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Thread: [Irn League] The Zen Of War

  1. #1
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    Briarheart's Avatar

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    [Irn League] The Zen Of War

    [[Closed to Philomel.]]

    Find your center.

    Take a deep breath... and hold.

    One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

    Good. Now exhale.

    Take another breath.... and hold.

    Purge your might of all doubt. You are the master of your Self. Your body obeys your every command.

    One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

    Very good. Exhale.

    One last breath. You must purge your mind of all doubt. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

    Exhale.

    Open your eyes...


    ...and promptly fall to my hands and knees and vomit anyway.

    Thick, acrid liquid rushes to the ground. It looks like congealed beef stew, minus the vegetables. It doesn't smell much better. Bits of it splash onto my nice new leather gloves and the cuffs of my shirt. The rest of it starts to clump up near the edges of the pool, mixing in with the pale color of the sand, forming a nice little protective wall to keep the rest from spreading any further.

    I take a moment to scoop some of the nearby sand over the rest of it. Out of sight, out of mind.

    A very foreign, very furious string of words ripped through the air. I felt the vines of my neck tingle as I tried to make out the source. While I couldn't understand what they meant, half of them most certainly were curses. Looking around, I caught the sight of this squat, bald little man dressed in a plain faded orange robe. His only flourish was a wide red sash with gold trimming draped over his shoulder that wrapped around his waist.

    He shook a fist at me, and I silently slid my mythril face mask back into place and deflected his outburst with a wave of my vomit-stained middle finger. Eventually, his unintelligible ranting died down to grumbling and muttering as he turned around and left.

    Wiping the little dribble of crap that stuck to my chin off on my sleeve, I found the energy to stand up. Had to admit, I was still feeling a bit queasy from the whole ordeal. And I looked like a mess. A well-dressed mess, but a mess nonetheless. Beige stains mixed with clumps of sand decorated me like a harvest festival tree. I gave myself a quick pat down, wiping off my slacks and sleeves and gloves. The bits of my lunch and sand slid off with nary a trace left behind, leaving me looking like the world's freshest, most villainous casino dealer. Gods bless the stain-resistant powers of enchanted clothing.

    And fuck the Ai'Brone's teleportation magic with the rustiest of Aurelianus Drak'shal's eldritch adult toys.

    Where the hell did they dump me this time? I took a few seconds to look around. At first glance, it seemed like my kind of fabricated arena to kick someone's teeth in. Maybe

    I had seen drawings of places like this in a few of those picture epics you have to read from right to left. Akashiman zen gardens. They usually set them up near their temples, or other various places of importance or interest. This one was in the backyard of a temple, or tea house, or something. It was rectangular in shape, fenced in on two sides by the temple (or tea house) itself, while the other two sides were tall stonework.

    Roughly two-thirds of the yard were dedicated to the pit of sand I found myself kneeling in at first. The entirety of the border was lined with smooth fist-sized rocks. Six jagged boulders that rose to my knee sat equidistant from one another in little circles of grass. The sand itself had been meticulously raked in a checkerboard pattern, each square measuring a foot and a half on each side and crafted with nine perfect lines spaced two inches apart.

    Interrupted only by the pair of hand prints and the oblong splotch of darkened sand near the edge at my feet.

    I could see why I got my earhole chewed off by that monk. Something like this probably took a lot of effort--effort that was presently wasted and will be further so in the near future, of course. The garden was kept in pristine condition. Not a single weed was to be seen in the grass, which was itself cut down to a perfect two and a half inches. Off in the distance, beyond the walls, I could hear the chirping of birds and the unmistakable splashing of a nearby stream.

    All that was missing was my opponent. No idea who that was or when they were going to show up, of course.

    See, I signed up for this little thing called the Iron League. Advertisements were posted in every tavern I liked to frequent whenever I made it to Radasanth. If you're looking for a bunch of people who want to beat the shit out of one another for fame and coin, you could put up papers in worse places. And considering that, frankly, I don't get as much exercise as I'd like anymore, being cooped up in that abandoned fort deep in Concordia, I figured why the hells not?

    It'd be like the good ol' days, in the Dajas Pagoda. Apparently, the organizers took a glance at the records the monks keep in the Citadel about its patrons. Even walking into the whole thing blindly, I had a pretty decent standing.

    Now, to hope that whoever showed up was enough of a puss to take a swift kick to the nethers and a loss.

  2. #2
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    A sweet wind whistled from the east.

    Not only did it sound as a melody of charm and joy, but also did it taste pleasant to the tongue, bringing with it the scent of honeysuckle, rose and vanilla - three flavours most delicate and flavoursome. It brought with it the lively chitters of birdsong, that brought calm to a pounding heart and cheer to a broken soul. This, joined with the white light of a summer sun, that streamed down and touched the features with a tenderness that it could be described as a mother's caress, spoke of perfect bliss in the place.

    A utopia.

    Suddenly a bird flittered into the relatively square garden, a light hop over the high wall, and came to land on one of the six stones that rested amongst circles of grass, which themselves rested amongst a stretch of sand, which took up the majority of the space. Lines, drawn with absolute care and precision, encircled these monuments to mineral and also divided the sand into a neat pattern, like that of a chessboard. Horizontal patterning met vertical, in squares and sections of a fair stride's length, creating the illusion of a tiled place going far back as the garden allowed. The small bird, looking at these arrangements was silent for a while as he contemplated them, black beady eyes blinking. But then he chirped a tune, communicating that it was all rather dull and boring. Rather too simple if you asked him. Rather too perfect.

    Then he spied what he had come here seeking. A wriggle in the unusually sharply-trimmed grass. Hooting with delight and beating his wings the bird darted down to the thin band of grass beneath his stone, and pecked willingly at the ground. As he drew his head up a lithe worm wriggled in his beak, and his eyes shone with a cheer. As he looked up again he saw an odd-looking woman who seemed more tree than monster-two-legs, thus he paused - but then he remembered his family. Despite the fact she was kneeling and looked somewhat distressed did not concern the bird; his life and his home did. So he spread his wings and drifted off, back over the wall and into a place that did not exist, but fundamentally, for him, it did.

    And as he disappeared another figure came into view, and it was as harmless as he, and as possibly part of nature. It - she - was a small, brown and white rabbit with a splodge-like pattern on his coat that was officially called 'piebald'. With one ear down and the other erect she slowly leapt into view across from the narrow verandah that came directly out of the south side of the teahouse (for a teahouse it was). The rabbit hesitated as she approached the smooth rocks that made up the border of the field of sand, taking a moment to check the stability of them. For unlike the bird she could not just avoid these things and fly away. Instead the rabbit needed to make the possibly treacherous journey from wooden decking to sandy shore, all in an aim to gain to the grass that was the only thing worth eating here to a herbivore.

    Gingerly the rabbit distributed her weight and found the rocks to be suitable for walking. With a light pound on the earth with her back paws she sent herself into a hopping motion, going straight over the stones and then onto the sand. Directly distrupting the sand did she go, leaving behind her from first pawfall to each after occurring, dark dents and marrs in the previously impeccable pattern. She made no sound but for a gentle thump, thump, thump, as her back legs rose together and fell together, pushing her body over the sand and in front of the kneeling figure.

    Whom she did not stop to say hello to, or to even acknowledge. All the rabbit simply did was head over to the closest surround of grass, and begin to nibble.

    For hunger, not battle, reigned just now. And the faun she had left on the verandah to stare and blink with utter surprise at their opponent for this Citadel match, very shocked to see a very old friend right there, not a typical enemy - the rabbit disregarded her. She disregarded them all.

    Because right now was grass-eating time.
    Last edited by Philomel; 09-13-2017 at 04:33 PM.

  3. #3
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    Briarheart's Avatar

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    The most curious thing popped into view.

    A small white rabbit with patches of brown fur paid no attention to me as it leaped into the sand, cutting across the checkerboard pattern on the hunt for something. Boy, if that robed fellow had only stuck around for another minute, he could've had two screaming fits for the price of one!

    The little creature hopped on his merry way in a little curved pattern, adding its own flourishes to the expertly-raked sand, kicking up little clouds with each leap. It would stop occasionally to sniff the air, look to the left then the right, and then hunch back over and continue on his merry way. Soon, the rabbit would find its mark; one of the circular patches of grass that surrounded the rocks set in the zen garden itself. Satisfied with its work, it tucked into the blades of grass, pulling at and nibbling the lengths of greenery in search of a good dinner.

    It was mildly weird, but I felt the urge to stroll on over and pet it. With how easily it approached me from behind, it must've been a friendly beast and used to the company of humans. But then again, it might take off a finger or two of mine--

    --Because, you know, I'm a walking houseplant and all. It might think I'm some kind of all-you-can-eat buffet.

    I took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. The initial wave of nausea had passed, thank the gods. I'd need to be in top form for when my opponent showed up, whenever that might have been.

    If they took their sweet time about it, that would be okay. I wouldn't mind sitting at the rocky edge of the garden and meditate for a few minutes beforehand.

    Meditation is something I've picked up recently. With the string of disasters in my laboratory I've dealt with and all the roadblocks in my research of Red's precarious situation, I needed something to clear my mind. Hype suggested taking half an hour here to close my eyes and center myself. I never thought it would work, but hey; I can be wrong once in a while. Who would've guessed.

    Maybe I'd go sit on the steps of the verandah and enjoy the peace and quiet of the garden for a spell. Wait out the arrival of my opponent in a sort of half-conscious state. With luck, I wouldn't fall asleep and be a sitting duck for a kick in the throat.

    When I turned to walk to the stairs, I immediately realized that I'd have no such luxury today.

    There she stood, framed by the lacquered support beams holding up the roof of the tea house or temple or whatever. My opponent was good half-foot taller and far more top-heavy than myself, her dragonscale breastplate too occupied with containing her ample bosom to worry about covering the tree tattoo that decorated her midriff. The faun's hair was loose, spilling down her back in a cascade of purple. The horns that curved out of her head looked especially dangerous today. Sunlight glinted off the polished metal of her bracers.

    And she still had the audacity to exclude pants from her inventory. Not even so much as a loincloth to remain decent in public.

    “Philomel,” I said with a polite nod. Already, a cloud of plague was building in my lungs, ready to be unleashed upon her. My eyes flickered with anticipation of the coming battle. She was always a capable opponent, but always one to rely on the numbers game to overcome any challenges thrown her way.

    “This one of yours?” I motioned with a gloved hand towards the rabbit, who continued to mind its own business off in the grass. “I have a hard time keeping track of all your pets.”
    Last edited by Briarheart; 09-15-2017 at 09:25 PM.

  4. #4
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    Philomel's eyes drifted over to where Mao was nibbling the grass, and she took a moment to pause in a complimentative, significant way. A sigh, perched on her lips, took its time to be released before it truly was, drifting out over into the summery air before her and past the verandah post she was nearby.

    "Madison," spoke she with soft and almost abstracted tones, "... How are you? Yes, Mao is mine."

    Slowly she nodded as she took a step down to the first step of the projecting walkway, the few steps it took to descend into the garden of zen. The few steps that would take her closer to the once black-haired, now four-eyed woman of brains and innovation. Clearly her opponent in this place, but one she felt she could take time with to be reintroduced to again before they started this artful battle.

    It had been too long, after all, since the two of them had seen one another. Their history was complicated and strange, but full of pain. In her heart Philomel still felt a pang of anger when she saw the briarheart, born forth from the time Madison had been in command of the Crimson Hand assassin guild and declared war against the Gilded Lily - Philomel's project, effort and child. Some vague claim had it been that it was simply for Philomel's benefit - to challenge the Lily as a power and to ensure the degree of seperation between the two. It had secured Philomel's permanent isolation from the Crimson Hand, no longer Master of Secrets, no longer a trusted member, but also because of the lack of blood that had ended up in it, it had established a weary respect from her towards Madison. Though Philomel could never truly forgive what had occurred, she did feel some form of understanding towards her. Both of them had changed during the years of Lichensith Ulroke's maddening abuse of power, and both reacted in their own ways.

    "I have not seen you in some time," she said quietly, one hand slowly drifting to the hilt of her sword. A small gesture, a casual gesture. As one might place their hand on their hip. Her other hand drifted behind her back, palm facing the ground. She used it as a concentrative method to send awareness into the soil, straight towards the grass were Mao was eating, to call upon the plants to help her, should the need come.

    "Tell me how have you been?"

    With the last words she clomped down the last couple of steps, coming to rest on the smooth stones at the edge of the garden. Those of dark colours and casual beauty, like the calm before a storm. Tilting up her head she stood not five feet now from the briarheart, stance tall and proud, and patience in her heart. Hand curling around the hilt of her sword and whispers now beginning to be told to the grass she prepared - but did not strike. Instead she simply smiled, and waited, her eyes locked on the strange white mask on the briarheart's face. Waited for Madison to reply, waited for Madison to strike. Waited for her to do some form of ghastly magic that she was capable of.

    Whilst in the wings, elsewhere in the teahouse-citadel, Veridian and Delath, fox and dragon respectively, were still sipping on their hot beverages and waiting for the call. Their minds astute, their bodies ready.

    But Philomel would not strike first.
    Last edited by Philomel; 09-22-2017 at 02:16 PM.

  5. #5
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    Briarheart's Avatar

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    I could never actually tell whether or not the faun hated my guts and would rather see them spilled on the floor rather than kept safe and snug inside my body.

    It was all in the mix signals that came from her stance and posture. Her hand gripped the hilt of her blade, fingers curled across the grip, the muscles of her arm tensed and ready to pull steel and cut me in two. And yet she stood there, relaxed and aloof, a slight pop of her hip as if we were two friends standing in a hallway, chatting about the weather.

    It infuriated me to no end. Nothing about the way she presented herself gave me any idea what I was to expect. The last few times we crossed paths, I suggested that her side aspirations were treasonous, had her brothels attacked, and spat on her fox.

    Speaking of Veridian, where the seven hells was that socialite's unprocessed scarf? That little bastard always had a knack for jumping into streams of acid that I threw around. Did he finally learn his lesson and stay home?

    Probably not. Animals aren't that intelligent; blindly obedient ones even less so.

    “I've been... I've been well enough, I suppose,” I answered Philomel's inquiry with a sigh. “It's been a long few months. I'm not sure if you heard, but I left the Hand again. I disagreed with Ulroke's handling of that Red girl he... shall we say, brought into the fold.”

    Kidnapped and brainwashed, more like. But I'm sure the former Master of Secrets already knew about her.

    “Rather than try and fix things myself again, I did what I do best: Ran away.” I shrugged, removing my leather gloves and sliding them into a pocket on the interior of my vest. I would need my hands free to build up acidic crystals in case things got a bit too heated between us.

    “I grabbed Hype--you've met her, right? I grabbed her, my most important notes from the Sanctum, and found a little place in Concordia to hide in. It's actually quite peaceful. I'm left alone by the outside world, and nobody who has my name on a list has been able to find me yet. I take a walk to the shores of a small lake every morning, do a bit of reading and meditating, and I'm back in time for a late lunch and some experiments in the basement.”

    Something was definitely off here. What was she waiting for?

    Amber light flashed in my eyes as I continued rambling. “I had my soul taken from me, though. That kind of sucked.” I unconsciously began popping my knuckles one by one. “Some flea-bitten catgirl took it from me. But she also ripped the last bits of Pode from my body, so I haven't had any malevolent voices floating around in my head for a couple months now. It's great, let me tell you. I'm free to be my own woman again. However, my research has suffered somewhat. More explosions and dead things and mutations that need to be put down than I've ever had to deal with before. I'm starting to think that Pode lingering around in my body and mind guided my hand whenever I was in the laboratory. If that's the case...?” I shook my head. “Good riddance. I am okay with losing my scientific acumen if it means I'm rid of her for good.”

    I kicked at the ground, scuffing my polished leather shoes against the uniformally-trimmed blades of green. She should have struck by now. I've been rambling for minutes now, and she still has that blank look on her stupid fucking face.

    I tried to ruin her life based on a nagging suspicion. I tried to kill her darling little Veridian on multiple occasions. Every rational person would've ran me through, pinned me to the ground, and stomped my sharpened teeth down my gullet by now. She's five fucking feet away from me, certainly within striking distance!

    Here I was ready for a fight, and instead I'm having not-dinner with an old not-friend. What the fuck was wrong with her?

    I had enough of this shit. The heat was building in my neck and chest. A small amount of acid began to pool on the surface of my right hand, ready to be flung in her face. “What's wrong,” I seethed, the annoyance starting to boil into anger. “I've given you ample time to land the opening blow. You aren't here for conversation, you're here for battle. So what's the problem?”
    Last edited by Briarheart; 09-19-2017 at 04:01 PM.

  6. #6
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    "Madison," Philomel regarded her with a steady, unchanging grace, "Why are you so angry? I am sorry for what you have been through, but we have not seen each other since ... well since you, for it was really you, I know, declared war on me and my own. No matter what the claimed intention of that, it should be me angry with you!"

    She almost laughed, the corners of her mouth twitching ever so slightly and a sigh of exasperation rushing through her lips. Raising her spare hand up to her hair she brushed back a loose lock back over her shoulder, shaking her head.

    "Mighty, how you have changed. How I have changed. You would be surprised to know exactly what has occurred in my life in the past year or so."

    Watching Madison had been like watching the unravelling of a horrible, gruesome central scene in a horror play. As all the pieces came together, all the shards of the story fixing themselves into place to reveal the bigger whole. Bit by bit the details were revealed, bit by bit Madison had explained her life over the recent months and year, muttering of the 'Red girl' - obviously Amari - Lichensith Ulroke's rise back to power, the details with Pode, the Forgotten One who Madison had helped to destroy ... in a way. The body language of the briarheart had shifted in context - her face being mostly obscured by that thin mythril mask - communicating the hurt, the joy, the revelations as she slid her characters across the stage and had them set into their places for the final act. Hyperion, Ulroke, Madison herself, all kings and queens, heroes and villains, and all the many other lives they had touched, including Philomel's ...

    When Madison offered no alternative but her ferocity, Philomel sighed and took a slow step back, her hoof dragging over the smooth stones so they rattled together like the sound of knuckle bones in a game of chance. Behind her back she closed the palmed hand, forming it into a fist. At the same time the blades of grass near Mao began to shake, their bodies riled up as they were filled with the intention and will of Drys through the faun.

    Briefly, her eyes looked over the garden again, calculating the distance between herself and the stone (roughly ten feet), the length of each sandy square (about a foot and a half), and the height of the wall (about fifteen feet). Through the earth Philomel could feel the temporal presence of a world beyond the wall, but one that had not had much detail given to it. One that the Ai'brone monks had shoved some elements into, such as a bird, haphazardly created and then decided to not care as much for as this central arena. From that, Philomel knew that the focus of the fight was to be in here, and were they to break through the wall then it was highly likely more elements other than the natural would come into play.

    With that thought she faced back to her old friend, and rolled back her shoulders. By the rabbit the grass waited, now learned, now excited for the possibility to serve a goddess. Behind the doors leading to the teahouse Veridian and Delath were poised, waiting for her call, should she so desire it.

    But for now, she would fight alone, she had decided, and subject revenge for her fallen Gilded Lily girls whom Madison had, when she was head of the Crimson Hand, declared war on and thus deemed to suffer. No matter the intention of the war.

    Their number was few, admittedly, but still this was Philomel's chance.

    "As Matriarch of the Gilded Lily," Philomel spoke with a voice of soft intensity, "I am honour-bound and duty-bound to exact justice for the pain that you put my Lilies through. As your friend, and once ally, I am loathe to even lay a hand on you, but such is the will of the Citadel, that I will fight you. You ask me what my problem is, Madison, but it is nothing more than wanting to raise my skill, my power, prove yet again my worth as a warrior and Matriarch."

    Then she smiled. "And to serve my goddess."

    Steadily she drew her white blade, Nameless, with a light ring and held it out to her side, but not upraised.

    "You want to fight, then lets fight. But I will have you know I have always been your friend and always will be, despite what disagreements we have had, despite what you did to my people. Despite ..."

    Ready she stood, but determined not to strike first. Yet, able with her reflexes.

    "Know, though, that I do not hate you."
    Last edited by Philomel; 09-27-2017 at 02:53 AM.

  7. #7
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    Briarheart's Avatar

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    Beneath my mask, a grin twisted its way across my face. “Well, then,” I said with a shrug. “I guess that saves me from having to half-ass an apology.”

    Friend. She called me her friend. With everything that I put her and the Gilded Lily through? I ordered the raids on her brothels. It was on my word that her whores were attacked and interrogated. She even said that she was honor-bound to avenge her precious Lillies. And yet she hesitates, her towering, top-heavy form holding a neutral stance, sword in hand but dangling at her side.

    She's either sloshed on Headbutt, being theatrical to throw me off my guard, or those whores didn't really mean that much to her.

    I'd hate me. I'd want me dead. I'd have plunged the tip of my sword into my chest before my first sarcastic remarks hit the breeze, letting my biting, venomous wit roll off my tongue in a series of unladylike gurgles. I'd summon all my stupid little forest animals to feast on the remains of my corpse, and mount my severed head above the fireplace.

    I don't understand it. Even in... Even in Ulroke's journal, he said despite all I've done to him, he considered me one of his only...

    ...No. I can't be distracted right now.

    My lungs were near bursting, soupy clouds of miasma swirling about inside my chest. I knew what Philomel was capable of in battle, having faced her in the Citadel once before. That was years ago, and I could only imagine that her abilities have grown considerably since then. I needed to stifle them as much as possible. A blast of airborne sickness, the same stuff that killed half a nation, would certainly do the trick. It wouldn't take long for the faun to grow sluggish and weak, and I would just need to survive until her first misstep.

    There was the matter of her army of pets, of course. But she's not the only one who can play the numbers game.

    I shot a flickering glare and a gnarled finger over at the rabbit. “You stay out of this, unless you want to end up as my dinner.”

    The poisonous cloud rose up my windpipe, screaming to be unleashed on the faun. With a quick motion, I tore my mask away from my face, revealing my sharpened teeth and vine-woven features. I exhaled sharply, and a thick purple-tinted cloud of death immediately filled the air between us, threatening to suffocate Philomel and slowly tear her apart from the inside.

  8. #8
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
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    Naturally, of course, she was ready. Indeed, she had been this entire time. Her nerves were on fire with tension, sending ripples of ember-like energies through every muscle and alerted joint. Each sinew was eager to respond at the shallowest whim, ready to work upon the subtlest of gestures. Vivid and aware she felt more alive than she had in a long time, extradionary amounts of passion, desire and aspiration screaming within.

    Instantly Philomel pulled up the earth to meet her as the writhing purple fog drifted towards her on wings of eager urgency. Spiralling out it touched the form of where the faun had been a single half second before, curling and hissing into the air. Onwards, still it drove, acting like a famished and bewitched entity, longing only to feast on her flesh, bones and magnificence. But the woman blessed by the tree-goddess Drys had given herself the time and the patience to extend greeting, converse with her dear friend - and prove a point.

    She had not attacked first.

    But now ...

    Now Philomel stood atop the stone itself that Mao sniffed around, her hooves gripping naturally with their softer undersides and steady grooves. It was easy to stand atop here, surrounded by grass and an entire sea of dirty sand, simply standing there, concious and functioning, staring at the now slowly massing of violet mist that had erupted from Maddison's mouth. Rapidly Philomel began to work on the little-used crossbow at her side, savagely fixing a bolt upon it as she watched the swarming smoke mass of hatred, horror and death. For Philomel knew what it could do - it was a shame in a way, for the spectators, if there were any, not to see the power of the flesh-eating horror. A heavy condition would set into the victim, and an intense period of vomiting, general ill health, tiredness and pain would settle in - at least, these were things Philomel had seen.

    Behind the wall of the teahouse she felt the presences of Delath and Veridian waiting, tails twitching and mouths agape, eager to join. But she shook her head, and she insisted:

    Stay back. For this moment. Let me ... let me ...

    The poison rolled for a good twenty feet, stopped only for the wall of the tea house itself. Upon her rock, Philomel was safe, for she had gone far enough to keep out of the way of Maddison's bane, and truly she had no desire to ever be in the briarheart's shadow for the rest of this fight.

    As the miasma began to dissapate, the faun, her systems reigned by readiness and willingness, clicked the bolt into place and drew up the end of the crossbow to aim it at Maddison's heart. Into the bolt she intentionally sent a thunderwave of her power, intensifying its power to be one of equal potential to the fog. A steady suck of breath in and she released the bolt, sending both a length of iron and an earthquake to the centre of Maddison's being. One that would begin at where the bolt landed and savagely ricochey out in a wave of energy and shockwaves that had the potential to shatter buildings.

    Or shatter a briarheart, should it land.
    Last edited by Philomel; 10-10-2017 at 12:25 PM.

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