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Old July 12, 2019, 11:57 PM   #286
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The Retreat

The ongoing rush of water continued to be heard. It was as if a geyser had just blown and now the sound of pressurised water being released was added to the confusion of battlecries, fires, screams and death throes. It was truly chaotic.

When Ardanon asked a nearby soldier, the first, he drew a feow vyssticci but his eyes looked lost. It was not a Har'olothian. He mumbled a response to the request

"No sir" he said "He ddn't sound the retreat?"

As was inevitable confusion was beginning to reign. Exactly wat or who knew things was unclear but there was a tiny glimmer of hope. Although the orcish numbrs were plenty, they were no longer growing. It appeared that stunt with the water had cut off a portion of the horde from the greater. Who knows how many would have succumbed to the water itself?

Ardanon was wuickly overheard by some of the elite guard they had brought with them and those of the hive. They had chosen, for reasons that they hopefully would be able to discuss at a happier hour, to form the rearguard. Ardanon was soon swimming in volunteers, a dozen in number, to mount a rescue attempt despite the foolhardiness of the approach. Even Devosi and Barune and volunteered.

Through to the gates

Getting through the castle was simple enough. The place had grown more lonely now there was, perhaps, a limited garrison. They didn't come across aby at all until they reached the gatehouse. The same guards Faust had passed remained at the gates now and one attempted to stop Da'nael to ask what was going on

"what news from the castle?" the guard asked with a hint of nervousness "things hae been eerily quiet"

Perhaps Da'nael and Ka'ris would appreciate exactly how quiet it was. Only the sound of the mountain winds and accompanying cold was present.

Still Ka'ris was in her heightened mood and the two guards represented a temptation to engage in intoxicating violence, and perhaps even to consume flesh and blood. Such high volumes of vampire blood had been consumed that even the temptations to feed were there. The only saving grace was a strong connection to the idea of ripping apart orcs in so many various ways. Ka'ris's imagination worked itself in overdrive as she derived great pleasure in the vicious prospect.

As for the lift a solitary and now dead half elven man sat purched staring lifeless at a distant point somewhere beneath the mountain. Ka'ris and Da'nael had no way to know his importance but the could see the evidence of torture from whip marks and scars interlacing each other in regular intervals. It didn't take the healer to know that the half elf had not been in a good condition on his death.

The Everqueen

Faust's maneuvre hit nothing. It was never going to be that easy. It brought him face to face with darkness. Wha t was the Everqueen? A ventriloquist? There was no clear sign kf the Everqueen. No clear sight of a spellcaster in a 100 ft radius though that did not guarantee anything.

Faust would upon asking his question about it being not enough having seen a book on this subject 'So you are an immortal being... what next?' Or something close to that.

The Everqueen responded again sounding further away. The compass pointed to the front of Faust and slightly to the left. The voice came from slightly to the right and sounded a lot closer. What would faust place his trust in? His eyes could not catch a single glimpse of movement.

"Would you stand by after watching your children starve and not resolve to find a permanent solution to their pain" the Everqueen said, her voice lacking in the sounds of compassion and mercy that would otherwise suggest genuine care "Or would you become something more so no force could ever harm your children again?"

Faust would reasonably be able to suspect that the Everqueen knew a lot of his skills. That he was a grandmaster in swords was very common knowledge but what did Faust know of the Everqueen and her abilities, motivations and strengths? It was always important to know your adversary
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Old July 13, 2019, 10:24 PM   #287
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Despair dawned upon the old wizard’s face when the Vysstichi that he pulled outside knew nothing about Kalannar’s whereabouts. Everything would be for naught if his liege’s long lost brother died during the fighting. As he stood near the entrance to the mountain, his visage twisted in conflict, the sorcerer glanced at those nearby that volunteered to lead an expedition into locating Kalannar.

That the Commander of Castle Nocturna had won such respect among these people was truly touching to behold. It was also a testament to the man that Kalannar had become - that he had always been.

Ardanon did not know how much use he would be without his magic, but he would be damned if he left Kalannar to die like this.

Come on. We can’t leave him,” the sorcerer said, gripping his staff as he motioned for the others to follow him. He was not about to lead these valiant fighters on a suicide mission, but if there was a chance that Kalannar needed them, he would make sure that they were there to help.

Plus, it appeared that the orcs had temporarily been thwarted. Now was as good a time as any to see if Kalannar was nearby.

* * * * *

Some of the Baron’s family members have revolted,” Da’nael said when they reached the guards outside the tower. “We managed to put one of them down, but there could be others out there. Stay on high alert.” He nodded.

The huge dark elf was about to tug Ka’ris towards the lift when a thought suddenly occurred to him. “Have there been any signs of the Baron or the High Lord of Har’oloth?” His crimson eyes brimmed with concern.

On instinct, he glanced at the body of an emaciated elf nearby the lift, then returned his attention to the guards. “Or any sightings of other vampires about?” There was a sense of urgency as he posed his questions, mostly because nearby, he could see that Ka’ris was already growing antsy once again.

* * * * *

His swords clipped thin air. Of signs of the Everqueen, there were none. Although the compass pointed in one direction, her voice came from another.

What sort of magic is this? He wondered. Other than the Archon who had granted him the ability, no one on Telath knew that he was capable of sensing mages within a certain distance from him, including their spheres of practice. However, he detected nothing, and there was no doubt in his mind that the Everqueen was employing some form of magic against him to mask her whereabouts.

Or was she?

I’m afraid that you misjudge me,” the Vysstichi Lord calmly corrected. “You and I are not unalike. Clearly, you want what’s best for your family and are willing to do anything in your power to protect them.

He started slowly forward and to the left, following the direction of the compass despite the fact that the Everqueen’s voice came at him from the right. Even as he walked, though, he was ready to counter on the right side. Although he was unable to see the Everqueen, he suspected that she was the sort of person who liked to attack someone from the rear or the flank based on how she was engaging him.

I understand more than you realize,” he continued. “So tell me . . . what is it that you want? Perhaps there is a way that we can end this peacefully.
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Old July 15, 2019, 08:17 PM   #288
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Ardanon, the remainder of the hive, the scouts they had brought with them and a handful of locals made up the team. 18 all up. Small enough to be quite mobile, large enough to pack a punch and keep a tight formation. The level of training and the fact the group had not trained together would pose a proble but the orcs had fallen into disarray. Smoke obscured the battlefield. Stragglers from the 3rd chokepoint were fighting here and there agaonst orcs. Those that saw the group quickly formed up increasing their numbers further. Everywhere they went there was a new corpse, just as often a villager as it was an orc until finally they came across the chokepoint again. There was a clear delineated line here of corpses. No orcs were approaching from beyond the chokepoint currently. It was a scene of carnage with the line being made up with a dichotomy of villagers on on side and a mound of orcs on the other. Just beyond that line was a ring of orcs where Ardanon last saw Kalannar stand. It was a testament to his defense but he wasn't here now.

Nearby there was the contunued sound of clashing metal but the smoke prevented the sight. As the group tried to work their way around they came across groups of frenzied orcs and violence ensued. Would they approach the sound of nearby metal clashes or search the line?

the Kitrye'Veresi kin

"They must have invaded throuhh the tower..." one of the guards offered "or were already inside and unleashed their plan. None of come this way save that dark elf, ahh, High Lord Faust Kerevesi? He came with that elf over there. He didn't make it. He seemed intent on finding the Baron to warn him of the invasion below."

The information about the invasion hadn't been made privvy to Da'nael or Ka'ris until now although Ka'ris had a burning desire to eliminate orcs for some reason. The smoke from below had remained trapped in the valley and had not come this high.

Ka'ris suddenly found inside that her burning desire to kill orcs stopped. Inside of her, with the usual paranoia, hostility and rage mixed with the desire for murder that vampire blood had introduced to the lady, she felt a conflict. A strange sensation where she felt as though despite all her rage she felt drawn toward another purpose. It was emotional, it wasn't targeting her, but she felt a string inclination to go back into the castle.

As before with Da'Nael she now felt the sinilar paranoia about Faust as her mind had been turned to fixate on him and all hi oast abd present wrongs. Afterall he went into the Castle to meet with the Baron and never bothered to find them. What kind of Brother did that?

The Everqueen

Laughter quickly followed as Faust offered peace

"Do you always make overtures of peace with swords drawn?" the Everqueen mocked "Well that is very Aelyrian of you. The Empire wouldn't exist without the veiled threats that got it there. Perhaps you would consider sheathing your swords? We could talk about your Family. How is Kalannar by the way? Are you sure he isn't bleeding out on the battlefield? How about your Sister? I am quite glad she joined the family in the end even if it took a little bit of work to convince her. Quite a lovely little death dealing witch."

The voice of the Everqueen shifted again. It was behind him now. The compass point continued to point straight ahead and on the same level, however, where Faust was looking there was nothing to be seen. Thin air. No magic aura, no mystic thinking they were safely veiled when they weren't. Apparently nothing yet the compass point was pointing there until it swung wildly to the left all of a sudden

"Do you know how big this family is?" the Everqueen asked gently "and what happened when you try to track using blood when al around you is blood from the same source?"
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Old July 15, 2019, 10:59 PM   #289
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Under the cover of smoke and chaos, Ardanon led the courageous contingent towards their heroic leader. Whether he had survived the orcish onslaught was left to be determined, but the wizard did not have the stomach for uncertainty. How could he possibly face the High Lord of Har’oloth, after all, and tell him that he had done absolutely nothing to try saving Kalannar from a second death?

The sorcerer steeled his visage and waded into the pandemonium. There was comfort in numbers, especially those that flanked him. They were soldiers that he could trust, men that desired to see their commander’s return as much as he did. And yet, the closer they came to the chokepoint, the more Ardanon found himself despairing. There was death everywhere. He was no stranger to the battlefield, and it was because of his experience that he was far from optimistic about what they uncovered.

Kalannar was nowhere to be seen – at least, not relative to where Ardanon had spotted him last.

That was when his ears attuned to the sound of metal against metal ahead of them. His options? Explore the commotion or scan the lines for the elder Kitrye’veresi.

Come on,” Ardanon said, motioning with his chin towards the metal clashes. If there was one thing that he knew about the Kitrye’veresi clan, it was that they were abnormally stubborn and therefore hard to kill. Anyone who had survived for this long had a good chance of being Kalannar.

* * * * *

The news of Faust’s arrival sank into the large warrior’s mind for a moment, marinating with the rest of his thoughts. His heart tugged towards the Castle. The High Lord of Har’oloth was his oldest friend. They had endured Aeternia itself over the eras together, and yet, as his gaze swam towards Ka’ris, he grimaced.

He was not a mystic. He could not read her thoughts like she could, but he had known the same affliction that had incited his animosity towards Faust. The feeling had finally faded over time, but he wondered if the woman was entertaining similar thoughts, in which case leading her to their friend was not the wisest choice at all.

It was impossible for him to read her expression completely, but the cringe that he noted on her visage was warning enough.

Hurry,” he said, motioning towards the lift and leading Ka’ris towards it. “We have orcs to kill, plenty of them.” He did not know much about the battle raging below as he had been in the infirmary, but if it had been enough to draw Faust back to Castle Nocturna, the situation was certainly grave enough.

Ka’ris was hesitant to respond at first, although she finally complied. Something inside her tugged her in the opposite direction though, a sensation similar to the one that had drawn her towards the orcs, only this time towards the Castle. She closed her eyes and rubbed her temples again, forcing herself to trust that her friend knew what he was doing.

* * * * *

The Everqueen’s laughter seemed to surround him on all sides. He wore his calm with the effortlessness of a seasoned fighter, though, for he had faced horrors far beyond anything that even Risthal herself could have envisioned. This was not to say that he did not perceive the Everqueen as a threat. On the contrary, she was as dangerous as he had suspected she would be, for no matter how hard he tried, he could not seem to locate her. Needless to say, that was quite a problem.

The sound of his blades slamming home into their sheaths was his response. He held his gloved hands out in front of him, empty palms facing upward but nevertheless within inches of his blades. “A gesture of good faith on your end would likewise go a long way,” the High Lord of Har’oloth simply said, his words hinting at a request for the woman to show herself. There were few on Telath who had not heard of his prowess with blades, but the dark elf was also an astonishingly-skilled fighter with his bare hands – it was simply a skill that he had rarely ever needed.

And with the Dread Ring now empowering him . . .

The Everqueen’s series of mocking questions nearly fazed him, although he forced himself to remain still lest his concern betray him. And what had happened to Ka’ris? His heart nearly stopped. He inhaled and exhaled in slow, controlled breaths.

I should mention that I’m open to listening as of now, but should something happen to my family – well, let’s just say that we’re running out of time . . .” His eyes drifted in the direction of the compass’ needle, which revealed absolutely nothing at all.

When it swung to the left suddenly, though, he instinctively turned as well, his body primed and ready to dodge if necessary.

He sighed, closed the compass, and slid it into his pocket. As the Baron had warned him, and as the Everqueen was effectively confirming, he could not rely on it.

He had only his sharpened senses now.

I’ll ask you again only once. What do you want? If it’s something that we can both gain from, then perhaps we can figure out a resolution to all of this.
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Old July 17, 2019, 06:30 AM   #290
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The battlefield - redubbed

A trail of orcs abd the sound of swords. That is what the group had. Before they could reach the source therr qas the sound of one final round of clashing blades, the slicing of flesh and then silence. The smoke impeded vision for those able to see in the dark which was the entire contingent. Those who would have been an impediment stayed behind. That said among them was a dorin whose nose played a vital role

"I smell him" the Dorin said in the cumbersome tongue of that raise "The commander! Follow me!"

The dorin dropped to all fours and followed is nose over body and corpse growling softly and occasionally as certain scents of orc offended his nose. After a time they came across three large orcs lying dead. The dorin pushed his snout between them and announced his discovery.

"I found him! Help me!" The dorin said with a sense of urgency.

From beneath the orcs Ardanon could see the forearm of a dark elf with a hand that had a single finger that showed signs of an absent ring. Others rushed to heko the dorin lift the orcish bodies to find Kalannar, eyes closed, with slashes and tears against his armour and wounds across his arms and chest. He had killed the orcs at the end but it had come at a toll. He lie unmoving, seemingly, as the armour impeded the view of his chest but the face of the warrior still held itself clenched in the grim determination of the fight which had taken place.

Duo Kitrye'Veresi
Ka'ris abd Da'nael were both disciplined warriors. This had proven the main tool they needed in order to resist the call of paranoia. Ka'ris also knew the mind better than Da'nael and these insights allowed her a better place of mind than even Da'nael had had. It appeared she would be able to endure so long as she had Da'nael by her side to keep her going. The only issue that really remained as a strong desire for flesh and blood. To consume or to ravage. Preferrably both.

As the pair got to the lift, with the half elven frozen corpse for company, they came upon their first issue. The work done by Faust to get hinself up the mountain had made the mechanisms unworkable so that the animals below on their heated little housing upon the mountain could not, as much as they tried, male the lift budge.

Perhaps they could do something to make the lift go down? Did they need it to come back up again there-after. Da'nael and Ka'ris would be able to spy several exposed ropes that were held firmly in tack as part of the gear and pulley system. Ka'ris continued to benefit from supernautral strength and durability. As bith would be able to recall, however, the ordinary function of the lift system would take hours to travel the height kf he mountain. The slope next to the lift appear to have been smoothed over. Perhaps it had been as a part of the legacy fron construction. Perhaps they could now find a way to exploit that? They had many options to consider including those that may not be glaringly obvious.

The Everqueen

The Everqueen responded with another taunt, this time sounding as though it came from directly behind.

"Yes perhaps we do have something in common" the Everqueen said with a cold percision "We have family in common. We wouldn't want any harm to come across our sister or daughter"

The Everqueen did not elaborate on that meaning but left the insinuation from the previous comment stand.

"You know what I want." the aeverqueen stated the obvious "To rule as a Goddess. I need not harm the people of Arium but the people who reside in the mountain don't acknowledge the empire. They are not your people. I will keep to mine if you keep to yours. We won't let any nasty bugs through either"

It appeared as though the Everqueen was entertaining Faust's suggestion yet the skin at the back of his neck itched and a shiver woudn't stop going down his spine. The anticipation that something was amiss in the crypts was not easy to shake espcially when scratching could be heard from the nearby gravestone that the compass had recently pointed at.
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Old July 17, 2019, 01:18 PM   #291
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The wizard’s heart nearly stopped when the dorin suddenly announced his startling discovery. He moved as quickly as he could follow after his keen-nosed companion, weaving through the smoke and eventually coming across the source of the dorin’s excitement. The other dark elves were shortly in tow.

Kalannar!” the sorcerer exclaimed, barely able to contain his shock as he hurried towards the dorin and waved some of the others to do likewise to assist the battered Kitrye’veresi noble from the pile of bodies that had accumulated around him. Apparently, the commander had had every intention of bringing every orc that he could with him to Aeternia.

Kalannar, hold on,” he begged. His liege’s brother was clearly in bad shape, but at least he was alive. He motioned for his comrades to lift Kalannar, then he pointed his staff back towards the direction that they had come. “Hurry, we have to get him out of here before they catch wind of us.

* * * * *

Damn it,” Da’nael swore. Studying the lift from above, the seasoned warrior could easily see that it was beyond repair – at least, as far as their abilities were concerned. And they did not have the time to even attempt to figure out how to operate it.

Nearby, Ka’ris seemed to manage her bloodlust better than he had, which, he noted with great relief.

There was a chance that they could use the ropes or even the incline to descend, but the prospect of falling thousands and thousands of feet to the ground did not appeal to him. Even with their enhanced blood, such a plunge would most certainly kill them.

Is there another way down?” Da’nael called towards the guard, hoping that Castle Nocturna had built some contingency plan in the event that the lift had ever faltered.

* * * * *

Sister and daughter?

The dark elf’s ears perked as he registered those words, trying to make sense of them in their lack of context. The Everqueen had made it clear that her family meant everything to her, perhaps as much as attaining godhood, but who was her sister and her daughter? Were they still alive? Prowling around, perhaps?

She had also used the word our . . .

I’m listening,” Faust admitted, although as he responded, the cold chill that brushed against his neck had him turning in the direction of the scratching noise coming from the grave. He did not like the sound of that.

Those who live in Arium are under my jurisdiction regardless of what they choose to acknowledge. I also suspect that all of them, including yourself, would change your tune should the Duke of Arium become involved,” he returned, although he kept the sharpness from his tone as he spoke. “However, as the governor of this land, I do have certain . . . discretion to overlook such things.

He kept his eye on the eerie grave. “But I would need guarantees that you could keep your dominion in check and those under your . . . ‘command’ from interfering with Arium’s affairs. Should the world catch wind of your existence, I would be expected to . . . – well, remedy the situation.” He nodded slightly. “And what of the Baron and those who follow him?
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Old July 22, 2019, 06:11 AM   #292
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The cover of smoke worked for the volunteer group abd with luck they retraced their way back to the exit just prior to a large and overwhelming group of orcs to have found their way there. There was no way that they could defend against the several dozen orcs now here with the defenders left over. Not without heavy casualties. That would also not stop their pursuit even if they were to do so.

As the group carried Kalannar the tunnel presented a chokepoint but did not prevent them from going through, Kalannar included.

Several faces saw Kalannar and held a face aghast at the thought that their commander had fallen in combat but circumstances prevented anyone from really registering the loss.

Once the group had entered the tunnel, Barune stayed near the entrance until the last person went through. He held in his hand a mallet and started to pummel at a support beam on the ceiling near the entrance. After two hits the round shook as it became clear that the ceiling had begun to resettle as the support beam buckled

"For Har'oloth!" Barune said as his final words before his final strike that brought down the ceiling on top of him. He had given no one any hint beforehand of his intentions and gave no one an opportunity to prevent him for doing so but with the deed done there remained no way for the orcs to pursue them and those from the village, from the hive and of clan Kitrye'Veresi were safe. It now only mattered how stable Kalannar was. The tunnel did not give an ideal ground to appraise the warrior. He was unconscious and breathing. They needed to get somewhere where his armour could be removed before they could appraise the rest.... but where did this tunnel lead? If it lead back toward the village and the tunnels there they would remain in danger but where else was there to go? It would take some time to find out


The dynamic duo

Asking the guard yielded a little result

"There is a way through the castle to get down." the guard offered "but it is locked. Only the baron had the key. Besides it could take a whole day of descent to reach the bottom. You would be in no state to fight of you had some intention to."

The other guard chimed in

"You could descend via the ropes by sliding down. Need some sturdy gloves and greaves but don't expect them to be anything but ruined after"

There appeared to be the options of risk to the two either way. Going back to the castle represented being dragged toward temptation. Back toward where they knew Faust was and Ka'ris couldn't shake the call toward the castle. She wanted, nay, needed to go somewhere in there and was impatient to do so even with her discipline allowing her to resist that call.

The Everqueen

The Everqueen laughed at hearing Faust reference the duke

"You are a capable individual" the Everqueen said in her usual cold analytical tone "do you not tire of chafing under that duke? Should you not be entirely without oversight?"

Faust thought he could see something move far away yet the sound sounded a lot closer if not echoey this time. From the area Faust could make out that there were what appeared to be chimneys coming out of some of the tombstones this time it had sounded as if the sound had travelled through one of these chimneys. The scratching nearby continued but also sounded as if it had spread to another tomb a little further up. It appeared to be coming now from more than one location. Faust now couldn't shake the anticipation that something would soon happen. Could he figure it out?

He wasn't given the time to consider it as Everqueen continued to engage with his query

"If you are willing to grant my people their space in the mountainside then we can overlook Arium." the Everqueen said in response to his request for assurances "but perhaps it would be better if ypu were the pnly authority? Capable people ought to be in charge. My help could go a long way to furthering your status. The help of a Goddess would be ever more useful..."

Exactly where was the Everqueen? The voice had constantly shifted as she had spoken. What game was afoot?
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Old July 22, 2019, 01:09 PM   #293
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The sound of a hammer crashing against wood and stone steered the wizard’s attention over his shoulder in time to see Barune pounding away at the hidden entrance’s support beam. “Barune! No!” Ardanon was barely able to give voice to his plea before the opening to the underground suddenly gave way and buried the poor Har’olothian under hundreds of pounds of rock.

The Kitrye’veresi elder winced, his heart throbbing as the sacrifice was made. He whispered a prayer to the gods on behalf of the Hive resident’s soul, asking them to watch over him – wherever he was.

Come on!” he ordered, a measure of authority returning to his hoarse voice. “His death mustn’t be in vain.

With steel hardening his expression, the wizard, remaining by Kalannar’s side, motioned for the survivors to continue onward. There was no telling what lied in store for the defenders inside the mountain, but almost anything was more preferable than facing the orcs outside. Hopefully they would also be able to find a suitable location to examine the unconscious commander.

* * * * *

Da’nael grunted, obviously displeased with the pair’s options. Scaling the mountain seemed like a foolhardy task even if they had the requisite equipment to do so. What if they descended only to find themselves surrounded by orcs? But did he dare bring Ka’ris back to the Castle? The huge warrior heaved a frustrated sigh.

He had no choice.

Come on,” he bade his mystic companion. “There’s nothing more that we can do here. Let’s find Faust.” Turning away from the guards, he motioned for Ka’ris to join him, not bothering to explain that he had no intention of hurrying towards the High Lord of Har’oloth.

Time, he needed time for the blood’s effects to wear off on Ka’ris like they had on him.

He could see the conflict continuing to wage on her face. Despite her mental fortitude, she was still struggling to resist the impulses born by the vampiric blood.

Which way did the High Lord take?” he asked the guard.

* * * * *

An equivocal half-smile folded along the dark elf’s face at the Everqueen’s question. Whether she realized it or not, her remarks revealed absolutely everything that he needed to know about his still unseen enemy. Her arrogance. Her deceit. Her ignorance.

His senses attuned to what sounded like a voice or noise coming from the chimneys that had been built into the grave. It was only a minor observation, but it was enough to confirm to him that the Everqueen was actually below him.

He followed the sound of the scraping to the grave ahead.

What you’re suggesting is dangerous indeed,” he noted, and there was nothing insincere about his observation. The Duke of Arium was widely feared throughout the Empire for good reason. “And it poses one of many problems . . .

With the flick of his wrist, his right hand shot towards the amethyst-encrusted long sword on his left hip and brandished it a second later. A mere whisper triggered the ardentium blade’s enchantment, and soon, the entire silvery-white blade was rippling with purple, sorceric energy.

The foremost being that no one in a proper state of mind would ever challenge the Duke of Arium,” with that said, he flipped Dawn downright and plunged it into the chimney where he had heard the scratching from, unleashing a barrage of explosive Stars of Force into it and then backpedaling away moments later to clear the blast.
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Old July 22, 2019, 08:39 PM   #294
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It wasn't long until the survivors found what could only be described as a panic room of sorts. A fortified door, unlocked, lay before them and in the panic room itself another fortified door provided another exit. This was was locked from the inside so they could continue their journey as required.

The room was entirely dark so only those whose racial gifts leant them sight in the dark could readily navigate the room but a ln oil lit lantern system was readily lit to provide the rest some sight. The room wqs also ventilated allowing fresh air through although exactly from where would require quite an inspection as the room was 1 km underneath the mountainside they had entered from.

The room itself was stocked with supplies. Although not plenty it was adequate. The wounded could find bedding, the hungry could find food and the thirsty there was water abd weak ale ideal for longevity

Of all the things to find here was non vampire-blood orientated medical supplies. It wqs a stark contrast to the infirmary. The main wall of the panic room now proudly displayed Kalannar's preferred family emblem that made it clear that this place had been built and desigbed to the commander's specifications. There was even an adjoining room attached to the wall bearing that emblem that bore a desk, writing materials, maps of the village and the supplies of a tactician. A small stock of weapons and bows was also present with room for more to have been stored at a later date. In fact all of the facility, although modest in size and cramped by comparison to a barracks or an inn, showed signs of only being partially stocked. It appeared this place was bing prepares for a disaster but kalannar ran out of time to prepare it. Ever was the challenge of a commander to outthink and outpace their foe with the resources they had available.

Ardanon would have sufficient space and materials to start assessing Kalannar's condition. The only question remained how much expertise lay in this room to deal with the wounded?

Back to Nocturna

"He headed down the main hall towards the northeast tower I believe" the first guard mentioned "but that was some time ago. He could be anywhere now"

Should the duo head toward the castle again and enter Ka'ris would feel herself drawn downwards towards a sudden rumbling which just broke out. For reasons's beyond her understanding she felt excited for combat
The bloodlust of being able to rip something part now coursed through her veins and saw her begin to drag Da'nael as much as he were leading her.

The Everqueen

Light shot upward from the chimney as a chain of explosions began. Soon lights began to shone from several chimneys just prior to each of them shattering from the stress of the explosions. They were not fortifications afterall but purpose built vents for some under terranean structure beneath the crypts.

The everqueen was silent even after the explosions ended but if Faist had thought it had been simple a matter of pointing and shooting enchanted magicks at the threat he would have been sorely mistaken.

Several paces beforehim a crypt suddenly shattered as a nstrous figure broke through. Bits of flame danced across bat like leathery wings which had aplarebtly acted as protection from the blasts below. These wings were unfurled abd used to slow the creature's landing as it unleashed a terrible scream precisely as that of a harpy would, threatening to deafen and unbalance the warrior.

What Faust now saw before him was bot quite like antthing like a species he recognised. Nominally the Everqueen appeared as a human woman, a brunette, of a slim build and reasonably beautiful if it weren't for the things that appeared to have been altered.

Her eyes resembled those of his kin, red and sharp in the dark. From her head protruded two dark horns that appear to be quite sharp and deadly and of unknown tensile strength. Her hands showed an ever slightly different skintone as they appeared as claws like that of a harpy, and she sported a prehensile tail, with a sbakre's head at the end. The vampire had been heavily modified to a theme. What else had been modified beneath the surface? What abilities may have been collected through these modifications and at what cost? Her legs remained obscured from view by the terrain. A wide tombstone obstructed the view.

Would Faust keep talking or press the attack? The shout beforehand had left him unbalanced but would the Everqueen be able to anticipate such a speedy strike?
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Old July 22, 2019, 10:25 PM   #295
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When all seemed hopeless, the eldest son of Kal’adriel Kitrye’veresi, despite his dire condition, proved once again that he had been born to lead. Upon entering the saferoom, the wizard’s eyes widened in the darkness. Even as others scrambled to illuminate the massive chamber, Ardanon set his gaze upon a vast chamber replete with food, water, and supplies to sustain those who had survived.

Kalannar’s foresight had saved them all.

Close the doors,” the wizard ordered, “and monitor them to see if the orcs find a way to get through the rubble.” He doubted that even the horde had the numbers to punch their way through the tons of rock that Barune had buried the entrance with, but one could never be too certain. Once the entrance was secure, Ardanon motioned for the dorin to carry Kalannar towards anything that they could use as a bed or cot on which to lay him down.

Are there any healers in here?” he called, his voice filled with desperation. The wizard waited a moment for anyone to respond before turning to Kalannar. The old mage might not have been a thaumaturgist or a medic, but he had lived long enough to know a few things about life and death.

Those who were dead did not breathe.

Nervously, he pressed two fingers to Kalannar’s neck to feel for a pulse while he studied his chest to see if the younger Kitrye’veresi was breathing.

* * * * *

Reentering the castle was a gamble, Da’nael knew, but it was a necessary one. It was only after they started in the direction that the guard had steered them down that he, too, registered the rumble from afar. The huge warrior recognized commotion when he heard it. An uneasy glance to Ka’ris showed that she was lurching towards it, consciously or not.

He could only hope that the blood’s effects wore off by the time they reached the source of the noise.

Da’nael held her arm as if to support her stride, although the gesture was mainly intended to control the pace of their progress. Rather than run, he walked. He did not try to hold Ka’ris back, though, for fear that she would inadvertently succumb to her aggression and bolt away from him. Thus, he feigned his best effort towards the clamor.

* * * * *

By the time the explosions ended, the Vysstichi Lord’s other sword, Soulseeker, was already in his left hand. With both blades brandished, he surveyed the destruction with the patience of a man who had taken countless lives over the eras. Despite the battle that was raging below, he was not in a rush to end the Everqueen’s life. As much as he wanted to see her head rolling from her shoulders, he was reminded that she was a vampire, an immortal undead, and thus, she could not be taken for granted.

And he was even more grateful for his calm when the Everqueen herself finally emerged from below like a banshee from Aeternia’s gates.

He beheld her with the awe that she rightfully warranted. Bat-like wings stretched out from her sides, tufts of flame lingering where his explosive Stars of Force had assailed her. Her eyes mirrored his own, yet there was a cold, maniacal gleam to them that was impossible to miss. He also took in her horns and that wicked, barbed tail of hers. Indeed, she was like something from Jorel’s worst nightmare.

He had never seen anything like her before.

You’re not like the rest of them,” he observed, and strangely enough, his voice was neither condemning nor judgmental. Having seen the Baron’s obsession with the Everqueen firsthand, he knew that she was even more than what she seemed.

His blades were already rising by the time he sprung towards her, his feet moving impossibly fast beneath him. He led with a single swipe of Dawn, unleashing another salvo of Stars of Force towards her to cover his attack. As soon as the magical bolts of energy flung towards the demon-vampire, he leapt the tombstone and jabbed Soulseeker towards the left side of the woman’s chest, aiming for her heart, if she had one.
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Old July 24, 2019, 05:45 AM   #296
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A life hangs in the balance

Was a healer readily available? As fortune would have it someone did come forwards. It was a middle aged human, with unkempt brown hair underneath a skull cap wearing leather armour. He smelled of smoke. They all smelled of smoke.

"I was a medic in the imperial army once" the man volunteered "I don't know if I can help but not sure if anyone else more qualified than i made it here alive"

It was a sad fact that many faces had not made it. The lady that had given them all baked goods before the fight was no where to be seen. Neither was what passed for a mayor. Had they died? An accounting for the dead and missing would have to happen eventually

"Get this man's armour off" the man ordered sounding every bit like the ex soldier he was "We need to assess those wounds and stop the bleeding as soon as possible"

A couple of people umpe up to assist, a vyssticci that could easily have originated from har'oloth, and a dwarf. They begun to work the fastenings of the armour and tug aqay at the boats and gloves. Underneath the armour was the leather undershirt thst provided further protection and in this case a further hurdle to assessing the damage. It was fortunate, perhaps, that Ardanon could see that Kalannar was still breathing although his exact state remained a mystery. For the 2nd time within a day the forner Champion of the dread knights and Kitrye'Veresi lay at death's door. It ppeared Jalat was hungry to claim this life and They were each fighting death itself to keep kalammar among the living.

"I need scissors, guass and alcohol or ointment" the former combat medic said "and get me a clean sewing kit!"

Several more people scurried away to find those items. Whoever here might have seen this place before no one had revealed that they had been among the builders. If Ardanon searched among the faces he would see the mix of anxiety and relief of people saved but unsure of their surroundings. Another mystery lay at Ardanon's feet but how much that mattered compared to the life in the hands of a combat medic remained to be seen. All that mattered was that someone had found every item and the medic was now at work to save Kalannar's life.

The cavalry has arrived

Da'nael and Ka'ris arrived at the stairs some distance away from where the fighting had started. At a stretch they could see Faust but perhaps the more obvious telltale sign was the blast of stars of force that came from the enchanted blade as e pressed his attack. Da'nael was fully at his senses and undoubtably would want to help his liege in combat. Ka'ris was far more conflicted. She felt compelled to help the monstrous creature attacking her brother by the force of the blood in her veins. Further she sensed the Baron was somewhere nearby lurking in the darkness. She felt inside her head another conflict in play. The compulsion to help came through the blood but so to did an urge to resist that compulsion.

Perhaps that was why Faust was only versing one vampire and not two?

As for Faust now he had a clear sight of the monstrosity he detected that he as fighting a hedgemage of unknown strength. The two sphere detected was druidism and mysticism. How advanced the vampire was was not yet clear but what became apparent was that as he struck the vampire closed her wings against the starburst and as he struck the phantasm waivred and disappeared to show that she had sidestepped his strike and blast. Almost as quick as he had struck the everqueen's prehensile snakehead tail struck toward Faust with deadly intent towards his face bearing fangs intent to strike deep into his flesh. Soon came another strike with the right wing, with sharp points at the ends intended to sweep across his body.

It appeared that the conversation would now be continued in martial format as once again a banshee qail as released unbalancing Faust once again.

The effects were muted for Ka'ris and Da'nael but that did not make the sound pleasant. The screech was truly horrific to hear
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Old July 24, 2019, 12:34 PM   #297
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For how many years had Kalannar escaped Jalat’s grasp? How many times had he narrowly avoided the Reaper’s scythe? Had he been meant to die at the gates of House Kitrye’veresi those many decades ago? All of those questions lingered in the wizard’s mind as a healer stepped forward and announced his credentials, including time served in the Imperial army.

Ardanon was in no position to question the man, so he did not. Instead, he ordered those assisting Kalannar to do as instructed. In the meantime, he waited by Kalannar’s side, finding immense relief in the rise and fall of the younger dark elf’s chest. At least Kalannar was alive – for now.

As the other dark elf and the dwarf began to strip Kalannar of his armor and clothing, Ardanon held his own breath. It was difficult to watch. The entire episode was all too reminiscent of that day when Alaret Kitrye’veresi’s forces had descended upon Kal’adriel and her family, completely catching them unaware and turning their ancient stronghold into a butcher’s shop.

To have finally found Kalannar only to lose him now . . .

Get this man whatever he needs!” Ardanon bellowed, and he sent those nearby to retrieve the items as requested.

Hang on, young master,” the sorcerer whispered under his breath, and then, he fell to silence and watched.

* * * * *

Da’nael froze at the top of the stairway as explosions erupted ahead of them. Other than Ardanon, there was only one other fighter in the region who could have generated such volatile blasts. He tensed by Ka’ris’ side and noticed her struggle as she continued to waver between intervening or not.

Ka’ris, you must control it,” he begged, sensing the fight that his dear friend was laboring through. “Focus, focus on me. You know us. We’re here to save Kalannar, to save Faust.” He did not know whether his words would punch through the influence of the new blood that flowed through the mystic, but he had to try.

Ka’ris’ internal struggle was evident from the way that her visage cringed and the way that she clutched her temples. Strangely enough, she could feel another nearby, combating similar impulses. “He’s . . . the Baron’s close,” Ka’ris said through gritted teeth, though a gasp fell from her mouth a second later as another urge to leap into the battle on the Everqueen’s side lurched within her.

* * * * *

The High Lord of Har’oloth was fast, and the razor precision of his strikes was a testament to as much. His body was capable of the most extraordinary feats known to man, yet many often failed to realize that it was his mind that he had tempered first. His drive. His will. The old half-elf who had raised him had taught him to read, to write, and to strategize in the ancient library of Vortex long before the Vysstichi had ever lifted a sword. Indeed, the dark elf had not conquered foe after foe over the century of his existence through physical prowess alone.

Battle was like a game of Lizard Riders and Swords. It was all about setting an opponent up.

His thrust pierced the space where the Everqueen had been standing seconds ago, confirming her powers as a mystic. When she reappeared, he knew that her counter was already coming. It was the most logical thing to do, and what’s more, she had the natural weapons to accomplish what she intended.

A phantom grin.

As that wicked tail shot towards his face, Soulseeker rose to meet it, to parry those nasty barbs. The legendary blacksmith who had crafted the sword had named it to inspire fear in the hearts of those who saw it. But it was far more than a masterpiece. A mere whisper was all that the dark elf needed to trigger its enchantment, and with the word spoken, shadowy wraiths screamed to life and surged along the adamantite blade – necromantic wraiths that bound and restricted anything that they came into contact with.

Soulseeker lashed out, merely needing to make the slightest touch against that tail to transfer the wraiths towards the vampire and coil around her like a binding viper. The effect should be immediate, but the dark elf was mindful of the wing that moved towards him. He strafed to the right to avoid the descent of that right wing, which would hopefully place him towards the now-bound Everqueen and align his right-hand sword, Dawn, with a clean swipe at her neckline.
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Old July 25, 2019, 06:28 AM   #298
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Refuge beneath the Mountain

The medic was a flurry of activity as he diligently went about inspecting the wounds. Some were shallow and others more deep. With disinfectant in the form of strong alcohol, needle and thread he employed emergency stitchwork quickly and aptly all in the effort to stem the bleeding. For the lesser wounds he instructed others to firmly bind the wounds with disinfected gauss and cloth. For the deep wounds he checked each to determine whether the wound had nicked something vital andgrunted here and there with effort in the confined space and then after an immeasurable time when all wonds had been addressed he finally came up to Ardanon still wearing the blood of his patient.

"I did what I can." the medic said plainly "He needs to see a true healer and soon. He is stabilised and it did not appear to have any damage to vital organs. The real danger is hidden internal bleeding. Hopefully someone from the castle will be able to find us, or us find a way to the castle."

The door opposite that which they entered beckoned with the unknown. This place was more than a panic room but where did the other way go? The nightlands were full of twisted passageways and this was far beyond anywhere Har'oloth may have mapped and belonged to territory that no one typically entered and left again as referenced throughout their encounter with this community. No one appeared to be even aware of this refuge so what could they know of the beyond?


the Everqueen

Ka'ris understood Da'nael and the part of her that was truly her would not and could not fathom striking at Faust but something beastly within struggled to make her commit terrible deeds and to revel in that freedom from love, obligation and loyalty. The blood, by an unready mind, presented a powerful and pressing glorious opportunity to enjoy roar physical prowess but was there something moee to it than that? The words of her would-be vampire sister echoed in her mind. Jad she been embraced by a terrible curse? The madness pressing in ka'ris's head provided plenty of reason to doubt she remained unchanged and a pressing hunger for blood and meat gave further credibility.

Still she was enouhh herself to have maintained free will apart from these beastly cravings and demands. Should she wish to help her Brother she had enough will to attempt to do so. She need only convince Da'nael of that.

As for the baron, Da'nael could see the solitary figure nearby also watching the battle. The near still vanpire betrayed no movement or intent in body language alone but perhaps Ka'ris understood something of his struggles? What would they do about the baron? What could the duo do to balance the situation and help their liege?

Faust, naturally, was up to the challenge and the snake tail that whipped out at him that might have struck down a slower foe was easily countered. Unfortunately it seemed As though the Everqueen was found of her extremities and as quickly as it had been whipped put at Faust's direction the prehensile snake tail was flicked back with a simple hip movement. The sword sailed harmlessly by and did not yet apply its devastating necromantic binds.

Faust deftly sidestepped the second strike and if it weren't for re unbalancing effects of the banshee scream he would have purchased a clean strike at the neck. Instead the warrior stumbled and was forced to rebalance himself as around him 3 Everqueens giving off the telltale signature of a hedgemage now presented themselves all around him.

The first, to the left, lunged forwards swiping with the harsh and deadly looking right claw hand. The claws looked so sharp and keen that something in the warrior's mind suggested he should not test the quality of his armour against such a strike. A second left handed claw strike from the same Everqueen came up to strike at his hip.

The 2nd everqueen that faust cpuld see in his left periphery bounded over a tombstone striking with the right wing shortly after the flurry from the first. It followed up its strike using a snake tail strike aimed at the left sword hand.

The third, from the front appeared to be holding back and assessing Faust with hungry and cold red eyes intent on biding her time to join the foray...
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Known runes: Brittle, Long, Sharp - each of these are tattoed upon the right oversized arm
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Old July 25, 2019, 12:40 PM   #299
Faust Kitrye'veresi
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Har'oloth, Vortex
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Although Ardanon had watched many men die over the centuries, seeing Kalannar in his current state wrenched his gut unlike anything he had ever experienced before. Maybe it was because they had come so close to reuniting with him, or maybe it was because of the man that the eldest son of Kal’adriel Kitrye’veresi had become. Ever since he had been young, Kalannar had been a benevolent soul – that is, as benevolent as a dark elf could possibly be. His loss would not only be devastating for his family, but for those who had come to view him as their protector, their commander.

The dark elven mage winced as the medic continued to operate on Kalannar. Blood. There was so much blood. Whether the human was making any progress was difficult to tell, but the wizard had to trust that the former Imperial soldier knew what he was doing. The self-proclaimed healer was, after all, the only person left who could possibly save Kalannar. Indeed, the unconscious noble’s life hung in the balance.

He turned towards the human when he announced that they needed help from someone in the castle with the requisite training and experience. How they could even hope to make it there with all of the orcs outside, Ardanon did not know, but he was willing to do whatever it took to save his brethren’s life.

He glanced towards the door on the opposite side of where they had entered from. “We don’t even know where that leads,” he said, a sigh on his lips. “If there’s a chance that it will bring us to Castle Nocturna, though, we have to take it. Will anyone come with me?” He glanced towards the dorin and the others who had helped him carry Kalannar from the rubble. “It is a dangerous path ahead of us. If you’d rather stay here, no one will deem you a coward. All of you have been brave beyond comparison.

He waited for anyone to volunteer, and if so, would then move towards the doorway to see where it led. “We’ll be faster without him. Hopefully, with a lot of luck, we’ll be able to bring a healer down here.

* * * * *

We have to help him,” Ka’ris said, once again sounding much like her normal self.

Da’nael nodded but made no effort to move from their hiding place. For how long Ka’ris would be able to maintain control of herself was uncertain, but even the slightest loss of control on her part could prove fatal for them, especially Faust. “Wait,” he said, not only because he wanted to give Ka’ris more time to purge the effects of the blood from her veins, but also because he noticed that the Baron, too, had yet to move.

As if he was facing a similar struggle.

Over there,” he whispered, and his voice was sincere as he pointed to the lurking Baron. Was the Baron simply waiting for an opportune strike on the Everqueen, or was he also debating whether to intervene on her behalf?

Da’nael kept his sword close and could only hope that Faust would be able to end the fight on his own.

* * * * *

Few opponents had ever forced the High Lord of Har’oloth to unleash the true power of his blades at the same time. One of them had been a dragon. The other had also been a dragon. Neither of them lived now. That this creature had warranted equal consideration was without a doubt a compliment to her prowess, but it was also a sense of urgency that had prompted the dark elf to slay her quickly. The horde of orcs marching towards Castle Nocturna, after all, needed to be stopped before all was lost.

Soulseeker missed, mostly because the wicked creature had wisely decided to withdraw her attack before contact could be made. When her wing sailed towards him, he side-stepped to the side and safely away. Her scream had him reeling backwards, but only momentarily as he quickly regained his footing and faced her – no . . .

Three of her . . .

Two charging from his left. One waiting ahead of him.

He did not know if she understood the power that radiated from Soulseeker, but the fact that she had withdrawn her tailed attack suggested that she did. Thus, she likely recognized the danger of coming too close to that flaring necromantic blade in his left hand.

His peripheral vision detected the two attackers from his left, and he turned, Dawn scything horizontally in front of him at the same time from right to left to unleash another string of Stars of Force towards them to thwart their charge. If they were illusions then the magical missiles would go right through them. If one was not, then she would be forced to block or evade. Faust backpedaled an instant later to distance himself from them as a precautionary measure.

And also so that he could rush at the third, stationary vampire.

Of all the mages in the world, he despised mystics the most. Fortunately, he had killed quite a number of them over the years as well.

His right-hand sword surged forward like flash of light, bearing down on the third vampire’s left shoulder in a line intent on crossing her torso and cleaving her in two. Soulseeker followed in a flurry of straight thrusts, aiming high initially to force her on the defensive, then dipping low suddenly to try catching even a portion of her and ensnare her with his binding spell.
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Grandmaster Swordsman"Throughout Aelyria's history, there have been tales and stories of mythological warriors sometimes mistaken for blessed or divine entities. Godlike fighters, the Grandmasters are forever remembered for their valor and are known to break the physical limitations seemingly at will, capable of Masteries that lesser fighters can scarcely comprehend, let alone attempt. Often called one-man armies, Grandmasters are able to defeat countless lower-proficient fighters without much difficulty. Their physique is a testament to their life-long struggle to achieve this near-perfection; through enough conditioning and practice, a Grandmaster can withstand amazing amounts of physical pain and anguish. Incredibly fast and strong, their courage and valor enable them to seemingly perform miracles." - Arms Primer | Defender of MagicFaust can now sense any mage and their specific sphere within 100 yards. They do not have to cast or have any active spells/magic for this ability. - Charybdis | Glory of the Conqueror"The Aspect of Constantine infuses your words and actions; when you are engaged in armed or magical combat, commanding armies on the tactical battlefield, or planning a military stratagem for warfare, you will have a decisive advantage against a character of the same relative skill, all other influences being equal, and will be able to out-maneuver them." - Kaelon
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Old July 26, 2019, 09:44 PM   #300
Argon Shatterskin
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Relief Mission

Ardanon found no trouble finding volunteers. The community had been built upon mutual trust and loyalty and although the commander did not partake in the blood he won respect the old fashioned way. Through consistently putting the community first. Now the time had come for the community to pay back its debt there was no shortage of able bodies to the task. Also, in the strange fashion that had been described by the former har'olothian mushroom farmer, the community self-ordered itself so the beset volunteers self-selected themselves. The mystery of that connection remained as well.

It was a small and more agile group than that who had volunteered to help on the battlefield where having enough numbers to form a shieldwall mattered. Instead from the community 4 volunteers had come forward.

One was the medic whose role and importants was self-explanatory. If anyone could address a sudden turn in Kalannar's condition en route the most qualified field medic was he logical choice.

Next came a vyssticci woman. Her body appeared lean and built for light and nimble work. She came equipped with two hand crossbows at her side, and twin blades that were much like the style of Faust's, Ardanon would note. Her eyes looked keen and sharp and she moved with a catlike grace. Even before she spoke and declared her intentions she looked every bit the scout. Naturally the 3 top scouts of Faust's retinue also volunteered for the task and there would need to come a discussion on how they ordered themselves in chain of command given that they had never worked with the other vyssticci lady before. What's more was it was evident from her attire that her origins had been from Hon'legg and her identity had not been wiped by her time in the community. She still wore the emblem of some obscure minor house that would have called Hon'legg home before the fall. Had she of come to the community from before or after the fall was an open question.

Aside from the Vyssticci came a stout dwarf. He was no masterful rodenti engineer but he wore the tools of the trade. Clearly a mechanician by trade but as he spoke he revealed a number of skills that came hand in hand. He had worked a long while back for a mercenary company and specialised in disabling, setting and otherwise working traps. That he had more recently put those skills to use in a more creative and productive outlet was the less important skillset for now.

Last from the community was a strange older man covered in runes. The runes that danced across his body caused discomfort and disorientation to look at. Notably not all the tattooed runes had this effect. Should Ardanon linger with his eyes too long the older human man would castigate him and warn him of the dangers of peering into the 'mysteries of another' whatever that meant. Whilst he was a strange man to deal with and others generally left him to his own devices none questioned why he had volunteered to come but his usefulness remained a mystery and he did not bother to explain himself.

With the party ready the lady-scout was the first to come up to Ardanon.

"He is ever the grit of this community and we all would have him survive" the Hon'legg minor noble said with an accent further betraying her origins "But we recognise you as kin. As you are respected by your own men, you are the natural choice for leader. What are your orders?"

Everyone appeared to be in agreement. It now fell on Ardanon's lap to direct the team even as others in the community worked the mechanisms on the door to reveal a tunnel ending in a 4 way fork, seemingly all alike to the first sense. How would he utilise the skills before him? Scouts, mechanician and strange runic wizard of unknown power?

The Everqueen

If the two attackers were illusions there would be no need for them to react yet react they did. Though he couldn't tell which had cast the spell a wall of earth met his stars of force and the two altered their attack to match. The blast hit and sent shards of earth and tombstone in every direction but Faust hadn't the time to carefully watch how each of these shards flew as the first of the two now went up and over the wall seeking to strike with their right claw and following up with a snake tail strike to his throat.

The second, slightly behind, had went around and was striking to Faust's left with a winged strike seemingly seeking to use the wing to barge right into Faust apparently without fear of the blade at all.

The third which had set herself apart now had her face aglow in red light as a flush of heat came from above Faust's head....

Beyond the battle Da'nael and Ka'ris observed the baron and then, finally, the baron became aware of them and his eyes set upon Ka'ris. Deep conflicted eyes that also appeared to be a modicum of understanding. He walked towards them showing no outward sign of hostility aside from appearing conflicted

"You've changed" the baron noted of Ka'ris "You must control yourself"

As he approached, was there tears rolling down his cheeks? Ka'ris felt that completely unable to strike at the Baron if he were hostile. How could she strike at the source of her wonderful heady rush of power and energy? Instead she had to ponder what it meant to be 'changed'.

Da'nael however was free of the effects of the blood save that the memory of its faux-goodness remained. The temptation to partake in more would be something he would always have when presented the opportunity but the temptation was not akin to addiction anymore than a child who wanted more cake.

"You shouldn't be here" the baron announced "The Everqueen doesn't want you here... but .. I "

The baron appeared to be conflicted and fighting something within himself as he spoke and his walk toward them faultered "No, you must be here... but.. I .. must stop you... sorry... no you must stop me. Please stop me!"

It was a strange set of instructions but it became far more apparent what he meant as Da'nael found himself being suddenly rushed by the vampire who had taken the time to equip himself with various vials of unknown original and a long knife in the interim of last being seen. He aimed a quick strike against Da'nael's torso. Ka'ris could only stand and watch as she struggled against the concept of striking such a magnificent creature but Da'nael had time enough as a competent warrior to react.
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Ikonomancer, axeman, wall painter in rouge. A 'hero'
Known runes: Brittle, Long, Sharp - each of these are tattoed upon the right oversized arm
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