[Episode One] Bones for Bread

Archives of Occultus Magica's beginnings, ten years prior to the current story.
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Kai
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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by Kai » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:59 am

Right now, there wasn't much Miyuki could do but wait. To save energy even further, she recalled Rubeh, and the orange flame-cat disappeared in a ball of light that sped into the ruby, disappearing from view. Miyuki continued to hold herself up with the somewhat undersized Babylon Key, which wasn't the correct height to be a good leaning staff for the relatively tall Miyuki. People all around could feel the earth shake and rumble, from a mixture of Toph and the continuing fight with the Gashadokuro.

When Ruarc asked for something to do, Miyuki simply answered "Just try to help keep it in place."

Duncan had managed to cut the arm off of the Skeleton, but as it fell to the ground, the other arm came and grabbed the disconnected one, jamming it back on, the strong magic of the giant skeleton mending the bones with ease. In fact, Duncan would now notice that the Gashadokuro's head had mended, as well, and the thing seemed to simply be getting angrier. it let out another low roaring howl-like sound, before thrashing violently, smashing into the nearby buildings and sending rock and glass at the group, though Duncan was obviously the closest. In the violent motion, the Skeleton seemed to have righted itself and was once again standing, but had yet to begin moving.

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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by CadetNewb » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:32 am

From what Duncan recalled of his pre-travel studies on Japanese folklore and monsters, the Gashadokuro never really had any mention on how to kill it proper. Traditional manuscripts spoke of the monster's preference of separating the cranium from the body of human opponents in depth and emphasized how important escape was. In fact, the old, crappy stuff only talked about running away at the telltale signs of a Gashadokuro's arrival, the trademark ear ringing. Yeah, the manuscripts waxed on and on about the dreaded ear ringing and how ominous it all was. Running was apparently very important to the Japanese back in the day, a far cry from all the modern preconception of Bushido, honor, fighting to the death and all that. Duncan well knew the truth of the matter; they were people too. People who didn't want to kick the giant skeleton monster in between the legs and risk pissing it off.

The boy pointed a finger at the oncoming debris, widening the cone of fire to repel smaller fragments and narrowing it to cut and then blast apart the larger chunks. With the imminent threat gone, he refocused on lopping limbs off, keeping it as off balance as possible, making the effort of re-attaching the lost parts a clumsy and awkward process. And the more pissed off it got, the less level headed it would go about putting itself back together. Kinda like an angry child re-assembling a broken Lego figure; they just didn't, or not very well. Duncan could keep it up for a few hours if he needed to, considering the already low energy cost of his spell. Duncan wasn't an idiot however. He well knew that this wouldn't actually kill the damned thing. Ancient manuscripts only talked about avoiding the thing. Recent documents from The Institute's research teams recommended either having Nanoha or a Nanoha equivalent in the party, or burying the thing in dirt. Like bones were supposed to be.

Duncan wasn't going to bother lifting another finger to do that though; even his most efficient method of burying it cost a fair deal of energy. Besides, Miyuki was on it with her new dirt rat anyways, so he just kept on cutting and cutting away until she finally got the job done. And if she didn't, the others were going to toss something more at it. Plus, she and all the others would be relatively ripe for the taking if need be.

Duncan's eyes already could see the weariness in them all. It wouldn't take much to beat them into the ground after this.
Last edited by CadetNewb on Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Straken
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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by Straken » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:46 am

Ruarc nodded to Miyuki’s response, and hefted to Tome in front of him. With the book back in his hands what mana he did have left could be used more effectively, and if keeping the skeleton in place the Druid had an idea. After a centering breath, Ruarc manipulated his mana in anticipation of his spell.

”Didn’t you say your last spell was all you had left?” Laoise asked as she retook her place on Ruarc’s shoulder.
”I know what I said, but what else can I do? Head home?” Ruarc said offhand as he worked on focusing himself.

“Cloch a oscailt agus a ithe,” Ruarc said, once again using Fissure. His mana, once again receiving a boon from the Ancestral Tome, shot down through his feet and into the earth. Closing his eyes, the Druid envisioned how he wanted the ground to move. A familiar resistance fought back as the earth refused to move, but he was aided this time by Laoise who took care of the resistance while Ruarc dedicated his mana to casting the spell. With the dove’s help, the resistance faded and the ground sheered as it bent to Ruarc’s will. Six stone pillars jutted out of the ground, two of them digging into the skeleton’s shoulder joints, two crossed over its spine within the ribcage, while the remaining two dug into its hip joints.

“Not sure ‘ow much those’ll do, rest is up ta you guys,” Ruarc said mostly to Miyuki, but loud enough so that the others could hear if they were at all interested. All his energy now was going to keeping the pillars solid and in place.

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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by Kokuten » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:18 pm

Miller accepted Modeka's hug, but he had no idea what to do next. He looked at the big Skeleton that still needed dealing with, and noted that whatever Duncan was doing didn't seem to be working, "So what next?" He asked the miniature Godess.

Modeka mewled audibly as she spun herself around, loosing her grip from around the man she grabbed on to his arms and slid down it like a firepole, until she hung from his hand. For a second, she dangled as the young Plantae Goddess seemed to realize she hadn't fallen all the way. So, she began to shake his hand around, kicking her legs side to side, nicking Miller in the knee a couple of times with her erratic movement. Though the way she seemed to gesture and pull at his hand seemed to suggest something.

Miller made a quick head check as best as he could while he did a head check of the group. Percival was in the worst condition (comparatively speaking), Duncan was a bit beaten up, and Riley looked tired from her spellcasting. He looked down at Modeka and then cocked one of his eyebrows, "Wait a minute, are you suggesting that we-?" He wondered out loud as he watched the Skeleton rise again, clearly very angry, tearing up the buildings before Ruarc managed to pin it down again.

The expression that went across Modeka's eyes could only be described as utter dissatisfaction. She felt she had less and less time the more she didn't take advantage of the power-up. So, to help, she began to spread her healing glow to just his hand. With that, she looked back up at him, her big brown eyes watching expectantly.

As he felt the healing energy shoot up his arm, he adjusted his glasses with his spare hand, "Oh, right," He said as he closed his eyes and thought thoughts. The first things to come to mind was Love, Respect, and Courage. The positive emotions. Love was what makes the team support each other in times of need, such as keeping Percival alive, Respect allowed them to work together in spite of their differences, and Courage is what makes them able to face down terrors such as the Gashadokuro.

A lance of healing energy shot down his arm towards Modeka as he started to glow once more, bolstered by the positive thoughts of the togetherness of the party. (Except for Duncan, maybe)
Modeka's eyes shot open wide as she felt the magic surge through her little body. Light coursed through her before covering her eyes and then her whole body. In a flash of light, the earth began to rumble, and the weight that pulled down Miller's hand was weightless no more. Now, standing before the english teacher, was a woman much like the Modeka he had seen, only now she appeared to be a rather curvacious woman over her late twenties. If had take the time look past the brown-eyed healer with the earthy hair, he'd be able to notice another thing.

Trees! Trees began rising out of the soil, splitting the earth with their roots. Towering Oaks coming from a seedless ground. It was almost like a forest was rising all around them.
The green healer made what seemed to be the smile from the contours of her mask, and then rested her forehead onto his. It was then that he would feel a harsh drain in his own mana.
"Hngh," Was all Miller was able to utter, before falling to one knee, still keeping Modeka's hand held. He felt like he had to sleep, to rest and recover in the spiritual sense rather than get a temporary rejuvenation. He panted heavily and looked up Modeka with as much of a smile as he could muster, "That worked," He said tiredly.

As he said that, Modeka smiled once again and leaned down to the man, pressing the part of her mask that could be assumed her lips against his gently, before the light consumed her again. When it faded, she was the miniature god again, looking up at Miller with those same warm, brown eyes.

The trees that had grown all around began glow with a veiny patter of light shooting up their lengths. The leaves of the trees began glow themselves, and then, came the rejuvenating part. Spirit leaves, incorporeal parts of the Tree's own leaves began to shed from the branches, billowing through the air and through and around the mages. As they were surrounded by a mystic autumn, they would feel not only their stamina return, but wondrous injection of mana for each leaf that went through them.

Percival, however, seemed to remain largely unaffected by these wondrous trees. The boy had collapsed against one of the freshly grown oaks, heaving. He looked up towards the swaying branches, watching the spirit leaves split from their corporeal counterparts.

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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:32 pm

As the light from the trees pulsed around Percival, darkness fluttered about the left side of his peripheral vision. It was a familiar black in its permanence and unending depth. The hood drooped, the reaper kneeling beside him as she had before. "Such a strange group you all are." It would have been a conversational and friendly tone if it weren't for the thick layer of formality laden on top. "And those... Those avatars you summon. How did they come to contact you?" She didn't seem the least bit interested in his current condition.

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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by Kokuten » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:57 pm

Percy's eyes fluttered as they rolled up in his head. The pain wasn't as bad as before, which meant he wasn't in it as deep as he had been before. The young man looked up at the avatar of Death that seemed to preside over him every time he 'died'. Was this some sort of 'child-friendly' version of death? It was hard to reason such a thing, especially with the wounds within his body. Not just that, but... Was this going to happen every time he matched a God with another Mage? Too many things were coming to him at once, until he could regain proper consciousness, he stuck to the immediate. Like Little-Death's questions.

"I... encountered them... in a ruin in Wales..." said Percy, shaking Unity grudgingly. "I am... a Font... my infinite mana powers the Elementalia Magicus..." He coughed, feeling more blood hit the back of his teeth, the warm substance sending a cold chill down his spine. "The God's... rely on me for survival... and when they... get big..." He took a breather, before refocusing himself. "They force too much mana through... through me... That's what... what is killing me..." He got a little off-subject of the original question, but he was proud to even be thinking straight, what with dying and all.

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Kai
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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by Kai » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:12 pm

Miyuki could feel the immense healing energy of the suddenly sprouted forest nearly immediately. Not only did she feel herself getting physically less drained, she also felt another sort of energy inside her rising again, bolstering her up and buoying her spirits- It was an infusion of Mana from the incorporeal leaves falling from the trees. She breathed deeply, a smile and some confidence in her face for the first time since the beginning of this overlong battle. She looked around and saw everyone being healed, Except Percy, who seemed to be doing just as bad as he had been before. Worried, Miyuki's face contorted back into a frown. "Saph, see what you can do about Percy, I know it won't be much but this healing spirit doesn't seem to be helping him much.

With a nod, the blue catlike beast was swiftly off to stand next to Percy, and a bit of blue energy could be seen transferring from beast to boy. "I can only stabilize him a little, but his condition is still deteriorating." Saph told Miyuki telepathically.
She nodded. "We need to finish this up soon."

The Skeleton, first unbalanced by duncan and then by the rumbling of the uneasy ground caused both by Toph and Ruarc's fissure spell, tumbled back onto its hind end, and the fissure spell seemed to do a pretty good job of preventing the Gashadokuro from moving, though each of Duncan's slices quickly healed- it was almost like fighting a Hydra except it didn't get worse with each successive cut, luckily.

******

In the shadows on the other side of the canal, a dark figure approached Ruarc's bag. "Seems my pet won't last the night. Ah well, at least I now know who all's around here that's magical." the woman muttered to herself, kicking the bag and watching as many rune stones fell out of it. "Ohohoho? What's this?" the woman asked no one in particular, apparently delighted. She rummaged through the bag, pulling out a few slabs of dried beef and a couple of changes of clothing, including a school uniform, and tossed them aside, before taking all of the pre-carved rune stones and stuffing her own pockets. "I'll just keep these safe.. hehehehe..." the figure chuckled malevolently, disappearing almost immediately.

******

Finally, Toph had completed her cavern, and she called out to Miyuki Telepathically "I need you to command the rocks beneath that thing to cave in, mistress!"
"Got it, thanks Toph, and good job. Sorry for the hurt to your previous form." Miyuki responded.
"Tohru was lost and confused. You did him a great service by relieving him of his duty. I am happy to be under your command, mistress." the badger answered.
Miyuki nodded, not responding, as the Badger popped out of the ground near her previous hole, and Miyuki switched the gem in her staff to the Topaz, and then willed the ground beneath the Gashadokuro to collapse. The beast held on to the edge, not allowing itself to fall, and Miyuki cursed, having not given enough strength to her spell. She was about to try again when one of Duncan's jets of water sliced an arm off, and the Skeleton fell in.

Unfortunately, the hand was still latched to the edge of the sinkhole, and somehow pulled itself up, transforming almost at once into a much smaller but still rather imposing 10 foot tall skeleton, but before anyone could react, glowing white chains materialized from a spell circle in the middle of the sinkhole and pulled the mini Gashadokuro down with its 'parent'. Stunned in silence, Miyuki just stood there for a moment, before a roar reminded her that the thing wasn't defeated yet.
"Use the other man's stone binders to cover the hole!" Toph suggested, and Miyuiki nodded with a quick affirmation, before concentrating once again. The stone pillars cracked and broke, sliding into the hole, and then the entire thing began caving in on itself, soon burying the creature, leaving only a shallow depression that was lacking any kind of pavement on top.

"What... what was that?" Miyuki asked, referring to the binding spell that had prevented them from having to fight with the smaller Gashadokuro. "i didn't even feel someone casting it..."

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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:25 pm

The mention of a ruin in Wales led the Reaper to search his soul for his homeland. Quite a bit more than a hop, skip, and jump from home, she thought, before pressing the matter of his impending demise once more. "Ah, quite a distance from home, then. Don't worry, though, you'll be able to see familiar faces soon." The sounds of a Gashadokuro sinking into the earth and being crushed by great slabs of stone didn't seem to mean anything to her. Cares of the living seemed lost on her. "Just relax. I can show you that world is well if only you were to take my hand." Once more she proffered one pale hand.

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Kokuten
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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by Kokuten » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:45 pm

"It hurts..." groaned Percy as he clenched his chest again, an indignant stare rose to meet Emilia's, "But... It doesn't hurt that much... You see my... my friends?" The boy pointed at the approaching Saph. "They'll keep me... from needing a guide..." He sucked in some air through clenched teeth, "Because I'm not going anywhere."

Modeka, meanwhile, had seemed to take a nose-dive into the floor. The little healer seemed to have expended herself, that or she just seemed to be without energy.

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Straken
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Re: [Chapter One] Bones for Bread

Post by Straken » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:50 pm

Ruarc felt his strength return to him as shimmering leaves fell all around him. With his second wind he was able to help hold the skeleton in place while the other’s finished it off. His right eye continued to give off a magical signature from under the ground before flaring again as a binding spell appeared. That caught Ruarc off guard, and despite his eye alerting him the spell itself it did nothing to hint at where it had come from.

So he relaxed his arm he took a deep breath to regain his composure. He began to dust himself off as he surveyed the group he had somehow ended up with. He recognized a couple of the faces, some giving him quite a surprise.

“He doesn’t look in the best shape,” Ruarc mumbled to Laoise in Irish as he focused on Percy. “Laoise, be a dear and go grab a healing rune from my pack.”

As he waited for his bird to return with the runestone he needed he turned back to Miyuki. “So, what was tha’ thing? An’ why did one of them turn inta a badger?” Ruarc asked Miyuki in Japanese as he was curious about what the hell exactly just happened.

Before he could get an answer from Miyuki however, Laoise interrupted his thought.
”Uh, Ruarc, it looks like someone was rummaging through your pack. Your stuff is scattered everywhere and your runestones are all gone,” the dove said bluntly.

Not a moment after Laoise broke the news, Ruarc suddenly shouted. He swore loudly in Irish as he cursed whoever had taken his runes. Given his silent demeanor he had on while conversing with Laoise, it was a sudden outburst for an unknown reason. The Druid quickly quieted down again as he rubbed his brow. “I don’t have time for this,” he growled to himself.

Ruarc promptly spun on his heel and made his way over to Percy, more-or-less forgetting the question he had asked Miyuki. His long cloak billowed behind him as he walked at a brisk pace and covered the distance in moments. Kneeling down beside Percy, the Druid inspected the boy. Without asking, he gently began adjusting tiny areas of the summoner’s outfit as if looking for something, and then stopping once more and inspecting the other’s masked face. “Internal damage most likely,” he said to himself in Irish.

Ruarc then pulled the left sleeve of his cloak over his hand and wrapped a bit around his index finger. Gently, but once again without asking, he stuck the covered finger against Percy’s blood soaked mask and leaving it there long enough to take in some of the blood. Then he slid back the sleeve on Percy’s right arm and began to trace something.

“This is a healin’ rune. Jus’ take it easy, an’ Ah’ll get ya patched up in no time. Since the other healers are out of commission,” Ruarc explained to Percy in english, feeling that a little conversation would make it less weird that Ruarc was drawing with the boy’s blood.

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