[Chapter 1] Into the Maw

The story unfolds around Osaka, Japan, with the unlocking of one girl's hidden potential, and a gathering of Young mages whom are destined to change the fate of the Earth.
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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Kokuten » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:35 pm

Safeholme

Percival's unconscious body took handily to being moved about. The man was as light as a ghost, and only barely more alive. He was cold to the touch, but it gave way to a positive sign as his icy breath materialized past his lips. As he was settled neatly onto the couch, and properly covered, his face seemed to flush. He was no longer cold, and appeared to toss and turn, before settling into what seemed to be a wake-less dream. Properly comforted, a small smile rose on his face, wiping away the momentary panic his form held before. Despite the situation, he seemed to sleep soundly.

Sprigganwald

A smell of rot and fungus assaulted Miyuki's nose as she entered into the portal, breaking through the membrane-like wall of the mystic gate. She was the first to see the ruins that they entered into, coming upon what seemed to be a circular foundation of a building that had lost everything but the floor. The tiles were limestone in make, but spattered upon with what looked like blood and ichor. Beyond the ruins was a crooked and hooking forest, which grew around the place she had entered. The trees flourished among glowing fungi, which seemed to be the only light that pierced this dark place. Tall stalks of trees and mushroom curled about, as if to avoid each other as they grew. Some of the leafy trees had branches which seemed to lash out at cut at the toadstools, whereas the bark of their counterparts suffered from what looked like a boiling illness.

A war of quiet, dreadful nature was taking place. With her first few steps, she could feel the energies within her surge and then silence themselves, they moved as if called by another force. There was something trying to draw her off the bounds of the blood-stained floor she stood upon.

A choking giggle echoed in the woods, shaking leaves off branches.

"The Sprigganwald," spoke a whisper on the wind, with a voice Miyuki could recognize, "home of the Grain Child, now corrupted and twisted in her absence."

Ruarc was the next to come through, smelling the familiar stench that had tried to worm its way into his heart. He could see the familiar signs of a corrupt woodlands, robbed of any representation of the primal forces. Even when magical in nature, or especially so, the land showed its sickness plainly, and the surrounding environment seemed to turn towards him and inward. Bending trunks and stalks creaked loudly, but did not dare to pass over the limestone. Dead leaves held tightly to his leathers, like children abandoned by their parents, but they were cast off by the wind. The druidic pair could feel a yearning cry of mercy; the leaves, the trees, even the fungus that grew upon them begged for death.

As Riley walked in, the crying began, carrying over the ever-present wind. The sounds of rustling foliage carried in the distance and the icy sensation rose back into Miyuki's chest. The emotion, however spread to everyone, as if they could feel the turn of someone's gaze upon them. Anguish washed against the walls of their mind, threatening to take their waking moments. Jane got a full wash of it as she walked in, with Eryl in tow. As soon as the portal closed behind them, they came to realize just how dark and lonely the Sprigganwald had been made to be.

"Sorrow," choked a weeping voice, the figure of an armored woman whipping into shape in the gloomy distance. A crooked symbol of the Elementalia Magicus seared over her forehead, just barely giving light to her shape. "The weight of loss and a lack of mercy. What is a mother without her children? A wife without her husband? A woman without purpose? My emptiness is absolute and tears unending. Are you here to join my dirge?"

The armored woman brought her arms up, a sword in one hand, and a shield in the other.

"Doubt," hissed a sickly chuckle, at the woman's side appeared the robed figure of a hag of similar size. Her hair tousled, a wild shape revealed by a faint glow of a similar, wicked symbol of the Elementalia Magicus over her head. "Heh heh heh, how stupid am I? To have ignored the signs, to right what was wrong, and yet do nothing? He he hahahggk... They hate me. So useless... So utterly useless... ha ha ha... Do you think I'm useless, too?"

The hag rose her sleeved arms, a glowing bauble in one hand, and a wicked claw in place of the other.

"O-oh dear..." Eryl clutched the staff her chest, backing into Jane.

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Straken
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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Straken » Wed May 02, 2018 1:02 pm

As soon as Ruarc had stepped through the portal he was put on edge. This place was decidedly not the place he had been expecting to end up, and the atmosphere reminded him unpleasantly of the air given off by Alexei. A stagnant wasting hung over this place and the rot on the air was stifling. Steeling himself, the Druid glanced back to his familiar to gauge her response, and noted that she appeared very tense and on edge. He placed a hand on her shoulder as the last of the group passed through the portal. Once everyone had gather though, something new began to transpire. Not one, but two rather bizarre and rather disturbing individuals entered the clearing. Unsure of what to make of them, the only thing he had to go off of was Eryl's reaction.

"Okay then," Ruarc said softly, before giving Laoise a look. The familiar cracked her tome and used her thumb to mark a page as Ruarc stepped forward; using his staff to walk with some exaggerated force.

"Apt choice in picking the Grim Warden staff," Laoise quipped as she began to channel some magic through the tome.
"Naming aside, we'll see. Just be ready to cast if they kick things off," Ruarc replied as he placed himself between Eryl and the two unknowns.

"We are here to join no dirge," Ruarc called out in Welsh, planting his staff defiantly. He didn't expect a favorable response, but he didn't want to ignite a fire that could be left unlit. "Let us pass and that will be the end of it."

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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore » Wed May 02, 2018 1:52 pm

The other side was only slightly more decrepit than the American had imagined. The evil there was very much alive and ravenous. "Sprigganwald." That word alone was sufficient to alarm that guiding inner voice and startle the hairs on the nape of her neck. If it had been pleasant once, not a shred of its former image was reflected in that utterance.

And the pain. There was a weight of pain to the stillness of the air. It blanketed everything, and eventually, it would crush everything. Dallying here for long would be a mistake.

As they collided, Jane gently took Eryl by the arm and pulled her to the rear. "Unless yer plannin to go deaf, ye'll wanna be behind the lightnin," she murmured, free hand patting a holster. "Sooner er later, someone's gonna trip on the hornet's nest." As if she needed Jane to tell her. It was obvious enough they wouldn't leave here without more than few fresh scars-- and that was if they were lucky. If that ain't my middle name, though, she silently joked to herself, inspiring a wry half-smile that lasted just a second.

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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Kokuten » Wed May 02, 2018 8:48 pm

"This is worse than I ever envisaged," Eryl yelped in hissing whispers as she was put in her place by Jane. The triclops' eyes were wide, and unnaturally bright in the gloom, Jane felt a hand on her back, the fingers touching just so lightly. The gentle reach was not as affectionate as it was directing, as the finger drew a quick sign. The gunslinger could feel a barrier wash over her form, an abjuration spell, one that weaved through fabric and coated over skin. "Even the land is sick, their power is more substantial than the last time the world fell apart... and where is Percival... he was... he was meant to be here as we arrived, in some way..."

The omnipresent sound that was sharp choke of a restrained sob caused Eryl to jump, slapping Jane on the back by accident.

"Ruarc?"

A throaty wheeze gave way to more crying, the armored woman dropped her sword and shield, and clawed at her face in wretched sorrow. She took pained steps towards the ruins, clearly suffering as she wailed loudly, causing the wind to blow and the mixed forest to tremble.

"You... have become so tall... My baby girl, she would have been... as tall as you were when I saw you last... when you wounded me." rasped the woman through her sobbing, before her form penetrated the shadows and light finally showed upon her. Eight black eyes, arranged neatly on her pale face, oozed streams of fresh tears. There was pain in her eyes and only that, as her mouth was sewn shut. Her blonde hair was decorated with white, jagged horns, and her armor was marred form head to toe. A gaping hole in the plates lay in a familiar spot, one Ruarc had seen ten years prior, a pulsing wound bleeding as if freshly inflicted. "Did you bring... my daughter back... to me? Aulan...?"

Laosie felt all eight of those black eyes fall upon her, a sense of dread bleeding over her by projection alone. Sewn lips curled as the writhing goddess stretched out her gauntlet clad arms, beckoning the familiar over, "Aulan, my sweet, baby girl... you've... grown... so much... Come here. Come to momma..."

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Straken
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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Straken » Wed May 02, 2018 9:42 pm

"Shades," Ruarc hissed, the sense of understanding catching him off guard. A piece, or rather lack thereof, beginning to ache as he gazed upon the wound. It was a would that reflected the one he carried on his soul from when he thought to use dark magic to reach his goal. "Zulan? Is that really you?"

As she was now, this Sorrow, bore no resemblance to the goddess Ruarc had known. What had happened here to make the gods as tainted as the lands, the druid wondered to himself as he fought back a renewed sense of revulsion. She recognized him, but it seemed that she lacked any real sense of self; she sounded almost shell shocked. It was explained that the gods here had been corrupted, but he hadn't expected this. Almost subconsciously his grip tightened on his staff as he then considered the identity of the other entity. "Tulan?"

For Laoise however, when the Sorrow's gaze landed on her, she couldn't help but shiver. Without realizing it she took a step behind Ruarc and gripped a fold of his cloak in her free hand. The feeling of the coarse fabric in her hand helped steady herself, and set her gaze back at the creature with grim determination. Upon noticing his familiar and recognizing Zulan's mistake, Ruarc reached his free hand back in a warding gesture.

"Aulan isn't with us," Ruarc called out, as he glanced back at Laoise and the rest of the group; Eryl in particular. The triclops was even more on edge. Returning his gaze to the two entities, his free hand found Laoise's. He gave it a comforting squeeze. "Let us pass, Zulan, and we will help search for the child."

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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore » Mon May 07, 2018 8:54 pm

Names flew about; accusations and rebuttals swirled; there was a whirlwind of history and meaning whipping around Jane that would be enough to drive a curious man mad. A stony face peered through the maelstrom to glean only what was essential to the task at hand. The immovable object weathered all distractions.

Sorrow, that once was Zulan and mother of Aulan. A weakness, the chink in her armor. Tulan: Doubt, the useless hag. Appropriate.

Processing these things was night instantaneous. Discerning Eryl's activities took a moment longer, and when she was done Jane murmured over her shoulder, "Thankee. It's good we're here, then. Any later may have been too late. Tell me bout these forces. Errythin I know I been told what's less n a few hours ago."

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Kai
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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Kai » Tue May 08, 2018 5:14 pm

Miyuki was taken aghast by the changes in everything, the sights and smells completely different, even from the chaos of the previous time. Though her memory was fuzzy from the ten years past, she could tell that time more than a simple decade had passed within this realm, and that the decay and rot was something that had set in and could not simply be undone- a change would have to be made to the core of the world, bringing back what had made it so lively and wholesome before. The raven-haired ice queen stood, letting her wiser comrades do the talking. She stood, unarmored, unadorned in anything other than her normal clothing, seeming completely innocuous except for the magical presence she was trying to keep in check, letting off just enough that everyone felt her presence, but trying to not be threatening. Her own icy core fought with the cold that was this place, though it was a different type of clod. rather than physical cold, of low temperatures and solid things, this was a coldness of the heart and soul, that could not be changed by simply defeating an enemy.

This place is nothing like before; she thought, frowning and looking around trying to understand just how and why it had become this way. I have to be ready for whatever comes, and whatever may be.

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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Gwathdraug » Thu May 10, 2018 7:17 am

Riley had stumbled as she exited the portal. Her vision was blurry and there was a pull - the sensation mired somewhere in her magic and not her body - that had the stage magician fighting against the sudden urge to heave and retch. Bent over with her hands gripping hard to her knees the young woman was confused. She had felt the wrongness of the realm they had decided to enter from the other side of the gate and what surged through her now was different - it was not of something broken, but of something breaking. The nausea shifted, back and forth, while Riley brought up one hand and pressed the back of it against her mouth just before breathing deeply through her nose.

With a sudden sharpness the world re-asserted itself and the nausea and even the decay of the Sprigganwald was pushed back by a seething rush of pure indignation. The trailing edges of discomfort that had gripped the stage magician were burnt to nothing and Riley jolted up to find her attention snapping towards where her Phantom stood a few steps from her.

Colour is what Riley could see. One young brunette looked on another and as Riley froze upon looking at her sudden perfect copy it broke the Phantom from whatever stasis had rendered it stiff. A burst of heat crackled out from the Phantom as it raised its suddenly pale arm and covered the face it shouldn't of had with a hand. From beneath it's fingers shadows stretched forth until there was a simple black, featureless mask framed by brown hair.

The Phantom turned, constrained fury barely quelled within the bound of the jerky movement, and then it strode forward and shoulder its way past Ruarc - the large druid greeted with an unnatural, fiery warmth from where the small figure used a strength uncharacteristic of Riley to put itself in the front.

"You ask where your child has gone?" The Phantom hissed out Riley's voice layered with a hatred and venom that distorted the voice the group was used to. The familiar figure clenched its hands and swathing bursts of flame erupted from its fists. The Phantom let out a sneering bark of bitter laughter. "What child will reside in filth? Your brood has rightfully fled you corpse goddess."

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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Kokuten » Thu May 10, 2018 7:12 pm

Sorrow gripped her eye sockets, as if trying to tear her face from the head which it lay plastered upon. The shade seemed to become literally wounded by the words Riley's spirit spat upon her, the wound in her gullet crack across her chest to bleed further. Plates of armor fell off, as the cracking web of damage spread over her, she began sobbing again. More eyes opened along her face, down her neck, all of them streaming tears.

"She ran," said Sorrow, her voice inhaling sharply between sobs, "she ran from her..." A cough, with acidic spittle flinging forth from her sewn mouth, "... her own mother..."

"The shades," Eryl spoke in hushed whispers, her staff leveled to where she could defend herself at the outbreak of conflict, "they are echoes of the last moments of each Guardian before they lose themselves. When the Elementalia loses its font, the Guardians are supposed to go to rest, so they can be awakened to serve again. This... This is what becomes of them when they do not find repose, but... this is a much greater degree than before. They still have the power of gods, thus..."

The Triclops looked into the forest, and saw that trees were losing their leaves and seeds one at a time, as if weeping. Large toadstools oozed acidic bile in tear-drops along their head. In the distance, in the misty vale could be seen the shapes of passing mourners and weeping souls. The air in this horrible place began to fall into colder temperatures, giving literal chills to all present. "... they still affect the land as Gods. The shades feed on the last emotion they felt before falling, and the more they feed. The more of the realm they control, the more powerful they become. I do not think we can... reason with them. Zulan has never been one to drop her weapons, not since she gave up her arts of magic."

"Ms. Kagami..." Jakku carefuly peered out from the edge of Miyuki's neck, hesitating in the face of the water deity gone mad, "... this is an awful place. Maybe they know where we can find Mr. Caxton and... um... save him? Maybe?"

Suddenly, the crying stopped.

"You will never find her..." Sorrow finally answered, her arms falling to her waist, nothing but a dressy, marred gambeson remaining of the armor. "... If her own mother couldn't recognize... No... Shut up... Silence... She ran from me... From me... And... And I... I can't remember... She... I..."

Those many eyes opened wide on her face, "I killed her. No... No! No no no! I killed her! I killed my baby girl!"

Jakku brought her hand to her mouth, stricken by the declaration, but not as stricken as when the binding collar on he neck materialized. Ruarc had seen it before they entered through the portal, and he had also seen the red string leading away. Now, they all could see it, and the string had been plucked into another direction.

"Hggkha heha he he he..." Doubt had stepped into the light of the gloom, revealing her wretched form, mirroring that of her sister's. Her many eyes were grey and dead, and she appeared to be plagued with deathly illness, so much so she seemed a walking corpse. The wicked claw of hers was open wide, one of the knuckles glowed brightly, and the string that acted as Jakku's leash brightened as that claw clenched around it, "So... so easily forgotten... am I? I... understand... heh heh he hee... My... my sister was always... so much more... beautiful..."

With a tug, Jakku went flying off Miyuki's neck and was reeled into the shade's hand as the decrepit took a spot next to her sister. "Such... a pretty bauble... I don't deserve it... but..."

The claw closed over it the sprite, clutching her tightly, "but... I want it..."

The winds shifted in the forest, and the trees began to bend and bow. Sorrow reached into her wound, and tugged forth something from the depths within. A wand. A wand of great power, made from dark metal, and a disc-shaped gem at the head that had the swirling eye of a hurricane. Doubt held on to Jakku, who quickly lit with hot fire to free herself, only to have her heat absorbed into one of the jeweled runes mounted in the hag's knuckle. Skittering letters of ancient power glowed brightly on her hands, and the sprite fell weak in her clutches.

"Such... a handy little bauble... heheh hee hee... worth so much more than I... I would like... more of it...

"Gone. Gone! Gone! BEGONE!" Sorrow's many eyes fell upon the group, her blood stained wand held tightly in her wretched fingers. She raised it into the air, and a massive wave of mana fell to her command. Whatever she meant to bring down upon them, it was nothing gentle.
Last edited by Kokuten on Fri May 11, 2018 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Straken
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Re: [Chapter 1] Into the Maw

Post by Straken » Thu May 10, 2018 10:06 pm

Ruarc growled in frustration as he had forgotten how reckless some of the members of this group could be. He had been wondering who would muck up diplomacy, and had rightly bet on Riley; Laoise had bet on Miyuki. While he had little doubt that he would have failed to reason with the two entities, he would need to scold the girl once everyone made it back safely. Switching gear, he would make sure everyone got back safely. With a mental cue the Druid pair set off. Laoise began to glow with a warm light which spread to Ruarc from the familiars hand on his cloak. This light became a faint shimmer across his body as he rushed at Sorrow as the Irishman strode forward.

Raising his staff, a glint of yellow light could be seen from the focus at the top, and with a booming shout of "Turraing!" the gem lit up and crackled with electricity. Channeling through the gem, Ruarc thrust the staff toward Zulan and released a savage bolt of lightning; its target, that metal wand.

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