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  #26  
Unread 21st of May, 2008, 05:26
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Realizing that the mants are playing off each other to keep him pinned down. Blarth starts looking around for a tree, or a rock, or some other obstruction that he can use to keep both mants in front of him. The closest, however, is a large boulder several yards away.

Maybe if he hustles though...

Swinging his club to distract the injured mant, Blarth clips it's mandibles as the thing hesitates as it clacks them together, in a gesture some what reminicsint of a fighter rubbing his jaw. Using that opportunity, Blarth steps out from between the two mants and then accelerates quickly to reach the rock. He even manages to catch the second mant off guard with the speed of his departure and it flails it's stinger at the air behind Blarth's departing back.
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Unread 23rd of May, 2008, 09:43
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Damn... Isac swears under his breath as Shade reels from the formian's assault. Life force pours out of her ragged wounds even as ant venom quickly fills its place. The priest shuffle steps toward the flagging rogue, trying to both close the distance and not let his opponent get his flank.

Isac's formian lunges after him, jabbing is stinger into his lower abdomen. Burning venom fills his guts as he wedges his steel hafted mace into the creature's jaws an instant before they snipped his head from his shoulders.

He lets the creature's momentum drive him back, just out of reach. Half blind with his own blood Isac desperately calls on the power of his god. In the air above the formian a tiny mote of sunlight coalesces into a blazing mace of pure divine force, a miniature version of Pelor's own Sunscepter.

Last edited by -J-; 25th of May, 2008 at 04:07.
  #28  
Unread 24th of May, 2008, 00:49
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From the corner of her eye she can see Isac battling for his life as the giant insect nearly bowls him over. The sickness washing over her threatens to overwhelm her and she can see her own opponent preparing for a similar rush. Weakened, Shade fears she will not be able to withstand it. Suddenly the thing lurches as if struck, half turning to look for a new attacker; opporunity and action become one as Shade drives suddenly forward.

Too late, it claws for her. Despite the pain and nausea she suddenly feels alive once more, blood and rage coursing through her veins and the ever present song of life and death in her head. Like a liquid shadow, she avoids the clumsy defense and rams her blades home in the soft area where thorax meets abdomen. Already weakened, the mant convulses spasmodically as Shade leaps back to avoid the death throes.
  #29  
Unread 26th of May, 2008, 11:29
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Nicos didn't wait for the mant to attack, leaping forward with a wide swing of his blade at it's neck. For it's part the insect rushed forward to meet the attack, ducking below the sword and reaching forward with it's twin claws to grasp the bard on either side of the torso, it's inhuman stregth crushing the breath from him and lifting his feet from the ground.

The bard can almost feel his ribs creak under the presure as mental images of being cut inhalf flash through his mind.
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Unread 29th of May, 2008, 03:09
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Juni turns her eyes away from the dazzling light of Isac's divine weapon, and notices Blarth's peril for the first time. The half-orc has drawn two of the mants off from the others, and is backed up against a boulder, trying to defend himself from their vicious attacks.

Juni side-steps out of reach of the mant on Isac in order to get closer to Blarth. Then she tries the mind-thrust again.

She puts everything she has into it this time. The psychic energy builds up almost unbearably within her, then snakes outward to find the mant's mind. She flinches again at the strangeness of it - odd how the thing seems to be in a frenzy of panic ... why? what is it? ... it's missing something ... it's disconnected, cut off, alone - but hangs on, and manages to channel the energy into a forceful attack.

Juni does not hold back or try to hide her power out of timidity or fear of the monster insects this time. The young woman's eyes blaze with silver light, and everyone hears a loud *crack* as the energy leaps from her mind to the mant's. The creature claws at the air around its head for a moment, then crashes forward, stone dead.
  #31  
Unread 29th of May, 2008, 05:02
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Bracing himself against the on rushing mants as they once again close against him, Blarth uses his club to deflect one stinger and then easily dodges the second as it seems to lose it's punch part way through it's attack. Suddenly wary by this unusual development, Blarth, watches with morbid curiosity as the mant falls to the ground, its legs curling up and forcing the creature to roll onto its back.

That sound, it sounded familiar...

Brought back to the reality of having yet another mant in front of him who doesn't seem the least bit concerned with the fate of his partner, Blarth uses his club to jam up the creature's mandibles, and then twists hard causing them to pop and dislocate.
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Unread 31st of May, 2008, 03:09
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With two formians down in the span of a few seconds, Isac can feel the tide turning.

Just four more...

His antman skittered sideways trying to position itself for a sting, but this time the priest is expecting it. Flanged steel bites deeply into the thing's armored carapace knocking it off balance. Isac guides his spell to the creatures back and in a shower of thick ichor the glittering mace strikes true.

But the Pelorian's victory is short lived.

Half mad with pain the formain lashes out and one of its claws strikes true, its wickedly curved chitin easily sinking into Isac's bony chest. Reflexively the creature pulls him in close its powerful mandibles closing on his left shoulder. The crushing force of the beast's jaws tears muscle and cracks bone. A broken scream explodes from the priest's throat in a shower of blood and spittle as he rips his crippled limb free and staggers backward.
  #33  
Unread 31st of May, 2008, 05:15
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Her eyes are now alive with the light of battle as she slides in place behind the creature. The sound of Isac's scream scrapes across her nerves and she surges to attack before she is quite ready. He wouldn't last long in that deadly embrace.

Her leading blade glances off the thick armor on the back of it's head, but the tactic works - the giant bug turns it's head enough to expose an insectile eye. Her trailing blade crashes into it with a sickening crunch and is wrenched from her grasp as it heels over, covered in ichor and blood.
  #34  
Unread 4th of June, 2008, 01:38
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The mant's claws crush at Nicos, lifting him from his feet and bringing him closer to the creature’s hideous mandibles. Behind him something cracks, the sound of steel on chitinous hide echos, a curse is half muttered and most chillingly of all, someone screams - all but unnoticed.

The bard struggles to draw in breath and his sword falls from his grasp. The creature looks at him, its insectiod eyes devoid of any emotion he can detect. Inspired by desperation as the edges of the world start to go black and the mandibles move in seeming slow motion towards his exposed neck, Nicos lifted his leg, drew his knife hidden in the boot and thrust it into offending eye.

If the mant made any sound it was lost to the bard as he slipped from its grip, collapsing on the floor with his renewed breath drowning all other sound from his ears.
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Unread 5th of June, 2008, 03:15
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* CRACK! *

Juni looses another barrage of psychic energy, but this mant is tougher than the other. It staggers free of Blarth's club and turns around, as though searching for the source of the mental attack. It spots Juni and shambles toward her, its broken mandibles hanging askew.

Terrified, Juni tries to back away. But the huge insect lunges forward, catching her ankle with one of its claws, and trips her up.
  #36  
Unread 6th of June, 2008, 04:46
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Seeing the mant turn a second before it turns, Blarth is ready for it and quickly presues the creature, cracking a club blow into it's midsection that shatters its exoskeleton in such a way that Juni finds that what really has her ankle is more of a half-mant than a full one.

Turning to survey what remains of the combat, Blarth sees Lynn contending with a sparklely mant. No, actually, he'd say she's more playing with it than anything else. The mant seems to be striking wildly as the young woman dances around it using her sword to pick away at it's carapace.

Nicos, on the other hand, isn't in very good shape, panting on the ground as a mant reals over him clawing at a dagger hilt sticking out from one of it's large compound eyes.

Figuring that is where he is needed the most, Blarth moves to Nicos's side, trying to interpose himself between the mant and the one-armed bard.
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  #37  
Unread 12th of June, 2008, 02:42
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Shade stumbles past the now dead insect to where Isac lies prone. He's conscious but there is blood everywhere. Her steely eyes survey the damage grimly. The chest wound could have killed him instantly - it didn't, so likely it simply hadn't penetrated deeply enough.

She carefully lays her fingers on the blood-slicked mail near his shoulder. Had it fastened onto him a little to the right it would have sliced through the arteries in his neck. The wound was grisly - gaping flesh and jagged bone visible without her even probing. He'd need some serious healing if he was going to live. She wasn't a healer but she could try to keep him alive until Nicos could get to him. Her hand dips quickly into her pouch and pulls out a long strip of white cloth, with which she quickly binds his wounds.

He is stoic and Shade is as gentle as can be given the speed and conditions under which the work must be completed, but Isac is obviously in agony. Having done all she can, she retrieves her blade from the mant carcass and positions herself between the remaining creatures and Isac.
  #38  
Unread 15th of June, 2008, 02:47
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Isac's flesh weeps under Shade's ministrations, but he didn't care: there were still two formians left. By his mental command, the glittering mace of deitic force streaks through the air toward the bug fighting Nicos, but the creature's armor proves too thick. In a shower of brilliant sparks the spell impacts the thing's side and dissipates.

Isac's eyes narrow as his fingers tighten on the haft of his mace. He had hoped to distract the creature long enough to heal Nicos, but now... Closing his eyes he reaches out to the divine Light, entreating its radiance to fill him. Like dawn burning away the night, Isac's wounds fade before Pelor's might.

Rejuvenated, the blood drenched priest moves to join the melee.
  #39  
Unread 17th of June, 2008, 02:03
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The ground slammed into Nicos as he gasped for oxygen, his previously discarded sword hilt protruding into his bruised ribs. A shadow falling onto him is all the warning he got as the mant moved in to finish off its fallen foe. It was only Blarth’s intervention that saved from an indignity stinging from the wounded creature, the two struggling almost directly above him.

Seeing an opportunity while the mant was distracted Nicos swiftly squirmed to his side, grasped his sword by the hilt, and thrust deep into its thorax. The insect reared back as the blade cut through its innards, staggered a few steps to the side and then collapsed on the ground, its mouth pieces slowly twitching.
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  #40  
Unread 20th of June, 2008, 05:23
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Shade tenses at the rushing sound behind her, pivoting with deadly precision to meet some new attack. Surprisingly, the source of the sound is Isac; he rushes by and into the fray without so much as a glance toward her. He'd healed himself, of course. She blinks, looking for the still living mant near Lynn, but there is nothing. The only insectile corpses in view are dark with what she has come to realize is death.

With the realization that they have won comes the sudden pain of the injury she had sustained. Her leg and side throb with hot agony, the venom still fresh in the wounds. Gritting her teeth, she carefullly wipes her blades before sheathing them and moving to join the others. Pain would have to wait.

"Let's get out of here before any others wander by. We don't have time to waste in any case."
  #41  
Unread 21st of June, 2008, 05:19
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Kicking the mant corpse in front of him, Blarth asks, "What are these things?"
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  #42  
Unread 22nd of June, 2008, 00:48
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"I never even imagined that creatures such as this existed!" Juni has gotten up from the ground where she'd fallen, and stands staring down at the shattered remains of the mant that had tripped her. She is pale and wide-eyed with shock.

They might all have died here, stung and bitten and clawed by giant insects in the wilderness!

What other nightmare monsters are lurking about?

Juni strains her psychic senses to the limit, trying to detect any nearby hostile creatures. There is something out there... She can feel its aggression and... hatred? But it is small and relatively weak. The feeling seems to be coming from a stand of pines about thirty feet away. Juni finally determines that there is a crow in one of the trees, watching them.

Why the hostility?

Perhaps it doesn't like six noisy humans in its territory, her psi-crystal points out.

Yes, perhaps that's all it is.
  #43  
Unread 23rd of June, 2008, 13:29
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"I'm all for running," Nicos said trying in vain to quickly clean the muck from his sword. "We uh, can all still run right?"
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Unread 25th of June, 2008, 06:39
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Blarth nods in response to Nicos' question.

"Nothing more than a scratch here," he says, gesturing to what is clearly a large puncture wound in his calf, "I can get rid of it if it's necessary."
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Unread 25th of June, 2008, 11:01
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Using his necromantic vision Isac takes a quick inventory of the party's health. Nicos needed his ribs set, the ragged puncture in the half-orc's leg would have to be healed before infection set in. Nicos's friend seemed fine, as did Juni, and Shade...

Isac's face goes slack as he watches the inky tendrils of the curse twining their way through the rogue's life-force as she drew near.

"You alright?" Isac asks as he drops his mace into the loop on his belt. Shade simply nods, her jaw taunt with pain.

"I can't do much about the poison now but I should be able to..." his voice trails off as he stares at her cursed hand. Eddies of dark goblin magic hang at her fingertips like grapes made of tar. His eyes widen in disbelief as they stretch out away from her towards the corpse of one of the fallen ant-men.

"Pelor protect us..." Divine power flows into his hand as he grabs her wrist. Immediately the black magics arc spear like into his his flesh. Panic washes over him as he releases his spell; holy light thrown into the unclean night. The curse surges forward for a moment then falls still, retreating at length back into Shade.
  #46  
Unread 27th of June, 2008, 05:52
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Shade is seized again with sickness and searing lightning as Isac channels the holy magic and pits it against the dark stain of her curse. The feeling is like a twinge, but multiplied a thousand-fold into a horrid writhing that leaves her a helpless vessel containing these antitheses. The battle wrings sweat from her body like blood from a wound; she can only grit her teeth and bear the unbearable.

She staggers back a pace when it is over, her hard grey eyes fixed on the priest as though her were the only thing anchoring her to reality.

What am I?

The question rings over and over in her mind and she is filled with loathing and fear and despair. Better maybe to end it now. Horror at that thought wells up and she grits her teeth tighter, until they might crack beneath the pressure, willing her rising gorge back down. For a moment, her eyes express to him the things she will not say, then she turns away. If they stopped here, now, Shade feared she may not find it in her to get up again. Her harsh voice trails back as she starts off.

"We better go."

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  #47  
Unread 27th of June, 2008, 09:26
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Isac nods in agreement as he quickly recovers his hastily discarded satchel. The heavy leather bag bites deeply into his still tender shoulder.

It was going to be a long hike.

Blarth didn't seem to be affected by the wicked gash in his calf. Their eyes meet briefly; wild and untamed his orish eyes burn with the fury of a race warrior born.

"Well done," is all he can manage, as he moves to check on Nicos and his friend. It sounded as inadequate as he felt, especially given the half-orc's battle prowess.

"How are you two?"
  #48  
Unread 27th of June, 2008, 10:21
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"I'm fine," Nicos said with a wince, probing his sore ribs with a finger. "So long as I don't do anything heroic like try to breathe."

"I'm feeling a little left out that I'm not hurt," Lynn quipped. "But apart from that."

Nicos threw the young woman a flat stare, but didn't respind. "How is Shade?" the bard asked, lowering his voice enough so that she can't hear.
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Unread 28th of June, 2008, 06:23
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"Let me take a look at those ribs," the thin priest says in an easily overheard tone. Stepping closer he drops to a whisper.

"Not good. The curse is progressing much faster than I originally thought. If we can find some hallowed ground that will slow it long enough to come up with some sort of plan." Pure healing light flows from Isac's palm, suffusing the bards torso with warmth and the popping of cartilage snaping back into place.

"Sorry its not more," he says as he begins to readjust his pack. "I want to save some in case..." his voice trails off as Shade and Juni walk by. "...in case there are more surprises on our outing." He flashes Nicos a wry smile and with a polite bow to Lynn he falls in line.
  #50  
Unread 5th of August, 2008, 12:24
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Juni is at the back of the line again, struggling to keep up with the others. She just isn't used to this much walking.

It's funny to think that only a short while ago she had never left the town that she was born in. Tradeholm - every street familiar, every place known. Well, almost. Certainly there had been places in town that she'd never visited. But mostly it had been the same thing - the same small world - day after day, year after year.

It turns out that the world is a much bigger place than she'd imagined. This seems especially true now that she is making her way through it on foot. She trudges along, head down, mile after mile after weary mile. And when she looks up from her tired feet, she can hardly tell that she's made any progress. Everything looks the same - the rough, broken road; the line of trees to the west. The sun moves across the sky, but only very slowly. The worst part is that she has no idea where in the world she is, or where in the world she's going.

She stops walking for a moment to take a sip from her water skin, and notices that Nicos has fallen almost as far behind as she has. His ribs are bothering him, she thinks, observing the stiffness of his gait. And for once, Lyn is up ahead with the others instead of glued to his side.

"Nicos!" Juni calls, putting the water skin away and hurrying a bit to catch up. The bard waits, and she comes up beside him. "I always seem to be bringing up the rear," she says with a sheepish grin. "I never could keep up with Shade, and it's even worse now..." She lets her sentence trail off without mentioning the curse or the deadly pursuit that fuels their haste.

"But I do wish I knew where Shade is leading us. Has she said anything to you about where we're going?"
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