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  #76  
Unread 22nd of June, 2004, 22:52
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Dun

The woman's an enchantress! And the Hound ... far worse, a legate! Dun calms himself, focusing on the immediate task at hand.

Bound and determined, Dun makes his way down the slope to try to get a clear shot at Edrick.

OOC: Move toward the center parallel with Rhotha'ah, Edrick, and Lyr to get a less obstructed shot at the guard. And shoot!

Last edited by Berova; 23rd of June, 2004 at 14:38.
  #77  
Unread 23rd of June, 2004, 23:10
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Aleina

For a brief moment she trancends her body, invisibly linked to the tendrils of latent magic that connect her to the ground, the sky, and the spirits beyond. The magic does not flow from her; instead she becomes part of the intagible web as it pulses with the power of her will, feeding insatiably on her essence. Aleina knows better than to relax and give in to the heady feeling of power; the magic would drain her dry, leave her body a lifeless shell. Instead, she rations her strength, allowing it to trickle out as though it were her life blood. And in a very real sense, it is.

The feeling is indescribable - a mix of exhiliration and fear, power and loathing, strength and vulnerability. She had never used the magic in this way before and she feels an incredible surge of sickening strength. The world stops as the grasses begin to rise, twining about the two engaged in such vile opposition. The enormity of what she has just done slams into her like the crush of an avalanche, the echoes of it's fury ringing through her mind.

Healing. That was her skill; the ability to save lives, to care for the wounded. Not this. Not war and death. Even as the weight of helplessness lifts, an even heavier onus settles on her shoulders. It is innocence lost. A part of her wants to drop to her knees and sob, or scream defiance, or run and hide. If she let the world steal her conviction a piece at a time, would she end up as bitter and jaded as the man she had come here to save? To take life, to injure instead of heal: it was the antithesis of all she believed in.

Dully, she can feel the web pulse as the Hound stabs back at her with malicious intent. That part of her that was once unsullied wants to simply stand fast and reap the reward for the evil she has just done, to seek the solace waiting in the shadow of death. But that part is no longer pure, stained as it is with blood as yet unspilt. Her body makes the decision for her, reacting without consulting the warring factions of her mind. Before she knows it her knees scrape the ground and her mouth is full of frozen dirt, the world reeling into action with jarring force, the Hound's deadly missile burying itself into the space she had occupied only and instant previous.

Lyr's raw shout of fury bring her heart into her mouth, tears of pain and anger starting in her eyes. Her warring emotions disappear like shreds of fog before a gale. She would not let him die for her. Scrambling to her feet, she runs awkwardly down the hill to his side, dirt smeared across her beautiful face, grass stains on her fine clothes.

<OOC: Double move to Lyr.>
  #78  
Unread 24th of June, 2004, 10:28
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Lyr

Quick as any arrow, the bullet slices its way through the air. Lyr propels it with an uncharacteristic rage. Yet something has awakened within him, something older and more powerful than the quite, young man. His arm already hurts, not even a moment after releasing the bullet. In the morning he'll pay for asking so much of it, provided he lives the night.

So angry and so reckless, the shot goes wide, but only by a little. And if he had done nothing else, Lyr would've obtained the Hound's attention. Yet the words, a shout so powerful he almost goes hoarse from it, cut through the night.

At this distance he can see the man's face and the reaction to the words. For the briefest moment, Lyr sees a perplexed look flash across the Hound's features, but it is quickly replaced with his typically cool features.

Dun

Patience, Dun counsels himself, or you'll keep missing.

He moves along, mindful of the arcane exchange between the Hound and Aleina. That last thing he wants is to get caught unaware by one of those green bolts.

One step, and then another, and then another; Dun moves along, angling for another shot, a better shot. Picking his spot, the young man takes as much time as he can lining up a shot.

Wait for it...fly!

The arrow slices through the short distance between Dun and his mark. This time his aim is better, truer, but it doesn't stick. It skips off the side of the man's armor. And for a brief moment, Dun and Edrick lock eyes. He scowls, the man probably hates archers.

Rhotha'ah

A shot by Dun distracts Edrick for a moment, which is all the dorn needs. Moving almost too quick, Rhotha'ah pivots around to the man's side and plants one thick leg behind Edrick's. The dorn shoves hard with his shield arm and dumps the man on the ground.

He feels something cold on him and looks down to see Edrick's spear point emerging from Rhotha'ah's body. It's covered in red.

The Healer and The Hound

"Why am I plagued by children?"

The Hound, still artfully dodging the writhing grass, casts a bitter glance at Edrick. His lips twist into a frown and he reaches into his pocket. His hand emerges with a small black stone, likely onyx.

"Come, Edrick!" The Hound weaves his way out of the vines and places his hand on the man's shoulder. He pauses just long enough to give his assailants a baleful glance.

"This is far from over." He squeezes the onxy in his palm until his knuckles turn white and a dark liquid drips onto the ground.

"Movere brevis abigere!"

There's a soft popping nose and the sound of air rushing to fill space. Edrick and the Hound are gone.
  #79  
Unread 24th of June, 2004, 12:40
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Lyr

It's over. Is it over?

Where there was rage a moment ago, is a dizzying wave of emptiness. Fire turns to hollow, cold vacuum, an internal mirror of the dark night above. Wind stirs, tumbling down the dark hillside, hiding the sound of the five humans breathing.

Lyr lets his aching arm drop to his side, unthinkingly reaching up to squeeze the elbow. The sling leather hangs limply between his fingers, and his darks eyes float, immersed in thought, on the space where the dangerous Hound was until a moment ago. That was a powerful spell... more powerful than any I have heard of. To take two men and send them elsewhere... this Hound has darker and mightier masters than we know. Still staring sightlessly ahead, Lyr adjusts his clothing, pulling the shirt closer about himself; he feels unaccountably cold.

His mind returns to the moment. He turns, sees Aleina scrambling down the hill, her eyes too searching over the suddenly empty night. He hesitates a moment, struck by the fine lines of her face, accentuated, not marred, by the scuffing and smear of dirt. In her pale eyes is something he has never seen before, a passionate certainty that has washed away the mask of calm and control that once resided there. It suits her.

He sees Dun, slowly lowering his bow, squinting into the night with mingled suspicion and relief. He sees the Healer, dazed and standing amongst tendrils of grass that crawl over him like an imbecile. He sees Rhotha'ah...

Bleeding. Clutching at the spear through his guts, scowling.

"Oh no..." Lyr murmurs. Then, out loud: "Dun! See to the Healer! We may need his skills immediatly!" Quickly, he rushes over to the barbarian's side, slowing as he enters to within a few paces of the big Dorn. They say that when the battle-frenzy takes them, sometimes they cannot distinguish friend from foe... Lyr eyes the huge sword uneasily.

"Rhoth?" Lyr asks hesitantly, doing his best to look harmless. Luckily, it comes naturally. "Is it... ahhh... is your wound grevious? Perhaps you should lie down?" He tries to get close enough to examine the wound.

Last edited by Dirigible; 24th of June, 2004 at 13:13.
  #80  
Unread 24th of June, 2004, 12:58
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Rhotha'ah

The satisfaction of shoving the man is shortlived as both he and their real adversary disappear without a trace. As the battlerage the Dornish people seem to be famous for wears off, the pain starts. First the aches in his shoulders, jaw, and legs as the lactic acids course through them, fatiguing the large man.

Then there is the spear protruding from his side. The sharpness of the blade in him contrasts with the dull throbbing ache of his muscles. He roars as he tears the point out, coating his hand in slick red fluids as he presses against it to staunch the bleeding.

"Rhoth?"

His vision slowly widening, he sees the small Erenlander approaching him cautiously. The barbarian grins, albeit weakly, as he slowly stumbles to the nearest tree to let the Erenlander take a look at the wound, the bough creaking as it takes his full weight. He sword in his hands too heavy to carry, Rhotha'ah drops it to the ground, leaving the blade gleaming in the moonlight.

"The wound is fine. Just so very tired." He says, yawning broadly.
  #81  
Unread 24th of June, 2004, 13:16
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Lyr

Lyr takes a quick back-step as the warrior slumps to the ground. He winces and pales as he sees the terrible ripped hole in the man's scarred, boros-hide-thick skin where the jagged spear was removed.

"...it might have been better if you hadn't done that..." the small man mumbles meekly, looking faintly green around the mouth for the second time in as many minutes as he kneels next to his large friend. Human blood smells... different... than I would have thought...

"Rest, Rhotha'ah. You fought bravely... I'll see what I can do about this." Lyr's hands shake slightly with nausea from the presense of a fresh wound, tiredness from the unfamiliar exertion of wielding his sling with such ferocity and the emptiness that came in the wake of his anger. So... that must have been magic. Real magic. A thrill runs down his spine. Aleina. She is a sorceress. That must be what I feel from her...

Trying to concentrate, Lyr checks the Dorn's wound for dirt, shards of the weapon or poison, then sets about cleaning it. I'll probably need bandages...


OOC: Heal +5
  #82  
Unread 24th of June, 2004, 13:39
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Dun

Dun exhales in welcomed relief that it is finally over, mixed with disbelief about all that transpired in those few instances that seemed several lifetimes.

Seeing is believing or is it?

His bow now dangles from his hand, barely holding on. Surprised by his fellow Erenlander's sudden brazen action, amazed by the Dorn's prowess, shocked by the woman's hidden abilities, and stunned by the Hound's dark powers, Dun's mind and world is spinning, has spun far out of control.

They were far outclassed.

Hearing Lyr's loud shout, Dun broke out of his revelry. His hand grips his bow tightly once more before putting it over his shoulder as he is accustomed to doing.

They were lucky they remained alive.

He quickly heads towards the Healer [the writhing grass permitting] to see what can be done to help free the old man or otherwise offer aid.
  #83  
Unread 24th of June, 2004, 22:05
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Aleina

Too far. She is too far away and too slow, her body not made for the demands of war. She'll never reach Lyr in time but she runs anyway, not even sure why. her stride lengthens, legs stretching the heavy fabric of her skirt and before her leading foot hits the ground twice, Lyr's shot is cast, singing wide of it's mark.

Another step and she sees the Hound's head swing around, even as Dun's arrow rings like a chime off of Edrick's armor. She stumbles in a shallow depression and almost falls, but somehow rights herself without breaking an ankle or her stride. The legate's eyes find the small man and she goes cold, a feeling like frigid water of the Eren stealing all warmth from her body.

The distance closes by another stride and she hears a grunt, from the corner of her eye sees Edrick go down, sees the Hound reach for something. His dark eyes find her, the hatred like viscous fire within. Fear freezes her heart.

Too slow!

The words scream through her mind and she pushes herself to move faster but even the fastest of men couldn't have made it, and she is far slower than that. Edrick stumbles to his master like a dog coming to heel, and with a few contemptuous words, the Hound once more calls upon the arcane and the vanish from sight. And then she is at Lyr's side, the blood pounding in her ears, staring wide eyed at the spot their enemies had just vacated.

Whatever joy there is that they are all alive is quickly forgotten as the reality of the situation comes to roost on her shoulder like a skeletal vulture. The Hound had escaped, and he took with him the knowledge of what she was. He was far more powerful than she and he was an enemy. And he knew her.

Peripherally, she becomes aware of Lyr's ministrations on the Dorn. Numb, her body nevertheless responds to his need. She moves mechanically to Rhotha'ah's side, ignoring the smaller man attempting to tend him, and begins her own inspection of his wounds. Her face is wooden, but her fingers move deftly and surely, gentle but firm.

<OOC: Heal check +6.>
  #84  
Unread 24th of June, 2004, 22:52
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Dun

Confronted with the writhing grasses, Dun is nevertheless tempted to take his chances to jump right in to "save" the Healer before his reason halts his feat. He shouts out to the sorcerous, "Aleina! Would you care to end this...?" as he clearly indicates to the tenebrous weeds.
  #85  
Unread 25th of June, 2004, 05:13
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Aleina

Her eyes are closed as her fingers trace the edges of the Dorn's wound, gauging the flow of blood and the depth of the injury. Her nose detects no scent of perforated bowel; the wound is nasty, but likely it would heal well given proper care. At Dun's voice her eyes snap open, staring at nothing. One slim hand lifts, bloodied, and arcs through a dismissive gesture.

"Sindu."

The word is short and spoken with authority, without her ever glancing in the direction of the archer or the field of living grasses. Her gaze travels down to the wound. By moonlight, all blood is black so it is impossible to tell whether it is bright or cloudy, which could indicate a more serious injury. Based on the location and angle of the cut she thinks not.

It makes little sense to use the arcane to solve what can be taken care of by less esoteric methods, but Aleina doesn't care. Lyr once again feels the stir of mystic waters as she swirls her hand to the dexter, rolling the fingers in doma, to channel the center.

"Estiron domes," the words come and then there is the three beat pause as her hand twists once more, coming to rest on the open wound just at the apex of the final beat, "Nerellen."

Her eyes close as the energy washes into Rhotha'ah, her own reserves draining like water from a sieve. The power was never easy, stealing her strength greedily. Despite the fear and exhaustion, despite the the hesitation and failure, for the first time this evening she is content.

<OOC: Cast Cure Light Wounds on the Dorn.>
  #86  
Unread 25th of June, 2004, 07:07
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Lyr

Lyr blinks in surprise as Aleina all but elbows him aside in order to get to the reclining Dorn. He almost opens his mouth to protest, but after a moment he realises her touch is gentler, and more skilled than his own; she seems to ahve a better inherent grasp of the physicians arts. He straightens on his knees, wiping the back of his hand against his grimy forehead, unaware of the smear of foreign blood it leaves.

A wave of giddiness passes over him as the sorceress dismisses her spell; the sensation is like the severing of a rope that holds him over the void. Before he can gather his wits to assist her in treating the Dorn's wound, she beings to speak words of power and beauty... words of magic. Lyr gasps, feeling as if a giant hand has entered his chest and is tryng to pull his very heart and soul from his body. He can almost see the pearly blue radiance form around Aleina, the delicate lacework of her weave, as graceful as she is and indefinably feminine, visible only to his mind's eye and unmistakeably hers.

She works a spell. He all but moans; the feeling is so much stronger this close than it was on the hill, and nothing stops him from basking in it. No, more than that... it is the most basic of healing charms, called Caransil Balm by some, Lifegifting by others, and el-Kaziid's Restoration in a few tomes. A spell of life and healing... which Rhotha'ah needs very much. Fighting it would be like defying the whirlwind; he can do nothing but join in the casting he knows implicitly but could never manage himself.

"Estiron domes... nerellen." His voice is a hoarse groan at first, a starving man offered his first bite of bread and finding that it is the sweetest of cakes. Each syllable, though, his incantion grows in confidence and power, differing from the dark woman's spell only in its lack of power. Despite the delay in his beginning, their voices grow into a duet without either's conscious direction; Aleina's pure contralto unintentionally song-like, Lyrs soft, light baritone flowing against it. His hands repeat the same somatic sigils in time as if drawn by her fingers by invisible cords. Enacting the Word and the Sign feels more right than anything else in his life. The small man can feel power welling up inside Aleina as she crafts her spell... he can only bask in its radiance...

No. There is another way.

Silently, his hand stretches out and touches hers as she makes the penultimate gesture. The soft, literate callouses of his finger tips press into the gaps between Aleina's delicate knuckles, his skin very pale against her olive. His motions match hers so perfectly that there is no distruption to the spell as they shape the last sign together, Lyr's fingers guiding hers as much as hers guide his.

Lyr's eyes flutter closed as a moment of unalloyed rapture flows through him, dark lashes meshing. He exhales, feeling a wave of searing energy pass from the centre of his being out to his extremities, emerging in a wave of invisible, gold-and-orange motes that comes from his mouth as it shapes the incantations and moves through the contact of channeler's flesh against channeler's flesh. For the first time in his life, the roaring storm that has battered at his mind, demanding release, is stilled, if only a fraction. Destiny fulfilled. Completion.

He wants to laugh. He wants to cry.

Aleina feels a portion of spell energy wash through her, supplimenting and overtaking the power she tries to expend to cast the spell, nourishing her soul. It is inexplicable, but clearly can come form only one source: Lyr.

To Rhotha'ah, there is no difference. Cool, soothing life flows through his sundered body, making blood staunch, impurites burn away and skin and muscle knit.

Lyr almost slumps back, a feeling of trembling weakness filling his body in the wake of the gifted energy. His hand still rests against Aleina's, his skin tingling from the feel of her smooth skin as much as from the residue of the power that arced between them. His eyes open, staring unseeingly at the sky, stars reflecting in the almost-tears that moisten his lids.



OOC: Paying for the CLW with Lyr's SE.
  #87  
Unread 25th of June, 2004, 11:32
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Aleina releases the magic of the spell as easily as one might drop a pail of water. She feels the magic slip away much like the water flees from the overturned bucket. The grass ceases its writhing, but the Healer remains firmly in its grasp. Dun steps forward with his blade and begins to slice the taught grass from the ensnared man.

Wounds itch as they heal. Rhotha'ah has not seen much combat, but he knows what it's like to be injured. Once, during a friendly wrestling match, his opponent and he collided with a rack of vials kept by their healer. Fortunately for them, none of the liquids were poisonous, but one of the shards had cut Rhotha'ah deep. The wound in his arm had itched for a week.

Aleina and Lyr check over the dorn. The wound in his stomach is the most serious. His large hand is clamped over the wound, but blood is slowly seeping out from under it. He also bears several nicks and scratches, unnoticed during his fury.

The magic Aleina wields is cool at first, comforting to him as the rage ebbs, but within a moment it turns to fire. Her spell coaxes the dorn's body to condense a week of healing into a second. Rhotha'ah heals, but he pays for it in pain.

After a minute Dun succeeds in cutting the Healer free, but the man stays as he was, empty eyes and a mouth that's half-open.

Heulwen and Aashya

Heulwen slips off a few feet, looking for arrows and leaving the young woman alone in the dark. She can make out the form of Cytaill sitting ten feet from her and judging by his shadow, the wogren watches her.

The halfling has little luck. She finds one arrow up the road, snapped after striking a stray rock. The head is chipped and will need to be reworked. The other arrow is in the woods and she knows there's little chance of finding it during the night.

She rejoins the woman and then set off down the road. The lack of light proves fortunate for Aashya. She has to tread carefully or catch her foot on a rock or rut, and Heulwen cannot move as quickly as a human might.

Minutes pass in silence and the two tread on with Cytaill little more than a shadow at the edge of the road. Nothing disturbs them: no bolts of lightning, no sounds of combat, nothing. Ten minutes pass, then fifteen, and then they pass over a small rise and catch a brief, shadowy glimpse of hell.

The first, and undeniably most foul, thing that they notice is the horrid stench of burnt flesh. Heulwen spies a man not too far distant with a charred hole where his chest used to be. Small fires near him are slowly burning out.

Further down stands a man, one of those that traveled with Aleina, he's standing next to the Healer and the two are surrounded by three foot high grass. That itself might not be unusual, but the thatch only stands that high in a small circle, those outside of it are short.

Aleina and the thin erenlander kneel by the dorn. He looks to have suffered a wound.

Aashya sees the same sights, although perhaps not as clearly, but she neither knows their names nor their faces. Still, one thing is clear to her, they've just survived violence, and that's something everyone in this valley has in common.
  #88  
Unread 25th of June, 2004, 12:47
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Rhotha'ah

Reclining on the dirt, the Dorn feels just about read to fall asleep from battle fatigue, when he feels the oddest sensation around the several wounds he had suffered in his frenzy. It feels like a cool wind passing over wet flesh, mixed with the sensation of sitting near to a warm fire at night.

But this sensation only lasts for the briefest ofmoment before the pain comes as muscles knit themselves together and skin is stretched and reformed. He growls and clenches his teeth together, throwing his head back as his back arches to try and stem the pain. A moment later, he relaxes and slumps once again, followed in the space of a heartbeat by a light snoring as he falls asleep.
  #89  
Unread 25th of June, 2004, 13:49
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Aashya

Heulwen might have swallowed her tongue for all Aashya can tell; the halfing utters not a word as they make their careful way down the road. For her part, Aashya is content. She has questions, but they can wait. For the moment, her mind keeps going back over the brief fight with the knife-man, and the surprising way her body had responded.

It had been chaos: a sudden, dark presence - more felt than seen, except for the glitter of that deadly blade - was upon her before she realized what was happening. She'd known an instant of overwhelming terror as death loomed over her. She'd felt herself its helpless prey, and knew no way to stop it from taking her. All was lost. .... It was over. .... And then -- tranquility. Somehow she had closed off her fear, locking it up in a tiny corner of her mind, so that her body could go into action on its own.

Where had that sudden calm come from? It had felt like... training. Like something she had learned. And her body had fallen into readiness without thought, but it wasn't nature; it was a stance that felt practised. Where had THAT come from?

Aashya stops in the dark, recalling the feel of her body's motions. My hands were like this, and my feet were... no, like this. Yes! It feels so right, so familiar. She shifts her weight from her front foot, to her back foot; takes three quick, small steps; lunges forward......

Heulwen will believe me to be crazy! she thinks with a quick glance at the two-foot tall shadow slightly ahead of her. She goes back to walking, but is exhilarated by her discovery. Not everyone can move like this, she tells herself. It's something I learned BEFORE....... Like Greenfield is a place from BEFORE.

They have come to a small rise, and Aashya is busy with her thoughts as they begin the climb to the top. Suddenly, she is aware of silence all around them. Where is the constant, droning background hum of night insects? She slows her steps as the eerie stillness seems to seep out of the ground and up her legs. Heulwen is at the top of the rise now, standing stock still. There is a faint, flickering light beyond her. Something is not right.

Aashya reaches the crown of the hill and looks around. Small fires are burning nearby. The smell of smoke - and the stink of something else, something burnt and sickening - is strong. Near the bottom of the bowl-shaped valley are some people, a cluster of three, and maybe two others. Heulwen's companions? Aashya looks at the halfling for confirmation, or some kind of explanation.
  #90  
Unread 25th of June, 2004, 22:39
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Aleina

So engrossed in the casting is she that Lyr's actions go unnoticed, until his hand covers her own. Even then, it is so far out on the edges of her mind that she simply does not process the import or nature of his gesture. She savors this brief moment where she feels whole, full of purpose and with the opportunity to fulfill that purpose. But this time was different, too - the exhiliration dampened not at all by fatigue, feeling for all the world like a true channel between the magic and it's destination instead of the imperfect vessel of it's transmission. The moment ebbs away and as it does the realities that surround her rise like the inexorable tide.

Her gaze travels down to Lyr's hand covering her own, both dark with a warrior's blood. The brief instant of the healing flashes through her mind, for the first time analyzing it, realizing what must have happened.

In a perfect channel, the magical energy flowed from the surroundings through the caster unimpeded. Theoretically, that produced no draw on the caster's own physical reserve. As far as she knew, perfect channels were impossible. A person's body served to bind the magic as friction bound the wheels of a cart. As the incantation is loosed so too is it necessary for the caster to propel it, thereby burning some of their inner strength.

In the moment, she had not noticed but looking back on it now she knew that instead of drawing her own strength, she had drawn it from Lyr. Like a parasite, she had robbed him of that special essence that channelers cultivated, leaving her own reserve intact. It had been unwitting, surely, but nevertheless she had violated him. And his hand still sat atop hers.

She jerks her hand away and rises swiftly, backing off a few paces and folding her arms. The enormity of what has happened in this vicinity creeps up on her like a tidal wave about to break. The soft sound of Rhotha'ah's breathing is unnaturally clear in the still night.

"We must leave this place, quickly. Magic has been done here, and that alone is reason enough to leave. Moreso, the Hound will be back and he will not be easily scared off a second time."

The healer was another story. As long as he was incoherent they would need to carry him, and they wouldn't be able to get any information from him. He was the real danger to them, as the hound seemed to be able to track him.

"Don't forget his staff."

Even as she speaks the words to Dun, she wonders if the object is magical. Perhaps that is how the Hound was following him. Then she is starting back the way she came, clucking her tongue for Bombur. The mule could easily carry a human along with his current load.
  #91  
Unread 26th of June, 2004, 05:39
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Lyr

The stars continue their stately dance above, the Eternal Ride of the Sorshef, majestically oblivious to the affairs of the men and fey below. Lyr watches them with as little interest as they show him, sorting through the swirl of feelings that threaten to render him insensate. Giddiness of joy is there and a warm, engulfing sense of wholeness...

He looks down from the sky as he feels Aleina rise from his side. He looks up at her, the beginnings of a smile on his lips, and starts to open his mouth to speak...

Then he sees it. The cold mask, back between her features and her mind. Save for the eyes; in those icy spheres, he sees fear and revulsion. The rejection hits him like a physical blow; the dismissal of all he is, his sole joy as something disgusting and unwanted. Lyr's heart sinks and his belly fills with leaden depression. The smile dies on his lips, and his dark eyes take on a plaintive, begging cast as Aleina turns away, a mute appeal for acceptance directed at her back. But none comes. None comes.

His features overcast with despair, Lyr stands, mechanically brushing dirt from his knees and nonds dumbly at Aleina's general instructions. He steps over to the barbarian, and shakes the big man by the shoulder, calling his name. If this doens't work, Lyr strains and heaves, trying to pull the Dorn to his feet.
  #92  
Unread 26th of June, 2004, 06:16
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Heulwen

Heulwen stares with open amazement. Whatever had caused the lightening bolt, it had cerianly found a target.

"By all the gods in the Severed Heavens!"

The smell of burning flesh soon brings her back to reality. The lightening bolt had certianly started the job, but the dead man was still largely intact.

"Gather wood," she chokes out to Aashya, trying desperately not to smell the greusome air, "We must burn the body before it can rise."

Wasting no more time, Heulwen draws her sword and swiftly moves to decapitate the smoldering corpse.
  #93  
Unread 26th of June, 2004, 07:03
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Aashya

"The body . . . . . . . "

Aashya hadn't noted a body anywhere. But it's easy enough to see where Heulwen is looking - over where the fires are smoldering. There is something dark on the ground over there. Dark and messy. The lightning bolt had struck something alright.

"Was it someone you knew?" she asks the halfing, following as she moves through the darkness. Her voice is a bare, trembling whisper. She stops and stands rigid when she comes within sight of the body, her eyes wide as Heulwen draws her sword. Choking on the overpowering smell of cooked flesh, the young Sarcosan turns quickly away, and begins to scan the ground for kindling wood as she'd been instructed to do.

Last edited by Kelemyn; 26th of June, 2004 at 11:15.
  #94  
Unread 26th of June, 2004, 08:34
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Heulwen

"No," Heulwen replies as she continues with her ghastly work, "but I can guess who he was."

"Like the man who attacked you in the forest, he was one of the men we were chasing. Not the most dangerous, likely, but still an agent of the Dark God."

Having finished detaching the corpse's head, Heulwen steps a few feet away to one of the still burning small fires. Placing the head within it, she quickly begins to add whatever fuel is avaliable to the fire, making sure to burn the head completely.

"Build a pyre around the body," she instructs Aashya when she returns with the first load of wood, "we must burn it completely so that it will not rise as one of the Fell."
  #95  
Unread 26th of June, 2004, 12:42
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Aashya

She holds her breath and averts her eyes as she returns with an armload of dry wood. It had been tempting to slip away in the darkness, to turn her back on this strange group of people and their bizarre burnt offering. She fears that she may have stumbled upon something unlucky, maybe even cursed. Agent of the Dark God??

She drops the kindling near the body, and escapes toward a surviving clump of nearby trees to gather another load. Someone else can build the pyre, she decides. Doubtless these people are used to beheading and burning bodies everywhere they go, but her stomach can't take it.

The others in the group seem to be preparing to move on. Aashya avoids them, making sure to stay out of their way; but she watches them with unblinking interest from the safety of the trees.

There are five of them all together, not counting Heulwen. One is larger than the rest, a sinewy mountain of a man, a Northman by his looks. And one is a woman. It's hard to see anything else in more detail, except that the Northman seems to be injured, and one of the other men seems to be incapacitated.

Who had called the lightning down? Heulwen had said that her friends suspected their quarry of having the power. And yet the dead man was one of the ones that they hunted. What had happened here? Who killed who? Why didn't Heulwen ask her friends to explain?

I could still slip away. . . . . . . . . Aashya tries to tell herself that there isn't any reason for her to get involved here. She's travelled alone this far, she can make it the rest of the way to Greenfield on her own.

Her arms are full again - there's plenty of dead wood lying around here. Might as well take it all back to Heulwen so she can burn the body. It can't be allowed to rise as one of the Fell. Aashya sighs and steps out of the trees. I guess my decision is made.
  #96  
Unread 28th of June, 2004, 08:33
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Dun

After cutting the Healer free, Dun stares at him for but a few blinks of an eye, looking for any obvious wounds. The Erenlander moves an open hand purposefully before the man's eyes just to see if a reaction can be gained from him. It is as if his mind is lost in another world.

Not knowing what to do, Dun lets his instincts be his guide. He looks around for the Healer's walking stick as Aleina had earlier reminded. Spying it nearby, Dun quickly retrieves it. With his free hand and arm wrapped around the man's shoulders and his other one holding the walking stick, Dun attempts to escort the man towards the others.

If the Healer either cannot or would not comply, Dun calls out to the others for aid, "Somethin's happened to the Healer, he would'na move. Will one of you lend us a hand?"
  #97  
Unread 29th of June, 2004, 22:43
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Rhotha'ah

The large Dorn dreams of a time before the Shadow first came, of a time where his people ruled the Northern lands with truth and fairness, of a time where he would have lived in a city and not a settlement besieged by masked raiders. But no sooner had he begun to dream, it is shattered by the urgings of a small Erenlander.

Rhotha'ah stirs, squinting his eyes from the pain of a post-frenzy headache. He growls slightly as he stands, the wound in his side knitted together by magic, though the muscles continue to spasm from being healed too quickly. He stoops to pick up his bastard sword, wiping the blade with a cloth from his backpack before sheathing it in it's scabbard, his whole countenance showing the signs of battle fatigue.
  #98  
Unread 30th of June, 2004, 04:15
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Dun, Rhotha'ah, Lyr, Aleina

The dorn climbs to his feet, spent from the battlelust that fueled his ephemeral rage. Eyelids heavy, he gathers himself to move again. Aleina is insistant that they move. If the Hound were to return in force...well, it's best not to think of such things. They live close enough to death as it is, they need not ponder in what way it might seek them.

With the staff in one hand, and the healer draped across his shoulder, Dun tries to make his way back to the others. He grinds the end of the torch into the ground, securing it and hoping it doesn't tip over. An uncontrolled grass fire would only make things more difficult, and provide a beacon to any unfriendly eyes.

The Healer is unwilling to move at first, his eyes still glazed, as if he were seeing something far away, or lost in thought. His mouth remains partly open, frozen in mid-speech. And yet as the erenlander guides him forward, he takes a faltering step, and then another. By the time Dun reaches the others, the Healer is moving along normally, but only when guided.

And that's when they hear it. The sound of a woman's voice speaking in another tongue. It sounds distressed and coming from the hill they just came from. A few moments later they hear the unmistakable wet cutting sound, steel on flesh.

Heulwen and Aashya

The sight itself is gruesome, but it's truly the stench that makes her eyes stream. Her keen sense of smell is inundated by the half-cooked flesh before her. She feels her gorge start to rise, the acrid taste of bile creeping into her mouth. Heulwen forces her stomach to retain its contents, at least for the moment.

Cytaill sits not ten feet away, watching her. He seems uninterested by the carcass. Perhaps he has no taste for cooked meat, or perhaps he simply does not eat manflesh.

Her sword parts his throat easily enough, but the halfling has to put her weight on the blade to sever the head. Done with the brutal task, she walks away, dusting herself off.

The woman, Aashya, returns with more kindling. The fire won't be hot enough to burn the bones, but the rest of the corpse will surely be consumed.
  #99  
Unread 30th of June, 2004, 10:21
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Aashya

She drops this last load of firewood near the body. Using the toe of her boot, she tries kicking it into place without actually getting too near to the corpse herself. Would it really come back to life - or rather, acquire an unlife that animates its limbs - if left intact? This is the first dead body that Aashya can recall ever seeing before. The existence of undead is something that she hadn't thought about much before.

But she had heard stories . . . . . . It is best not to call such things to mind right now however.

"Heulwen, will this do?" she asks the halfing, motioning toward the pile of dry wood. She takes up a thick branch from the pile, and lights the end of it in one of the small fires that still smolders nearby. Then she lights the kindling around the body, keeping her eyes fixed on the bright orange tongues of flame. She finishes by tossing the burning brand into the middle of the growing blaze.

She turns quickly away, and begins to walk down the hill toward Heulwen's friends. She might as well get the meeting over with. She'd prefer not to be alone - not with her attacker still on the loose; not with so many questions about the night's events left unanswered; not, at least, until morning.
  #100  
Unread 30th of June, 2004, 23:55
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Heulwen

Finished with the gruesome task of burning the head, Heulwen is aranging Aashya's first load of wood around the rest of the body when she returns with a second. A few minutes of preperation later and the body is also on fire, the wood from the pyre burning steadily.

Finally unable to take the stench any longer, Heulwen turns her back on the fire and moves upwind slightly before heading towards the others. With the fire lit like that they would need to get out of the area quickly, but at least no poor traveler would encounter a Fell as a result of what ever had happened here.
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