts. It was only when they were put upon the grainy sand that Merriam of Clow opened her eyes. Before Fateema would be touched, Merriam twisted her long, beautiful hair behind her head and re-wrapped her shawl about her face with swiftness and tenderness both. Then she quickly searched for and found the cut of crystal that she'd put beneath her Sister's now soaking blouse. It was still there on its chord of string. Merriam's eyes closed in thanks to the starry skies above. Not only had they gotten off Capios and a safe enough distance away, but they were delivered onto a beach occupied by friends.

    Merriam watched as Fateema's eyes were checked. The veins of darkness were advancing, thickening and eating away at the white presence of her eyes. Her irises were wide, pupils pinpoints and locked onto something beyond all of them. She was losing her battle. The Clarity Crystal at least slowed her descent into the excruciating death that awaited her if the Nightmares were not purged form her body.

    "Thank Liar'Adon's heavens for that" the Sister from Clow said quite out of breath as she continued to fuss over Fateema. She cradled her dear friend in her arms. One of her plump hands came up to touch Fateema's face. She then took her wrist in her hand and turned her palm upward. She slid granules of coarse sand from the lines of her skin. She looked from the palm lines to the Da'Jinn woman's eyes. Merriam shook her head.

    "She is infected" she said quickly. "Her Jinn were attacked and the Nightmares used them as a gateway to her Soul. They are feasting upon her from the inside."

    Merriam saw the effects of the Dream Speakers upon the sand and dug down into it to release the white light around Fateema. The woman's lips parted and she made a faint noise of agony. Her head lulled away from the dream light, but Merriam grabbed Fateema's chin to prevent her from turning away.

    "Her Soul requires a cleansing of light, enough of it to burn away the dark things within."

    Again, Merriam shook her head.

    "I have nothing left. The last of my magikal stores got us this far from Capios. Can your people help her?"

    Merriam looked with desperation to the Dream Speakers in their protective, white circle.

  10. #170
    The Island of Capios: Heading Toward The Caverns

    The Dire Wolves of the Ailes and The Soul of Sacha of Windf'rte

    They were the Protectors of these Islands. It had been their roles since long before they were forgotten. They have been in such a role for so long that they have forgotten everything else that came before, everything that they once were. It felt right to be here, on the Island called Capios, during this most dark hour. Despite everything horrible happening here, it felt entirely right. It was the closest they had come to feeling whole in a long time, like a missing piece of a puzzle had been found and made one with the developing picture. It pleased them, despite the danger, the dark and the eternal damnation that came with any death had here.

    The Alpha stood at the head of his pack. They blocked the pathway into the forest, or rather they were a barrier. Any of Enchantry's people could pass by them, into the illumined gateway of trees that lined the way to the entrance of The Caverns. The trees of light kept the dark things from pouncing upon those who fled, but they would not for long. Nothing could. But, so long as there was light...

    A rune glowed on the head of the Alpha Wolf and as the dark things came, all around the pack appeared bands of men. They were tattooed with lineage on their arms. Their eyes were a mixture of crimson or were brown. Their hair was long and their garb tribal, like the Shamaa. These warriors, all of them men, had horns. Some wore them on their arms, like the fringed scales of dragons, some down their spines or legs. Some wore them on their heads and all were of varying sizes and lengths. Their hair was long and flowing behind them and they all carried weapons of their own make, of lacquered wood that was as hard as metal and deadly when wielded. There was something wild about these men, as if they were stitched together with the natural chaos of the world. They were transparent, outlined by a light violet glow. They were Spirits, ghosts, ancestors, and no one here could see them.

    But the Wolves knew they had come. They yelped and whined and wagged their tails at the sight of their ancestors. They bounded around them and crouched with tongues out. The Ancestors, some who were older, some younger, reached out and touched their kin. It was a reunion witnessed only by them, for the world was blind to their existence. How they had come to be here, was shown to them by the Alpha. A Spirit Man had given him a mark to summon them. Normally, such magik was something they detested. It was unnatural, but it was akin to the female called Olivia and it had brought their beloved ancestors to them.

    The darkness did not stand a chance. These Spirits were born to fight.

    As the dark blights made a rush for the entrance to the lightened tunnel to the Caverns, the Wolves attacked. They were flanked and guarded by their Ancestors to timed the arcs and punctures of their weaponry in sync with their Dire brethren. Now, the Wolves could openly fight, not just defy the dark, without immediate consequence. They let loose a loud, long howl and charged forward into the fight, all with their Ancestors beside them.


    On the island where his Advisor waited, Sacha's body began to jolt and jerk with the signs of battle. Aramil of Sahil in Da'Jinn waited patiently, worriedly, and watched both the still body before him and the large island in the distance.

    Violet light sent them flying backwards into a disintegrated burst of blackened ash. He swung his Shepherd's Crook and carved giant swaths in the tide of Nightmares that had come for him, the one who gave the weak hope to fight back. Every thrust forward of his half-arrowhead hook-end sent a spray of Nightmare death into the air. His form was flawless as were his agility to dance around the Nightmares. Just when they thought they had him, he opened a hole to the Spirit World and disappeared from their claws and bone-crunching maws, only to re-appear in a place that was convenient only to their demise.

    A man appeared.

    No, not a man. Something akin to one. One of the Unsettled Land's beasts perhaps? He had not seen one personally, the ones that still remembered how to change into Liar'Adon's form, but he had been told that they retained some of their dragon-like features as identifiers and pride in the beings they were created to be. Whoever he was, this being joined him in battle. They moved like dancers, like brothers together, as if they had been practicing for this their whole lives. Sacha did not smile back. His keen, blue eyes looked quickly between jousts with the dark beings to the one who fought at his side.

    ~And you are not of this world~ the Shepherd of Spirits replied. ~You wreak of the putrid smell of the creatures of the North.~

    He'd noted the not-entirely-man's words. Delicious. He was also aware that the Nightmares held no prejudice, only a greater desire to devour and destroy if you held them back from their feasting. It had caused him no fear. This was his job. He discriminated against no Soul that crossed his path in need of guidance. He came here because he had a job to do, and a greater one after this. The fear of death was not in his mind.

    A sudden surge of Dragon's fire confirmed Sacha's thoughts. Dragon-like for sure, but the power of this man's Soul was not of Emporium. If it was, it was a power kept well-hidden. Why should it come out now to aid the women's island?

    ~I fight the dark things that stain this land. Why would you have cause to let me die? My province? You sound like the world around you.~

    It was a retort with a harsher tone than he intended, but debating was a waste of time. Everyone was asking him of his intentions, as if he did not belong here in this fray, doing his part to preserve the living here.

    ~I am the Shepherd of Souls~ he said calmly in between his precision-sharp movements and clean lines of his twirling hook. ~It is my job to guide the Souls of this world as they travel to the next. These things devour Souls and deny them their rest.~

    He spoke matter-of-factly. The white-haired man did not divulge his need to get to Darmon of Maginus next and find the Soul of the Master of Maginus. He did not trust this creature enough. Sacha well-trained movement felled many more dark fiends before he spoke again.

    ~My work here is already done. I have swept through this island and placed a Summoning Rune on the living who fled to this forest. It calls forth the Spirits of their Ancestors to protect them and ward off the dark beings from their Souls. The dark beasts caught up before I could leave this place.~

    Nightmare after Nightmare was executed by the staff he carried and the violet runes that glowed along its carved hilt. His blue eyes, transparent though they might be in his Spirit state, glanced at Vucan as he continued out his havoc upon the dark blights.

    ~Does this satisfy you?~

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