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  1. #231
    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...


    "Oh, I don' know," Alain replies to Darmon. "I can think of one place you're hated as much as you are in Taroc. To be honest, I'm not sure why I never thought of taking you there sooner."

    Alain makes no effort to test Sacha's mental barriers. He's a guest in someone else's home, and so he shows a basic amount of respect. The fire that Sacha touches clings to his hands in the form of whirls and wisps of mystical power. It will tingle and resonate with the signature of magic born of Taroc. This fiery energy soon breaks itself down into the universal energy that it was formed from, as if reverse-engineering itself for the priest's education.

    Clow shifts within Alain's mind, unsure about teaching a potential rival so much of how he and Alain's teleport. He's never known Alain to be this open with his powers, especially to someone from Maginus. However, the spirit does not voice any objections he might possess. He can hear the strategies playing through Alain's mind. It's like hearing the echoes of a masterfully performed symphony minutes before the musicians even pick up their instruments. Alain must do what is needed to arrange everything to perfectly match what his combat sense predicts.

    Red fire consumes the three. A heartbeat later the fire and trio of men evaporate into empty air.



    The Dragon Range...

    An instant later a geyser of scarlet flames erupts from the empty air over a cliff nestled deep among the Dragon Range mountains. The fire fades. Alain, Darmon, and Sacha are left in its place. The two Maginus men are welcomed by the embrace of deathly cold winds and a shower of violently falling snow. The mountain cold curses the man of Taroc with a stinging numbness over his flesh. Steam soon starts to flow up from Alain as he uses his own internal energies to warm himself with the heat his fires often seem to lack.

    It's difficult to see more than a dozen paces in any direction, as their boulder perch is surrounded by curtains of snow and fog. The noise and touch of wild magic is absent from this place. They are in a domain of lifeless cold and silence. It's as if Alain has brought them to some ice-cursed limbo.

    Alain releases Darmon and steps away from the undead beast. The stone ground that Darmon lies upon bears the scars of centuries of massive claws scratching across its surface. This spot is deep into the territory of the dragons. It's where young dragons practice the skills of swooping down from the sky and capturing prey for food, sport, or warfare. Their elders deposit easily caught mountain animals to present as sacrifices for their children. Now, Alain uses it to offer Darmon to the elders.

    Sacha will feel and hear Alain's mind reaching out to the cold world around them. Alain calls out to those that lurk beyond the veil of snow and mists.


    ~I bring you Darmon of Maginus,~ Alain calls out to any dragon minds that are within range. ~He still possesses his magic, fate prevented me from Quieting him as I hoped we would, but he is undead. As such he has no place in the society of man. He has no political power. Take him and slay him with no worry of retribution from Rekōdo.

    ~Personally, take him and destroy him with my compliments and envy.~

    Crimson fire blossoms out from Alain's right hand and a storm pistol is teleported into his grasp. He raises the weapon and aims it towards Darmon. The entire gun steams and smokes as the bullets inside the weapon charge up with elemental fire. He maintains his aim and waits.

    Alain's telepathy once again narrows its focus on Sacha. He speaks to the priest, while also maintaining a respectful distance from his mental barriers.


    ~You'd better stay close to me,~ Alain offers with a hint of sympathy in his tone. He had not planned on bringing another tempting target to the claws and wrath of the dragons.

  2. #232
    The Island of Capios: At the Edge of the Forest, Near the Treelight Beacons



    Dyani of the Border Forests



    They were surrounded on all sides. First the forest with its infuriatingly, impenetrable light. They hated that forest. Aside from the flesh of their food, it would be the first thing on this island to go. Then came the girl-food with the dead things. She smelled of the flesh of a human body, but it felt far away. They would chase it and find it and devour it! But then the boat came. The tasteless boat with dead things and even more dead things and weapons that burned them. As if the situation could not sour any further, a dome of light came at them with singing and voices that made their teeth snap from the pressure of their gritted maws. The white light came and the dragon and eagle bird came.

    Of everything this tasty world had, it was the light they hated the most. Every food under that light had hope and hope they had to destroy. This world would become another way station into the Bright Universe, another stepping stone by which to swallow all delicious life in their insatiable stomachs. This planet, with all its rich magik so deeply entwined into the Universal energies had to be theirs. The mindless hoard wanted nothing more than to see this world become lifeless and dark.

    The wave intended to crush the Spirit girl broke upon her and shards of its army splintered and dove at the Raven's Triumph and dome of incoming light and all its warriors beneath. They let out a horrendous cry, one loud enough and vile enough to cause the Soul to quiver.

    When Kali took to the air, Dyani leapt. The Shamaa warrioress grabbed hold of Kali's emerald and black scaled body and rose with her. Wind whipped the brown hair behind her emerald-studded headdress. The dream energy of her people lit the sharp blue of her hawk-like gaze. She threw the point of one of her fighting knives forward and rallied the Sisters below with a cry whose bravery rivaled the scream of the raging darkness before them. Dyani gathered herself and stood slowly upon Kali's shoulders. The pump of her wings provided a steady beat for her to count and balance herself. Two of her booted feet dug gently as she could at Kali's scales, lifting them so she could plant her feet firmly beneath them. Undoubtedly, it would hurt, like the momentary sting and throb of a pulled-back fingernail, but it was a tactic they had rehearsed before. Nalia had insisted Dyani train their Sisters who were able to fight in case of something such as this. With her feet secured, Dyani brandished her weapons. Every Nightmare within her range that had hastily arched above Kali's dragon fire was met with a death stroke from Dyani's blade.

    ~Get to the Caverns!~ Dyani's voice was a yell in the rush of battle to the Sisters within the white dome. ~We will clear a path and be right behind you. Go!~

    Dyani gave Kali a wolfish smile and readied her weapons. They would destroy this darkness if they had to slay every last beast themselves!

    ~Shalla~ Dyani stretched her sense to the Caverns and called. ~We are at the entrance to the Forest. We have Sister incoming. These should be the last for the O'aris to ferry.~

    A pause. Silence.

    ~Shalla?~ Dyani's voice grew with panic. ~Shalla!~



    -+-



    The Island of Capios, The Forest Entrance: By the First Beacon




    Evalynn Agravaine of Maginus



    She is smoking with violet-blue vapors as she rises from her self-made crater in the stone street. She is scratched and bruised, but even as she rises they seemed to knit themselves closed before she is fully upright. She breathed heavily as Gold-Eye approached. The ground shakes with each weighted footfall of his approach. She is trembling as she looked up from the lip of the crater. Patches of violet-blue markings dot her arms, visible through the torn fabric of blouse that is caught and billowed in the cold, winter winds. The marking glimmer, like scales. The air is buffeted and deafened with the sound of the anchor of the Raven's Triumph as it careens through the air. Amidst the battering pressure of it, she can hear whispers of Vucan's draconic nature and presence in her mind as he approached, whispers of the vast multitude he spoke of. Eventually, just as the Captain reached her, so she took Vucan's hand and overcame the crater and stood. She is breathing heavily still and her blonde hair and blue eyes look wild and tainted, an effect of the great power she'd just used. She looked upon the even crazier sight of the Ghost Captain and lightly shook her head.

    ~There's nothing to forgive, Captain~ she responded a bit quietly, a piece of her old self. ~Your timing is flawless, as I am sure it always was.~

    She did not look between the two that stood with her now, but she felt the great confluence of two of her worlds colliding: That of the Spirit World and that of the kinship of which she now was now bonded. With little else in the way of knowledge in what do do with these two very opposites, she did what any properly-raised Maginus woman would do when there were guests at her household.

    ~Captain, this is Vucan of the Dragons. He is a brother of- ~ she hesitated. ~ -of Kali's and of mine. Vucan, this is Captain Jacob Petrov of the Raven's Triumph, an ally of Enchantry. He is my friend.~

    There. Now that proper introductions were made, she had done her duty to her household. Evalynn reached her hands up to draw her emerald hood over her face, but stopped. She looked down at the street beneath her feet and then up again at the chaos all around them. Her hands dropped before they could complete what they had set out to do.

    ~Captain~ she said distantly to Golden Eyes as she watched the incoming dome of light, the blue hawk and the dragon that were nearly upon the gaping hole that had been made in the Nightmare masses.

    ~We need to ensure that that white dome and all its contents make it into the Caverns beyond these forests.~

    She had given the Ghost a new mission and, with it, permission to hunt to his heart's content.



    -+-



    The Island of Capios: Atop the City and at the Docks at the Bay of Capios




    The Dire Wolves of the Ailes



    ~The one she aches for in her heart. The male who gave her the child.~ said the Wolf as he too processed the valuable information given to him. He watched with his patient, crimson eyes as she walked across the rooftop and looked toward the dock. He is silent the entire time.

    ~Her wrath is for the man in the dark. The one whom is not her mate but took her as his own.~

    If a voice could also growl as it spoke, this is what Lydmila would hear. Such acts were unforgivable among the Wolves and their brothers. It violated the laws that had been set down by their kind since the dance between man and woman first began. It tainted the beauty of the act and the purpose by which the act was done.

    The sitting Wolf now stood. His dark, thick winter fur was buffeted in the strong gusts of winter wind. He stared heavily at Lydmila.

    ~The Wolves have no love for his kind. Only the other female that is a friend of Nalia.~

    He spoke not of the Nightmares, for which no things had love, but of Maginus. Olivia was originally from Maginus. Even if she were housed in bodies from varying provinces, her Soul would still retain some of its original smell, perhaps something only a Wolf could detect so distinctly. The Alpha's ear shifted back behind his head. He felt the whirlpool effect as Lydmila peered through the blocked scope of her rifle, as if all time and matter and the stitches of this world's cloth were being pulled into the hole where she looked. He felt pulled, too, but resisted the urge to rise and go to her. The effects of it, and of it all unraveling into Lydmila's sight were dizzying. The Wolf took this moment to look away from the Wrath of LeCavalier and focus his attentions away, toward the docks. His ears lifted again. Lydmila might distantly, at the edge of her mind, sense the pictures the Alpha showed, laced with emotions, to try and communicate with the distracted half of his pack. When Lydmila spoke to him again, one of his ear lifted and tilted back her way.

    ~Our ways are old. it is why we have faded from the world. There are so few of us now.~

    There was a deep ache in the sound of his voice. Something deep and raw and unhealed. A Longing. Something so deep and wide that she would feel his trepidation about being swallowed by it. There was also a second half to that Longing, another side to the coin: an excitement, a desire, a want of another kind.

    ~When the darkness here is ended, I will teach you~ he said with an odd ring of finality, as if she had agreed to something beyond what she had just allotted. ~If Liar'Adon sees it fit for you to run with a pack as a Wolf, then you shall.~

    Then the Wolf fell silent. It was the sort of silence that was uncomfortable, not for its length, but for its reasons.

    ~We remember the Taroc when they first came. It is among the Seven First Stories told~

    Of what he spoke would have been hundreds if not thousands of years old. The Great Crossing, when the boats from the West found Rekōdo. It was one of the Seven Great Stories told by their people: When the First Hunt came to be, When the Explorers came from the West, when the Ironed men came from the North, when the Conquerers came from the East, and When The People Fractured. The last two were too sacred to name, and could be heard by no one but their own, so he did not name them to Lydmila's mind.

    ~We have seen much of Taroc's true face.~

    His voice had grown quiet again. A hint of that Longing was there, but bottled up again quickly before the taste of it could touch the mind.

    ~We will be there in Dreams when they sail.~

    It was not a threat, but a statement. It was something that, as absurd as it sounded, felt completely natural.

    Then the Alpha goes silent as Lydmila speaks. He's turned back around now. She has his complete attention. The intensity of his crimson gaze, if she looked at him and not through her scope, would be too much. It was the look one had when someone was inches away from a massive discovery. So close. She drew so close, but he knew she would not discover the secret of the Wolves. No one could. Only Nalia al'Vatar, in all the ages since they'd forgotten how to be men, had recognized them for what they truly were.

    The Alpha stood.

    ~I will hold you to your half-promise, Wrath of the mate of Nalia, but I am not the one whom you will need to help. There is another.~

    He approached Lymila with his massive paws and crouched down to the ground. He intended for her to ride him, thinking their pace would be too fast for her to keep up. A simple thought would be all that is needed to decline the offer. It was not one given out lightly. She might sense that.

    ~The Dark Things gather at the forest's edge, near the Trees of Light. They hate the light illumined by those that are called Enchantry. They seek to go within and destroy what is left of the people of Nalia.~

    There were two great roads that came up from the city itself to the cliff that held the Seven Pillars of Enchantry. One on the Northside, which led to the seventh and last pillar, the other on the Southside that led to the first. The bowl-shaped chasm between was a mixture of stone-braced cliff, bedrock and white-stoned buildings of moderate size. The roads opened out onto a wide street, wide enough to take on five lanes of Rekōdo City's heaviest traffic. The pillars lined the middle of the stone-lined ground. A railing of carved stone lined the sheer drop off of the cliff. There were no buildings set into the hillside. Nalia had insisted the land here remain untouched. Something about this space was sacred. The two roads could continued on steeply. They wound and met at the hill far above the pillars to complete the circle they'd started at the city far below. Atop this cliff and set a little ways back so as not to overshadow the city, was the Emerald Palace of Nalia al'Vatar. Around it, the hills continued to ride before they fell away before the great face of Liar'Adon's sky. Nalia had insisted the palace not go higher than those green peaks. This City was not about the palace, which was why it was set serenely back from the hilly cliff where it was built. Not even the Seven Pillars dared to go higher than the hill where the palace lay. Nothing here sought to outdo itself or anything else. There was a perfect sense of balance in how everything had been built. It was like the layers of an Astral wedding cake. Each layer supported the one above it. Each layer was unique but part of the greater whole. Each layer added, never detracted, from the overall beauty of the masterpiece that was made.

    He was going to take her there. As soon as she was ready, either upon his back or at his side, the Alpha Wolf would lift his proud head and let out a very long howl. The vibrations of it echoed off him and down onto the building. The entirety of the land around him trembled with its echoes, like a shiver to its call. Through their connection, Lydmila might feel the minds of every Wolfbrother on the island snap to attention. The howl was great and long. It called his pact to him like a final, dramatic trumpet started men on their greatest battle in war. Then, when she was ready, he would leap from this rooftop to every other that provided him a path, down to the white-stoned streets he seemed to know without a map, through the copses of trees and untouched forests that might provide them a speedier path to road that arced upward around the southern side of the Seven Pillars.

    There was no emerald light coming from them now. All the Pillars had been abandoned.

    There was only one light source now: A great, white dome and a line of tree light that extended from the entrance at the road to the cliff-face where, above, the Palace stood. As they arced upward to the level-place where the pillars stood dark, a greater darkness rose up before them. A wall of Nightmares that seemed to swell and crest like a wave, but it rocked unsteadily and then thrashed as a vortex of violet burst through it. Nightmare debris and remained rained down from the sky, beating the thick snowflakes to the ground in their descent. Some of them screeched or roared as they came down to their end. The Alpha Wolf dodged them and brought Lydmila to the place she wished to go: to the place where the Dark Things needed to die.



    -+-



    The Island of Capios: Inside the Caverns




    Shalla of Tuah and Laelis of Lymes


    She was shaking.

    The gravity of what Evalynn had done left her completely unable to stay upright anymore. In the icy cold waters of the Cavern, she fell.

    She could not feel her legs anymore. Everything from her pelvis down had disappeared from her body. At least that's how she felt: like a buoy set out by the sailors of Taroc, bobbing to the will and rhythm of the sea. The tether that had always helped moor her to the earth had broken loose and now she was freed to drift among the waters without direction or control. She was not sure how she made it to the shore. She expected herself to drown. Maybe one of the Merfolk had aided her?

    It did not matter now. Her task had been done. The Caverns were nearly empty of their people. Only the last few fearful remains, the severely injured, the Healers who tended them and those higher above who guarded the Caverns from the Nightmares. The gritty mixture of sand and rock on the shore was the last thing she felt as it scraped against her cheek. Maybe the tide was going out and dragging her with it? Did the Cavern's have tides? The water in her mouth held a diluted salty taste. The waterfalls, she could still hear them somewhere in the distance, dumped fresh water into, what would be without, a lake of sea water. It was an odd mixing of two worlds that somehow worked.

    She was floating. Below the waterline, her ears picked up a flurry of clicks and whirs. It sounded like dolphins she'd seen swimming though the Sea of Sul when she was a child. She was drifting away in the water. She was so cold. She felt the numbness of it sweep through her.

    Don't fight it.

    Her eyes opened. There was a face above her with long hair. A hand reached for her, but something was not quite right about the hand. She squinted. What was it that was off? it was hard to tell. Her vision kept getting blurrier. Fading.

    Don't fight it.

    She felt compelled to listen. She was too numb to fight. Did she need to fight? She wasn't sure.

    Do not worry. We will take you away.

    Oh. Oh, that would be nice, wouldn't it?

    ~Oh, Ev~ she whispered remorsefully as she was pulled beneath the water of the Caverns. The ripples behind her spread out along the water's surface and they too, like her, disappeared.
    *The Golden Goddess|The Goddess of All Motherless Secundae*
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    \"You know me: everything detailed and long, blah blah blah.\" (Brath OOC)

  3. #233
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom

    Nalia.jpg

    Arion, Acting Guild Master of Taroc, Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo and Nalia of Enchantry


    The idea of a Council for the Guild Masters to have in their own Provinces was, initially, disputed by the Ancestral Spirits. It was a tiny tidbit she gleamed from the Book of Memories. It was their first great argument at the High Council table of Tradiseus the Valorous, the First King of Rekōdo. The First Masters had wanted undisputed claim to their lands, but the King persisted and showed them the wisdom of having many voices at one common table. Every Province now had a Council of their own to some varying degree. Pasce could see the wisdom that flowed from such a group and discourse. She made a mental note to praise Alain LeCavalier for the Council he kept, however unorthodox they were.

    If she were able, she would create an era of peace where such drastic measures as were seen in the Great War would never happen.

    The Princess's attention is caught by the veiw Olivia shows her. She leaves her place at the couch to stand a bit closer to the open space of the air past the Heli'Dom. It had dimmed considerably. If there were any stars to be seen, they would be seen best under such optimal lighting as this. But there was only clouds and snow falling so thickly that it obscured natural sight and contained it to within a few meters of where she stood, but what she saw through Olivia's Raven's was clear. Pasce winced as Darmon was folded in half. She forced herself to continue watching. She did not turn away, but was still thankful the couch and its group were behind her. She was also thankful for Verona's interceeding. Their talk of the Great War and the plans to compromise Arxus made her feature fall and then steel into determination. She would not let another Great War happen again.

    "She's no' so creepy, Ryth" Arion muttered in defense of the Clocktower Woman." 'er Song is actually qui' beautiful."

    The Acting Guild Master of Taroc plucked a few strings on his guritar that resonated with his memory of her Soul Song.

    "I did not sense Arxus in the World of Dreams" Nalia offered. "But neither did I of Clow. He was just there."

    Nalia's voice was tight. Her hand clenched Ryth's. Carefully, she leaned herself back on the couch. Such a slouched position was unlike the Guild Mistress, who always did her best to appear proper and poised. Largely, it went unnoticed. Everyone's focus had drifted to figuring out the puzzle at hand. She gripped Ryth's hand tightly. Arion glanced at Nalia as if listening to something, but then went back to the gentle plucking of his instrument.

    "Desperation."

    The Princess's voice lifted back to them from where she stood, watching.

    "I see no one else around the island where they fight. He was released from me within the borders of Taroc. There would be no one of Maginus blood at Capios that was not female. Arxus would know DArmon can no longer be his Vessels. It goes against the words in Oath of Masters. His options were very limited."

    "Per'aps 'e was bettin' on the Shepherd dying in th' figh' wi' Darmon?" Arion offered. It was a sad thing to think, but many in Taroc would argue that cruelty is the way of Maginus. Olivia's words confirmed his thoughts.

    "We can add killin' a Guild Master of Maginus to 'is long list of crimes."

    "We cannot intervene" Pasce stated before anyone could throw the idea out, if anyone from taroc would be willing to throw such an idea out. "They have gone."

    Arion's playing came to an abrupt end.

    "Gone?!" he rounded the side of the couch and came to stand beside Olivia. He turned to face the two women and trained his crimson eyes on them. "Gone where?"

    Nalia laughed. She actually gave him a small, quiet sample of her laugh. It came out in a quick rush of held breath. Nalia's hand eased off of Ryth's as his second came up to close upon their conjoined digits. The tightness she felt passed and left her winded.

    "Your tastes in suitors were terrible almost as bad as your nicknames" she managed with a hint of a smile. A small joke for a small joke. As much as she had hated him calling her 'Nally' when she was younger, she treasured the memory of it now. She still though, above all else, preferred Nalia. Her smile faded.

    "If it had not been for Alain of Taroc" she told Ryth quietly "I would not be here. He was the first to show me compassion in Astral and it never broke throughout my time in Taroc. When I left Maginus-"

    Nali lost her breath for words. Her chest rose and fell laborously to bring the air needed back. When she looked at him, her eyes were glossy. The grief of almost losing Alain was still too near to her heart.

    "I could love no other as I do him. He is my match, Ryth. All Liar'Adon's stars could not change that."

    It hurt her to speak it, because she knew it would drive him away. She had not answered Ryth's question. Nalia's smile let her completely. Her body began to relax against the couch out of exhaustion, but she looked over her shoulder at the Second, the Princess and the one she called her best friend.

    "I'm alright, Ryth" she said gently. "A man with strong hands and the sense to use them will have all he needs in life."

    Her eyes return to Ryth as she quoted Harbin LeCavalier. She had not lost the intensity of her stare, despite the tired rings beneath her eyes. There was something else behind it. Desperation. He would see it in her eyes. She lied to him. Nalia was afraid.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 04-14-2018 at 03:57 PM.

  4. #234
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    KALI

    Dyani would feel the slight quiver of Kali’s flesh beneath her feet as she situated them under her scales. In the beginning, it was a foreign annoyance that she had to learn to relegate to the back of her mind. She couldn’t afford to allow it to distract her while Dyani was on her back, no matter how irritating or uncomfortable it was. The first few attempts during training had not ended so pretty for Kali or Dyani, but with time, they two had become quite efficient in fighting tactics.

    Now, as the two put into practice all that training, you would think they had been borne to this. And as Dyani rallied the sister’s below, another gout of dragon’s fire erupted from Kali’s mouth. Below, she could hear the resounding battle cries from her sister in response to Dyani. Adrenaline had been spiked and as a result, Kali could feel the dome of white light grow and push up against her belly.

    Her neck turned enough for her eye to catch the rider on her back, and with an acknowledgement, Kali pushed ahead with one strong pump of her wings. With Dyani’s feet nestled against the flesh underneath her scales, they acted as a cue to keep the rider on top balanced. Rider and dragon moved as one, as blade, claws, teeth and tail sliced through any opposing Nightmares.

    Below, the women kept pace, moving forward just slightly behind their leaders as the two opened the way. From above, Kali’s eye could see Kai and Blas, one taking up the front of the formation as the other took up from the rear. Under different circumstances, Kali may have laughed, for it appeared as a strange earthbound dragon making its way in the darkness towards some savory prize.

    But even as they breeched the forest and began carving the way through the entrance of the caverns, Kali could feel her rider’s distress. She had called out to Shalla and there had been no response. They did not have time to slow down, and even as they carved their way through the remaining Nightmares, Dyani’s panic grew.

    The closer they came to Evalynn, the stronger her link and the stronger she felt her in the back of her mind. Eventually they could be great distances from each other and still feel the other, and vaguely, Kali wondered how much of this Evalynn was receiving. Not just from her, but from the tenuous link with the others.

    Even with fire bursting from her mouth, or her teeth rending Nightmares apart, her mind could still connect with Dyani. Kali was not one to want to offer false hopes, and with Merriam and Fateema’s fates unknown, another would not help moral.


    “Dyani, she sounded so tired. Perhaps the O’aris have taken her on to safety. She was with Laelis, they wouldn’t have let anything happen to each other while in the cavern.”

    There wasn’t anything they could do, and they would find out soon enough. Thanks to Evalynn, the way to the caverns was easier to get to with the frantic scattering of Nightmares. It was that thought of Evalynn that caused her to pinpoint exactly where she now stood with Vukan, and the ghostly figures, who were doing their own version of clearing out Nightmares.

    “Evalynn, Vukan, we’re here, on your back doorstep. Gather yourselves and company up, if they wish to come. It is time to move the last of our sisters to safety.”


    The two pushed forward, the entrance to the caverns in sight as cleared the remaining hundred yards. The sisters standing guard to the entrance stepped into view as the last of them reached the mouth of the cave. They would remain there until the last of the sisters reached the cave and were safely into the water. As the first of the sister’s breached the mouth of the cavern, Kali and Dyani turned toward the rear of the group to keep the Nightmare’s away.

    “Dyani.”

    The woman was a proud warrior from Shamaa, who now made her home here in Enchantry. She had the heart and spirit that Kali could relate too, that drew her in, a kindred spirit. Her mind couldn’t focus on the pain and suffering that had occurred this day, but in the back of her mind, there would be a need for healing. They were a sisterhood, and each loss meant something, but it would be a lie if she didn’t say that those you were closest too would hurt far worse.

    Kali couldn’t think to say more, because there was so much emotion just in speaking Dyani’s name. They would all be there for each other after, but for right now they couldn’t allow themselves to get too wrapped up in the unknown.

    As the two circled around to protect the back of the group and keep the path open , Kali pushed her feelings down. They would do no good to leave them raw and exposed, only to lose their heads now.



    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

  5. #235
    The Unsettled Lands: Vasa Pinnath in the Dragon Range


    Darmon_Returned.jpg

    Sacha, Shepherd of Souls and Darmon, The Returned



    ~And where~ Arxus quipped haughtily as the teleportal fires engulfed them ~would that be?~

    Both men from Maginus know the bite and the sting that awaits them before it comes. They would have been better prepared for it if they knew it was coming. The white-haired Shepherd kept the wind and snow from his face with an upraised hand. Despite his efforts, the wind whipped his shock of white hair before his squinted blue eyes. If he was freezing, he gave no indication. His face had molded itself in a very serious frown. The remains of his robes billowed hectically in the blizzard. He was, at least, grateful for his boots. Sacha's blue eyes fleck around wildly as he tries to make sense of his surroundings, but it is impossible to see beyond their noses in any direction. Sacha reviewed what he knew: They were in the mountains, he could feel a chaotic pull on his Soul, and they were a place where Darmon was hated as much as in-

    There were claw marks all over the bedrock. Sacha's eyes went wide. He spun back around to face Alain.

    "Why have you brought us here?" he yelled above the snow and wind. His voice was swallowed by the sound-eating snowfall and fog.

    But the newest leader of Maginus knew why. He took a cautious step away from Alain, as if he were facing a man cursed with a plague.

    Darmon thrashed on the cold, hard stone of the ground. His glowing, violet eyes burned with hatred at Alain and Sacha.

    ~Run, coward!~ he mocked. ~You are nothing. you will be dead before sunrise.~

    He spat at the ground at Sacha's feet. The Shepherd's body steeled from the feeling of being named a coward and the tingle of the Master of Taroc's telepathy as it filled the air around them. Without thinking, Sacha began to move in a circle around Alain and Darmon. his gait was slow, but his grip upon his Shepherd's Crook was tight. The runes nearest to his hands glowed with faint, violet light. He did not like it here. No child of Maginus would. He stalked around like a caged tiger. There was a dangerous attentiveness to his blue eyes.

    ~What? You're going to shoot me?~

    His voice sizzled with dryness. Sacha stopped pacing at Alain's request for him to draw near. His blue eyes flicked from the Master of Taroc into the thick snow and endless white all around them.[/font]

    ~Do as he says, Shepherd.~

    It was the first Arxus had spoken since they'd arrived. He fell away into silence and, Sacha realized, he felt him slipping farther back into his mind, as if he were trying to make his presence less known. The Shepherd of Souls took a step toward Alain and then froze. He spun around and reversed the hook of his blue-carved lasso so that the pointed end was out and up, aimed at something barely visible amid all the snow.

    Darmon, folded in half and bound upon the cold granite of the mountains began to laugh. It is a sound cut short with the arrival of chaos.

    First came the young ones, dragonlings enough to fly and frequent this place. Vasa Pinnath in their tongue: Red Cliffs. They came barreling out of the snow-strewn air without warning, silent until they let out a piercing noise at the moment their taloned claws grappled for the broken and bound offering on the stone. The sound of their boned claw as they scraped against the rock was jagged and painful. One by one they came with increasing rapidity. Not a single one dare take the man who writhed and yelled and cursed them with spittle flying from his mouth as he tried to get enough words out to hex them. Some of them alit to the air with cries of pain or outrage as they felt the sting of his words. The cacophony of their cries grew so loud it deprived the Shepherd of Souls of his own thoughts. He could only see the ones that came down from the sky, but the way his neck and back prickled with goosebumps warned him to not be deceived by his lack-of-sight. They were everywhere in the air above them.

    Then the snow began to swirl chaotically. A roar rang out, loud and commanding. The winged children scattered hurriedly as the bulk of a giant dragon came rushing down from the sky. The beat of is heavy, leathered wings buffeted the eardrums and blasted the snow away in spirals and shockwaves. Its shadow came first before the massive body, scarred and damaged from centuries of fighting against the men of Maginus came down with a horrid roar. The dragon's shadow eclipsed the space where Darmon's body had been laid. His mouth, full of jagged and deadly teeth opened and let loose its fury upon the Returned Man of Maginus. The Dragon, with only one eye, pinned the undead man to the ground beneath a massive, scaled claw. Its bone-clubbed tail flicked back and forth angrily. He turned his bone-horned jaw toward the two Guild Masters. His tongue, forked by a blade in battle, vibrated amid rows of teeth as a guttural sound rumbled from the depths of his throat. He bore the scars and chipped bones of many battles, most likely against men from Maginus. The scaling on his ribs and back were thick and hardened to a dark brown, almost black with a golden underbelly. The boney horns of his face turned sharp and dangerous. The pitch-black iris of his eye was flecked with the faintest hints of gold and amber. The second eye, clearly missing from a wound in battle, was healed over with scarred, leathery skin. The horns atop his proud head shook as he snuffed the scent of the Maginus and Taroc man from his nose. The mighty dragon known as Curucuar roared defiantly in Sacha's face and at the pistol-leveled at his prize. This was a trophy of flesh desired by all dragonkind, perhaps by him above all others. Curucuar returned his steeled, one-eyed gaze to the Undead terror of the Uru'Loki, raised his neck back and opened his mouth wide to strike.

    But another sound interrupted the air, causing an even greater scurrying of the younger dragons back onto the ridges and peaks surrounding the Red Cliff. A beat of wings and warning cries rose up from the air and sliced through it with the heavy danger of a saw. The one-eyed dragon looked sharply up at the snow-strewn air and then crouched down low with an open-mouthed sound of defiance and possession as Karythar descended and alit atop a snowy peak that hung above the Red Cliff. Others followed suit and the snowy mountainside shook with the impact of dozens of dragons as they lined the open space of the Vasa Pinnath. Karythar had landed at the highest place and Curucuar was at the lowest. Her pitch-black eyes stared at him and from her throat came a guttural, low and long sound like a growl hat crescendoed into an open-faced bellow. The one-eyed dragon's form sunk lower to the ground, but it hearkened an equivalent noise. His wings and stance was wide and his sharp, front claw remained on the bound body of Darmon of Maginus. His tail flicked aggressively. His single eye was trained on Karythar. Her her belly shone with a pale, amber golden hue that matched the flecks in her black eyes.

    The other dragons along the crags and peaks scratched and clawed, they all made noises at Curucuar, but it was unclear if they goaded his challenge on or yelled at him to back down. Curucuar lashed his bone-studded tail and let out a massive war roar. For a moment, the air was thick with the tense presence of too many Uru'loki. Then, at last, Curucuar yielded with a bow of his head. There was a rise in noises, of deep-pitched purrs and clicks and noises from high in the throat that sounded like rapture upon a wooden door. They all fell away to silence.

    ~Alain of Taroc, where men and women divine truths from the Light of my Ancestors~ Karythar en Uru'Loki intoned. The name of his province was said with an odd, mental click of the tongue on the roof of her mouth. ~You spoke truly to me in Dreams. You bring Darmon of Maginus to Vasa Pinnath where our young practice so that they might learn to kill Men from Maginus when they invade our lands.~

    It was unclear if he was right or had erred in bringing Darmon to this exact location. Perhaps he sullied the grounds or perhaps such a prized kill deserved a more respectable place. Beside Alain, in a protective stance, the newest Guild Master of Maginus looked tense. If Alain watched him closely enough, his eye twitched at the presence of the Dragon's voice in his head.

    "Worry not, Man of the Stars. The ways of your Quieting hold no special sway here. It is against nature as is this vile waste of flesh. The honor of killing this man will go to Curucuar."

    Beneath the massive claw of Curucuar, Darmon laughed. The dragon's mouth opened, but his low growl of rage was cut off by a sharp sound from Karythar. There was a subtle shift among the other dragons that flanked the Dragoness. They moved slightly and their attention shifted to the man beside Alain. There was a growing rise of alarm and anger in the air. It electrified the snow and made the air shiver with it. There were sounds coming from the pitched areas of their throats. A sound of excitement stirred with outrage.

    ~Yes, yes that's right~ Darmon of Maginus called out calmly from his pinned position.~Your reptilian brains are slow in the winter season, but I see you've picked up on the guest LeCavalier has brought into your midst. Taroc, as you see, has horrible manners when it comes to introductions.~

    The oil of his words leaked into the air and poison the grounds around him. If his glowing eyes and smile could be seen, they would be like a snake's: all teeth and deadly, but the majority of him was lost under the presence of the one-eyed dragon.

    ~You and I and the one-armed wonder are all very well acquainted~ he continued ~but I do not believe you've met the newest Vessel of Maginus's Ancestral Spirit... have you?~

    Darmon's violet, glowing eyes moved to Alain and Sacha. If he could have gestured politely, he would have done so. Alain's combat sense would explode with songs of carnage and death, first of Sacha and then of anything else non-Dragon in his wake. It was an opportunity none of their kind could ever have hoped for, to not only rend Darmon, but his home's Ancestral Spirit from Emporium... Curucuar's claw lifted up from Darmon of Maginus as he turned toward Sacha and Alain. Countless years of battles, wars, damage were in plain sight before them, all of them scattered in a canvas of carnage across the chipped bones and scarred skin of the dragon before them. It was not just Darmon of Maginus, but countless Masters and men before him, all of them lead and strategized into armies of hatred by the Spirit within the white-haired boy's head. Curucuar's mouth opened and a bright hotness could be seen rising in the pit of his throat. The heat of it could be felt and it melted the snow that fell between them before it had the chance to hit the ground.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 04-20-2018 at 10:30 PM.

  6. #236
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Lieutenant Lydmila Pavlich




    The Island of Capios...


    Lydmila gazes to the distant north-west. Only snow, mist, and darkness can be seen in that direction, but she somehow observes meaning in the nothingness.

    "LeCavalier will do everything in his power to visit justice upon the man in dark," Lydmila reports.

    When the Alpha tells her he will train her and she will become part of a pack, Lydmila returns her gaze to the giant wolf. There's a change in her mostly unreadable expression, as a moment of confused contemplation is written across her features. This shifts to a second of embarrassment, and a softly muttered admittance.


    "I thought the old Shamaa man was speaking in metaphor," Lydmila confesses as she works to restore her normal enigmatic demeanor. It's a difficult return as she can only imagine the jokes Ryth or LeCavalier would make about her being able to turn into a giant wolf. She dreads that some of the jokes might actually be funny. Eventually, Lydmila becomes more of herself as she returns her attention to the Alpha.

    She tries to see what this creature was before he received such training and became a wolf. Lydmila sees absence. Something is missing. She should see a form, a life, anything. A day in history has robbed her of this vision. Lydmila can feel that much, but gains no further insight.


    "I'm sorry, I already belong to a pack," she informs the Alpha. "I can best fight for them by being able to do this."

    Lydmila holds up a hand and bends her trigger finger. A finger she would not have as a wolf.

    "I am nothing without my rifle. I'm sure being a wolfbrother brings great power and is a position of high honor, but the mold of my fate has been recast too many times already. Changing myself again would threaten to undo all I have worked hard to become.

    Lydmila falls silent when the wolf speaks of his kind remembering Taroc when they first came. She tries to fit this information into what little she can see of this mysterious creature. He was once a man. A man of a people that were here when Taroc first arrived onto these shores.

    Lydmila looks around at the city of Capios, built up from the ruins of a long lost and forgotten culture. A culture with no written history. A dead society that left no ghosts behind.

    Eventually, the Alpha guides her attention back to the present, and the people of Enchantry that are currently in danger. Lydmila stows her curiosity of some stolen chapters of history, and focuses on the battles of today.

    When the Alpha lowers himself, Lydmila immediately understands what he's offering. She slings her rifle onto her back, and climbs onto the wolf. Their journey is a swift one. They make their way through the layered city.

    Capios is a beautiful city. Lydmila was here early in Enchantry's efforts to restore and build up this forgotten city. She witnessed those initial struggles and hardships that needed to be overcome in order to forge a place that is a perfect balance of majesty and modesty.

    Seeing Capios now, brutalized by the wrath and cruelty of Nightmares, saddens Lydmila. It's a tragedy. The sniper hates tragedies. She fought in an entire war of tragedies. Pointless death and suffering. The innocent dying for the ambitions of the powerful.

    Lydmila banishes any sadness. It will only weigh her down. She takes hold of the anger. There's quite a bit of anger, and she keeps it. This will be her fuel. She's tired, hurting, wants to just crawl away and sleep, but the anger will keep her going. She will hate these Nightmares for what they have done, and this hatred will make the killing much, much easier. Just like it did in the War.

    Soon they arrive at the focal point of the conflict. Here the hordes of Nightmares seek to end the last refugees from the besieges city of Capios. Lydmila hops off of the Alpha and instantly has her rifle in her hands.


    ~Fan out,~ she tells the Alpha, trusting him to pass her words on to his pack. ~I trust your pack to watch my back and sides. I am also trusting you to forsake my safety if an Enchantress shall need you more.

    ~And I'm sorry, but this will be loud.~

    She doesn't take cover. Lydmila simply peers through the scope of her rifle and fires a bolt of lightning. The bolt strikes three Nightmare beasts, they burst into ash and screams. Lydmila turns her aim and fires another bolt. Then another. Then another.

    Lydmila slowly walks towards the battle. Firing bolt after bolt of lightning. She is a storm. A force of nature. The ashes of destroyed Nightmares mingles with the falling snow. Screams of slain beasts fills the space between thunderclaps.

    The Nightmares notice this force of destruction and begin to swarm towards her. Lydmila greets their approach with bullets that explode into waves of fire. The fire burns the fiends, driving them back and slowing their attack. The wounded Nightmares retreat back into the dark swarm. They find no escape as Lydmila sends more lightning to chase after them and their unholy brethren.

    She only pauses a handful of seconds. That's how long it takes to eject an emptied magazine from her rifle, and slot a new one into its place. Then the storm continues.

  7. #237
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Commander Colina Weir



    The Ailes Bones... To the Southwest: Dragon Scale Island


    The flow of Nightmares swarming the beach begins to slow. The hordes of corpse-wearing terrors begins to thin. The combined efforts of Shamaa, Taroc, Maginus, Enchantry, and O'aris are taking a toll on the finite number of Nightmares that are left in their world.

    Colina finds her work in battling the beasts on the shores being claimed by humanoid shaped creatures of sand and dream magic. She's surrounded by these sand brutes, as they tear through whatever Nightmares she would have battled against. The Taroc soldier takes a moment to catch her breath. She recognizes these sand creatures as the work of Da'Jinn magic.

    Her attention shifts to Aramil. The Da'Jinn man in the robes of a Maginus priest. Colina couldn't distruct him any more unless he was also somehow associated with Astral and the Nightmares. The glare she gives to the man will do much to inform him of this view.

    After a moment of rest, Colina turns her attention and the aim of her gun towards the sand that hasn't been animated with Da'Jinn magic. She fires off several elemental bullets into the beach. The power of the bullets creates small sandstorms that strike out at many of the remaining Nightmares on the beach. Like the sand creatures, these storms are also saturated with dream energy, which quickly tears through the Nightmare beasts.


    "If you or your white haired cohort tries to summon the ghosts of my family again, I'll make sure you both join the departed souls you so recklessly make into your playthings," Colina warns the hooded man. She then aims her gun at him and fires. This time her gun shoots out a bolt of lightning that arcs around the priest and strikes a Nightmare beast that was stalking its way towards Aramil. The Nightmare bursts into smoke and ash.

    It took every bit of Colina's willpower to curve the lightning around the priest, rather than striking him down for whatever role he played in dragging her loved ones away from their final rest. She wants to kill him. However, that's not her mission here. The Shamaa seem to have cautiously accepted this man's assistance, and so Colina will follow their lead. Though, Colina's version of 'cautious acceptance' will come with no end of her glaring gaze and an ever present threat of death lurking in the air between she and Aramil.

    Colina was never the best of diplomats.

  8. #238
    The Ailes Bones... To the Southwest: Dragon Scale Island






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


    Aljana. Paradise. How beautiful place it must have been before its end. Merriam's thoughts are silent as she intakes all of what Branwen offered her. Her jovial lips are set in a thin line of a frown. Her light brown eyes are fixed on the Maginus-robed man from Da'Jinn as he weaves Jinn and Efreet in something Fateema once described to her as a Blade Dance. Women, of course, were forbidden to learn such a thing, but for the men of Da'Jinn it enhanced their skill in battle. The lines created in the wet sand and rock by the booted feet of the man were smooth and arching with his fluid movements. If there were not such dark things about, it might seem beautiful. Fateema, she imagined, would cluck her tongue at her and remind her the dance was incomplete without a battle for a partner. Merriam of Enchantry, raised in Clow, sighed through her nose.

    "Rekōdo has much wisdom to learn from Shamaa" she said tightly in the end. She took her eyes off of the man on the beach.

    She was glad for a change in subject, a shift back to Nalia. Merriam forced a smile at Branwen. She tried to think of Nalia as their leader, their Guild Mistress, quiet and powerful. The thoughts of the news that Shalla and Evalynn had brought to her were shoved away.

    "Nalia has a way of creating something out of nothing much" she stated with a bit of cheer to her voice. She spoke words that, in her heart, she felt were only full truths about her raven-haired leader. "Just look at Capios. She had the bare bones of an island peppered with ruins and she turned it into the beautiful jewel that it is."

    Was. Smoke rose in the distance. Darkness snuffed out the light that once was Capios. Merriam's face fell. She worried for the state of Mahlan's Spirit, heading so willingly into such darkness. Who would draw her there with her sister so ill here? Merriam opened her mouth to voice such concerns when Aala spoke. Immediately, her attention was drawn back to the living before her, to Fateema. Relief, sweet relief floods her entire system. Merriam's hands reach out and clasp one of Fateema's in her own. The clammy feel of her Sister strickened her face with a moment of grief, but it passed.

    "I cannot rest" Merriam said with an edge of sadness to her voice. "until my Sisters and I are united again. I need to make sure Nalia's Council is able to assist Kali in keeping the heart of Enchantry beating until her return."

    Merriam's eyes looked to the Da'Jinn man on the shores, dancing to the tune of battle, and then sadly down at Fateema.

    "It has to stay alive."

    For all of them.



    -+-



    He does not notice her at first.

    The single, Taroc soldier is a a flyspeck on the gallery of his vision. Sand bends to his will. It rolls and moves in waves along the beach. The rock and driftwood-studded shore becomes a war zone of natural, dream-laden projectiles. The Efreet of water is given a second of attention and then slowly let go. the sound of the O'aris's battle with the dark blights has gone slowly silent. the frothing, foam-laden waters began to lap in their usual tidal movements again. The disruption of dark harbingers were eliminated, or gone, perhaps back to Capios. Everything else seemed to be drawn back there. The Spirits of Sacha's Summons had all gone. The sight of them had made him shiver.

    He caught the tail-end of Colina's glare and did the only thing his brain could afford of him with the rest of him so busy squashing the dark things: He threw her a horrible, debonair smile. His white teeth and handsome, if not slightly aged features would be considered dashing now by Da'Jinn standards. Here, grinning widely on the frontline of battle, the Maginus Priest looked like an fool.

    When she fired at him, the Da'Jinn man let out a yell and threw his hands up in vain to shield himself. There had been no time to read the coins before departing Windf'rte. This could be it.

    But the jagged teeth of electrical death move around him. His outcry is muffled only by the shriek of the beast behind him as it explodes into ash atop him. Aramil shakes him self and dusts the dark matter from his robes. He smiled in delight at not being dead, by Nightmare hands or the soldier's.

    "Yes, thank you very much!" he shouted in relieved nervousness. He lifted a hand to Colina, stopped awkwardly halfway-to-dropping it and then raised it again. "Thank you, kind soldier! I will tell him!"



    -+-



    The glow of the Dream Paint upon their skin faded. The play of light and shadow was gone from their faces and left them with the dull presence of what little light was offered on the island. They had been so still, like a line of statues on the shore than snow lay atop their limbs and torsos in drifts. The first of their movements, a hand being removed from the damp, rocky sand, cause the thick snow upon the Maloto tribe to shift and then fall. Zarena, sister of Zareb, inhaled and released a soft, shuddering breath that echoed and drifted on the wind. The air was colder than she remembered it. She felt terribly cold.

    Zarena sat back roughly in the sand and snow. There was a dazed look on her face, achingly distant, as one often looked when they were half-remembering a dream they'd had mere moments after waking. Slowly, the rest of her tribe took to the sand. Some sat, some hunched over, some bowed their head to the damp earth as if the feeling of it would further root them there. They all breathed deeply, as if they had run the distance between their island and Capios and back again. The Animal Spirits bound in widening strides and circles from the Dream Speaking Tribe. Several broke off and hopped toward Branwen. Rabbit messengers and ferret deliverers came bearing news of the awakening of the Maloto Tribe. Animals swam by, flew and further offered information of what was currently taking place at Capios.

    The dream energy remains glowing within the sands. It would for some time. The earth beneath their feet had been saturated with it and the presence of Nightmares, both moving and fallen would continue to be seared away by the Dream Energy for hours to come.

  9. #239
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Captain Jacob 'Gold-Eye' Petrov




    The Island of Capios, The Forest Entrance: By the First Beacon


    When introduced to Vucan, Gold-Eye regards the dragon with a bit of scrutiny from his single glowing eye. The stare of that blazing eye only shifts when Evalynn mentions Vucan is a brother to her. The eye glances at Evalynn, looking her over, peeling away layers of reality and showing the ghost pirate hidden truths.

    Eventually, the spirit doubles-down on his maniacal grin and gives a respectful bow to Vucan.


    "It's nice to meet you, Vucan of the Dragons," Gold-Eye greets him. "Any friend of friends of my friend's friend it a friend to me and my crew."

    The captain places his spectral hat back onto his mist-made head. He then swings the massive anchor out to smack a shambling Nightmare beast away before it can menace anyone. The Nightmare is sent tumbling away and is soon shot down by the cannon fire of the Raven's Triumph.

    "I have always enjoyed working with dragons. My cannons are part dragon."

    Gold-Eye smacks away another Nightmare before gesturing towards the cannons on the Raven's Triumph. The barrels of some of those cannons are adorned with dragon skulls. These skull cannons breath out spectral hellfire to burn the Nightmares with burning malice and wrath.

    "I offered those poor souls a chance to expend the hatred that weighs them down. Their vengeance is like a chain around their spirit, it makes them too heavy to ascend to the stars. Every breath of hellfire relieves some of that weight. Someday they shall breath out all of their burning hatred and be free to take their place in the sky."

    Three more Nightmares get smacked away as he explains the nature of his dragon cannons.

    Soon Evalynn offers Gold-Eye a mission. The captain replies with a bellowing, maniacal laugh. He turns away from the Enchantress and walks toward the hordes of Nightmares. The chain attached to his anchor rattles as he walks away, laughing like a madman.

    He raises a hand towards the sails of his ship. The undulating plane of mist-like sails is made entirely of the souls of the damned. Souls that, in life, had opposed the Raven's Triumph. Souls that were captured upon their death, and forced to work for Gold-Eye. The sails were intended to propel the ship, allowing the Raven's Triumph to sail on spectral winds.

    Now Gold-Eye offers these damned souls a chance to finally earn their freedom. It's a chance the imprisoned souls all agree to. The sails of the Raven's Triumph burst apart into spirits of dozens of Maginus men. They tumble free from the masts and rigging of the pirate ship, and land amidst the attacking hordes of Nightmares. These freed ghosts now fight against the Nightmares. That is the price of their freedom. Kill Nightmares, and the souls shall have their freedom returned to them.

    Gold-Eye then raises his hand towards the smashed and burning belly of the Raven's Triumph. There he has jars of gathered souls. Taroc souls.

    Traditionally, the Taroc people send their dead out to sea in small, specially crafted boats. The bodies are soaked in sacred oils and adorned with special plants and flowers. The mixture of oils and plants mingles with the salty sea air and causes the bodies to ignite moments after being claimed by the pull of the tides. The body and boat burn away as the seas guide them out to infinity.

    The souls of the just and righteous will follow the path of the stars above and find their way to paradise. The souls of the unjust, selfish, and evil will be blind to the stars in the sky, and are condemned to haunt the lightless depths of the seas until they have paid the moral debt of their dark lives. It is said that such a debt takes centuries or even millennia to repay.

    Gold-Eye offers these sea-lost souls a chance to repay that debt in a fraction of the time. He makes them a deal, serve as his undead crew and he will cast them out into the spirit realm where they can find their way to their afterlife. Typically, such souls are paired with undead bodies. Right now, Gold-Eye does not have extra bodies to spare, so he has to settle for using these souls in the forms of spooks and specters.

    With a wave of his hand the soul jars shatter. The hull of the Raven's Triumph tremble, and then bursts open as hundreds of lost Taroc souls pour out from the heart of the ship. It's an army of souls, rushing forth from the ship, and like a tidal wave of etheric lights and mists they crash into the legions of Nightmares.

    It took over a decade to gather these hundreds of souls. Captain Gold-Eye spends it all in a single moment. He and his army of ghosts and crew of undead will fight against the dark Nightmare fiends. He and his kind will fight to grant the white dome and its contents the time and space needed to complete their journey into the caverns.

    All the while, Gold-Eye laughs and smashes his anchor into any Nightmare that crawls within range of his wrath.

  10. #240
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Verona Aliester, Eliona, Filip Ryth & Olivia Kuhrson



    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom...


    Olivia's features skew slightly as she tries to work her way through something odd that she saw in Alain's departure.

    "That was a sloppy teleport," Olivia comments. She moves her hands in arcane gestures. Pasce will see the vision of the ravens evaporate into shadow and smoke. "I think LeCavalier is playing momma bird."

    Verona softly tells Pasce, "In the War, that's what they called it whenever Alain demonstrated various powers in obvious ways that would make it easier to duplicate. It's how he taught others to use similar powers."

    Even if Pasce was unfamiliar with the wartime term, she would know the method very well, as Alain had used it when he tutored her and Eri.

    Ryth offers Nalia a small smile. His expression dims into a wistful pondering when she quotes Alain's grandfather. Most in this room probably have volumes of Harbin LeCavalier quotes stored up in their memories. Right now the words sadden Ryth, but he quickly recovers and tries to only show Nalia a warm smile.

    "You know me, kid, strong hands but no sense," Ryth tells Nalia.

    "He needed help teleporting Darmon," Olivia explains to the group. Ancient Maginus runes glow around her gesturing hands. "Darmon would have been able to fight against the teleport of one Guild Master, but he couldn't resist the power of two. Fortunately, mamma bird teleports are extremely easy to track."

    The vision of the ravens returns. Once again it is offered to Pasce to share what the birds observe. This time what they see grants them almost no new information. The trio of birds show only snow and mist. Olivia brow wrinkles with slight frustration. She forms more arcane gestures, creating more runes. The sight of the ravens is altered, granting them supernatural vision. They begin to see through the clouds and snow. A claw-scarred cliff takes shape, and a trio of men occupying that cliff can be seen.

    Then an opened maw overtakes what the birds see. An instant later, the ravens and their ability to share information comes to a swift end. Birds reeking of Maginus magic tend to have short lives in the domain of the dragons, as they make a tasty treat for the beasts of the north to catch and eat.

    Olivia lets out a startled gasp and jumps back from the brief vision of being devoured by a dragon. It was one of the young dragons lurking in the mists and snow, but its tooth-filled maw still looked quite large and deadly from the perspective of three ravens.


    "They're in Dragon territory," Olivia informs the others as she struggles to regain her calm composure. "I lost my eyes on them."

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