[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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Straken
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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The Glade

Rolling her eyes in response to the rebuke, Caoranach swat at a loose lock of hair as she turned away from the now deceased uppity triclops. As a show of good faith she even conjured an illusion to make the triclops’ blood look like rainbows instead of viscera. Back in her heyday all of these kids would have seen at least one decapitation by their age, so go the times; or whatever that Bob Dylan fellow sang about. Scanning the battlefield much the same way one would peruse a library shelf while deciding what to read next. With an almost covetous smile, the elder fey landed her gaze on the lead triclops trying to leave the party early; how uncouth.

With a deep breath and a swirl of her hand, Caoranach put forth a strenuous force of will as she brought to bear another illusion. Straightforward, but taxing, the illusion showed the great portal collapsing in on itself before winking out of existence. On fleet foot, Caoranach darted forward at an angle before curving her path perpendicular to the triclops trio. If she got them to hesitate before going through, she might be able to land one good strike on the lead uppity triclops who saw fit to spoil her romantic vacation. With a flick of her wrist, the slender blade of shadow was raised to neck height and ready to swipe.

~~~

The British Brawler

The end of Willow’s flight came quickly, and with a grunt of effort and minor pain collided with a modest sized tree. Feet first to brace, she wrapped an arm around the trunk as her body drew closer, and clenched her teeth as her head rattled a bit from the force as well as from the bark and branches digging into her sensitive skin. Quickly looking back, she breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing Drysi was safe. The young triclops was speaking something, and were it not for her Tin enhanced senses she would have missed it completely. Given the low burn on the metal and the tumult all around her she couldn’t be sure. Once they were both through this, she’d have to see if she misheard.

Grounding her back in the moment however was the arrival of the tentacles, and the suddenness of Vrey’s voice in her head. Turning back to the battle proper, a quick scan showed a scene straight out of H.P. Lovecraft. Her stomach would have sank were it not for the promise she’d just made to herself. This was crunch time. The stakes were high. Lives were on the line. Her father’s voice played through her mind.

”When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment, or the moment defines you.”

While she knew her dad was only quoting Kevin Costner, he liked the quote, and she liked when he would try and inspire her. Squinting with what she hoped was cowboy-esque grit, Willow set her jaw, moved a spare coin behind her with her free hand, and then she flared Steel, Pewter, and Brass.

With flared Steel, Willow pushed the coin behind her back against the tree hard just as she let go with her hand, and the moment the coin met resistance greater than Willow’s own mass the young teen rocketed away down the path on a collision course with the tall triclops. With flared Pewter, Willow kept her balance in midair and wound up a mighty haymaker punch directed at the triclops’ head and or the eldritch abominations accompanying him, and packed as much oomph behind it as she could so that even if a defense was raised she could give her all towards smashing it. Then with flared Brass, she rioted every ounce of dread, doubt, and remorse as she could within the mind of the triclops.


The Irish Firebrand

The students were as safe as he could hope to make them, but the situation was at its boiling point. The triclops was making his move, and the path was filled with grasping shadows. Momentary doubt bit at the back of his mind saying he had tarried too long, focused too much on the safety of others and not enough on striking down his opponent; but a sudden presence at his back dispelled such thoughts. Between the paper and the air spirits, the slowly rekindling flames of his spell roared back to life and more so. The flames swelled up his arms as the dragon heads manifested once more over his hands, but didn’t stop there as the flames continued to spread across his shoulders as the fire splayed from its white and blue, to a rich indigo, before cooling into red, then orange, then yellow as the dragon manifest wrought the Irishman in fully exposed fury.

Eyes blazing, Ruarc didn’t shy away from the aberrant horrors ahead of him, instead he focused on what was most important. This man was threatening Vrey, Drysi, Johann, and Willow; and that was unforgivable to him. With a sprinter’s start from his kneeling position, he used every millimeter of his long legs to drive himself forward at speed. Every step a blazoned and mighty stride.

“Keep. Away. From my. Kids!” Ruarc snarled as he dropped low and swung a mighty flaming fist at the triclops’ midsection.
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Kai
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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Much like the cultist before her, the enemy formation was quickly reduced into a total mess as the battle continued. Miyuki, for her part, wished to pursue the fleeing leaders, those instigators of this madness; however, the Cewri was making its way toward the students, with a rather familiar triclops giving it pause with a powerful barrier. Knowing that the safety of the students was paramount, the Ice mage groaned internally, letting the enemy leaders go for another day.
Scoffing a bit, Miyuki shouted "Turning your tails and running are ya?" at the retreating Librarians, before turning her undivided attention to the still raging part of the battle.

Swiftly, propelled by a suddenly forming pillar of ice, Miyuki catapulted herself above the Cewri, a blue staff materializing in her hands with a flash, a sparkling Sapphire in its head, which then froze into an enormous mallet.
"Hey! Big guy!" She shouted from above, hoping to draw the Giant's attention away from her charges, just as she reached the apex of her flight.

Preparing herself for a bit of a rough landing, the Raven-haired magical Mercenary used one hand to shoot a sizeable spike of needle-sharp diamond-hard Ice at her target's neck, aiming between the collarbone and the throat. Satisfied with its placement she grasped the almost comically large mallet in both hands and spun with a flourish as she came down upon the creature. Once the full force of her blow had been felt, the dark-haired, yet pale skinned woman formed an ice wall between the giant and the students, dropping to the top of it and preparing for any sort of retribution her blow might cause if it wasn't fatal.
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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The Clown, on the Left Flank

Things looked like they were dire, but for some reason Manon Laframboise didn't feel the fear. The danger caused her heart to flutter, but the sources of that danger were more problems now. There was no time to drink deeply of the cup filled with fear, there were problems to solve.

"Tanaka, mi amore, Eryk needs you more than I! Though it breaks my heart to admit!" Manon balanced on a ball, observing the battlefield.

"Don't tell me what to do!" huffed Chinami as a fierce elemental serpent roiled over her shoulders. Despite this, she quickly complied, running her serpent to the right to help power the evoker's strikes.

Manon continued to bounce, keeping awareness over the developing situation. She saw the stranger climbing a foolish giant and the very pretty woman that followed Mr. Flynn making an approach on the retreating triclopsi. The masked clown then saw Jane Smith, battered and beaten, casting a knife into the throat of the last of her pursuers. She was on her own out there in the glade.

"Eryk! Mme. Smith! She needs cover!"

The dying triclops was stumbling and stomping towards Jane fire in its mouth as if it were filled to the brim with the stuff. With a sweep of her feet, Manon powered her ball forward, with her back-pedaling back atop it.

"Wiedźmą! Musimy przenieść barierę do panny Smith!" she heard Eryk yell.

"Przesuń uczniów po swojej stronie w jej stronę! I nie nazywaj mnie po prostu wiedźmą!" Was snapped back.

With a graceful tap of her feet, Manon shot the ball down, bounced once and then, on the next rebound, fired it like a projectile at the cultist approaching Ms. Smith. The dying triclops ricocheted off the ball and flew back into the bushes before exploding into a violent storm of hell flames.

The clown landed on her feet as her fellow students came forward to close ranks around Jane. The shimmering barrier moved forward, drawing the new line between them and their threats. Manon put her hands on her hips, bells jinglin.

"Si seulement j'étais si charmant! Can’t have them harassing you like that, you’re too dear to us."

The Godling, at the Fore

Calm down.

Breathe.

Percival's right there. Everything is going to be alright.

Tegwyn was at the fore with Percival and Caoranach, after getting swept away by the cultists. Her mechanical heart was thumping, like a stroking engine. She couldn’t tell if it was fear or fury.

Why am I so weak?

Her hands clenched tightly around her glaive, a weapon that bore striking similarity to the one Miyuki used to go toe-to-toe with the demon Loathing. A dormarch leapt over the pile of hissing corpses and chairs, only to be skewered as she lunged at it with cold fury. She caught the movement of a gwyllgi flanking around the same spot.

"Percival!" Tegwyn yelled. The Alchemist shifted his cannon to an appropriate angle and fired an emptied, glass container mounted to the thrower right into the beast's maw. It shattered on impact, stunning it long enough for her to run it through.

The air pumps in her chest pushed more and more oxygen through her system. Was this what mortality felt like?

A distinct roar caught her attention. The Cewri. She spun around, bringing the weapon to bear, trying to cover the Alchemist. Her heart was possessed of a protective fervor in a panicked response.

There was an executioner mounting the giant, climbing up its back with an implacable fierceness. The large, oafish titan was desperately trying to paw and slap her off. One of its hands near smeared the woman off before Ms. Kagami rose like a valkyrie and drove a spike straight into the Cewri’s collar. The swift brutality had almost been too quick for Tegwyn, Miyuki’s raw strength put her in awe, but the mage-soldier’s grace in those motions was something else entirely to her.

The strength of her father, and the grace of her mother.

The Cewri pawed at its neck and then lumbered as its limbs fell to its side, first the left and then the right. Like a fat, blue tree, it swayed.

“Tegwyn. Get to Caoranach, now.”

The godling grit her teeth, wanting to prove herself, but knew the price of that hubris.

“I’m not leaving you alone again.”

His voice broke through the din with a harsh softness.

“Just apply pressure and wave off. Hurry.”

She saw Caoranach descending on the remaining triclopsi like a wolf. The portal had been dispelled. The fae had struck, but one of the inheritors had maintained a shield, stopping the needle-like blade short of one of Morwen’s eyes. The other inheritor was flowing from a concentrated shield spell into something more hellish and fiery to use on the fairy.

Tegwyn’s boots crunched the drying earth under her in two heavy steps before her body leapt to the air. The exhausts on her back leveled before blasting out arcane energy, launching her forth like a horseless lancer.

“Ceri!” One of the inheritors cried out. The triclops moving on the offensive flowed back into defense, catching the tip of the glaive just in time.

A cry of pain wrung out and Tegwyn looked up to see that the attack had given Caoranach’s blade the distraction it needed to pierce one of Morwen’s eyes.

“You fools! It’s an illusion! An illusion! ABSCOND!” the Librarian screeched, drawing her inheritors into what seemed like nothing, and disappeared from the battlefield.

The Path's End

Among falling leaves in a land where Autumn was never meant to be, the play was made.

The Librarian of Librarians made his first move to cast against those in front of him. This was countered by Johann, whose virulent magic flowed with just, insidious purpose. Slowed, the dark mage could not finish the somatic component of his spell as his limbs seized.

Upon his back was the slimy horror that sought to further the reach of its master and strengthen the black spell that tried to strangle and restrain them. Keo was ripped to the ground, Drysi was forced to her knees, Ruarc felt the tendrils resist his fire, and Johann felt the lines wrap around his neck. More rose to take Vrey to the ground.

"I do enjoy watching worms struggle," smiled the triclops, with genuine warmth. The horror hanging from his stomach pressed forward its own defensive magic against Ruarc. "Perhaps too much. Who will outlast who?"

The horror on the back, reveling in its power did not notice the intruder on its magic. A quiet hacker that merely changed the instructions of one small part of the spell. One would have to be looking for it to see it.

From tall triclops' perspective it was unnoticeable.

Unfettered, unchained Willow crashed into the dark mage, her fist connecting to a soft cheek. The trio were upset, the concentration of the dark tendrils broken, the shield unbarred.

Ruarc Flynn glowed with the furious heat of the dragons his grandfather slayed decades ago. The druid, now freed, began his charge. Smoldering heat grew higher and hotter than one could safely bear. Where the Archdruid's shadow had been now stood his apprentice, eyes alight with fury and mana as she flooded her power into his.

A flare burst like the sunrise to a particularly dark morning, and in the fading light the triclops was finally moved. He was thrown, a bundle of fiery limbs that collapsed further up the path. His horrors covered him in close embrace, protecting him.

The stone he carried was resting in a green patch of the brown path.

"What beauty," said the triclops, "to see what the Occultus could never make."

In quick, practiced motions, one of the fleshy abominations cast the spell to remove them from the path, carrying them away on a gust of blood.

In the following silence came the resonant crash of a giant falling dead in the forest.
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Straken
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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The Glade

With a cockeyed smile Caoranach dispelled the shadowy blade, and immediately began sweeping her hair back and up before replacing the hair pin. Her once pristine sable hair looked to have lost much of its luster and was now flecked with grey; a matter that made the fey pout. Flicking her eyes over to Tegwyn, the older woman quickly wiped the pout and once again beamed with a vulpine smile.

“Thanks for the assist, kid. You spared me some serious discomfort, and we were able to leave that wanna-be with a painful lesson,” Caoranach spoke as she straightened her clothing. With a keen eye she looked across the slowly settling mayhem, and gauged whether she had any work left to do. Scattered around were various clean up projects that seemed to be handled. The cewri would have been fun, but, well, three is a crowd they say. Meanwhile the students on the left looked to be having a bonding moment.

Casting a wistful gaze off into the trees, one could almost think that behind the veil of Caoranach’s unwavering confidence was the hint of worry. With the beat of large wings Laoise descended and with a graceful prance she landed beside the fey.

“It is good to see you well, Laoise,” Caoranach didn’t look away from the treeline. Laoise for her part seemed to be singed and scraped, but otherwise hale. Almost caught off guard, Laoise stammered before speaking.

“Of course, with you faring well, that means Ruarc is still alive out there,” Caoranach cut in before the familiar could say anything meaningful. The winged woman didn’t have the heart to tell Carrie that might not be the case, but she could tell her partner was still kicking so the matter was moot.

“Ruarc is fine, and I’m sure he’ll be along shortly with the other students,” Laoise placed a gentle hand on Caoranach’s shoulder. “Now, if you’ll excuse me. Students! Is anyone in need of first aid?”

Laoise turned and began to move with a quick step through the glade.

~~~

The Path

Ruarc

Students! Sound off!” Ruarc wasted little time in shifting priorities. The horrors had fled, and now he needed to make sure the kids were alright. First and foremost, Vrey required attention. Dispelling his flames the Irishman began to unbutton his Hawaiian shirt as he moved over to the girl. With many of the buttons already snapped or torn it was a quick task, and with a smooth swing of his arms he draped the tattered article around Vrey’s shoulders.

“Willow! Check on Drysi. Johann! You okay?” boomed his Irish baritone as he knelt down to Vrey’s level. “Vrey, are you hurt?”


Willow

Adrenaline still pumped through Willow’s veins. Ruarc’s voice snapped her back into the moment, and she realized she was still standing at the ready with fists clenched and Pewter flared. Nodding slowly as she came down from the fight, the Brit looked between everyone on the path. How was Mr. Flynn already moving and processing enough to do triage? Her nod became one of affirmation, and Willow followed Ruarc’s order. Jogging quicker than she should have been as she forgot about the flared Pewter, she sped the short distance down the path before slowing to a halt in front of Drysi.

Panting lightly, Willow felt a little awkward as she looked at the triclops. Why was she suddenly so worried about what to do with her hands? With all of the confidence she could muster, she planted her hands palm down on her sides.

“Are you okay, Dryce? I, er uh, youwer… Are you okay, Dryce? Did I already ask that?”
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

The Glade

Jane's aim was true, but her foe proved to be the more resilient weapon. And there was nothing she could do; she could reload, but would be incinerated before she could finish even one; she couldn't run, not fast enough to elude the dragon's breath that would give chase; and she couldn't close the gap fast enough to seize the initiative. So she stood, poised, ready to let instinct take over.

PONG! It was the satisfying, smacking sound of victory; the sound of a home run in a game of kickball; the sound of the last man out in a game of dodgeball. Jane couldn't stifle the smile as her eyes tracked the path of her assailant through the brush, and the ensuing explosion.

Jane put out a hand to her valiant steed's neck, as if to comfort him, but they both knew the truth: she was barely standing. A quick glance told her the battle was ended; the giant-- THWOOM!-- had been felled, and she saw no trace of the head librarian. The hairs all across her body prickled as the defensive shield brushed over her, then enveloped her. Her eyes found the source, and then her savior.

"Good shot," she praised Manon. "Cleaner n a priest's spittoon. Go help yer peers. I'll be along." She waved them off, giving herself a few moments to gather her resolve. Then she remounted No Name, so none would see her limp, and made her way toward the center of the glade. Slowly, because the bounce of No Name's trot shot spikes up pain up her leg and hip.

----

The Path

Johann had been so confident it would work. So confident. He panicked as the bonds grew tighter, grew up his skinny frame and began to choke him. Really choke him. He flailed and kicked and even tried to bite. Anything, anything to break free of that cloying, claustrophobic feeling of helplessness. Anything to breathe fresh, Hawaiian air again, and taste the distant sea.

As if summoned by his thoughts, air slipped into his lungs again. The tentacles fell to dust and then vanished. Johann stumbled, but caught himself, hands on knees, and gulped air in large, body-heaving breaths.

Ruarc's voice called him back to reality. He shot upright and waved. "I'mmmm okkkk-- okkkay." All things being equal, he was better than okay. That brief exchange hadn't managed to pully nearly as much mana as he'd planned to expend.

In fact, his channels were still stretched and straining. So he jogged over to Willow and Drysi and dropped to his knees beside the latter girl. He had assumed she was hurt, but couldn't see anything wrong. Even so, he was pretty confident he couldn't help Vrey, so might as well use the mana, even if it couldn't heal Drysi.

You could heal her if you were a biomancer like dad, his mind reminded him. You could make everything perfect. Fix your messed up head. Save your friends. Bring Chuffy back, instead of fixing him like a doll. He shut those thoughts down quick. That last one wasn't even true. Where was it coming from?

"I can't ffffix it, but you'll heal fassstter," he informed her before beginning his soul siphon yet again, transferring life and mana to his friend.
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

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The peal of a chemical thrower carried on for the few remnants at the end of the combat. Percival continued to shore up what was left of the beasts that padded about before everything fell silent. For the first time in only ten minutes, peace seemed to reign in this nearly dead place. All around, all throughout the once lush jungle was now a withered mire. The breaks in the graying trees made it easy to see far off.

In the strange amalgam of liquid chairs turned solid, one seemed to form straight up. The Alchemist, with the joints of his armored limbs creaking, sat on this chair. He didn't make any motion to check on anyone, nor did he seem in a hurry to command the situation. Instead, his one arm broke away from the grip on the cannon and supported his head as he hunched over his knees.

Jane's line of battlemages kept their position, their bodies stiff as if the innocence that died in them brought along a stiff rigor mortis. Some of them looked for direction, the sudden transition to silence unnerving. Others moved to action, tending to bruises and the other select few who suddenly became overwhelmed by what had just happened.

"Mein Gott, warum passiert das?" Hildegard hugged her shoulders as another of her friends came comfort her, "Wo ist der Occultus? Warum hat uns niemand geholfen?"

Another painful thought seemed to strike her as she stared at the ground. "Ich war... ich war nutzlos..."

"Alright, move on, move on, nothing to see here!" Manon called out, her garb suddenly that of a constable from the UK, "Back that way! This is a crime scene, you hear?"

She waved a billy club back toward where the remaining triclops stood, where the barrier was tightest and the least people had died. The clown bounced about, urging people forward.

Then, she stopped, suddenly taken by a realization. "Where is Johann? ... Where is Drysi? Has anyone seen them?"

This was a common theme among the students, friends fishing each other out of the group in some dire fear that they had lost someone.

----

Tegwyn's eyes lit up at the praise from Caoranach, her pride much like the parents that bore her. Her chest puffed out in a bit of pride, not wanting to mention that her blind charge had been carried out without thought or calculation, merely at the direction of Percival. She brought her Glaive up and tried not to smile as widely as she could.

"Thank you, Ms... Ms... Mrs. Flynn?" the godling's pride weakened when she found herself at a disadvantage. Embarrassed, she quickly retreated, hoping that Ms. Laoise was holding the conversation. Her boots crunched over the brittle leaves as she hunted for the Alchemist.

---

"Jane!"

The bikini-clad triclops spoke above the cinders of battle, causing some of the students to jump. Yet a few of them couldn't help but laugh as the woman carefully and daintily traipsed in her sandals over the uneven terrain. She left her staff planted on the mound, radiating energy that eased the transmission of energies in and out of the space, a field of Abjuration.

"Jane, my goodness... Your arm... Your ... Your shirt... is that… a black blood spell? I have something for this… I…”

The Triclops reached to her side, finding only a bikini strap. “Oh.”

Then, she reached for the other, finding that there was only another bikini strap. “Ah.”

Eryl Maelgwyn held up the wand that she had been using earlier. She didn’t seem to mind her appearance too much, albeit she was clearly red in the face. Moreover, she didn’t seem to notice the noseblood that had formed two rivulets down her face and onto her chest.

The Abjurer pointed the wand at the gunslinger’s stomach, “It is a terrible, weak spell, but it can be catastrophic if it spreads too much. Your body will burn it off if it just waits.”

With a small utterance, the wand glowed and Jane could feel something halting within her.

—-

Drysi felt magnificent in the wake of a rush of mana that nearly caused her to faint. The mere feeling of being part of such a powerful spell had sent her head swimming and all she wanted was more. The primal nature of druidic spells were intoxicating in their wildness and suddenly Drysi understood the feeling of a pack more than anything. Every nerve in the girl’s body was electrified with energy.

Until it wasn’t.

Drysi felt terrible in the wake of a rush of pain that nearly caused her to faint. The mere feeling of her broken rib after taking such a powerful hit had sent her head swimming and all she wanted was less. The nature of her situation was suddenly more evident and sobering than ever, and suddenly she understood the limits of her own mortality. Every nerve in the girl’s body was shot with anxiety.

Willow had come up to her, saying something. The pendulation had hit Drysi’s brain so hard, she had to keep herself from breaking out into tears. Was she happy? Was she sad? All she could tell was that she was feeling. The girl gave a dazed look at her surroundings. Mr. Keo had scooped up the lodestone, and ran back to the crossroads where they had come from.

Johann had come up to her. He also said something. She couldn’t quite register what it was, but she had come to trust him deeply in these last few weeks. At least until whatever he was doing caused an intense pain in her chest. Her rib moved, necrotic energy riding the rails of her life force and forcefully moving her body to what her soul demanded was her working, functional form. The bone set into place with painful accuracy and mended along the fracture line.

Drysi’s glazed, pained expression sharpened suddenly, her eyes gaining a measure of focus and clarity. Something deep inside her took hold, and rode the wave of her storming emotions.

The girl seized the fabric Willow’s shirt, drew her in, and kissed her.
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Straken
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Straken »

”Hmm, okay, uh, wow, should… should I ask if she’s okay one more time…” Willow’s brain seemed to be misfiring. She was right about to see if the triclops needed any more assistance, but Drysi had covered her mouth and now she found it hard to speak. Magic folk are a strange lot. After all a hand over her mouth would have been a lot more efficient, and besides this made it look like they… were, uh… oh. Oh. Oh!

“Oh!” Willow tried to say, but again, covered mouth. A fierce blush began on her nose and spread like wildfire across her cheeks and out to the tips of her ears. This was, for lack of a better word in her teenage mind, wow. If nothing else, Willow’s mind subconsciously dismissed the need to ask if she had misheard the other girl in the heat of the battle.

Lifting her hands from her sides, Willow gingerly placed them on Drysi’s shoulders and separated herself. Her eyes flit once or twice between Drysi’s lips and Johann off to her side, almost in inquiry as to whether that had really just happened.

“Heh heh snort,” came Willow’s… laugh? The blush on her cheeks looked like a fierce sunburn at this point. “Man, heat stroke is no joke, aye?”

Pulling her hands back, Willow immediately saw a wet patch of red on Drysi’s shoulder; fresh blood. A sudden twinge of panic came over the Brit as she quickly stepped closer to Drysi to try to find the injury that made the oddly hand-shaped stain on her left shoulder. Another moment of realization.

“Oh, pillock,” she cursed as she stepped back to examine herself. A section of her navy shirt and dark grey linen pants had grown a shade darker on Willow’s right side. Lifting the light fabric to reveal a small chunk of wood had pierced her abdomen.

“Adrenaline is wild, I don’t even remember…” Willow started, but caught herself before looking up into the tree she had collided with after saving Drysi from the last gwyllgi.
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

Jane gave Eryl a wry smile and looked her over, but held her tongue and leaned over the saddle so the triclops could heal her. Then she said, "Ain't zackly combat attire, Eryl. What're ye doin here, anyways?"

----

Everything happened so fast. Drysi jumped to life and kissed Willow. Before the German's brain could start being confused, Willow jerkily reacted. Johann's wide, startled eyes met Willow's as she glanced to him. He watched as she snort-laughed and then he saw the blood. A lot of blood. "Willow!"

Before he could stop himself, he'd pushed her down onto her back. Were you supposed to remove the branch or leave it? He couldn't remember, so he just left it and began his soul siphon with what mana he had left. It wouldn't heal her, especially not with the wound still occupied, but it would buy time for a--

"Heiler! Please, a healer!" His panicked eyes met Drysi's. "Do you have annnny healing runes?" Like a rubberband, his brain snapped back to all that just happened. "I thought yyyyyou said you diddidididnt like her??"
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Kokuten
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Kokuten »

Eryl's grip was tight on the loose fabric of Jane's shirt, with the wand still glowing. The triclops glistened with a thin application of sun-screen, and blood trails, with her form just a bit tanned. She made a short gasp, like she had been struck, and she looked down at the swimsuit.

"... That's all you have to say..." A vague sense of disappointment rang in the sentence, before she shook it off and focused on her spell again. "... Mr. Caxton had me waiting on stand-by in case something happened. I thought he was leading your group, but he collected me from the beach, walked me through a door and pushed me into this."

She leaned her head back, gesturing to the glade.

---

"Willow I..."

Drysi's face was red with embarrassment and effort, her heart thumped loudly in her ears. There was no way out now. This was it. She had pulled a Manon, setting fire to the powder-keg and riding the explosion to safety or doom.

"Willow--..."

The only problem was that Fairburn wouldn't stop talking and that frustrated her; this was the moment. Drysi needed to say these things now before she withdrew back into her shell. Normally the puns and jokes were funny, but...

"Willow stop it, I'm trying to be romantic... this is hard and I... I..."

The blood.

"I..."

The branch. Johann was helping Willow down.

"No. No, no, no. We have--... We --..."

A sickness of disbelief and overwhelming panic broke waves against her chest; it took everything she had not to vomit or scream. So, the first thing she did was grab the Calm rune from Mr. Flynn's bag and put it between her molars like a cigar. As it glowed in her mouth, her body began to stop shaking and she began to weep, all the while she opened her book and willed the pages open to another set of runes.

Now down on her knees, she found what she needed, she spat out the chiseled rock, and mewled through her tears,

"Adhmad mar chré."

The pages sheafed out of the book and circled over Willow's wound, and the wood began to stretch, thin and smooth itself out. Drysi’s trembling hand grabbed the smooth, straight peg and pulled it from the wound easily.
"I thought yyyyyou said you diddidididnt like her??"
She dropped her book, pulled out the Heal rune from the bag and the Calm rune off the ground the other hand. Both lit up in her hands and she pressed the restorative rock to the wound. All the while trying to see through her tears.

“Why wouldn’t I like Willow!?” she screeched, “Why wouldn’t anyone like Willow!? Why wouldn’t anyone like her stupid jokes or the stupid way she cares about people or the stupid way she smiles at me!?”

She choked through her words, “Why does it even matter?”
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Mr. Blackbird Lore
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Re: [Episode 3] Disturbing the Dust

Post by Mr. Blackbird Lore »

Jane studied Eryl with perceptive eyes as the latter considered her own attire, but the American said nothing more on the topic. But she put out a hand on Eryl's bare shoulder. "Ye did good. Some o those kids would be dead without ye. Thank ye kindly." Jane straightened in her saddle as the spell faded and No Name continued at a slow walk toward the students and teachers. "Safeholme students!" She paused briefly to make sure she had their attention. "If ye need help, call out. If yer alright, help yer frens. Lessons for this trip are over. Y'all learned enough." There was a somber finality to her final statement. These children would never be the same. For some, it was the end of childhood itself. For many it was the first introduction to the truly traumatic forces which surrounded them and which they studied. Some, she was certain, would abandon magic. Others, she was equally certain, would double down on serving the White- on protecting and preserving what was good in life.

----

Johann tingled at the proximity to his peers. It felt strangely intimate, but maybe that was just how saving lives was. Well, not saving lives-- he wasn't a healer. Not like dad, he reminded himself yet again, then pushed the thought away. It wasn't important. Speaking of...

"Why does it even matter?"

"No, yyyyyou're right, that was stupid." Johann became acutely focused on the wound as it began to close. The soul siphon faded when the skin stitched together and Johann decided he was no longer needed. His hands fell into his lap as he knelt over his friend, spacing out. The exhaustion of all that activity in so short a time was finally catching up to him, and he sat there silently, staring at the ground, eyes drooping.
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