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  #201  
Unread 25th of October, 2006, 04:59
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Juni pretends to look out the window while the serving girl pours the steaming water into the pitcher on the washstand. She can hear the girl fussing with the pitcher and the strongly scented soap and the fresh linens, and it seems that she can almost feel the girl dawdling and pausing to look with intense curiosity at the mysterious, cloak-shrouded figure standing by the window.

Oh, it's all in my head, Juni tells herself. She's probably just waiting around for Blarth to remember to tip her. She wills this newly acquired paranoia away, and concentrates instead on being inconspicuous. Looking down at the floor she notices with dismay that she has not put her shoes on today - her feet are still bare!

"Ahem," says the girl behind her. Furtively, Juni glances back, catching a glimpse of the girl out of the corner of her eye. She's giving Blarth an expectant look which turns into a frown when the half-orc fails to notice. The girl rolls her eyes and folds her arms over her chest.

"Don't think I don't know what's going on here," she says, looking first at Blarth then at Nicos. "I know you only paid for two in the room. That one there," she nods at Juni, "doesn't belong up here. There's some who would be plenty pleased to hear news of her, plenty pleased!"

She pauses, a triumphant look on her face, while the other three occupants of the room each gasp in surprise.

"Mistress Molar don't hold with so-called gentlemen having floozies up to their rooms to help with their baths, or whatever other shenanigans you all have been up to. I heard the commotion before, so don't bother to deny it. She'll be only too happy to throw the three of you out on your arses!

"Of course, Mistress Molar don't have to hear about none of it. You play your cards right, and you can keep the floozy and I'll just go quietly about my business. Which, by the way, is heavy work - turnin' beds, and scrubbin' floors, and haulin' water up and down the stairs for next-to-nothing!"

At this, the girl holds out her empty palm, in case the so-called gentlemen still don't get the hint.
  #202  
Unread 26th of October, 2006, 10:19
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Nicos instantly reacted to the girl's innuendo with a grin.

"It is strange isn't it," he said as he apparently absently dug around in his pack. "That the honourable people - like yourself - who do all the hard work get paid the least. It never did seem fair to me."

Pulling out a small silver coin from his bag, the bard held it up to examine it in such a way that it would gleam at the girl.

"It seems just as unfair to me, how too many people sometimes find out personal, things when everyone can profit by just staying quiet. For instance were someone to find out about the ... private entertainment a couple of travellers have arranged, it would be better if no one else heard about it."

Reaching out to hand over the coin, Nicos held it back at the last moment.

"Understand?"

"Yeah," the serving girl said, her eyes flicking from Juni's cloaked figure the the coin held just before her. "I got it." Grabbing the offered coin, the girl quickly hit it somewhere on her person and with one last glance at the group left the room.

Securing the door after the serving girl left, Nicos dropped down on one of the bed, the grin sliding from his face.

"Well now she'll either not tell anyone, or tell people the wrong thing. Either way our secret is safe."
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  #203  
Unread 27th of October, 2006, 12:37
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Juni has gone quite pale. The serving girl's threat to tell someone about her presence here in the room had frightened her. Even if all that came of it was that she and her friends - the nice folk who had gone out of their way to help her - were thrown out on the street, it would be bad.

She looks at Nicos, who seems satisfied that his coin and his little performance for the girl's benefit will keep them safe. His confidence in turn helps boltser her confidence a bit. A little color brightens her cheeks again.

"I've never been called a floozy before!" She laughs to think of it. "Lady Couertney would faint dead away if she heard!

"Oh, but I wish that Shade would return soon! I need to try to find a way to escape the city, and I was hoping for her advice."
  #204  
Unread 27th of October, 2006, 12:48
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Now that the disaster is over, Blarth takes off the leather vest that he wears, being careful, as always, to keep the beads on it from catching on anything. Tossing it on his bed, he starts to unlace the stings at the front of his shirt, stopping only when he notices the startled looks on Juni & Nicos's faces.

"Oh, right. Humans don't generally bathe in front of others. I suppose that you'll want to find somewhere else to be for a bit?"
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  #205  
Unread 29th of October, 2006, 23:37
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"Just let me get my shoes on!" Juni replies, looking quickly away from Blarth as he begins to unlace his shirt.

In a moment, she is ready to go - shoes on, sword belted at her waist, and hooded cloak covering her nearly from head to toe.

"Lead the way," she says to Nicos.

Last edited by Kelemyn; 31st of October, 2006 at 09:58.
  #206  
Unread 31st of October, 2006, 09:57
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Posting for Gralhruk:

The roof above the guild was hardly the best place to try and make an escape. Sling bullets sang off the stone face of the parapet almost as soon as she cleared it - if she hadn't come over in a rush and rolled immediately, they might well have taken her out. Sticking to shadow and using the irregular projections as cover, she made it to within 10 yards of the edge without injury. She breathes a brief prayer to the god of chance, then sprints for the edge. A figure looms out before she gets there, but she stiff arms him back and he stumbles toward the edge and disappears. She leaps. The next roof is lower than this one and the alley is narrow, elsewise she never would have made it in her weakened state; she tumbles when she hits in as controlled a manner as possible. She ends up skinning her knees and banging one elbow painfully. More sling bullets snap off the stone around her and she pounces up and caromes toward the edge once more. This time the alley is narrow, the roof only slightly lower but steeply pitched. She hits near the edge and slides, saved at the last instant as her foot catches on the gutter. She starts working her way across recklessly, sliding twice more but neither as close a call as that first, and finally turns the edge, putting some cover between her and the thieves beyond. All around she can hear their calls as the relay her position to one another in code. Grimly, she eyes the next jump.

***

In the alley behind the Traveller's Wineskin, a battered figure slinks painfully. Shade was at the limit of her strength, but she had given her pursuers the slip for the moment. Every bone in her body ached, her head felt like someone had dropped a series of progressively larger bricks onto it. It was with willpower alone that she moved, exhausted yet still coherent and fearful enough to stay hidden. A single story above is the window to the room where Blarth, Nicos, and Arjuna were secreted. It felt like weeks ago since she had set out from the little room, tired but recovered from injury. In truth, it had been only hours and here she was again, in worse shape than before and ready to impose on their goodwill once again. She was too tired to care that she didn't deserve their help.

The distance is laughable and the climb should be ridiculously easy, but at this stage it is one of the most difficult ascents she can recall. The window is shuttered and she slides her dirk from it's boot sheathe; with shaking hands she moves to slide it between the edges of the wood and lift the latch. Before she can begin the task she is gripped with a sudden chill. Her hand jerks erratically as her body begins shivering uncontrollably, strength ebbing from her into the dark void that suddenly sits on her back. Even as the icy limbs wrap around her and her lips turn blue, a name skates across the frozen surface of her mind: Salwisse.

The shadow had trailed her where the others had failed, come to seek revenge for the assault on her master. Shade's already weaked fingers slip from their hold and she vainly tries to grab onto something, anything, to stop her fall. All around, the world goes from gold to grey as her eyes cloud over. The world is a silent jumble of black and silver, the bricks below made of lead and sprayed with black cobwebs. She hits in a colorless explosion of numbing pain, shocked that the impact doesn't cause her to shatter into a thousand frozen pieces. The world is fading fast now as she crosses into the shadowland where Salwisse dwells, the cold hard void where nothing human can survive.

So close

It is all she has time to think before all movement is impossible and she drifts, unfeeling, into the sleep of death. Yet there, as she hovers in numb comfort at the door, all wounds forgotten, there comes a sudden sharp pain at the hollow of her throat. She gags as lightning arcs across her brain in a red haze. Above her dying body, Salwisse is suddenly suffused with energy and howls without sound as her very being is disintegrated, the only remnant a vague black outline blasted into the brick behind her. Shade's world is now a blue white vortex of pain, an argent spear transfixing her throat cutting off speech and breath. With monumental effort, she tears at her neck, clawing fingers seizing and yanking on the silver charm that hangs there. It pulls free and her body pulls in deep, shuddering breaths of air. Next to her, the pendant of Hieroneous glitters in the sun.

***

As Arjuna turns to go, there is a sudden scrabbling at the shutters that bar the window. Then the wood rattles with a dull impact, follwed quickly by a slither and a second, more distant crash. In a tiny patch of shadow in the narrow alley below, Shade's battered body lay still as stone.

Last edited by Kelemyn; 1st of November, 2006 at 04:43.
  #207  
Unread 31st of October, 2006, 13:40
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Being the one who was supposed to be staying in the room, Blarth is quite naturally in the best position to respond to the sound at the window. Curious to a fault, he unbars the shutters, a precaution that Nicos had taken to ensure that wandering eyes in other buildings wouldn't spot Arjuna, and the looks out.

At first he sees nothing, but that's mostly because he's looking in the wrong direction, out. When it finally occurs to him to look down, Shade's form on the street below is painfully obvious to the half-orc. Painfully, because she is obviously badly injured.

Not stopping to tell Nicos and Juni what he saw, Blarth dashes from the room, heading outside in a hurry.

"You shtill havn washt!" Mistress Molar scolds as he rushes through the common room.

Out in the alley, it takes Blarth a moment to find Shade, hidden as she is behind some debris. Probably whatever remained of what she had used to shorten her climb. A top down prespective had made finding her so much easier. Rushing to her side, it doesn't take Blarth long to realize that Shade is in a world of hurt.

"By Gruumsh, she needs healing, but Nicos is still upstairs and carrying her through the common room would attract way too much attention."

Reaching into a place in his mind which he had never fully explored, Blarth summons the will to do something he had never tried before.

As the half-orc concentrates, a slimy goo forms on Shades wounds, accompanied by a low hum. As the hum gets louder, the goo migrates to Blarth's body, leaving behind clean, mostly healed flesh, and taking up positions on Blarth's body in positions which corresponded to the ones they had vacated on Shade. Finishing with a bang, the slime tears into Blarth's flesh, leaving him suddenly sore and ragged all over.

"How sweet. A mind healer sacrificing his own life to save a friend," a voice speaks stepping from the shadows to gloat, "to bad she will not be able to appreciate gesture. Neither you nor she will be of this plane much longer."

Streaks of magical power fly from the shadow, striking both Blarth and Shade with unerring accuracy. The division of power, however, left them insufficent to finish either form. Blarth's healing had been far more potent than the shadowy figure had realized, and Blarth was not a true mind healer.

Unleashing the full beastiality of his orcish heritage, Blarth grows the full snout of teeth he had teased Arjuna with earlier, and steps over the still prone form of Shade before him. If shadows had looks, it might be said that this one's turned from gloating to shock as the half-orc's teeth rip into its form.

The shadow, however, proves to have little substance for Blarth's teeth to find purchase on, and it recovers quickly, flowing back out of the light and disappearing from sight. "Nice teeth, but they will prove nothing more than a temporary inconvenice for me. Both you and she will still die, it will just take longer than I first thought. I hope you enjoy a painful death."
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  #208  
Unread 2nd of November, 2006, 22:38
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Juni runs to the window to see what it is that sends Blarth dashing from the room.

"It's Shade!" she says to Nicos. "She's fallen!"

Before she can turn away to follow after Blarth, the half orc appears in the alleyway below and rushes to Shade's side. Juni watches in awe as Blarth uses psychic energy to heal Shade's wounds. Then there comes a voice that sends a chill down her spine.

"There's something else there..." Something that is difficult to see from the window, but Juni looks where Blarth is looking. "A shadow? Nicos, what is that?"

Then the thing attacks. It is like something from a child's nightmare: the shadowy, insubstantial, man-like form; the cold, unearthly voice. Juni has never imagined such a thing. Blarth's transformation is much less shocking, since she had gotten a glimpse of it earlier. But his teeth seem to have little effect on the creature other than to drive it back into the shadows where it cannot be seen.

Juni's first thought is to strike out at the thing psychically, her mind direct to its mind. But she can't seem to target it. The shadow's mind... if it has one... is too foreign.

Frustrated, but unwilling to watch while her new friends become victims of this shadow creature, Juni turns away from the window and runs for the door.
  #209  
Unread 2nd of November, 2006, 23:49
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"It's Shade!" she says to Nicos. "She's fallen!"

Moving up besides the young woman, Nicos looked out in time to catch Blarth's emergence. Turn between rushing down to help and staying to guard Juni, the bard is there in time to witness the half-orc's strange healing. Relieved that the women is safe in his care, Nicos stepped away towards their gear. If Shade was back and in such dire condition they would be leaving soon, and would need to be packed and ready.

"There's something else there..." Something that is difficult to see from the window, but Juni looks where Blarth is looking. "A shadow? Nicos, what is that?"

Rushing back to the window, Nicos peered out and spotted a shadowy figure moving, the details obscured from his vantage.

"I don't know."

Then a fight breaks out and Nicos finds himself once again torn between rushing to the aid of his friends and once more finds the decision taken from him as Juni rushed from the room.

"Juni! Wait! Don't .. Dammit!"

Grabbing a wooden bowl from a low table in the room, the bard quickly sang a simple tune over it until the stained wood burst into light. Tossing the object out the window, he then turns and raced after Juni.
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  #210  
Unread 3rd of November, 2006, 03:23
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*clank* *clink* *clatterclatterclatter*

The sound of the bowl hitting the ground and settling there is secondary to the effect it has on the conditions of the battle. The alley way is now bathed in light, except for the humanoid shaped form that seems to defy Nicos's spell. A shadow with no source, it chuckles and says, "So you were not alone in that room. No matter, I will deal with as many as needs be to finish this."

Gliding forward silently a terndril of darkness snakes out towards Blarth. Instinctively the half-orc raises an arm to defend himself, a gesture that seems futile given the lack of any shield on the arm, but the glow of light as the tendril snakes forward reveals the same mental shield that deflected Juni's blow just a few minutes ago. This time, however, it proves to be insufficent, as the tendril pierces through the glow and wraps it's way into Blarth's arm.

Hissing, Blarth feels the coldness of the shadow's touch and flinches as it seems to draw the heat out of his arm. As the tendril pulls back, Blarth's arm feels heavy, tired, and falls to his side nearly useless. Cradling it with his other arm, Blarth tries to rub some feeling into it as he eyes the shadow wearily. He is tempted to lash out and bite the creature again, but doing so seemed to have no effect last time, and he certianly didn't want to give it another chance to snake its tendrils around him again. Growling like the wolf his face now resembles, Blarth focuses his mind on the air around him, hardening it into a barrier that even the shadow's touch cannot penetrate. Not caring about who notices, Blarth allows this barrier to show itself, a faint glow that seems to buzz with excitement.

"More light? Is that really the best you have?" the shadow mocks, as it reaches out to touch Blarth again. This time, however, its tendril encounters more resistance and stops short of reaching Blarth.

"Ah. A mind warrior as well as a mind healer then? You only delay the inevitable."
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  #211  
Unread 8th of November, 2006, 22:17
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Juni stands just outside the back door of the inn, breathing hard from her dash downstairs. She stares with numb horror as shadowy tendrils reach out from the main body of a dark, indistinct form hovering in the alley, weaving in a smoky dance toward Blarth.

Shade is still lying on the ground. Dead? Juni had seen Blarth heal her, but maybe it had been too little too late.

Focusing on Blarth and the shadow again, she is heartened when the half-orc throws up a glowing, mental shield between himself and the attacking creature, and the shield stops the advancing tendrils of shadow. She concentrates briefly herself and, following Blarth's lead, allows the psychic armor she calls into being to be seen also. Then she steps forward with her hand on the hilt of her sword, a small figure wrapped in a black cloak, surrounded by a faint blue luminescence.

"He is not alone."
  #212  
Unread 9th of November, 2006, 14:18
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The frigid grip of shadow slid away as Blarth's healing energy surrounded her; within, Shade's mind is wrenched back to reality, torn away from the dew drenched world of night toward which she had been pulled. Her grey eyes are open yet still unfocused. Color had not returned to the world and her numb mind struggles to make sense of what she sees - shadows are darker than ever - alive and oily, yet somehow her eyes penetrate their depths. The world around is on the one hand hazy and indistinct, yet full of unnatural clarity.

Above her, Shade recognizes Blarth by his bulky outline alone, unable to make out his features. Facing him is a large, lean man of indeterminate age, colored entirely jet black - face, hair, cloak, teeth, eyes - all of it a gleaming, liquid onyx. His hands were abnormally large, with nails like talons. These he held like weapons, bobbing and weaving with serpentine grace.

His voice sends a shudder of recognition through her. Salwisse had never spoken aloud, but from time to time Skathros' pet shadow would project her voice into Shade's mind, with that same discordant sibilance.

She rolls back and to Blarth's left, out of range when she comes to her feet. Whatever this thing was, it stood between them and safety. Steel whispers as her blades slide free. Blinking her eyes against the light, she echoes Arjuna.

"Not alone at all."
  #213  
Unread 9th of November, 2006, 14:33
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Half out of breath from rushing after Juni, Nicos burst into the courtyard after everyone had already spoken.

"Okay, I'm here," the bard said through his heavy gasps as he looked from the shadow to his companions who stood with their weapons drawn. "Is that the bad guy? ... What?"
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  #214  
Unread 10th of November, 2006, 04:58
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"It's ... something bad," Juni answers Nicos without taking her eyes from the scene in front of her. "I think it's dead, but not dead," she continues, trying to explain what the shadow's mind felt like when she tried to target it from upstairs. "Undead. Like an animated skeleton come to life again and walking around. Only not really like a skeleton because it's made of shadow."
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Unread 10th of November, 2006, 05:55
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If a shadow could be said to gaze impassively, that is most likely what the one now facing the group would be doing, as it seems unimpressed by the sudden shift in the numerical odds.

"Futile efforts, all. Mere weapons cannot harm me. You will all share the same grave if but a bit later than expected."

Its smokey tendrils sliding forward again, the shadow attempts to "embrace" Blarth once again. The light from Blarth's defenses flares as the tendrils come in contact with it, repulsing them once again, but only by a very smaller margin. At the same time, Blarth snaps at the smokey tendrils with his teeth, but finds no purchase as they stream almost gently out of his mouth.
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  #216  
Unread 10th of November, 2006, 13:39
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Shade circles, as usual seeking to flank the enemy but she moves through a world of grey, her opponent the only clear thing in her view. Despite the clarity, the thing is elusive; she finds herself unable to find a weakness in its defenses. Having experienced first hand the way these creatures could sap your strength, she is wary as well.

She shakes her head in frustration, unused to being so indecisive in battle. With each passing moment the tension in her builds, willing her to strike and make some effort to break the stalemate. Instead she feints and circles, finding her eyes drawn almost hynotically to the stark blackness of the creature, the minute and subtle play of inky eddies along its body.
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Unread 10th of November, 2006, 14:35
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Undead ... Shadow.

Nicos looked that the figure that he could quite clearly wasn't human in the light coming from the enchanted bowl. He knew about shadows, or at least he knew and had told a number of tales about them, and the bard ran over what every tale had said about defeating them. One common theme was magic, Blarth's orcish magic was in showing when the evil creature tried to attack him, but that he hadn't used any offensive meant that he couldn't. The handful of parlour tricks Nicos himself knew were all useless in a fight.

The other common theme in defeating a shadow was holy powers. Paladins and other servants of the Gods all were quite successful in calling forth the glory of their patrons to destroy the undead, or even just turning healing magic into -

"I think I know how to kill it," Nicos called out suddenly wide-eyed. "But it will take me a moment, you'll have to distract it until then!"

Not waiting for the others to respond, the bard shut his eyes and began to sing in the elven tongue that Saelyn had taught to him all those years ago.
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Unread 11th of November, 2006, 05:49
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Distract it? All right...

Juni circles the shadow, matching Shade's movement but in the opposite direction. She can't tell which of them the shadow is watching most carefully, but it can't possibly focus on all of them at once. Its silence worries her - a moment ago it was boasting and bragging about sending them all to an early grave. Had it heard Nicos' words? If it had, it might ignore all the rest of them and go after him before he has a chance to do anything.

She advances quickly, almost before she knows what she is going to do. Vywodor's sword reflects the bluish light of her psychic armor as she holds it out and level with her own chest.

But at the last second she lets her arm drop, holding the sword down at her side. She reaches out instead with her bare left hand and swings, letting her fingers sweep through the shadow. It is like grasping at smoke. Just when she thinks that she has missed it, an icy shudder flows up her arm to her shoulder and beyond, making the hair on the back of her neck prickle; and she knows that she has made contact.

Those nearby hear a faint ringing in their minds as Juni's eyes flash silver then fade back to blue. The appearance of the shadow changes for a brief moment - its outward form seems outlined by a shimmering substance which quickly dematerializes into minute droplets that swirl and float for a second before falling through the shadow and pooling on the ground beneath it.

Juni draws back, holding her hand to her chest to warm it. But she is smiling. The shadow seems to reel and stagger slightly. "Your future looks black," she says with a smirk.
  #219  
Unread 12th of November, 2006, 04:52
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"My future always looks black," the shadow responds, "I wouldn't have it any other way."

Feinting towards Blarth again, the shadows tendrils pull up short and snake sideways towards Juni, wrapping their way around her arm, tightening like constrictor and causing her armor to flare strongly.

Lunging in response, Blarth tries again to find purchase with his teeth on the shadow's slippery surface and plows right through the creature. Coming out the other side, Blarth keeps going, running from the fight, towards the back of the inn.

"That is quite possible the most intelligent thing I've ever seen an orc-blood do," the shadow laughs.
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  #220  
Unread 16th of November, 2006, 14:03
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Her eyes never leave the living shadow before her; it becomes the center of her world, an ebony light that pushes the rest of the world into darkness. The fascination has taken hold of her, become all the more consuming rather than lessening at all. This was a thing both beautiful and deadly, fear inducing yet magnetic. Longing and loathing join hands inside her and squeeze. Her movements are unconscious, reflexive. She is a stalking tigress, alive with the thrill of the hunt, filled with necessity and desire. When she strikes, it is a sudden blur of motion, without thought or doubt. It lets her through; she knows it and the shame lends strength to her blows.

Her right hand blade, of well made but common steel, cuts into the shadow without effect - almost as if she had thrust the blade into a pond. Not even a ripple marks its passage. Her stomach lurches but in that split second her second blow lands. This time, the creature howls. The adamantine blade slices across its midsection, the dusky metal seeming to sparkle darkly as it strikes. She feels a surge of pride and sickness as she pounces back and resumes circling, eyes still fixed on her foe.
  #221  
Unread 17th of November, 2006, 02:56
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Trying to ignore the clash and clamour of the battle around him, Nicos focused on his singing, using it to draw in and try to hold as much energy as he could. He was about to attempt something far more dangerous and several steps beyond anything he had attempted before, and a quiet corner of his mind reminded him that he wasn't even sure if it would work.

Silencing the doubt the bard continued to sing in Elven. He sang of silver rivers, of the dancing stars in the night sky, of green trees he had never seen and the wonder of first love. As he sang his muscles twisted and twitched painfully with the power he was drawing, a vibration echoed deep in his chest and his breathing started to struggle against it.

Finally his song reached a crescendo and Nicos opened his eyes to find the flesh on the back of his hand crawling. Focusing his attention on the shadow, the man almost hesitated when he noticed Blarth's absence but pushed the issue aside. If he was hurt they could help him later.

Sliding up to the dark figure, Nicos ducked under a vicious swing and thrust his hand deep within the creature, releasing the healing energy with a shout.

An explosion of white light and noise erupted from the contact, brightening the alley well beyond that shown from the dismal light emerging from the enchanted bowl. The power tore through the undead spirit, tearing the very fabric of it's being to pieces as it let forth of soul shivering scream of agony.

A scream that Nicos matched note for note. The bard was no true mage or cleric, well learned or blessed by a god with mighty powers, he was just a clever man who had learnt to twist his mind and body in ways it was never supposed to. While helpful at times, the experience was always painful, never so much as when forcing someone's body to heal.

The pain that now burnt through him was as like to that as a paper cut was to an axe wound. The magic burnt in the shadow, twisted to a purpose it was never intended for, and in retaliation the mystic energy set fire to the bard's nerves, pushing his mind up to and then over its limit.

Then in an instant the flash of light was gone and Nicos collapsed to the cobblestones in a dazed stupor. Over him stood the shadow, diminished by the attack with it's form shifting unsteadily as if a strong would banish it forever, but whole still. Through the agony of remembered pain, the bard could feel only one thing - a cold anger directed firmly at his prone figure.
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Unread 18th of November, 2006, 08:28
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A flash of bright light, and then screams, terrible screams. Juni shrinks away from it all, not sure if Nicos' spell had worked the way he wanted it to or not. The bard lay on the ground writhing in pain - that's NOT a good sign... But the shadow seems ... less substantial now. Thinner. Paler. Certainly still a threat, but Nicos' spell and Shade's swordstroke must have hurt it.

Where had Blarth run off to? Juni suddenly recalls the half-orc's hasty retreat. She hadn't taken him for a coward. Does he have a plan in mind perhaps?

The shadow seems to be pulling itself together, gathering its evil to itself, and looming darkly over Nicos' prone form. "You'll pay for that," it hisses, reminding Juni of the winter wind that whistles through the cracks of her bedroom shutters.

"No!" she shouts as a tendril of darkness snakes out toward the bard. She throws herself between the shadow and its intended victim, her arms stretched wide as if to block its way. But the finger of shadow easily darts around her, and streaks straight for Nicos. The bard flinches in a weak attempt to dodge the attack, but the shadow strikes unerringly, seeming to reach inside Nicos' chest, sapping his strength.

Last edited by Kelemyn; 21st of November, 2006 at 02:30.
  #223  
Unread 20th of November, 2006, 00:17
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There was no thought, only action. It was always like a dance that way, movements timed and syncronized yet unplanned, all executed in a portion of the mind that worked outside of consciousness. To be open, to trust that your body would find the right avenue - that was the crux of combat.

Shade had always found it easy to slip into that moment during battle, to let go of logic and reason and simply act and react. This was the same, yet different. The shadow turns on Nicos and she slides to the right, behind it, feet making not a sound on the cobbled ground. It is wounded but still dangerous and she is within striking distance. Simple matter to close that short space and thrust her sword between its shoulders.

She hesitates, consumed by the twisting feeling in her gut. It was something beautiful and terrible, this thing, this shadow. She should hate it, knowing its master and its mission. Yet she still felt mesmerized by its substance, its grace. For some reason she felt guilty, as if this were murder instead of battle. The moment slips away; she has waited too long, the thing has noticed her. It turns slightly, wary of her blade, and the opening is gone.

Shade feints, but they both know it for what it is. She circles back to the left, trying to force it to turn away from the gray shape that is Arjuna. Between them, the indistinct form of Nicos writhes on the ground. She grits her teeth against his pain.
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Unread 21st of November, 2006, 07:48
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Nicos drifted through a world of pain, formless, timeless without feature of a hint of forgiveness. He knew he shouldn't be here, that he was supposed to be somewhere else doing ... something. An image of a red haired women appeared before him, quickly replaced by a silver haired women. Each image brought a new texture of pain, different to the formless substance through which he floated and the man instinctively flinched away. A name almost came to him, then they all moved away and he was alone again.

His mind sluggishly shrugged it off as the grey of his existence began to polarise. Lights and shadows began to form around him, shifting and playing against each other like tides of water until new faces began to appear. One, a women, veiled and with a scar across her face. She radiated a cold anger that made her seem vulnerable. Shade Another face, a man broadly handsome. He carried an air of one who grew weary of life but was unable to let go. Cadrius. A third face, plain and undistinguished. A half-man half orc. A sense of child-like innocence emenated from him, matched by a child's capacity for savagery. Blarth. A fourth face, an attractive young women. A shell of uncertainty masked deep potential for power and danger. Juni.

As these faces and name drifting in front of him Nicos felt the world around him grow cold as the shadows grew to dominate the lights. Something hard and unyielding pressed against his back. Slowly memories began to drift back of an alleyway, of a friend in danger. The largest of the shadows formed a dark figure, radiated a cold sense of hatred at him as suddenly the man remembered.

Struggling to rise roll out of the way, Nicos felt a cold stab of ice lance through his chest, as the creature attacked, once more driving him to the ground and into the realm of grey formless pain.
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Unread 22nd of November, 2006, 13:33
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Juni is frozen by indecision. What can she do to drive this thing off? She'd believed at first that weapons would have no effect on it, but Shade's sword had struck true. Would hers?

She swings it around, slicing through the dark, smoky form that leans in toward her. But nothing happens. Cold breath and faint laughter sound in her ears, but the shadow does not try to attack her again. Instead, it flows through her, trying to get at Nicos again.

"Shade, do something!" Juni cries, spinning around to watch helplessly as the shadow coils for another strike.
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