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  1. #11
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    Eliona, Commander Filip Ryth, Sebastian Aether & Doctor Doraen



    The Province of Astral, Dayena City...


    Eliona was once quite the sorceress. Right now she cuts through the years of drinking and atrophied skills to summon up the brilliant mind she once possessed. She calls upon her knowledge of divided spells. Half a spell infused into a man. The other half in a medallion. Why break them in half? How would that function? Why is that practical? How to use this knowledge to end this nightmare once and for all.

    Eliona arrives outside, as the rain savagely beats down upon this miserable world. Ryth is somehow back on his feet. He's entirely unsteady. The hard rain is probably enough to push his battered frame back down, but stubborness alone keeps him up and moving. Ryth swings his pistol, trying to hit Sebastian with it. The armored man effortlessly captures the attack, and finally tires of this ongoing farce.

    Sebastian is here to murder a Guild Master, not demean himself with this grunt.

    Sebastian pulls on Ryth's captured arm, turning the old soldier so that his side faces his enemy. Sebastian then strikes out with his other fist. A loud pop pierces the air out from Ryth's back. With a single blow Sebastian has broken the High Guard's spine. Ryth falls to the grass, like a puppet with its strings cut.

    Eliona cries out and lunges at Sebastian. She throws all of her weight at him, and he barely budges. Purple fire bursts from her hands and strikes at the armored man. Sebastian reaches out with mystical senses and sees past the illusionary fire. Lightning of white energy snaps out from her, burning the man with the energy of life twisted up by rage. Sebastian snarls. He grips Eliona and hurls her away. She lands several yards away. Eliona hits the ground hard, and is momentarily stunned.


    "Idiotic, whore!" Sebastian roars at her. This was supposed to be his day of triumph. Taroc was supposed to be his now. Instead he's fighting with old men and harlots.

    He glares at Eliona as she lifts herself back up and slowly recovers her senses. He stares and waits for the dozens of Grimals to swarm upon her.

    But they don't swarm upon her.

    The crystal-headed monsters are all staring at Sebastian.

    Eliona had figured it out. A summoning and control spell had to be kept separate, because it confuses the beasts. Their twisted senses could make sense of a single spell in a single person or object, but if the spell is broken up and split into two places the monsters can't adjust to it. They can't fight against it.

    Now that Eliona had used her struggle with Sebastian to slip the medallion into the plating of the man's armor, then cast an illusion over it so that he wouldn't know it's there, the two halves of the spell are in one place. The Grimal now see the thing that is keeping them in this world they don't belong in. They now have a way of escaping this terrible world of rain, glass, and people that fight back. All they have to do is focus their combined will and resist this spell. Fight against it for one moment. Just long enough to end it.

    The dozens of Grimal lunge at Sebastian. Their attack takes him by surprise. He doesn't understand this. Their rebellion shouldn't be possible.

    They grab him with their unseen limbs. Whatever part of this man they can take hold of. Then they pull. Their invisible appendages pull with titanic strength. Sebastian twists in their grasp. His mouth opens to scream, but he makes no noise.

    Eliona looks on with absolute horror as the man is being torn to pieces by they swarm of monsters. His blood splashes onto the world around them, just as pure white snow begins to fall upon the scene of pure terror.

    The woman looks up to see the rain is gone, and has been replaced by frigid air, and a heavy snowfall. She gazes back down to see that Sebastian and the Grimal are gone. They've taken their kill back to whatever realm the cold chases them off to. And with Sebastian they have taken the spell that holds them into this reality.

    All over the city, the monster invasion is gone.

    Gone, never to return.

  2. #12
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    Eliona, Commander Filip Ryth & Doctor Doraen



    The Province of Astral, Dayena City...


    Eliona looks to Ryth's fallen form. She rushes over to him. The man is entirely limp. His features are twisted in agony and fear. His uneven breathing sounds like a bag of stones being dragged across a dirt road. His spine is broken. Much of his body is simply deadweight to him.

    "Liar'Adon's mercy no!" Doraen cries out as he finally arrives on the scene. He drops down beside his fallen friend. Doraen instinctively summons several diagnostic runes. These symbols of light fly out over Ryth, seeking out his injuries, and hover over his wounds. The runes change color and shape to indicate the nature and severity of Ryth's injuries. They tell the tale that Doraen hoped they wouldn't.

    He looks to Eliona, who is crying now. She no longer has the light. Even if she did, Doraen knows Ryth is far beyond any Astral healer's ability to heal. Beyond anyone's ability.

    Doraen looks down into his old friend's eyes. Ryth can see how hopeless this is in Doraen's tear-filled gaze. Ryth turns his eyes down toward his own hand. He can't feel that hand, but he knows it still holds Doraen's pistol. Doraen follows that gaze, and immediately knows what Ryth wants.

    Doraen takes the gun from Ryth's limp hand, and rises. The doctor pulls back the hammer of the gun and aims it at Ryth's head. Ryth makes the task easier for his old friend and closes his eyes.


    "Stop!" Eliona cries out as she puts herself between Doraen and Ryth. She blocks the doctor's aim. Doraen raises up the gun.

    "Step aside!" Doraen shouts at her, while trying to push Eliona away. The woman struggles with him.

    "What are you trying to do? Help him! You're a healer!"

    "There's no healing him," Doraen angrily tells her. Tears streak down his features as he rages at this woman that is making this impossible task all the more difficult. "Even if he survives this, he's trapped in there. He'll never move again. Ryth doesn't want to live like that. I won't condemn him to that hell. Now move out of my way or I will hurt you."

    Doraen is then pulled away from Eliona, as Hector has shoved himself into the doctor. Doraen soon finds himself struggling with this surprisingly strong elderly man, as Hector tries to wrestle the gun away from Doraen.

    Eliona kneels beside Ryth. The paralyzed soldier looks to her with pleading eyes. He's crying as whatever embers of hope had lingered in the man's soul have burned out. He silently begs for mercy.

    She places her hands on him. One hand on his back, and the other over his heart.

    Everyone is born from the light, and therefore everyone contains it within... No matter how small, or great the portion, it exists within them all. One day it will call them all home.


    "Not today," Eliona quietly vows. She reaches into herself and draws forth a power she has hidden from for many years. Only recently the white light has sparked forth in anger, and lashed out due to enraged instincts. Now, however, it pours forth out of hope and compassion.

    A cruel prophecy had ensured this gift could not heal those Eliona loved, but she swears she will use it and every bit of prophesied greatness to save this man. This noble man that would sacrifice everything just to save a people that have caused him and his province untold tragedy. Gustella says this man is a hero, and so for the sake of her sister and those this hero fought to save Eliona will do all she can to save him.

    The world is consumed by blinding white light. The day that is hidden behind storm clouds shines forth from Eliona's hands. It shines into every part of Ryth. The man trembles and quakes as the energy of life flows through his nerves and every cell. Eliona also shakes as she forces out every iota of energy she can reach.

    This task is beyond her. She's never had to heal something like this. Never achieved this point in her training. She can't breath. At one point she my have been able to heal something like this, but she's shunned her power for too long. The light hurts. Burns her from the inside as it protests her attempt to use more than she should. The world trembles, life doesn't deem her worthy of this miracle. She cries out, but doesn't stop. The universe said it would take three lives from her, right now she is forcing it to take only those three and not one more.

    Eliona screams. The flesh of her hands and forearms cracks like ruined stone. The light threatens to shatter her. She's nowhere near ready for such power. Still she struggles through the agony until finally her body gives out.

    Eliona collapses back. She is caught by Hector, who had kneeled beside her at some point. The elderly man carefully lays her down on the ground.

    Doraen kneels beside Ryth. The doctor sends forth his runes once again. He studies them and sees that his friend has been restored to perfect health. Ryth is unconscious, but he will live. Doraen laughs and wipes tears away from his eyes. Ryth will live. It's a miracle.

    Eliona drifts in and out of consciousness for a few moments before the sound of Doraen's laughter brings her back into the world. She looks at the doctor and at Ryth. She smiles as she sees Doraen take the slumbering Ryth into his arms and embrace him, joyful at his friend's restored life.

    She enjoys a few moments of the doctor's joy before her body gives in to exhaustion and she slips away into a deep sleep.

  3. #13
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    Eliona



    The Province of Astral, Dayena City...


    Eliona awakens. She's lying in her bed. Blankets draped over her, giving her some warmth to protect her from the unseasonable cold that flows through her home. She immediately feels a numbed, faraway ache in her hands. She looks down to see her hands are wrapped in blue dyed bandages. Eliona detects the scent of something from these wrappings. She raises her hands up to her nose to get a closer smell.

    "The Doctor said it was mint," Hector tells her. Eliona is immediately startled and sits up. She turns to see her family servant is seated on a chair beside the bed. The elderly man wears his heavy winter cloak and also has blue tinted bandages on his wounded arm. "He told me the mint hides the smell of the Maginus oils he applied to your wounds. These oils are meant to help protect you from infections."

    Eliona gives one last glance to her hands. She then remembers Gustella. Her heart breaks anew. Eliona looks up to the servant, pained to have to tell her the news.

    "Mr. Ryth told me about young Gustella," Hector says as he reads the emotions on his mistresses features. "I am sorry, ma'am. Your sister was an amazing girl. Brilliant, kind, and a good heart. She will be missed."

    Eliona falls silent. She looks into the man's swollen, reddened eyes. He has been crying. Hector is always a silent ghost of a man, always unseen until needed. He's been with the family almost as long as there was a family. He was around when Gustella was born, watched her grow up, and now he is hear to mourn her death. Eliona knows that pain.

    There is some comfort in knowing she won't be the only one crying for Gustella.


    "Thank you," Eliona softly replies. They are both the last remnants of a once proud and important family. The only ones left to say there had ever been a family at all. "Thank you for staying by my side all of these years. I've treated you terribly. I treated Gustella terribly."

    "You did what you needed to, when you needed to," the old man responds. "Your sister knew you loved her. Nothing could erase that. As for myself, I shall always be your faithful servant, ma'am."

    Hector then rises from the chair, takes a deep breath, and continues speaking, "Always, except for tonight. I believe I have earned the rest of the night off. Tomorrow, I will worry about cleaning up the mess the monsters and your friends made. Good night, ma'am."

    "Goodnight, Hector," Eliona replies, as she slips out of bed. She wraps the blankets around herself, to try to keep warm. A hole was blasted out of the front of her house, so the winter cold has a clear path into the home. Eliona looks out of her window. The world looks so peaceful. Snow falls and twirls about on cold winds. The once invaded city is blanketed in a layer of the pale snow. What was at one time a world of thunder, screams, and gunfire is now a chilled land of silence and peace.

    Gustella would have loved this. She always loved the snow. When they were young they accompanied their parents on a trip to Taroc, and Gustella first fell in love with snow and the land of Taroc. Their parents had brought the family to a small farming village so that they could secure a deal for the merchant company. It was on the day they were meant to go back to Astral that they were hit by a furious snowstorm. The girls had never seen so much snow fall so fast or for so long. The storm was so powerful that the family could not travel that night.

    When they awoke the next day everything was covered in snow. They looked around at the surrounding plains and fields. For miles as far as they could see the world was coated in a thick blanket of pristine snow. Their parents decided to stay an extra few days so that their daughters could enjoy playing in this newly discovered world of chilly wonders. They played outside for most of those days. Poor Hector had to chase after them most times, to ensure their winter adventures did not take them too far away or stir up any genuine trouble. It was like a far off world from one of their books about imaginary fairy lands. From that day forth, Gustella thought Taroc held some special element of wonder. Something that made it more magical than any other place they had been to. And she dedicated much of her life to studying and trying to find where that wonder was hidden away at.

    Eliona smiles. She and her Taroc allies have brought some of that wonder here to Dayena. Gustella would have liked that.

  4. #14
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    Eliona, Commander Filip Ryth & Doctor Doraen



    The Province of Astral, Dayena City...


    In front of the fire blazing within a majestic hearth, Ryth sits at the dining room table of the mansion. Once the table had been covered with spent bottles. Now it's cluttered with various arcane tools and a single sword. Ryth is hunched over the sword and working on it. The blade and handle of the weapon are made of a black metal, and the hilt is blood red.

    Doraen enters the dining room. He carries two glasses and a half full bottle of scotch. He deposits the two glasses onto the table and pours himself and Ryth a cautious amount of scotch. Ryth glares at the minutely filled glass and then up at Doraen. The doctor takes the hint and pours some more for his friend.


    "I've been thinking," Doraen whispers.

    "For you, that can be dangerous, Doc," Ryth responds while he picks up his glass. Doraen sets aside the bottle and picks up his glass. They bring their glasses together before drinking down a gulp of scotch.

    "I'm certain it must have been Zinna that foretold the doom of Eliona's family," Doraen continues after he recovers from the gulp. "That's why she targeted Gustella."

    "To help the prophesy along?" Ryth asks as he returns much of his focus to his tools and the sword.

    "No, Zinna was trying to derail it. Gustella was always going to die, but Zinna tried to effect events so that Eliona would have died first. Zinna must have thought she was powerful enough to change fate."

    "Why change it?"

    "Eliona will attain greatness. After what Herotus and Adaya did, Zinna may have wanted to deny Astral anyone of greatness. Despite her apparent faults, my grandmother does love Taroc. The massacre would have hurt her. If Astral is going to avoid collapsing during these dark times it will need the best of its people to step forward and lead. Remove one person from that cause and Astral just might fall."

    "Yeah, well, old Zinna wasn't powerful enough. Eliona stopped Zinna's plan."

    "True," Doraen replies before taking a thoughtful drink from his glass. As he swallows he notices Ryth had already emptied his own glass during the conversation. "Is it wise to involve Eliona any further? She's still a civilian."

    "She beat Sebastian. She proved herself."

    "But what we'll face- " Doraen's train of thought slips away from him. He's too afraid to ponder it for very long. Instead he pours himself and Ryth a more generous amount of scotch.

    Ryth pauses his work and raises his head. He turns slightly and listens as he hears Eliona making her way down the stairs. By the time she is standing in the dining room doorway, Ryth has returned to his work.

    Doraen approaches Eliona. He gives her a small bow and a warm smile.


    "Madam Eliona, I want to thank you for what you did," Doraen tells her softly. "You saved one of my oldest and dearest friends, I'm forever in your debt."

    "I'm happy I was able to help," Eliona modestly replies as she approaches Ryth. The old soldier is startled as Eliona immediately has her bandaged hands on his back, feeling and prodding at the area where his spine was once broken. Her training has taken hold, and she's checking to see if any sign of his injury remains.

    "Ah, hey," Ryth protests, while squirming at the unexpected touch.

    "Is there any pain?" Eliona asks as she finds nothing amiss on the man's back.

    "No, just someone poking me," Ryth gruffly tells her. "Knock that off, I'm ticklish."

    Eliona stops her examination and half smirks as this battle hardened soldier complains like a child stubbornly refusing to have his scraped knee looked at. Eliona steps back from Ryth and looks over the clutter on the table.

    "What exactly is all of this?" she asks the men of Taroc.

    "I had some of the occupying soldiers bring over my gear," Ryth explains, as he returns to working on the sword.

    "While you slept, we spoke to the captain in charge of the Taroc forces in the city," Doraen continues the explanation. "We made a report of what happened. The captain will inform the Rekōdo overseers and Astral Legion of the city."

    "Aha!" Ryth loudly proclaims as the sword shifts from black in color to a dull grey. The weapon looks less like a thing of metal and more like a sword of smoky glass.

    "What did you do?" Eliona asks as she takes a renewed interest in the weapon.

    "This here was Sebastian's sword," Ryth begins his answer, as he holds up the sword. "It's enchanted to sync up with other sources of magic. All without disrupting the source of that magic. It was syncing with the magic in Sebastian's armor, but I just broke that connection."

    "Why?" Eliona asks, not wanting to dwell on Sebastian. She can still see the man being torn apart by monsters. A terrible fate, even for a man that murdered her sister.

    Ryth holds the handle of the sword out for Eliona to take. Curiously, and wanting something to distract her from memories of Sebastian's horrible death, she takes the weapon from Ryth. Instantly the smoky glass sword transforms back into a weapon of metal. The blade is now bright silver, the hilt is shining gold, and the handle is deep purple. Eliona feels some connection to this weapon, as if it had always been a part of her.


    "Now the weapon is synced to you," Ryth smugly informs her before he begins to pack up his tools.

    "I don't want it," Eliona tells Ryth. She holds the weapon out for him to take, but Ryth doesn't even reach for it. "I have no need for a sword."

    "I told you it was a waste of time," Doraen comments to Ryth.

    "Nonsense," Ryth retorts.

    "What's going on?" she asks. Eliona senses there's a larger conversation she isn't aware of.

    "We got a call from an old friend, and we're going to need your help," Ryth begins explaining.

    "We don't, Ryth, she's a civilian," Doraen tells his friend, as his doubts begins to override the doctor's desire to see Ryth's idea through.

    "Doraen has been brought back as an undead murder-machine that has control of Nalia al'Vatar's Nightmares, and he's currently attacking Capios," Ryth plainly tells Eliona, as he begins to refill his emptied glass. "If he's not stopped he'll destroy all of Enchantry, and move on to the rest of the world."

    There is no hesitation, or change in Eliona's expression when she replies, "When do we leave?"

    Doraen can only stare in dumbfounded surprise. He had not expected anyone to take that terrifying notion with such a peaceful reply. Ryth, on the other hand, smiles. He knew she was going to go for this. Despite all of Doraen's protests and rational arguments, Ryth knew.

    "Soon," Ryth tells her as he stands up and finishes packing up the last of his tools. "I'm told that the Nightmares don't like the white light."

    "I'm not sure I can summon any light," Eliona looks down at her bandaged hands, worried that she might never weild the light of life again.

    "No, not for some time," Doraen tries to reassure her. "Using too much of the light has damaged your body. However, once you've had time to heal it will return to you."

    "Then how can I help you?"

    "Your body can't tap into the light, but that sword, working through you, can tap into it," Ryth answers. His smile enjoys the ingenuity of using the scavenged weapon to overcome an obstacle.

    "I can't heal through a sword," Eliona explains. She can't even imagine any credible healer being crazy enough to even try to use a sword to heal others.

    "No, sadly," Doraen says. "I tried it once before, years ago. It didn't go well."

    "We don't need you to heal us," Ryth tells her. "Shine the light through the blade and swing the sword at any Nightmares that get near us. Y'see, we've got storm rifles, so we'll do good if the Nightmares stay at a distance. But if they get close to us we're done for. We need you to watch our backs, and keep the Nightmares from getting too close."

    "I see," Eliona replies as she looks at the sword. Ryth then hands her a belt with a sheath attached to it. She takes the belt and sword sheath and looks it over. "This doesn't go with my outfit." It's meant as a joke, but Eliona's heart isn't into it. She mostly spoke out of a habit of not taking life seriously. Eliona wraps the belt around her waist and buckles it. With the belt secured, she sheaths the sword.

    "Can you teleport?" Ryth asks as he rummages through his coat pockets.

    "No, I can sometimes float," Eliona replies. She leaves the word 'badly' off of the end of her sentence. She wants to give these men more confidence in her abilities.

    Ryth plucks a Taroc Guild Badge out of his pocket and holds it out to the woman. She carefully takes the badge.


    "Here's a brand new Guild Badge," Ryth proudly announces. "It will give you access to the Taroc military's portal network. If things get really bad, open a portal and get out. Nightmares can't pass through our portals, LeCavalier made sure of that. He had a Shamaa Dreamy-person add that to our portals."

    Eliona clips the badge to her new belt. Now with a sword and foreign badge strapped onto her, she stands straighter, places a hand on her hip, and tries to stand as if these items don't feel wrong to wear.

    "Does this make me a Taroc soldier now?" she asks with a slightly more genuine hint of a smile. "I do look good in red."

    "Not really, the official term is squad specialist," Ryth tells her while sharing in her grin.

    Doraen takes the partly finished bottle and stuffs it into his healers bag. He then takes out his old, battered guild badge. The doctor holds the token in both hands and a portal is summoned from the Taroc military portal network.


    "Please remember, if you get overwhelmed, open a portal and fall back to the Heli'Dom," Doraen reminds Eliona. It's the only path out of certain death that the doctor can offer her. If things go as badly as he dreads, he hopes that at least Eliona will survive.

    With nothing else holding them back, they enter the portal. Moments later the portal pops closed and fades away.

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