BEING HUMAN

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Morbuskid

See past the darkness, and view the light.
#26
Jack Fester

Forrest near BlackRock

A man dressed in a dark scale armor, with organic horns protruding from his helmet and his father's runic sword sheathed to his belt, tried his best to get past a crying old woman, his mother dearest. Jack saw his mother's tears run down her face, she pleaded him not to go, but they both knew he was destined for this. Elise had wrapped herself around Jack's chest and kept her weight against him, trying to keep him anchored in place though it wouldn't do her any good. "Mother, you know as well as I, I must leave I cannot stay here. There is a war going on and however unpleasant I must go serve Queen Lucrezia like Father had, to make up for his long absence."

The sobbing and teary eyed mother looked up to him still clasping her hands around his back, "Please do not go, It is not this war you were meant to fight!" Jack took his armored hands and undid his mother's lock from his back, before resting her chin upon his finger. "If I do not go, they will take you from me mother, you know this, the Church does not care for our kind, they despise us. I must go and defend us, for we are good people, just living in this bad time." With that Jack left out of his home door with his armor, sword and all. As he shut the door his mother's sobbing, still soft was easily heard, it tore at Jack's heart.

Despite this, he clasped his sword's sheath and made head way along the dusty road covered by forests and shrubs off to the Blackrock hill, hoping to find a way inside the castle while the forces of Light. Quickly he broke from the dirt path and made his way through the bushes and trees, using them for cover as he moved, he rank through the forest, his armor clanking and his sword bouncing against his waist as he held onto it. Ducking under branches, jumping over roots, and leaping across a stream.
(No Interactions)

Blackrock Castle- Courtyard

It wouldn't be long before he stopped dead before the opening and immediately he could see a siege was already under way. He watched the siege engines performing their tasks, striking the castle hard, he watched as he could hear the snap of hemp rope would send a rugged boulder flying towards the castle which tore stone from the castle like bark off a tree. He had a mind to attack the siege equipment but he wasn't sure he'd be able to handle an entire army. Instead he snuck along the tree line and used his strength to immediately rush a soldier of light standing near the gate before promptly jumping atop the soldiers head and using him as a boost to his already impressive jump height to vault over the wall.

He was now inside the besieged castle's courtyard, he would make his way towards the entrance before taking a different route, instead choosing to use his strength to scale the wall on the side of the castle looking for a large enough window or breach to enter, it wasn't long before archers opened fire at him. An arrow had come and bounced off the side of the back neck plate and tearing a hole in his scarlet cape, "Anskootans! (Bloody Hell!)"he exclaimed in Ordog tongue as he descended his hold to a windowsill. There he stood quickly dodging another volley of arrows while balancing on the windowsill. Jack was shot on the chest plate by an arrow and thrown through the windowsill into the castle, again luckily the arrow had not struck through his armor. Jack picked himself off the floor and dusted himself off, walking ver and crunching most of the broken glass.
(No Interactions)

Blackrock Castle- Halls

Jack found himself in this corridor, he thought that, besides the catapults, it was generally quiet in here. He was wrong, he could hear fighting down another corridor, he wanted to investigate but instead he took another corridor, as he paced the fight it was something spectacular to watch. Jack watched the fight from a darker hallway, utilizing the color of his armor to stay hidden, It was brawl that seemed like an epic, something of that you'd tell to your children so they may tell theirs. Jack arrived to this fight to watch it ringside after he had watched the Thunder God strike the mighty Blacksmith's shoulder plate, a strike which Jack could feel from where he was crouching, the strike made his teeth chatter and his skull shake, the impact was truly something magnificent and also intimidating. Jack did his best to keep away from the fight. Jack clung to the walls and shadows of the hall as best he could, waiting for a good moment or opening to get past the Thunder God and the Blacksmith.
(No Interactions)
 
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ElectricPizza

Lightning Fast Domino's Delivery
#27


Even with a fractured arm and having his magic suppressed, Raijin was able to gradually beat Arryn back. Though he achieved godhood, Raijin did not neglect training his physical capabilities hours a day. In fact, being immortal only encouraged the Oni to train harder. The incredible regeneration and stamina granted him the ability to go on for days on end without rest. It was clear that the Oni's immense strength and speed was overwhelming whatever the blacksmith had himself.

The fight dragged on, and Arryn's injuries were taking their toll. The blacksmith was slowing down and his strikes were getting weaker by the minute. The man was about to lose and yet he persisted in the fight, charging in for what seemed like a last ditch attempt to inflict some damage to the Oni. Raijin assumed that Arryn was either desperate or had a plan. No sane man would charge a god head on without a plan, and Raijin seriously doubted that his opponent was insane. Still, he would take advantage of the situation, and when the man got close enough, Thunderclap was brought down onto Arryn's left shoulder.

The powerful blow broke the man's shoulder, sending him onto his knees, almost causing him to pass out. The armor the blacksmith wore only made the damage worse. The strike dented the plate armor inwards, while the spikes on the club punctured the metal plates, driving the shards from the armor into the man. This was not to mention the chainmail that broke upon impact, leaving jagged edges that would tear against his flesh.

In the Oni's amazement, the man was still conscious. Not only that, but Arryn used his good arm to fling a handful of cobblestone dust into Raijin's eyes. In his temporary blindness, the blacksmith staggered upwards and brought his hammer down on the Oni's head. A combination of Raijin's stumbling around and the blacksmith's injures caused the blazing hammer to narrowly avoid Raijin's head and strike his left shoulder instead. The god of Thunder was brought to his knees and he rubbed the dust out of his eyes. Before his opponent could follow up with further attacks, he let loose another shockwave, knocking the two of them down to the floor.

Raijin was the first to recover. With the dust out of his eyes, he was able to see that Silver was carried away by Tanurr. They would not win this fight. Outnumbered and injured, Raijin had no choice but to retreat. It was foolish to die pointlessly like this. If he was going to die anywhere, it would be by the side of his brothers and sisters in the face of annihilation. "You have fought well, Arryn. I'd love to see this match to its end, but I have duties elsewhere. Recover and we will finish our duel another time. I expect you to have more tricks up your sleeve next time."

Raijin walked away from Arryn, clutching his left shoulder with his good arm. To make sure the hero would not follow, let out a roar towards the ceiling. The amplified roar shook the arches that held the vaulted ceiling up, before causing them to collapse, blocking off Arryn from Raijin. Lucrezia would not like the damage to her castle, but Raijin did not care. He could always blame it on the Hero should Lucrezia even bother to ask in this situation. He flew through the hallway on his cloud, catching up to Silver and Tanurr. "Are you two unharmed?"




Raijin,
God of the Roaring Thunder

Health: 50%

Status: Injured/Concerned
Location: Blackrock Castle
Interacting With: @MagicPenguin @SilverFerae @IG42
Mentioned:


 
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#28
Arryn Blacksmith
Blackrock Castle Halls

Somehow, Arryn was still alive. In excrutiating pain everywhere, but alive nonetheless. He managed to somehow raise himself to his knees, grunting and gritting his teeth through the agony in his side and shoulder and fighting for every inch he was able to raise his heavy body. He heard Raijin's parting words and looked up in time to see someone new carrying the cat woman off down the hall. Raijin sent out one last shockwave, this time at the ceiling. The impact brought the ceiling down, cutting the group off from following. Arryn turned back to see Daniel back to normal and everyone else shaken, but mostly unharmed. Roland was finishing up with Natalie, who was unconscious, but breathing steadily. Georg, however, lay motionless, eyes staring glassily up at the ceiling. Arryn didn't have time to notice anything else; the pain was too much and, seeing no more pressing threats, adrenaline fled and his body gave out on him. He passed out. He dreamed for a few blessed moments of a peaceful life in Hogan's forge, where every day was full of meaningful work, Hogan and his friends were all alive and full of laughter, and there were no self-described "gods" to fight in grisly battles to the death. How he longed to return to those simple days of his adolescence. Truly, he thought, not for the first time, I would trade all the prestige and wealth of being Roland's general in a heartbeat if it meant I could have a quiet life in a quaint little forge all my own.

When next he opened his eyes, grim reality reasserted itself. Roland was kneeling over him while Daniel, Marcus, and their other companion looked on from afar. The mind-numbing pain in his side and shoulder had been reduced to nothing but a dull ache; irritating, but more than manageable. Weeks, possibly months, of recovery, done in moments thanks to Roland's magic. Arryn was thankful, but concerned at how much mana Roland must have used to heal both Natalie and himself, as well as whatever minor injuries he might have taken the time to fix for the others. Georg was a Church-trained support mage, and he was supposed to be their healer on this mission specifically so that Roland did not have to waste any energy on the task before the final battle with Lucrezia. This did not bode well.

"Are you alright, old friend?" Roland asked him.

"As alright as I can be, My Lord. I'm sorry I could not finish the Oni as you bid. He was too much for one of my skills." He rose steadily to his feet. "How much mana have you wasted healing us, Roland," he asked. "Will you have enough to fight the Mad Queen at your full strength?"

Roland snorted. "You worry too much. The healing was not without cost, but Shadowsbane greatly reduced the strain of it and I've got plenty of magic to spare." Arryn wished he could feel reassured by that, but he was not. Roland turned to the last member of their party and opened a portal back to the hillside from which they'd entered the fortress. "Take Natalie and Georg's body back to camp. See that Georg gets a proper burial and that Natalie is well tended by the healers. Inform my sister as well as Lyra and Staxos of what occurred here and let them know I am going to confront the witch queen and bring this travesty to its conclusion. My father, Georg, all the other deaths that lay at that madwoman's feet to satisfy her twisted ambitions...they will have justice. This I promise." The man saluted, loaded Georg and Natalie onto his shoulders, and stepped through the portal back to safety.

Arryn took a deep breath. Convincing Roland to turn back and regroup now was likely impossible, but maybe he could persuade him to pursue a different, safer strategy at least. Not likely, but he had to try. "Roland," he began, "Even if you are right that you still have enough mana, I am not sure it is wise to force this confrontation right now. We should attack the defenders in the gatehouses instead and open the gates from the inside so the army can enter unimpeded. With the entire army at your back and the Church's full magical might behind you, Lucrezia will not be able to rely on her own magic nearly so effectively. She would be at a severe disadvantage and the fight would be on our terms, not hers."

Roland looked at the floor in thought and considered what Arryn had suggested. Finally, he shook his head. "No. Her generals have escaped us and we must assume they will inform her we are here. Tell me, Arryn, have you noticed how few people are in this castle? Not just soldiers, but no cooks or scribes or maids or servants either. We've had this place surrounded and locked down for six weeks and the port is blockaded; a mouse could not have slipped through without our knowing. How did she evacuate everyone, then? She has some secret route out. Perhaps teleportation similar to my own. Such a thing would explain not only how she evacuated her people despite the siege, but also why blockading the peninsula in the past to bottle her forces up never prevented her troops from appearing on the other side of the continent in substantial numbers. Now that she knows we are in the building and coming after her, if we give her more time, I am afraid she will slip through our fingers the same way. Or worse, that she may unleash some counterattack we are not ready for because we gave her time to prepare it. No, we do not have time to open the gates and wait for the armies to get through. We end this now."

"It is precisely because we do not know what she is preparing that we must not rush in without any soldiers to back us up, or at least a contingency plan in case things go sideways. I beg you, Roland, let's go back and confer with Staxos so we can--"

"No, Arryn. That is final," Roland cut him off harshly. Then his face softened and he looked at each of his companions in turn. "Besides, I have all of you here to fight with me. As long as we face her together, as a team, there is no cowardly trick for her to deploy that can prevent her demise at our hands. Together we will end this, my friends. Now, come. We will have to find our way to the throne room." Arryn wished he felt as confident as Roland sounded.

He was not happy about it, but he followed Roland nonetheless as he led them through the halls. After many wrong turns, they found a set of stairs in the castle's main foyer to the second floor. At the top, they found a magnificent set of double doors inset with the eye emblem that the Shadow Queen made her own banner. The doors were blocked off by a purple wall of magic and in front of that wall was an angel with a handsome face and wings as black as night. Roland halted suddenly and put his hand on the hilt of his sword, ready to draw.

"Lucien," Roland said with no small amount of venom. "I thought I left you for dead in the Ashen Mountains."

Arryn paled and fumbled for his hammer. Lucien the Shadow General. The Fallen Angel. He'd never met the man before himself, but this was supposedly the very same general that had conquered the Dwarven City of Magruhdul and held it for nearly 40 years before Roland somehow took it back from him. That was five years ago, back when Arryn was still just an armorer in Alcamoth Castle, well before he'd become a regular traveling companion for the prince. He'd heard stories of how fierce the battle between him and Roland had been, though.

"Hero," Lucien said with mockery and disgust. His calm face twisted into one of pure malice. A sword of shadow manifested in the angel's hand and he rushed straight at Roland with eyes for no one but him. "You ruined everything, you impudent whelp! I was supposed to be a God in the new world Lucrezia was to build. Now I've been relegated to guarding her door while she prepares to execute her final plan! I should have been at her side! Me! Not those amateur upstarts who have the gall to call themselves 'generals!'" With every angry exclamation, he swung his shadow blade furiously, trying with all his might to end Roland's life. Roland did not draw his sword; he simply blocked the man's swings with the blade still in the sheathe. "I won't allow it to continue, though. I will kill you here and reclaim the position at the Queen's side that rightfully is mine. Die, human! DIE!"

"Cosmic guillotine!" Roland responded simply, his eyes never leaving Lucien's. Arryn heard, replaced his hammer on his back, and began to move around the two in a wide circle from the area where his other friends were watching the combat unfold. He moved slowly around until the angel's back was facing him. He nodded to Roland over Lucien's shoulder. Roland smirked.

"What kind of nonsense are you spouting now?! Are you so unmanned with fear at the sight of me that you've lost your wits, fool?" Lucien asked in a fanatic, maniacal tone while he continued to attempt in vain to penetrate Roland's defenses. It was no surprise the angel was confused. Roland's exclamation had not been meant as a reply to Lucien's insane rambling. It was a command to Arryn.

"Curse you! Draw that infernal sword and fight me! Fire a blast of light! Something! Don't just stand there! DON'T IGNORE ME!"

"It would be a waste of effort to draw this blade to end you, Lucien, or to waste the amount of mana it would take to end you with a blast. I need to save my energy for the woman behind those doors. Arryn! Do it now!"

Arryn sprang at Lucien from behind and wrapped his body in a bear hug so that his arms and wings were pinned uselessly to his sides. The angel screamed, offended. "Do you think to defeat me with petty tricks?! You should know far better than that, you Light-blinded idiot. I nearly killed you in Magruhdul. You should know better than to underestimate me." The shadow sword in his restrained arm morphed its form until it was in a reverse hand grip instead of the one he'd been holding it in to swing at Roland. He attempted to stab it into Arryn's thigh. Mah'alleinir felt a bit warmer on his back. The sword crafted of dark magical energy dissipated on contact with his leg. Lucien gaped in disbelief.

"What...what is this? My sword...what did you do?" He struggled feebly in Arryn's arms. From his body erupted a mass of black spikes, like porcupine quills, in attempt to force Arryn to let go. Like the sword, the spikes evaporated into nothing as soon as they touched his body. Magic had no effect on him, so long as Mah'alleinir was on his back. Lucien did not take the hint. Next, a shower of dark blasts rained down upon his head from above. Arryn felt nothing but Mah'alleinir's heat.

"Let go! What...what are you?!" A portal opened beside them. On the other side was a top-down view of the outside walls from far above, the archers firing arrows down at their attackers or pouring burning oil off the side.

"You did nearly kill me five years ago, Lucien, it's true," Roland explained cheerfully. "I've made some new friends since then, however. And the dwarves' ancient secrets of forging sacred weapons that you left behind for us in Marguhdul were most helpful to this new friend in particular. Most helpful, indeed. Killing you this way is much less costly to my magic reserves than vaporizing you with a blast would be. Arryn? Would you do the honors? And do be careful of your fingers, will you?"

Lucien stopped his struggling for a moment to stare wide-eyed in confusion at the Hero. "Sacred...what are you talking about!?" Arryn rearranged his grip on Lucien, one hand on the back of his shirt collar, the other grabbing him by the back of his pants. He lifted Lucien bodily as if he were a small child and hauled him over to the portal. Lucien struggled and screamed in vain, his arms, legs, and wings flapping petulantly against Arryn's limbs to no effect at all. Arryn pushed him headfirst into the portal, stopping when his neck was level with the portal's edge, his head was on the other side, and everything else was still in the castle. "Wait! What are you doing?! Please, stop, mercy, don't--"

Lucien's plea was cut short as the portal slammed shut. Lucien's headless neck gushed blood like a fountain. In disgust, Arryn tossed the corpse aside. When it landed, its limbs, suddenly cut off from Lucien's brain, twitched and spasmed uncontrollably. Eventually, as if finally realizing it was dead, it stopped its futile struggle.

"You see?" Roland said to Arryn. "It's like I told you earlier. We have nothing to fear from Lucrezia. As long as we are together and we fight as one, there is no foe we cannot topple. With me, everyone! Let's finish this together." Arryn was still not convinced this was the right thing to do, but he knew trying to convince Roland was pointless. He gathered with everyone else in front of the barrier blocking the room that held their final foe.

Roland looked up and down at the barrier. "This should be no problem for Shadowsbane." He moved his hand to the hilt and prepared to draw the sword. "It will cut through the barrier like paper and allow us--"

The double doors slammed open without warning. A giant, purple hand popped out. It reached out and wrapped its giant digits around Roland's entire body before he could get the sword from its sheathe. Before he had time to say anything, the hand pulled him back through the doors and the doors slammed shut. The barrier preventing access to the rest of them remained.

"Roland!" Arryn shouted. He slammed into the purple wall with his hammer as hard as he could. The thing rippled, but showed no other signs of strain. Arryn was baffled; Mah'alleinir was proof against any magic. This wall should have dissipated as Lucien's dark sword had, but it remained strong and implacable. What could this mean? More importantly, what did they do now? Roland could not fight that woman alone. He was counting on their assistance.

Suppressing his growing panic, Arryn looked to his comrades. "It's no good. Mah'alleinir can't break it. We need to find another way in." He paused in thought. "This room is on the second floor, " he thought aloud. "We need to find the room below it. Perhaps we can break in by creating a hole in the ceiling. This barrier shouldn't be able to prevent that."

"There's no time to lose! Let's move!" he said as he ran back down the stairs. The others followed.

@SilverFerae @ReverseTex @Avari
 
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Morbuskid

See past the darkness, and view the light.
#29
Jack Fester

Blackrock Hall

Status: Following forces of light/ Healthy/ Nervous

Jack could feel the marble floor beneath him stirring and knew it was time to move, but as he did he had trouble keeping his balance due to the tremendous tremors that the Thunder god had made with his shockwave. Soon he had fallen down onto his knees and hands but not before picking himself up quickly. He could not be seen, not now, he wouldn't be able to survive this fight between the Blacksmith and Thunder god.

Jack quickly picked himself up after the shockwave had stopped, his black metal grieves stomped on the marble floor, quickly he sprinted for cover only to hear a thunderous roar which split his ears. Jack slid into an adjacent corridor, opposite to the one he had been watching the fight from. Jack shook his head as the ringing died down and looked around the corner to see the Blacksmith and a companion of his take after the Thunder God as well as 2 others who had just appeared which he narrowly managed to avoid detection from.

Jack took off after them, following the up the stairs and down the corridor which the forces of both light and dark now travel. Immediately they stopped upon a door shielded by magic, Jack had taken cover behind some debris of the corridor, using his rugged armor to appear as nothing more than a piece of said debris. Jack watched as the Blacksmith and his companion cut down a man who babbled on way too much about how he should've been in a better position.

After some moments of planning, and discussing Jack was thrown aback by the sudden jarring opening of the door, he made careful not to move too much less he lose his cover. In that moment he watched in pure shock, as the companion of the Blacksmith was torn into the room behind the doors, by a large purple hand made of energy.

In that moment he had managed to catch the poor man's name, 'Roland!' exclaimed the mighty blacksmith. Jack had heard the blacksmith say something else but could not quite put his finger on it. Immediately he saw them coming his direction and ducked into the shadows, his dark armor had covered him enough, none of them paid a second glance to him which was perfect for him. Jack looked back at the door but knew he wasn't getting in that way, he knew they wouldn't risk it for him. Instead he decided to follow the few who made up the forces of light, using his fox stepping technique so his grieves would not clank as they touched the floor.
(No Interactions From this point up)

Jack followed them back down stairs, it was here that it would be impossible to fox step. Jack knew he couldn't lose them for if he did he would be lost in this place, so hoping there was enough ambience to cover his footsteps, he made his way quickly down the steps, making loud clunk noises as he went along, cringing after each step, until he made it to the base of the stairs where there was little cover to be had. The Ordog simply crouched down hoping to remain undetected.
(Interaction @MagicPenguin , I'm sorry I don't know who is exactly with you.)
 

IG42

Paranoid Android
#30
Tannur
Flinching as Silver nipped him Tannur patted her back. "If you want to thank me that much at least buy me a drink first." Her odd answer to his question about the other shapeshifter gave him pause but obviously he couldn't just go and ask the meatshield about it. "Well either he knows you or he's just that excited to see another one of his own kind."

Retreating further he slowed his pace a little and when Rai caught up waved casually. "Hey there big guy-" Quickly he plugged his ears as best he could while still holding onto Silver as Rai roared and blocked the way they had come. "A little warning next time? Anyway apart from my hearing I'm just fine Silver got herself a little messed up but it doesn't seem too bad, speaking of which can you walk Silver? I'm not up for carrying all the way."

@SilverFerae @ElectricPizza
 

SilverFerae

I need cookies
#31
Silver Ferae - @IG42 @ElectricPizza

Well, just for the complaint, he got bit again, the ShapeShifter sinking her fangs into his shoulder. Still not breaking skin, but no longer quite as playful.
"I think I know him. Maybe." The albino flinched as Raijin roared, feline ears flattening against her head in a show of annoyance as she bared her fangs. "Why do you have to be that looouuud?" She whined, sounding extremely childish.

As Tannur asked his question, she moved to a more comfortable position and tightened her grip. "No! I can't walk, at all!" She was more than recovered from the fight - the only real damage was a few bruises - but she's a lazy cat and if she can get away with being carried, then she will quite happily be carried.

Marcus Felis - @MagicPenguin @Morbuskid
The dark haired boy trailed at the back of the group, mismatched eyes on the ground, shame colouring his face pink. He hardly even paid attention to the fallen Angel's death.

It was a startled shout that caught his attention, and he futilely reached for the prince, a shocked cry falling from his lips as Roland was dragged through the door by the purple hand. He stood there humbly for a second, before turning into a wolf and loping after Arryn, mind and heart racing. He almost slipped on the stairs a few times, so intent he was in finding a way to the prince, but then...He stopped.

His ears pricked up, detecting an odd...Clunking noise? Hackles bristling, he looked around, crouching down slightly, all senses on the alert.
 

Avari

Two Thousand Club
Thread starter #32
SHADOW QUEEN LUCREZIA | HERO OF LIGHT ROLAND FAIRCHILD
Cowritten with @MagicPenguin


The world spun sickeningly as the shadowy appendage grabbed Roland and he was dragged forcibly through the barrier guarding the massive, ornate double doors that led to the castle's throne room. He tried to call out to his companions, but could not find the voice to do so before the doors opened only briefly enough to gobble him up before slamming shut again with an ear-splitting crash of finality. Without him and Shadowsbane, there was little hope the others would be able to break through the barrier that prevented them from entering the chamber. Well, so much for facing the Mad Queen as a team; unless the group found another way to get in themselves, it seemed he would be on his own for this battle. Given her reputed might and the still fresh memory of Georg's dead body, he was not sure whether that thought was more terrifying or comforting. The hand threw him with otherworldly force into the room so that he tumbled head over heels through the air before landing in a painful heap on the ground. His momentum kept him rolling clumsily down the luxurious red carpet that stretched across the middle of the floor for a short time before he finally came to rest face-down about halfway between the doors and the ghastly obsidian throne that sat on an elevated dais on the opposite side of the room from them.

Roland groaned and pushed himself to one knee, allowing his stomach a moment to stop doing somersaults after his involuntary flight. He took the time to examine the cavernous chamber closely. The windows were covered with brilliant red tapestries emblazoned with the Shadow Queen's personal emblem, severely limiting the amount of light from the outside. The primary sources of illumination were instead torches in sconces high up on the walls to either side of him. The fire within them was blue, drowning the chamber in a foreboding azure glow. Roland's eyes finally wandered back to the attention-grabbing throne that dominated the chamber, a frighteningly massive thing that made the small frame of the figure lounging atop it seem even tinier than she actually was. For all her lack of size, however, her presence was just as imposing for the grandness of her surroundings and the piercing, bright yellow eyes with which she seemed to bore into his soul, sniffing out all his secrets with a glance, weighing every inch of him as if he were a trinket at market and she was trying to decide if it was worth the price to buy him. The way she carried herself reminded him vaguely of his sister when she was performing her royal duties. She sat with the straight-backed, regal posture adopted by those born to rule nations and looked every bit the queen she purported herself to be.

tenor (2).gif

So, this must be the much-feared Shadow Queen who nearly brought Aether to its knees. Her cool, calm, and confident voice echoed throughout the hall when she finally spoke in a deeper, more sonorous voice than he would have expected her to possess.

“Roland Fairchild. So lovely of you to visit. On your knees already? It took quite a bit of time and effort to arrange this meeting - I do hope you'll be worth it..."
Roland realized at this point that he was still on one knee before her throne. He had hoped to come into this confrontation with a bit more dignity, but as it was, it just appeared as if he were a common supplicant begging a favor from a powerful monarch. He rose back to his feet with all the aplomb he could still muster.

“Six years ago, you came to my home, slaughtered my people like pigs, burned their homes to the ground, and murdered my father and king in his own castle. I've come to repay the favor, witch. Prepare yourself.” He slowly, deliberately drew Shadowsbane from its sheathe for the first time since entering Blackrock. Its ethereal golden light seemed to glow brighter than he had ever seen it shine before and euphoric glee at the prospect of tearing the woman before it apart rippled down the blade and right up Roland's arm, promising the use of his magic in its highest form, filling him with strength and confidence. He prowled toward her with all the easy grace of a predator stalking a kill: not slowly, but not in any particular rush either. With every step forward, the bubble of the sword's golden glow that encased him cut through the sea of ominous blue that permeated the rest of the chamber like a hot knife through butter.

He was hoping his casual approach would provoke some sort of reaction from her, but despite the rapidly closing distance between them, she merely continued to placidly watch him. When he walked up the steps of the dais, body tensed and ready for anything, she still did nothing. Something was not right here. Even so, he could not falter now. He took his sword in both hands and committed to a quick thrust aimed at her chest. He fully expected a dirty trick, so did not put his full weight behind the stab in case he needed to quickly jump back and he readied himself to raise a barrier in case of a sudden, unexpected magical attack.

A deafening clang echoed around the chamber.

Shadowbane had failed to hit its target, instead it had impacted on a shadowy purple barrier as if it were solid metal. Lucrezia continued to watch him through yellow cat-like slits as the blade began to glow against the magical defensive wall she had erected - and cracks began to spread across the barrier, as if it were glass.

"They say you are a hero of prophecy. That you rose from ash when hope seemed all but lost..." She purred as she inspected one of her long, black fingernails - seemingly unconcerned that Shadowbane was slowly burning through her defenses.

"A miracle truly..." Lucrezia shot the boy a look, her yellow eyes practically glowing in Shadowbane's light. "But I've never been a religious woman..."

Roland put a bit more force behind his stabbing motion, hoping to expedite the barrier's collapse, though still trying to be prepared for anything she might do. He did not like how confident this woman was acting even with a sword barreling toward her chest. All his instincts screamed at him that something was not right, but he had to keep going. He could not stand down now. He did not pay much attention to what she was saying, preferring to focus on the task for which he'd come.

"I'm not here to debate philosophy or Church doctrine," he said with a note of strain in his voice. "You'll have to wait for Staxos to arrive if that's what you want to do. If you manage to live that long."

More cracks began to spiderweb outward on the barrier's face from the sword's tip. The blade glowed furiously and smoke began to rise from the point of contact between it and the rapidly deteriorating shield between it and its target. Its hunger for Lucrezia's lifeblood, so close now he thought he could hear her heartbeat, was nearly overpowering. Finally, the barrier shattered with an ear-splitting crack. Solid pieces of sharp, black material went flying in all directions and Shadowbane swung down at her vulnerable form. At the last moment, her form blackened and with a rush of air she varnished into the floor. The blade of Light slashed into the throne, causing the red fabric covering the onyx stone to burst into flame.

Roland felt a pair of arms gently form around his shoulders, the sensation of breath at his ear.

"What a bothersome little fly you are," Her formless shadow whispered. "Perhaps I'll keep you as a plaything..."

He turned to look behind him at his assailant only to find a dark outline with no substance. He swatted at it, frustrated, and then he searched the room for her true form, finding nothing but empty space.

"Where are you, witch? What are you planning?"


The shadows began to coalesce in a small pool in the center of the throne room, a thick viscous liquid that began to reform back into a more recognizable form.

"You have in your possession one of the most powerful artifacts in all of creation--" Lucrezia's voice echoed around the chamber.
Finally, the inky blackness gave way to the Elven sorceress's true form. She seems untouched, but she looked somewhat disgruntled.

"--and you chose to wave it around like a stick."

Without warning, a burst of dark energy blasted towards Roland like a canonball.

tenor (3).gif

Roland tsked as he saw the oncoming attack. Could he be sure the form at the center of the room was really her, or was it just another one of her tricks? How could he tell? From his sword, he only sensed bloodlust and enthusiasm; it did not seem to know or care whether it was slashing at a shadow or a true body, or it at least had no apparent interest in letting him know if it did. He had to find a way to pin her down. The blast barrelled forward, the glow of it beginning to reflect off of his face. It was close enough now there was no hope he could dodge in time, but Roland was not the least bit concerned about that. He opened a portal directly between himself and the blast just as it appeared it was certain to connect. The exit portal opened directly to the body in the center of the room's left. The blast went into the portal on his end of the room at full speed and smashed into Lucrezia's form as it came crashing out of the portal right next to her. Roland suspected the form was only another illusion, but he did not wish to waste this opportunity in case it was not. Strike while the iron is hot, as Arryn would say. He darted around the portal in front of him, leapt through, and stabbed his sword into her apparently defenseless body, hoping to get a quick kill on the sorceress on the other side of the room while she might be momentarily stunned by her own attack.

The sword hit something solid, but did not cut through effortlessly as it usually did. It took a moment for the smoke to clear, only to see Lucrezia had caught Shadowbane between her index and middle finger, and was holding the blade itself in place, the tip inches from her face. A red energy was running around her fingertips, crackling at contact with the blade. Her hand was shaking with the effort, but she smiled at him, revealing perfectly white teeth.

"Your fetish for vengeance is consuming you it seems, Hero." She frowned, glancing at the blade that seemed to be straining against her hold. Roland grunted and tapped into the sword's power. The blade's glow intensified for a split second before a brilliant beam of light erupted from its tip and caught the sorceress full in the face. Lucrezia choked out a grunt of her own on impact, releasing her hold on the weapon before she once again evaporated into nothingness, leaving nothing but embers of shadow.

She reappeared in the air above Roland. A pair of leathery black wings had appeared on her back, and were beating gently - keeping her airborne. Smoke was rising from her body - though if this was a sign she was tiring or growing more powerful, it wasn't possible to tell.

"...Your family has always been such a dreadful disappointment."

Roland tried not to listen to the witch's incessant squawking. She was either trying to throw him off balance with mind games or stalling to make time for...whatever it was she was hoping to do. In any case, the gist of what she was telling him was not news to Roland; he did not need her to inform him that he did not truly understand the fullest extent of Shadowsbane's power, nor that he was probably not using it to its fullest potential. The last one to wield it was Verity Fairchild three thousand years ago. It wasn't as though he had written down a first-hand account of its use anywhere. All Roland had to go on were moth-eaten, barely legible scrolls written by people who'd witnessed him fight with it at the time, and though they made clear it was capable of more than Roland was able to make it produce, they did not know how it worked and so could not give even the tiniest hints about how such power could be unlocked. Much like the most potent uses of the Fairchild family's hereditary magic, the secrets of the sword died with King Verity. Apparently, he was not a man who liked to share his knowledge. The last six years would have been a great deal easier for Roland if he had. As it was, he simply learned as he went, hoping what few tricks he picked up in times of greatest peril to his or his friends' lives would be enough in the end to save his countrymen.

"What's your game, woman? Are you here to fight or talk? Are you so starved for intelligent conversation that you needed to lure me here?"

He tapped his own magic energy in earnest now to access the power of flight. He usually did not like to use it since it was so costly and difficult to maintain, preferring instead to travel by portal, but with Shadowsbane magnifying his abilities seemingly more than it ever had before, the normally taxing effort that flight demanded seemed nearly effortless. No more waiting around for her to do something. Time to go on the offensive, he decided. He shot straight at Lucrezia like an arrow from a longbow. As he did, he fired two blasts of light magic of his own straight at her. While the blasts obscured him from her view, he opened a portal in front of him and emerged behind the sorceress, who had focused on the blasts he sent her way as he intended so that she would not notice him warping behind her. He swung his sword at her undefended back, fully intending to lop her head off of her shoulders while she was busy preparing to deal with his oncoming projectiles...

...only to strike at empty air as the image of her body wavered and then disappeared once again.

"Bah!"

Roland roared in frustration. He lowered himself to the ground again as his blasts of light flew through where her mirage had been just a second earlier. They impacted with the wall high above the window and left a hole large enough for three griffons to fly through. Sunlight beat down into the chamber and the eerie darkness that had flooded the room before now dispersed where the light touched the ground. Roland swung his head in all directions, looking around again for his target, irritated beyond words by her childish tricks. What could her plot possibly be? Force him to tire himself out by blasting away at phantoms? Did she honestly think that would work?

"Oh, my, would you look at this lovely view!" her voice rang out jovially from above. Lucrezia had reappeared high up, bat wings beating, staring raptly out the hole left by the attack he intended to distract her.

"All those people! I've never seen so many in one place. So many elves and dwarves and humans, refusing to serve their master. Can't have that."

Roland was about to fly straight at her again and bring the fight to her, but he hesitated now more in confusion than anything else. What the hell was she doing?

"And what is that I spy in the distance, leagues behind the siege lines? What an ornately fashioned tent! More like a palace. Is that the Fairchild Dragon I see emblazoned on its roof? Oh, is the Queen in there, Roland? I've always wanted to meet her, you know, but my schedule is always just so full I can't seem to find the time. I bet a fair number of Alcamoth's generals and lesser nobles are in there too. All of them conferring with one another and planning their petty little battle strategies to bring me down."

Roland saw where she was going with her melodramatic little performance now. His face settled in a rictus of rage that she would dare threaten his sister. She looked back down at him with a sad smile and let out a long sigh of resignation.

tenor (4).gif

"I think I'd better just blow that tent away and kill them all right now, wouldn't you agree? Cut off the head of the snake and the body dies - that army out there would fall apart without its leaders. So many problems I could solve with just one big boom." She frowned, placing her finger thoughtfully on her chin, and her brows furrowed in mock contemplation as if she were debating with herself on what she should do.

"Yes. Yes, I think that's what I'll do," she decided in a firm voice. She held out her hand toward the hole in the wall and a tiny orb appeared in her hand. She had one eye closed and her tongue curled up onto her upper lip, an exaggerated facial expression to let him know she was carefully taking aim.

"Hmm...Kind of a far shot. Might take me a few tries."

Roland was on her in the blink of an eye. He swung his sword at her in another attempt to either kill her or cause her illusory form to disperse again. This time, another barrier similar to the one she fashioned on his first strike appeared. This one didn't crack. He beat at it and beat at it and beat at it. Shadowsbane glowed just as furiously as it had the first time, but still the barrier showed not the slightest hint of strain under his assault. He felt a note of petulance from his sword, seemingly abashed that it had been so thoroughly rebuffed.

She turned to him briefly. "Now, now, that won't do, Hero. I've got the measure of you now. You'll need to step it up a notch if you want to break this one." She gave him a pleasant little smile and returned to her aiming. "Better hurry." The tiny bead of energy in her palm grew a little bit larger.

Roland gave up on the sword and started to fire powerful blasts of light at the barrier. Nothing. Not so much as a wisp of smoke. "Damn it, you craven wretch!" he screamed as he continued to fire a barrage of light magic in vain. "Leave them out of this! This is between you and me!"

"Oh, but you're wrong. They're here for a reason. Just like you are. All of this is fated. Don't you see it? ...No, I suppose you can't. But that's alright. I don't require your understanding - not yet. Dig deep, Hero; I know you have it in you to break this barrier. Save your beloved sister and your precious people, if you have what it takes!" The orb in her hand began to grow rapidly in size. "Only a few more seconds now and then they'll all be dead. Act quickly, Roland Fairchild. Don't disappoint me."


Roland gritted his teeth, knowing what he had to do and knowing as well that it would almost certainly be the end of him. He had no choice. He closed his eyes in surrender and summoned every scrap of magical energy he had left in him. He tapped his sword and beseeched it to amplify what he could do to its maximum.

"Fine," he said at last. "You asked for it."

He let everything he had out in one massive blast. Light shot out from every inch of his body in all directions. The barrier crumbled to dust and blew away in the wind. There was a look of triumph on Lucrezia's face as the beam enveloped her, but before long, it was too bright for Roland to see her anymore. He couldn't see anything anymore. There was nothing but an infinite river of bright, hot light. He'd fallen into the sun and he was drowning in it. Never before had he unleashed so much energy at one time. His body couldn't take it. As quickly as the brightness had come, it was replaced now by a deep, blissful blackness into which he slowly sank.

------

Final Post for the Prologue is incoming! Please wrap up what you need to do. If you require extra time, let me know ASAP!
Roland and Lucrezia cannot currently be interacted with.


The whole of Blackrock is shaking.
 
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ElectricPizza

Lightning Fast Domino's Delivery
#33


"Sorry about your ears. I was a bit caught up in the moment. But I am glad you two seem mostly fine." The god of Thunder heard Tanurr's complaints about carrying Silver. "If you wish, I'll take Silver for you. What do you think, Silver? I don't mind if you bite me, as long as you only bite my right shoulder."

"Alright. But, I'm going to bite you extra hard for hurting my ears!"

The girl threw off her act of being unable to walk and wiggled out of Tanurr's hold, with a small pout on her face. To let Silver climb onto his back, he stopped flying and knelt down so that he was at her eye level. She eagerly clambered onto Raijin's back, using the sling holding his club to hold on. As soon as she had a solid grip, her teeth clamped down onto the flesh of Raijin's right shoulder. The One didn't even give a wince at the bite, as he had endured far greater pain than this. Besides, it's not like she's going to actually try to take a bite out of him.

"Hold on tight. I have to take care of my injuries, so I might move a bit." Flying towards, Raijin brought his right arm to his shattered left arm. With his own claws, he dug into the flesh around the shattered area. He would have to reset all of the fractures before he healed, least there be some unintentional result. Blood trickled from his arm onto his cloud, tainting the white vapor with a crimson mist. Raijin carefully pushed the bone back into place while clenching his teeth. His arm burned with pain, but as soon as he took his claws out of the cut, it died down to light throb. Even as he began to work on his shoulder, the bleeding began to stop and strands of muscle began pull the incision together. He repeated a similar process with his left shoulder, cutting his flesh and pushing the bone back into place so it would heal cleanly.

As they trio made their ways through the hallways, the castle began to shake. Raijin was grinning like a madman, even as he was bleeding. Lucrezia was using her power, magic that not even the god of Thunder could produce. However, Raijin still had much to learn and is still growing. Someday, his magical power will be able to match the Shadow Queen, but that day was not in the near future. Even with the castle shaking, he could tell that she was holding back, just as he casually shook the castle upon his entrance. However, this meant that she had the Hero trapped. The he would not stand a chance, even with his sword. What could a mere mortal do against an immortal?

Suddenly, three shadowy arms came flying down the halls and made attempts to grab at the three Dark Generals. Raijin dashed off to the side, narrowly avoiding the grip of the first arm, and ducked under the second aiming for him. "You know I don't like those arms, Lucrezia!"

To perfectly honest, Raijin wasn't particularly annoyed by the arms. They certainly made life interesting, but the Oni abhorred being grabbed by those arms. He was perfectly capable of getting from place to place without the "assistance" of Lucrezia. To escape the dark appendages, Raijin emitted a directed pressure wave towards the windows, so that his allies would not be affected. The glass shattered and Raijin flew out as fast as could, back under the cloud shrouded battlefield around Blackrock.

The Storm had receded over the course of the Oni and blacksmith's clash. As Boreas drew his clouds back, the rising sun was revealed. The magnificent orange glow always turned a battlefield into something of an art piece. Even though he loved to stare at the scene of battle bathed in the fiery glow, he had to reach the throne room, and avoid those stupid hands. Holding onto Silver, he flew up above the castle. A sudden realization hit him as he glided towards the throne room window: he had left Tanurr. "He'll be fine. It's only Lucrezia's shadow arms. He'll get to the throne room either way."

Flying above the castle, he finally reached the throne room. There was already an enormous hole in the wall, but Raijin didn't care. He grabbed his drums and pounded on them, with the bottom facing another section of wall. The directed shockwaves punched a hole in the wall just big enough for Raijin to fit through. Any larger, and it would've just been rude. As one with a penchant for dramatic entrances, Raijin leapt off his cloud and through the hole in the wall. He plummeted down to the throne room, with Silver clinging on as hard as she could.




Raijin,
God of the Roaring Thunder

Health: 65%

Status: Mildly Injured
Location: Blackrock Castle
Interacting With: @SilverFerae @IG42 @Avari
Mentioned:


 
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Morbuskid

See past the darkness, and view the light.
#34
Jack Fester

Blackrock Castle- Halls

Jack's eyes had widened as he saw the wolf stop, in this fine hour of decision making of his, his heart skipped a beat, it's black snout a blemish in the fraction of the marble hall that the sunlight danced through as the wolf turned its head as if it were on a pivot, looking for him.

Jack was well hidden in the shadows, but his father's armor always bore a smell of burned oak, it was a strong smell, one that the wolf could easily pick up, like a hawk taking its unsuspecting prey.

As Jack began constructing a plan to get himself out of this situation, he had felt another enormous tremor, this one seemed to shake the whole castle, and yet the fortress of darkness remained intact, though displacing some of the lighter decor and poorly cemented or damaged bricks from the walls. Jack believed the whole earth to be shaking, as the castle trembled so did his scale armor, pitching a low humming.

But as it were to happen, Jack saw that the attention of the wolf had been thrown off, much like the Blacksmith's and the rest of his companions, this was a marvelous happening, Jack knew now he could make it past them a little safer, even if it was a very slight chance.

Not only was the shaking, the clashing of shields falling off their pins and rugged armor sets falling over were cornucopias of illusive noise, a ruckus the heroes could not risk leaving out of their mind, lest their minds become empty and their nerves untrustworthy.

Immediately Jack planted his foot into the marble floor, his medal toe had dug its way through the thick marble layer, a crack could be seen creeping from the shadows which he crouched and the wolf currently looked towards.

Immediately he lunged out of the shadows like a bat out of hell, flying through the air with a tremendous agility, both ferocious and elegant in nature, right over the heroes.

If they were to look at him, in the split second of time he was exposed to the light that cascaded their part of the hall, they could have made him out as a figure dressed in an obsidian black armor, with a blood red cape and horns protruding from his rugged helmet, though he gave them adolescent time to reflect every last detail.

Jack flew by as if he was no more than a gust of cold fall air, so in turn Jack probably appeared to be nothing more than one of Lucrezia's cannon fodder orc soldiers making a run for it at first glance.

Jack made a mad dash for it, not really considering the fact that now his metal grieves was now beating against the floor, making an iconic sound, the sound of an armored soul running amuck. Gifting to the birth of a rhythmic noise in front of the heroes path.

He had found himself out of the corridors in the immediate path of the heroes, them only minutes behind him, he weighed his options. Hide, fight, or flight, if he was honest with himself he would choose flight, but for the sake of his father and his mother he could not fail, he must serve Queen Lucrezia anyway possible.

Jack had little time to spare, he knew the heroes would be coming this way, not knowing if they had seen him or not, he made a quick and clever ruse, Jack looked over to an armor set which had fallen over, crumpled, unorderly, a mess of plates meant to save it's wearer from bodily harm, now fallen and helpless. And then an Idea had struck him.

Jack made his way to it, it was just a few feet to the left of the corridor he just made his way out of. Immediately he looked at the armor set, it was just as black as his own though bared a more smooth and orderly finish unlike his own. "It would have to do," he whispered to himself as he quickly swept the armor into a corner where the light could not reach, eternally covered by shadow.

Jack had cleaned the pedestal of any loose items or object and then immediately took his sword out of it's sheath and took his position, mimicking the pose of an imposing set of armor. At this point he slowed his breathing down, and remained very still, almost lifeless.



@MagicPenguin @SilverFerae
 
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Avari

Two Thousand Club
Thread starter #35
PROLOGUE END CHAPTER
Co-written with @MagicPenguin @IG42 @SilverFerae @ElectricPizza @Tanya Degurechaff


When Roland opened his eyes again, he was laying on the floor of the throne room. What was left of the throne room, at any rate. The high ceiling and the outward-facing walls were completely gone, destroyed in the outpouring of magic he'd unleashed. The throne and the dais were nothing but rubble. The carpet was burned to ashes and half the floor was caved in, showing what was in the room below. The double doors at the entrance were still in tact, but the barrier that guarded them was gone. Of Lucrezia, there was no sign but an odd slimy substance that lay beneath where she'd been flying. Roland felt a sinking feeling growing in the pit of his stomach. He was completely spent. He had no magical energy to spare, but he knew Lucrezia must still be alive. She was not suicidal. She wouldn't have forced him to do that if she believed it would kill her. He had probably just destroyed another phantom, one she constructed to force him into this weakened state so she could kill him at her leisure. His situation was hopeless now. He had to face the truth:

He had failed.

All he could do now was stand and raise his sword in a defensive stance. That was all he had left, besides his rage and his sorrow. He waited for her to reappear. She would win, but he would not go without a fight. He would make her bleed before she ended him, he promised himself. He kept his eyes peeled, waiting for any sign of movement.

The slimy sludge that remained where she was before the blast began to stir.

A hand - reached out from the blackness, then an arm and a face. The black oily substance pulsating and oozing as it give away to bone sinew and flesh. A few minutes later, Lucrezia stood in the center of the quickly vanishing liquid, unabashedly naked. She glanced around - confused at first, trying to get her bearings. The Queen then clicked her fingers, and dark robes appeared from no where and lovingly wrapped around her form. She then inspected one of her hands, a small frown crossing her features.

"Fate is trying to mock me it seems..." She reflected quietly, seemingly to herself. "That Luxetsu would choose someone like you."

Lucrezia sighed, and turned her back on the Human hero - and began to walk away, her long black hair swaying as she did so.

"We're done here."

"I'll decide when we're done!"

Roland gave a roar of defiance and sent out another blast of light from Shadowbane and charged forward, ignoring the protests of his exhausted muscles in a final attempt to strike Lucrezia down before she could construct any sort of effective defense. Lucrezia turned, seemingly having expecting his attack. She rose her hand, and a familiar glass-like barrier appeared. But it seemed to lack the solid appearance of her previous efforts - it shimmered weakly and seemed to waver in the breeze.

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It gave a whine of protest and shattered as Shadowbane's magical blast ploughed through it. The Queen's yellow eyes widened in surprise as the burning white light punched her in the stomach and blasted her off the ground. She flew several feet through the air and landed on her back with a hard, painful thump. The magical barrier must have dulled the blast a little at least, as the blast had left a rather regrettable smoking black mark on her robes, as if she had been hit by a weak fire spell, rather than a cannon ball.

Nevertheless, it was all the opening that Roland needed.

With a cry of victory, he quickly closed the gap between himself and his adversary and without hesitation brought Shadowbane down with all his might.

Only for a silver-white tiger to bound out of nowhere and grab Roland's armored sword-arm in it's gaping jaw, throwing him off balance and sending the hero and his assailant barreling backwards. The Tiger growled as it began to shake its head from side to side - attempting it seemed, to tear the man's entire arm off. Roland gave a cry of pain and surprise, but his armor had kept the beast's terrible maw at bay and Shadowbane gave a pulse of light, knocking the tiger away in the process. The cat landed on it's feet, and quickly darted to stand over Lucrezia - physically shielding the Elf with its entire body. It snarled angrily at Roland, it's muscular form already preparing to pounce again.

Roland glared at the stubborn creature for a moment, but then rose Shadowbane once again knowing that even a beast such as this would do little to slow him down.

"You want to die protecting her? So be it."

...only for a crossbow bolt to strike his wrist with a violent clang. The bolt - like the Tiger's teeth - failed to penetrate Roland's armor, but he - again - found himself thrown slightly off balance. With a snarl, he glanced around to find the fresh assailant - only to see a elvish looking man fade into view on the tiger's flank, crossbow in hand. He ran a hand through his long, dark hair, gave a little curt bow to Lucrezia; who was now back on her feet.

"I found your cat, m'lady." He drawled, then he risked a glance at Roland - and noticed the ominously glowing blade. He quickly began to reload his crossbow.
"Uh...could we speed this up a little?"

"I'm happy to say you won't have to wait overlong, Tannur."

The ground next to the half-elf began to darken, and familiar shadowy hands began to push up to the surface - and with them, the form of a Nevian. She ran a hand through her grey-white hair and the huge tentacle like-appendages that covered her head began to stretch and unfurl. She curtsied to Lucrezia, and then took her place to the right of the Tiger - the three of them now forming a wall between Roland and Lucrezia. "All is prepared my lady."

And then the gigantic oni from earlier promptly burst through the roof, riding what seemed to be a small puff of cloud. He landed with a such an impact that the ground cracked beneath his weight. He glanced around.

"Am I late?" He wondered.

"Yes!" Levia replied tartly. "Why didn't you let the shadows bring you?"

"I make my own way." The Oni grumbled.

Roland took the intruders in as they approached. One by one the appeared and the pit in his stomach growing more cavernous with each new entrance. The situation was bleak when it was just him and Lucrezia; now, against three new opponents plus the sorceress herself, there was little he could do. His eyes darted around the room frantically, searching for any means of escape. He could try and jump through the empty space where the wall had been and land outside the castle. The fall would probably break some limbs, but better that than dead. In truth, he probably wouldn't make it that far before he was overcome by one or all of them, but he had to try. He remembered what he said to Arryn before the witch had drawn him in about how they would win if they fought as a team and now, faced with Lucrezia and her generals by himself, the twisted irony was not lost on him. He couldn't help but to let out a dark chuckle. But it was Lucrezia who spoke, her yellow cat eyes fixed on Roland.

"Goodbye Hero. I very much doubt we'll meet again in this lifetime."

Lucrezia gently placed her hand on the floor and the entire Throne Room began to glow. A gigantic circle of red light, came into existence - surrounding everyone in the room. The light began to increase in complexity, giving form to runes and shapes that span slowly around the circle's edge.

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A destruction rune. And a gigantic one at that.

Roland prepared himself to make a run for it. Did the mad Queen intend to kill him along with herself and those that had come to her rescue? His eyes darted one last time around the room, scanning for unperceived threats. It was pure luck that he noticed a reflection of a glint of light coming from the room below. The sunlight spilled in through the ruined throne room wall and poured into the room below like a waterfall. There, it reflected off the shiny surface of Daniel Payne's armor and right into Roland's eye. Daniel was alongside Arryn and Marcus as they crawled out from beneath the rubble from the roof. They were silently trying to scramble up through the hole left were the ceiling had once been. He looked back over to the combined dark forces. Their eyes were all locked on him, waiting for his next move; they did not appear to notice his friends in the room below.

Roland didn't stop to see whatever it was that the Mad Queen was planning. He tightened his grip on Shadowsbane's hilt and tried to swallow, but his mouth was completely dry. He fired four beams of light from his sword, one at each of the people facing him down. He did not wait to see if they hit. He made a break for the hole in the floor, running for dear life with everything he still had left in him. He started twenty feet away. He heard an explosion behind him. The hole grew closer. He saw his friends climbing up as fast as they could. Ten feet now. Screaming voices behind him; he could not make out whose, nor what they were saying. Five feet.

Hope grew dangerously vast within him. Just a little more. Once they were together, he and his friends could overcome anything. Just a few more steps...

and then everything erupted into searing white hot light.

and then there was nothing but blackness.


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


Explosion_deleterious_embodiment.jpg

The ancient fortress of Blackrock, that had stood since the first era erupted into a pillar of fiery smoke and dust. There was a blinding flash, and a huge ball of fire belched upward, as huge chunks of stone were flung into the air, accompanied by a sheet of white hot flame. Geysers of hot ash and molten rock spouted upward, with white-hot debris beginning to rain down from the heavens, scorching the ground black. A blast of wind, strong enough to knock down buildings rushed out in all directions with choking red dust and white smoke.

The deafening explosion was followed by confused screaming and ominous rumbles of thunder off in the far distance.

and as the smoke began to clear, Blackrock was no where to be seen.

There was only a crater.

----

SHADOW QUEEN LUCREZIA

High above the smoking ruins of Blackrock, Lucrezia and her Generals surveyed the wreckage of the fortress. None of them had spoken for a while - even Silver, as she seemed to be mesmerized by the carnage. Her dark magic had protected her companions from the blast - which would have evaporated them all in a second - and transported them high into the air, a safe distance away from the flames. They floated now in the air, a dark cloud of shadow serving as ground for them to stand. Lucrezia looked at the ruins and felt a sudden, surprising pang of grief - an unfamiliar and uncomfortable emotion; but probably appropriate. The loss of a place of such historical significance was always going to be a bitter pill to swallow - and it had been Lucrezia's last true anchor to Aether. Her last home.

But the sacrifice had been necessary. Because it was what had been underneath Blackrock that she had truly valued.

329063f4f2ab321ed9c53caca9f85399.jpg

The Gateway.

The portal to Sol.

The forbidden Realm.

Inside the crater - which had once been a labyrinthine cavern beneath the fortress - was a whirling pool of blood-red water, surrounded by metal railing that covered in ancient runes and etchings. from within the pool, there pulsed a hellish light that gave everything around it an ominous light. It had been hidden under Blackrock for eons - perhaps it had been there even before the fortress had even been built. That was after all, the reason that Lucrezia had taken it as her base of operations. It had been amusing the play at war while the true work had gone on in her own proverbial back yard.

"The gateway has awakened." She said at last, and she conjured a pair of dark wings that unfurled and stretched out wide.
"It seems your calculations were perfect, Levia - as expected."

The Nevian bowed her head in thanks, smiling as she did so as she sat cross-legged on the black cloud. "It was your plan, my lady. I merely implemented your vision. The portal began to awaken the moment the Fairchild boy stepped into the castle."

"I like the pretty lights..." Silver added dreamily.

Lucrezia gazed back down at the portal, and felt a sudden pang of concern.

Even she did not know what to expect.

"Whatever oaths you have made, whatever promises you swore to keep - consider them complete." She said finally. "I will not judge those who do not wish to follow me. There is no guarantee you'll live long enough to return. Even you Raijin."

The ogre chuckled, seemingly at ease. "You've known me since the beginning of this crusade, Lucrezia. I have my family to think of, but...if you do not succeed, I will have risked it all for nothing. And you are family as well. So as long as you hold up your promise to create a new age, I will stand by your side until my death."

Tannur nodded, smirking. "I've never said this before, probably won't ever again but I'm committed to this....Besides I don't think even I could sneak out of here on my own."

"Yeah!" Silver replied, looking gleeful as she promptly latched herself onto Lucrezia's arm. "It's not like we can do anything else, now, is it? The people down there would kill us on sight. Besides, exploring another world sounds like fun!"

Levia gave the Queen a knowing smile. "It seems you will not be rid of us, anytime soon your majesty."

Lucrezia closed her eyes, shaking her head. "...What did I do to earn such stubborn fools, I wonder? Very well!"

With a flourish, she placed a long finger to her neck - and her voice suddenly boomed out, echoing across the landscape for miles around.

"HEAR ME, MORTALS OF AETHER. ENJOY YOUR VICTORY THIS DAY, FOR WHEN I RETURN - THAT IS WHEN I SHALL TAKE WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY MINE!"

And with that, she dived into a freefall - her magic guiding her followers along with her.

With a pulse of energy, they vanished into the portal, which hungrily consumed them in but a moment.

Lucrezia, Queen of Shadows - had finally left Aether.

But there would be no sings of victory in the army camps.


END OF PROLOGUE


---



notes
1) Yes, the light characters (and everyone in the castle at the time) are perfectly safe. You will awake the next day practically unscathed - as will everyone else. You don't know how you survived.
2) The Forbidden land of Sol is what scholars call our Dimension. Research is forbidden.
3) I'm crazy sorry to anyone who doesn't like character personalities i did my best this is the first and only time i'll be doing a post like this, it was just so complicated and so much going on it was the only way to coordinate i sorry x_x
4) If you would like to make any minor edits to this post - change your characters dialogue, add something extra let me know K? Thanks <3
 

Avari

Two Thousand Club
Thread starter #36
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CAST

Lucrezia - "Lisa Sparrow" - @Avari
Silver - @SilverFerae
Raijin - @ElectricPizza
Levia Hadal - @Tanya Degurechaff
Jack Foster - @Morbuskid

Tannur - @IG42

Roland Fairchild - @MagicPenguin
Arryn Blacksmith - @MagicPenguin
Daniel Payne - @ReverseTex

Marcus Felis - @SilverFerae

David Zheng - @BLK
Jack Cassaro - @BLK
Hannah Miller - @Avari

Hisae Shirakuni - @S Q U E A K
Daniel Gerriden - @DavidRanger318


CHAPTER 1 CONFIRMED WRITING TEAMS

Lucrezia + Raijin
Silver + Tannur
Roland+Marcus
Arryn+Daniel


RULES

1) Standard rules from the Prologue are still in effect.
2) You are ALL completely normal average young humans. Please keep this in mind. No one is going to find you physically intimidating.
3) For the time being, your Tiered abilities are not accessible. Any attempts to do magic will leave you exhausted and with a headache.
4) Light and Dark Characters CANNOT discover each other until otherwise stated. Chance meetings/passing by is fine just don't go crazy. You will not physically recognize other players.
5) You are in present day London. It is identical to the real world, please do your best to maintain a sense of realism.


DARK TEAM NOTES
Before entering the Portal, Lucrezia has given you each a small magical ring of enchantment. This is a short term ability to assist you in integrating in the real world and will become functionally useless after a few days or through too much use. The ring can be used to hypnotize, beguile and trick humans. Use it to get a job, money and a place to stay. You do not know if the others survived the crossing, or where they are.

LIGHT TEAM NOTES
Lucrezia has escaped. Though the forces of Light were victorious, a tense atmosphere hangs over the army's camps. There is no celebrating. Though Blackrock was destroyed in a huge explosion, no one was hurt - somewhat miraculously. Those inside the castle or in the blast zone found themselves waking up fairly unscathed a fair distance away. All that remains of Blackrock is a dark, ominous crater. At it's deepest, there is a small, rapidly weakening magical portal that is being kept open by the Church Mages while the council discusses its next steps. As with the Dark Team, you'll be separated from your fellows as you enter the portal.

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EARTH TEAM NOTES
Welcome to the RP! Thanks for holding on. You are perfectly normal human beings. No doubt, it's inevitable you're going to get caught up in the madness. That's pretty much it!


Please wait for the first post, imagine this is the start of the RP <3
 

Avari

Two Thousand Club
Thread starter #37
UNKNOWN LOCATION
"SOL"


LUCREZIA

Lucrezia found herself unceremoniously dumped out of the portal with little in the way of warning, and landed in a rather undignified heap on a hard - stone? - floor. She gave a small groan, not feeling right at all. The fallout from the battle with that little hero - no doubt. Truth be told, it had been rather exciting to discover that she was capable of taking a fully charged strike from Luxetsu - she always knew she had been rather...durable. It had been far less exciting to feel all her various body parts pull themselves back together from the dark primordial sludge she had been reduced to. It was not a pleasant sensation to feel bones popping into place and flesh stretching itself over your frame.

Still. Could have been worse.

She glanced about confused. Where was she? Some sort of alleyway? A city perhaps? The smell....certainly left something to be desired.

alleyway_by_marcobucci.jpg
Gods, and the noise. A constant drone filled the air - the sounds of people yes, but also screeching metal. Loud...squawking? It was hard to describe it. Lucrezia took a brief moment to shake herself, before she climbed to her feet. Her body still not feeling quite right. She felt...too short - but also a little heavier. Had the portal altered her senses? Did this world follow different rules?

She had little time to consider these questions as a rather heavy human-shaped creature landed right on top of her, and knocked her to the ground again.



----


INTERACTION:
@ElectricPizza
 
#38
It was loud.
And yet, somehow not loud enough at the same time. The silver haired teen rubbed her head, looking around rather dumbly. Every muscle seemed to ache from her rough landing, and the area was completely unfamiliar. She seemed to have landed in some sort of green area, but before she got too comfortable in familiar territory, she noticed the small size of the area, and the wooden fence.

Yep, Silver landed in someone's back garden. She gingerly picked herself up off the ground - only to fall down again, unused to balancing without a tail.
"Hello?" She called out. " Raijin? My Lady? Tannur? "

At first, she thought she was alone, then she heard rustling from a nearby shrub. "Hello?

@IG42
 

IG42

Paranoid Android
#39
Tannur

Groaning Tannur tumbled out of the bush he had landed in and pulled himself painfully into a sitting position. He hadn't expected travelling to another realm or whatever it was to be easy but getting dumped in the dirt was just silly. Looking over at Silver he irritably blew hair out of his face. Weird I didn't think it had gotten that long. Getting a good look at Silver where she lay in a heap on the ground he gave her a quick once over. "Huh did you change f-" He broke off abruptly at the sound of his own voice, it sounded lighter than it should've been almost girlish.

Moving a hand to his throat his other ran through his altered hair and quickly found the slight tips off his ears were now rounded off. "What the hell is this?" Taking a second look at Silver he hesitated for a moment. "Silver...you didn't actually shapeshift to look like that did you?" He gestured to the top of her head where her feline ears were conspicuously absent.

@SilverFerae
 
#40
William (Billy to his friends) had just woken up from a nap and was grabbing some milk from the fridge, rubbing sleep from his eyes. He swore he heard someone talking outside but wrote it off as the neighbors. He sat down at his freshly poured bowl of cereal and lowered his head to pray.

"Billy, I'm going out! I'll be back soon!" His dad called from the front.

"Alright! Thanks for the warning!" He snickered.

He heard a snorted laugh from his father and the door open and close. Then, the voices again. He craned his neck to see over the windowsill into his backyard and widened his eyes. Two adolescents, a boy and girl were sitting in his father's garden bed.

He ran upstairs, grabbed his chain whip and came back. They were still there. He pocketed the whip, letting the handle hang out and opened the back door.

"Excuse me, are you lost?" He said to the duo in his british accent.

@SilverFerae @IG42

New-arrival-nine-section-stainless-chain-whip-octagon-stainless-9-section-chain-whip-nine-sect...jpg
 
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ElectricPizza

Lightning Fast Domino's Delivery
#41


As soon as Raijin fell through the portal below Blackrock, the world went dark. It wasn't that he was unconscious, but that his view went completely dark. He could still think, but his entire body was numb. There was nothing he could do to move or speak. However, the feeling dissipated as soon as it came. What was left felt far stranger. In the brief moment Raijin was thrown out of the portal and into the air, he felt something he hadn't felt in centuries: weakness. This was the weakness he felt when he was still a child, unable to do anything of his own power, where he could not level armies by his lonesome. It was disturbing for the god of Thunder.

He was snapped out of his thoughts as he finally collided with the ground...though the ground felt rather soft compared to what he was used to. He used an arm to prop himself up, feeling a soft mound below his fingers. Fingers? He stared down at his hands, what used to be his blood-red claws covered in a jagged carapace had been replaced by fleshy skin and fingers, like those of a human. His eyes then drifted to his arms. No longer were they covered in his crimson skin and rippling with muscles, but in their place were the twigs humans called arms. He checked the rest of his body. His once demonic appearance has been transformed into one of a mere human and not even a strong one at that! "If I received a physique like Arryn, I would be more content, but this body is simply weak."

After overcoming the initial shock of becoming a human, Raijin took in his surrounds. A dark alleyway, like the ones in large cities. The same cities he never had reason to visit except for conquest. But this was not like the alleys in the Aether. The walls of the homes were made of brick and with strange metal protrusions haphazardly attached to the brick. The floor around him was made of a strange smooth stone, unlike the cobbled streets he'd seen before. It took him far too long to notice the young woman underneath him. "So that was what made the ground so soft"

Though the woman's face was partially covered with her hair, he could tell that she bore a remarkable similarity to someone he had seen before, though he could not recall who it was. With the knowledge that the "ground" he landed on was actually a woman, Raijin figured out that the "soft mounds" he had his hands on were actually the woman's breasts. Out of courtesy, he removed his hands and began to roll off her. When he was almost completely off, her hair fell away from her face, revealing all of her features. As soon as this occurred, Raijin was able to recognize her as Lucrezia, albeit much shorter and missing elf features. She had become human like him.

He quickly stood up and offered the Queen a hand. "My apologies, Lucrezia. I did not intend to use you as a cushion for my landing." Looking around the alley, he asked the Shadow Queen, "Any idea where we are, and why the hell are the two of us human? This 'Sol' does not appear to be all that you've claimed it was. What's the point of running if we only grow weaker instead of stronger."



Rai Kaminari
Physical Status:
Insignificant Bumps and Scratches
Emotional/Mental Status:
Mildly Annoyed
Location: London - Unknown Alleyway

Interacting With: @Avari
Mentioned:


 
#42


Hisae Shirakuni

Location: Centrum, London.
Tags: /

“Ah, aaaah !” The screaming could be heard coming from an apartment building situated near the centre of the city. Barely grabbing the edge of the staircase as she went down a bit too fast and almost dove into the deep. It would’ve made a splendid faceplant on the ground and probably a ticket to the nearest hospital as well while she was at it. Luckily that wasn’t the case for now, still having to go to a photoshoot which would’ve gone terrible if she arrived with a broken nose and a black eye.

Hair tied into a high ponytail, wearing boyfriend jeans with a black crop top together with a biker jacket and combat boots. Wearing some accessories to finish of the outfit.

In a hurry she ran out of the apartment building and up to the place where she had to be. Looking at the note for the address before taking the correct bus and going for a fifteen minute drive. Rummaging through her bag to look for some tools that she might need during the shoot since she didn’t want to be a nuisance for once. Her eyes shifting over every little object before finding what she needed which was a small prop in the form of a dragon. It was supposed to go around her arm, something like a bracelet. It didn’t have any scratches on it from the running around which was a big relief.

Once the bus arrived at the destination, she hopped out and immediately went towards the third floor of the entertainment building, a gaming company. Her costume was already laying on the table, ready for her to wear it. Putting everything on and attaching all the pieces including the dragon bracelet to finish the outfit. The costume that she was wearing was meant for a mmorpg game that needed some more attention before it getting released into the wide world. It was pretty neat and her features got accentuated well despite it barely covering her skin. It was elegant yet powerful looking which had a nice feeling to it. If only she could go to a world like in those games she wouldn’t need to deal with this dreadful life on Earth.

The shoot didn’t take too long, perhaps an hour max as she was used to posing for things like this. Especially since she’d been a cosplayer for a couple of years now, having gained popularity during that time. Some were envious while others admired her. She didn’t really care though as long as it looked good, she felt good. Placing one hand on her hip before taking a sip of her water. Once the photos were approved of, she thanked everybody in the building before getting back into her casual clothes. It seemed like they were going to release the pictures tomorrow already since they were in a hurry for the deadline coming up.

Letting out a deep sigh as she got outside again. If only she hadn’t overslept like she did, she wouldn’t have to hurry like this in the first place. However her bed was so soft which made her not want to move at all until she saw the hour. Now that she thought about it, she hadn’t eaten at all today and it was already around noon. Humming as she let her eyes roam around, walking to the streets to find an empty seat. Spotting one of a small café just in time, making her way over there and sitting down. Smelling the food already coming from inside the building which made her water tooth.

”One Philly Cheese Steak and a coke please.” She ordered, pointing towards the dish to make sure the guy got it right. Leaning back into her chair as she watched the scenery of people walking through the streets leisurely, some having shopping bags in their hands, others suitcases for work. Starting to relax as she wasn’t surrounded by the sounds of honking cars and screaming citizens in this part of the area.


 
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#43
Silver Ferae, a back garden - @IG42 @DavidRanger318
"Why would I purposely do this?"The no-longer-ShapeShifter snapped, her vision swimming with angry tears as she glared at Tannur. "Did you purposely make yourself a stupid human as well?!" It was obvious that she was scared, as well as just angry. She'd probably savage the first person to get within her reach...If she still had fangs. Silver ran her tongue over her teeth, an action that normally would have probably sliced the muscle open, due to her razor sharp fangs... And yet, nothing happened. Her teeth were flat,like a human's. Her breathing quickened, her eyes wide- she was on the verge of hyperventilating, when a strange voice snapped her out of it.

"Excuse me, are you lost?" The voice said, and the albino once again got to her feet, wobbling again but not toppling this time. She probably wouldn't be climbing and running around like normal for a while, but she could at least stand.

"Where are we?! Is this Sol?" She threw questions at the earthling, scarlet eyes wild. Honestly, with her messy hair, ripped clothes soaked with Georg and Natalie's blood and her general behaviour, it seemed as though she had just escaped a mental asylum. "Why are we human? Has someone cursed us?!"
 
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IG42

Paranoid Android
#44
Tannur

Wincing as Silver started panicking Tannur put aside his own confusion for the moment and reached out to comfort her. "It's going to be-" He froze as an unfamiliar voice called out to them and Silver rushed the stranger and bombarded him with questions. Scrambling to his feet he approached the stranger calmly but noticed that he now seemed to be roughly the same height if not shorter than a man who looked to not even be out of his teens

Grabbing Silver in a hold that was half hug half headlock he tried to get her to shut up before she made the stranger really suspicious. "Sorry about my friend she gets a little confused sometimes." He said smoothly, taking a quick look around he gathered from the odd looking building nearby and the surrounding fences that they had landed on someone's land. " Apologies for the trespass I lost track of her for a moment and she got in here somehow, if you don't I'd like to just take her home before she causes any more trouble." Giving the stranger a nonchalant once-over he noted the handle of what he assumed was a weapon sticking out of his pocket.

@SilverFerae @DavidRanger318
 

Morbuskid

See past the darkness, and view the light.
#45
Jack Fester


Blackrock Castle- Throne Room (Minutes earlier)


Jack had made sure to keep behind the heroes, he moved swiftly but carefully this time, he did not wish to impede their progress as he relied heavily upon their progress to get into the throne room. Jack made sure to follow the Blacksmith, the wolf, the knight and the rest, he made sure that his endeavour would not be in vain.


For Jack, it was easily convenient, he didn't have to hurt anyone and he could still serve Lucrezia by fending them off, even if it would kill him. Jack tracked through the hallways after the heroes, matching the beating of their boots, grieves, and paws against the floor so he would appear nothing more than an echo in the vast hallways.


Jack watched as the heroes disappeared through a corridor, he in hot pursuit of them, this is when he would stopped and scanned a wide corridor littered with rubble, having thought he lost them once through the thick fog of dust and sand. Jack strained his eyes trying to focus through the mist of debris, only to have seen them finding their way up a convenient wall of rock in order to reach a breach in the Throne Room floor, Jack would be after them, much like a bull after a waving cape.


His metal digits pressed hard between the displaced rock, his fingers felt warm and needing of rest, Jack could not allow it. He had to press on or his mother, his father's name, all of them would be gone. The thought kept creeping into his mind, replacing his sense of pain and weariness with a unstaunched desperation, a need much like a desire that is necessary.


It would be soon that Jack was jumping up a few blocks, at this point he was catching up, every shock of his digits forcing themselves back into the stone, sent a wave of pain crawling up his arms, it made him sweat, his face was a steaming red under his helmet, the warmth of is armor never boiled him like it did now. His cape furled as he continued to lunge up the ruble and stone, making impressive headway.


Quickly Jack repressed, his heart was racing and his stomach submerged itself in fear and anxiety. He hadn’t the slightest clue of what awaited him, he watched as the heroes now approached the breach, minutes away from being in the throne.


Finally as they neared the Breach a sense of doubt and fear became cemented as in the few moments of the flash, he could feel the power of the Destruction Rune quickly sweep through the space of the throne room. "No," Jack said softly to himself, his eyes widened, his slit pupils dilated and shook rapidly underneath his metal facade.


Jack was taken aback by the blast that rocketed through the breach, it felt as if the hands of oblivion personally reached out and grabbed hold of his essence, it began tearing at him, trying to peel him away form his armor, the heat never felt more intense. His cape began to burn, it's seared cloth that weakly stripped itself from the cape, cascaded through the burning air, this hell unleashed.


Jack wanted to scream, the pain was intense and only got worse with every breath and every eye shutter, he knew this was it, he knew this was the end, he would die having left his mother a heartbroken mess and his father still depicted as a coward. Tears streamed down his hot face, practically evaporating at the jowel due to the ferocity of the heat.


Jack closed his eyes for what seemed to be his final rest, before feeling a rough item crash into his back, knocking the wind out of him, he was so dazed by the explosion of the destruction rune that he didn't know if he had landed or if he was still airborne. He was numb to the world and it's unpleasantries.


In the confusion Jack did not know where he landed, where the castle had gone, he didn’t even know if he was alive. All he knew was they he was somewhere rough, and all kinds of energy was spiking, filling his few senses that remain unumbed at the moment.


Finally after the intense explosion, his senses slowly returned, he could feel something weighted upon his back, slowly forcing the air out of him. Jack realized he had landed somewhere in the fresh wound of the earth, the fissure created by this pure energy had seemed to violate the surface of the earth unlike any attack, not even years of mining and digging could make such a crater and yet he starred this down farcely.


Rocks had burdened his back, Making this situation even more unbearably uncomfortable. Quickly with what little strength he had left he tossed them from his back, he so desperately made a stake to get up, the armor he wore never felt heavier, every step felt like every imaginable force was trying to keep him bonded with the ground. Sluggishly and decrepitly stood, in a sapless and awed expression he looked to the bottom of the crater to see the portal.


Ears still ringing, he had heard a muffled call, looking up he saw Lucrezia and her commanders, some of which he could recognize, putting up some dramatic display of anger or at least that's what he could make out. Immediately he watched her and her posse dive straight into the portal, at this moment he fell down once more as he watched them, his head trying to remain pivoted. Picking himself up onto his knees he crawled to the edge to just barely watch as the last of Lucrezia's followers were engulfed by the bloody red abyss.


Jack put his right hand towards it, with a blurred vision his digits hovered over the portal as if he tried racing out for it, from there he collapsed finally giving into his fatigue. His right hand remained poised over the cliff of the crater, what few feet he had left of his cape was sprawled unevenly across his armor, his eyes grew heavier and heavier until finally the world became dark.


(no interactions)



Blackrock Castle- Crater


Jack had began to feel a shred of consciousness return, his body was sore but not freshly so, more like he gotten done with an intense workout and the pain of it had truly started yesterday. Yesterday, the word staked his mind like a nail driven into wood, he tried his best to wrap around it as he stiffly picked himself up from his little rest atop the patch of freshly scorched earth hovering above the massive crater.


Jack’s arm was very limp, he panicked feeling for it and to his relief, it was still on his body just numb from it’s unusual position from how he was laying in his unconscious state.


Rather sluggishly, he dusted the dirt off his black armor and stared into the weakening portal, it’s magic he felt, held open only by the few mages that could.


Reaching around his back with a stiff and sore left arm, he felt that miraculously his cape had survived, it was now tattered (much like how you would see in his Aetherian appearance on the CS,) but still surprisingly maintaining a satisfactory length.


Jack without hesitation quickly swung his arms, however sore they were, around his waist looking for his father’s sword, it was there on the belt, the leather had been cooked to a black ashened color but still remained intact, he would have to lubricate the leather when he found the time.


Jack looked at his father's sword with some pressure leaving his stomach, and rested his fingers with a decrepit attempt, around the hilt of his father’s blade, overjoyed that it had survived. But quick to remember his current situation, it wouldn’t be long before the Church noticed him, here he stuck out like a sore thumb, since there were no more forces of Darkness occupying the area.


He knew well it was now or never. Jack made his way to look over the cliff his now waking arm once leaned, he looked into that portal once more before taking a deep breath. “Byrði betri berr-at maðr brautu at en sé mannvit mikit;(No greater burden one shall bear, for giving up wisdom to wanderlust);” he started off as he began to stride backwards, rocking his sore armor body back and forth like clockwork, limbering it up as he slowly lost sight of the portal over the cliff he once stood.


Finally he slightly lowered himself, his metal greive digging firmly into the ash stricken soil, he bent over into a runners starting position. “auði betra þykkir þat í ókunnum stað; slíkt er válaðs vera. ( On unknown paths, in times of grief, no greater refuge there shall be).” After have reciting work of the Ordog’s text “Havamal” he slowly breathed in the still warm but freshening air, releasing it as well as any stress he may have felt before quickly throwing himself from that position, he ran at quite the speed, pushing aside rock and rubble all the same, his armor clacked as he moved, his soreness was at its peak but his momentum did not slow.


Finally he jumped from the cliff, positioning his arms to his sides in a cross, he felt the wind rush past his arms as he flew through the sky, butterflies in the stomach, hoping to not only guide himself in the dive but also to get in as fast as possible, he never knew when those mage’s magic was gonna go out, this would be his last if not an elegant dive he would make.

Descent into Sol-


As he fell the wind rushed past his helmet, feeling as if it was pressing against his skull, his cape kicked wildly to the wind, his sword clattered against his belt, Jack had a mind to let go of his dive to grab onto it but he knew better. A distinct whistling noise could be heard as he fell past the ever narrowing walls of the crater, and shouting that he couldn’t quite make out.


As Jack flew closer and closer towards the portal, arrows and streaks of light flew at him in an attempt to hit him, in one case a archer, presumably elven due to the precision, had got Jack with an arrow to the armature of his chest plate, he couldn’t tell what it was but he could feel the dent it left much like the rest of the events that punched his armor with a reminder of his stupidity. The forces of light seemed to turn the sky into a final war zone just for him.


Finally Jack splashed through the portal, his senses immediately numbed once more, he didn’t like having to feel the nothingness again, but at the very least it wasn’t wrought with pain prior to this numbness. Jack’s consciousness dissipated, he felt a strange power over taking him but couldn’t quite grip the reality of what it was.

(No Interactions/ Interactions optional)



Sol- Unknown Location


After what seemed to be an eternity through the gates of oblivion, Jack finally came crashing down, landing on something hard, it gave a bang, like hollowed out metal. Jack’s eyes slowly opened before realizing that he had landed on some sort of metal container. He bounced, having trouble


Jack rolled off of the roof of the green metal box, before landing on his feet, his other senses began to return, first an awful smell of decaying food and bodily waste struck his nose, since he lived much like a peasant it wasn’t too bad, but it was certainly a toxic aroma.


As his hearing came back, it was met with a jarring screeching, the whole world had seemed to be alive, he could hear people talking and this noise he was all too unfamiliar with.


Jack finally noticed that he was much lighter, and felt a little shorter than before. His armor went from a snug fitting means of protection, to the equivalent of wearing a metal poncho with chain-mail. Without looking he hovered his leg above the hard ground and shook it, hearing the clinking of two metal plates colliding, he knew he was in his armor, but it felt kinda loose. Also there was no longer this rough feeling of skin under his armor and so he took his helmet off.

Jack had felt around his face, it was smooth, no longer boasting his rough Ordog skin, he looked to his hands, pulling off the gauntlets to see they have gone from their grayish tan to a lively olive color. He continued his hands up his head, he felt that his horns have disappeared, he turned his helmet's top to face him, seeing the embarrassing two holes in his helmet where his horns are suppose to protrude.

Jack felt some pressure around his neck, leading his hand there next he felt that it was his linen cape. Taking it from his neck, he quickly undid his sword from his belt, from his still scared leather belt, sword still in sheath he wrapped the weapon up, enough to displace it's figure entirely.

He the looked towards the exit of this small alleyway, at random intervals either one or a group of people would walk by, either talking to each other, to a strange box they held up to their ears, or they just walked past. As Jack made his way closer in a brisk pace, he noticed how they were dressed, some were done up all in a black suit of a design which was foreign to him, some were walking by with loose fitting or tight clothes, some wearing revealing outfits Jack found very strange.

Finally Jack had made it out to this lane of human traffic, one man had bumped into Jack saying "Watch it ya blo....". Stopping mid sentence as he looked to the childishly and unorganized armored Jack, snickering the phrase "Nice costume buddy," as he wandered off. Jack simply raised an eyebrow at the gruff and fleeting man, "Anskootans (bloody hell)" he mumbled under his breath, although it sounded quite strange, perhaps it was from the portal that he caught a cold or made his throat strep, it was feeling a little sore escpecially as he stated the Havamal back in Aetheria, it hurt somewhat. After the reflection of the matter, Jack started moving down the street on the weird stone lane that was hard but surprisingly smooth, before looking at a perplexing small building, it had windows too large to belong to commoners and even more so it had a strange sign, what appeared to be a cup upon a plate with streams of white protruding from it's rim, coming from it was quite the aroma however, one that was easily inviting to the nostrils and made his stomach growl.

Jack remembered the last thing he, just some bread and a slice of elk, not very suffice for an Ordog his age. But Jack knew he didn't have money besides the gold he had from his days of helping people around his small village. Looking down at his belt he saw that the pouch, still covered in soot, was still there and still weighed in coin, in fact it was dragging his belt down on which he quickly pulled up and adjusted the buckle to meet his smaller waist size, he could feel the loose bit of armor tightening as well. He knew his coin was gold, and that alone had good worth, but didn't quite know if these people would take it. He'd look for work somewhere, and see what this strange place's economy was made up of.

First however he needed to learn where he was, he tried asking people on the street but the waves of people simply flowed on by him while either giving him confused looks, some flashing weird light at him from their strange boxes. So he decided to enter the building which he assumed was a tavern of some sort. But instead he spotted chairs and tables on the outside of this building, so he made his way over there

Resting his sheathed sword with the red cape wrapped around it, on his shoulder he noticed a girl with white hair and a peculiar mix of apparel sitting down at a rather strange chair, it wasn't made of wood like normal, instead metal like. At an even stranger table, which appeared to be outside. He decided to sit down on a neighboring table, not very far from the peculiar girl. He laid his covered and sheathed sword down on the table, which looked much more like an umbrella with the way he wrapped it, as he sat there.

There he let out a soft personal sigh, before taking his helmet off and resting his head on one hand upon the table. He held onto his helmet with his one free hand, laying it on the tabletop.

Jack looked to the girl, " Excuse me ma'am," he tried to ask her as his eyes widened but he made no sudden actions he slowly and slothfully brought his armored hand to his throat, his voice had changed just as well as his appearance, it was tad pitch higher than his normal voice, now sporting some kind of accent he wasn't quite familiar with, the Ordog in him seemed to have tucked tail between its legs and hid behind is layers of flesh. Jack shook past the feeling, he continued with his question as she looked to him, "Could I ask for your help?" Jack asked, with a genuinely sincere look on his young face.

@S Q U E A K
 
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#46
Silver Ferae, back garden - @IG42 and @DavidRanger318

"I am not confused! You're confused!" Silver yelped. "We need to find Lucrezia and get back to normal and then...Then I'm gonna kill you! " She tried to bite him. "Get off of me! Now! I'll - I'll kill you!" Fortunately for Tannur, she was unable to Shift, and her black bladed dagger had been lost at Blackrock during the fight with Daniel Payne.

That was a shame. She had liked that one, and the chances of getting one just like it were slim, especially in this world.

She carried on trying to bite Tannur, struggling and pushing to get free, but wasn't quite able to overpower him. Yes, she was fit and strong, but...Teenage girl. It just wasn't going happen, no matter how much she kicked and punched. Silver is a really violent friend.
 
#47
He took a step back, raised his forward hand and placed his rear hand on his weapon as she rushed him.
Donnie yen.jpg
He was slightly relieved when her companion restrained her, then apologized on her behalf and asked if they should leave. William's eyes narrowed in thought. If she was injured, it wasn't obvious. He should probably call 999. But, he also didn't want to leave two strangers in his back yard, not knowing what they were up to. Was it her blood? Someone else's? His hand tightened on the chain handle as these thoughts raced through his head. He then took a deep breath, and let it out slow, a calming technique. And he prayed, asking what he should do. Suddenly, everything fell into place.

"That depends," he said very calmly. "Is she injured?"

@SilverFerae @IG42
 
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Avari

Two Thousand Club
Thread starter #48
LUCREZIA
"SOL" - ALLEYWAY?​

Lucrezia clambered off the floor, her cheeks burning red as she ignored Raijin's outstretched hand. She gave a slight hiss of pain as she noticed her whole right arm was cut up and grazed from the fall - and was stubbornly refusing to heal itself.

Well bugger. That couldn't be a good sign.

"Any idea where we are, and why the hell are the two of us human? This 'Sol' does not appear to be all that you've claimed it was. What's the point of running if we only grow weaker instead of stronger?"

"I don't recall claiming Sol was anything," She replied coolly, and then instantly grabbed her neck as she didn't recognize her own voice. It was a little lower pitched, with a far more...common accent.
Then she looked at Raijin for the first time and planned on giving him a dirty look one would usually reserve for a rat that had been caught in the larder. Only to gasp - and instinctively take a step back. Gone was the War Ogre she had known for the best part of two hundred years - in his place was a...skinny looking red headed human who was eyeing her with similar...bafflement?

"What happened - " She began, only to suddenly realize that Raijin was practically half naked - wearing only a pair of dark leather pants that were far too large for him and had fallen to around his knees, leaving nothing for the imagination.

"Raijin...please pull up your pants." She instructed, pinching her nose as her cheeks went even redder - noting her own robes had become far too large for her - and she turned her gaze to the sky.

There she spotted something she couldn't quite describe, as a deafening roar of wind blasted over their heads and the pair instinctively jumped back to back, Lucrezia's hands outstretched as she prepared to blast out some defensive magic. They stayed there for a full minute, before deciding the threat - whatever it was - had past.

"Was...was that a giant metal bird?" She managed after a moment. "What sort of...realm is this?"

Their thoughts were interrupted, as a pair of footsteps echoed down the alley. They both looked up to see a very...tall human in a black uniform was advancing towards them, another man in a identical uniform remained at the alleyway's entrance - blocking them in.

"You there! Is everything all right down here?" He called.

"The city guard." Lucrezia hissed to her companion.



----

INTERACTION: @ElectricPizza
 
#49
Roland Fairchild
Siege Camps around Blackrock's Ruins
~24 hours after prologue's end

Roland opened his eyes groggily, confused and unsure where he was. He was calm for a moment before the memory of the fight with Lucrezia rushed back and hit him like a ton of bricks. He shot up like lightning then and looked around at his surroundings. He wasn't quite sure what he was expecting to find--the afterlife, perhaps--but he was more than relieved when he recognized the inside of his own tent back at the siege camp. He was laying in a pallet in the tent's center and surrounded by his weapons and armor and various odds and ends that he'd collected during the march to Blackrock. Shadowsbane lay within its sheathe by his side. How did he get here? Were the others alright? Just what exactly happened at the end of that fight? All he remembered was a brilliant light and the feeling that something was trying to tear him apart. He rose slowly and stood for a moment on shaky legs before making his way to the tent's front flap. He opened it to two guards in Church colors standing guard just outside the entrance. The sun was not quite at its midway point in the sky. From what he remembered of the fight at Blackrock, the sun was past its midway point the last he'd seen it. So, either Lucrezia had blown him back in time, or he'd been asleep for almost 24 hours. Much as he wished the former were true, the latter wouldn't be all that surprising given he'd been totally out of mana when he lost consciousness. His body tended to need extra time to recover whenever he pushed himself that far. He shambled out of the tent and looked over to where Blackrock once was. There was nothing left of it now but a smoking crater. So, not back in time, then, he thought ruefully. The guards greeted him properly and saluted.

"What happened," Roland asked one of the guards, "how did I get back here?"

"Your Highness!" he replied, "your unconscious body, along with Daniel Payne's, was carried here by Arryn Blacksmith and Marcus Felis. They say that after the explosion, they woke up in a field some distance from the blast site. They found you nearby and carried you both back here. You all returned about 12 hours ago. You and Sir Payne have been asleep ever since."

"I see," he said, thinking. He pointed over to the crater where Blackrock once stood. "And that," he asked them. "How did that come to be?"

The man he was speaking to suddenly started and stood up ramrod straight, as if something just occurred to him. "Sir," he cried with another salute. "As to that, your sister Queen Ophelia and High Sentinel Staxos have ordered that you present yourself as soon as humanly possible to the command tent on waking. I believe they hoped you would have more information about the castle's explosion and the portal's appearance than your companions did."

"Little chance of that, I'm afraid," he replied wearily. He did not even know what "portal" they were talking about. "I won't be needing you here any longer, soldier. Go immediately to let them know I am on my way. As soon as I eat and freshen myself, I will be along."

"Sir!" he replied before turning off in the direction of Ophelia's tent.

Roland put on his boots, grabbed Shadowsbane, and made his way first to the mess tent. He ate ravenously, feeling as though he had not put anything in his stomach in days. As he ate, more and more of the day before came back to him, vivid as if it had happened an hour ago, and he felt his already precarious mood blacken yet further. The entire mission had been a disaster, to say nothing of the way it ended. Remembering Georg's final moments brought a fresh stab of pain to Roland's chest. He resolved to seek Natalie out and see that she was alright--or at least as alright as anyone could be following the death of her husband--after the meeting with his sister was finished. He remembered next their fight in the hallways in which Arryn and Marcus had nearly lost their own lives. The disastrous final battle with Lucrezia. It was supposed to have been a simple mission: sneak in, kill the witch, sneak right back out. Simple and easy as could be. Nothing had gone to plan, though. Nothing. He could not even remember exactly what had befallen the castle to leave it in such a state. He vaguely remembered the destruction rune, but the explosion itself he could not recall. He could not imagine why she would have destroyed her own castle when total victory was within her grasp. Perhaps she was even more mad than her enemies believed her to be. More mysterious than that, perhaps, was the fact that they had all somehow survived the explosion that left that crater. It could not have been Lucrezia that saved them. Leaving them alive was one thing, but actively saving them? He could not believe that. How, then, were he and his companions alive?

He pondered this question as he made his way down to the stream to rinse himself off and freshen up. As he walked back to his tent for a fresh set of clothing, he began to notice several people looking at him oddly or giving him an unnecessarily wide berth. Some gave him dirty, disapproving glares; others shied back, wide-eyed as if afraid of him. Some remembered he was a prince and bowed hastily, but they wore looks of anxiety the same as the others and were away as soon as they were decently able. The nastiest looks seemed to come from those in Church colors. They might have thought he was Lucrezia herself with the amount of open hostility some of their glares sent in his direction. Roland got a sympathetic gaze and a well-wish from a few passersby, usually common soldiers or servants from Alcamoth he'd known personally, but those were well in the minority. He had always been well-liked among the citizenry, Church folk included, but today they all seemed to be either terrified of him or completely hate him. He tried to put this out of his mind when he got back to his tent, but could not help feeling a stab of anxiety about the sudden about-face in his public perception.

The odd looks continued as he made his way to the command tent. Everyone stared at him so solemnly and in such silence, Roland felt more like a prisoner walking to his execution than a Prince attending his Queen to give report. When he got inside, he found Ophelia already waiting, wearing her crown and the icy cool, regal mask of Queen-hood as she sat straight and proper in a high-backed oaken chair that, though simple, was more ornate than any other in the room and as much a throne for the officious way she sat in it as any chair possibly could be. He smiled on seeing her. Usually, she would have given him a nod or a smile in return, but now she maintained her cold, pitiless stare. That wasn't a good sign. To either side of her, just behind her, stood High Sentinel Staxos and Lady Lyra. Lyra, at least, gifted him with a smile on sight, though it was a nervous one and she shuffled her feet anxiously. Staxos was wearing his mask, as ever, leaving his expression completely unreadable. His stance was one of total readiness and complete military efficiency. His emotions were betrayed only by the unusually tight grip in which he held the shaft of his double bladed staff. Even that was more than the man usually betrayed of his feelings. He must really be out of sorts to let even that slip, Roland thought. The prince turned his head in all directions to see high ranking generals, church mages, and nobility both high and low of the various Aetherian races. Not a friendly face among them. Finally, his eyes found Arryn and Marcus standing uncomfortably among the throng. Arryn gave him a quick reassuring smile, but the man's mouth twitched in a way that Roland knew meant he was worried. Roland was too shocked to think much about what he could be worried about when his eyes scanned over Natalie standing next to Marcus. Her eyes were red-rimmed with fatigue and grief, but her mouth was an unreadable line and the middle-aged Cloudtop swordmistress stood on the balls of her feet with the lithe, deadly grace he remembered well from her time training him in the sword as a child. She acknowledged his stare with a curt nod. Roland nodded dumbly in return and turned away from her, too ashamed of himself to look her in the eyes again.

He approached the empty center of the room. "Prince Roland Fairchild, here to report on the assault on Blackrock Castle, as requested, your highness." he announced.

"Indeed," Ophelia said levelly. "Well, then. Report."

He hesitated a beat at her curt tone and then smoothly recounted everything that had happened from the time they stepped into the portal on the hillside to the explosion in as much detail as he could recall.

"I believe," Ophelia said after a short silence, "that we have a firm understanding now of the full depth of your complete and utter failure, Prince Roland."

Roland was taken aback by her bluntness. "...What?" he replied dumbly.

It was Staxos who stepped forward and spoke next, heedless of the fact that he was doing so without the Queen's permission. If she was rankled by his disrespect, she showed no sign. She looked and acted in complete control, as if that was what she intended him to do from the very start.

"Were you not given express orders from all three of us standing here not to join the fight without our approval?" The man's voice was level, but Roland could feel the cold fury rolling off of him in waves as he prowled toward him.

"I was given orders not to use my magic or my sword to aid the armies in taking the walls. No one gave me any orders not to go into the castle." Roland could practically hear Staxos's teeth grinding behind his mask at that reply.

"Cheeky brat. You think yourself clever, do you? Do you know what your idiocy has cost us? I would be within my rights to execute you where you stand for your treachery." He brought his staff before him and placed his feet as if he meant to do just that. Roland's hand went straight to the hilt of his sword, prepared to defend himself. He almost hoped Staxos was stupid enough to attack him. Even when he was in a very good mood, Roland hated this pompous ass. Right now, Roland was not in a very good mood.

Lyra placed herself physically between him and Staxos just as Ophelia's voice rang out from behind the masked man. "You go too far, High Sentinel. Prince Roland is a citizen of my kingdom and his actions are for me to judge as its Queen, not you. He will be punished justly, but not with death."

Staxos relented, grudgingly, and took a step back. Lyra was trembling, but she did not move from where her feet were planted.

"My Queen, this man's insubordination is only the first of his grievous crimes. We had the story from your men, Prince. You are also responsible for the death of my former apprentice, Georg, one of the most talented healing mages the Church has ever managed to produce. Tell me, isn't it true that you had the chance to save him and consciously chose not to?"

"That is not what happened. Two were mortally injured. I couldn't save both. I had to choose and he all but begged me to--"

"The stupidity of your judgment never ceases to astound me, half-wit. Even if your twisted version of events were true, that man was the obvious choice, tactically and morally. He was your only healer. If he had been there to heal the blacksmith instead of you, you might have had more mana with which to fight Lucrezia. On top of that, he was an ordained, high ranking member of the Church of Light. His life was worth more than the woman's. Even she had the sense to agree with that."

Roland's eyes darted to Natalie. Her face darkened and she looked about to say something, but was stopped by Arryn's steady hand on her shoulder.

Instead, Lyra spoke up, despite her shaky legs. "That isn't what she said, High Sentinel, and you know it."

"Silence!" Staxos's voice was as sharp and sudden as the crack of a whip. "I've had enough of you imbeciles coddling this irresponsible whelp! It is high time he faced the consequences of his idiotic actions."

His voice went back to a level, neutral tone, though his rage was obviously still present from the way he paced back and forth. "You are also accused of allowing the Shadow Queen's escape. Is it not true that you were counseled by your own man to open the gates from within rather than attack Lucrezia at less than full power? And that you chose to attack her anyway?"

"I had good reason to believe that-"

"And not only did she escape because of that foolish choice, but she managed to open a portal to the forbidden land and destroy Blackrock in the process. All that knowledge, up in smoke. Your actions were so foolhardy, I am tempted to accuse you of consciously aiding and abetting her plans. Fortunately for you, I don't think you intelligent enough to have the forethought to plot such a thing in secret."

Roland's outrage was plain on his face, but he could not think of a response to that.

"This is serious, Prince Roland," said his sister, still with the steady, cold voice of a Queen. "Your judgment has been shown to be sorely lacking. I believe it is time for you to hang up your sword and return to Alcamoth Castle instead of leading the armies as you have until now. No more traipsing about the countryside like a minstrel on holiday, putting yourself and others in grave danger."

Staxos all but growled. "Would that we could afford to retire him now, Your Highness. He has one more job for which there is no other suitable candidate. After that, if he survives, I intend to see he receives a far harsher punishment than permanent house arrest in his luxurious castle chambers. A jail cell for the rest of his days is what he deserves, and I will see to it he receives one. If he lives to return."

Ophelia's eyebrow rose at that. She pointedly ignored his threat to jail Roland. "This is news to me, High Sentinel. To what 'job' are you referring?"

"Isn't it obvious? He has to jump into the portal and kill the wench. Only then can we be sure Aether is truly safe from her."

"Can we not simply close it? If the land on the other side of the portal is as horrible as your scholars believe, would it not be better to trap her there forever?"

"There is no guarantee she has no means of returning once she finds whatever she went in search of. There is no other way to be sure her threat is neutralized than to send someone in pursuit and kill her."

"And you think it is so important that it is appropriate to risk the Prince's life in an unknown hell-scape to achieve her death?"

"Of course," he said casually. "What could be more important than slaying the leader of the Shadowspawn heretics? There is no task more 'appropriate' for the Hero of Light. The risk to Roland's life is, of course...regrettable--"

He nearly choked on that word as it passed his lips.

"--...but it cannot be helped." The tone of voice in which he delivered this speech unashamedly seemed to imply that he did not actually find the risk very regrettable at all.

Roland was confused by this exchange, as he still was not sure what "portal" the others were referring to. Apparently a gateway to another world, he guessed. That must be where Lucrezia went instead of staying to finish him and his friends. He wondered again what her plan had been that she would forsake the victory of her armies just to travel to this new dimension.

Ophelia sighed deeply in thought. "We have much to consider," she finally said. "Roland, you will escort me to my tent so we can meet privately and discuss this. The rest of you are dismissed. Thank you."

She stepped regally from her chair and began to make her way to the flap of the command tent. Roland followed her.

"Oh, one other thing," Staxos said offhandedly from behind them, as if it had only just occurred to him and it were the last thing on his mind. "The boy will leave the sword on Aether. We will not risk losing the most powerful weapon we have against the Shadow in an unknown world. He goes alone and without the sword. The Church will take custody of the weapon in his absence."

Ophelia stopped mid-stride and the corners of her mouth in its otherwise serene expression twitched irritably, though she was turned away so no one but him could see it. He'd taken her off guard with that, Roland deduced, but she had already ended the meeting and she could not reply without looking like a fool in front of her gathered generals and allied nobles. She walked out as if she had not heard him. Only then did Roland hear the others in the tent begin to stir and take their own leave.

The Fairchild siblings walked in strained silence back to her palatial pavilion, stationed as far from the front lines as it reasonably could be. Ophelia never took off her regal mask, not even for a moment, until they entered her tent and it was just the two of them. Once there, she abruptly rounded on him, her left hand went to her hip and her right jabbed him in the chest with a bony finger and she let her fiery temper melt her icy royal facade.

"What were you thinking, you pig-headed, bull-faced, light-blinded IDIOT?! Do you have ANY idea what kind of position you've put us in? Staxos, that slimy viper, didn't even wait an hour after you returned yesterday before he had his agents out spreading as many nasty rumors about your little sojourn into the Mad Queen's castle as they could come up with. Now those rumors have run their course. Half the alliance thinks you're a bumbling, incompetent nincompoop and the other half all but thinks you were on Lucrezia's side from the beginning and blew up the damned castle yourself! It's taken all the influence I have just to keep the elves and the dwarves from clapping you in irons. How quickly they all forget where they would have been without you. Now we can't refuse Staxos's mad demands that you go into the portal weaponless without it appearing as if we are refusing to fight Lucrezia in order to protect her. There is NO way I can protect you from this without sacrificing our family's good name and it's all your gods-damned fault!" With every angry statement, she jabbed her finger into his chest again and pushed him a little further back so that by the end of her tirade, she had him on his tip-toes up against the tent wall.

Well, Roland thought, that explained all the dirty looks he was getting earlier. "You're right, Sister. You're right. I'm sorry. I was a fool. If I could take it back now, I would."

She stepped back and let out a sigh to vent her frustration. "There's no helping it now. You have to go. And you have to leave the sword here. But I'll be damned if I let Staxos keep it with him. Our ancestor forged it. It's our birthright. He has no claim to it. No right to demand custody like that. I'll keep it from him if I have to hide the damned thing. That much, at least, I can do."

"Why don't I just take it with me anyway? It's not as if he could get it back once I was on the other side."

Ophelia rolled her eyes. "You never learn, do you? If you disobeyed the High Sentinel so blatantly--AGAIN--it would be as good as if you had personally confirmed all the rumors he started about you. You would get away with it, but I would be left with a crumbling alliance and possibly an open rebellion in my own lands. That is not an option for us. We must be smart; appear to work with him and defy him in what small ways we can manage. I hate it, but that's all we can do." She sighed again. "If that foolish man had just listened to me when he had the chance and relaxed the Church's extremist policies about eradicating all shadowspawn without prejudice, Lucrezia's armies never would have grown to the size they did. He berates you as if he is blameless in this disaster, but in many ways, it is more his fault than anyone else's. I swear, between the two of you, sometimes it is as if all men care to do is think with the hair on their chests."

Roland shifted uncomfortably. He had no rebuttal for that and even if he did, he knew better than to argue with Ophelia when she was like this.

"I was so sure when that castle exploded that this was all over. You wouldn't have to put yourself at risk anymore and could live with me in the safety of the castle. Do you have any idea how hard it was to have you gone years at a time, never knowing if you would live or die? You are the Hero of Light, and I know it was all necessary, but that does not mean I had to like it. Promise me you will return alive again, Roland. I already lost mother and father. I cannot lose you too. You cannot leave me to deal with that madman alone."

"I will return, Ophelia. I always have, haven't I?"

Some of the tension went out of her. She hugged him fiercely, as if she never wanted to let go. "Good. Then leave the sword with me and go ready yourself, Roland. Ride to the portal where the castle stood before the explosion. You'll leave within the hour."

She released her hold on him. He unclasped his sword sheath and handed Shadowsbane to her. He said his farewells and made his way to his tent to prepare himself for his long, lonely voyage to another world. There, outside his tent flap, he was surprised to find Natalie waiting for him.

"Natalie," he greeted, "I am glad you are up and about. I am sorry for your loss." He hesitated a moment when she said nothing and then the words began to pour out of him like a confession. "There was nothing I could do. I tried to heal him, but he turned me down and told me to save you instead. I could not refuse him. He is dead because of me. And if you hate me for that, I cannot blame you."

Natalie shook her head at him. "We have known each other a long time, so you know I am not good with words, Roland. But I wanted to let you know that I do not blame you for Georg's death, despite what the High Sentinel said. I wish he were alive and I were dead, but it was not your fault. Nor mine. Nor Staxos's, as intolerable as the man is. It is no one's fault but Lucrezia's. Hers and the cat woman who follows her. I just wanted to make sure you knew that before you left."

She did not wait for a response before hastening away, evidently trying to hide the tears falling down her face. Roland tried to accept her words and went solemnly into his tent. There, he suited himself for battle again. To replace Shadowsbane, he took a finely made sword Arryn had gifted him years ago. He made sure to take good care of it, so, even though it was not the mystical weapon Shadowsbane was, it was as fine a blade as could be found anywhere. He mentally prepared himself and slipped back outside his tent. He acquired a horse from one of the makeshift stables and rode toward the smoking ruin of Blackrock Castle. Before long, he crested the ridge of the crater and saw the glowing portal for the first time in all its glory. It was surrounded by Church mages, all struggling to keep it from closing, though by what means, Roland did not know.

He rode down the hill and, as he approached, he noticed a small group already gathered there waiting for him. Arryn and Marcus stood with Daniel Payne's body hoisted between them.

"About time, My Lord. We were afraid we'd have to leave without you!" Arryn called.

"What are you all doing here? The High Sentinel commanded that I go alone. You cannot be here!"

Arryn snorted. "The High Sentinel won't even bother himself to notice we've gone missing. We're just a bunch of commoners and shadowspawn to him, not worth the effort it would take him to keep an eye on us. If he truly thinks it so important to stop us, let him come and try. He will learn we are not so easily cowed as others by his threats and false rumors."

Marcus smiled and nodded his agreement before adding, "Lucrezia prevailed because we were not with you when you needed us most. You will not ride into danger alone again. We are your sworn men, Prince Roland. Where you go, we go."

Daniel Payne between the two grunted his assent to what they had said, but he was being held up by the other two and looked as though he'd fall over without their support. Roland shot the man a questioning glance, but the old man merely stared back defiantly.

"We tried to stop him," Arryn said in answer to his unasked question, "but he wouldn't listen. Stubborn as a mule when he wants to be..."

"I am not so old and helpless that you youths get to tell me what battles I may or may not fight in. I started this with you and I mean to see that I end it with you as well," declared Payne. His apparently iron resolve was contradicted by his wobbly, shaking legs that barely seemed capable of supporting his armored body.

"It looks worse than it is," he said reassuringly. "I'm always like this a few days after a shift. I'll be right as rain by tomorrow, I promise."

Roland was tempted to argue with him, to command him as the Prince to stay put and recover his strength, but he could not find the strength to turn him, or any of them, away.

"My friends," he said with a genuine smile, "I do not deserve your loyalty, but I am more blessed than any words can express to have received it anyway. Let us go then, gentlemen. No matter what may come, let us see that the Light will prevail over the Shadow!" He walked with them toward the edge of the portal.

"Ah, one more thing," Arryn said as he took out a stack of blank sheets of paper from one of his pockets. "Miss Lyra gave us these before we left. There's one for each of us. She says they'll help us adjust to the world on the other side of the portal somehow, but she wouldn't say exactly how. Apparently, whatever its effects, it runs out after a few days or if we rely on it too heavily." He passed a slip of paper to everyone present. Roland examined his carefully, but could not see how it was different from any ordinary paper. Still, if it was from Lyra, it was surely important. He placed it securely in his belt pouch.

"Very well. Everyone ready? We'll jump in together on three." Everyone nodded.

"One..."

Arryn rearranged his grip on Daniel so the werewolf was riding the big man piggyback.

"Two...."

Marcus gulped. Daniel gritted his teeth anxiously.

"THREE!"

They jumped.

@SilverFerae @ReverseTex @Avari
 

ElectricPizza

Lightning Fast Domino's Delivery
#50


"Raijin...please pull up your pants."

The now-human Lucrezia began to furiously blush as she turned away. Looking down at his legs, he noticed that he was, in fact, not wearing his pants correctly, leaving all of his "glory" for the world to seen. He calmly pulled his pants back up, but they refused to stay on the tiny human body he now possessed. He would have to find a solution to this. Humans can be so sensitive when people go around with their "private parts" exposed. Animals do it at all times, and are they criticized for it? No. Raijin failed to understand human to this degree. "I am sorry if I made you uncomfortable, Lucy. I understand to some degree that the exposure of genitalia tends to make humans either very uncomfortable. Though it is curious that under certain circumstances, it's preferred...a mystery I suppose..."

A metallic object in the sky roared past them, Raijin jumped at first but then he did not take much heed. He caught a decent look at the object, it was strange, sure, but it was noise that bothered the Oni-turned-human. It might be strange hearing a god of Thunder complain about noise, but the thunder he produced was music. This was not. The noise of the world around him was simply atrocious and more than just a bit bothersome. Lucrezia's voice drew his attention.

"Was...was that a giant metal bird? What sort of...realm is this?"

"Hmm? If me, Fujin, and Boreas were to fly together, it would be somewhat like what we just saw. Boreas's Wings spread out, Fujin's Windbag propelling us forward and I would just be making the noise. But I admit that I've never seen anything like this...and aren't you supposed to be the one with the answers o wise queen?"

Suddenly, two tall men, blocked off the alleyway.

"The city guard."

Some guards they were. Sure they were wearing matching dark uniforms, but they weren't carrying any weapons, much less wear armor. They wore strange black vests and carried some sort of indistinguishable object in what appeared to be a very short sheath. The man called out, "You there! Is everything all right down here?"

Though he did not have any powers, Raijin instinctively reached out and attempted to fire out a concussive wave of sound. Nothing happened and Raijin tried several more times with his other hand, making sure not to let his pants fall off again. In the end, he only managed a popping sounds out of his fingers, which only confused the guard for a moment, before he took a few more steps forward. His hand moved towards the object in the sheath and began to look somewhat cautious. "Sir, are you going to respond?"

Raijin began to spew words out of his life, as if he was caught in the middle of pulling a prank. "Everything is perfectly fine, sir. You are doing a great job guarding this city. I was not planning on...what's that thing human men sometimes do to women?...Ah! Rape!... I was not planning anything of the sort, sir. I am an honorable Oni, I would never do anything of the sort."

At this point, the guard was extremely cautious, as if expecting a fight. A quick glance back at the guard's partner revealed that the man behind behind the witch and the Oni had taken out a two pairs of shackles. "Sir, please put your hands where I can see them and do not resist. We can sort this all out back at the station as long as you cooperate."

"I don't think you would want me to do..."

"I said, put your hands where I can see them."

Raijin slowly put his hands into the air and his pants soon dropped back down to his knees. "Got any ideas, Lucy? I think he thinks I was trying to sexually assault you or something. I do not believe the fact that I am not wearing any undergarments would convince him otherwise in any way."


Rai Kaminari

Physical Status:
Mostly Naked
Emotional/Mental Status:
Slightly Panicking
Location: London - Unknown Alleyway

Interacting With: @Avari
Mentioned:


 

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