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Thread: Round 2: Team 4

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    Round 2: Team 4

    Round Two will beginning 3/17/17 at 3PM EST. Good Luck!

    There are three paths to take.

    1) Corone’s Army, conscripted from the barons, has surrounded Akashima. Its navy has blockaded the sea. In your thread, determine the fate of Akashima. Will Senator Fordstein’s deceit prevail, resulting in him being named baron of Akashima, or will the plot be unraveled before the armies move on their hapless foes?

    2) Senator Fordstein and Ceidon Lore compete to obtain possession of the artifact discovered by Phyr, Leoric and Storm Veritas in the Jagged Mountains. In your thread, trace the fate of the artifact. Will it end up in Fordstein’s hands, will it end up in Ceidon’s hands, or will something completely different happen to it? To avoid an unfair advantage to those players, possession can be automatically assumed by any group.

    3) Ceidon Lore has assembled a rag tag group of diplomats in an attempt to right, what he believes was a wrong that stemmed far deeper than Akashiman independence. The group sails south, following what Ceidon believes is a map to a new world. What will they find, if anything? Will they be absolved of the slaughter of the cat people, or forced to endure a much worse fate?

    A good story will expand on one path. A great story will consolidate all three. In your thread, you must a) regardless of your alignment, work together with your partner overcome a major obstacle; b) somehow, beyond a mere reference, incorporate the Thayne Am'aleh into your story, and c) kill of a major player in the story (sans Ceidon).
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  2. #2
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    Escaping the temple upon the Jagged Mountains with the mighty cube in tow had proven to be a hell of a thing for Storm Veritas. With the others leading to drive the translator further south and neutralize an oncoming horde of those absurd cat people sailing towards the shoreline, he absconded with the bizarre little man they knew as Terrence Edim northwards. Nearby, only Radasanth and Akashima stood as options for respite, places to hide out and figure out what sort of tool this fun little glorified weathervane could bring to the table. Given his recent dalliances is regicide, the wizard’s choice was made for him.

    “We have a ways to go. Eyes out for that elven bastard, no idea if he’ll come back for blood.”

    The terrible Ebivoulya had haunted him again, teasing up nightmares of mighty opportunities lost and causing a cave-in with his sinister mischief.

    It was YOU that caused the cave in with the jacked up lightning firing all out of control. That cube is some kind of wonderful.

    The air blew cool and unyielding around his face, the last bite of snow nipping at his ears as they rode down through the windy valley exiting to the warmer basin between mountains. Atop the mighty steed Atilla, Storm Veritas was regal and tall, a clear Quixote to the Pancho Villa of little Terrance Edim, riding a simply mottled quarter horse. Despite their fatigue, nerves had caused Edim to carry on quite relentlessly, acutely aware of the very real danger which still surrounded them.

    The high, steep mountain faces dove down sharply toward the duo, leaving them frigid, isolated, and vulnerable. Fortune was smiling upon them now as the wind drove at their backs, carrying them down the mountain on an invisible parachute. The clip-clap of hooves was light and fair, as the rested horses marched at a very healthy gait.

    “Sir, we’ve got plenty of business afoot in Akashima. Senator Fordstein will give us quarter, and it’s more than sufficiently safeguarded by its natural nest along the coast. Only the most powerful galleons in all of Althanas could even reach the -”

    “Oh shut the F*CK up, Terrance.” Storm had grown tired of the prattling of Edim, and frankly was made cranky by a diet of scarce jerky strips and damned near nothing else. They’d only been riding for a few hours, but the recent brush with death and omnipresent risk was clearly too much for the low-level wannabe politico to handle.

    “Just relax. You’re in good hands. I’ve killed more men than f*cking syphilis… and that shit BURNS. Everyone outside of Radasanth is usually tits up within a couple weeks after…”

    His intention to brighten the spirits of the well-intended yet annoying little man had failed miserably. Edim’s eyes were red, he wasn’t speaking, and his eyes were pressed in a taut squint that told a tale of suppressed tears. Adventuring wasn’t for everyone.

    The cherry pipe between his teeth filled his mouth with a familiar rub and flavor, with a pinch of leaves and a snap, a small crackle of white light ignited the tobacco and sent a thin plume of smoke deep into his lungs, swirling and warming them with a seductive massage. It was borderline orgasmic in its internal embrace, and steadied his thought and planning.

    “Here, kid. This will cut that edge off. Don’t worry; embrace the fear. It makes us better.”

    Edim clumsily smoked the pipe, accepting and puffing with a greedy nod. Unaccustomed to Whitevale’s finest dried blends, he coughed violently at the first taste, his lungs rejecting the pristine punch. A second pull was slower, more deliberate, and appreciative. The sun-closed hazels set deep within his skull widened a pulse as he sighed, handing back the polished cherrywood bowl.

    “Thank you, sir. I’m sure you’ve gathered I’m not cut from the killing cloth…” Pudgy fingers folded in upon themselves as Edim avoided eye contact.

    “Don’t worry kid, we’re done killing. Roll into Akashima, figure out this god-forsaken jigsaw, and save the world. You know how much ass you’re going to pull after you save the f*cking world? Ass for days, kid. For DAYS!”

    A little laugh erupted from the soft, expansive belly despite the better judgement of Edim. The scent of ozone and smoke rode down the breeze behind them, a memory of the carnage cutting through the smooth aroma of tobacco.

    Save the world. Get laid. What could go wrong?
    Last edited by Storm Veritas; 03-18-17 at 06:52 AM.

  3. #3
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    The meeting with Fordstein went about as well as shoving a meat covered hand into a bull ants nest. The two thought they had completed their task - stop Taka and the cat folk from reaching Akashima. Turns out, there were more encampments and a small group had gotten away, furthermore, word had gotten to Akashima.

    Negotiations took place and Amari, much to her distaste; had a new task at hand. She was to find and retrieve some rinky dink artifact, and detain or kill anyone who got in her way. Simple right?

    So why was she being sent toward Akashima? The place would no doubt be teeming with unease. Fordstein already had his forces set up a perimeter controlling any who attempted to cross its borders; to even set foot in Yanbo Harbor one must have Fordsteins official seal, good thing she had it.

    Amari barely had time to change out of her bloodied and tattered clothes, restock, and shower before being escorted toward Akashima, it had been half a day at most and the lack of rest was taking its toll on the woman. Her escort had gone on ahead, leaving her to do the dirty work. Thaynes forbid if any of Fordstein’s men got their hands dirty.

    Amari stretched, arching her back with a yawn as she saw the visage of two men on horses in the distance. Intercepting everyone on the one path toward Akashima had thus far proved uneventful aside from the snide comment regarding her appearance.

    Amari was far from the snowy plains of Salvar, the weather was warmer here, so Amari’s attire had changed from her usual black leathers to something more accommodating. Her crimson hair was tied up in a high ponytail, bangs poking out and tickling her shoulders. She wore a ruby red cotton shirt and black shorts, revealing her milky skin, adorned with hairline fractures of black, the physical sign of her soul ability. Amari still had her leather boots which didn’t match the rest of the outfit. Overall, she looked more like a vacationer than a fighter. The only tell was the crystal sword of the snake, which hung idly at her hips.

    The two horseback figures drew closer, Amari raised her hands to wave them down. The smaller of the two was a stout man, he seemed to be sweaty and struggled to stay upright. Plumes of smoke followed his wake. Amari wrinkled her nose as she turned her shattered eyes to the taller figure.

    “You?” Amari breathed as a wave of familiarity washed over her. She knew that stance, the arrogant demeanor, and the dark hair peppered with grey. It was the man who had the ability to control lightning during the whole Crystal Sword fiasco. It was also the man she had unceremoniously ripped the pants off of.

    ”Shit!” She thought.

    “Hello Again.” She said.

    Storm glanced to the smaller, sweaty man and offered him a wink and a grin, as though the two were sharing some form of joke. Amari pursed her lips, not impressed, she had a feeling it was at her expense.

    “Red!” He exclaimed as his eyes briefly travelled up and down her form, his grin widened. “A sight for sore eyes.”

    “Storm.” Amari replied with a small nod, shifting her weight to one side. “Nice to see you wearing more clothes this time.”

    The man feigned a pained look, “most women tend to say the opposite, should I convince you otherwise?”

    Amari smirked, she appreciated the humour. Whatever pleasantries she shared with the man were short lived, there begged a question as to why he was here. It couldn’t be mere coincidence. “Doesn’t look like you have the time.” Amari gestured to the smaller man with a nod of her head.

    “Akashima is closed off by order of Senator Fordstein, unless of course…” She paused, flashing him a knowing look. “You have some sort of…business there.”

  4. #4
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    There was something about the boldness of the seductive looking woman that delivered a certain excitement to Storm Veritas. She was a kindred spirit in many ways; powerful beneath a very vulnerable veneer, sarcastic, sexual, and at least somewhat bull-headed. That she didn’t take the cheese on his teasing line was a little disappointing, but there were more pressing matters to attend to now, anyway.

    Yes, “business”. I have the most powerful totem I’ve ever laid my eyes upon in my satchel, and need to open this bad bitch up to stop a tidal wave from destroying a civilization, if not all of goddamned Corone. Normal… hell… Tuesday, maybe?

    They’d been riding for what felt like a long while, but only one full day when the tandem met with the redhead. Edim was immediately intimidated, looking down the neck at his common horse’s mane as though the mangy hair would offer an explanation on how to attempt to charm the alluring young woman. The entire sheepish routine disgusted the wizard, who lacked empathy for those lacking a proper backbone.

    The sun was warmer down here, shining at their backs from the south and lighting the fair skinned tempest in a favorable, golden sheen. She squinted to screen the bright light as the electromancer took a second swing at diplomacy.

    “Shelter, first and foremost. Let’s say simply that Radasanth isn’t an option, and I’ll trust in your discretion to take me at my word. There’s a hoard of goddamned cat people on our tails; I think we shook them up in the Jagged Mountains, but there’s more coming. A shitload mo…”

    ”Ker-CHOW!!” The single, echoing reverberation of rifle fire called out from behind them, high atop the hillside. A thick lump of earth exploded upward less than three yards to the left of Attila, who whinnied with a blend of anger and fear. The source of the fire was a prone cat-soldier, silver-furred and adorned in blue cloth, partially blocked with a thin facade of blue-grey smoke. The sniper had missed, but climbed to a knee as he poured a funnel of black powder down the barrel, reloading.

    “He’s reloading! Go get him, Storm! Get him!” Terrance Edim was frantic, blubbering atop his mount as he pointed a chubby hand at the attacker.

    Imbecile. Gods.

    “F*ck that noise, bud. I’d take him, but we need distance RIGHT NOW to get free and clear of the rest of them. These shitty kitties never stop coming.”

    Without waiting, he drove forward a step, offering a hand up to the barely familiar vixen. Attila could easily bear the weight of both of them.

    “Red, can you get us through the gates at Akashima or not? We ain’t got time for any niceties right now, it’s time to screw.”

  5. #5
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    A look of familiarity flashed across Amari’s eyes as Storm mentioned the Jagged Mountains, the exact place the artifact was said to come from, his arrival here was definitely more than mere coincidence. Amari normally wouldn’t go galavanting off with a man she barely knew, but he had information she needed. There was also the matter of being under fire by sniper cats. That was as good a reason as any to join the man. “I can, but I want an explanation along the way. I’ve got a room near the port, we can head there.”

    Amari had to question his choice of words, she offered him a wry smile as she took his hand and hefted herself onto the back of the horse. “What, no dinner first?” She quipped as she wrapped her arms tight around his waist. She gave him an extra squeeze for good measure, pressing her bosom against his back. There was a slight hardness of the cold metal medallion she wore around her neck, Fordstein’s seal. “I expect to be wined and dined first...” she muttered in a velveteen tone.

    “Throw in a 69 and we got a deal.” Storm coyly responded. With a crack of the reins his horse whinnied and broke into a gallop toward Akashima. Amari glanced over her shoulder at the oncoming catfolk, her lips pressed into a thin line.

    ”Looks like there were more of them after all, these must be another breed from a higher caste. Damn...should have wiped them out too.”

    They were on foot, and struggled to keep up with the horses, the sniper from earlier had already reloaded and was aiming the gun toward the group. [i]”Like he’d actually be able to hit us.”[i/] There was a loud crack in the distance, followed by a much closer ‘thwomp’.

    “Eeargh…” Amari grimaced, then swore. The damn furry beast had shown her; the metallic pellet bullet landed squarely in her left shoulder. A shockwave of burning pain rolled through her body. It wasn’t a fatal wound, but she could feel the blood soak through her flimsy shirt. Amari regretted leaving her jacket behind - it would’ve provided some sort of buffer.

    “Oh no! S-Storm we have to stop! She’s injured! She’s..bleeding. Miss, ah! Storm! STORM!”

    “Shut up Edim! Fuck me... We’re not stopping.”

    “I’m fine.” Amari called out to the less seasoned traveller. “Tis but a flesh wound.” She flashed Edim a grin, “Once we get the pellet out I’ll heal myself.” Her smile offered little comfort to the smaller man, he noticed her sweaty forehead and the ever growing dark stain on her shirt. He wanted to press the matter further, but was outmatched with both Storm and the red headed woman insisting on pressing forward.

    Not even half an hour had passed before Amari grew dizzy and nauseous. She had to rest her forehead against Storm’s shoulder to stay upright. Normally, Amari would be pissed at someone as chatty as Storms ‘friend’, Edim, but it was his constant dialogue that gave her a good idea of where they were. She knew they were nearing the borders, she could hear the hustle and bustle of soldiers walking the same road.

    “I-it looks like the entirety of the Corone army is here…” Edim said in a hushed tone of awe as his bulged eyes nervously flittered from one soldier to the next.


    “We should be nearing Akashima’s borders soon.” Amari groaned as she pushed herself off of storms shoulder with a groan. Amari fished inside her top and pulled out the small bronze medallion she had hidden, she reached forward to hand the bloodied coin to Storm. “Here, this’ll get you through. Get them to take you to the damned inn, and get this fuckin’ metal outta me so I can heal myself.”

  6. #6
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    If only it WAS f*ckin’ metal; life would be so much easier.

    The soldiers bustling about the path on the outskirts of Akashima looked at the wounded redhead with concern. They were disorganized, their uniforms far from fully uniform, and the wizard wondered if they were militia as they moved in scattered bunches. Signaling to one of them, Storm was able to get them to produce a pop-up gurney for the seductive redhead. She was looking light in the face, clearly suffering from the bullet wound that hit the hind side of her left shoulder. The heavy green canvas was suspended a few feet from the ground; with a nod and a coin Storm tipped the soldier with an appreciative glance. Perhaps the Coronian soldier should have refused the tip, however times were tough for some, and with a glance about him pocketed the crown sheepishly.

    “Come here, Red, let me help you...Terrance a little help?”

    Edim struggled to dismount the small horse, he was sweating as fat men are wont to do in times of stress. The diplomatic little fellow was struggling, moving urgently to assist, hustling to do very little. Despite his seemingly slight frame, Storm effortlessly hoisted the injured temptress onto the gurney, gently laying her on her right side and allowing her to settle gently. Her cotton shirt, already mercifully colored red, was darker near the puncture, an obvious asymmetric oval seeping down and away from the wound.

    “Don’t move. Relax.”

    His dagger was swift and skillful as he cut a single path from the neck to sleeve of her shirt, allowing the experienced wizard to peel back the cloth to reveal the dark wound. It was a lead pellet as he had presumed, not the rare iron shot he could have so easily pulled out without any invasive work. It was a dark red about the entrance, and through the half-crown sized hole he could see the gleam of metal beneath a thin veil of blood. Storm could get to it.

    This is going to damned near kill this poor girl.

    “Relax, this is going to hurt, but not too bad and only for a minute. I’m going to sterlize the knife first. Here…” the electromancer handed her his flask of whiskey, from which she readily sipped.

    He splashed a small dose of the same sweet alcohol over both sides of the blade of his very thin kris dagger, and then with his left hand produced a white, razor-thin arc of buzzing electric energy. Running the arc along the length of the blade, the onlooker Terrance Edim gazed with open mouth and widened eyes as the remnants of drink bubbled off under heat, the metal darkening slightly as it was made clean of the infectious germs that wandered around any scabbard Veritas found himself near.

    “Slim, hold the back, keep your fingers a few inches from the wound and press down. Keep those chubby little sausage fingers flat, and stay out of my light.”

    Obediently, Edim took and followed the order, clearly disgusted at the proximity to such a wound. He had seen men die by the handful in previous skirmish, but something about the reality of a close wound made weak men’s gills green up very quickly.

    The chatter of the moving soldiers dissipated behind the group as the tall adventurer sized up the wound. Others had gathered to watch, the militia or military (or whatever these soldiers would prove to be) seemed devoid of a competent or willing medic. Undeterred, Storm leaned over the girl, pinching the still-warm metal in his right hand as he gently pulled at the creamy skin just beneath the wound with his left. Blood seeped out quickly over his fingers as he felt the doughy assistant tremble.

    Hold it together, you useless shit. Don’t f*cking pass out on me.

    The redhead grimaced as Storm gently pushed the blade into the wound, her fists clenched and round ass tightening as she fought through the pain. He was quickly able to tap the side of the pellet with his knife, but needed to get beneath the projectile to displace it. Worse, he’d have to pull it back perfectly vertical, or it would risk entangling in the dense and rich muscle fiber of the athletic young lady’s back. He breathed in long, slow pulls, careful to keep a steady hand as blood continued to seep richly. Her body trembled beneath him in pain, but she remained silent, almost defiant.

    Got a tough bitch on my hands, don’t I?!

    After an agonizing two minutes of struggle, the pellet’s round body erupted through the wound, rolling harmlessly off the table. The girl sighed a great groan of relief, and Edim scrambled to find purchase for his fat ass upon a forgiving tuft of thick grass. This work was too much for him.

    Without allowing the girl a moment to protest or comment, another splash of alcohol went into the wound, followed by a freshly wiped and screaming hot blade tip to cauterize the wound. The scent of burning flesh would never become welcome in the nostrils of the wizard, and Storm snarled at the grotesque sting that he knew was necessary.

    Turning his back to the gurney, the girl was stirring, almost immediately lifting herself up. A younger, more spry version of the wizard would look to comfort the girl with conveniently compromised clothing, however Storm didn’t turn up to look at her. If she had made it through all this without passing out, she really didn’t need him. He did, however, have an idea of what she could use.

    “Here, finish it, you certainly earned it.” The flask of whiskey found its way back north of the gurney, in front of the brilliant eyes of the tough young girl.

    She took a swig, wincing. “Reminds me of something a man named Shinsou once gave me.”

    Hearing the declaration sharpened the eyes of the wizard once more. That son of a whore Osiris HAD taken the whiskey, after all. Storm couldn’t help but smile.

  7. #7
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    Amari handed the flask back to Storm, barely a mouthful remained. “Thanks, you and Shinsou have good taste.” She noted the expression on his face and couldn’t decide if it were one of nostalgia, or amusement. Nonetheless, it made her feel a tad awkward; Amari wasn’t used to such gestures and smiles. Her life was something akin to a young adolescent's self written story of woe and angst. Rather than waste her time analysing the simple gesture, Amari stood and ran a hand gingerly over her wound.

    “It’ll just pop open again if I move too much..” She mused. Amari’s eyes danced over toward the border, which was now within their sights. She had a feeling that once they entered the town, their leisurely stroll would come to an end. Amari’s hand made a crackling noise as it began to emit a pale golden glow, something one would struggle to see in the bright Coronian sun. She pressed harder on her wound and her skin sizzled as she began to heal herself, a process that was just as painful as the extraction of the pellet. She swore, her knees buckled and sweat dripped from her forehead till she finally pulled her hand away.

    “There. I don’t think I managed to heal it all, but at least I won’t start leaking if we get cornered, or what have you.”

    “You...healed yourself?” Edim asked as he approached to inspect her back.

    “Aye, I did.” Amari turned on her heel and began walking the short distance toward the border. It was lined with armed guards and soldiers. Some who were familiar with the woman, others gripped their weapons tighter at the approach of three strangers. Edim looked as if he were about to ask another question but was interrupted.

    “Miss Red!” One of the guards waved her down, “We have the city and the port under lockdown. Residents are under a strict curfew. Any seen wandering the streets are to be detained, if they resist, killed on sight.”

    “Right…” Amari didn’t see the need for such excessive force, but she was not one to complain. Less people, the better. Amari took a step forward to enter the port city of Yanbo but was stopped by that same guard.

    “We still need to see Fordstein's​ seal.” His eyes darted toward Storm and Edim, “Are they your guests?”

    Amari nodded, she turned to Storm who handed her back Fordstein's seal. Quickly, she wiped the blood off it and flashed it to the guard. “Yes, I’m taking them with me for questioning.” The guard nodded and let the three through without further fuss. She was thankful that he was familiar with her; if he weren’t there would have been a lot more hoops to go through.

    “I ain’t wasting any time; I got you in- I want answers.” Amari said as she lead Storm and Edim through the empty town. It was eerie, their footsteps echoed against the cobblestone path as their voices were carried with the wind. Something didn’t feel right and it made Amari nervous. Still, she had a job to do.


    “I can’t help but wonder, what caused those cat creatures to attack you. I had a run in with them myself, well...not them exactly. Slaughtered a refugee camp of the smaller ones, a group o’ larger ones, looked similar to bipedal lions aided us and charged toward Akashima, suppose they figured we were fighting for the same cause, so…” Amari turned to Storm. “I hear a group escaped with a man named Leoric, you played a part in that, yes?”

    "Best we can tell, the ugly mottled bastards, the refugees... they were on the run, looking for an artifact in the Jagged Mountains." Storm flipped his eyes back and forth to his satchel in a move too quick to draw certainty from. "Those silverback bastards just want to burn the whole goddamned country down, it seems."


    Amari contemplated his answer, “And you have that artifact, correct?”

    This time, Edim answered, no doubt much to Storms distaste. “T-Thats correct Red. It is an ancient artifact and it looks as though it has the power of weather, and the cat people claim to want it to stop a great tidal wave. We had an offer of 5000GP from a man named Ceidon, he wants to keep it out of Fordstein’s…” Edim paused and cleared his throat, realising that he had given far too much information away.

    Amari offered Edim a sickly sweet smile, knowing she could play him much easier than she could Storm. More so, she didn’t want to play Storm, she found herself developing a strong rapport with the older man. “Out of Fordstein’s hands, correct?” She asked Edim.

    The stout man nodded furiously with a clenched jaw, scratching the muzzle on his chin. “Something like that.”

    Amari could tell Storm wasn’t happy with Edim’s faux paux; she couldn’t blame him. The information was vital. “Something like that, sounds like it’d be a make or break weapon in a civil war, huh?” Amari asked. She got no response from Edim, he was refraining from talking to her. She continued, “Be a shame if all these people died, it’d be a slaughter.”

    “Just like YOU slaughtered those refugees?” Edim spat at her, his frustration winning.

    He was playing into her hands, she wanted him outraged, she wanted him to get angry. People who were blinded by rage were easier to manipulate, easier to gain information from. Still, his outburst stung a little. At the time, Amari saw it as nothing more than a job, nothing more than coin in her pocket. “You know…” She began. “When I approached they threw themselves down onto their knees, I guess with my ability, they mistook me for one of their gods. They begged us for help when the stronger group charged the shoreline. Instead, we turned on them, because it was our job.” Amari wasn’t sure if what she was doing was right, but really… what deemed an action right or wrong?

    Amari turned her gaze toward her two companions. “Every side in a war thinks they are the just ones, that they are the ones doing the right thing... who is to say if what I did was truly wrong? This is the beginning of a war.” Amari gestured toward the empty streets they walked down. “This place, Akashima, will fall, be it by us, those cat folk, or a natural disaster. It’s just a matter of which outcome is deemed more just.”

    Edim gritted his teeth and pushed himself in front of Amari, he gripped the tattered remains of her shirt and pulled her close to him. “GENOCIDE, Red, is never just. We aren’t handing the artifact over to you! I gave Ceidon my word and be damned if...if I’m going to hand it over to the first person who asks.”

    Amari seemed unphased by his outburst, she wiped the spittle from her face with the back of her hand. “I don’t recall asking for it.”

    Edim shook her again. “But you want it, right!? You just want to take it like you took their lives!”

    Amari pulled his hands away. “You don’t know me, neither of you do. You have no grounds to trust me.” She gave a snort and a smirk. “Hell, I wouldn’t trust me, but I ain’t asking for your trinket. I wouldn’t know how to use it, I wanted information. I may be under Fordsteins’ employ, but if I’ll be brutally honest. He hasn’t been trusting toward me, nor I to him. My loyalty to him isn’t even bound by coin at this point. It seems this thing of yours is far more important than to hand over to Fordstein, or to sell to this Ceidon fellow for that matter. Now...”

    Amari gestured toward a nearby building. “I have a room in that inn, we have privacy and food there. I’d prefer to change out of this top before I spill out of it. We can discuss matters further there, or I can leave you here and without my escort you both will be thrown to the borders at best, and at worst... shot on sight.”

  8. #8
    Moderator
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    Storm Veritas's Avatar

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    Storm Veritas
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    It felt like only moments later that the three found themselves gathered around a small, round, cedar table in the “luxury suite” of the Akashiman inn. Dimly lit by an oil lantern and candles, the bedroom was eerily quiet, the curtains of white and red lace added an odd romantic touch to a military inspired conversation. An attentive older woman knocked politely at the door to deliver two large steel carafes of percolated caffeine. The trio would need to keep their coffee cups warm and high; there would be no more time for alcohol until this charade was over. A few bowls of porridge were rifled through, as they spoke little while attending to ravenous hunger. Storm’s eyes barely moved off of Terrance Edim, who appeared to melt into his bench seat beneath the glare.

    Chickenshit moron. Folded like a goddamned wicker chair under the first hint of trouble. Now Red knows all about the artifact, and its usefulness, and all of our cards are on the table, you imbecile. If you couldn’t translate the words of those cat people, I’d have left you to fend for yourself on the streets.

    “You know what we’ve got…” Storm began, whispering quietly as if enemy informants were literally hovering over his shoulder. He tried to speak to Amari now, in a tone direct, discrete, and simply. If the loose-lipped Edim didn’t hear, it would offend the sensibilities of the traveled, tired wizard.

    “It needs to open. I was able to open pieces of it in the temple; it’s some form of puzzlebox. Elaborate, mechanical, and sacred to those walking housecats. My rotund traveling companion spoke to them directly. They all arrived, first the refugees and then the warriors. This little metal chunk of shit is the only thing that can save their people. For them, they speak of the apocalypse.”

    The mage deftly produced the small block of cold steel, which hummed gently at his fingers’ touch as runes popped white upon the sides of the prism. It was barely larger than his hand, and looked like an expensive paperweight when gently redeposited on the table.

    “This!?” the redhead whispered, appearing surprised at the simplicity of such an important item. “All that big talk for this thing?”

    “Yes.” Storm stood from the table and stepped back, turning his back to the redhead and thought carefully before he spoke. “The refugees wanted to use it to save their people. The warriors sought to STOP them from using it. The wave is coming, they explained, and it will wash away the sins of Althanas.”

    Terrance Edim trembled at this, pressing his pudgy fingers onto the desk and raising himself up, as though cued to speak. He rested a hand on the round, soft belly generated from a life of comfort and excess, although his face remained white and haggard from the rigors of this adventure. “Sir… the felines that shot her…”

    “Yes, yes, sit down.” Veritas was dismissive in his tone towards the fat little man, who sat as a trained beagle may do. “The warriors are coming for the artifact. They are coming to see that it is not opened, and they are not more than a day behind us, as your injury can testify.”

    A quizzical look came from the femme-fatale, who bounced her focus from the artifact dancing in her fingers to Storm and back again. “Why should I give a damn about those cat people? We have problems of our own.”

    A deep breath came from the master of lightning, who nodded in the direction of Terrance Edim. “Go on, tell the pretty lady what you told me on the hill.”

    “It appears my original translation was off a touch, miss.” Edim caught a glare of plush carpet directly between his toes, hell bent on not seeing her eyes for the revelation. “The refugees were not referring to some obscure Salvarian cat-race we’ve never seen before. Their direct quote was:

    ”Nos postulo ut salvum populus in Apocalypsi, quod advenit ex mari.

    “We need to save the people from the apocalypse, which arrives from the sea.” A dreadful pause.

    “The wave isn’t coming for the cat people, m’lady. The wave is coming for all people. The warriors simply serve to ensure its delivery.”

  9. #9
    Member
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    Mari's Avatar

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    Amari Ciel L'Olfsden
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    “This changes things.” Amari whispered quietly, her eyes on the cube as her fingers traced the ridges and divots, “I see why the Senator wants it. He’d charge for its use, not just gold but deeds to lands, ownership of Akashima itself. He offered me a noble title in exchange for my aid.”

    Amari glanced up at Edim, “It’d be nice to have influence over another region but I’m not bull-headed enough to risk my own life for it. I can’t swim at the best of times, let alone in a fuckin’ wave crashing down on us.”

    “S-so you’ll help us?” Edim hopefully asked her.

    “I’m not really one for saving the world, but, I ain’t one for dyin’ either.” Amari said as she stood, throwing and catching the cube in her hand. She was looking for a valid reason to topple Fordstein and it had now literally fallen into her hands. “I’m not entirely sure how this thing works, but I can take a guess that mana and water would play a part in it.” Amari paused, she was taking a shot in the dark with her suggestion. “Storm, you’re well versed in magic, think fiddling with it submerged in the sea would help? I’ve heard of things like that before, would make sense that it was shoved high in the mountains. That’s about as far away from the sea as you can get.”

    “It could work, we don’t have time to screw around. Those god-damned overgrown kittens are going to be at our front door come morning.” Storm said as he turned toward her. “How confident are you in your ability to unlock it?”

    “About as confident as you are in your ability to bed woman.” She paused, “Or men, I’m not one to judge.”

    The man chuckled as he broached the gap between them and snaked an arm around her waist, pulling Amari close. “Oh believe me, Sugar.” He pressed his lips to her ear, “It is most certainly women.” Amari welcomed the warmth of the man as his heated breath tickled her neck, but before she could reciprocate they were interrupted by a very agitated man.

    “STORM!” Edim interjected in an exasperated shout. “Must you, really?”

    Storm pulled away from a slightly flustered Amari. “Get it open; we’ll go take out the silver cats.”


    Amari smoothed down her clothes, patting herself down till she came across the small medallion that wore Fordsteins seal. “Here,” she grabbed storms hand and pressed the trinket into his palm. “Take this, it’ll grant you free roam. Why not take out some of that pent up energy and as you’d put it ‘slay some pussy’?” She offered him a final grin and squeeze of the hand. Amari didn’t mind his quips or his crass comments, she didn’t even mind his flirtatious behaviour, it was nice seeing someone so upfront and honest with what they wanted. It was a good distraction from her own thoughts. Especially since she was quite the opposite, never entirely sure of her own actions.

    Amari grimaced, she wasn’t good in situations like this, she was so used to following orders. It was easier that way, she could just push her emotions aside, she didn’t have to think for herself. The woman didn’t realise the crutch she had formed with her Master, even with Fordstein. Following orders… was that all she was good for? This was her chance to redeem herself, to take some sort of reigns on her life again. The redheaded woman was now taking charge of the situation, the men with her now, she wasn’t sure if she could entirely trust them, or even if they would listen. It was make or break.

    Amari stepped away and turned her attention to Edim. “You…” She paused looking him over, unsure of his ability to fight. He was travelling with Storm, and had obviously held his own against the cat people. Storm seemed to dislike the man, but despite his upper-class lifestyle quirks, the man seemed sincere enough. “Are you confident with escorting me to the water temple? I think it was the Thane of Ami’Lee or whatever? It’s a secluded place to sort this puzzle out, and since it’s a place of worship I doubt it’d be riddled with many soldiers. How much time do we have until this wave comes?”

    "Hard to say... but I'm sure the silver cats didn't get here now without needing to. They wouldn't risk landing early or late; they'd need to feed themselves or defend the fort if the assault was mis-timed."

    “We’d best hurry then, grab whatever you need. We’ll work under the cover of low light. Edim, we’ll find a place before dawn-break, I’m trusting you to ensure we are hidden and I am undisturbed, can you do this?”

    “Y-Yes ma'am”

    “Good, then let’s get going.”

    Amari gave Storm a nod as they left the inn; he would head South to the borders and Edim would escort her to the temple. Amari didn’t know a lot about religion but it almost felt right to go to the temple. In the short time Amari had spent with the peppered hair man it seemed as though a plethora of obstacles were thrown their way. First she was shot, now she was thrown into the middle of a war, working against the man she was working for just days earlier. Now there was a tidal wave threatening to wipe out the entire region.
    Last edited by Mari; 03-28-17 at 09:33 AM.

  10. #10
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    Storm Veritas's Avatar

    Name
    Storm Veritas
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    It was uncomfortable, leaving the fate of the world in the bumbling hands of Terrance Edim. There was a mild reassurance that the wizard sat upon, knowing that for all his faults, the flabby little politician knew the urgency of his tasks. At the end of the day, Terrance had no option for cowardice, as relenting to the pressures of Fordstein would leave him with the options of “die now” or “die shortly”. Besides, Storm wagered as he attempted to lie to himself, Amari was a powerful warrior that would not be overwhelmed. His head dropped low as he walked forward down the evacuated streets of Akashima and thought upon it.

    She’s powerful, and selfish enough to be useful, but she’s a kid. She hasn’t developed into what she will be, at least not yet. When shit hits the fan, I’ll take her over the ungifted.

    The hour was ungodly late; the stars above obscured by gas-fired streetlights that shined for only one man. Sweat dried to his hairline in a filthy light outline of white, his riding clothes still upon him, heavily worn and leaving him smelling like one of the normal, disgusting citizens of these awful Coronian cities. Attila, at least, was secure; the great steed well tended and resting in the royal barn deep within the city confines. The well-traveled veteran smiled as he considered the great stubborn beast; he wasn’t sure if he’d ever enjoy the thrill of the ride again.

    Reaching the southern city wall, Storm showed his borrowed seal to all that would inspect him. Opting to climb the great stone stairs to the walkway above the mighty wall, he found the soldiers here totally unprepared, most of whom were sleeping. The wall stretched some three hundred yards in each direction from the centralized gate, looming twenty feet above the grass below with a staggered parapet that fronted the defense. The walkway, some ten feet wide, was far less densely populated than he had hoped for.

    So much for an archer behind each parapet. We’re f*cked.

    A rotation of night watchmen looked upon him, the newest source of excitement in what the young soldier expected was to be a quiet night. More stately than the militia-looking troops he had passed moving in, Storm was marginally impressed with the athletic build and tautly fit olive uniform. This was a soldier, despite his obvious fatigue.

    “Sir?” the man began with a polite but pointedly questioning tone. Citizens were not allowed upon the parapets, however Veritas did have a certain stately composure, a confidence that gave him an uncertain degree of clout. Normal citizens were also not typically released at night, and none within the walls of Akashima were damned fool enough to defy it.

    “Storm Veritas. I apologize for the curtness; I know you don’t know me, but time is urgent. Sound your horn; we saw some men patrolling the walls south of here. I’m sure they were sent to scout or assault the Cat People; you need those men here, now.” His stoic face offered a tone of certainty and knowledge, which was met with a wave of abject skepticism.

    “Whose authority do you speak on the behalf of?” The hierarchical chain of command was the only language the soldier truly understood, and wasn’t about to act above his paltry pay grade.

    “I speak on behalf of Senator Fordstein, as well as the Coronian Rangers, with whom I traveled up here. Most of them are dead now, regardless of what your men might be hearing. Wake the general.” Storm’s unique blend of truth and hyperbole struck a chord, as the widened eyes of the strong looking young soldier indicated. The Rangers were special, even here amongst soldiers, and news of their demise was important.

    Within moments, an angry, fast-awakening captain appeared before the wizard. A strip of charcoal upon his chest wrote the name declared him “Thompson”; the litany of colorful badges and flags upon his other breast declared him important to these men. Despite his short stature, the man looked thick and carved from steel, his short-cropped white beard ineffective at hiding a jawline square enough to pour foundation upon.

    “The hell do YOU want, civilian?” Muscled arms were folded behind his back, as the old warrior eyed the “young” wizard with piercing, haunting white-blue eyes. The tanned skin that held high cheekbones in a taut stretch told of what he’d likely refer to as real work, as man’s work.

    “Sound the horn. I’m here to help. The cat people, they’re coming. There were two waves, the first only forty, but the second several hundre….”

    “I’m sorry, at some point I missed the part where I’m taking orders from you, slim? You’d better have some information if you’re gonna wake me from the cold dead of night and start barking orders, or your bony ass is going over the wall!” The gravelly voice of the old man amused Storm; this “Thompson” was not the soft, cowering type that most Coronians seemed to be. He was almost noble. If the magician were here on a different day, he imagined splitting a few casks with a man this bold.

    “Let me try this again. My name is Storm Veritas.” His extended hand was gripped in the iron vice of a paw offered by the captain, and he stood strong and resisted the challenge the soldier was clearly posing. “Champion of Serenti. Champion of the Lornius Corporate Challenge. Cell Finalist. Slayer of Sunwing and Moonwing, who brought hell to Jormungstandt. Assassin of Radasanth. God of Lightning and Master of Metals.”

    As though to support his resume, Storm focused his energy on the belt buckle of the younger night’s watchman, raising his hand with minimal effort, lifting the boy from the waist and suspending him three feet above the platform. Terrified, the strong young soldier kicked his feet at the ground beneath him with tremendous futility, screaming at the total lack of control. With a simple grin, he gently lowered the young soldier, a man checking with relief for the absence of urine on the front of his pants.

    Point for you, kid. Most men piss themselves.

    “Captain Alexander Thompson. Four tours through Alerar; seventeen confirmed kills with those elven bastards. Sounds like the ‘pussy parade’ we were told about might be a little more serious, huh? I still run this shit, but you’ve got my attention.” A proud defiance in the man lit a flicker of hope in Storm. Magic could only take one so far; he needed men like this to stop the army coming to their doorstep.

    “Sound your f*cking horn. Bring your men back.”

    With a nod, Thompson gestured to the soldier, who moved towards the gate point and relayed the message. As the loud, deep groan of the matterhorn upon Akashima screamed out to the southlands, the captain cheeked a thick pinch of tobacco leaves, immediately offering the pouch to the newly arrived wizard. As he spoke, the men upon the wall rose quickly, confusion and urgency pulling them forward towards the tandem, a rapidly growing cluster of men very quiet to hear.

    “I know the name; the word is you’re a smoker, right?” The piercing eyes did not yield or tremble as the traveled leader looked upon Storm and continued to size him up, the checkmarks obviously confirming the rumors that the troubled adventurer had left in his wake. “We don’t smoke up here. Keep the lights out and there’s too much hay we use up on the wall. Take a pinch; don’t swallow the juice, and this shit’ll set you free.”

    “Only die once, right?” Storm thanked the strong little man as he pushed a pinch of leaved beside his molars, sucking the rich juice that tasted just like his pipe, rolling it across his tongue before spitting over the parapet. His eyes were locked on the horizon, where starlight lit the path home from where the militia and soldiers had gone. Aside him, Thompson barked at his men, informing them of the new soldier in their presence, and assigning Storm some arbitrary rank that sounded fancy.

    Let’s hope the title matters.

    Within a few minutes, the wall was awake, chatter low as the awakened soldiers chewed upon an early breakfast, the dawn beginning to break over the eastern seas. The path before the city, now lit gently by the pink kiss of the sun, was slowly speckled with returning soldiers. The men marched, mostly, struggling to hold formation as they staggered northwards to Akashima. With a keen squint, the electromancer estimated no more than fifty men, many of whom now sporting crimson-pocked slings and bandages.

    The majority of the Akashiman forces had already been defeated. A glance to his right caught Captain Thompson staring at the same small mass of men, unwilling to move his gaze. A thick stream of brown and red liquid was spat forward by the impressive old man, his own complete dearth of relief hinting that he shared the same thought process as the wizard.

    Holy shit. We’re f*cking screwed.

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