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  1. #191
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom

    Nalia.jpg

    Arion, Acting Guild Master of Taroc and Nalia of Enchantry



    Everything shakes and rumbles. The very pregnant woman held on tightly to the chair that had so often been occupied by the Guild Master of Taroc and hope she had not just destroyed Clow's telescope. She had asked without thinking of the consequences her request would have for the Heli'Dom. She tried not to think, because what she was about to do was against everything she had just promised Eliona she would not do. If she thought about it, she would change her mind.

    No. No she wouldn't.

    She already knows that this is what she must do. She feels it as surely as she felt the need to go with Alain of Taroc nearly twenty years ago in Astral, as surely as she knew Enchantry must be reborn, that she had to break completely with Maginus. Now, she is unflinching even as Ryth begins to fire his gun to stabilize the interior of the Heli'Dom's structure. The sounds of the gun's release are dulled, distant. The stones are falling in slow motion as Nalia lays a calm, cold hand upon the massive lens of the telescope. Within it and around it, the pieces are re-aligning to fit the current need.

    Arion had stopped playing the moment the telescope began to move. He wheeled around and upon seeing Nalia aloft his face twisted in confusion. What in Liar'Adon's starry skies was she doing? Confusion melted into horror as the Heli'Dom twisted itself apart in order to re-arrange its telescope. Arion started playing again, a fast, rhythmic pace like the fast-paced salsa dances of Eastern Astral. The Heli'Dom loved music, and Arion played in hopes that the massive, floating turret could help pull itself together. He shivered and stumbled in his playing only as Olivia pulled the blackened scythe from her bag. Arion shuddered and shoved the wretched sound of the damned Soul incarcerated within the blade to the back of his mind and instead focused on the sounds of the Heli'Dom itself. With his music, he sought to stabilize and stitch together the outside structure of the turret to keep it from falling apart and out of the sky.

    The telescope was in alignment. Nalia's emerald eyes looked to the convulsing Princess.

    There was only one thing left that could be done.

    She remembered the need of the Princess. She remembered the cracks, the stress fractures from the sheer power she contained. Nalia remembered how the ragged edges of her Soul were failing under the weight of the seven Ancestral Spirits. The heir of Rekōdo was more fragile than she let the world see. Pasce was dying and she had to help her. Light began to pool in the palm of Nalia's hands. With gentleness befitting deep concern for the Heli'Dom, she pressed her hands to the telescope's massive lens. The Princess was dead, but there might be enough of her Spirit left to revive her. She had given her life to free the Spirits so that her people, her world might have a chance to defeat the darkness. She surrendered to the Beyond in order to give the Forgotten a chance to be remembered. She died so that Nalia and Alain might have a chance at life with their child.

    It was such a selfless act.

    The light continued to grow in Nalia's hands and pool within the massive telescopic lens. With every passing breath, it grew so bright that she became eclipsed by its presence. She was the light. The light was her. She was losing herself within it and letting the great needs of the Princess consume her. Nalia looked over her shoulder at the Princess just one time more.

    The air became charged with power. It hummed and sung as she suffered to call forth ever ounce of power she could muster. The air grew darker as the brightness of her light within the telescope eclipsed everything. The thrum of the air grew sharper, more high-pitched. The White Light encompassed her and filled her to the point of bursting. Nalia cried out a long sound of anguish and managed to get words out in a rush before she let go.

    "Olivia, move!"

    He was the first to piece together her plan and react. In one swift motion, Arion lunged forward and grabbed Olivia away from Pasce's body. He pulled her and spun her so that she faced away and pushed her down behind one of the desks cluttered with books and star charts. If she did not gouge his life out with the spear, the Acting Guild Master of Taroc hunched over her and shielded her with his body. He would restrain her if it were needed, gently as he could.

    Then Nalia closed her glowing, emerald eyes. The air went suddenly and deafeningly silent as the universe has turned on all its lights, bright white hot and paused to observe this world with its new clarity. The whine in the air grew piercingly sharp and just as it reached a breaking point, the glowing light within the telescope exploded. Nalia's cry was lost among the brilliance of the white light that blossomed into life like a newborn sun. The white light of Nalia al'Vatar burst out of the Heli'Dom's telescope and bore down upon the body of the Princess of Rekōdo through its great optic lens. The brightness of Nalia's release glowed so brightly that the stars disappeared and night seemed to melt toward day.

    The Princess's body was swallowed by the brightness of Nalia's light. The deep rooted need to restore the life within Pasce's body pulled and took thirstily from the light that was offered. The light blanketed her, covered her until she appeared to be made of it. It lifted her up from the floor of the Heli'Dom and encompassed her in all its beautiful, pure brilliance. It was with courtesy that the Princess's body was laid back down upon the ground of the Heli'Dom as its presence drew to a close. The light departed with a release of the sounds and the hums and the resplendence. The air remained still but a moment longer and then dimmed back to its normal, nighttime hue. The snow began to fall again, softly, calmly and quietly. Everything, for a beautiful, compact moment, was still and at peace.

    Arion looked up and cried out, just in time to see Nalia fall.
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  2. #192
    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...


    A shockwave of force bursts forth from the vortex. Unleashing power upon the universe often results in the universe pushing back. When the power is at this level it usually takes time for the cosmic order to rebound and send the shockwave back.

    A sorcerer with the instincts and talents that Nalia possesses will know how to sidestep or disperse such chaotic forces. An entity with Clow's experiences and mastery of magic would know how to counteract and defend against these reactions. Alain is separated from both of them. So far his plan has been to open the rod and hold on. This plan leaves him quite vulnerable when the shockwave of cosmic forces slams into him with the might of a runaway train car.

    Alain is thrown away from the statue and opened rod. He flies through several trees, halving them as he passes. His flight is eventually halted by the side of a bolder, which is cracked in half as payment for its obstruction. Alain bounces off of the damaged boulder and slams into the gravel covered ground.

    The rod, no longer being held open, closes itself. The lightning fades into an echo of thunder and a charge of universal energy that lingers in the air above the island. The vortex swallows itself up and vanishes. The Nightmares and gateway the vortex devoured are forever exiled to some void in another realm. The titanic statue looks on over the ongoing drama of the man of Taroc and the monster of Maginus.

    Alain doesn't move. It takes a few moments before his body realizes breathing is needed. His chest expands to take in the air that had been knocked out of it. Alain's breathing is rough wheezing. The world around him is dark, with a soft cold drifting that plucks away at the edges of his senses and trying to tug him from the world.

    He fights against unconsciousness, or death, whichever has decided to claim him in this moment. He struggles. Alain's limbs move slowly. What isn't hurting is numb and nonresponsive. There's little strength left in him. Since Clow was taken, Alain has sought to charge himself with other forms of magic, to keep himself as strong and potent as he can. That charge of magic has been spent. His body is too badly injured and drained to offer him anything other than what his will power alone can force from it.

    Somehow, Alain turns himself over. He presses a stone palm onto the gravel and tries to use his unliving arm to push himself back up. His flesh and blood arm has given up and stopped responding to the stubborn man. It's a small struggle, but after several clumsy moments Alain is soon on his hand and knees. He's not sure how, but he's soon on his feet. Alain worries that he may have blacked out a moment.

    He begins to stagger his way towards where he recalls Darmon was. Alain reaches behind himself and pulls a combat knife out of a sheath clipped to the back of his belt. He grasps the blade in his stone hand. It's the last weapon he has left in the world. Stabbing and slicing a fiend that likely won't even feel the pain of such a pathetic attack is the last strategy Alain has.

    He thinks about going for the rod again, but he knows his body doesn't have the strength to fight off Darmon and get him to the artifact. Even if by some miracle he can reach it, in his current state the power would destroy him in an instant. His body lacks the fortitude needed to make use of the might of that ancient artifact.

    Certain in his doom, and too stubborn to give up, Alain limps his way towards Darmon.

  3. #193
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Verona Aliester, Eliona, Commander Filip Ryth & Olivia Kuhrson




    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom...


    Eliona can sense what Nalia is doing moments before the light begins to shine.

    "No, don't!" she cries out. Eliona tries to rush towards Nalia, but Verona wraps both arms around her to restrain that impulse and hold Eliona in place. The aide to Taroc's Guild Master proves to be surprisingly strong and able to restrain the Astral woman.

    Soon any attempt to halt Nalia becomes moot, as the chamber is flooded by light. Eliona manifests a purple mist over her eyes. It's an illusionary haze that will block much of the radiance, and allow her to see. Verona, however, turns away as even closing her eyes does little to fully block the intense glow.

    Meanwhile, Olivia soon finds herself being shoved to the ground. She lands with an annoyed grunt. The necromancer makes an attempt to hold the dark scythe out and away from Arion. Sure, she has the magic needed to cancel out the burning he would suffer from touching the accursed weapon, but she'd rather not have him feel such pain in the first place. She knows that such an agony can be an unpleasant experience to any living being that's unfortunate enough to touch the accursed weapon.

    Olivia looks to Arion, and gives him an approving nod. The white light of Astral healers wouldn't harm her body, but in the wild form that Nalia produces, and magnified as it is, it just might unravel her necromantic existence. Olivia is glad she doesn't have to find out what effects it might have on the dark powers that holds her body and soul together.

    She then lifts Arion of her and rises up from the floor. Her attention falls upon dark weapon she holds, as it seems to object to all of the white light at use in this room. The scythe is growling in her grasp. The onyx handle has sprouted thorns. Some of these spikes bite into Olivia's hand, but she gives little thought to the pain. Though she bleeds, no drop of her undead blood spills, as the thorns greedily drink up any drop of crimson that they touch.

    Olivia's focus shifts to the golden nail imbedded in her other hand. She holds that hand up towards Pasce. Olivia focuses on the tether linking her soul to Pasce's. She balls her hand into a fist. She can feel that phantom tether manifesting within her grasp. Olivia closes her eyes and begins to pull upon that tether. Pasce will feel the pull of this unnatural link. It calls her back into the realm of the living. Olivia hopes Nalia was able to infuse enough life into the princess's body for her soul to return to it.

    When Nalia falls away from the telescope she lands in Ryth's arms. During the release of the white light Ryth had made his way towards Nalia. He wasn't sure what he could do to aid her, but his instincts told him to get close and do whatever he could. Now he holds the limp woman in his arms. An apple-sized spot of red begins expanding on the bandages that wraps up Ryth's ribs and abdomen. The stitches that Eliona had applied to his Nightmare wound have popped during his work to stabilize the chamber and to reach and catch Nalia. He's bleeding again.

    Ryth limps his way away from the telescope, which smokes and groans from the intense power that had been poured through it. He makes his way towards the hearth on the far side of the room, where he sets Nalia down on a couch. As he places her lying on her side on the couch, Ryth drops to his knees beside her. He clutches a hand over his bleeding wound. It hurts like a fresh wound. The Nightmare beasts certainly know how to inflict maximum pain.

    Ryth's other hand reaches two fingers to Nalia's throat, to check her pulse. His features, evolved over the decades to show maximum outrage and fury, now only knows worry and compassion for the woman. He's not sure what they could do to help her if her efforts to save Pasce proved too damaging to her and her child.


    "C'mon, Nally," he whispers to her. "How'm I supposed to stay mad at you if you get yourself killed trying to save the princess."

  4. #194
    Beyond Emporium: On the Journey to Death





    Pasce, Princess of Rekōdo



    There. She felt it.

    The tug she felt toward life was different than the constant down-stream pull of death and eternal peace. This pulled against the heavy current and end. It dragged her as she went in the direction of it. She felt as if she were trying to run through knee-high mud. Every part of her began to burn and ache, as if she were ablaze with fire. The natural pull of death fought against her, but now she had a sense of the unnatural bond between she and Olivia. She felt it and as she pressed forward through the layers of darkness and death, her body began to glow. It was faint at first. The light of her life had dimmed to near non-existence as she'd come so close to her family. Now, as she drew nearer to life again, she began to shine like a white sun. In the vast expanse of darkness, she was a ray of hope and as the light of her Spirit sought out the light of the world she'd left behind, a pebble of light burst into existence beyond her. Pasce pushed harder against death's current and ran until the tether of golden rope that bound her to Olivia began to manifest before her eyes again. The closer she became, the more the bead of light grew. Pasce outstretched her fingertips toward it until the brightness of the light grew so bright around her that it swallowed her whole.



    -+-



    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom



    Within the bounds of the chair, Pasce's body lay still. There was a stillness to the air within the Heli'Dom's protective barrier. It kept out the snow and the cold, but it could not keep out the eyes of the universe and the universe watched with baited breath to see if the trick of light could really undo the damage done with the greatest of intentions. The white light of the dark-haired woman may have left the air, but the extreme nature of its presence left a taint. An energy that almost seemed to buzz with the excitement that came with a new life being born. The body of the Princess tied to the chair was still.

    Then she inhaled sharply and her slack body jolted upright. Her pale eyes opened and were filled with the remnants of Nalia's white light, but as she looked around, the light began to fade. The Princess blinked rapidly and looked around as if seeing this world for the very first time. Her hands, bound to the chair, began to shake. The firing of her nerves renewed and sought balance within her newly healed body. Pasce looked around and as her eyes focused, they found Verona with a woman she did not know. A man knelt by a couch in front of the hearth. There were people missing. People who had helped her.

    Her memory felt fuzzy, empty as if there were something missing from it. Something big. Something great. Pasce's gaze drifted downward as she sought to remember what filled the void within her with a foggy memory. The newness ov everything was pure and overwhelming.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 03-10-2018 at 02:13 PM.

  5. #195
    The Ailes Bones... To the Southwest: Dragon Scale Island




    Sacha, Shepherd of Souls and Aramil of Sahil, his Advisor



    Sacha came to a sliding halt in the sand. His boots sprayed pebbles and grit in an arch before him. On the rocky beach the Shepherd of Souls went terribly still. His blue eyes scanned the open space before him wildly, but as Aramil came around front to face him, he saw that his eyes stared beyond the battle in front of them. Aramil's chest heaved and he rested his hands on his knees as he gulped in deep breaths of air. He looked up at Sacha from beneath his hood and studied him with a single eye open.

    "What is it?" he asked between breaths. The white-haired man remained still. The cold, snowy wind moved his hair before his intense, blue eyes.

    "Arxus" he breathed. Aramil hung his head and then pushed himself off his own knees.

    "How generous" the Da'Jinn priest breathed with a short laugh. "that your Ancestral Spirit has such timing as to keep us from running into that mess of light and darkness ahead of us."

    The runes around Sacha's hand on his Shepherd's Crook began to glow a violent blue-black light. Aramil lifted a bushy eyebrow at the crook.

    "Well that's new" he muttered. The glow spread from Sacha's hand to the hook and point on either end. A runic circle sprouted from the end of the staff that touched the ground. Aramil stepped back. The rune glowed brightly and illumined Sacha's face in blue light and shadow. Aramil craned his neck to try and observe the many lines that formed pointed shapes within the circle without touching its light.

    "This is also new" he intoned curiously. "How many new things does this Spirit catcher of yours do?"

    Sacha was too busy studying the runic circle to answer. He crouched down and studied the ancient script along the edges of the stars and pentagons within the circle. Then he stood quickly.

    "I must go."

    "I had guessed that you would."

    "You must remain here."

    His Advisor sighed palpably.

    "I had a feeling you would leave me here in all this chaos."

    "You are needed here" the Shepherd said. "I need you to help protect the Life here in my absence."

    "My job is to advise you" Aramil countered. "You know I am no good at protecting life when all I can do is-""

    Sacha's blue eyes leveled on Aramil and his words fell short.

    "Well... I will miss you" he attempted.

    "You will be fine without me."

    "Give yourself credit" Aramil pouted sorely. "I actually enjoy having you around."

    "I will not be long, old friend" Sacha comforted. He twisted the hook in the ground like one would turn a key in the lock of a door. The blue light shone upward from the symbol and illumined the air around them."Protect the life here. I put you in its charge."

    The light of the runes enveloped him from the boots up. He disappeared into symbols, runes and numerals, until he was gone. Aramil stared at the spot where Sacha stood and looked to his prison on the island. He sighed again.

    "I'm not old" he said in mock pout. His chocolate brown eyes looked to the towering Efreet of water that waited patiently with absent, glowing eyes behind him. He waved him on. "You heard him."

    Aramil and the Efreet came forward and joined the fray for the second time. Aramil kept his distance form the others, from the dark things that still crawled upon the island. He lifted a hand and, like a puppet commanded by strings, the summoned elemental being of water bounded forward and continued to render the blights from the water. Aramil's eyes glowed a golden orange and, as he lifted his other hand, beings of sand were summoned forward. Their arms became swords and their fists hammers that became as solid as concrete. All around Colina and Branwen's warriors the sand and water fought back against the Nightmare that invaded their island.



    -+-



    The Ailes Bones: The Cross-Shaped Island


    On the shore of the Cross-Shaped Island he appeared. The runic circle flared into life on sands that were strewn with driftwood and sizable stones, much akin to the Dragon Scale Island to the far southeast. This island had thick pines that rose up from the thin, rocky shoreline. Sacha swung his Shepherd's Crook around the moment he arrived, but on the shore there was no immediate danger to him. Arxus's circle had brought him here, so the Spirit must be nearby. The runes and script were ancient and the Ancestral Circle of Maginus was old, as old as the Province itself and it summoned him to complete his sacred duty to his Province.

    Lightning crackled and superheated the air so that very little of the snow made it to the cold earth. Mists and steams rose up from the waters to cover and caress the landscape. The air tingled with leftover charge from the barrage of lightning and universal energy release. He looked to the sky, to the swirling clouds that eerily churned above. The hair on Sacha's skin rose up. He shivered and took his eyes away from power so immense that it could only be from a God.

    Sacha hefted his hand-made crook of duty up and took off at a run into the pines. He lifted an arm to keep the needled branches from his face. He'd made it several yards into the island when a final clap of thunder and sky-split of lightning ended whatever Godly storm had raged in their earthly skies. The air was left humming and Sacha could feel a throb in the soil as real and very strong as the beating of his exercised heart. In the distance there was a sound of tree snapping and bouldering being hewn in half. Sacha paused and crouched low as the titanic series of sounds. Had giants been summoned from the swirling storms above? Had Liar'Adon been irked into sending retribution against Rekōdo? Perhaps returning Darmon of Maginus to this world had been a mistake on the part of the High Priests...

    The sounds faded away and heavy, snowy silence permeated the air again. Once more, the Shepherd of Souls began his trek forward and renewed his search for the Ancestral Spirit of Maginus.

  6. #196
    Faraking Island of Taroc in Far Western Rekōdo: The Floating Heli'Dom



    Arion, Acting Guild Master of Taroc


    Ryth is there. Thanks the Gods he is there for Nalia as she fell. If something happened to her or her child, Arion would not forgive himself. Snatched from her fall or not, something very well could be wrong with the very pregnant woman. He'd never seen Nalia wield the white light before she'd healed his horns. This was well beyond the mending done under her hands. This was an expulsion of power, of all that she had. In his concern for Nalia he had forgotten about Olivia beneath him.


    An apology is muttered to Olivia as he is lifted from her body. The strength of the woman comes as a surprise to the foreign Acting Guild Master of Taroc, but it is unquestioned. He is distracted by the scythe as it growled. Arion shivered and turned his attention away from the blade and takes off at a run over to Ryth's side. Arion's crimson eyes watched Ryth with as much calm as he could manage. Arion wanted to reach out and touch Nalia, but he did not want to interfere with Ryth. He could hear it in a way Ryth could not. Her Song played weakly in his ears. Her lone violin sounded even more heart-rending than usual in its current, hollowed state. Ryth's strong, impatient Soul Song had slowed to a largo tempo. It rolled along like a wide, broad river and carried Nalia's tune with it. For this moment, the Ryth's Song intertwined with the compassion for Nalia and wrapped her wounded sound up in his own. It made it hard for Arion to breathe.

    "I can 'ear 'er, Ryth" he managed to say softly to the old soldier at his side.

    "An' the child. I can 'ear it too. But-" Something about Arion sounds distant, very far away as if he's listening for a very soft sound. Something about his voice changed. Ryth and Arion had been together on Alain's team for a long time. There were very few times Arion used the tone of voice he did now. "-she's far from us. 'er Song is fadin' in an' ou' like-"

    It was a voice he used for Souls that were fading out. They tended to ebb and bob on the currents between life and death like driftwood on the ocean. Arion's crimson eyes looked from Nalia to Ryth. it took a moment to register the blood on the old soldier's side and the hiccups that were appearing in his Soul Song as it and Nalia's drifted back apart. Arion wheeled around from where he knelt at Ryth's side.

    "V'rona!" he yelled. "Medic!"

    Before Arion turned completely back around he's put one of his large hands over Ryth's and applied pressure to his side. Arion was a tall man and even on his knees he shadowed Ryth easily.

    "Don't. Move."

    Arion's voice was crisp and distinct. He'd lost all hint of his very southern and foreign accent and replaced it with a serious commanding tone. The amount of pressure he put on his friend's side was two-fold: both to save his life and to add to the authoritative tone of his voice. Under his grip, Ryth wasn't going to move.

  7. #197
    The World of Dreams


    Nalia.jpg


    Nalia of Enchantry & Clow, Spirit of Taroc



    This time, when she arrived in the World of Dreams she was afraid. Her presence in this world of truths and lies meant that she had expelled too much. It had been too much for her to bear. She knew the needs of the Princess of Rekōdo were far greater than she could hope to truly fathom, but she had hoped- perhaps vainly- that she could withstand that need, that she could overcome. Immediately, a hand went to cradle the mound of child she carried before her. She touched it and went very still and only closed her eyes in relief and exhaustion when she felt the life within her move.

    This world was an echo of what was in the waking world. Her child was safe. It was within her still, for now, but not even that could hold back the tide of dread she felt getting ready to sweep her off her feet. She could not keep doing this for much longer. Whatever she had given to the Princess was the last of herself. She had nothing left.

    Slowly, Nalia sat down in the chair of the massive telescope of the Heli'Dom. The events of the day had not yet caught up to the World of Dreams. Here, the telescope was in its rightful place and all the stones were as they had been for hundreds of years. Gently, regretfully, Nalia placed her hand on the telescope.


    ~Of all Taroc's many wonders~ A voice behind her said ~You always loved the Heli'Dom best.~

    Nalia turned around. She did not want to. She knew to whom the voice belonged and she did not want to tell him.

    But turn she did and the Enchantress curtsied very low to the Ancestral Spirit of Taroc, not as low as she usually would, but she was burdened with a child and could not bring herself so low. Clow of Taroc looked upon Nalia of Enchantry and something in his face changed. He saw her womb and how far along with his Vessel's child she truly was. The man looked torn at the sight of her. In the end he broke the silence a single way.


    ~Please don't~ he asked of her. ~Not as you are.~

    Nalia looked up at Clow and then tore her eyes away from the noble-dressed man. A wave of guilt washed over her and she found that rising was more difficult than she'd thought. She was so tired and rising hurt. The Spirit of Taroc stepped toward her and offered her a hand. She took it and rose with his help. The look in his glowing, red eyes had changed again. Something of sympathy, of searching.

    ~Why him?~ he asked. He retained his hold on her hand one part of worry for her, the other as a manner of keeping her from escaping his question. Nallia froze and when she went to withdraw her hand, he tightened his fingers around hers. His manner was gentle. His asking was genuine, as was the aching in his heart.

    "You know why."

    He did know. He knew that she loved him. He knew now that she knew a truth greater than all other truths about their world. She knew their greatest lie. Nalia slipped her hand from Clow's. He let it go.


    ~I tried to stop this~ the Spirit said.~I tried to keep this from happening. I knew it would ruin him. And you, but most of all him. He has everything to lose by this. Taroc has everything to lose.~

    He gestured to Alain's child. Nalia looked down angrily and shook her head.

    "When will you realize that what you ask of us both, what you demanded of him, is to change the stars?"

    Her voice did not withhold the anger she felt. She was tired of their love being treated like a light switch that could be turned on and off at a request.

    "We are not Gods. We are not immortal like you. And we will not deny this anymore. We cannot deny this anymore." A hand went to her womb. Her muscles tightened and she held her breath and words until it passed. "We cannot change Liar'Adon's stars, Good Master, despite the constant demands. Such a thing would be so simple compared to what has been asked of us."

    Clow stood straight, but the defiance at her tone was melting away. She spoke a language he understood. The stars were a most precious thing to Taroc, the most precious thing.

    "What you ask us to deny and forget is as beautiful as those stars" Nalia said more gently this time. She was hurting. He could see that. "I would not ever change them. I do not understand why this world seeks to when it is this balance the world so desperately needs."

    Nalia touched the chair behind her to be sure it would not move and sat herself down within it. She bowed her head and exhaled sharply. Everything about her body went stiff. Clow's face turned ashen. Secretly, he prayed to Liar'Adon that what she felt was temporary.

    "And" she added, slightly out of breath as the contraction faded. "I am sorry about your telescope."

    The Spirit of Taroc blinked.


    ~What? What happened? What did you do to my- ~

    "I used it to amplify the White Light in order to save the Princess. I had to rotate it" -Clow winced- "to face her and the Heli'Dom was damaged. The light was-"

    ~Did you save her?~

    Nalia looked up at Clow. He stepped forward rapidly and stopped to close. His voice was intense.

    ~Did you save her?~

    Nalia's emerald eyes looked at the desperate Spirit.

    "I do not know. I gave her all that I had left and then I arrived here."

    Clow hung his head a moment. He seemed to exhale a submission to something great and then lifted his head.


    ~And... Alain?~

    They were glaringly obvious amid the pastel-white haze of the World of Dreams. The tangible and smeared colors of the waking world paled in comparison to the things who walked here. The dark, pale sky was studded with Liar'Adon's heavens. The sun was not yet on the horizon. Weather had no meaning here. There was no snow, no clouds to cover the heavens. But if you did not know to look for something, you might miss it entirely.

    Clow saw Nalia visibly struggle with something. She took in a deep breath and when she exhaled it, her voice shook slightly.

    "If Alain is-" the words lodged in her throat. She made herself stand from the chair. Her legs were shaking, but she stood before the Spirit of Taroc. She steeled herself before the most revered Spirit of Taroc."If you are here, then you have been freed from the Princess. I can guide you to Alain through this world."

    Clow gripped Nalia's shoulder hard, the way one soldier did to another. Nalia reached up and reciprocated the gesture.


    ~Taroc will be in your debt for aiding its Spirit and its Master~

    His words were true, heartfelt, but Nalia shook her head.

    "Taroc was my home for a very long time when I was an exiled stranger. It owes me nothing."

    Nalia's grip upon Clow tightened.

    "But its Master... It owes him more than there are stars in the sky for all the love he has given her."

    Clow's glowing eyes dimmed slightly and matched a softness that had grown there. There was no gentleness in Nalia's eyes. Hers had overcome with a deathly sternness that would be unnerving to most. Clow simply went still and watched and waited.

    "Where Alain is, Darmon will be also" she warned him. Clow understood without any need for elaboration. He had fought against the Man of Maginus for longer than he and Alain had been bonded. He knows that the returned man will stop at nothing to deny him of Alain or rend him from this world just to watch it all descend into chaos and madness.


    ~Guide me~ said the Spirit of Taroc.~With you, I go willingly where you lead.~

    Nalia nodded. Clow offered her his arm and she took it with her own. Nalia closed her eyes and exhaled a long, slow breath. Clow recognized the calming technique that he taught to Alain, and Alain to his people. He was patient. As the Spirit of Taroc, he had to be through generations of Guild Masters. On her last breath she said his name as she exhaled.

    "Alain" she whispered with a voice that rung and echoed through the air of the World of Dreams. It heard her and it understood. Nalia and Clow disappeared. It was only after that, that the Spirit of Maginus stepped out from the doorway of the Heli'Dom, the very door that, in the living world, Arion and Verona had come bounding through when the Heli'Dom announced the arrival of the Princess. He came forth into what odd, distorted light the World of Dreams offered to is occupants. Two hazy, double moons had risen in the sky high above amongst a field of stars. He stared up at the telescope. He could destroy it, wreak havoc on all of Taroc in such a manner that would yield terrible consequence to the living world, but then he would miss his chance. This was his only shot.


    ~Nalia~ he breathed and was gone.
    Last edited by SilntAngl5; 03-17-2018 at 03:36 PM.

  8. #198
    The Ailes Bones: The Cross-Shaped Island


    Darmon_Returned.jpg

    Darmon, The Returned



    The shockwave is met with a well-timed hand from the Master of Maginus. He was not entirely of this world, though his corpse was. He was bound by Dark Rites and ancient magik. The hand he threw up crackled with lightning that arched to either side of him as a shield from the blast of universal energy. His arm rattles and shakes against the might of the dispelled energy. Slowly, it burns away at the fabric of his priestly robes along his arm, across his chest and neck. His entire form began to shake until it was loosed from the earth and thrown back. He is not throw nearly as far as the Master of Taroc who was directly in front of the blast and unprepared for it. Darmon was gifted with seconds more and those seconds saved him the brunt of the trees and rocks that were felled before him. When he rose, he was smoldering and smoking as if he's been on fire. His priestly garb were burnt and singed. Holes and gashed were burned through his clothes where the energies had penetrated his shield and turned his lightning back upon him. The high collar at his throat was all but melted away. A fine, feminine handprint was visible about his throat and on his wrist. The flesh there had been charred black, shriveled and crisp. It could be no other's handprint but hers. No other had laid hands upon him in such a way and marked him with the darkness that he, until moments ago, had held in supreme command. From the shallow crater left by his impact, Darmon rose.

    The lightning and storm that had once ravaged the space above and around this island dissipated. Only the faint sounds of receding thunder echoed as a reminder of its presence. The air was still ripe with excess energy and it rippled and crackled along Darmon's body and down to his fists as if they were lightning rods. In the dust that settled, his glowing, violent eyes opened and filled the diluted air with their eerie glow. It is joined by a spine-shivering series of cracks and snaps as his joints and bones are manipulated back into their proper alignments. He is utterly silent as he returned to the clearing with the statue and the rod.

    The Returned Man of Maginus gazes upward at the titanic stared with apathetic eyes. Snow returned to the island and fell with slow, heavy flakes. The residual energy in the air was swallowed up by the thick flakes and it doused the island in a thick, heaviness that swallowed up all extra sound. As the snow fell on the undead man, it sizzled as it hit is clothes and exposed flesh. Darmon reached forth a hand whose wrist was wrapped in a blackened handprint. There is a sound in the air of unseen things shifting and moving. The statue vibrates but does not yield to the demands of this simple, undead soul. Darmon's hand drops. He cannot sense the Nightmares beyond the gateway to their entrapment. They are gone to him.

    "Such a waste" he remarked lousily as Alain returned to the clearing of their battle.

    He threw an unconcerned glance over his shoulder at the beaten Guild Master and the combat knife he carried. It was unclear if he was referring to the loss of the Nightmares, to Alain or them both. It was more likely the latter. Darmon turned fully to face the Guild Master of Taroc and assessed his battered state with uncaring, glowing eyes.

    "What do you hope to do with that?"

    Darmon motioned with a hand to the knife. The wrist was blackened and the winds that brought the snow teased the blackened handprint upon the flesh of his throat with the singed remnants of his collar. The resilience of LeCavalier made the sacrificial blood that flowed within him boil. His hands balled into fists that crackled with lightning.

    "What do you hope to accomplish!?" he yelled and lifted a hand. Boulders embedded within the ground lifted and hurled themselves at Alain. Fist from his right and then his left. Darmon's hands greedily grabbed at anything he could see on the island at Alain. Pines flew with a maw of roots at his direction. Needles sprayed through the air as they impacted either him or whatever around him was unfortunate enough to be in the way.

    "You are beaten!" he shouted with a roar of insatiable ire. "I have bested you, Alain LeCavalier. Enough of this!"

    There were not enough trees and rocks on this island, though it was full of them. It simply was not enough for the enraged Spirit. He ceased his tirade of tree and stone and shouted at his most hated enemy.

    "Why don't you just give up!?"

    If he needed to breathe, he would have been out of breath by now. Instead, Darmon dropped his hands.

    "No matter" he said with eerie calm. The violently, glowing-eyed man motioned with just the one, black-wristed hand for him to attack.

    "Entertain me, LeCavalier. Let us have one last show before I kill you and everything you love."

    A dark, sadistic smile spread across Darmon's face. He beckoned to Alain once more.

    "I'm ready."

  9. #199
    The Great Orange One Qwaring's clone#1 is offline Qwaring's clone#1's Avatar
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    Verona Aliester, Eliona, Commander Filip Ryth & Olivia Kuhrson



    Above Faraking Island: The Heli'Dom...

    As Pasce returns to the living world, Olivia glares at the scyth.

    "Go stand in the corner until I call for you," Olivia tells the forbidden weapon of deathly power. She lets go of the thorned handle, and like a punished child the scyth flies into an unoccupied corner of the chamber to await the end of its exile.

    Olivia now returns her attention to the princess. She pressess her bleeding, thorn-wounded palm over the girl's forehead. Olivia whispers an incantation and mystical forces wash over Pasce and feeds into the necromancer's senses. She's diagnosing Pasce's current condition.

    As her magic whispers secrets to her, Olivia glances towards the group gathered around the hearth.

    Ryth grunts in protest as Arion tries to give him aid, and halt the bleeding.


    "I'm not the one we should be worried about," Ryth growls to Arion. "Nalia's not doing good. She's freezing. Her pulse is weak. She's fading."

    "She used too much, Eliona comments. Verona finally releases her. The astral woman steps away from Verona. The mists over Eliona's eyes fades away. She looks to Nalia, Ryth, and then finally looks to Pasce. The healer sees three people in need of a healing magic that she can't access. Her gaze locks with Olivia's. The necromancer can see the conflict in Eliona's eyes. It's something Olivia saw medics in the Great War struggle with. Too many in need and not enough magic or time to help them all.

    Olivia looks away from the others. Her hand slips off of Pasce's forehead. The blood on the princess's head soon evaporates away.


    "The spirits are gone, and you're stable enough," Olivia calmly reports to Pasce. "Stay here, and get your bearings. I need to check on Nalia."

    Olivia rises from the Pasce's side, and marches across the room. Nalia needs help. All other matters fade away.

    Olivia grasps the golden nail puncturing her hand and pulls it out. She bends the nail in half and instantly the tether linking Pasce to Olivia snaps and vanishes. Olivia tosses the nail aside as she reaches the area around the hearth. She looks down at Nalia. Olivia has witnessed how the use of the white light has left Nalia drained of vitality and power. She can't guess as to how terrible this latest, and largest, use of the light has harmed her friend.

    Olivia ponders several revitalization spells. However, they're all dark spells. She knows she can't dare to use them on someone carrying a child. An unborn child would be susceptable to the forces Olivia would call upon. It would change the baby. Currupt it with unholy magic. Olivia can't inflict that shadow existence upon a child, not even if it could save her friend.

    Verona has run to the medic cart and recovered a healers kit, which she rushes to Arion and Ryth. She kneels beside Ryth, and begins cutting away at the man's bandages, so that she can better access his wound. Verona also takes a small packet out of the kit. She tears the paper packet open and a thread and needle, glowing with golden energy, slithers out of it. The needle and thread have been mystically empowered to seek out and stitch an injured soldier's wounds.


    "Ah, c'mon, I hate these things," Ryth protests, as it soon becomes apparent why Ryth hates the enchanted stitching thread. The needle and thread detects many cuts all over Ryth, as the man seems to be a magnet for fighting and taking a beating. So the needle and thread buzzes around him stitching various cuts, and seeking to close them all.

    Verona also recovers a fresh bandage, which she holds over the wound Arion's hand is pressed against. She seeks to replace Arion's hand with her own. She's an aide, and he's the acting Guild Master, so he should be the one that's free to act rather than stuck here nursing a stubborn old soldier.

    Meanwhile Eliona and Olivia are left looking over Nalia. Olivia lacks the knowledge or power to deal with matters of the white light, while Eliona lacks access to her own healing ability. While both of them are here unable to help Nalia, Pasce may be in need of further aid.

    Eliona looks up from Nalia, and gazes upon Olivia. This necromancer that Nalia trusts beyond all reason. Then Eliona recalls what Nalia said about balance. Balance between the light and dark. Between healing and necromancy. Eliona looks down at Olivia's wounded hand. The blood from the nail puncture is running back into the wound. The necromancer is using her dark magic to reverse her bleeding and seal up the wound.

    That's when Eliona realizes what must be done.

    She looks to Arion. He will hear it in her soul song first. A calm. A perfection of harmony and purpose. It's as if the universe had been conspiring to bring this woman to this time and this place to do what needs to be done.


    "Master Arion, if you would please see to the princess's needs," she politely tells him. He may be the acting master of Taroc, but she is the only healer here, and so the presence of so many in need of healing means she's fully confident in taking command and giving the orders now. "Your aide will see to Ryth, while Olivia and I will do what we can for Nalia."

    Olivia gives a confused glance to Eliona. The necromancer isn't sure what to make of an Astral healer of the white towers wanting her help with anything.

    Eliona removes a bracelet from her right wrist, and then begins unravelling the bandages that runs up from her burnt and cracked right hand and up over her wrist and forearm. She is baring her veins.


    "I am unable to channel the white light," Eliona explains to Olivia. "However, it is still in me. In my body- In my blood. We will need to perform a blood transfusion with Nalia. Give her the energy flowing in my viens."

    "You're not her blood type," Olivia observes with her necromantic senses. Eliona feels a chill run up her spine as this icy-eyed woman can tell her blood type simply by looking at her. Olivia, sensing what Eliona's full plan is, rushes over to the medical cart in order to gather up the blood transfusion supplies. "But I can use my magic to alter your blood, and turn it into something that won't harm Nalia."

    "Exactly," Eliona replies as she pulls up a chair beside Nalia's couch. "We can use my magic to recharge her. We won't be able to get her back up to full strength, but we can keep her alive long enough for her to recover on her own."

    Olivia kneels down between the two Astral women. She first inserts a needle and tube into Eliona's arm. She attaches the tube to a blood transfusion mechanism, which is designed to pump blood from one person to another. Olivia uses her knife to carve a small glyph onto the top of the mechanism, and casts a blood alteration spell on it. This spell will alter Eliona's blood into exactly what Nalia will need.

    Next a needle, attached to a tube, is inserted into Nalia's arm. The tube is linked to the enchanted mechanism. The device is then acivated, and crimson runs out from Eliona, into the mechanism, and flows into Nalia. Eliona closes her eyes and focuses on her mastery of the white light. She can't summon it to heal, but she can guide it out through her blood and feed it into Nalia. From there, Nalia's body will know what to do with this offered magic.

    Olivia rests a hand over Nalia's heart, and begins to chant an ancient spell. She's using her dark magic to help Nalia's body to accept the new blood and to take in all of the magical energy that Eliona is offering to her. She's also bending the magic she's using, and preventing it from getting anywhere near Nalia's child. It takes intense concentration, but Olivia will use every bit of will she can summon to protect that child from the touch of this dark sorcery.

    Meanwhile, the enchanted needle and thread has finally located the wound at Ryth's side, and stitched it closed. Verona has cleaned the wound and begun to rebandage it. It's not quite the masterfully executed stitching and bandaging that Eliona had given Ryth earlier, but it will be enough to keep the old soldier alive.

    Ryth pays no attention to the stitching or the bandaging. Instead his focus is on Nalia. He holds her chilled, pale hand within his grasp.


    "C'mon, kid," he whispers to her. "You gotta come back. You hear me? C'mon."

  10. #200
    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 swings his stone arm at the first boulder. Both the stone and the knife in Alain's hand shatters. The second boulder strikes its target with no trouble. Alain's world starts ringing and tilts at an angle he can't quite adjust to. He staggers forward. Momentarily blind and deaf to what's around him.

    A barrage of stones and trees soon informs Alain of what's happening around him, as they begin to pummel the limping man. He blindly swings his stone arm around, seeking to swat away the attacks. His efforts do little to protect him. Alain is soon battered down to his knees. Eventually he is beaten down to the gravel covered ground.

    By the time the trees and boulders Darmon has been hurling at Alain have themselves shattered and crumbled against Alain's mystically durable frame, Alain is left a beaten and bloodied mess of a man. He lies absolutely still for a few silent moments. Then some sounds of life rattles around in his wheezing breaths. His stone hand reaches out and grips the ground. He pulls on the fistful of gravel and begins to drag himself towards where he thinks his enemy is.

    As he drags himself towards Darmon, Alain leaves a trail of blood behind him.

    There's no fight left in him. His body is too far gone now. But Alain can't stop. He'll never stop. He has a will that won't let him give up, and a stone arm that will never know injury or exhaustion. Until the last embers of life are finally snuffed out of him, Alain won't stop.

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