[Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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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Gwathdraug
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Gwathdraug »

"Attack fast. Spread panic. Involve non-combatants. Display control over a hostage." A heavily muscled and tall woman stalked from out of the cover of the woods nearest to where Morwen's group stood. She wore a wet-suit, bulkier than what would be expected and stiff in a way that belied its armoured nature, with a pair of shorts pulled over the top and an old pair of boots at her feet. In contrast to this there was a baldric slung across her back and she held the naked steel of a longsword in her left hand. There was a splattering of dark stains splotched across the arms of the woman's wetsuit. Dark brown hair pulled back into a braid and with violence dancing in her grey eyes Lyra Valsted showed the world a shark's grin, utterly calm under the crashing barrage that was Miyuki's entrance, as she looked upon her prey. "It is a textbook approach Miss Librarian, but-" Lyra's voice rumbled in a happy purr. "-if you kill Percival Caxton everyone for the next two-thousand miles dies as his body goes critical prematurely."

The six-foot four swordswoman began to walk towards the group of triclops again with her sword up on her shoulder in a fool's guard. "Do you have any consequences on the same level to keep me from executing you all where you stand Miss Morwen?"

--

"Johann this is Remarque of Annwn." Vrey gestured towards the puppy that the necromancer was holding even as the group was swept back and away from the newcomers. Vrey fixed the puppy with a sterner look than the placid face she had shown her friend. "Remarque this is Johann Krieger. If you bite him as you please I am granting him the same courtesy." Looking up towards Johann again Vrey showed him a rare smile. "Please help him feel safe."

Standing up Vrey fixed her attention on the mages in front of her. The same mages that her new partner had shown her before they attempted to strike the gwyllgi from existence. "Caradoc." Vrey paused as she spoke the name, clearly distracted by something no one else could hear. "Yes, my gratitude, release the main wards."

Nodding once more Vrey stripped off her gauntlets and instead of tucking them away in her clothes pushed them into Drysi's hands without a word. The bald girl began to roll up her sleeves as she ducked under the Hawaiian druid's raised arms. Striding past Ruarc and standing in front of the group Vrey crossed her arms and her face remained placid as her eyes flashed green and her fingers sunk down into her exposed flesh.

Then she raked her hands down both her arms instead of a gush of blood tendrils of hazy green mana began to wisp forth from her torn flesh and lash at the air. As soon as the extra-dimensional essence manifested the spirits of everything in the area began to wildly cry out.

The trees shook and groaned as they attempted to lean away and their roots rippled uncontrollably beneath the ground.

The grass wilted and laid itself flat against the ground.

The air began to build into a wind and blow away in every direction as it sought to escape.

The ground itself began to tremour and the druids could feel the patch stuck beneath Vrey's feet scream and scream and scream through their magic.

The very fabric of bald teen's clothes first began to shiver and then unraveled itself into individual threads that fell to the ground as Vrey's revealed presence proved anathema to it.

Vrey's uncovered body was gaunt to the point of almost being skeletal with her bones clearly visible beneath her skin and every vein in her body down to the individual capillaries was pulsed up into a glowing green ridge standing away from her pallid skin.

To Drysi and any others with her gift of sight Vrey became nothing more than a humanoid negative layered over the world and formed of overlapping, roiling, biting, ephemeral mouths barely restrained from pouring out into the world by a thin net of brilliant golden threads.

"Stop." STOP

As Vrey's voice rang out both physically and across the being of every spirit around the world stilled to the point that it could only just quiver in fear. Vrey focused her vision on the air spirits that had been moments before working themselves into chaotic gusts in any and every direction.

"Restrain them." RESTRAIN THEM

Vrey pointed a finger at the three triclopean mages.

"Or I will eat you." OR I WILL EAT YOU

Sheer instinctive terror forced all the air spirits into a singular mass as they swirled around the three mages and then put everything they had into becoming solid mass of locked air to hold the mages in place.

Vrey kept her attention on the enemy mages, but when she spoke again her voice didn't reach a hand into the heart of everything around her. "Herr Flynn do you want them alive?"
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

"Guys, it's go time."

"Johann, this is Remarque of Annwn."

In just a few seconds Johann was tugged in two very different directions. He yearned to prove himself, and prove he could overcome his fear-- this welling, bubbling terror that rose like bile when he saw those three triclops. But he was also keen to protect this cute little friend they'd only just met.

What to do? Well, they had a pair of burly Druids at their front, and a new companion worth fighting for. They had the numbers. And he could overcome his fear. He was certain. They could do this. He could do this.

And he was right-- until he saw Vrey's true, unbridled power. Johann had moved opposite Willow to spread them out as targets and was beginning his Soul Siphon spell- the one he had memorized incorrectly as a healing spell- for its intended purpose. Then Vrey stepped up and let loose and he hesitated, eyes wide with shock. It was horrifying!

But she's on my team! he reminded himself, and took a steadying breath. Then he began his second proper casting of a Necromancy spell. "Einmal dann zweimal gebunden, soll man mein Preis bezahlen."

Johann reached out as the incantation was completed. Properly spoken, the Soul Siphon would activate with a spark of mana leeched from the target, and then link the young Necromancer to his victim, transferring the older man's life force to the boy. It was an insidious spell, designed to drain foes dry. But he knew from careful studies with Drysi and Manon that his version of the spell, and his own life force, were far too weak to drain a full adult with any lethal speed. A few seconds, though, should be enough to destabilize any casting and wind him. It was all he could do, and it would have to be enough.

-------------

The fight rather literally exploded all around Jane. She had to be quick. The children hadn't hardly moved, so she reiterated her command. "Spread out, just like gym class! Focus on the sides. Now, trust me!" And with that she turned and ran.

She whistled as she went, a high and shrill sound as apt to get the enemy's attention as her horse, but it was irrelevant. This battlefield was going to be a mess. A stalker-type had apparated from nowhere and confronted the Librarians; Miyuki had just pounded her way through perhaps the toughest magic barrier Jane had ever witnessed; and Flynn was nowhere to be seen.

No name charged from the brush, nearly trampling a pair of hounds as he did. Jane mounted mid-stride and closed within shouting distance of the Ice Queen. "Librarians have attacked Caxton! I'm rallying the students!" Knowing time was of the essence, and that Miyuki had everything she needed to know, she hooked No Name into a one-eighty turn.

Into her steed's ear, she spoke just loud enough for him to hear. "Full charge, old friend. Run these bandits down." No Name acknowledged by accelerating toward the gaggle of triclops and hounds he'd earlier disturbed. The dark horse and his gallant rider were angled to flank; they had to choose the children, or the American. Jane gave one final rallying cry to the students as she passed, "This is your greatest test! Show them what you've got!"
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Kokuten
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Kokuten »

The Skirmish on the Path

The tall triclops’ body began to constrict under the pressure inflicted under him. The two at his side were similarly restrained, waiting for some sort of direction. They became nervous when none came, throwing cautious glances to their leader. Yet, as they were held, the leader never took his eyes off Ruarc, even as Johann began to sing his incantation.

Ruarc could see something dark in the man’s eyes he wasn’t aware of before. His eyes were brilliant like his apprentice’s, like Eryl’s, but his were brilliant for a different reason. The color, the sharpness, reminded him of a black widow and he spoke with similar venom.

“Be smart.”

The man’s arm cracked under the restraint, or against it.

“Don’t get in over your heads.”

The next words came with a smile, as the skin split.

“This isn’t a game.”

From the oozing wound came blood and with it an incantation in a dark language, short and harsh. The red liquid formed a disc and then frocely resonated cosmic force into Vrey. Her body shot back into the group, colliding into Drysi, who had been fishing into the bag for the perfect rune for the situation so as to not see the horror her friend turned into. The girl had looked up just in time to be struck by a horror-Vrey sized projectile.

Crack!

Drysi’s rib-cage complained at the force, one of her ribs fracturing as she went down. The two went rolling over the ground, Vrey in the apprentice’s arms. As they came to a stop, Drysi whined and groaned in pain, staring about in a panic. Putting two and two together in her mind, she tried putting the gauntlets back on Vrey’s hands.

“The name’s Keo, kid, and I’d say yeah. I’m good in a scrap,” answered Keo, the brawny druid. He tugged his shirt off, revealing geometric tattoos of druidic incantations and slapped one of them. It was the face of a great sea-serpent, and it began to glow. Moisture appeared in the air, flowing in a sash that wrapped around his body. Willow saw gwyllgi, fresh to the fight, padding around the path. As one leaped at Keo, he lashed one down, catching it before it could try to end his life again.

Another two of the beasts emerged from the flank, their course to take down the two girls knocked fresh to the ground.

As the fight spilled out behind him, Ruarc found the two retainers of this dark triclops stepping forward. One was prepping a spell in his hands while the other whipped out a curved dagger. She plunged it into her palm and from the rivulets that spilled came long claws that she swung at the Archdruid in wide, deadly arcs.

In the back, the other triclops seemed to be conjuring something, his incantation quick and quiet. Careful hands were slowly pulling a tear into reality; he was opening a portal.

All the while, Johann restored his flagging life energy with that of the leader of the triclopsi. The strands of life that he pulled away felt strangely numerous, more than a normal living thing should have had. It felt like there were other souls present.

Suddenly, the eyes of the tall triclops were upon the boy and a summoning rift opened between them. From the yawning portal leapt a Dormarch, a creature that was half-hound, half-carcharodon. Its two muscular fore-legs bunched as its three tail-like rear-legs sprung it forward at Johann, canine maw open wide.

The Battle in the Glade

Thundering hoofbeats sounded the call to war in the glade. No-name tore across the withering grass and caught the eastern flank unprepared. A wand rang out the sine of a spell and Jane felt searing heat from a bolt of fire striking into her shoulder before she ran down one of the triclops and a gwyllgi. The horse tore onward past dying trees into a further clearing and Morwen shouted after.

“Kill the clown and her horse!”

The broken cultist that Jane had brought down catalyzed their blood into a spell, and chased after riding a whirlwind of red mist. Another summoned a chained Ceffyl Dŵr to ride after her, calling on a pair of gwyllgi to snap at her heels.

As spells began to charge, the sound of a bell tolled over Caoranach’s illusion, dispelling it under a pillar of light. Over a bed of glowing ashes, grew a small patch of floating green grass, bordered by ethereal light. Another triclops quickly scurried into sight through the realmgate, this one familiar. Instead of her blue robes, she wore a blue sun-bather’s bikini and her body, mostly tattooed with arcane wards and circles from neck to thigh, glistened with a fresh application of sunscreen. She padded over to the rear line in flip-flops.

“You will need to explain as we go!” shrieked Eryl to a shocked group of students, clearly flung into this with little information. A staff appeared in her hands as she positioned herself with the kids in the back in their wide formation.

“I wanted to keep this civil,” growled Morwen, ”but you have chosen your camp. Should the courts of the fae and Safeholme choose stagnation, then so be it. I will not bow to anyone who bows to the Occultus.”

Within the spindly fingers of Scurlocke appeared an orb with many holes perforated into it. Her hand clenched tightly and the orb began to scream with a high pitch. From behind the witch tore a gargantuan portal that led to a cold place, standing at its threshold was a monstrous creature with a massive club in its hand. It was a Cewri, an ancient Welsh giant dressed in fur and chains standing at the size of a small apartment. “You misunderstand our goals. We do not seek to make some orderly land at the end of this war, we seek to plunge it into glorious chaos, into shining freedom! KILL THEM ALL!”

At the front line, the lamplighter cultists drew out insidious, curved blades that they plunged into their hands to power their spells. Morwen’s inheritors kept a shield up in front of their librarian, while the remaining mages fanned out to deal with threats. The remaining one from the eastern flank focused their power on larger targets, and fired a stream of hell-fire in Miyuki’s direction. While Miyuki was rumored to be incredibly powerful, she appeared vulnerable, and the cultist wanted to spare little time.

The western flank wavered in the presence of Lyra. Unlike Miyuki, whose raw power was legendary, Lyra commanded fear among mages, being their anti-thesis. Seeing this, Morwen looked up to her pet Cewri and nodded her head, prompting the giant to plod forward. With heavy, rumbling footfalls, the giant took to the field and brought its club to bear onto the swordswoman with an air shuddering swing.

The three from the western flank, and their gwyllgi turned to assail Caoranach and the students. Seeing the fae by herself, they spared one for her while the others began loosing their own hell-fire on the children. Eryl brought up her shield and the students answered in kind, firing back with fire, ice, spirits and pies. Tegwyn ran into their flank, trying to disengage one of the attackers, but was blown back into the line of students.

The one cultist with Caoranach smiled with satisfaction, her three eyes measuring the fae to be small.

“Your illusions don’t scare me, pixie,” spat the triclops as she scored her hand, her blood filling out with a spear and leaping in to skewer her.

At the head of the horde stood Morwen, turning the orb in her hand, changing the scene of the portal behind her. With another whistling noise and the sound of a bell, came more creatures, dormachi and gwyllgi, filling out the charge to overwhelm the mages. They came in waves, in the dozens, pressing into the glade.

Another pillar of light struck the glowing ashes, forming another divine, grassy platform. A man stepped from the realmgate out into the ashes as their glow died. He was draped in a frame of metal and tubes, one arm encased in what looked like a complex cannon of many barrels, the other supporting a rotating aperture of vials, glasses and cisterns. Mounted on the back of this exoskeleton was a scepter that hummed with great power. Upon the head of this man was a beret that read Class-A Alchemist.

Click, click, click. The storage aperture on his left turned as the cannon withdrew from it a large glass of pearlescent liquid and fired it into the approaching pack of creatures with a loud thoomp. It crashed into the initial wave and erupted into a wide wave of liquid that solidified into a small meeting’s worth of crystal chairs that trapped some of the beasts into their shapes as they formed around them.

“Pardon the mess,” sneered Percival Caxton.
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Straken
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Straken »

The Path

Teeth bared, Ruarc tensed. This was exactly why he’d been determined to keep the students out of these kinds of situations. At that age mistakes were bound to happen. Hell, when he and the others of the Menagerie were that age it was a miracle none of them had died; died died, not the softcore died that happened a couple times. Now due to Vrey doing the exact opposite of what he had told the students to do the situation was in complete disarray. But whether he liked it or not it was the situation he found himself in.

Growling low, the Irishman needed to think of the students as assets rather than hindrances. Had any of the group been expecting Vrey’s move, they might have been able to capitalize on it. So if just for now they weren’t his students, instead they were all apprenticed to the Keeper of Osaka. By the gods there was a lot going on, and the only option he would accept was one where all the students made it back safely.

“Drysi! Patch Vrey up quick and get back into the fight! Willow! Keep the beasts off of Johann and the others! Johann! Keep hindering hostile mages! Vrey! TEAMWORK! Keo, defense, but get up here ASAP.”

Instructions given, Ruarc could only trust that the tenderfoots could play smart, and for him to do his own part. With a sharp squint to the leader triclops, Ruarc pivoted and dropped to a knee while extending his arm.

Meanwhile Willow needed to force herself out of her shock. Standing still was the worst thing a forward player could do on the pitch. Ruarc made a call, and she was going to make sure it was followed through. Shifting her focus from the baddies ahead of her to the gnashers that were coming out of the brush. Drysi was taxed with helping Vrey with, uh, whatever it was Vrey was dealing with; Johann was poised to offer the best support for Mr. Flynn until Drysi wasn’t preoccupied; that Keo guy was probably the only person present who’d be able to stand side by side with Mr. Flynn against the triclops; and amid all of this two more hellhounds had come out of the woodwork, not to mention the aberration hound that was now barring down on Johann.

The adrenaline pumping through her veins made her chest feel tight, and Willow wondered in passing how Mr. Flynn could do this on the regular. A fierce grin crossed the Brit’s face. She wasn’t sure what he was doing, because how could she, but she could recognize a play when she saw one. More importantly, it narrowed down what Willow needed to do enough for her to make a move of her own. Flicking a few coins behind her, Willow Steel pushed the coins into the ground, and Willow launched herself into the air. She’d practiced this maneuver back home, and now it was time to put it to the test. Like a bird in flight, Willow was thrown up and over the pathway. From her new vantage point, Willow targeted the two hounds pushing towards Drysi and Vrey and gave a high burn Steel push on a small handful of small coins. The dimes ripped out of her fingers, and with the combined speed of the push and Willow’s own forward velocity the cloud of stinging metal raced towards the hounds.

As Willow was launching herself into the air, Ruarc finished channeling his will. The fire along his arms flowed across his frame as it concentrated on his left arm, and with a timed chant of Turraing, a jet of white hot flame lanced directly at the Dormarch that was launching itself at Johann . The normally large and billowing torrent of red fire was now a concentrated beam of searing heat. The fangs of the dragon’s head clamping down on the eldritch hound’s neck. His other arm pointed directly at the lead triclops’ third eye as Ruarc’s tried-and-true spell arced out with a brilliant flash and a crackling btooom.



The Glade

Caoranach’s eyes were striking as one of the triclops had volunteered themselves as tribute. The Queen of Monsters had other ways of scaring people, and having made a hobby of it in her younger years she was quite proud of her repertoire. So very well, ye unnamed fool, an ancient being of the ancient wilds would provide you with a treat.

“Have I truly become so blasé as to be given the same gravitas as some petty charlatan?” Caoranach asked one of the spirits on her arm as she raised it in front of her face. Having made no move to dodge, the fey noble’s chest was pierced by the sanguine spear. The momentum of the triclops carried her forward as her eyes met the spiteful gaze of Caoranach, who gracefully moved her raised hand further forward; slender fingers wrapping like steel cable over top of the triclops’ mouth, immediately halting her forward progress. The chitinous spirit adorning Carrie’s forearm began to shift and skitter over the fey’s arm and onto the opponent’s face. The spirit circled the other’s head before its mandibles found the third eye. All at once the nail-like legs passed through the flesh of the other’s face, anchoring itself onto its new host who would feel immense paranoia begin to set in; not to mention what was going on with that third eye, as Caoranach had never bothered to deal with this much.

Smiling with a motherly warmth, Carrie’s teeth were stained red. Reaching up with her other hand, she dabbed her long fingernail into her mouth like a quill in ink. Then, pulling the triclops a bit closer, drew an ancient rune on the side of their forehead. Pulled ever closer by the royal’s grip, the triclops’ head wrenched to the side as Carrie brought their ear close enough to her mouth as to whisper.

“Then meet real fear, my child.”

Laoise stared up at the Cewri, and then around top the rest of the glade to take stock. Most notably to her right, Caoranach had dodged her attacker’s spear and was now standing off to their side whispering in their ear. The familiar looked away, both to continue more important business, and because she didn’t want to see the finale as the fairy lifted her shadow blade to the other’s neck.

Jane was rallying, which was good. Miyuki had shown up, which was great. But now there was a giant, which was less than ideal. Caoranach would probably be fine, but with a huff Laoise had one of her own illusions dart between the fey and the foe at large while chucking illusory runes that would on their own do very little. The illusory Laoise that was singing backed towards the students, wings held wide like a mother bird defending hatchlings; its song was fierce, but not inherently magical beyond pep.

The real Laoise had pushed towards the far edge of the glade, taking flight and raining another barrage of Wind/Fire runes over the smaller foes that were threatening the flanks. Were Ruarc here, he’d have charged the Cewri without a second’s hesitation, but he was off in his own struggle, and Laoise knew she’d be best at harassing the enemy.
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Kai
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Kai »

As Morwen shrieked her delirious beliefs at the group, Miyuki kept an eye, listening to Jane as she swiftly appraised the Japanese girl of more or less what was going on. When No-Name kicked up some dust and made off with the American in tow, Miyuki took a moment to settle herself and take stock of what was happening right now. The Librarian from Cardiff continued ranting, while her followers fanned out and made ready for another round of attacks, giving Miyuki plenty of time to prepare herself- She'd faced worse odds before and come out of it, though the need to also protect the students definitely added a layer of difficulty. Drawing forth her own power, and feeling power filling up the Arctic Key -turned Prosthetic arm, The Ice Queen began to create what appeared to be an ice storm in the air around her, swirling shards of razor sharp ice kicking up a wind and jostling anything around her at this point.

When flames spat out at Miyuki, She laughed, as if those were actually a threat, regular or hellfire. Lifting her right arm and giving a bit of a flick, she summoned a thick, dense, and shimmering wedge of Ice that intercepted the stream coming from the cultist, blowing it harmlessly to the side rather than wasting the energy to try and block it outright. The Swirling storm of Ice suddenly stopped, the air between Miyuki and her attacker suddenly dropping to frigid point that would caused most to immediately shiver, before hundreds of razor sharp shards of ice flung themselves at the Librarian with hurricane force, Peppering them and everything around them with almost reckless abandon, shredding any and all nearby vegetation in their wake.

"You always seem to need someone to clean up after you, Perce!" Miyuki quipped as the Alchemist made his entrance and helped to calm her further, since she had been worried after Jane had told her he had been attacked. "You keep those students safe, I'll deal with this annoyance!"
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

Johann's confidence grew as his lifeline firmed and his mana was gradually replenished by his opponent. He flinched when Drysi was shucked like a ragdoll, but he did not break his tether. The dormarch nearly snapped his concentration. His free hand snapped up in reflex, about to slash raw necrotic energy at his assailant when Mr. Flynn flew in to save the day. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves, but he was already surprisingly steady.

Slowly, he began to walk backwards, careful not to put any allies in the path of his soul siphon's stream, lest the connection be disrupted by their own mana. As he walked, he chanted again, "Einmal dann zweimal gebunden, soll man mein Preis bezahlen." His left hand reached out to the other triclops opening a portal, a second soul siphon snaking out to him.

Johann quietly mourned the absence of his Abridged Necronomicon; he knew half a dozen spells that would have been helpful in that moment, but he had neither memorized them nor brought with him the necessary components for his more powerful spells. So, soul siphons and their potentially disruptive nature would have to suffice. All he could do was try to maintain distance and use the adults and Willow as a defender.

His thoughts quickly evaporated, though, as his second soul siphon connected, and a surge of life essence and mana pulsed into him, now twice as strong. A distant thought in the back of his mind whispered, it has to go somewhere. He would have to end the siphons eventually, and spend his ill-gotten gains, or risk permanent damage to himself.

----

Jane shrugged at the pain in her shoulder and adrenalin smothered it. Once she had the attention of the triclopsi gang, No Name could navigate on his own. Her business lay behind them. In a smooth motion she swung a leg over the great black horse's mane, then the other over his rump. Two gleaming revolvers caught the sinister light of the gloomy vale and winked at the trailing blood mages as they bounced through the dappled light of the forest's edge.

And then they called. They called four times in a cadence only known to the gunslinger and her horse, attuned perfectly to one another in the heat of battle.
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Gwathdraug
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Gwathdraug »

As the field erupted into chaos any expression on Lyra's face was replaced by a cold, placid mask. Pulling her sword from where it rest against her shoulder the tall woman stalked forward towards the target that was chosen for her. The air above the swordswoman's head screamed as the giant's brute strength turned the stout club he wielded into nothing more than a hazy blur. To unaugmented eyes Lyra seemed to only shift her footing slightly as she prepared to receive the coming assault.

To any with sight to see the flows of magic her entire form was suddenly sheathed in twisted knots of uncontrolled mana that greedily struck out and took possession of her blade alongside her body.

The club slammed into the ground and sent great gouts of dirt and rock suspended in the air. For a few heartbeats the cloud of black, and grey, and brown stood unchallenged as proof of the Cewri's might, then, with suddenness equal to the explosive strength of the giant, the floating mass of earth was painted with an unbroken scythe of red.

Lyra stepped forth from the cloud drenched in dirt and sprayed with blood. Her blade was dyed crimson from its guard to its tip from where the swordswoman had sliced through the meat and tendons of the Cewri's wrist straight to the bone. There was a calm, detached nature to the woman's movements that came from immersing herself to the point of totality in her unformed mana.

The whole world for her was silent. Not even her own heartbeat could be heard.

Before the giant could recoil from its wound Lyra's blade dipped out once more and cut through the Cewri's fabled skin as if it was paper and the giant himself could feel unchained, wild laughter in the mana invading the blade that rejected the magical resistance that was his birthrate.

As her blade bit into the Cewri's radial artery Lyra brought her blade back to her and up into a defensive posture. Despite her ability to cut into the enemy in front of her bleeding a giant was still a considerable undertaking. There was a saying amoung hunters after all: blast away a giant's heart and the head will notice after you are dead.

---

In a panic Vrey, eyes wide and face stricken with emotion, snatched her gauntlets from Drysi. The pale, skeletal teen blurred in place in front of her friend until she flickering back into sight with her armoured gloves back in place and the haze that had been leaking from her torn arms was replaced by oozing trails of blood.

The spirits around her, the spirits that now KNEW her, pressed down around and against Vrey. There was a feeling of her being stuck in a morass, and the bald girl curled her hands into tensed claws and bared her teeth in response. While her body had gone figuratively cold her eyes still blazed and Vrey's voice was a command when she spoke. "There is no time."

Willow would save Drysi, but Johann, Remarque, and Ruarc were in trouble.

Flitting into place behind the cult member quietly speaking his portal into creation Vrey slammed her elbow into one of the triclop's kidneys and then shifted again to his front where one gauntlet'd hand pulled down hard on the front of his robe and the other slammed past his teeth to grab a hold of his tongue.

Burning green eyes met the Triclop's own as he was dragged to the small teen's level - and then the hand holding his tongue pulled.
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Kokuten
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Kokuten »

The Shugenja, on the Left Flank in the Glade

Tanaka Chinami wanted to go home.

Everything had gone belly up, in the worst way possible. Her spirits were upset by the shifting age of the forest around them, and were refusing to comply without serious force. Everywhere she looked, things were dying, the trees, people, even the spirits. She couldn’t stop her dirt-ridden hands from shaking, it was all moving so quickly.

Another set of hands grabbed hers, and she looked up. It was Manon. She looked so calm, but why? Why were she and Eryk the only two out of the bunch not losing their heads? Everyone was flinging spells out of fear, but they looked so focused.

“It’ll be okay, mon cheri, just keep your eye on the ball!” assured the clown as she took her place back on the line, catching another student by the shoulder who seemed to be buckling under the pressure.

“Keep it together! Stay behind the barrier” called out the skimpy triclops that apparently was on their side. She was redirecting a fume of hellfire that was being directed at them. The blaze stopped suddenly as an elemental torrent strafed by, harassing the mages pressing on them.

“That’s our chance!” shouted Manon, rallying the students on the left, pointing at the jumbled cultists.

Things were getting hazy for Tanaka, she saw the woman that had come with Mr. Flynn was doing something to one of the cultists. She drew her eyes away, just as the cultist died, trying to focus on the task at hand and to escape the harsh reality of the situation. A couple of the evokers were throwing fire back into the cultists on the left. It wasn’t enough, they needed more. They all needed more.

“Fire… Ice… Earth… Wind…” Chinami uttered, her eyes rolling back into her head as she came to her knees. “Spirits of this land, I need your last breath.”

She hoped that they understood Japanese.

The Hexer, on the Right Flank in the Glade

Two cultists gone, chased after Ms. Smith; Two on the left flank; One attacking the supermodel that showed up on the right flank; One being… Handled by the fae that had been traveling with them. Three at the center; now departing through the massive portal they had opened to release all the beasts.

Eryk Kashevski wondered how he could be so calm and do so little. Ever since his sword was shattered in the woods that night, he hadn't much use in fighting trials. Now especially, all he could do was watch as his classmates handled the attack.

"Gwyllgi! Times two, front!" shouted Eryk as the hounds burst from the bushes. A fierce light burst from his right as Nadiya threw radiant energy through the shield. Djene sent her own beasts to counter the hounds on the line.

He shielded his eyes as more elemental energy came down, before realizing his breath was showing. The flare of hellfire further up the way caught his attention, before he had to look away as a storm of ice shards eviscerated one of the cultists. His side of the line was quiet, and he dared to look on at the rest of the carnage. Mr. Caxton stood at the fore, now dressed in some kind of magical armor. The alchemy instructor was crouching in the face of a wave of monsters.

"Caoranach! The children can still see you!" the man yelled over his shoulder as his suit performed some strange mechanical function. Eryk swore he could see a small orange glow jump to the end of Mr. Caxton's cannon before a gout of fire erupted from it, paving the glade ahead in bright flames to put a wide wall between the oncoming beasts and themselves.

It was chaos. Eryk didn't hate it, but it wasn't the realm of a hexer. The realm of hexers was…

Monsterslaying…

He saw the artistry in the movements, but it was too late to appreciate them. The stranger and her sword moved in the manner of a predator, not a hexer, but Eryk could see the similarity. The woman battled the Cewri single handedly and it was a wonder to behold. The carnage, the blood, the frightening speed.

The speed.

The club.

The beast was grabbing its club with the other hand.

Eryk screamed out to the strange Abjurer who wore a hexer's medallion.

"WITCH, LEFT!"

The triclopsi witch turned to see the club rising. She jabbed her staff into the ground and apparated a wand in her left hand. The weapon, swung out of rage by the Cewri, came in a swift arc and then suddenly stopped a meter above her.

The force of the blow spread out and blew the students near her back. Her joints buckled and spittle flew from her grit teeth as her intent focus maintained a powerful shield. With a gentle turn of her quivering hands, the shield tilted, causing the club to slide and plow into the cultists assailing the left flank.

The Alpha, chasing the Gunslinger

Worth was difficult to ascertain during battle, but it could feel it. In this place of great warriors, it could feel the worth of the one it hunted. Even the strings lashed against its mind could not draw away the awe it felt.

The Alpha Gwyllgi padded hungrily on the trail of the horse. On its right was one of its kin, snapping at the edge of the magnificent beast she road. They were being ordered to bring the American back to the glade, but it would be a challenge. Her beast kicked fiercely with each, galloping stride.

Cracking fire erupted from her metal wands. A meaty flop heralded the death of one of the cultists. They would be too late, but the horse would be distracted in the next volley.

A spit of dark energy struck the gunslinger in the chest, searing her body in pain. Opportunity.

More cracks sounded and the other Gwyllgi snapped at No-Name's side, forcing the rider and horse back into the glade. With two of the cultists dead, this leap would be crucial. The Alpha put in one last burst of speed and sank its teeth into the woman's boot and unsaddled her from the horse.

The other Gwyllgi leapt for her neck to deal the finishing blow.

The Apprentice, on the Path

"This is bad…"

Drysi struggled to breath in the flurry of activity that had happened to her. In one moment she was preparing the perfect spell, the next she was on her side with Vrey in her arms. The triclops had tried to help the girl put her gauntlets on, but she was already gone, pressing the charge.

When the gwyllgi burst from the treeline, she found herself painfully underprepared to get to her feet. She scrambled, her gaze falling to the ground before two, hissing corpses tumbled to their last in front of her, as if struck by buckshot. Her eyes trailed up to see Willow sailing across the canopy and her heart felt light. It beat against the broken rib, making the thoughts in her mind white hot.

With great effort, she pushed herself up.

"I love you, Willow Fairburn; and I need to say it before one of us dies," she practiced aloud, her voice hissing, trying to reestablish focus through the pain. Her vision began to clear, and she saw the air spirits moving quickly. They were frightened, scared and trying to follow in on Vrey now, circling her like a hand about to close into a fist. The enigma of a girl had one of inheritors by the tongue, and he was reaching for his knife-wand.

The other inheritor cut in front of Ruarc's attack, blocking the fiery fist from going through, congealing the blood claws on her hand. Drysi had a moment, and chose it to heave her book. In pained breaths, she repeated the incantation of Mr. Flynn's spell, but with a plea to the air spirits.

The Druid, Fighting on the Path

Keo was in wonder as he snapped the beast in the grasp of his water whip in two. Flynn's kids fought like a crack team of battlemages. He had heard stories of the students of Safeholme and their instructors, but had thought it a generalist college of magic, not a war-mage preparatory. Even, little buddy maintained his focus, even as a Welsh water beast snapped at him in its death throes.

That gwyllgi puppy was getting away from him, though, plodding towards the fight through the grass.

"Quite enough," Keo heard the supposed Mastermind say. The druid looked back and recoiled to see an arcane horror gripping onto the back of the tall Triclops. Another seemed to crawl out of his gullet.

Their tentacled mouths spoke in tandem with the tall triclops. "Leave us."

One of the horrors seeped up some of the triclops' blood and the two attendants evaporated into mists of their own ichor. Their essence shot up into the sky and away, as if carried on furious wind.

The other horror hanging off of his form began to cast another spell in tandem. Keo prepped his own fire, but felt himself stuck on something. He looked down and found a shadowy tendril wrapping around his leg. With a quick response, he brought down some heat to shake it off, then five more took its place.

Before he could shift and move, his legs were locked.

"Black tent–cuulh!" roared Keo as one coiled around his throat. One had hooked around the bald girl's ankle, four were seizing on little buddy's arms and legs, several reached up at the loud, british girl, and their own triclops was already restrained as she rattled off a spell.

But… Ruarc seemed to glow against it, even as a torrent of tendrils rose to consume him. A pair of papers flattened against his back and the wild air spirits, once seizing on baldy, now seized on him, and began feeding the fire on his arms.
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

On the edge of the Glade...

The second blast Jane took scorched her shirt black and obliterated a couple buttons, disheveling her look and tilting her off balance, but she was able to quickly right herself.

Or she would have, if not for the gwyllgi that had advanced much faster than she had anticipated. She had also underestimated their intellect it seemed. But she was coming off No Name, and there was no more time for thinking. Action.

It was all in slow motion for the four of them. Jane came down hard on her hip and arm, but lifelong reflexes held tight to those sandalwood grips. They were her lifeline to a future that didn't end here. The same could not be said for the gwyllgi clamped to her heel. Staring back into that brave hunter's eyes were the dark eyes of Jane's 'metal wands.' They were so close, he never heard the pair of death knells, and had no time to process the pain that plunged through his eyes and jettisoned his last thoughts into the forest.

Nor did Jane have time to recuperate. She rolled to her side, bones and joints protesting their brutal treatment, and narrowly avoided her second attacker. She rose to a seated position and her guns rose to focus. Two more shots rang out. The gwyllgi caught one in its beefy paw as it made to slash her open; the attacks canceled each other out. The other bullet caught high on its back. It winced, but that thick hide and the rush of the hunt meant Jane had failed to stop the beast in its tracks. Empty, the guns were discarded.

She coiled her legs as if to lash out at the hound, a tear forming in the corner of one eye at the pain in her hip. The beast leaped and the gunslinger kicked, but a gwyllgi was no lap dog. It was slowed and her legs ached at the strain, but it was upon her now. But she had one last trick up her sleeve- or rather, one last trick in her boot.

As she kicked, her right hand pulled a boot knife. As the hound came crashing down on her, she stabbed. The gwyllgi caught it between iron jaws. Now they were wrestling, blood trickling from thin cuts in the gwyllgi's gums as the blade shifted in its mouth. Claws scrabbled over denim, cotton, and flesh, but left only superficial wounds. Over the beast's burly shoulders, Jane's peripheral vision was alerted to the fast-moving form of the last pursuer. She had to get free.

There came a heavy thumping, and they both immediately knew what it meant. The gwyllgi made to retreat; Jane locked her legs around the hound's neck, clamping one knee over the opposite boot to secure her hold. The thumping grew louder, and the gwyllgi grew frantic trying to free itself. The flailing was fruitless with its jaw tucked to Jane's belly, and claws unable to effectively strike. There came what could only be described as a furious shout from No Name, who reared back and proceeded to pulverize the lower half of the gwyllgi. When it finally stopped moving, No Name snorted and shook his head.

Jane rolled the corpse away. In one fluid motion, she rose, cocked an arm, and flung her boot knife at the approaching triclops. She gave it her everything. The pain was surging, her energy was flagging, and she was in no position to fight flat-footed.

----------------
On the Path...
Vrey's sudden appearance disturbed and then severed Johann's second soul siphon, which was just as well, as he was practically bursting with mana and life energy. He glanced to his side to check on the druid, Keo, and see he was alright, focused his attention on the single soul siphon. He would have to end it soon, but not yet.

"-Tent-cuuuhl!"

Johann looked again and saw Keo being assaulted by tendrils of darkness. Before he could respond he felt something slithering along his own limbs. His concentration was dropped and the soul siphon ceased. The boy pulled at the tentacles, terror stabbing him with a fresh injection of adrenalin. But it was no use. All the stolen mana in the world wasn't going to make his skinny body any stronger. Unless I was a biomancer. Like dad.

That stung. His hands squeezed into fists, anger and fear mixing and combusting. He writhed in the alien grip, and finally shouted his anguish. No! I'm better than this. I'm better than this evil, ugly, MONSTER of a man! Thin, pale hands rotated and grabbed the tentacles as if to shake hands.

Then he closed his eye and recalled the forest- and the poor creatures he'd killed. Yes, he'd killed them. He'd come to terms with that over the course of his studies. Being stupid would get people killed- innocent people. He had to be smart. The smartest. But this man summoning demons from his soul space wasn't innocent. He was a villain, and his demons were just as bad. Johann didn't have to hold back.

He gritted his teeth, remembering the necrotic wave he had cast over those little forest sprites. His mana pool sloshed as he tried to manage this unprecedented level of power inside himself. It had to be focused. Start with the hands. Hands were the easiest, you used them all the time. The slim space where human hands met vile tentacle began to emit an ugly, black-green light as necrotic energy began to trickle, then pour out of the necromancer and eat away at the tentacles. Next his legs. It was hard, because he'd never channeled mana specifically through his legs. Not since dad tried to teach you.

He bit his lip to crush the thought, and mentally kicked his mana down his legs. Necrotic energy fell from him in waves like flesh-eating pollen shaken free. Not quite his intent, but it would have to do. Now that he had his channels, he focused on his wealth of mana. Half, he decided. Half of this stolen mana to start. Johann's hands clenched and calves tightened as he forced his deadly energy out of his body and into his captor.
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Gwathdraug
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Gwathdraug »

Vrey's opponent was reduced to vapour and lit up the sky as he escaped from her grasp. There was no time for any momentary flashes of annoyances as the bald teen felt the biting power of a spell wrap around her ankle. Looking down at the dark tentacle trying to lay claim to her leg Vrey quickly clawed at the buckles of the gauntlet on her left arm and then tossed the armoured glove aside. Her bony, bare hand closed around the tentacle and snatched it away from her body - but did not release it like she had her gauntlet.

Instead, her mana snapped forth in a flash of green and invaded the conceptual matrix of the spell trapped in her grip. She could feel all the tentacles throughout the clearing and their heavy, otherworldly presence was balm in comparison to the native planar magics she was usually surrounded by. The spell's cold intent and the aspect of death - of An Ending - that pulsed through each tendril harmonized easily with the origin of her own existence.

It was frustrating. An unwanting homecalling from a place that was not a Home.

That she would never go back to.

PARDON THE INTRUSION.

Through the fabric of his own spell Vrey cast her thoughts at the only Triclops left against them. Then, with a jerk she ripped the tentacle she was holding up to her mouth and bit down on the spell itself - her own mana flooding into the construct and shooting specks and flecks of green through every other tentacle.

The bald teen quickly drew her power back from where Johann was already freeing himself and instead directed all that spare power to the tentacles that had yet to grab a hold of Willow. Each of the tendrils surrounding the young brawler froze in place and then one brushed lightly against her skin but made no attempt to restrain her.

TAG. Vrey's dull voice cut across Willow's thoughts. YOU ARE UP.

------

The blade of the sword stabbed deeply into - and then through - the joint of the cewri's knee. Lyra didn't even pause - already suspended in the air from the leap that had taken her into striking range - and pulled a knife from out of a sheathe across the front of her baldric and stabbed it even higher up in the flesh of the giant's leg. A second knife came out and her sword was abandoned as nothing more than a foothold - blood gushing out across her boots as her weight on the hilt made the blade flex inside the wound itself - as Lyra pulled herself upwards.

The cewri was distracted, but in her silent world Lyra had fixed herself on one goal. Stab after stab after stab the swordswoman dragged herself up and across the giant like a bloody spider. With an unheard grunt she reached up above her and stabbed her dagger deeply into flesh until it served as a handhold to throw her closer to the giant's back. Again and again until she hung near the middle of the creature's spine.

Now her dagger came down and out and down and out in the same spot. The blade twisting with every plunge so it dug deeper and quicker until a fist sized gap of bright white bone was exposed to the air.

The blade bit again - this time in the gap between two vertebrae - and Lyra began to saw her way through the thoracic nerve.
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