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 Dark/Violent  Fantasy  World Building Chapter VI: "The Plan B"

Discussion in 'Roleplay Execution' started by WriteAngry, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. WriteAngry

    WriteAngry Wild Member Member

    Messages:
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    Local Time:
    9:51 AM
    Ser Lorrier of Wasburg, City Centre

    .. took a good long look to the collapsed mountain. Years had the mountains of Was protected the burg and it's inhabitants from the harsh winds of Haath, not to mention the vile things that lurked beyond. Years had those mountains stopped heavy clouds and forced them to pour down the rain onto the Lake, and years had Ser Lorrier cursed those constant rains. But today the mountains protected them no more. The mountains had betrayed them. Now the jagged peaks poured down horrifying creatures of the endless Haathian wastelands. Frost-trolls, ogres, ice giants, gibberlings, frostlings, ice-harpies - everything what Ser Lorrier's grandpa had told him stories from. But those black torrents of nightmares that flooded down into the town from the treacherous mountains were no stories. Today, the nightmares were real.
    If it was not for the talking Parrot that had crashed into Ser Lorrier's window through the terrible storm, Wasburg might not have it's defenses even shaped. Now they were - shaped that was.
    Ser Lorrier knew that he had very little to defend his home. Thanks to the Water Seer, he now had very little to defend Wasburg with. But every man that he could muster he had brought into the fray. They had barricaded streets, nailed down windows and doors, and even collapsed old buildings to block out the most direct routes to the docks, all in hope to stall the frostling hordes. He even torched the barricades into flames. All that for just a little bit of more time. He had lit his own town ablaze to save it's people.
    Ser Lorrier shout out orders. "We will hold back these monsters for our daughters and sons sake!", he roared to the men of the city guard. The men had fear in their eyes. Guardsmen were too busy counting the numbers and making out the odds. Most of them were bad in math, but not that bad. The men of Wasburg also knew that there simply were not enough ships to carry out all of them to safety. Some were to be left behind - and there was simply no other way out from the town. This was their only and last line of defense, and outside of the palisades waited nothing but a merciless, freezing cold death.
    The dawn brought naught but horror to the men, and the disappearance of the sun had evaporated their hopes to see the next dusk. The sky was dark and gloomy, and all hope seemed to be seeping from their dirty fingers like very finely grained sea salt.
    Ser Lorrier drew out his grandfathers old blade. It was elven made, expensive, enchanted and, Ser Lorrier prayed, hopefully very effective. "Keep the fires burning! Defend these fires with your lives!"

    The red parrot that had smacked right onto his window spoke of many things. It spoke from the icy death flying from North, the Iceressess, the Icicle Castle that had grown out of nowhere in the middle of nowhere. It spoke from death, and the dead. Ser Lorrier had listened to the red, what not a bit frosted, bird with a keen ear. The storm was unnatural, even if it would've been in the heart of the winter, and acted as a proof of its own to back the Parrot's words. And why would a talking parrot that flew through a blistering cold snowstorm lie? Ser Lorrier knew it had spoken the truth. He had felt it in the bottom of his stomach and in his heart.
    Winter had came early this year.
    Lorrier had sent the parrot to tell the ill news - and a very late cry for help - to Crenil, and to King's Crown, and to the island of Little Ivere. He had given the bird a letter with his signet stamped on it. He advised the Parrot to stop in the Vale to warn the people south of the Lake and prepare to receive refugees; after the next dusk, Wasburg would be no more. No-one and nothing would come to Wasburg in time to save the burg.
    The dwarves that lived deep within the mountains were nowhere to be seen, and Lorrier knew that the dwarves very seldom cared from nothing (but coins) that lived above. And looking at the mountains now pouring down the hordes he reckoned the dwarves had been the first to fall.
    But why hadn't the dwarves sent a word, not to mention a plea for help? Ser Lorrier and the people of Wasburg would have rushed to the aid of the stubborn mountain folk, despite the dwarves being reclusive and nonchalant. That was in the human nature, for crying out loud. To beat the crap out of all inhumanly things, together! That was what humanity was all about, wasn't it?

    A hurling slab of stone broke Ser Lorrier from his thoughts. The stone crashed into a building right next to him. Thick wood splintered like toothpicks, and the stone masonry exploded into a hail of crumbling rubble. Small pebbles bombarded Ser Lorrier's old plate mail. Time to think was over. It was time to act.
    "Hold fast with yer spears! Let them run on us, and die exhausted! Steady!"


    Ser Lorrier had evacuated the northern part of Wasburg and pulled all of his guardsmen to the central parts of the town. Their stand would be here: right behind barricades made of collapsed buildings and burning rubble.
    The tide of screaming gibberlings and other frosted creatures flooded over the flames and thick black smoke, and the city guard faced it with a roar of their own - and with a thicket of spears and halberds. The gibberlings crashed against broad shields and a steel resolve of husbands, fathers and brothers.
    Spears pierced flesh, short blades slashed against mangy manes, claws, crude weapons, and teeth rent on chain mail and sturdy wooden shields. Air was thick with the roar of battle, clatter of steel and violent yelps of journeys that came to a sudden end. Men coughed and wheezed in heavy smoke of wild fires, but so did the frostlings. The horde suffered from the smoke and heat much more than the men of Wasburg did. Air stenched of burning flesh.
    Ser Lorrier's slash carved off a gibberlings arm, and a quick thrust pierced another. Black blood stained his armor. Another wave came right after the first wave was smote: but this time snow-white trolls lurched over the barricades wherever the flames had dwindled or were weak to effectively burn the trolls.
    The trolls were long legged and armed walking (icy) twigs jointed loosely together, but they were not weak by all means. Their long claws and arms shattered shields and broke bones. Ser Lorrier saw a troll, punctured by three spears to still lurch forward and tear a mans head off with one violent swing.
    "Trolls! Shoot the trolls!", Lorrier roared. A volley of blazing arrows made the trolls panic. Some were lit into torches. But the trolls with gibberling support just kept coming, and the men-at-arms were pushed back, step by step.

    A giant slab of ice crashed right into the defenders lines. It crushed two men into a single meat pie, and rolled on to crash into yet another building. Lorrier dodged a nasty swing of an ice-troll and slashed it's icy gut. The creature lurched backwards, but was seemingly unscathed. The troll attacked once more, indeed unhindered. Lorrier parried the trolls retaliation, but the sheer force of the blow sent him flying on his back. His sword slipped from his grip and clattered on the snow.
    Ser Lorrier's heart pounded against his ears. He tried to reach for his sword. The troll lurched forward.
    Ser Lorrier saw, as he reached to the handle of his blade, a ferocious ogre pounding men with a giant club. The ogre made a heap of minced meat from one of his trusted sergeants, and sent a young corporal soaring through a wooden wall of an unlucky structure.
    Lorrier rolled on his belly and crawled to reach his lost blade. Stones hurled over the town, crashing down into the lake. He had to defend the docks. That was his duty. It would be his last service for the good folk of Wasburg. His fingers brushed against the handle of his trusty sword.
    The troll grabbed Lorrier's leg, and the captain of the guard yelped in horror. And suddenly the icy grip was gone, and the knight quickly crawled on his blade. Rearmed, he swung on to his back.
    The troll had an axe buried so deep in it's forehead that it actually was attached in it's narrow rib cage. It's red beady eyes were snuffed out of malicious glee and life, and the troll heaped to the ground in a weird gurgle.


    And that's when Lordak Bristlecomb, a Barbarian, a Brave, Brutal Barbarian, leapt over the plated knight and relieved his trusty axe. It dislodged from the troll carcass with a gush of bluish blood. The barbarian took a quick lick from blue blood tarnishing his very fine axe, and his tongue instantly froze into the steel. Lordak simply tore it out, and the sound of tearing flesh made the trampled knight wince. Red blood trickled from the barbarians mouth, and dripped on the Super-testosteronic chin. Lordak Bristlecomb spat on the trampled snow, and gave Ser Lorrier a wide, red-teethed grin.
    Lordak was almost seven foot tall lump of twitching muscles wearing only a wolf-fur inlaid loincloth to hide his superb masculinity. His arm's muscles had more muscles than Lorrier had muscles combined. The barbarian's legs were like two super-alloyed muscle-springs which read BRUTE and FORCE on them. And he had a bulge. Such a big bulge.
    The giant northern man spread out his huge arms to greet the incoming gibberlings... which flooded in way too slowly for Lordak's taste. With nothing but an animalistic roar to accompany him, the barbarian rushed to get things done with pace more suited from him. Lordak Bristlecomb leapt into the fray. He splattered skulls in whirlwind of carnage, screaming not from all the petty wounds he acquired in the process, but he screamed to honor his ancestors. The God of Violence was his God, and he had always been a good champion in the eyes of his deities. Today was not an exception. He did a good job. Long golden hair fluttered and danced as the barbarian rushed in to deliver many decent candidates to serve as his slaves in the Afterworld when the time came.
    The best candidate for yet another eternal slave seemed to be an armored ogre, busy grinding a smitten guardsman into fine powder with a giant club. Looordak - Bristlecomb leapt into the ogre's back, and with three quick and bloody hacks he chopped off it's head.
    Whistling arrows hailed on trolls and gibberlings around the barbarian, and Ser Lorriel found the source of the deadly hail coming from a fair elven ranger, accompanied by a thick-bearded dwarf carrying more iron than Ser Lorriel could ever carry. The dwarf was clad from toe to head with so much steel he reminded a battleship. Or a submarine if we went to that, but.. The cubic shape of the dwarf carried also a shield of his own size, and a bloodied hammer hung from his thick, plate clad arm. Only organic thing Ser Lorrier saw from the dwarf was actually just a thicket of black beard oozing under a black face guard. "For pops!", the tuft of beard moved. "For 'ma gold! Fuck 'ese critters back!", the beard roared and rolled forth - like an armored vehicle. It took tiny steps with it's stubs of legs, but each step the dwarf took was solidified with a heavy clank and a promise that it wouldn't be taking any steps backwards. "Take that fo' ruinin' ma business! And that! And that! Haha! I'll make ya pay double interest! Take this for ma refund-policy! And that!", the dwarf crashed into the fray, clattering his way through the hordes of gibberlings until he vanished into the thick cinder and smoke. He vanished in to the sea of battle, and right behind him rushed the barbarian, and there went the fair elven ranger.
    Ser Lorrier was pulled up by a bald cleric. The man had stout features and lips that never smiled, and his eyes were more hard than you could imagine for a man of faith. But even harder than his eyes was his flail.
    "Burn the trolls, captain.", the cleric advised. "They regenerate and rise soon. Tell your men to torch the corpses as soon as they fall."
    "Come on holy man! We're getting busy 'ere!", a tattoo'ed sailor with a broad brimmed hat rushed past the cleric. The swashbuckler swung two sharp daggers from his dagger-filled belt - Ser Lorrier guessed that he had at least twenty tugged into it - and vanished into the battle. "Do as I tell you, captain, we're professional heroes. May Aznir watch your back.", said the cleric before leaving, swinging his flail ready to smite justice, bring order and serve retribution among all that deserved such things.

    Ser Lorrier of Wasburg swallowed his exhaustion. The battle raged on, even when Heroes managed to push the horde back to the barricades. He was getting far too old. But that's what old men were for. To die that the young one's didn't have to. "Dimwell! Torch those trolls! Keep burning them!"
    A runner caught Ser Lorrier's attention. "Ser!", the young spearman panted. "Trolls, they've broken through the west and east barricades! The militia's shatter'd, and folks are running for the docks! We're gettin' surrounded!"
    Ser Lorrier dropped his chin to have a quick glance on his old blade. "Sergeant Nettle!", he shout over the clatter and booming of the battle. "Take your squad and pull back to the docks! Protect the ships as long as you can!", the knight turned his gaze upon the weary runner. "You too, Clams. Get run for the docks. We'll hold the city center as long as we can. Now run.", he patted the young boy's shoulder. A chain mail-armor a bit too big rattled with each pat.
    Clams nodded, still panting, and ran with the selected group of sergeant Nettle for the docks. Ser Lorrier loitered for a while, following the young ones with his gaze, before turning to have a good look on the battlefield. He fastened his belt and took a new, solid grip from his blade.
    To die old for the young ones to live. Was there a better way to go? Ser Lorrier didn't have the imagination to think a better way (though Port did, as we know).
    A flock of harpies flew over the battlefield, screeching like vile seagulls. Behind the smokescreen Ser Lorrier noticed distorted figures of ice-giants ramming through the palisades. He took one, last, good breath before taking his place next to the Heroes and guardsmen of Wasburg.

    Trelac the Horrible, West Wasburg

    .. woke up into a rumble that made empty bottles clatter. His head was heavy, and his chin was ornated with the fine imprint of a wooden tavern table. The hearth of the inn had dwindled into a hazy memory of it's former glorious fire. Only smoking embers provided warmth to the empty inn, and a cold breeze embraced the half-naked man. It was gloomy, and the air was somehow very thick.
    The door opened, Trelac felt the chill of rushing coldness, but instead of a blinding brightness only a meager amount of light poured in.
    Eyes weary and tired of a night well spent, Trelac looked at the opened door. He had had one hell of a night running through the damn storm, and the Second Black Wolf of Ivere hadn't found a trace from the scent he had been following. After few busy hours of trying to pick up the scent of the Amethyst Eyed Ward or the Name Stealing Wannabe, he had crashed into a tavern in his human form to ask the locals about it. None had really seen them, and as Trelac couldn't find any scents from them either, he chose to believe the locals. He couldn't do but wait. So he had a "couple of civilized drinks while waiting". Where else would the buggers go, anyway? The pray would limp to him, eventually. There was nothing else here than this backwater blotch of boil, and outside there was nothing but a freezing death.
    Speaking of which... Trelac squinted his eyes. He believed that he looked upon a freezing death. An ice-troll had rammed into the tavern.
    Trelac rose as the troll rampaged forth, striking tables and chairs into splinters as it trampled towards. The Black Wolf of Ivere was really waking up now. Empty wine bottles clattered on Trelac's feet, and he slipped. "Oh shit-"

    A lump of meat crashed through the taverns wooden window shutters and landed on the snow-filled street. And right after it a big, black werewolf crashed through the wall next to it. It's maw was thick with pointy, drool covered teeth. Two yellow eyes burnt with rage. Trelac the Horrible tore and bit the ice-troll into tiny little bits, shredding and biting in a frenzy. Finally, he bit the trolls head off.
    Trelac the Horrible had an audience he hadn't noticed until after he rose.
    Air was thick with the smell of gibberlings, ogres, and blood, smoke and fire: and of course he did hear the roar of a battle, filled with screams of the dying and screams of bloodlust, ice cold shrieks of dread and death. His nose was filled with a foul, familiar stench of dirty northern creatures.
    Twenty gibberlings stared at Trelac's giant maw in awe, their small mouths with small teeth wide open. Their nails were but stumps compared to Trelac's dagger sized talons. Their dark fur was naught but a tuft compared to the thick mane of the Black Wolf. Small daggers, clubs and crude spears the gibberlings held were dropped into the snow.
    Trelac spat the troll's head out. It made a heavy, wet thud. The werewolf had blue blood smeared all across his chest and face. His each breath fumed in the cold like he was a hairy steam locomotive.
    The gibberlings had human blood on them. And still, so very still, they stared.
    Trelac stared back. "R U N.", the werewolf rumbled. The gibberlings didn't understand exactly what the werewolf said, but they did understand the tone. Even gibberlings couldn't fail to receive the message. And so, one of them turned and fled.
    And that was enough for Trelac to get really excited. The Werewolf howled a scream of hunt, and stormed his way into the fleeing swarm of gibberlings.
    Screams of death filled the alley.

    The Rest of the Pack, East Wasburg

    Farrah's familiar flew over the battlefield of smoke, fire, and ice. There was only one real battle in Wasburg, it seemed, and it lied in the very center of the town. The town's defenders had held the first wave of the blow there - but not in the eastern part of the town. Dark torrents of trolls, gibberlings, ogres and other vile things flooded nearly freely through the city, invading homes and killing everything they got their long nails hammered into.
    The few unfortunate enough to not be in the docks fighting for a spot in the ships tried to hold their ground, but the Iceressess had thrown so much against Wasburg that the battle seemed hopeless.
    The militia and men-at-arms had been bit, torn, rammed and smashed into bits, and what was left of them did the last thing they could. They ran.
    "Ignitas - Merlo - Fidias Ennié!"
    A crackle of flame sparked in the mage's hand, and he tossed the balling fire against the engulfing tide of frostlings and trolls. Air around the creatures combusted, and a second later fire engulfed the tide. A loud woosh of fire hissed. Air reeked of burnt flesh, and shrieks of sheer horror filled the sky. The trolls were like burning pine-trees, crackling and popping, wandering their last steps in inconsolable horror. Gibberlings tried to roll in the snow, but the magical flames didn't extinguish. They burnt until the black gibberlings were nothing but gently smoldering embers.
    "Run!", Aep Cair continued his staggering retreat. Luka and Rolland were full of cuts and bruises, but luckily alive. The three ran, zigzagging their way through the narrow corridors of Wasburg. In each cramped alley they saw more trolls, gibberlings and even worse - ogres clad in black armor with white markings on them. The black tide was licking their heels in no time, despite the fireballs what Cair threw behind them.
    And what little Luka and Rolland did know about Arcane Magic, they saw that Aep Cair was running out of steam. The mage wheezed, and when he didn't, he coughed blood. They would have left that despicable thing behind if not for his ability to torch trolls and frostlings. Even how appalling Aep Cair and his company was, the mage was his weight worth in gold when it came to surviving this black tide.
    Or had been. Cair's pale skin was like parchment, and the mage looked like he was literally mummifying while he ran. His eyes were deep in his sockets, and his bony fingers could have been so easily been mistaken as bone fingers (which both of the warriors were really accustomed to).

    Aep Cair splattered blood from his mouth, and stumbled. He crash-landed next to a snow filled corner, and kicked himself to lie against the wooden wall of yet another rubbled building. He was giving up. He couldn't run anymore. The house he leaned on had a huge stone-slab erecting from it.
    He wiped his near lip-less mouth on his sleeve, wheezing, panting, and coughing. Rolland and Luka took a brief look upon each other.

    If it was not for the locals preventing them to leave their inn in the morning, they would have been frozen stiff in the Freezing Blast. Aep Cair had given them a mission to go outside Wasburg after the storm had settled and go look for the rest of the Pack in Eastwatch - the very same bridge where The Pack had decimated couple of ogres in. But the locals had said, that "the morning is a lie, a bird told us", and outside "lies only death". They had urged the warriors to arm themselves and help them to barricade the inn. They had been saved by the bell once now. Now they searched confirmation from each others eyes that were they really going to die in this backwater town for a ill conditioned mage? Even if it was for the Lady and the benefit of Kürsk?
    But did they really have a chance to get on to the boats? And they had been promised a life after death.. so.. they turned and took good footholds, and raised their blades.
    "For the Lady.", they muttered in unison under their breaths while the horde came charging in.
    The two warriors took the first gibberlings with ease, with precise swordsmanship and with fortitude of trained warriors. They fought like the Captain of the Guard in Kürsk had taught them. With cold resolve, quick wit and lightning speed, their blades cut through flesh, and bodies started piling on their feet. But right behind the gibberlings came the trolls, and behind the trolls came more gibberlings - and ogres. And after each strike the men felt more exhausted.
    Aep Cair shivered in cold, and coughed some more, while staring at the impending doom appearing in form of five ice-trolls.

    A troll raised it's long, clawed arm to strike over Rolland's misplaced blade, and BAM! (Click it) an arrow popped out of the troll's mouth. Blue blood gurgled from the troll's big maw, and the creature crashed to the ground with a long creaking sound. And before Rolland really understood it, a hail of arrows had shot down through two other trolls. And just as suddenly a galloping horse rammed through the remaining trolls and gibberlings like a snowplow, trampling down everything under it's hooves while a dark man on top of it cut down everything that wasn't already being stomped on.

    Kori Straw
    leapt down from the horse with a roar, a somersault and a furious cleave. The black blade he held swung and decapitated yet another troll. Gibberlings that swarmed around the landed beast tried their very best to get some distance, but Kori Straw mopped the floor with the gibberlings. They never stood a chance.
    And right as the trolls came on to him - a crackle of magic, and swift, deadly swoosh of throwing knives appeared from apparently nothing. Then they saw Morrigan riding in with her wicked blades, the Ranger, and then they saw the thiefling galloping in, all on their steaming horses.
    Port came in on his horse with a "Yeeehaa!", and for the very first time Luka saw how an arrow shot from a short bow penetrates through an ogre's skull, then splinters into two jagged wooden shards, which both find two different trollish eye sockets to comfortably land into. Shot from the saddle, and from full gallop that was, and very casually.
    The two loyal servants of the Lady hadn't ever been so happy to see Morrigan - not to even mention Kori Straw. The Champion of the Lady made minced meat of the horde like a weird combination of a butcher and an ice-skate dancer, and everywhere where he didn't reach with his blade, Morrigan did with hers. And where Morrigan didn't, Farrah and Port did.
    The battle was over, for now, as more than thirty gibberlings, three ogres and ten trolls laid dead amidst the now reunited Pack. The rest of the horde were doing a "tactical frontline trimming", and that gave the group some time to, well, regroup.

    The Pack had separated from the Prince's cavalry as soon as they had galloped in through the gates and Farrah had found the mage with her familiar. The Sun Prince's cavalry had turned towards south and the docks, while the Pack had rode to the more northern parts of the town.

    Kori took a quick glance on Rolland and Luka, and passed between the two soldiers giving them a simultaneous nudge with his broad shoulders smashing on theirs. He did mind to give them a bit of a grunt while doing so. That probably meant "you did fine" or something like that. Straw grabbed Cair from his tattered, and whatnot burnt, grey robe and pulled the feeble mage back onto his feet.
    "Where's the tower?", Kori asked with a polite growl.
    "I'm so very pleased to see you too, Straw.", Cair heaved, but still managed to wrinkle his long, curvy nose in disgust. "You took your precious time loitering around."
    Kori smacked his fist on the wooden wall right next to Cair's head. The mage startled and twitched. It wasn't a gentle blow. Rolland and Luka were sure that they would have broken their arms if they would have smacked their fist against solid wood like Kori did. "Where's Ivir?", the Wolf snarled.
    "Concentrate both halves of your brain on what I am about to say-"
    Kori snatched Aep Cair from the mage's throat and slammed him against the wall. "The boy? Where is he?"
    The mage wriggled in Kori's grip. He croaked. "- in - the - moun- tain-" The wolf raised his brow, and in his dark eyes, Cair could saw fires of Kori's fury. Kori continued to choke the feeble wizard, and Aep Cair clawed against the callous, cold fingers of Kori Straw. "You're - late."
    Straw dropped Cair from his hard grip, and the mage collapsed back down to lean against the wooden wall. He gasped for air. Aep Cair touched his thin throat just to check if it was still there. Kori looked at the steep mountains that the town climbed onto - or crumbled down from. It was a point of perspective.
    Distant shadowy figures of ice giants roamed the dark-blue mountainside, and more, and more, and ever more of the black horde swell over the decimated upper parts of the town.
    "The Tower?", Kori snapped his eyes back on Cair.
    ".. we cannot destroy it.", Cair croaked. "There was only one way, and that was to modulate the antimagical-energy distortion-beam inside the towers inner circulum utilizing an energy distorting magical lense-"
    "Enough HORSESHIT or I'll flay ya on the spot, scum!"
    "You failed."
    , Cair sneered, dropping both words like leaden weights. "Heart of Iluad, Straw. It's in that mountain.", the mage pointed his bony finger towards the mountain. "You're too late. The dwarves took it from us, and the dark elves took it from the dwarves and slew Ivir, and the Iceressess take it from the elves. Encapsulating it: You failed. You failed the boy, and you failed your Mistress. We lost."

    Kori stared at Cair, and quickly the fury drained from his face. It was replaced with something else. Disbelief. Denial. Straw took a staggering step backwards, then another, and a third. He shook his head. First slowly, but then faster. Kori drew his arm across his mouth and turned to look at the swarming mountain. It undulated from the dark masses of hideous creatures, like the whole mountain was covered with a waving blanket of rippling darkness.

    Port's brown mare neighed and shook it's head restlessly. The archer calmed his steed with few softly breathed words and few soft pats on it's neck. The horse didn't like from the smoke, nor did it like from the sounds that came ever closer. More creatures were coming.

    "If you hadn't let this wayward princess of darkness to run off to the fields, and hadn't fooled around like the dimwit you are, we would have possessed the stone and be on our way to Eastguard already. We would have destroyed the tower and won this war for your Countess before it would have even fully started. You are an despicable idiot."
    Eastguard was right next to Kürsk. Eastguard was where the Iverian Army was stationed in. They had came all this way, away from the tower.

    Kori staggered few more steps, and he let the tip of his blade to drop down against the snow covered road. His eyes stared at the mountains, and rolled around in his sockets. Panic pounded his heart. Failed..
    "Kori - the fuckers are regrouping and re-massing all the time! What do we do?", Port shouted.
    Kori did recognize the voice, but all of Port's words were a mess. His ears rang. Failed..
    "I suggest we run!", Cair staggered back on his feeble feet. "As far as we can. The Lady will disembowel us, and raise us as undead. We run south. As fast as we can - if you wish to live, protagonist. As far away from her too, what you can.", Cair pointed at Morrigan. "We two have hope to survive, if we flee. So. That's what we do. We flee."

    Emil Port sneered at wizard. His face was a mask of disgust, and his mouth grimaced like he could taste the foul taste of Cair's blotched skin. "Crawl back to the hole you surfaced from."
    His golden voice was an instrument that played the tune of dismissal and revulsion.

    " NO! "


    Kori's scream tore through the distant rumbling, through the clatter of battle. With two quick strides he was back on Cair's throat. Kori had curled his lips back and revealed his clenched teeth. His nose was wrinkled all the way up to his forehead.
    Straw slammed the wizard back against the wall, and this time the whole building seemed to shake. It was a miracle that Cair's bones didn't disintegrate into fine powder.
    "We made a pact, rat! You die! I'll slay you, and I promise that we'll raise you in undeath, and I'll break ya fuckin' legs so you'll have to crawl behind our heels wherever we go! You'll spend the rest of eternity as a lavatory.", and Kori raised the tip of his blade and pressed it against Cair's throat. "I'll fuckin' gut you! I DON'T FAIL!", he screamed so hard that spit splattered against Cair's face. "And neither do you or I'll fuckin' keep our little promise! And you know!", and Kori's eyes gleamed with purple, red and black rage. The black blade started to steam. It oozed out tendrils of dark shadows. "You know a way!"

    "It's - through - the - mountain - maybe - the - elves - haven't - got - away - from - the - Ice!", Cair croaked faster than ever before, and with really transformed attitude. He clawed the wall and Kori's arm, and it was a wild guess which was more futile thing to claw on. "Get- past - the - Palisade - There's - A - Passage - Way- high- up-", with each word coming out more difficult, the mage started to turn blue.

    "Kori! They're here!", Port drew an arrow from his quiver - not even noticing that he had already shot three quivers of arrows from one. "Be quick about it and just kill that sniveling fuck and let's go!"
    Adalia Grain dropped down from Farrah's horse, and with few decisive steps she grabbed a spear from the ground. Her fists squeezed the solid shaft, and she made a self-assuring nod for herself before turning to face Port's direction. The air was getting thick with roars, and Port drew his bow to fire once more. Adalia spread her legs out, like she had witnessed soldiers doing, and braced herself.
    This was what she wanted. A warrior's life. This was what she asked for. The incoming horde of terrifying creatures of the northern wastelands, and the freezing winds that peeled off her skin.. they were nothing compared to the humiliation and suffering she had been caged into for so long.
    "We fight!", she stated. "We fight here! Now! Or we die honorless! There is only this night to live, with dawn comes death! Be men, not mice!"

    "You remember.. that.. I.. know.. a.. spell.. to..", Cair's tongue rolled in his wide open mouth and his eyes were bulging out of their sockets, as Kori squeezed the life out of the feeble mage. ".. shadow.. gate.. one.. per.. sonrrgh.."
    Suddenly, Cair collapsed back against the snow. This time the mage coughed and wheezed like he was really dying. Kori spun around, and his eyes were of cinder. "Morrigan!", Kori roared. "Farrah!", the Wolf threw something in the air for the thiefling to snatch. It was the gnarled, black wand of Aep Cair. "He's attuned to it. Fly! Fly over the palisade! The spell needs two! FLY! FLY, FARRAH! Cair! Prepare for the spell! GET THE FUCK UP!", the rampaging wolf tore the wizard back on his feet.

    "Morrigan! You go there! You find the Heart of Ill-u-addingwhatever fuckin' thing! I'll come after you! Quick!", Kori pointed his finger at the mountain. To the horde. To the army of the Iceressess. Kori heaved with every breath, and in his eyes there was such a flame of.. desperate.. determination what Morrigan had never seen on Kori's face. Never when he had faced death before it looked like that.
    His face was twisted with horror. It wasn't the horde what Kori was afraid of.. it was the Lady. Humiliation. Failure. Of Losing.

    Cair crawled on his fours and took a good look on the hand he had clawed Kori's arm with. The mage's hand was smooth. So smooth.. invigorated even. Oh, it tasted so sweet. But magic? Kori Straw? That oaf?, Cair glanced at the Wolf who had rushed to grab Morrigan's shoulders.
    While Kori shook Morrigan, with eyes filled with horror and terror, and voice trembling from desperation, Cair felt the magic of the wolf's black blade.. it had to be the blade, right? to seep in.
    His parchment thin skin was alive once again. Thickened and energized. And then Cair felt the thrumming. Oh yes.. Oh yes. The mage stood up, and brushed back his hood. He opened his mouth, but only a small squeak came out. He harrumphed, and than stated with a deep, handsome voice vitalized by magical energy: "I can cast Protection from Cold for you, Shadowdancer. A powerful spell that is, that will shield you. We can Gate you over the horde right into the footsteps of the Secret Passageway. You'll get in."

    "I'll come for you."
    , Kori swore, staring at Morrigan's amethyst eyes. "I.", he pressed his arm on his chest and started to slap his leathery armor. "Will come to you there. You just get the stone. I can't see in the dark, or I'd go. Port can't see shit in the dark. No-one but you can. Port will come, too, won't you, brother? For me? For one more time? Together?", he looked at Port with plea in his desperate eyes.

    Emil Port glanced at Kori, and then at the seemingly unconquerable mountain. And at the incoming waves of more creatures of the northern wastelands. And not to mention at the new wave of mostly ogres and some ice giants and trolls in the mix, marching ever closer to give the Pack a real whoop-ass as a returning gift.
    A smirk lit onto Port's face, and it only spread out further under Kori's pleading stare. "What man does for love? This time, just this once, brother. Let's conquer a fuckin' mountain for a girl and a drink! Haha!", Port laughed a hearty laugh, and turned it into a song, while giving the incoming wave yet another impossibly long shot for a short-bow. A single troll from the line of many collapsed.

    "Cut down, one by one
    No sound remains
    Don’t fear if death finds you, this day
    Are you with me
    Let us savor the pain
    Do you hear the distant sound
    Calling your name!"


    "Yes!"
    , Adalia Grain shout out with his thick accent. "Last night, so we fight! For the Sun, for dawn and for glory!"
    "Yes!"
    , Kori laughed. "Today we fight! Against the mountain! Are you with me!? Rolland!? LUKA!? We go!", Straw's eyes beamed as he pointed towards the army and the mountain that loomed over them. "We're gonna go! And gonna win! Morrigan!?"
     
  2. Daydreamer

    Daydreamer Wild Member Member

    Messages:
    14
    Local Time:
    8:51 AM
    The Pack cut a swath through the Iceressess' horde, spurring their mounts into leaping over burning wreckage, filing over narrow passages, going deeper into the devastation that was Wasburg - the opposite way everybody else was heading. Farrah rode and did battle, hurling spells where needed, shooting those wicked returning arrows of hers, exploiting as many openings as were left by a charging Kori and the unnaturally accurate Port. Meanwhile, she alternated her sight between her familiar's and her own strangely hued eyes. The spy had a better scope of the destruction and the danger than anyone in the small group. What she'd seen would be enough to send most running in a panic, not only was it clear that Wasburg was lost, but as her familiar watched the collapsed mountains and the 'ant-army' which poured down from the jagged peaks like rivers, she realized this city was only the beginning. However, to the Tiefling there was always plan F... as in flying the fuck out of that fucking place. What kept her there was pure resolve in seeing this task accomplished, which illustrated quite well that the dangling carrot the Countess kept Farrah strapped to was far too precious a prize to give up.

    The same understanding couldn't be said of young Morrigan, who saw the ravages firsthand. The shadowdancer watched with an increasing sense of doom as Wasburg presented itself as a dying city, issuing its deaththroes as its citizens fled like fleas. Despair filled the air, so many were the dead, so dwindling was any hope of survival, and so quickly the goal of victory had been snuffed out. Still, despite this mounting sense of dread, she fought. She fought like she never had before. Her blades whistled in the icy cold air, cutting through flesh, whirling through the thick smoke, through every available target like hot knives slicing butter. Atop a horse, the assassin's usual swiftness and shadow-play was much too limited, so when they finally happened upon the others and she leapt down in an acrobatic jump to finish a troll, Morrigan could more freely demonstrate why she was the Lady's prized shadow.

    Even though Cair had been the sole reason for the Pack to undergo this suicidal mission, Kori's reception of the weakened mage was a surprise to only a couple of people. It fazed the young assassin not at all, and she simply made sure all targets were really dead and lit the trolls on fire with a piece of wood which still burned among the wreckage. His treatment was so violent, it gave Farrah pause. She had dismounted and taken a step forward in a quickly dismissed wish to curb his aggression, but it was clear she'd only become a second target for the warrior's fury had she tried to intervene, so all the Tiefling did was keep an eye for their leader not to actually kill the feeble wizard before they'd gotten their information.

    "...Encapsulating it: You failed. You failed the boy, and you failed your Mistress. We lost."
    The finality of that statement was not easy for anyone to hear. Morrigan had mixed feelings about the Lady's victory. She very much hated many of the things that the Countess did or stood for, though she objectively had no better examples on those who vied for or sat on the current thrones. The uncertainty of her fate should the Lady lose, however, made defeat somewhat of a scary thought. Not to mention what Kori might do to her should he choose to turn his back on their cause, for the warrior never made any effort to hide the fact he'd enjoy to see her suffer. There was also the chance both he and Lady Maeve would see her escape as having to do with this failure. That thought caused a chill down her spine that had nothing to do with the frigid weather.

    "If you hadn't let this wayward princess of darkness to run off to the fields, and hadn't fooled around like the dimwit you are, we would have possessed the stone and be on our way to Eastguard already. We would have destroyed the tower and won this war for your Countess before it would have even fully started. You are an despicable idiot."

    "Fuck you, you ugly son of a bitch." Morrigan quickly retorted with a scowl wrinkling her mulberry-colored nose that was part annoyance, part disgust, the mage's way of referring to the shadowdancer pleased her not one bit.

    The Heart of Illuad. One of Farrah's treasure-hunting biggest failures. Had she succeeded in recovering the stone and not had gotten side-tracked by terrible threats and promises of greater rewards, how differently would this all have played out? The legends surrounding the stone were many, but as it seemed, the stone had originally been a heart, obviously the heart of one called Illuad. To some, Illuad had been a powerful demon prince, to others an elemental king, his death and defeat had happened far too long a time ago for the tales to be too precise about it. However the case, some told that his heart had been ripped out and used in a nepharious sacrificial ritual by a Lich King. Bound essences and arcane forces combined to turn the thing into an object of immense power. Respectable in skilled hands, but fearsomely powerful in the hands of those who knew well how to wield magic. It was called The Heart of Chaos to some, for taming its powers was a feat accomplished by few and, even so, only for a limited time, hence it being ensconced away, where it could do no harm. How strange was it that last night she was telling a Prince about it and now they needed it so desperately?

    Foiled before starting, this was the type of fruitless endeavor that did not sit well with rulers like Lady Maeve. Despite it all, the Tiefling was not too fazed, for she was quite sure this ragtag group was not the Lady's only plan in taking down that troublesome tower, the woman was far too wily and far too ruthless, besides, the location of the building itself was likely a good piece of information to pass along already. Quickly, thoughts of how best to escape this mess flipped through her mind. The spy had contacts with many captains, but the sweep her winged familiar had done over the harbor had shown only the recognizable sails of Captain Billie "Stormtamer" Payton's ship. She hadn't seen the woman in quite some time, but Farrah was certain she could secure passage, all she had to do was to get the Pack all the way there... or at least Morrigan. Still, no simple feat.

    While the spy was far too wrapped up in her planning to pay it much mind, Morrigan's amethyst orbs noticed the gravity of Kori's reaction to the news of their failure. She'd seen it before on the faces of men who'd fallen for the Countess of Hogermont's manipulative brand of seduction and somehow floudered on some task for the woman, most recently on those who tried and failed to take the tome the Black Wolf himself had succeeded in retrieving for the Lady. It was with some puzzled fascination that Morrigan regarded how men and women loved and feared the Lady in almost equal measure, for there was no denying the power that lied in being able to do that to someone. The young assassin herself managed to do little but make men see her as a tasty piece of meat. There was something different in Kori's brand of horror, however, and Morrigan wondered what it was.

    "I suggest we run!", Cair staggered back on his feeble feet. "As far as we can. The Lady will disembowel us, and raise us as undead. We run south. As fast as we can - if you wish to live, protagonist. As far away from her too, that you can.", Cair pointed at Morrigan. "We two have hope to survive, if we flee. So. That's what we do. We flee."

    Emil Port sneered at wizard. His face was a mask of disgust, and his mouth grimaced like he could taste the foul taste of Cair's blotched skin. "Crawl back to the hole you surfaced from." His golden voice was an instrument that played the tune of dismissal and revulsion.
    "Just fucking cut off his h--" but Morrigan had no time to finish her string of threats and insults to Cair, turning in stunned surprise towards Kori as he screamed.

    " NO! "

    "We made a pact, rat! You die! I'll slay you, and I promise that we'll raise you in undeath, and I'll break ya fuckin' legs so you'll have to crawl behind our heels wherever we go! You'll spend the rest of eternity as a lavatory.", and Kori raised the tip of his blade and pressed it against Cair's throat. "I'll fuckin' gut you! I DON'T FAIL!", he screamed so hard that spit splattered against Cair's face. "And neither do you or I'll fuckin' keep our little promise! And you know!", and Kori's eyes gleamed with purple, red and black rage. The black blade started to steam. It oozed out tendrils of dark shadows. "You know a way!"

    Farrah's briefing over the one called Aep Cair left her with little sympathy for the man, she just wished Kori would be quick about it, much like Port expressed. Still, the spy didn't miss the strangeness in Kori's selection of words. There was no doubt in her mind who "we" stood for in his sentences, but the whole tirade implied that the warrior believed he'd stand by Lady Maeve's side... which was nothing short of madness. Still, as he raged and his mood flared along with that tingling of magic which colored his usually brown eyes, Farrah felt like there was still a lot she needed to learn about the depths of Kori's relationship with the Countess. And fast.

    The unsettling feeling didn't keep the Tiefling's sharp eyes from spotting the very same that prompted Port and Adalia into action, nor did it keep her from hearing what followed. As Cair sputtered out the beginnings of a plan -- plan what... C? D?-- Farrah stepped behind the two defenders and started casting a spell. It would do well to divert the rushing army in the distance along another path, so through illusion magic she erected a high, seemingly solid stone wall at the entrance of the street. When the enemies came closer, the other streets leading out of the plaza would seem like the only way through to the city. At least until some Giant decided it seemed like a good enough target for rock-throwing practice, or something like that. In any case, right before Port and Adalia a shimmering wall, transparent from their side, blocked the enemie's sight.

    The spell was done just in time for Farrah to catch the thrown wand - which she initially fumbled to do, but managed to snatch it against her chest before it clattered to the ground. She only looked at the gnarled thing for a brief moment, able to gauge its sizeable power despite its simple appearance. Kori's fevered command wasn't hard to puzzle out, but it all revolved on Morrigan's willingness to undertake such a risky task, and the Tiefling's electric blue eyes settled on the young assassin before acting at all. It was her duty to keep her safe, so was it Rolland and Luka's, so neither of them seemed much too thrilled by the prospect of letting the girl off their sight again and plunging her into danger. It was the mere fact that Kori wasn't the only one with much to lose if they failed that kept them from really voicing any disagreement.

    Morrigan was stunned. It took a few seconds for her to digest what Kori was maniacally telling her to do. Her eyes were cast upwards as to where Kori wanted Farrah to fly. The Mountain which once stood as a shield against the cold north was now more army than rock. The prospect of facing the dark in the mad hope that what they needed lied below the buried passages, or that the group would be able to ascend the mountain somehow and reach her there afterwards... was grim, to put it mildly. She turned her own pinkish version of pale, and though the chance to prove herself was normally quite appealing, this... this might be just too much for her to handle.

    The assassin's train of thought was abruptly interrupted by Kori frantically shaking her by the shoulders while something close to Aep Cair's voice babbled something in the background. Steely-fingers gripping her tight while eyes almost maddened by fear stared into hers and kept the young woman's focus. Something dark within Morrigan saw the opportunity to break this man. All she had to do was fail him. She would cause the warrior unspeakable damage and might even aid in the defeat of Lady Maeve. With one action -- or inaction -- she'd get her revenge on two of the people she loathed the most. It tasted sweet in her soot-covered, blood-spatted lips... and revulsed another side of her. Not so much for taking pleasure in the idea of Kori's suffering, but in how much excitement the thought of his and the Countess' pain brought her. Her heart fluttered in her chest and a flush travelled through her body. It was a sordid, perverted thing with a life of its own.

    Before she could make up her mind, Kori was making his solemn promise and beseeching the archer for support. Just then, Morrigan's amethysts settled on the disheveled blonde protagonist. Even covered in soot and dust, he was still a handsome sight. More than handsome, Port was charisma incarnate and as he smirked and laughed and sang... the young shadowdancer knew the path which laid in front of her.

    "...We're gonna go! And gonna win! Morrigan!?"

    "What does this thing I'm after look like?" the assassin responded with a strange calm and resolve.

    "I'll explain at the top. Get this thing going, mage."

    In a puff of smoke and blue electric arcs, Farrah turned into a blue jay, wand held in its feet, and high up she flew before swiftly heading past the palisades, where she'd been pointed to, flying high above the river of death that descended upon them. One she had no idea whether the rest could survive, but as long as Morrigan, her and the Heart of Illuad did, little else mattered. Or so the spy tried to tell herself.

    _________________________________________

    The flickering of firelight danced on the cold stones of the laboratory walls. It illuminated the strange potions, alchemic tools and the spines of countless tomes. They danced over a solid metal chair with leather straps to hold one's head and limbs and instruments that could only be used by a torturer... or a mad scientist. But they were drunk by this darkened, blemished silver plate that was once a mirror. The large concave item was cracked, missing a shard and looked like nothing of note, yet it had a desk all of its own. And amidst all of that, lying atop a dark marble slab veined with white, was the Lady. Her dark nightgown rested on Her sinful curves unimpeded, all the way down to her ankles. Motionless but by the bearest of breaths, it was as if she laid on her final resting place, so pale was Her Ladyship. Yet, to Amaera's green eyes, the Countess looked visibly more invigorated. Dutifully and carefully she wiped Her brow with a perfumed cloth infused with healing draughts. It was all she could do but wait until Lady Maeve reawakened.

    Suddenly, Her eyes snapped wide open, startling the elven princess who dropped the cloth on the floor with a wet splatter and sucked in air through her teeth. Dark as the pits of hell those eyes were, and rimmed with bright purple light, like some unholy eclipse. The darkness and purple faded like smoke to leave Her icy blue gaze staring at the vaulted ceiling and Her dark lips parted to whisper a single word.

    "Eastwatch."
     
  3. WriteAngry

    WriteAngry Wild Member Member

    Messages:
    36
    Local Time:
    9:51 AM
    Never mind the trolls
    Torching the trolls was a smart thing to do, and Morrigan could give herself a tiny pat on the back. She could only wonder how greatly the less observant members of the Pack would have reacted when ten trolls would suddenly rise in their midst...

    A smile broke onto Kori's rugged face. The crack on his face widened into a full teethed grin, and there was suddenly something in his eyes: not magic, not fear, not the sings of flaming fury nor anger, but a sparkling twinkle.
    The soot-covered, snowed, bloodied, ashed, and what-not frosted too, face framed by black mane calmed down from a wicked grin into.. something peaceful, even. A genuine smile liberated his face, like a ray of sanity finally broke through the heavy clouds of madness. It was the first time Morrigan saw Kori smile like that.
    He gently squeezed Morrigan’s shoulder. "Ya can do it. You're the Plan B.", the man whispered with a softer voice than Morrigan had ever heard.

    And that face was also recognized by Port: that was the man the archer had rode to save in the first place.
    Somewhere amidst all the hardened shells of Kori lingered a more humane man - the comrade he had rode to rescue.
    The glimpse of a man Morrigan saw was probably the reason why Port was on this quest in the first place. Maybe there was still hope to save that man from the clutches of shadows. And perhaps the one Kori was supposed to be saved wasn't from the Lady, but from he himself.

    Port's call lured Kori's softer, and more humane eyes away from Morrigan. The Black Wolf of Ivere gave Morrigan last few pats on her shoulder and stood past the mulberry-colored assassin. It was time to go.
    Port gave her a quick glance (perhaps a wink, too), despite his otherwise quite concerned look.
    "Kori - those bastards are having a bit too keen look on this decoy wall-spell over here!"
    "Too keen?"
    "Way too keen. This thing fools them for now..."
    , the archer murmured. "But as soon as something pounces on it.."
    Kori strode to Port's side to assess the situation.

    Right as Kori left Aep Cair stepped closer to Morrigan. His ugly, blotched skin was gone, and now.. he looked "okay". His eyes were sharp and grey, and now he actually had blue-tinted thin lips, and was that a wasp of silvery hair that poked out of the mage's clean, shiny and elegant grey robe? Wasn't that robe tattered, torched and punctured with holes just a few moments ago?
    Yet the biggest transformation was in his voice. It was rich and even elegant, and far, far away from the nasal creak the mage usually gave out. "You need to hold completely still while I open the Gate. We do not want a part of you being transformed, but all of you."
    He began waving his arms, closed his eyes and began spelling words that only resembled humane sounds. The ash and snow around Morrigan whirled, and air around her seemed to fold. A thinly outlined oval bent around the Shadowdancer, and she could hear sound of air escaping into ever expanding void around her.
    At the same time Morrigan saw that Cair's hands were.. multiplied. A blurred pair of extra arms whirled around this own, and when he spoke, he spoke like he had three mouths and spells being casted at the same time.
    Cair resembled a proper wizard now.
    The air around her cracked - and suddenly Cair's eyes shot open. The grey orbs of Aep Cair punctured through Morrigan’s amethyst, and that was the last thing she saw before being sucked into a lightless void..

    She heard a deep, rhythmical humming voice, like she was flying past something really fast. Flickers of obscene light flashed around the formless darkness around her.
    And then she heard a whisper on her ear.

    "I know who you are..
    I know what you are..
    She'll kill Him. She'll steal him from you. She'll make you suffer, and She'll break your heart, and perhaps not in that particular order. I know, I do. I can break your chains, and set you free.
    In the library.. Before the Dwarven City, in the Passageways, there's a satchel. In it, there's a book and a Mask.
    The book is who you are.
    The Mask is the key to save you, and your friend from Her.
    Bring me the Mask - and the whole satchel if you can.
    The book is yours.
    Remember our deal, Shadowdancer.. I might be your only hope against the Ladyyyy..."



    The Rest of The Pack, Eastern Wasburg

    Time to Think
    Slow thinking wasn't one Kori's, nor Port's, traits. They both were mostly used in "fast thinking". Thanks to the wall Farrah had summoned, the Pack remained out of combat and thought about their chances. The question is: "Was that for better, or worse?"

    "Is it just me, or does that one look particularly too keen about this wall?", Port pointed at a particular frostling wobbling next to the invisible wall Farrah had created. The frostling, best described as a miniature frost-troll, kept huffing the smoke-rich air right next the illusioned wall. It obviously had caught the scent of warmbloods.
    The rest of the horde continued their relentless assault, diverted by the wall just as Farrah had planned. Air was full of their screeches, and the ground shook from the constant pounding of hooves, paws and giant feet.
    "Monsters are stupid.", Adalia Grain eyed at the confused frostling with a voice full of contempt, enriched further by her thick accent. The stout, hard look on her face was only slightly diminished by the continuous clatter of her teeth. She shivered in the cold, but she did so in a very determined and a brave way. She shivered proudly.
    Rolland and Luka were in the background, leaning over the collapsed wizard. Aep Cair laid on the ground seemingly unconscious. The ground where Morrigan had stood just few moments ago was littered with smoldering runes and various arcane symbols, and now only faint tufts of smoke rose from the snow-free cobblestones.

    "Who are you anyway? And why the hell are you here?", Adalia turned her face towards Port. She unleashed a look. "Uh, I mean, what's a girl like you doing in a place like this?", Port spread out a defensive grin on his handsome face to reflect Adalia's look. His defenses, usually very solid against the scorn of any lady, were seemingly ineffective against the piercing gaze of Adalia Grain. A gaze of a thirty-year old, betrayed, and very, very angry, woman had so much puncture in it that needles beaten with a mallet couldn't compare. She certainly was no girl, and certainly immune against the most charming smile in all Ivere.
    "I'm a corpse.", the words dripped from Adalia's tongue like molten lead. "When the dawn breaks, I'll matter not to any of you."
    "Not that one-night stands wouldn’t do.."
    "Save your petty jokes for your lover, Boy.", she snapped.
    "But I am a petty joke, Ms. Corpse.", Port answered with a sigh, like he wouldn't care about the conversation anymore. He now focused on the frostling on the other side of the transparent wall. Obviously the Southern Girl wasn't worth of wasting good jokes on.
    Adalia rolled her eyes in a wide arc, landing her orbs on Kori, who stared at the horde being busy just past the illusioned wall. "Well?"


    Kori had taken no part in Port's and Adalia's conversation. There were good questions asked and good answers given, and for Kori that was enough.
    Kori couldn't quite put his finger on who the spear-wielding woman was, and why the hell was she with them, but did it matter? She stood where they stood, she had a weapon, and she was absolutely right: she didn't matter to them. Well, not much at least. But she had.. attitude.
    "Well what?", Kori asked.
    "Conquer the mountain!", Adalia stomped her foot with a clear chink of chain mail clatter, and shot her bare finger towards the menacing, magic shooting, horde flooding pinnacle of death. "Before we just freeze into death, or are you a-"
    "Don't say it!"
    "Say it!", Kori insisted. He had reacted immediately. His huge shoulders swell and his head sank between them. His dark orbs locked into Adalia's eyes, and the two had a staring competition of the century.
    "I say what I want: I will shut up in front of no man!"
    "Just say what ya wanna say!"
    "I will!"
    "Just calm fuck down!", words flung back and forth in this very intense ping-pong-pang-battle of three.

    "A c o w a r d.", Adalia finished the game, saying it slowly, like she was enjoying each and every letter of the word. And oh, how Kori's face twisted into a snarl. His leathery glove creaked as he squeezed the handle of his dark blade. "Conquer the mountain. Prove that you're a real man and not just another trash bag filled with empty words."
    "You'll get us all killed!", Port snarled and turned his attention back to the frostling beyond the wall. The thing stared at the wall with a baffled look on it's stupid, ugly little face. The frostling's ears and nose told it about human beings lingering very close, but it's red beady eyes insisted that there was nothing but a hard wall. Port reached for an arrow.
    "I'm already dead.", was Adalia's calm answer. She hadn't removed her eyes from Kori's eyes. The two were locked into a staring competition.

    The competition was broken by the sound of something galloping towards them. Port, now that he had shot the frostling beyond the invisible wall with the biggest and last puzzle of the frostling's life, scoffed. It was Abdul, carrying a simple bow.
    The carpet-covered small man, with frostbites all over his face, stopped his mule next to the pack. The mule was covered in much more warmer clothes than the Prince's doorman. It looked like that the mule was more likely to survive from Wasburg than Abdul was.
    "The fuck 'ya want?", Kori took the initiative, brushing past Adalia.
    "His majesty sends his regards, my lord Straw.", Kori stopped. Lord Straw? "And a gift.", Abdul showed Kori the bow.
    As the distractive effect of "Lord Straw" had finally worn off, Kori scoffed. "Tell 'im to give his alm's for the fuckin' poor, and tell that coward to sod off. We need no charity."
    "Oh, not for you, my lord, for you only regards. For him.", Abdul pointed at Port. "His Grace insists. It belongs to you."
    Port glanced at Kori and Adalia, and shook his shoulders. He made a gesture for Abdul to toss him the bow.
    "Ya better run!", Kori waved his hand at the servant. "Ya and ya Prince. Run off like chickens, back to south. Tell that to the Prince! Run off like he did in the bridge! We don't need ya. Fuck all of 'ya. We'll do this alone. Like we did in at the bridge! Tell him that. Tell 'im to tell fancy tales of 'im wearing posh fuckin' silky pants and eating grapes! That's a fuckin' legacy to tell, too! King of Chickens! I survive, n' I'll tell a tale of a prince who couldn't wipe his arse without his slaves, and who ran off with 'is tail between 'is legs from few gibberlings!"
    Abdul kicked his mule and rode off towards the docks, and Kori continued to toss his insults.
    Adalia had a small, lingering smile on his face. She looked pleased. There was, she noted, at least few people left who weren't afraid of a small man wearing the robes of royalty.

    Kori heaved from all the shouting, and turned to look at Port and his present. It was a medium sized bow made of brown wood. The bow was much bigger than Morrigan's black short bow, but a tad shorter than a longbow. It had no ornaments in it, no scribbling, no fancy feathers, nothing. It looked like a regular, well made bow.
    "Has more money than all of Ivere. Gives the cheapest bow in the stock. What a worthless cunt..", Kori murmured. "We go! Through the center! We need to find a fuckin' opening!", he waved his arm at Luka and Rolland. With one steady pull Kori tore the once more tattered, bloodied and frosted mage from the ground. "Get - the - fuck up!", he snarled.
    Aep Cair didn't object. In fact, he was completely unresponsive. The mage had really passed out. Cair's mouth was wide open, and the faintest trickle blood trickled from his nose. "Fuckin' useless.", Kori dropped the mage. "Take this scum n' get to the docks, ya two. Try to find a boat. Wait for us for a day, and if we don't show up.. kill 'im. Deliver his severed head and corpse to the Lady. She'll know what to do with crap like that.
    If I come back in within day and can't find ya' with a boat..", Kori's eyes lingered on the two warriors. "I'll find you. And if I won't, She will.", he snarled. "Port! Girl! We go!", Straw grabbed the reigns of his horse and rose to his saddle.

    Port lingered a while, turning the bow in his hands. It looked completely normal, but it felt.. It felt.. familiar. This bow was a powerful weapon, Port knew it the instant he had laid his hands on it. He took a deep breath, and gave his horse a nudge to follow Kori.


    Ser Lorrier of Wasburg, Wasburg Centre


    .. had a rough day. You knew you had one when you had literally been kicked by a giant. Ser Lorrier of Wasburg had flew for ten or fifteen meters, he didn't count, before crashing on the snow-cushioned cobblestones of the town center. Gibberlings, frostlings, trolls and ogres were something alright, but those things were nothing compared to the ice giants which came after. The Iceressess had sent first the expendable fodder to tire out the defenders, and to cut off ways to reinforce or retreat, and then they brought in the Big Boys. That seemed to be the Iceressess strategy to annihilate Wasburg. Ser Lorrier had to give it to the Iceressess, they really were annihilating Wasburg and it's defenders.
    Ser Lorrier had lost his helmet long ago due a blow he couldn't even fully remember anymore. His bare face was a dirty mix of blood, soot and sweat. The small stubble of his was frosted and iced by the plummeted temperatures. His short hair was iced by all the sweat. Yet the air grew only colder.
    He laid there, on the cobblestones of his lovely seagull-excrement painted town center, and stared at the dark sky he didn't recognize. Bright blue blasts, like comets with long tails and all, soared over the town. Lorrier didn't even want to know what they were. They were nothing he could do anything about, anyway. He was broken, exhausted, and defeated. And by the sounds of the battle so were the guardsmen of Wasburg. They might have stood a chance against the high numbers of fodder, but if something had an army of intelligent, big, strong and nearly indestructible ice-giants clad in finest armor Lorrier had ever seen.. They stood no chance.
    From the corner of his eye he saw dark, horrendous figures rushing past the town square towards south. The monsters had fully surrounded the town center, and poured past the ever-decreasing number of defenders. It would be a matter of time until the Icy Horde would finally squeeze the defenders into a tight noose, and that'd be the end of all Lorrier's worries.
    His thoughts revolved around the citizens of his beloved town. He prayed that most of the good folk of Wasburg had made it in to the ships. That he and his men had bought enough time to make all the sacrifices worth it.
    Giants rushed past the small circle of defenders in the middle of the town center, while rivers of gibberlings surrounded the last few dozen spearmen.


    The Docks, Southern Wasburg


    The first mate of "Gale Lake" folded his spyglass with a quick snap. "Cap'n!"
    "Under the deck! Guide them under the deck! And touch nothin'!", the captain of Gale Lake screamed orders as a panicking crowd of townsfolk did their best to cramp into his ship. It was astonishing how old ladies who weren't able to even feed themselves yesterday were now climbing over bulwarks of his ship like genuine acrobats alike. The sailors of the Gale Lake tried their best to maintain order, which mostly meant beating people with oars and wooden mallets when ever they got the chance for it, but it was hopeless. The mob came in as an uncontrollable tide. "Take in as many as you can! Stop wasting time in the middle of the ship, cramp on the sides, ya scurvy landlubbers!"
    "Cap'n!", the first mate insisted once again. His insist was muffled by a splash of a boulder hitting the lake. It hit so close to the ship that water splashed on the captain's and the first mate's necks. The first mate didn't even shiver from the cold water, he was used to it, but a giant boulder smashing right next to a possible "only way out"-ship really had it's effect on the people. The townsfolk were in panic, mildly put. Women screamed, children cried and men howled in desperation.
    "Nah, they won't hit us! Giant's can't aim!", the captain screamed back to his concerned first mate with certainty. And even if it would hit, the captain thought, he'd regret it the rest of his presumably very short life.
    The first mate knew that the stones wouldn't hit them. Not like they had hit "Unsinkable" just next to them few moments ago. That had been a terrible name for a ship anyway. "Not the slabs, cap'n! Look! At the sky!"
    People followed the gesture of the sky-pointing first mate and gazed upon the soaring comets cleaving through the sky. The people forgot to push and panic, and even to scream, as they stared at the pale blue comet. It flew way over them, and crashed against the lake few miles from the shore. It created a disappointingly small spout. Until it exploded, that was.
    The whole lake seemed to shiver from the impact, and the deep blue ocean was illuminated in bright blue for an eye-blink. And more projectiles came - like arrows from a volley.
    "They're freezing the lake!", the first mate yelled. "We'll freeze into the docks! We'll get trapped! We have to leave, now!"
    And that was how you created panic with. The first mate saw how all of color on his captain's face dissipated.
    "Lift the anchor!", the captain of the Gale Lake ran against the railing of his ship. "Man the oars! Ready the sails!"
    The panic on the dock had become real. People slipped from the crowded docks to the water, and soon the lake-shore was filled with floundering people. Some tried to claw the side of the ships that left the docks, and the most desperate tried to swim out themselves, without even considering that Lake Was was miles and miles vast, and there was really nowhere to swim to.
    But as the Gale Lake departed from the docks and oared it's way towards the open tides, there were captains that stubbornly took their place. The sailors of the lake were brave men - you had to be if you wanted to survive in northern Ivere. They took their chances against the hale-storm of giant boulders and magical ice-bombardment from the mountain. Because if they wouldn't have taken that chance they'd regret it the rest of their long lives, instead of regretting their heroism for the rest of their short ones.

    The constant chorus of screaming and crying suddenly intensified. Beyond the tall houses of dock-buildings, storage-buildings and countless of lake themed inn's came the swarm. Trolls, frostlings, gibberlings and ogres had finally reached the docks. Sailors had reached for their bows and haled volleys on the swarming tides that rushed to swarm the long wooden wharfs, and what few defenders the people had in the docks created a very tiny barrier of men between the horror's and the citizens.
    The screams of horror pitched into screams of death. People pushed other people to the water. The horrors poured into a small fishing ship docked on the banks, and the people tried to pour out of the fishing ship into the lake.
    And yet, as the Gale Lake oared it's way out to the open, the empty ships continued to dock.
    The captain of the Gale Lake had never seen so brave sailors in his life. Sailors, with blank faces without blinking an eye, docked into a besieged wharf.
    "Look!", the people on Gale Lake pointed towards the town. Ice Giants had reached the docks, and the giants smashed the few remaining defenders with ease. Hails of flaming arrows relentlessly poured into t
    he giants from the bows of sailors, and few did stumble from the wooden wharf and collapse on the lake, already filled with panicking townsfolk.

    A loud toot broke through the sky.
    And that lout toot was accompanied by wild screeches of brightly colored riders.
    An sharp wedge of horses made the lakeside cobblestones shake, and even when the Iceressess finest giants weren't really dishearted by the sight of light cavalry, they
    really were of the magic unleashed to support the cavalry. Fiery explosions, one after another, chained over the line of ferocious ice-giants, breaking their ranks. Smoldering gibberling-parts were flying in the sky amidst trolls and ogre-parts. The cavalry broke through the flames and the dismantled ranks of giants. They crashed into the horde like hot knives in soft flesh beneath an unbreakable armor, leaving behind splintered spears and countless of arrows, and even more bodies. The cavalry broke out from the holes they had punctuated into the black mass and tore their through the lake-side street. The brightly colored warriors then turned, pulled out their long sabers and returned back to the fray with another charge.
    Sabers cut through black flesh. The giants fought ferociously, and smashed horses and riders alike, and threw the wildly screaming southeners into the lake or smashed them against the buildings. But the southerners fought with similar ferociousness. They filled the giants with pointy arrows shot from of their short bows, they punctured the giants' huge legs with thickets of spears, and trampled the everything else under the flood of iron-enforced hooves.
    The civilians which weren't drowning or frantically climbing into the ships, roared in an applause.

    The tooting continued - this time the horns played a long, different tone.
    From east, rhythmical march of chain mail-clad spearmen had it's turn to shake the ground now. The spearmen had round, spike-tipped helmets, curvy blades on their broad belts, and big round, black shields each. All of them had a long orange tabard carrying the sigil of their kingdom: a white sun flared against black background.
    And they came in a formation. Right behind the formation was another set of riders, and the middlemost man on top of the biggest horse, the one with the biggest and definitely the most cushioned helmet, raised his palm.
    He waved at the cheering people on the decks of docks and ships, with a regal, yet a bit smug smile on his handsome face.

    The men next to the royalty man were robed men with really odd costumes - and those were the one's responsible for the explosions. They were mystics and wizards, and from their prince's order, they continued to cast fiery, flashy spells against the incoming tide.
    "Very well!", the Prince of the Shifting Dunes declared lowering his hand. He glared at the battlefield in front the docks. It seemed like his cavalry was receiving heavy casualties, and the Prince couldn't help but to "tut" at his cavalry's incapability of staying alive. "Inform the citizens that the Son of the Sun is no coward! Tell them to consider themselves saved. We shall buy them time to get on their cruise-ships to safety. Captain, eradicate this horrendous rabble. Tsut, tsut, get it done with.", he flicked his arm at the captain of his guard as a sign.
    "Teach those bitchy witches what it means to meddle with the Prince of the Shifting Dunes! Show them my fury and fire, and make haste with it."
    "Kill for the Prince!", the captain of the guard roared, and then the spearmen roared to answer him. With each scream they slammed their spears against the ground.
    "Har-Uh! With pride!"
    "Slay for the Prince!"
    "Har-Uh!"
    "Die for the Prince!"
    "Har-UH!"
    "Chaaaaaaaarge!"
    And the spearmen lowered their long, black spears, and the line behind the first spears raised their short bows in unison to create a very neat and cinematisque scene: arrows mowed down the gibberlings, trolls and ogres that tried to trickle past the giants. Spells of all kinds, mostly fire and lightning, crashed on the giants. And the spearmen charged in with high-pitched screams.
    The Giants answered to the Southerners roar with their own. They tried to order the trolls, ogres and gibberlings to rush in - mostly by kicking, stomping and smashing them. But soon they roared in fury as the trolls, ogres and gibberlings ran to the opposite direction than what they were supposed to run. The men of the South took the mouth of the docks, and spread out as a fan of spears, blades and arrows, spells and fire. The black tide was pushed back.

    The Prince glanced at the mountain, and at the freezing projectiles they shot towards the lake.

    "Signal our ship.", he told ordered to his mystics. "I will give the people of Wasburg time to evacuate. Make sure!", he lifted a finger. "That they will spread the word: It was the courageous generosity and the mercy of the Prince of the Shifting Dunes that saved their lives."
    "Yes, my lord."
    "Do you think..", he searched for a more comfortable spot on his saddle after he had admired the sight of a proper battle for a while. The Prince wrinkled his nose in distaste when a slab of stone hurled from the mountain rolled through a good chunk of his spearmen. Obviously his soldiers should have some improvements to be made in the "combat awareness"-department. The Prince had seen the stone flying for many seconds, and yet his men only kept poking at trolls with their spears, when they clearly had had all the time in the world to step away from the incoming boulder. ".. that he really was the Protagonist of our time? The descendant of Milothas Ment?"
    The Prince's most trusted counselor thought about it for twenty long seconds, while observing how the Prince's infantry and cavalry gave and received blows against the horde. The Prince made small gestures and his lips moved; "Take that, and that, and ouch- that had to hurt..."
    "If he descends from that mountain alive.. he can't be considered as a 'nobody', now can he my lord?"
    ".. and that, and that..", the Prince continued to give air-punches at the giants. He shook his fists in triumph as his spearmen finally knocked the heavy plated giant on the ground.
    "What was the name of their leader again, my lord? The big man. With coal-black eyes."
    "Uh.. the strange fellow no-one had never heard about? Was it Cory Strawling? Cori Straps? Coriander Loafs?"
    "No, I'm sure it was.. Koiry Swart. A peculiar man, that one."



    Ser Lorrier, Center of Wasburg

    .. opened an eye. He had closed both of them for just a brief moment as he caught up his breath. Nothing had killed him yet, he deducted. Yet indeed, he continued the fair line of deduction. He rose on his elbows to check if there was something close enough for his feeble body to stab, but disappointingly he had to wait. Not for long, though, as an ice-giant armed with a feisty spear was closing in with remarkable speed. The giant's spear had small pennons tied to it which flapped ferociously in the harsh winds that blew over the town square. Three large human skulls were neatly tied up behind the blood-smeared tip of the weapon.
    The ice-giant's ferocious blue eyes locked into Lorrier. There was no mercy in the eyes of the giant. Nor was there any glee. There was only pure hatred in those eyes. Just.. hatred.
    A wild howl broke the giant's ferocious stare. It raised it's huge head to find the source of the strange voice: and then there was only amazement and an arrow in it's eyes. And right after that there were only arrows in his eyes. The giant slouched on his knee, and crashed on the cobblestones, close enough for Ser Lorrier to now stab the dead thing.

    Ser Lorrier had, once more, been saved by the bell. This was the fourth time in the battle when something had came in and rescued him from a certain death. But this one, this particular one, was the far most impressive thing he had seen today.
    A dark man stood next to him. Lorrier's eyes drew up higher, up to the fluttering black hair that surrounded a chiseled, harsh face. His eyes were sucked into the eyes of the dark warrior. The man had a dark aura swirling around him. He looked big, but his shadow looked enormous.
    Kori Straw lifted his eyes from the captain's eyes. There was a spear lying on the ground right next to his feet. It had a tattered flag bound to it. Kori recognized the flag: it was Crenil's crest. A a blue salmon diving under a ruby-enlaid crown, all laid against creamy white.
    Ser Lorrier was dry of words. He opened his mouth to say something, but only a dried croak came out.
    A green hooded man stood right next to the dark warrior. The dark man knelt down to reach for the spear, and suddenly the sky broke: and a ray of light penetrated the thick carpet of darkness. The ray of light illuminated the hooded man, and his white-green ornated armor bathed in the light. Green sparkled, and white and silver shined in the warm golden light. He had a bow, and whilst blinded by the Light, Ser Lorrier could have sworn that the bow had tiny green sprouts fluttering around it.
    The sun vanished as soon as it had came, and the dark man stood back up, holding the flagged spear high on his right arm.
    A third figure took it's place next to the two. Her dark, long hair fluttered in the cold air, and she had a regal, stout look on her face.
    For Ser Lorrier's minor dissapointment, there was no special effects reserved for the orange-robed, chain mail clad maiden.

    The trio had gathered all the attention of the defeated defenders - and the horde's too, who patiently waited to see what this would bring up. And with one, fluid motion Kori Straw lifted the spear over his head. The tattered flag fluttered in the cold breeze.

    I'll kill as many as I can, in your name., Kori mantraed in his thoughts, reaching out for the still silent Lady. There was no opening. There was only the horde. This would be the maddest dash of his life. But he had to do it. He would have to carve his path through the desolated houses, steep cliffs, collapsed barricades and spiked battlements, through fire and smoke filled corridors - and that's why they had left their horses behind - and of course the horde itself. Up on the ridge, which wasn't that far away *technically speaking*, the paths were narrow. There they had a chance, if they ever had any, as the horde couldn't flock on them with sheer numbers. The catch was to get there through heavy numbers of, well, literally everything. It was a bloody suicide, even Kori knew that.
    But he had to do this.
    For Himself...
    For His Dark Queen...
    Or he'd never be Her King... Or any king whatsoever.
    And someone else would take his place next to His Lady.
    And most of all, he had to do this for..


    "F O R!", Kori lowered his spear and flung it's tip high over his head. "IVIIIIIIR!", Kori roared, and dashed forward.

    Language is a strange thing: In the word Ivere, the last "e" is rather silent, end "i" sounds a lot like "e". So what the men scattered around the ruins, in the town square, defeated and smote down, all who lived, heard, was actually For Ivere.
    And they saw the dark man, all by himself, rushing with a spear on his other hand and a blade on his other, against a tide of horrors.. They screamed. Men who thought they were defeated rose up, forgetting their injuries, their wounds, exhaustion, burns of even limbs, rose up and followed that dark, crazy man, and his two followers that arched behind him.
    The horde rushed to meet them, a huge ice-giant with a one hand battle-hammer in one hand and a giant shield in the other in front. The green hooded man shot an arrow (whilst running, as ridiculous it sounds) into a giant's left eye-socket, and Kori Straw sunk his spear in the ice-giants groin, ducked under the giant's spread out legs, grabbed his blade with both hands, swirled and cut the limb straight off. The giant collapsed, and Straw crashed into the tide of gibberlings.
    And right after him, all remaining men of Ivere crashed against the horde...


    Morrigan and Farrah, The Mountain Entrance


    And with a BANG! Morrigan heard only the gushing wind in her ears. Her white hair fluttered in the ever more violent winds blowing down from the mountain, but she did not feel the cold. The wind was mild, moderate even, against her mulberry skin. She could feel her digits again, and even the tips of her toes had cozy warmth instead of prickling cold. Yet her breath fumed with each exhale.

    She stood high, high on the mountainside and with a spectacular view: Lake Was spread into vastness in front of her. The lake glimmered and basked in sunlight, though nothing else did. The sky was dark, blue and cold. Right before her feet lay a long, long drop down the slopes which lead into Wasburg.
    The town burned, and even with billowing black smoke obstructing a good view down, she saw the town center and the battle that raged on there. Beyond the center lay the docks, and Morrigan could make out the bright sails of dozens of ships flocking around. Some were leaving, and some were sailing back to the docks. Probably to board in more of the escaping townsfolk and sailing them to safety beyond the lake.
    With just a glimpse she got a good idea what was going on.
    The town center still held, despite the seemingly endless legion's efforts. The issue was that nothing else but the center held: the black army simply flooded around the center, and aimed for the docks.
    Up here, it looked like a black crescent of hideous things was wrapping around the defenders.

    In short: Wasburg was fucked.

    A harpy dove just over Morrigan’s head, breaking her train of thought. It flew by so close that she could have stabbed it mid-flight. She didn't have to look, but she did anyway, as a new flock of harpies flew by her and soared down to the town.
    Farrah stood standing next to her, recovering from the vexing spell. Still smoldering, scorched runes and various arcane symbols dotted the ground underneath the blue jay. And behind the thiefling there was The Entrance.

    The Entrance was carved as a giant dwarf's head where the open mouth served as an entryway inside the mountain. It was particularly well crafted - despite that it masterfully blended into the crude and cracked mountainside, it was still easy to recognize from up close. And only from up close, that was. The Entrance was nearly impossible to note from the town. Morrigan could barely step in to it standing: if she'd be wearing high heels, she'd have to duck to get in the mountain.
    Not all dwarves had fixation into giant doorways normally expected in a fantasy story. Well not in this one!
    And as Morrigan’s gaze scaled at the dwarf's head, she saw a giant figure standing on top of the dwarf's head. The figure stared at them.
    Just a bit over an ogre's size, the Ice Giant looked much like a seriously overgrown man. It had a spiked helmet made of ice, but the giant battle-hammer it held was definitely made of steel. The blue-tinted skin of the giant was bare only from knees down, and all above the giant knees were clad in masterfully crafted armor, filled with icy runes.
    Next to the giant was the palest woman Morrigan had ever seen. The woman had long white hair, blue and white armor, white boots and a white hem of a long dress flapping underneath it all. She wore no gloves, and on her pale arm lied a spear made of white-painted wood. The tip of the spear was made of, naturally, sharpened ice.
    She too stared at the Jay and Morrigan.
    "Hjelmfjerd?", the woman had the coldest voice Morrigan had ever heard. "You were right - someone really ported in from the town. The reeks of the spell's warmth."
    And so had teleported those two: Farrah would have never made such a mistake to cast a taxing and time-consuming portal-spell under an Iceress and a Giant General.
    The giant tinted his head, measuring up Morrigan and the thiefling. "Continue the siege, Kuura.", it rumbled - or clattered. "Start bombing the Lake. Strike to it's heart - freezing the surface won't suffice.
    I'll take care of the Demon and the Shade. These two are out of your league, Sorceress.", and the Giant turned his helmet-shielded eyes back to the two.
    "I very much doubt it.", the icy sorceress objected.
    "I said: Kill the heart of the lake. Continue the siege.", and with those words, the giant leapt down from the stony dwarfs head. Snow whirled from the impact, and all of those fancy runes what the giant had on his armor shimmered with ever darkening blue.
    And at the same time, the sorceress did what the giant had commanded her to do. With only few quick words of chanting, and she tossed her spear towards the distant lake. The spear transformed into a blue missile of ice and cold, which flung as an ever growing blast towards the lake.
     
  4. Daydreamer

    Daydreamer Wild Member Member

    Messages:
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    Local Time:
    8:51 AM
    While Farrah transformed into a Blue Jay and pierced through the skies with a determination that she wasn't quite sure she truly felt, Morrigan watched Kori's whole mien shift into a more sincere, more humane version of the warrior, and she was filled by both surprise and confusion. It seems Kori's chaotic nature never ceased to strike her with new depths to the usually simple-looking fellow. Previously though, the assassin just discovered how cruel or insane the man could be. This was the first time she actually saw a man she could relate to in all that fury and chaos. Was she wrong about him? Should Morrigan help this guy to escape the Lady's deadly web of seduction?

    There was no time for such considerations, however. Their attention was called to the (for them) invisible wall that Farrah had set up as a sort of protection. It was worrisome to the young mulberry-colored woman the sheer amount of enemies flooding past them. Before she could observe the gibberling that seemed somewhat interested in the illusion, Aep Cair started speaking. Weirder and fouler than Kori could ever get, the mage was once again... different. His voice was practically irrecognizable and he looked more man than weasely geezer now. At this point however, any inquiries about it from Morrigan's part were brushed aside, she had more important things to focus on. Fuck this mage.

    Shrugging the colorful warm cape she'd gotten from the southerners, the black-clad beauty stood tall in her resolve again. Yeah, Morrigan was definitely seeking to prove herself, but she was no idiot. As much as aiding the Lady might not be in everyone's best interest, letting the magisters control magic was definitely bad. She can do this. She knows she can. And if even Kori says so... then Morrigan can't be wrong. Or so she told herself. Gripping her weapons, she steadied herself for the spell cast by Cair, throwing a lingering look towards Port, amethyst orbs a mix of confidence and hesitation, for she knew her task was daunting, but his... was maybe suicidal.

    There was not enough time for second thoughts or goodbyes. Then she was gone.

    =====================

    Farrah could be mistaken, but the big open dwarven maw was likely the place she needed to be. Before landing, she'd had a bird's view of the swarm descending the mountains and did not envy the Pack's quest to ascend it. The ledge, however, was luckily free of the enemy.

    It was cold as balls, though.

    "M-m-motherf-f-fucker!!" She exclaimed through clattering teeth, when she shifted back to her Tiefling form. Rapidly numbing fingers made an almost clumsy attempt at tugging at the colar of her undershirt. The strange dark mesh extended, stretching up her neck and then her digit searched for the indentation she knew to find. With a chiming sound, accompanied by a woosh of air, the back and sides of the mesh... shifted... changed... hardened... and created a strange sort of round helmet around the spy's head. The transparent dome-like front of the helmet flickered with a cold blue light and her HUD appeared with barely any information and a bunch of error warnings. The charming voice of her AI greeted her as the helmet melded closed with the flightsuit underneath her armor, a hissing of escaping air frosting in the cold peak, indicating that the suit had fully pressurized.

    Farrah barely had time to enjoy the warmth spreading through her limbs and tip of her nose, for she felt the surging magic reaching the wand she carried. Stepping closer to the walled side of the ledge, she braced for the portal that opened with a bang, materializing Morrigan in a flash. The force of the spell threw her against the rock, the shock forcing the breath out of her lungs, smoldering runes misting the air where she had stood a moment before.

    Morrigan emerged from the strange experience in a whirlwind of chaotic emotions and sensations. She felt dizzy and nauseated, the assassin knew the Lady would harm Port, that was a given, since the Lady had a knack for doing that to everyone, especially those Morrigan chose to approach in any meaningful way. The young woman had chosen to believe they could find a way of just... not going back to Hogermont. But deep inside Morrigan didn't truly believe she could stop Kori and his blind greed... or stop Port from following his friend. The helpless feeling, combined with the soreness her misterious background caused and the painful vain hope of finding out who she was, came out of the young assassin in a shaky breath. Once the mist dissipated, horror struck her, wiping away any conflicting thoughts about the mysterious entity's offer. For the view down the mountain and into Wasburg was the stuff of nightmares.

    Groaning and pushing herself back up, Farrah suddenly felt uncomfortable for a whole other reason than showing a little too much of her true nature. Where Morrigan stood, transfixed by the sight down the snowy crags, shadows darker than darkness gathered. They seemed to come from around, as much as from the assassin's fingertips, which twitched tensely next to her thighs. Tendrils of the almost liquid-like darkness snaked up the girl's curves and there was a pressure, some sort of energy in the air which the tiefling knew wasn't a residue from the gate spell.

    How could Port possibly survive that? The thought filled Morrigan with desperate frustration. Was that the softness in Kori's way? Did the warrior know that what they were proposeing to do was a sacrifice? Could he be already so devoted to the Lady to give his own life in her service? Nah... it just didn't fit. Kori wouldn't simply surrender and accept death, of that she was very sure. But to hope to make through the descending swarm...

    Both women's thoughts were interrupted all of a sudden. As one they turned to the massive giant general and the creepy ice sorceress. Morrigan's eyes were pools of darkness, the thrumming tension that Farrah had felt did not dissipate, much to the contrary, it increased. The surprise to the presence of enemies so close paled to the assassin's raw rage. All that mounting frustration, growing from anger, doubt, fear and helplessness, merged and found an outlet in something concrete: someone to blame.

    Quickly swiping over bright blue keys made of pure light which appeared floating above her wrist, the AI's pleasant voice ranged for the spy's ears alone, saying. "Schematics for mounted laser cannon found." Watching the images drawn on the HUD, Farrah created a turret out of her strange brand of magic. The ley lines thrummed a dissonant note as she forced the unnatural magic into being and gave her focus to keep it working. Grabbing onto handles of pure light she shouted for Morrigan to get inside and without waiting for the giant general to even make landfall, she pulled the trigger. Whirring and loading like a true laser repeating cannon, the construct of light fired thick red beams of scorching light in quick succession at the icy enemy.

    Morrigan took a step forward. Farrah's outrageous look and abilities seemed to not register at all. The blackness that covered her amethyst eyes like a film stared into the duo that at that moment personified all that plagued the young assassin. That darkness spread, it coated Morrigan from head to toe, connecting to those tendrils the spy had watched warily, missing only the silver glowing sigils that marked the young woman's body. Like a shadow given life, she approached the enemy, her words echoed by a dark, whispering undertone as she spoke. "Thank your Ice Queen for me for all these shadows when you meet her in the afterlife."

    Sinking into the pooling shadows, Morrigan disappeared in an instant... only to reappear in the next, leaping from the Dwarven's open maw to the ice giant's back with her wicked blades whistling through the air as she sunk them on the junction of the plates which protected the general's neck and shoulders.
     
  5. WriteAngry

    WriteAngry Wild Member Member

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    9:51 AM
    Morrigan: 50hp (Effects: Advanced Protection from Cold, Immune to Ice-damage)
    Farrah: ??hp


    "The bigger they are..."
    Reckless! Official "Kori Straw Would Approve"-badge gained.


    [​IMG]

    Morrigan's eerie transformation made Kuura gasp. She had seen shadows bending and dancing before, just quite recently in fact, but she had never seen anything like that. Her round eyes were stuck on Morrigan's shadows, until a ray of light stole her attention. The bright lights flung from the spell of the that weirdly armored creature crashed against Hjemfjerd in mid-air. And it looked bad.
    Blue runes and glyphs flashed in the air as spells collided. One of the defensive runes cracked open from the sommersault of Farrah's red beams, and as a result the General crashed against the stony crag of the mountain with a loud boom.
    Kuura clenched her teeth in rage. So much heat, all warming up the atmosphere! Did these creatures know anything about global warming? Did they not care from the penguins and polar bears? All of Ivere, only a dozen millenia ago, was covered in beautiful natural frost, and if not for her and her sisters efforts, most of the north would never see a frosted summer ever again!
    The icy spear formed in her pale-white hands once more, and she lifted up her weapon for yet another attack against the Lake.
    Thank the freeze, Hjemfjerd seemed to be fine even when the first attack had taken him by surprise. Now the red beams barraged safely against the giant's shields of frosted runes. But the General had smoldering craters in his helmet and armor - the first strikes had been very effective. What was that magic? She lifted her spear. This didn't seem like something that Hjemsfjerd could deal with alone...

    It took the giant General a second to recover from the shock. He hadn't had the time to realize exactly what had happened. The hardened shield of his armor seemed to hold against the next barrage of shots.
    Despite his shield holding on for now, scorching, blistering pain of fire and heat throbbed in his chest - and helmet, thank the frost he always wore a helmet, or he'd been dead by now.
    Weird magic from the Endless Plains, he reckoned. Hjemsfjerd kicked himself up on his feet, barely noticing the malice of Morrigan's whispering undertone. And then the Shade simply vanished. Hjemsfjerd didn't stand idle to do nothing as the Shadow and Demon did their tricks and feints: He lifted his mace as a ruse and - threw a sheep-sized stone he had cleverly picked up from the ground - towards Farrah with a roar of rage. He'd crush that fire-spitting demon first.

    Right behind the giant Morrigan popped out from the void and soared through the air. She pulled a cape of shadows behind her that landed like folding wings on the giant's shoulders. Her quick blades crashed against the giant's plates, searching for that deadly opening. As steel struck steel, offensive magic met defensive magic, and a blast of frost erupted from the cuts Morrigan tore into the armor. The deadly frost-nova simply brushed Morrigan's hair, as cold had no effect against her.

    Kuura, the Iceress, threw her spear against the darker than darkness attached on Hjemsfjerd's neck. She ignored the giant's commands of attacking the Lake, for she had many sisters to siege the bastion of warmth, and she could continue the Siege after the demon and the shade were frozen off.

    Morrigan's blades found an opening for the next effective strike, but Morrigan was struck by yet another frosted spell. This spell was far more potent than the frost-nova she had just shrugged off. The blast of ice and an explosion of coldness knocked Morrigan off from Hjemsfjerd, sending her rolling on the ground, but all of the freezing effects simply dissipated from Morrigan's skin.
    Kuura took only an eyeblink to recover from the shock that the Shadow seemed to be quite unfrozen, and then she screeched for aid. Her shriek vibrated through snow and ice, and it felt like every single flake of snow carried her cry for help forward to the next.

    -1 kinetic damage, absorbed 20 ice damage
    Morrigan: 49hp

    The two frosted enemies seem to be a timely fight. But does Morrigan really have the time to fight these two? And what if she doesn't fight the duo, would Kori and Port - if they ever even reached this far - manage to get past these two?
    What does she do?

    > Morrigan could go for the objective. Time was in the essence: if the elves managed to flee with the stone... Farrah can take care of this. Morrigan has better things to do, and far better approaches on the issue than to brawl with every single thing she meets...

    > But can Morrigan really find the stone alone? Perhaps the innards of the mountain contains enemies much worse than these, and the aid of the infiltrator might be essential in acquiring the stone. Perhaps they should try to escape from the enemy together?

    > On the other hand, she could find Kori and Port from here as two popsicles.. These two suckers need to die!
     
  6. Daydreamer

    Daydreamer Wild Member Member

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    This was the last thing they needed. Though Morrigan seemed to be quite relishing a target to spill her anger upon, Farrah kept a more even-headed outlook. She'd hoped to cover the shadowdancer's entry into the maw so she could get right on the pursuit, for the whole premise of the girl's mission was Cair and Kori pretty much grasping at straws. There was no time to waste if the hope was to reach a fleeing enemy in a collapsed mountain. Yet, Morrigan chose instead to throw herself at an enemy she barely understands. Handling herself did not seem to be that much of an issue, though, as Farrah had the chance to observe.

    The laser cannon had been competent in dealing with a frost-attuned foe, as the spy predicted, however, he was better protected than she'd expected, for a schematic spell of that potency ordinarily would have left nothing but smoldering carnage with a direct barrage of hits. The shield was frustratingly even more effective, though the sheer force and repetition of the weapon/spell Farrah wielded required an active effort to soak and resist, like the heavy blows of an enemy relentlessly hitting the bulwark. Still, Farrah kept on it, if nothing else, to keep his focus divided and let the angry shadow assassin move more freely to get the kill. At a few paces of distance still, Farrah didn't seem fazed by the mace, she'd have the chance to avoid the blow if the general chose to charge, however, it did register as strange when the competent shielding was suddenly dropped.

    Oh fuuuuck! The spy's strange eyes widened in the domed helmet, blinking warning lights flashing on her HUD along with the voice of the AI annoucing imminent deadly impact warned her of the feint performed by the general. Farrah's reflexes were quick and she changed her target from giant to flying giant boulder, a spray of thick laser bolts wildly flying through the ledge and all within it, but impacting the rock, shattering it into smoldering pieces of rock that pelted the area. The thickest pieces remaining continued their trajectory towards the tiefling, however, and she was thrown back with an oof of escaping air from her lungs, a shimmering blue energy shield coming into view wherever she was hit, soaking up most of the damage. Farrah's fall was mostly pillowed by the snow piled around the ledge, though she skided away a little from the weapon she wielded, which, like a hologram, merely flickered under the showered pebbles and revolved into a stop, like an unmanned cannon would. Unlike a solid turret, however, it began fizzing, dissolving into pixels carried by an invisible breeze at the edges, the spell beginning to unravel.

    Just as the general finished his attack, however, Morrigan's backstabbing one came crashing. Be it by the powerful spell cast by Aep Cair or by the shadows that coated her like a thick film (or a combination of both) whatever backlash from piercing into the general's defenses into his flesh was fully absorbed by the shadowdancer. Morrigan could feel the otherworldness of the darkness that covered her. It was alike the shadows she wielded by trade, but still different, somehow protecting her, fueling her, other than but still somehow a part of her. Indeed, she was doing this herself. It was as if the mulberry-colored woman floated on the surface of untapped power, and being flung into such dangerous situations - something Lady Maeve had systematically kept her away from - was making the shade reach into the dark depths... and she was yet to find the bottom.

    The shadowdancer relished in the feeling of her blade sinking into her enemy, a certain purplish glow rimmed the edges of her pitch black eyes, fueling her into driving the blade further in for increased damage, shadows flaring behind her like extended bat wings, pooling underneath the giant and reaching up, as if darkness answered her like a siren's call. She was suddenly disrupted by a hard impact at her back, ripping her from her enemy and one of her blades, which was firmly planted in the general's shoulder. Despite feeling the impact and rolling to the ground, Morrigan was no worse for wear. She came back to her feet, quickly assessing herself, she had felt the blow and the fall, but nothing further than that, which just emboldened the assassin. It fueled her cold fury. She would not simply vanquish these foes. She'd make them pay for their audacity.

    "GO! I'll handle this!" Farrah shouted, a note of strain in her words. She could feel her side a bit when she reached for it, bruised ribs, likely. Nothing she couldn't handle, but it did put a strain on shouting. The spy's words were mainly drowned out not by her pain, however, but by the incredibly high-pitched call of the iceress, which could not mean anything good. Trying to prevent an escalation they couldn't afford, Farrah leapt awkwardly from where she had landed on her back towards the fizzling, inert cannon. Her touched brought the thing back to life momentarily, and she directed the automatic fire to the much flimsier target that was the iceress keening her call to arms, pelting her with bolts just before the last pixels fell like sand from between her fingers. Farrah was pretty confident in the devastating effects of her weapon, but she rose to her feet while reaching into one of her pouches just in case.

    Whether Morrigan heard Farrah's order and chose to ignore it or the words simply were lost to wind and battlecry was unclear, for the shadow given shape drew a dagger to replace the missing short sword and lifted both in a sort of mantis attack that couldn't hope to reach high on the giant's body. Instead of closing the distance, however, she struck... at the ground. With such strength, even a well-crafted blade was bound to bend out of shape or splinter against the solic rock. Unnaturally, though, the weapons sunk into the shadow covered ground as if into flesh, a beam of purple light shining up like sun through a crack in the rock. And the assassin began tearing, a groan of effort escaping gritted teeth. Suddenly, both shade and ice giant began to sink into the darkness below.
     
  7. WriteAngry

    WriteAngry Wild Member Member

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    Hjemfjerd wasn't hopeful enough to stop attacking after he had hurled the sheep-sized slab. He rushed after the stone, lifting his mace with a bellowing roar. He anticipated that the tiny demon-spawling would simply duck, and - what?
    The hurling stone exploded in a ray of light, hurling pebbles of rock in all directions. That included the direction of the giant. And as the slab of stone was between Farrah's laser-barrage and the general, the lasers fired through the shattered stone had a neat secondary target.
    The Ice Giant General was impaled by few shots of soaring hot, condensed light. They went straight through him. Hjemfjerd had a baffled look, so baffled that his masked helmet gave it through. His pacing slowed, and the grip on his mace slouched. Just a bit. It didn't hurt at all.
    What did hurt, was the short-sword sticking out of his shoulder. Hjemfjerd reached out to grab what-ever was on his neck, but only thing the giant found was a short blade sticking out of his shoulder. Curiously though, he couldn't reach the owner of the blade.

    The giant's attention latched back on the small devil and her outrageous magic. A new barrage of shots were fired, but this time Hjemsfjerd wasn't the target. With horror grabbing his icy heart, the giant followed the trail of the burning lights. The high-pitched scream that rang in his ears had seized. Hjemfjerd saw only a pair of legs pointing at the sky and a flash of a white hem. Everything else from her companion had collapsed. The pair of pale legs landed softly, and voicelessly, on top of the Dwarf's Head. The scream had came into a jutting stop.
    The giant cracked his head back on the demon. He tore out the short blade of Morrigan out of his armor, and rushed forward. The giant lifted his both weapons in a furious frenzy as he rushed to avenge his fallen companion. He'd tear that tiny thing limb to limb! A shaking roar of war and fury escaped from his thundering chest.

    Yet he had taken numerous of giant steps towards the cornered thiefling, and had advanced none. To the giant's horror, he was sinking into the ground. A pool of darker than any variation of black the general had ever seen sucked him in. It struck the ice-giant, that despite the odds, despite all the preparations and all of his soldiers he had sent to the fray, all the effort he had made for this very day, that it would be he himself dying today.
    As a last-ditch effort, when he was arm-pits deep in the pool of shadows, the giant threw the mace at the thiefling. It was a bad throw, the giant reckoned neck deep in the pool, and Hjemfjerd saw the mace ricochet from the demon's blue-flashing protection sphere. And then, only an accusing arm pointed up from the pit. His scream hadn't even gurgled when he sunk under, it just simply stopped when his head vanished under. Stopped, or muffled completely.

    For a moment Farrah heard nothing but the howling wind in the ledge. The tip of a white dress flapped from the top of the Dwarf's head, but the Iceress didn't seem to move at all. From her view, she could barely see part of her bare foot. It was impassive.
    Only movement on top of the ledge were now Morrigan, rending the shadows like she was literally stabbing the hell out of rock itself, and tufting of fine powdered snow gusting in the winds.
    The peace after combat had returned...

    Absolutely Savage!
    The Giant and the Iceress are defeated. What a perfect way to waste time with when an immeasurably valuable magical stone is probably being carried away by dark elves into the black pits of their twisted, sinister civilization. A glorious victory, and for the sake of Morrigan's virginity (not even trying to mention the lives of everybody else), she keeps on winning.

    Well, except that her HUD told that a huge swarm of giants, gibberlings, trolls and harpies were closing in their position with haste, probably due that the Iceress had called for aid. And to make things even worse.. She heard a growl. Very close. Right behind her. If not for the suit, she probably would have felt the stench of whatever was huffing and puffing at her neck. The top of the dome-helmet of her's steamed and de-steamed with each of those huffs and puffs. Something was quite literally breathing down on her neck. And with just a quick crane of her neck back, she stared right up into a row of very impressive teeth.
    Those teeth were very healthy, very big, and very sharp, and attached to a long all wrinkled up muzzle, which ended in two very yellow glowy eyes.
    The thing was way bigger than what Farrah would have liked it to be.

    "Grr-what did the chicken sSRRGH-ay
    when it flew overrr - the, grrh-rr - ravine-h?"

    It's maw twisted in a saliva-dripping grimace.

    [Throw Reflex D20. >11 = 12: Fail]


    Farrah tried to pull something out from her pouch, but Trelac the Horrible was faster. With lightning speed the Werewolf grabbed her by the shoulder, turned, and tossed the Blue-Jay down from the ledge, like she was a bag of old potatoes.
    "SPLAT!", the werewolf didn't even look at the Jay falling down the mountain, his beady eyes were already turned into Morrigan beyond the dark pool. His lips curled over to reveal the powerful canines.
    Trelac's massive dark fur covered body was stained with black and blue blood from clawing his way through the whole mountain, up onto this very spot.
    To be fair, Trelac had no idea that he'd find Morrigan alone - now when the chicken was learning to fly hahahaha, a classic! he thought - from here, from all of the places, but he had simply lost his way in all of the bloodshed and teared his way up here. And what presents had fate given him. His eyes flickered with greed. "Little, little black riding hood.. you're comin' home with me. To meet up with Granny-", Trelac's eyes finally focused on Morrigan's form, and he saw...

    (your turn)
     
  8. Daydreamer

    Daydreamer Wild Member Member

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    A sunless world.

    What a clever way for the forces of winter to march down on their warm-blooded enemies. The cold sphere on the sky, peering through intermittently between the clouds which snowed down relentlessly, was chilly where the sun was warm, bleak where the sun was bright. While merciful on the Iceressess' minions as they swarmed down the mountains and rampaged over the Iverian city of Wasburg, the spell which rendered the sun virtually powerless had another, unintended result, as Farrah observed in part horror, part fascination.

    Having once more been thrown back and skidded away on powdered snow, the spy's shielding absorbed most of the damage from the flung giant's mace, at a great cost to its continuous protection, but it didn't go without any effects on the spy herself. So as she raised her head, it took her a second or two to piece out what exactly she was seeing in the bizarre spectacle ahead.

    In rending, violent motions, creating a show of deep, purple lights in the sky, Morrigan tore open a gate of sorts, one which gave passage to the shadowy realm she visited briefly each time she jumped through shadows. Quite intimate a place to those like her, the place was nothing short of uninhabitable by one such as the ice giant general, who quickly discovered the horror was sinking was just the beginning, when countless clawed limbs ravaged him in his descent to the other plane.

    Farrah was at a loss for words. That shouldn't have been possible. The spy knew about shadow dancers - there was little she didn't seem to know something about - and even if Morrigan was rather... unusual... opening a veritable gate into the shadow plane was not something easily accomplished, even by those well versed in the arcane arts, let alone transporting someone unwillingly through it. The shadows that covered her body like oil, the rim of eerie purple, the very way which the young assassin opened that gate... it was stunning to the Tiefling.

    So stunning, in fact, that she completely missed the more pressing proximity warning blinking alarmingly on her HUD in a more urgent manner than the flock which the motionless iceress called that way. It was the huff that woke her from her shock. The far too intimate sniffing at the back of her neck. Farrah took pride in rarely being surprised, and yet it seemed this ledge was chock-full of them. She only had time to start a gasp when her eyes settled on the long, sharp teeth that suddenly clenched on her shoulder, sparking and fizzing away at the last of her shield's defenses before tossing her like a ragdoll in the air for her demise - a sharp, jagged drop down a mountain crawling with death.

    Morrigan didn't know what had planted the notion in her head. The drive to slash at the shadows, parting the veil between this and the other world, the two places she regularly travelled between. The shadowdancer didn't know why she was so sure she could do this, only the certainty that it would work... and that having that ice giant torn limb from limb by shades, trapped somewhere he could not hope to survive, was a very satisfying thought. His outrage as he sunk, the knowledge his and his associate's time had come to an end, was even better.

    A scream - rapidly decreasing in volume as it grew distant - made Morrigan's neck snap to where Farrah had previously been, her tearing ceasing just as the last of the general disappeared in the pool of shadows, the shafts of purple light beginning to fade away. She felt it inside. That feeling of being punched in the gut when you are shocked, afraid. Trelac was a terrifying foe, once they had been unable to defeat before. Then, she had Kori, Port, soldiers, undead and even the Lady to help out. Here... now... as she looked at the empty space Farrah had been and connected it to the scream - the young assassin was completely alone.

    Yet that punch in the gut was dull, for some reason. She didn't feel properly frightened. Morrigan felt something else entirely. Moreover, there was something else that wasn't felt. The shadowdancer didn't feel alone.

    "I don't think I am going anywhere."

    Her voice was but a whisper, echoed by a choir of eerily similar voices. As Morrigan rose from the pitch black pit she had been digging, so did shadowy doppelgangers of the assassin. One, two, half a dozen of them moved independently, indistinguishable from the original shadowdancer, dark eyes rimmed by purple, weapons just like she carried, rising from the shadows just like she did. The shadows that covered the ground itself writhed, danced, spread. And the seven shades, weaving between each other as if in a choreographed dance, charged at the terrifying wolf.
     
  9. WriteAngry

    WriteAngry Wild Member Member

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