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Fantasy The White Rabbit Act I



Proverbs 17:9
SomebodyElse SomebodyElse se Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka Schnomoah Schnomoah
The dim illumination of these underground, water-filled tunnels didn’t bother Emmaline much. Darkness, the night, mortals might find them smothering but she thought they felt more like a warm, comforting blanket. There was little of warmth or comfort here, though.

Skip had remarkable eyes for a human. He spotted movement just as she did, though it hadn’t occurred to her to call out a description. “I see them,” she echoed back, her knife held ready as the crystallized skeletons advanced upon the boat. ...Upon her, actually.

Well, that’s not good,” she muttered dryly as the first hooked finger-bones into the side of the boat to try pulling it over. Emmaline slashed at the hand with her knife, severing several bones even as more hands reached up to join them.

More and more hands. Selene’s ‘They’re headed for you’ was obvious and she smirked despite herself as she heard Skip’s easy counter-observation, a remark she might have made herself. Only she couldn’t spare the time for conversation when arm after crystal-encrusted bony arm came after her.

The rocking increased, even as the boat seemed to pick up a bit of speed. “Right,” she said at last. “Maybe they don’t like vampires. Which is unfortunate for me, if it’s the case. Could be-” she paused, thought quickly, and reached into her pocket with her free hand. Emmaline almost lost it under their feet when a particularly savage impact hit, right when both of her hands were busy.

The vampire smiled slightly at Skip’s oh so casual question about her throwing arm. “Rather good, if I do say so. Let’s see if this makes a difference.”

And Emmaline promptly hurled her stolen crystal gem out across the water, skimming it off the river like a skipping stone.


Deadly Thorns
"Practical Solutions? I think we would need to deal with the mirror-ling or find the rabbit and leave before we die! Either way let's paddle out of here."

Selene shouted.
Selene grabbed the paddle and began to try to paddle them out farter down stream but the skeletons had grabbed the boat too tightly.
When Estrilda had asked what and Emmaline had said maybe they hated Vampires, Selene shook her head.
It had to be the crystal, which Emmaline seemed to get as Skip mentioned her throwing arm. She tossed it expertly as it skimmed across the river.
The shaking had stopped immediately. As soon as Emmaline ditched the crystal they had turned in the direction of the Crystal and started walking underwater towards it.

"Okay. That worked. I think now is a good time to paddle."

She said still holding the paddle and began to move them further down the river.

"So I've been thinking. I think it's time to be honest. I was actually here as a child. I mean not underground but here at this village. Before it was...so bountiful.
This may be a weird story but I actually used to be one of the witches at the Temple of Akroa. Yeah that temple with the literal demigod. That temple that services the continents by doing tasks.
Well my teacher had been Cordelia. She had sent me to deal with a ghost bothering another village here in Amityville. But I got lost and ended up here at the well and...well fell in.
I met some strange man in dark armor before he woke up and left. By the time I finally got the village I was supposed to be at, I had failed to remove the ghost. So I didn't last long after that, especially with the visions of the strange man." She spoke as if remembering a sad time of her life as she looked to the base of the boat.
It had been ages since she seen her brethren and to be honest it did feel like witches were quite hard to find outside of Mysticroft.

Selene kept paddling. They had made their way to a final room lightened by crystals. There was one big crystal in the middle of the room, where a small white rabbit laid crystalized.
A mirror-ling sat nearby hovering in a wall of surrounding crystals. Seemingly asleep.
Selene lowered her head as the boat had reached the end of the river, stopping near the land of the base of the room.
She turned to the others and put her fingers over her mouth to signal to be quiet, and pointed to the rabbit that laid trapped in crystal.
"So how we do wanna do this. We need to grab and go. But this feels like it's too easy." She whispered

The mirror-ling was like a wraith like entity, with a shadowy cloak although it had crystals protuding out of it's cloak like form, and glowing blue eyes, with rock like tentacle limbs that came out like a spider. It was an abomination. Yet another effect the mysterious first ones had left on Magnus. Selene had always wondered who the first ones are. Were they really invaders, what purpose did they have trying to take over Magnus.

Schnomoah Schnomoah Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka Epiphany Epiphany BloodInMyEyes BloodInMyEyes Captain Lycanroc Captain Lycanroc Soma Schicksal Soma Schicksal


Proverbs 17:9
SomebodyElse SomebodyElse
The vampire watched the crystal disappear into the dark water, followed by the crystal-lined skeletons pursuing it. Her brow furrowed slightly in consternation. While Emmaline was obviously relieved to have avoided immediate danger, why were the dead so drawn to a bit of crystal taken from the walls themselves? Was there some arcane property in the way the crystals were arranged? If only it were possible to follow the skeletons and see what they did with the crystal.

Selene’s words interrupted Emmaline’s reverie and she turned to listen as the boat got back underway.

A man in dark armor, you say.” The vampire thought about that before offering the human witch a friendly smile. “No one’s perfect, dear. The unpredictable happens. And, as it happens, that means someone your Goddess called has actual first-hand experience with the area. Smashing. That can only help us. I mean, plainly Akroa isn’t done with you yet, is she. Not if she called you out personally for this little quest.”

When the group at last reached the end of the river, the vampire peered at the rabbit-containing crystal before turning her full attention on the mirror-ling. It showed no sign of noticing their presence, which meant the element of surprise remained. Pleased, Emmaline turned back to regard the rest of the party.

She nodded to Selene’s rather good observation. “It does feel a little too easy. I’ll admit to not being much of a warrior, what archeologist is? But I can’t help but feel if we leave that monster here, it’ll kill who knows how many more poor victims before it’s stopped. Look at us, at the lot of us, we’ve warriors and werewolves and weapons all around. Let’s give it a go, shall we?”

Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka
I see that rifle you have, Skip. I suspect both of us have certain...shall we say ungentlemanly talents? Let’s put you at the base of the room, by the boat, or even on it if you think you can manage a clean shot despite the waves.”

I’ll circle the room and set myself up on the right flank over there, close as I can get to that wall of crystals without actually touching it.”

Schnomoah Schnomoah BloodInMyEyes BloodInMyEyes Captain Lycanroc Captain Lycanroc Soma Schicksal Soma Schicksal SomebodyElse SomebodyElse
The rest of you, go up the middle. Selene has history here and Akroa likes humans more anyway. Let’s see if she can lay her hands on the rabbit first.”

Then, if the mirror-ling wakes, you lot see if you can draw it out. Skip and I will take our shots when its attention’s distracted by you lot. If we can, kill it. If we can’t, pull back to the boat and flee with the rabbit. Don’t worry about me, I can catch up.”

Unless one of you has a better idea?”

Assuming no one had another plan in mind, Emmaline was the first off the boat, landing lightly and silently on the old underground stone. She padded her way along the walls, avoiding even a casual brush of fabric against the surfaces. Her rather form-fitting choice in leather clothes proved a practical choice as aimed to set herself up in the far right corner.

If and when the mirror-ling woke, it’d go for the people going for the rabbit…

...and she’d go for it, from behind. Emmaline drew both of her knives and waited.

Dmitri Tolenka

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Skip let Selene tell her story quietly. They all had their mistakes, though all told, some worse than others. The moral of the story certainly seemed applicable to a certain member of their group. It’s conclusion did leave him with a few questions.

“... How’d you even fall down the well in the first place? Noticed something shiny at the bottom?” he said. Though Selene appeared to berate herself enough, cruel levity was the best he had to offer here.

He did agree with Emma.

“The Vampire speaks the truth. Hells, this might be redemption for you.” he offered. Maybe even for all of them, he hoped. Further introspection could wait though, for they reached the shore, and more importantly, the Rabbit.

He expected something bigger. Like a good warhorse or plow-pulling ox.

I see that rifle you have, Skip. I suspect both of us have certain...shall we say ungentlemanly talents? Let’s put you at the base of the room, by the boat, or even on it if you think you can manage a clean shot despite the waves.”

I’ll circle the room and set myself up on the right flank over there, close as I can get to that wall of crystals without actually touching it.”
"There is sublime gentlemanly talent in the hunt and anyone who says otherwise is a filthy philistine." Skip said. "That said, this is a mirrorling and there's bugger all that actually permanently harms the bloody things. I've witnessed some very enthusiastic attempts."

He nearly harrumphed. Things should die when they are killed. Or more concretely, when they had half a bloody castle dropped on top of them.

"As for the plan, I suggest a minor modification. I can sneak around the back and just draw it deeper into these caverns on a wild goose chase. Feel free to join in. Oh, and for everyone, this is important: When you see me wink, don’t look at the mirrorling and cover. Your. Ears."

He looked at the members with more sensitive hearing and vision in particular. A bullet slid into place with a soft clack. Skip stepped off the boat, vanishing into the waters with not even so much as a ripple in his wake. The shadow cast by the boat in the water darkened, and his form vanished from view. Deeper in the caverns, in another shadowy crevasse, two dark red orbs appeared.

Skip, wedged between two rocky outcroppings well over the water, eased his rifle onto the target. This needed to be loud. Fire magic poured into the bullet. He cooked up a flashy, noisy explosion. It would do little to no direct damage, just a mild singe compared to his usual recipe, but that wasn’t the point. He winked at the group.

Thunder rolled through the cavern. The reverb shook everyone through to their teeth as just for an instant, the sun appeared in front of the Mirrorling. For a brief moment afterwards, Skip lit up his own form with a light flame, sure to attract the attention.

“AYYY Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!” he yelled. Only to promptly vanish into the shadows before the nasty snarly thing could feast on his delectable innards. Come on then, he thought, let's see who's the more slippery bastard.


Deadly Thorns
The pair had listened to Selene's story and made their thoughts regarding it. The vampire had mentioned that she wasn't perfect and how Selene would prove helpful for the quest.
It was true she had been here before but she didn't know this area all that much. Skip had much the same opinion although commented asking how she fell in the well.
Selene blinked. She actually didn't remember how exactly she fell in the well. That detail was too fuzzy to remember.
Emmaline had stated their plan to fight the monster due to how dangerous it was and how more could fall victim to it.

"W-wait you want to fight the mirror-ling? i mean but things could go wrong. It can't even be killed. The only way to trap it forever is through a spell I don't know."
Still the vampire woman spoke to skip relaying their positions and Selene tried to think of what she would end up doing.
Emmaline left the boat and flanked towards the right corner of the room. While Skip had vanished out of sight before firing some kind of bullet laced with fire magic, creating a loud noise of thunder and a bright sun appeared in front of the mirror-ling. If the mirror-ling was asleep then it was surely awake now.

“AYYY Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!” Skip yelled. Selene looked at him incredulously. What?!
The now awake mirror-ling chased after Skip, it's rocky form shaking the floor as it ran after him.

"I think we'll have a moment before the Mirror-ling realizes what's going on." Selene said to Emmaline.

Selene ran for the crystal and opened one of her books flipping through it quickly trying to find a spell that would release the rabbit.
"Uh....There's gotta be something here.." She said quickly skimming pages.
"I got it!"
Her hands began to glow as she touched the crystal that trapped the rabbit and the crystal began to crack before it fell apart and the rabbit fell into Selene's arms. The rabbit was unconscious. Selene had never felt a rabbit before and briefly thought they were quite soft before she realized they needed to head towards Skip before he probably died.
"Uh let's go hurry after skip."

Meanwhile the Mirror-ling had trailed after Skip deeper into the caverns. It roared as it's rocky form chased him. Soon enough the Crystallized Corpses from before had heard the roar and had made their way into the room with Selene and Emmaline before heading deeper into the caverns towards the Mirror-ling and Skip.

Epiphany Epiphany Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka

(Sorry for the low amount of detail. I've been busy.)


Proverbs 17:9
Legends were one thing. So the mirrorling can't be killed. In point of fact, at least in Emmaline's experience, most things could be killed, if you were patient enough to work away at it until something worked. But the creature had the advantage in that it could call up everyone it'd ever killed as a potentially invincible ally. She had strength and she surely had speed but picking a fight against numerous enemies she didn't know how to kill wasn't the smartest play.

Still, Skip was game for trying and she observed the result with interest, and a certain amount of resignation. Even if the mirrorling could be killed, it wouldn't die easily that's for sure.

While Selene went to free the rabbit, Emmaline nodded to the Witch and took up a guard position behind her. Even a vampire couldn't work magic which meant the only way to accomplish Akoa's objective was to make sure the goddess' chosen came through this.

"In the boat," Emmaline said urgently, once Selene held her prize. "He's going to circle back and we need to be ready to row for our lives once he does."

The vampire offered her hand to help the witch get herself and her burden aboard the rowboat with the others. The Emmaline climbed in and settled down with an oar, well aware that her strength and nigh-inexhaustible nature might be put to the test in outrunning the enemy. "Everyone, the instant you see Skip, start rowing. He strikes me as athletic enough to make the jump into the boat, so someone who isn't rowing make sure you catch him so he doesn't capsize us. The rest of you, row for your lives even before he's aboard. Between a little headstart and maybe a bit of a nudge from Skip, we might get underway fast enough to stay ahead of what'll be behind us."

Emmaline had sheathed her knives, needing her hands free for her oar, but she was all too aware of their weight even as she watched for Skip with eyes long since adapted to darkness. Could be a knife throw might be the difference between life or death here.

Dmitri Tolenka

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Two steps and a leap. The monster smashed the ground just an inch behind his heel into gravel. Skip barely held back a laugh. Dust swirled in his wake, a barely visible shadow that danced like a leaf just ahead of the monster. A smoky limb reached forward again. Skip leaned left and vanished behind a pillar. The monster pulverized it utterly. The sniper stepped out of the shadow of another stalagmite deeper in the cave just to give it the finger. The situation reminded him of the strange festivals from a southern kingdom. He just needed a properly skimpy uniform and a red cloth. It roared and charged, too angry to focus on anything else. Too angry to notice the two ladies busy stealing it's treasure right from under it's nose. For now, he could hold it and distract it. He could dance.

A voice clawed at his mind, urged him to go further, to push his luck more, to get ever closer to the edge. It would be so easy to duck forward and below one of it's swings. He shook it off. Skip had no idea what would happen if he even so much as touched a mirrorling, and he was not fool enough to try it out when so much rode on their survival. Perhaps this was the madness Selene warned about?

More complications arrived in the form of the undead. A pulsating light at the edge of his vision warned him at the last moment.

"Oh hi!" Skip greeted the challenger. Almost blindsided by a corpse of all things. He ducked beneath a swing, and rolled forward past the second swipe. In front of him more corpses, behind him an enraged mirrorling, and in his offhand a simple rock. He grinned and ran right, away from the boat, away from safety. The room held no exit there, the ceiling and the floor simply grew closer in a stone forest of pillars and a solid wall. Skip just needed to time this one very carefully. The mirrorling charged again, though with some measure of cunning. It let the corpses form a sort of cordon around Skip, before it made it's own move. Stalagmites exploded into gravel as it charged. Skip slid aside at the last possible instant while it crashed into the wall like a literal tidal wave. It's shadow flattened against the rock, but it reformed none the worse for wear, instantly on his tail. Faster than he counted on.

Still, he ran, straight for the shambling horde, hand cocked back for a punch.

The tattered remains of a tabard disintegrated beneath the power of the blow. His fist where a normal person would have their guts. Unphased the skeleton made for a grab, even as Skip opened his hand. The rock, now charged with his unique power, fell into the hipbone and got stuck on a crystal growth.

"Hold that." Skip commanded. His other hand grabbed the skeleton's clavicle and pulled. Combined with it's poorly coordinated grab and an enthusiastically applied boot, the skeleton stumbled forward and fell on it's face. Close enough. He had to get just a few more meters. Two others swung high for his head. He rolled. A hand grabbed his shoulder, he shoved it off and stumbled another step. The next skeleton bodily launched itself at him. He let it roll of his back, only to have yet one more grab his backpack. Turn, twist the grip, and- Skip's world went sideways. Pain lanced through his side. He blinked and tasted sand. The Mirrorling towered over him. Behind it lay the crushed remains of everything it had to charge through to get to him. I have you now, it's posture screamed.

"Bang." Skip said with a bloody grin, before it could crush him for good. The stone he marked with his fire burned as bright as he could manage for a brief moment. The skeleton he punched burst into bright flames. For just a brief moment Skip lay exactly in the shadow of the monster's leg. He immediately teleported out of the way. Prone, his sightlines were limited to shadows on the roof of the cave, but he could manage a brief fall.

It turned out that in his pain, he slightly misjudged exactly how high his teleport took him. The fall took long enough he managed to squeeze out a brief "OhshitCATCHME!"

Hello pain, longtime friend.


Deadly Thorns
Holding the rabbit was quite interesting. The little animal was incredibly adorable and soft and it crossed Selene's mind why did Rabbits die off in the first place? She felt like there would probably be an explanation but right now it wasn't important.
Emmaline urged Selene into the boat and they had gone off paddling to find Skip. Selene hoped he wasn't dead yet. If he wasn't then he would surely win an award for his performance and dumb luck.
They paddled their way to find skip. Hopefully he would be able to make his way onto the boat. As they paddled through the river. Selene began to call for skip.
"Skip! Are you there. Let's get out of here alright?" Selene called.
Just as soon as she called out, he had managed to fall from above before landing swiftly on the boat. Did he just fall from the air above them? Selene shook her head in disbelief.
"Oh that's convienent. Look we got the rabbit let's get out of here."

They had began to paddle however the mirrorling trailed behind them in the river, it's rocky form chasing after them along with the forms of various skeletal corpses that they had encountered earlier.
They would have to make it all the way back to the entrance of the well and escape out.

Selene didn't think they would make it. The mirror-ling had been faster than they could paddle. Suddenly to make things worse the cave began to shake. They had entered back into the previous room and the mirror-ling was forcing it's way into the area that wasn't big enough for it and the cave began to crumble.
"Shit! It'll take the whole place down. Skip can you shoot them with your rifle? We can't make it if they keep gaining on us and bury us in rocks." Selene said as she paddled faster with one arm while snugly holding the rabbit in another. The rabbit was still unconscious and whatever importance it had hopefully would be revealed when it would wake up.
If it ever woke up, Selene hoped. It would really suck if this ended up to be a pointless mission but surviving was more important right now.
"Emmaline do you have anything that could speed us up?" She asked the vampire.
Selene tried to think of some kind of water spell that might speed up the boat perhaps a wave but she didn't think she could much with both her arms occupied and she didn't want to drop the rabbit and make them lose everything.

The mirror-ling roared behind them shaking the cavern as glowing blue eyes of corpses trailed behind it. It looked quite scary like something out of a theater play from Dawnwall.
They were a straight shot from making it to the entrance but they couldn't make it at this speed.
Selene patted the rabbit trying to wake it up. She wasn't sure it would do anything but she tried to do so anyways.

Epiphany Epiphany Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka


Deadly Thorns
Eve had been forbidden from venturing to the tree of tradition. A young Yomei like her was still to recieve her training from one of the Elders. She had been waiting desperately for the choosing on her sixteenth birthday although the corruption had delayed the choosing. Against her better instincts she ventured out to the Tree of Tradition. A single apple would grant her the power to find out how to save her world. Although there was always a terrible price to obtaining power. But she could not bear to see her people continue to die to the corruption every day.
She had been walking for one hundred days now. If the council of elders would discover her attempts to mess with chaos then she would be cast out of the Yomei Tribe for good.
Her own family were victims to the corruption. A rocky path laid ahead. She was tired of walking. Tired of starving. She feared she would not make the journey.

As if the universe had heard her thoughts a velvet figure laid ahead. The thirst had blurred Eve's vision but she could hear the voice of a woman calling out to her.
"Are you tired child?" The figure spoke.
Whoever this woman was was unlike anything Eve had ever seen before. She seemed to glow and the blur of her vision prevented her from understanding her appearance. Her voice was like one of an old and powerful woman. Eve had hoped this wasn't simply a hallucination. She felt like she was talking to a serene mother. One she had never known.
Eve spoke back to the woman hoping this was not all in her head.
"Yes but I need to continue. The tree of tradition is the only way for me to assume the chaos and save everyone from the corruption."

The woman paused before speaking.
"I don't think the apple will help. Chaos is changing. So is the world. It is time for the world to enter a new age. This is as the prophecy has decreed." She said.

Eve didn't like hearing that. The prophecy stated that the world would be saved. For this to be the end of the world could not be true.
"This cannot be the end of the world! Not yet! The world will be saved. I have the seen the visions of our survival. We will live on."

"But you won't live to see it." The woman spoke softly.
Eve grimaced. People were not born equal. There were some more fortunate than others. She understood this. This was chaos. One could not stop chaos, only manipulate it to one's own needs. But always at a price. If her people were to die then others would live on. It was a shame the world would come to an end. How the elders had delayed this before was something Eve understood could not be done again.

Eve fell into a deep slumber. The roots of the earth grasping her skin as she became one with the ground. One with life itself. And the world died soon after.


Marcel had just delivered some jewels and was heading for an Inn when he felt the constant thirst for blood getting stronger. He was very tired after the long journey and it had been a very long time since he last fed on human blood so he forced himself to go on a hunt for a worthy human sacrifice.

Dmitri Tolenka

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Skip meant to say something along the lines of ‘Good job Selene’ however his everything felt like a bruise. That included words. The Mirrorling smacked him so hard the words still came out smashed to paste, reduced to a painful gurgle. His shaking hand reached up from where he lay on the bottom of the boat, briefly flashed a thumbs up, then fell back down.

Someone asked if he could still snipe. Well of course. He wasn’t dead. Sure, he suffered from a split lip, possibly a broken bone or two, and felt more bruise than man, but he was not dead. Not yet. He grabbed the side of the boat and dragged himself up. He rested the barrel of his rifle on the wood. The skeletons were so close he could practically spit at them. Easy marks. He settled on the closest. Some poor Fae, dressed in a tattered red shirt, about to throw a rusty pickaxe at them.

One shot.

The skull shattered, the corpse stumbled back, the pickaxe fell into the water.

The recoil stung like a red hot poker through his body. His aim drunkenly wandered over to the next target.

The distinct fangs of a vampire, noble garb and shiny golden rings on her knuckles.

One shot.

The bullet skipped just off the top of the ribcage and slammed through the neck, a clean decapitation.

He saw double in pain. This would not work. He simply did not have the rate of fire to deal with this horde, and the recoil nearly knocked him out with every shot. An idea struck him. Recoil. Recoil was the answer. He needed more of it. Recoil, the effect of action and reaction. Push something one way, and that something would push back just as much.

Or in simpler terms, if he filled the barrel of his rifle up with water, then used his fire magic to flash-vaporise it into steam, he’d have a rocket engine.

A rowboat would not be fast enough to get away from the horde, but a rocket propelled rowboat? Different story. Different story altogether.

“Hang on. I sorta got this.” he warned, and then leaned over the side. His poor abused torso yelled at him to stop. Skip steadfastly ignored the pain and propped the shoulder stock against the keel. “Here we go.”

Magic poured into the Fae construct. Red hot glowing streams of power crept along the frame. Water hissed, boiled and jetted out the barrel. The boat shuddered under the serious kick in the rear.

Stars danced in front of his eyes as Skip poured all his energy into his improvised propulsion. He tapped from the very last of his reserves. Everything he had. His hands blistered under the heat. A literal trail of his blood dripped into the water behind them. After this, they’d need to drag his unconscious ass up the well. Please, dear Akroa, give me strength, he begged. Just a touch further, they just needed to get to the rope.


Proverbs 17:9
The sudden arrival of Skip was welcome but what he brought with him...not so much.

Emmaline grimaced as a glance revealed the mirror-ling and its horde of crystal-encrusted skeletons drawing closer. They shouldn't be gaining this much. Rowboats weren't nearly as maneuverable as a good swimmer but, once underway and with momentum built up, no swimmer could keep up with a properly rowed boat. The drag of the water on bones, on the rock-like monster chasing them should slow those things down. And the way she handled her oars bespoke an expertise that came from a good five years spent excavating an underwater ruin, where she'd gained ample experience and practice daily. Practice she translated into swift action now.

The vampire rowed for all she was worth. She wasn't exceptionally strong for her kind but, by human standards, Emmaline could set a pace no mortal could match. No longer looking to the steering, she relied on the people in the boat to call out 'right!' or 'left!' or 'oh Goddess we're going to hit!' so she could concentrate solely on deep, powerful, rhythmic strokes that ate away distance in the narrow, water-filled corridors beneath the Well of Tears.

Skip looked the worse for wear. Selene wasn't much better, for what she lacked in battering, she made up for in nerves if a vampire could judge such things. At least the rabbit seemed content to sleep through it all. The last thing they needed was a stray, wild, panicking animal in these close confines.

SomebodyElse SomebodyElse
"Emmaline, do you have anything that could speed us up?"

The vampire looked up at her name and lifted incredulous eyebrows at the Witch. "If by anything you mean magic, I'm afraid it's not my area of expertise. If you know of something magically useful, why not hand off that rabbit to one of our companions in the boat here, or rest it down here at my feet? Free up your hands. Even if you don't know how to make us go faster, anything you can do to slow them down would be worth its wait in gold."

Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka
Emmaline was distantly aware of the cacophonous report of Skip's rifle as it went off several times. Anything to buy them time. His "Hang on, I sorta got this" wasn't encouraging but the vampire was too preoccupied with optimal, powerfully driven strokes of the oars to pay him any attention. Until suddenly the boat jerked forward at an enormously accelerated velocity. For her part, Emmaline's vampiric reaction time was just quick enough to pull the oars clear to avoid creating unnecessary drag. Instead, she turned to peer ahead and promptly used her oars to nudge and course correct the boat if it got off-center.

As the shore ahead loomed, her voice called out cheerfully over the boat. "All hands, brace for arrival! If you've got the rabbit, I'll get Skip!" Her eyes dropped to his limp, bloody, unconscious body and her stomach growled. The quirky smile on her lips faded slightly before she fixed it back on with deliberate intent. Delicious as he might smell, or taste, dining on free samples would likely doom them both. At least for the time being.

Instead, she prepared to help the boat along if it lost speed and readied herself to drop the oars and grab the man once they were ashore. The rope up awaited!


Deadly Thorns
Emmaline had told Selene to hand off the rabit to one of the remaining people although there didn't seem to be anyone left to hand it off to. She wanted to simply drop it inside the boat but the idea of the shaking of the boat making the rabit fall into the water was hard to bear. However she quietly dropped the rabbit under her feet, making sure she still gripped it snugly between her feet and tried to think of a spell that would help speed them up. She needed a bit of time to focus on casting and meanwhile Skip had managed to buy them some.

The fact skip was still able to snipe at all was quite impressive in a way. Selene could tell he was badly injured. He suffered a split lip and was bleeding. He had managed to prop himself on the side of the boat and fired off a couple rounds. The first shoot exploded the skull of a fae. "Nice shot!" Said Selene.
Another shot slid through the neck of a vampire, decapitating it instantly. Was skip able to do this the entire time? Where was all this being hidden?
Skip proceeded to claim he sorta had this and while that wasn't the most reassuring statement, he managed to fire water from his gun before seemingly being too exhausted and going unconscious.

They were at the rope finally. Emmaline announced for them to brace for impact. They had crashed the boat into the shoreline of the cavern and Selene hurried went to the rope, climbing it with the others following soon afterwords. Upon making it to the surface again she opened her backpack trying to find any kind of item or spell that would help skip's wounds.
She managed to find a spell to cure wounds and immediately had cast it upon skip. A yellow light had appeared over his bleeding wounds before they slowly closed.
She laid back exhausted on a bed of flowers in the garden above. "Well we made it." Selene stated to Emmaline. It was at this point where Selene finally noticed that Phobos had disappeared from the sky and Deimos had taken it's place. The smaller moon had given off less light, allowing the stars in the sky to be visible. It was a beautiful sight and Selene had managed to see a shooting star. However her vision was cut soon once the Rabbit had decided to jump onto her shoulder.
"Oh! You're awake now!" Selene said aloud.

"Ah what a good nap. Oh wow so you're the ones Akroa chose!"
"You've managed to grab me out of that dumb well so that's good. I bet you're all wondering what's so important about me."
So apparently the Rabbit could talk. Selene really wasn't used to seeing talking animals. That was usually left to intelligent monsters and races however this one had a squeaky voice that indicated it was a boy. Or man. She honestly had no idea how Rabbits aged. Or really anything about Rabbit biology other than small references to their appearance in books at the Temple of Akroa.
The rabbit was cute in a way. Selene had never seen one before and the squeaky sound of his voice was quite adorable. Apparently they went extinct during the first one's invasion.
"Akroa chose you all to save Magnus. You need to gather the Nemesis Artifacts and Present them to the Edge of The World. Only then will you stop Magnus from dying." He said proudly.
Selene paused. The Nemesis Artifacts? That would be incredibly difficult. One of those was owned by Lilith, the corrupted Witch of the Badlands. Another was the Cait Sith. Selene hadn't heard much about the Cait Sith. There were accounts of it being used once or twice to kill powerful beings however it had never really been accurately depicted where or how it had ever been found and it usually wasn't found long till after it had been used. The Dark Plate was supposedly worn by the evil Sepulchre when he tried to conquer Amityville although he had disappeared for centuries after the attempt failed.

"But Lilith had the lilith stone. She cannot be fought. She's raised an army of zombies as we speak. She's the most powerful witch aside from Adora" Selene said.
There was always a question to what would happen if Adora and Lilith fought. They would have had to have known eachother since Adora had been living for centuries. Selene knew that Lilith had once been a student at the temple of Akroa, although like her she was cast out of the temple at a young age.
"Well that's what you gotta do. Besides it's only like 3 artifacts. Except that the Cait Sith had been shattered across Magnus from being used too much."
The Cait Sith shattered from being used too much? This was news to Selene. That had many implications.
"So then where do we go?" Selene asked.

"I suppose you'll just have to visit various cities and ask around. So I guess you could go anywhere from here. I heard there's some ghost problems in a nearby village in Amityville called Valenwood Valley. Mysticroft Blimps wouldn't be too far perhaps only a week's walk away. The Capital City Mysticroft named after the continent would be cool to see. I heard it's entirely run by Magic.
There's also some missing people reports from the Whispering Forest here in Amityville as well.
Selene wondered how the Rabbit seemed to know all of this. It was likely they would have to head to an inn and find some rest before trekking off somewhere.
"I think we should find an inn in a village somewhere. Maybe we can sell some of these garden fruits and Vegetables" Selene said pointing to the garden surrounding them as she spoke to Dmitri and Emmaline.
Epiphany Epiphany Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka Julialikesfashion Julialikesfashion
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Dmitri Tolenka

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Years ago. His breath cast a fog. A fresh snow blanket kept children entertained. He remembered the smell of almonds the most. It was a fair of some sort, and a stall sold cakes with almonds. The seller were nice people, the kind who cheerfully chatted with their customers and genuinely cared for them. They asked Skip about his journey, and what news he carried, and if he liked the festival (Long, nothing memorable, yes). He indulged them for a while, just to pass the time.
The mayor wanted to grow this town. He wanted to get out from under the thumb of the local Viscount, to rule over a larger and more prosperous city than the people here dared to dream of. Eventually, in the future, the city would grow large enough to warrant a Viscount of it’s own if left unchecked. A position the mayor desired for decades now. In light of this, the current Viscount decided to send the mayor a two part message. The first part via a letter Skip delivered just that morning. The second part ambled closer with every passing breath.
Soulless abomination
She carried her hair in a ponytail. The simple made elegant through delicate care and the expensive red ribbon that tied it together. The locks shone in the sun, a light halo that highlighted her delicate features. One of her friends said something funny. It made her turn and laugh. She took this route many times before. It took her past her friends house and then the jeweller’s shop. She had a crush on the oldest son there. It was not to be, as her father had promised her hand to a nobleman for political purposes. The boy poked his head out the door and waved at her.
The night before, Skip had delivered a message to her room. She thought it came from that boy. The message said that she should pack for a long journey and wait out by a certain hidden grove.

No daughter meant no wedding, to either the jeweller’s son or the nobleman. It meant no more ambitious major threatening to usurp the Viscount.

Skip never saw her face after that chance encounter, not even during the deed itself.

"Are you just going to show bits of my past like a demented playwright or are you going to actually tell me what you want? I got things to do."
One day you will feel it.
" Feel what?"


Power mixed with life. Muscles realigned themselves. With an audible crack Skip’s ribs snapped back into place. The yellow energy danced over his wounds and knitted them shut seamlessly. He jerked upright as the spell surged through his body.

“WOOhooo that’s the good stuff.” he said, suddenly wide awake and quite surprised by that fact. He much more sedately clambered to his feet and gawked at his now pristine skin. Only a mild warm tingle remained of his injuries. He checked the others, no one else seemed hurt, though Emmaline gave him an odd glance. Oh yeah, Vampire and he'd just spilled blood everywhere. Oops? Well they could figure out feeding arrangements once they sorted out where to go next.

“We made it indeed. Thanks for that Selene!”

Then the rabbit spoke at them. The sniper boggled.

“... Though for future reference, I think that spell made me high.”

He calmly listened as the rabbit made some good suggestions as for where they should go next. He looked at his palms again while the rabbit talked, then pinched himself. Not a dream. He would just have to learn to live with it. Briefly he checked his rear pocket for an inconspicuous little book and attendant charcoal holder. Not for now, but maybe later.

“I’m all for the sale of some of the rarer herbs around here. I found a veritable field of moon-leaf back around thataway, that stuff always nets a pretty penny. Then I reckon we should head for the Whispering Forest. We can get there the fastest, and if those missing people are somehow linked to our quest I reckon they’re the most time critical as well. What do you think Emmaline?”

SomebodyElse SomebodyElse Epiphany Epiphany


Proverbs 17:9
The frantic race for life ended as spectacularly as it began; in the wrecked remains of the rowboat. At least they'd come through it alive. Well, mostly. Partially. Where were all the others called by the Goddess? When had they lost them? A noble part of Emmaline wanted to go looking for them but the sight of those incoming crystal-clad skeletons and the monster that made them soured her entirely on that thought. Hopefully they could go to ground and make their own way out, now that the main party had drawn so much attention.

Selene opted to go first which, on second thought, was the riskiest play since she was arguably the slowest member of the surviving team. But then, the witch also held the rabbit and that was the whole reason they'd come here so probably best to keep them both out of harm's way. That left Skip essentially unconscious and needing evacuation. "Thankfully for you, my dear boy, I'm stronger than I look," she commented to herself more than to the passed out human. Emmaline promptly used her knife to cut a section of the rope off, quickly tied the sniper to her and then began to climb out of the hole, hand over hand, grateful for the vampire's inexorable strength.

Once on the surface, Selene was able to work a little magic to get Skip up and running again, which meant Emmaline could finally catch her breath and pull up the rope. No sense in giving what lay beneath a chance to get out, after all.

Then of course the rabbit started speaking and the vampire just sat back down and marveled at the talking creature. At least until he mentioned Magnus and the Nemesis Artifacts. "Sorry, did you say save Magnus? The whole world, you mean? Just us?" She didn't know if she should laugh or weep.

As the commentary on artifacts kept coming, Emmaline pulled out her journal from her pack and began making notes on a blank page. "Perhaps we'll save the Dark Plate for last then," she said after Selene expressed concern. A flash of fang peeked out from the vampire's smiling lips. "Who knows? The other artifacts might be just what we need to win against her."

"But obviously our first problem is finding the bloody things. Our little friend here has some good ideas, though. I'm not unfamiliar with ghosts and we're conveniently nearby, why not look into Valenwood Valley first? We could sell what we gather here, although I'm not sure the three of us can transport enough to be worth the trouble. Or there's the Whispering Forest, as our friend Skip pointed out. We're already in Amityville, we might as well investigate the leads we have there, no?"


Deadly Thorns
Luckily the healing magic had seemed to work. Skip had gotten up loudly saying how the magic was good stuff. He continued on thanking Selene.
"No problem skip." Selene said.
While the Rabbit spoke about Magnus Emmaline commented.
"Sorry, did you say save Magnus? The whole world, you mean? Just us?"
"Oh goodness where are my manners. My name is Theodore, but you can me Theo." The rabbit said grabbing a carrot next to Selene that had grown in the garden.
"I'm not entirely sure what the cause is, but the world is in danger. Akroa called it the corruption. I'm not sure exactly what that means but it sounded like the whole world would fall to it if we do nothing. I think I'll be able to know more as we progress, I think I hold some knowledge locked away but I'm not quite sure." said Theo chewing on the carrot.
Selene made notes down as did Emmaline. When Emmaline said they might need the artifacts to win against Lilith, Selene choked back a laugh. Win against lilith? A world class sorceress with possession of the lilith stone, one of the nemesis artifacts already in her possession?
Selene didn't know how to feel. What was the corruption? Why were they chosen of all people? And how did having the nemesis artifacts change anything?
’m all for the sale of some of the rarer herbs around here. I found a veritable field of moon-leaf back around thataway, that stuff always nets a pretty penny. Then I reckon we should head for the Whispering Forest. We can get there the fastest, and if those missing people are somehow linked to our quest I reckon they’re the most time critical as well. What do you think Emmaline?”
Skip had a point, missing people did seem more time critical after all. Selene was suprised to see Skip openly ask Emmaline's opinion. Perhaps they were all learning to work together well. None of them had really known eachother for too long but it felt like for Selene that they were all connected deeper than what Akroa called them together for.
"But obviously our first problem is finding the bloody things. Our little friend here has some good ideas, though. I'm not unfamiliar with ghosts and we're conveniently nearby, why not look into Valenwood Valley first? We could sell what we gather here, although I'm not sure the three of us can transport enough to be worth the trouble. Or there's the Whispering Forest, as our friend Skip pointed out. We're already in Amityville, we might as well investigate the leads we have there, no?"
Selene nodded to the others before speaking up.
"Well it shouldn't be too far after all. I suppose the whispering forest it is then."


They had ended up camping close to the edge of the whispering forest. It had taken a couple days but they had made it to the forest. Dark leaveless trees were surrounding them everywhere, they were most certainly dead trees and the blackness of the wood was quite unusual. Soft winds blew through the forest as they sat on logs admist the cold permafrost covering the ground.
Selene attended the fire making sure the fire didn't grow too big to gain attention. She had since made a make shift pouch for Theo to sit in while they traveled on her belt. It wouldn't be a good idea for them to lose the rabbit.
Speaking of Theo he seemed to comment alot, which showed his intelligence despite being quite cheerful. It was quite refreshing for Selene, she was often more depressing she sound so the mood of the rabbit helped keep her tethered.
They had been cooking up a pot soup from vegetables they gathered from the Well of Tears. Luckily Selene was able to find some trees on the journey to the forest and the group were able to carve some of the wood into bowls they could use and took the rest as firewood. It was a good idea too, because they would have been forced to use the dead wood here in the whispering forest which wouldn't have been any good. Looking to the others gathered around the campfire, Selene glanced around and spoke up.
"So where exactly in the forest are we supposed to go? If people were here recently then maybe they left tracks?" How long had it been since people went missing in the whispering forest. The rabbit had commented that it wasn't uncommon for this to happen in the forest and Selene recalled many accounts at the temple dealing with corpses, missing people and horror stories about the forest.
Selene was hopeful they would be able to find the people before something bad happened to them. Selene noticed Emmaline and wondered if she had been eating well.
"I know you drink blood so are you going to be fine? How often do you have to feed?" Selene asked curiously as she began to pour some of the soup into a bowl for her and Skip. Selene hadn't really paid attention to whether Emmaline had been going out to hunt on the way.

Very Very Epiphany Epiphany Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka
(Maybe Cedar come pop in somehow?)


Space Mage
The scent of fire and food floated on the air from the edge of the woods. Cedar adjusted his heavy pack on his shoulders and peered into the distance in the direction it seemed to be coming from. He was exhausted. Just when he had gotten ready to set up camp, he realized someone else in the area had already beat him to it. It seemed like something a savvy adventurer would investigate. It was unlikely vampires or werewolves were cooking out here, so the fire was probably human. He preferred his chances with a few humans, and if they were friendly, he could use the company.

He had been plagued with odd dreams as of late, always a voice saying to go somewhere and do something. He gave little stock to dreams, but the increasing feeling of clarity and urgency these imparted to him upon waking gave him a matching anxiousness. Now, when he had finally decided to completely change his direction of travel for the sake of this voice, its instructions changed and he found himself at the doorstep of the Whispering Woods. Maybe he had ignored these dreams for too long, maybe the pace he had set was too leisurely, maybe he had actually missed some event he should have been present for. Or maybe, as he suspected, dreams were just dreams and he was a fool yanking himself along. Maybe this was cosmic punishment for wanting adventure. He would have sighed, but was trying to be quiet while coming steadily nearer to the foreign campsite.

The trees here offered little cover without their leaves, and he was close enough now that he could see a fire with three figures around. They did indeed all appear human from this distance, and if they were all thieves and murderers or whatever, he thought he was probably fast enough to outrun them. But maybe they were friendly. He didn't appear very threatening; he had a pistol, but it was hidden in his coat. His facial features were soft, the only sharp edges being the wide burn on the left side of his face. His hair usually covered it, but he had tied it up to keep every twig and web from decorating him. He wondered if he would make a better impression with it covered. He hesitated with hands near his hair tie, wondering if that was silly.

"Oh, bugger all," he muttered, leaving it alone and walking straight up to the camp. Please be friendly, he thought, stopping when he deemed himself close enough to see clearly.
"Hello! Funny running into someone else here of all places," he said cheerfully.


Deadly Thorns
Selene didn't think that people were likely to be roaming around in the whispering forest. However a new face showed up to their campfire. Selene had tried to keep the fire lower to not draw too much attention but clearly that didn't work. This newcomer appeared to be a Fae, announcing his arrival. She wondered what someone would be doing out here in the forest. Did he perhaps hear about the missing individuals as well.
"Um hi? What are you doing here in the Whispering Forest, are you here to find the missing people?" Selene called out to the stranger. She hoped he wasn't here for any sinister reasons. One could never be too careful although he didn't seem like a bad person. Still they had came here for a reason.
Honestly Selene was not sure where they would begin looking. Perhaps they could split up in different directions.
"So I'm guessing we could split up to search for the people? Or maybe we pick a direction and head there? Unless anyone knows their way around here?" Selene said contuining to poke the fire.
By the time they had gotten the flames down, Selene noticed how quiet the forest was. That was until she could hear cries coming from further away east. They sounded like whispers. Maybe that's why they called it the whispering forest.
"I don't suppose we follow the whispers then?" Selene proposed?
Very Very Epiphany Epiphany Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka


Proverbs 17:9
Talking rabbits. Emmaline Steele was centuries old and yet this was her first talking rabbit. A rabbit that might possibly be insane. Or a liar. Except a message had sent her to the Well of Tears in the first place so even if the rabbit was crazy or lying, something in his message must be worth listening to.

At last, the party resolved to start traveling. At which point Emmaline finally had to confront her nature and needs, which she mostly settled by offering to handle the night watch. Once her companions went to sleep, it was easy enough to ring the camp in ever-growing circles, widening out with vampiric predatory senses. Humans, mortals, they worried about something coming upon them in the night. For the vampire, they were what everything else worried about.

SomebodyElse SomebodyElse
When Selene asked her question of vampiric dining requirements, Emmaline offered a closed-lip smile in a way that was meant to be reassuring. "I need to feed...not as often as you do but I'm fine. Traveling's the best thing for it, actually. There's a great deal of prey to curb my hunger out here."

Her smile widened slightly and her eyebrow lifted in a playful gesture. "Of course, when I'm teaching at the Panoptican Academy, I make other arrangements. A few students usually who don't mind a periodic offering in exchange for private tutoring. Occasionally a lover with a particularly exquisite sensitivity to my needs." Emmaline shrugged as if there wasn't much to it, although the carefully concealed truth all along had been that she'd supplemented her diet by preying upon a thug, criminal or a beggar now and then when those willing weren't enough.

There was a gleam in her eye, though, as she looked at Selene. An invitation perhaps?

Very Very
The arrival of Cedar was preceded by his scent carried on the wind. For Emmaline's part, she simply glanced in his direction before mortal eyes could spot him. She was used to being the party's early warning system but the coming visitor smelt of Fae. No danger there, so no reason to ruin his entrance either.

Nicely enough, the handsome Fae went straight for their campsite and announced himself. Selene was naturally cautious, of course. For her part, Emmaline gestured Cedar to join them at the fire before speaking up.

"Whether you are or not, my friends and I are indeed searching the Whispering Forest for missing people. I'm Emmaline Steele. These are my friends, Selene and Skip. Might we have the pleasure of your name?"

SomebodyElse SomebodyElse Very Very Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka
Once the whispers began, the vampire smiled outright, exposing her true nature to the visitor as well as expressing her delight. "We've come to a Whispering Forest and we're actually hearing whispers. How could we not follow them? And perhaps we'll find our missing quarry has done the same."

Dmitri Tolenka

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Skip liked the travels. He liked to chat with Selene about the various herbs and such they came across. He asked if he could try and sneak away from Emma every now and then, with mixed results. Her vampiric senses made for such an interesting challenge he just couldn't resist to try his wits against them. He cooked with Theo watching. Mostly vegetarian, though if 'His Highness Prince Flufflebut the Third' annoyed him he'd catch a bit of meat. Variety is the spice of life as the saying went.

Today's menu was fully vegan though.

"So where exactly in the forest are we supposed to go? If people were here recently then maybe they left tracks?" Selene asked while she tended to the flames.

"They should have. Not all of them were skilled woodwalkers. There's bound to be some trace hereabouts, but finding that trace can take some patience." he replied casually and stirred the pot. Just a few minutes he reckoned. Emma seemed to pick up on someone. The casual way she leaned back told Skip all he needed to know about the level of danger involved. Sure enough, a lone Fae stepped into their little getaway.

"Hello! Funny running into someone else here of all places," the blueberry greeted them.

"As per what the lady here says, a pleasure to meet you. Seems almost like a divine calling some would say." Skip said. The newcomer's pants spoke of a life spent in luxury. Well worn boots and an easy gait spoke of many travels. The coat sported a slight bulge that might have been a weapon. The facial scar told him bugger all - Skip wasn't all knowing. An old burn or something?

His reaction to Skip's choice of words should tell them if Akroa sent forth backup. Before the conversation could continue, the woods themselves interrupted. Whispers in the air sent shivers down his spine. As if the forest needed an even creepier atmosphere. His dangersense tickled at the back of his neck.

"I don't like it. Sounds like someone's set up some bait to see what wanders in. To answer that question of yours Selene, let's not split. I reckon if whatever's at the heart of this is mean enough to take us all out in one go we won't have better odds going at it one by one."

Epiphany Epiphany SomebodyElse SomebodyElse Very Very


Space Mage
The woman dressed in a cloak spoke first,
"Um hi? What are you doing here in the Whispering Forest, are you here to find the missing people?"
"Maybe I am." He acknowledged it was an odd statement with a sheepish smile, but he was being candid. He remembered hearing about people going missing in these woods, but he wouldn't have dreamed that the abnormal pull he had felt revolved around them. "I'm documenting comestibles, I'm on a detour of sorts."

The other woman, Emmaline, introduced herself and the others,
"Whether you are or not, my friends and I are indeed searching the Whispering Forest for missing people. I'm Emmaline Steele. These are my friends, Selene and Skip. Might we have the pleasure of your name?"
"It's Cedar Kellamin, glad to meet you" he replied and welcomed her invitation to come closer to the fire.

"As per what the lady here says, a pleasure to meet you. Seems almost like a divine calling some would say."
Cedar nodded at Skip's comment, measuring his words.
"Yes—well, I'm not very acquainted with visions and mystical matters—but every night I hear a voice telling me to go somewhere, and I have felt a strange draw to these woods. I had an unpleasant disagreement with a merchant around the time it began, I'm starting to wonder if he knew how to cast hexes." He glanced at Selene as though she might know something about it. He knew that not all humans who were dressed like witches were necessarily witches, but Emmaline had said they were here to find the missing people. It was likely at least one of them studied magic if they were taking up such a task.

Cedar gave a start when whispers creeped out from deeper in the woods.
"Lovely," he murmured. Emmaline seemed almost amused, flashing a pair of fangs. Cedar yanked his eyebrows back down, trying to hide his initial surprise. He nodded in agreement with Skip's first two statements; the whispers were, in generous terms, shady. Even so, the three of them seemed fully prepared to investigate. If he was really here for some greater purpose, when was he going to have a better opportunity to carry it out with such a qualified group?
"I think we have the same goal. Or a similar one. If you want another pair of eyes in your search, I'd like to join you."

SomebodyElse SomebodyElse Epiphany Epiphany Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka


Deadly Thorns
. "I need to feed...not as often as you do but I'm fine. Traveling's the best thing for it, actually. There's a great deal of prey to curb my hunger out here."
Emmaline described the ability to find plenty of prey while traveling, and she spoke of the Panoptican Academy she would teach at. Selene wondered about this place. It sounded alot like the Temple of Akroa. A place for those to study and grow and where there would be teachers. Although the temple was more like church with duties or a shelter for scholarly witches.
"Of course, when I'm teaching at the Panoptican Academy, I make other arrangements. A few students usually who don't mind a periodic offering in exchange for private tutoring. Occasionally a lover with a particularly exquisite sensitivity to my needs."
When Emmaline spoke of lovers, Selene gulped heavily. She had never thought of vampires feeding in such an intimate way. When the woman stared at Selene strongly Selene had to look away.
"Um... well it's good your doing well." Why did that moment make Selene so uncomfortable? It was if the woman began to stare into her soul.

The others had noticed the newcomer as well and greeted him. Theo on his part spoke up.
"Wow I've never seen a Fae before." The rabbit said pointing his left front paw towards the newcomer.
Selene looked at Theo Quizzically. To be honest Theo had said he had no memories of being alive before being incased in the cave. He claimed he communicated with Akroa in his slept while trapped in rock.
"You've never seen any race before us." Selene said confused.

He laughed. "Yeah I guess you're right."

Selene looked to the newcomer before glancing back at the Rabbit. How best to explain a rabbit, a supposedly extinct species, much less one that talked.
"I..uh..We're sorta on a quest from the Goddess Akroa to collect the nemesis artifacts to stop the world.." She said shrugging.
"Yes—well, I'm not very acquainted with visions and mystical matters—but every night I hear a voice telling me to go somewhere, and I have felt a strange draw to these woods. I had an unpleasant disagreement with a merchant around the time it began, I'm starting to wonder if he knew how to cast hexes."
When he had mentioned something about a voice calling him to the woods" She blinked. Could the Goddess have brought him to them as well?
"Perhaps the Goddess Akroa has called you as she has called us. This little guy is sorta like our guide I guess." Selene said feeding him a carrot from the pot which the rabbit happily chewed on.
When the Fae who had introduced himself as Cedar spoke about some merchant knowing hexes, Selene spoke up.
"You are right to assume I am a witch. I'm not exactly the best with performing hex charms or spells, but I know some protective wards. Maybe that could help?" She said unsure.

When the creepy whispers began to pick up in the wind Skip voiced his opinion not to split up.
"I don't like it. Sounds like someone's set up some bait to see what wanders in. To answer that question of yours Selene, let's not split. I reckon if whatever's at the heart of this is mean enough to take us all out in one go we won't have better odds going at it one by one."
We've come to a Whispering Forest and we're actually hearing whispers. How could we not follow them? And perhaps we'll find our missing quarry has done the same. said Emmaline.
"I think we have the same goal. Or a similar one. If you want another pair of eyes in your search, I'd like to join you." Cedar said
"I suppose it's decided then. Time to investigate some creepy whispers. Welcome to our group Cedar, it's good to have you along.

The whispers had led them to the west where they were met with a path of far less dead trees as the trees began to become less thick. A swampy pond of tar was found with a woman who appeared to be in her early to mid twenties being attacked by what seemed to be three Giant Spiders. The woman held onto a lone tree branch about 8 feet in the air unable to get down or risk dying to the spiders.She was quite a beautiful woman. Selene had seen few humans who had ever looked as beautiful as this woman, she wore a pretty floral dress and a knocked over basket was over to the left of the tree a couple feet.

The woman seemed hopeless when she had noticed the upcoming group of adventurers. "Oh please save me. They're going to kill me." She screamed.
It seemed that they would have to rescue this woman from her fate. Was she where the whispers had been coming from? What were those spiders? Selene recalled reading somethings about the whispering forest but couldn't remember anything regarding monsterous spiders.

Epiphany Epiphany Dmitri Tolenka Dmitri Tolenka Very Very


Deadly Thorns
Selene had heard rumors about giant spiders as a child living in the whispering forest. The woman that was being attacked by the spiders did set off a cause of alarm and Selene was quick to try to cast a fireball at one of the spiders. Her hands began to glow bright orange with flames before a fireball was shot at one of the five spiders. The fireball caught on the spider and the spider blazed aflame as it hissed loudly in pain.
Quickly she hoped the others would help defeat the giant spiders with her. The woman looked suprised to see magic but quickly spoke up and pointed to another spider getting closer to her as she held onto the tree branch up in the air.
"Skip use your rifle to shoot that spider closing in on her!" Selene said pointing to the spider as it climbed closer towards the woman.

Dmitri Tolenka

Sic Semper Tyrannis
Skip quirked his head to the side. Any previous conversation he held at the time he just dropped then and there. What did they see here?

Basket cast off to the side, empty, perhaps used to collect herbs. Floral dress was poorly suited for hunting or sudden changes in the weather. All told no longer than a few hours of travel possible. Going by the surprise and distress, unaware or dismissive of the dangers of the forest. Apparently also unfamiliar with Giant Spiders, the beasts were excellent climbers and ambush predators.

Speaking of the spiders, those did not hunt in packs. Why were they even here? What about their webbing?

Utterly ignoring the cries for help he brushed aside the leaves underfoot. Unlike conventional spider webs, giants preferred to lay down enormous networks of silk wires on the ground. Anyone that stepped in the network of tripwires would not get stuck, they just told the spider exactly where they were. The creature could stalk and ambush anyone in the web at leisure. He found no sign of it here.

The whole situation looked tailor made to entice people to charge in blindly.

He dropped to one knee. The thing was, their particular party did not need to charge in, not with just five targets and a good long line of sight. They’d just crested a small hill. Range, about eighty meters as the bullets fly. Calm weather. He grabbed out five of the innocuous little brass constructions that fed his rifle and begun to pour power into them.

"Skip use your rifle to shoot that spider closing in on her!" Selene said pointing to the spider as it climbed closer towards the woman.
"I see it. Good burn." he said.

Bullet one hit the joint between the skittering monster's fat abdomen and upper body, threaded carefully between the two tough looking carapaces. The thing about joints is by their very nature, they need to move. They need to have space for muscles or tendons. They need to be weaker than any armour around it. Even so, it appeared that the single back injury alone would not stop the beast. Skip let his sight wander over to the next shot.

"Bang." he said absently.

The little lead pellet embedded deep in the spider burned in a brief but intense inferno, engulfing the monster with flame from the inside out. Shrug off that.

"Emma. Any sign of people or creatures on our flanks? This just seems like a trap." he asked.

Bullet two lightly gouged a trace over the rear carapace of the spider closest to them, just in time to bury itself in between the leg and body joint of the one behind it. Searing hot flames burned all over the right side of it's body. Wounded or dead did not matter, that thing was effectively out of the fight for the moment.
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Proverbs 17:9
A beautiful woman, all alone in a haunted forest and perfectly positioned to be a helpless victim? Emmaline had seen tricks like that before. Hell, she'd been the beautiful woman in distress before, when it got her close to a mark...or just needed to eat.

Trap. So obviously a trap. But it was unlikely the bait expected them to have a Witch. Selene once again proved her value by conjuring up flame from nowhere. Emmaline shook her head slightly in rueful regret. She'd made an extensive study of magic and had written a few books on the subject. But she couldn't use any herself. That gift was reserved for Witches and that wasn't a job one could just sign up for.

When Skip echoed her thoughts, Emmaline only said, "Good idea, I'll check." No need to rush in when her companions were so good at ranged fire. And Emmaline's senses were superlative, particularly in gloomy forests. The vampire drew a knife for each hand and carefully studied the forest for signs of ambush, even if it was just more spiders turning up. Skip and Selene were good at killing from a distance but Emmaline had been killing up close and personal for centuries. She was looking forward to a bit of knife work.

Particularly if it made that poor damsel in the tree receptive to, oh, say a bit of a reward for working up an appetite?

Emmaline simply smiled to herself at her own predatory nature and focused instead on protecting the flanks of her party while staying in-character as the archaeologist she genuinely was now.

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