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  1. #11
    Althanian

    EXP: 11,761, Level: 4
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    Level completed: 56%,
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    Paladin_Lorenor's Avatar

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    Lorenor
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    Lorenor listened to everything Sage spoke of.

    He knew from past experiences, that there were alternate...versions...of reality.

    In one such adventure, he'd encountered a reality where there were many versions of Lorenor himself!

    The reavers were dangerous seeming creatures and they reminded Lorenor of another entity resident to Althanas' own beastiary.

    The Endless. If The Reavers...are anything like The Endless...they might prove a worthy opponent. He listened to the boy speak, wise beyond his years, as most of the wizard types tended to be.

    Lorenor kept his attention focused on Sage and the portal nearby in case more threats came through. As the proud Paladin stood there observing he considered the situation at hand and was presented with an interesting proposal. "Young one." Lorenor began. "My blade is yours to command for as long as you need it." Lorenor said calmly. He looked at the portal, strangely, it had a familiar aspect to it.

    He didn't know what that particular dimension The Vale was. It did not really matter, Lorenor would have helped Sage anyway. Thinking back to a past life, Lorenor remembered an old friend and lover. Urei the vampire. Urei would have wanted Lorenor to help...he would have anyway as his oath demanded. Lorenor nodded. He looked towards the Kenku woman and her companion, Vitruvion. The later was familiar to Lorenor from a past adventure. Or perhaps, his mind was playing tricks on him again. It happened oft those days with the weight of history on his shoulders...

  2. #12
    Hero

    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Level completed: 51%,
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Name
    Avis Tsakaka
    Age
    16
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    Kenku / Tengu
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    Female
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    Corone
    Slowly, unsteadily, they emerged from the blood.

    Thick and visceral it clung to Stare's feathers, dripping in long ebbs, in crimson ugliness, as if the monster had possess something more than just bone and flesh. She pushed herself up on her sword, the point of the blade sinking slightly into the bone and stone beneath her as the enchantment that was cast upon it sliced through simple matter. Red coated her black form, and sliding down her brown clothes like a slime from rocks. Standing upright after a moment of stumbling she glanced around them, at the remains of the beast who had been intent on destruction.

    Broken. Bends of joints and hard outerbody shell lay cracked from where they had downed it. Greens, earthy browns and greys were mixed with a mass of blood and gutty colours, that usually remained within the body. Those many eyes of the creature now stared from the decapitated head just a couple of metres away, staring blankly with the endlessness of death. As Stare rolled back her aching shoulders from the pain of their descent Vitruvion himself rose, lips pursing.

    "Well," he said dryly. "That was something."

    She nodded once, but it was a small, anxious nod. Glancing to her the god felt the stress and strain coming from her form, as her body shivered from what they had just done. He paused, calmly leaned over as if he had just been dancing at a grand ball himself and not taking part in the execution also, and he plucked her sword from her hand. Covered in the same blood he gently slid the blade back into the sheath at her side.

    "Come," he grunted, smoothing back his white hair and frowning as his fingers came away drenched in loose flesh. "We must go see the stranger."

    Stare didn't answer. All she did was gaze blankly at those dead, forgotten eyes. She fidgeted a little, not bothering about a slick drop of slimy, sickening torn muscle that slid down her beak.

    The man let out a breath before he flicked a scrap of shell from his shoulder, as casually as one might loosen lint. Then, still with grave, he moved to curl an arm around Stare's form. She did not fight, and did not freeze, she just hung limp. Lifting her up he cupped a hand around her torso and wings and under her thigh. Her body leant against his as he turned and carried her one-handed out of the wreckage of the mantis they had killed and back towards Sage and the new fighter man there.

    "Greetings," he said to the newcomer, "excuse me for our unbecoming state, but it cannot be helped. I am Vitruvion, and this is my kenku, Stare." He did not smile, but stopped short of a metre away to incline his head. Then, he turned to the adrongenous Sage.

    "What can we expect now, sorceror?"
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  3. #13
    Adventurer

    EXP: 6,530, Level: 3
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    Level completed: 39%,
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    Sage's Avatar

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    Sage Ainsworth
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    That was a good question, the boy thought as he mentally pondered the same thing. He was certainly glad about the knight’s oath to aid him.

    ‘Thank you’, he silently mouthed to the bright-eyed stranger.

    Though he was hopeful that such aid would not be needed and that the portal would dissipate without anything else making its way through.
    But wouldn’t that be a nice end to this temporal incursion, he thought incredulously.

    But no, Sage knew he would not be that lucky. Since the first day he had expressed his interest in magic his luck had took on a rather sour note, with incident after incident of bad luck, until he had been swept away into a whole different world.
    Sage inherently knew this would only get worse before any resolution could come of it.

    He turned to the handsome stranger, who he realised had yet to give his name. Actually, Sage quickly noted that he had been the only one to utter his own name. Although he granted, there had been no time for proper introductions as the mantis reaper had been content to ruin everyone’s day.

    “More of that I should wager” he answered gesturing to the headless mantis.

    “The portal is frayed and unstable. It would be best that it should be left alone and allowed to disperse by itself” he said eyeing the portal. A break in reality was notoriously difficult to accomplish and usually took a massive amount of power to brute force your way beyond the walls of reality, such as what the chaotic maelstrom of the Vale had done.

    But such methods were temporary at best, breaking a hole was easy, keeping it open long enough to not loose an arm or a leg, now that was the hard part. And sage’s mind boggled at the amount of force that had not only created this rift, but had also allowed it to remain open as long as it had.

    It would have been akin to a magical enhanced hammer and striking it against an ordinary glass window.

    “But reavers feed on uncorrupted magic, and this world has so much that my skin is tingling. It would be akin to an all you can eat buffet to any that catch scent of it” he said gently rubbing his arm feeling phantom winds.

    “I fear more will come before long” Sage said with a melancholy tone. A decision needed to be made, he could stay here and help with the defence of the small town. Or he could go back through the portal, back to the vale and try his luck again with another portal to who knows where.

    But the less time spent in the Vale the better off he was.

    “I must ask again, Is this Althanas? I’m trying to return home to Crossroads and the Vale is currently my best option as it can open ways to many different worlds.” He said looking across the odd collection of fellows that were all in the right place at the wrong time.

    From the handsome stranger with a beauty that appeared almost unnatural, to the intense stranger with the glowing blue eyes.

    Even the Kenku was an odd one he thought, she had wings, and he did not think…

    The boy recoiled away from the Kenku girl when he noticed that there was a piece of the reavers innards that was sloppily clinging on to the side of her beak. He opened his mouth to tell the girl, but found no words, he tried again a second time, and attempted to use his finger to point at the piece of giblet. But his nerves were for too unnerved to even attempt it, so he mentally switched his attention to her previous feat
    .
    “I, ah, sorry, but what you two did was completely amazing” he said, purposely not looking at the red and ichor stained girl. Instead he kept his attention squarely on the only part of the girl that was not covered in the blood of her for which were unironically her eyes.

    He had thought that the stranger had an intense look about him, but that certainly did not compare to the stare of the Kenku before him, it was like she was not even seeing him, but rather was looking through him.

    Arcane enhanced eyes, perhaps?” He thought to himself and wondered if that had anything to what she had done to the mantis, dangerous, he easily concluded. But he would not deny that if not for the chaotic situation Sage’s curiosity over such magical feats would have easily overruled his caution.

    Perhaps they would be open to an exchange of knowledge during a more civilised time. He hoped so, his time within the magic academy had been fun and a very educational time.
    Last edited by Sage; 06-04-2019 at 10:19 AM.
    Sage Ainsworth:
    Level 2

  4. #14
    Althanian

    EXP: 11,761, Level: 4
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    Level completed: 56%,
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    Paladin_Lorenor's Avatar

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    Lorenor
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    Lorenor's eyes narrowed in deep thought as he observed the portal.

    Where have I seen such things before...? Lorenor wondered for a moment or two, it would have needed some deep recollecting of his past, or many pasts, to come up with a suitable answer. The old paladin looked at the portal for a moment, it had a sort of corrupted tint to it. He'd sworn he'd seen something quite similar to that in the past...

    He shook his head. Thinking like that without much academical evidence was going to hurt his brain...

    ...Lorenor looked in the general direction of the Kenku girl and her companion. Now...THAT...is something more familiar to me. He'd seen a Kenku or two in his life before. But he wasn't entirely certain. Though the features of the woman were definitely feminine it was difficult to discern. She was already blood-soaked from whatever...The Reavers... were. Again, all of this invoked a strange feeling of deja vu in the old man.

    Where had something like this happened before? Lorenor let the boy's questions hang in the air between them for a moment or two. "Oh, where are my manners?" Lorenor asked to nobody in particular. "Name's Lorenor, and yes you're on Althanas good thing you stumbled upon us and not some hooligans of this or that sort. And yes you're on Althanas. in Concordia Forest to be exact." Lorenor explained. "More you say will come?" Lorenor asked. Lorenor observed the body of the mantis like reaver...it was huge.

    And likely extremely deadly. He turned to look at the boy. "There are settlements nearby in this area. If there are more that will come...we must hold the line here." Lorenor explained. He didn't know what a reaver was...but it couldn't have been as bad as that time. The time with the crazy ass shape-shifter demon. That's when it was...! Lorenor recalled the time he'd fought alongside a different Adventurer to rid the world of a different sort of alien threat..

    Lorenor readied his weapon...just in case.

    "If more will arrive I am ready to fight...come what may." Lorenor said carefully.

  5. #15
    Hero

    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Level completed: 51%,
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Name
    Avis Tsakaka
    Age
    16
    Race
    Kenku / Tengu
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Corone
    My kenku.

    There was no doubt it was a fitting description.

    As she caught her breath she leaned against her god, her eyes slipping closed just for a moment as he carried her out of the carnage that they had wrought and towards the two beings.

    Stare could still feel the cling of death to her feathers, the stench of rotting flesh and the blood that slipped down the side of her beak. Slowly she breathed in, and when she did the hard reality of mangled carcass came to her nostrils, with the ringing of the bells of another worldly monster's demise. With her sword at her side, and Vitruvion holding her aloft she was a destroyer, a killer and a beast.

    Vaguely, she was aware of Vitruvion talking, introducing himself and her. He went on, asking questions and a fourth being joined their conversation in speaking of Althanas. They seemed to be suggesting that their would likely be further assaults through the cracked void, that this fight was only the beginning. Killing the mantis had already made her pause. There was no doubt that she had the speed, the energy and the ability to destroy more of them, if they were to come, but something within her was causing a mental block. A strange lack of enthusiasm, despite the fact the monsters posed a serious threat to their home.She considered this as she stared blankly at the androgynous character.

    Look at the one called Sage and the new being, Vitrivion mentally ordered her. Fully.

    There was no doubting what he meant. Breathing in she summoned her power, and suddenly the two characters before them were lit up in colour and light. Around both of them shone a halo - an aura - of light that determined them to be of XXX INSERT HERE XXX. This was indeed workable in terms of personality. Vitruvion and her, after all, had worked with many types. What interested her more, however, was the intriguing bright rainbow of power that flowed through Sage, suggesting that he was a mage of great power, but with the ability to do a variety of spells, and not specialising in anything in particular - although perhaps light magic was a strong suit of his. He - or rather, perhaps, they - were a young adult for a human, for that is what they appeared to me, and of no determined gender. This was possibly because they had come through a void recently and that was messing with the determination of identification. He also seemed calm, and mellow, with an easy flow of chakras, except for a slight heat in the base of his spine, expressing a desire to survive. Stare saw this also in the warrior beside him; a point which seemed perfectly natural. With her attention switching to the new being she paused as she took in something that seemed to be ageless, and not human, and with a proud white light that spoke of divine powers. Who precisely this god was, she had little idea, but it flowed easily through his chakras as if it had existed for a long time and was regularly used.

    A paladin, likely, and an undead one by his smell, Vitruvion spoke.

    Blinking, Stare twisted around to stare at the face of her employer, god and master. As usual she could not see his aura, and nor could she see his power - that had always been alien to her. But she knew that he smelt similarly to how she saw, and that different scents spoke of a person's nature, personality, intention, age and species to him. Slightly, she tilted her head as Vitrivuion answered the paladin's thoughts.

    Apparently he was called Lorenor.

    "If more come then myself and Stare will assist," the god said openly. "Althanas is a world that I do not care to be invaded by yet another alien species. I need no more enemies than those I have."
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  6. #16
    Adventurer

    EXP: 6,530, Level: 3
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    Sage's Avatar

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    Sage Ainsworth
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    “This is Althanas?” Sage whispered with disbelief.

    He had felt elated to be home, that his adventure to another world had come to an end. He should have been happy now that he had crossed the dimensional divide and ended what would have been the toughest part of his journey so far.

    But he wasn’t and the news made him feel sick.

    “Just like that. My first attempt at getting back home and I just stumbled across it. And on my first attempt no less” He spoke quietly to himself as he looked at the portal with contempt.

    The chances of him finding his way back home on his first attempt were … well, nigh unlikely and close to impossible. Sage felt his stomach twist at the thought of the entity that had stolen him from this world once before.

    It was no accident that he had been lost to althanas, and even now he could still feel its vial presence all around him and the memory of the creature stalking him within the void chilled his very soul.

    Hello little one” He recalled the voice of the eldritch horror that spoke to him with a multitude of voices speaking as one, but with a single motherly voice at the forefront of all the others. He shuddered at the memory of the entity that claimed itself as merely an observer that was far beyond any god or deity.

    Take this boon, and with it you shall be the one to open the gate.” The voices gently pleaded, as two silvery white tentacles slithered towards him. His hand reached into his pocket and clenched the cursed stone that lay within that had no right to exist in this or any other world.

    He looked at the portal and for a moment was horrified if he had just unwittingly heralded the coming of something … else.

    “It can’t be … That thing and the Vale have no connection to each other” he muttered under his breath and let go of the cursed stone. While he certainly wanted to just throw it away and be done with it, he feared of what would happen if something or someone else found it.
    As soon as he returned to his master’s tower, he was going to learn how to seal it away in a place where it would stay lost forever. That he promised himself.

    But that would have to be done later, right now the Portal and the Reapers that dwelled beyond were his top priority.

    He looked up at the group and realised that he may have spaced out for just a moment

    “Sorry, but was there another wizard here, I do recall someone shouting out about a Philgast the grey?” He politely asked looking around for another mage.

    “You won’t find anyone like that I’m afraid” Spoke out one of the towns people as they leaned over the white painted terrace of the local inn.

    “Are you sure? we could use all the help we can get” Sage said politely but stepped back cautiously. Did this town have something against magic users?

    The young mage did not think so but he had grown weary about prosecution within the Empire. They had been distrustful of Magic users and had imposed strict laws about the use of magic, only those with a license and training gained from the magic academy were allowed to use their talents openly.

    “You could try Grant over there. he is the only one of us that has a weapon” The woman said as she pointed across the street to where a young boy stood partially hidden behind a bush.

    Sage looked at Lorenor and Vitruvian as though he was gleaning some kind of guidance from their presence. Sage thought that they still needed more people who could fight, but if were up to him, he would have not been content with nothing less than a small squadron with a Vermillion frigate overhead with all six Magitech Beta Cannons primed ready to rain down hell on anything that stepped through the portal.
    Still, even if She was not here in person Captain Claire Valliere was certainly still circling the sky above the Vale with the keen-eyed elven lookout keeping a close eye on where he had been searching for a dimensional tear.

    He just wished that she was on this side of the portal.

    The young boy the woman spoke off was cautious as he approached the curious looking group of misfits after the townswoman waved him over. He was young, possibly even younger than Sage, though his gender was certainly more apparent due to the messy short brown head of hair. He wore a simple gambeson with the coat of arms of the Radasanth militia, he even had a sword that hung loosely at his side.

    “Ah, how can I help you?” Grant asked nervously as he looked over at Stare and seemed to wilt under the presence of Lorenor and Vitruvian. Sage felt pity towards the boy as he remembered not long ago that he himself would have fared a lot worse in their presence than the young guard.

    “Your name is Grant, correct? Are you the only guard here, where are the others, surely they would have responded to any threat posed to this town” Sage asked the boy concerned that he was on his own? It was certainly not normal for Radasanth to leave any of the outlying villages without some kind of token force.

    “Um, no its just me at the moment, I’m Grant Peterson, the others have all been called away to help fight against some kind of group that’s trying to take over. And the rest went into the woods because of some accident a week ago.” Grant said nervously shifting from one foot to another

    “They, they haven’t come back yet, and I didn’t know what to do when that thing came through, I’m still training to be a guard” The boy scoffed at his own cowardice as he hit the hilt of his sword with his palm.

    “Hey, it’s ok, I understand, I know what it’s like to be cornered into a dangerous situation” Sage said earnestly. That day in the alleyway of Scara Brae was a dark moment in his past he wished he could forget, his conscious had been stained red that day and the death of a person was entirely his fault.

    After that day he had vowed never to be in another situation where he would be powerless, and had started to take his lessons in Magic seriously after that.

    “But right now, we can do something about it, these people need to be evacuated as there may be more to come do you understand?” Sage said

    “What can I do?” Grant said sounding a little less unsure
    .
    “Just take them further down the road, we will keep any more reavers held up here” Sage Promised to the young Guard, though he did not know how much help he would be able to provide in this endeavour.
    Last edited by Sage; 10-24-2019 at 02:47 PM.
    Sage Ainsworth:
    Level 2

  7. #17
    Althanian

    EXP: 11,761, Level: 4
    Level completed: 56%, EXP required for next Level: 2,239
    Level completed: 56%,
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    Paladin_Lorenor's Avatar

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    Lorenor
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    Lorenor listened very carefully to everything Sage said and the boy, the guard, Grant said.

    He absorbed all the information he learned at that point and was trying to figure out how Sage ticked. Stare and Vitrruvion were unknown factors to Lorenor. He'd only ever come across one or two other Kenku's in his long life...but they were different from Stare. Once Grant explained the dire situation that the town was in, Lorenor looked at Sage to see how he would react. "How soon do you expect more Reavers to be upon this location?" Lorenor asked of Sage. Lorenor thought back to the portal's position in relation to the town they were now in. His mind was already calculating and planning things.

    The old Paladin had memorized the appearance and texture of the portal quickly. Though he had no direct power to open up such portals on his own, the Reaver portal was a threat to the town. In his tutelage and study with the old Vampire, Urei...his lover...Urei instructed Lorenor about the nature of the cosmos as they existed in the tomes of the Thayne Codex. Phantaria was a land of doors...in his travels, he'd ventured out to that plane of existence. One of the gates there lead to a land known to Lorenor as Ayenee. Urei told him once that Ayenee was ripe with natural resources and power.

    Lorenor frowned when he heard that loud Wizard in question yelling at the top of his lungs.

    Philgast said a very specific set of words that did not sit well with Lorenor. He looked at Sage and nodded. "Pardon me I have to talk to that man." Lorenor walked towards Philgast and looked at him with serious expression on his face. There was a small group of people gathered to hear the wizard speaking, Lorenor had once been a follower of N'Jal. The only one who had ever offered him true salvation was the old Hero named Sei Orlouge. Lorenor spoke to Philgast. "And what, pray tell, form of salvation do you offer, Wizard?" Lorenor was deeply offended by the braggart but he kept himself in check for Sage's sake. He waited to hear the wizard's response on whatever he was selling.

  8. #18
    Hero

    EXP: 59,566, Level: 10
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    Stare's Avatar

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    Name
    Avis Tsakaka
    Age
    16
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    Kenku / Tengu
    Gender
    Female
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    Corone
    So he was from Althanas.

    Vitrivion tilted his head as the andogenous man slipped his hand into his pocket and held onto something. A charm, perhaps, a reminder of an older time. The one called Sage muttered under his breath, seeming distracted as he twisted and turned, observing the three characters of Vitruvion, Stare and the paladin, and then the general landscape surrounding them. He seemed overwhelmed to some extent, perhaps confused, as if remembering something long forgotten, or a memory just recently made.

    A curious one, indeed. Someone to keep in mind.

    As someone from the town blurted out sentences to engage with their small party, Vitruvion grunted and let out a sigh. The danger at least was limited, and the jagged ruin in the sky seemed unready to spew anything out at least currently. Gently, he let Stare slide from his arm, and set her on the ground with some care before running a hand through her feathers at her head. He smiled at her, at the same time as taking in the name of Grant Peterson, and gaining the information that Sage was suggesting the townsfolk leave. Stare just blinked solemnly around, still caught in the shock of having dived through the carcass of the beast.

    There was a noise as the new one to their party - the smart one in the armour called Lorenor - stiffly moved and nodded over to Philgast. The one who had identified himself as some form of prophet. Religion seemed to emanate from both of them, and that was fine. Vitruvion was not a stranger to religion; in fact he was on first name terms with a lot of the gods of Althanas. Gently, Vitruvion bid him good luck as he petted the kenku's head.

    He waited until conversation seemed to have dissipated with Grant. Or at least come to a pause.

    "We came from up that road," Vitruvion added. "It should be safe." Pleasantly, he smiled, looking like some lordling stroking his pet cat as he shuffled the feathers around on Stare's crown.

    "Can you stop doing that?" she muttered after a few seconds.

    "Ah, back to the land of the living, then, dearest?" he asked, his tone delightful.

    Her black eyes slowly blinked, then turned up to him. "I was always here, Vitrivion," she said with a sigh. "Just ..." her gaze switched over to Sage. "That thing was - is - dangerous. We should set up a perimeter, a watch until it closes. From what I can see ..."

    There was a brief moment where she stared at the rift in the air for an intense few seconds.

    "... it seems to be readying for something. I don't know. There are auras coming from it, suggesting something evil within." She shrugged. "Any idea what's coming? Or how to close it?"
    Crows: Old nursery rhyme "One for sorrow, Two for mirth, Three for a funeral, Four for birth, Five for heaven, Six for hell, Seven for the devil, his own self."

  9. #19
    Adventurer

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    Sage's Avatar

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    Sage Ainsworth
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    Sage Ainsworth curiously watched the Paladin approach the portly farmer with a raised brow. He did not think that the man had done anything to warrant the Paladins Ire but evidently something he had said or done had gotten under the man’s skin. He pitied the Farmer, the Paladin looked as stoic as he did capable and his burning blue eyes were a curious source of curiosity.

    Was it a divine blessing? He Idly speculated for a moment longer before returning his attention to the portal. He was glad that the remining guard, although young was also now making good on gathering up the town’s citizens, and while most of them were eager to leave for safety, there was a clear sense of apprehension across their faces. None of them truly wanted to leave, but they did so because they were dealing with an unknown force.

    Had Sage been in any sort of command he would have had the village evacuated weeks ago.

    He narrowed his eyes as he stared at it and while it initially did not appear to be much different from before he could clearly begin to see small tell-tale changes that it had been undergoing..

    “Do you see the edge of the portal and how its starting to fray? It’s not going to last much longer.” He said pointing towards the outer edge of the portal. It was not as clean as it once was, there was a vibration that caused the fraying edges to wither like the tides in the ocean. He speculated that if it was any thinner then merely throwing a pebble at it would probably cause the entire thing to pop.

    Even The sand that had been constantly pouring was now no longer overflowing from that world to this one. It had all but covered the Village center now, leaving a small sandy dune that he could have climbed up to reach the portal. But before the portal could dissipate another shadow began to form from across its surface, followed by a large sand hued mass of ragged fur and blistered skin to unceremoniously tumble down the sandy hill. It slid down the last few meters, remaining motionless save for a flick of what looked to be a single ear.

    “Another one” Sage said ruefully and took a calming breath. Filled with a renewed resolution he raised his hand with an Eldritch Bolt quickly pulsating to life in his palm.

    This new Reaver was nothing like the previous one. The last one had been a mutated Mantis that had been exposed to the vale for most of its unnatural life. This one however, there were no evident mutations, no deformities in its limbs and although it looked like a sickly malnourished beast it was also evident that this one had not yet fully turned.

    The creature was the size of a small horse and had slowly righted itself from its ungraceful fall with a guttural rumble that echoed deeply in its chest. It had a long vulpine face, teeth bared and its eyes milky white looked on unseeing, there were the remains of some king of markings that once adorned its cheeks and forehead but had faded too much to fully discern. But it was its long ears and twisting twin tails that gave a name to this creature.

    It was a Kitsune. A fennec-Kitsune of the Dreaming Desert, one of those who stood guard over the sacred cleansing springs forever awaiting the return of their lost deity.

    It looked towards them with blind eyes and its hackles began to raise from its back with ears pressed low towards its head as it was prepared to pounce.

    Anyone else would have steeled themselves for an inevitable confrontation, Sage however stopped and looked very carefully at the creature before him and realised something. There was a familiarity that made him recall that his friend had been reported missing.

    “N-no” Sage cried in horror and dispelled his Bolt. “T-those markings, it can't be?”

    It could not be her...

    “Wait. WAIT, Hold on! This one…” He cried out loud towards his unusual companions and prayed they listened.

    “Wait” He said pleaded with them and stepped out before them with his arms held wide as he continued to stare upon the partially corrupted kitsune with a twisted sense of hope.

    “… Pira…” He spoke its name softly so as to not startle the beast.

    The response was almost immediate, the Kitsune very quickly lost its aggressive posture, its ears rose up pointed towards the boy so it could listen carefully. Even its snarling muzzle slackened into an uneven pant. Watching it responding to him is such a way emboldened the boy and made him dare to slowly start to approach the kitsune eagerly.

    “Pira, it’s me, Sage, do, you remember me?” He calmly asked as he came to a stop half way to the beast. He felt his companion’s stares upon his back, and he knew he was being incredibly foolish right now, but he could not help it. If there was even the slightest chance that this was his friend, then he had to take it, she would have done no less if their fates were reversed.

    The kitsune's chest rumbled unsteadily and it looked at him with blind eyes “S-sage?” It spoke with a deep distorted rumble that still somehow remained feminine if unhuman.

    It was her, this was Pira, and knowing that he could not help but want to approach even closer because this was his friend, he knew her. But to see her suffering like this, a shell of her former self was heart breaking.

    “Yes, w-we met at the Elven Magic Academy in Elrohir. You helped me create the Eyes of Antiquity Spell.” He said eagerly and full of hope that despite the corruption of the Vale, his friend had not yet lost.

    “I. Know. You. Little Sage” Pira hoarsely replied with a hint of amusement that brought tears to the boys’ eyes. He hated that nickname that Pira had given him, it had been made as a jest but it always got under his skin with how condescending she playfully made it sound. She had teased him, and made him forget his melancholy that he had been in a strange world.

    They had met at the Academy, the empire had not known what to do with the young Mage, his approach to magic was something they had thought was a lost art and they had intended to learn as much from them as he had from them. But Pira was from the Dreaming Desert, an area of the Vale still clean and uncorrupted and their close relations with the Empire had the Kitsune often visiting the academy to teach the students there about the Vale and her clans unique magic.

    She had initially approached Sage because he had been unique, an outsider like herself amongst all the pomp and ceremony. She said that she had found him "Quite twee, but I like twee."
    But seeing her like this, months after she had left to return home a mere shadow of her former self. There was no understating how wrong all of it was.

    “Pira … Your sister said you went missing in the Vale.” He explained to the kitsune with a pained expression. Before they had ventured into the Vale itself to look for one of the rips and tears in space, they had stopped by the Pira's home town to stock up on some supplies. Specifically, the cleansing water that they used to wash away the corruption of the Vale.

    “The Vale. Is long and far. Reavers, monsters … they all thirst for clean magic. The way home was … too far.” Pira answered with a melancholy tone as she began to tip from side to side.

    “What about the cleansing water, do you still have it?” Sage asked, hopeful that they could still undo some of this damage. Instead, the boy felt his hope shattered when she shook her head and looked down at the ground. “Lost it … long ago.”

    Sage looked at his debilitated friend and then towards the portal and back again. He tried to think of a solution, but he kept on coming back up with the same answer over and over again. Pira needed to be exposed to the cleansing water which was back in the other world. She had to return soon before the portal closed. And yet, even if she did, then Pira would once again be exposed to the Vale.

    She was not going to make it on her own, not in this condition. He would have to return with her to keep her focused, to stop her mind from descending into the Vales madness. It was the only way he would be able to save her. The portal Began to pulsate, its steady hum up to now was beginning to wind down into a torturous whine that made the boy all too aware that time was running out.

    “The portals closing Pira … if you stay here you won’t be able to return.” The boy begged and slowly began to approached once more. Although foolish he would physically push the Kitsune back through if he had too, regardless of how big or heavy Pira was in this form.

    “Death comes for all eventually little Sage.” Pira said so abruptly that Sage stopped and stared at her “What?” he recoiled in surprise.

    “You are a Kitsune Pira. If you die, your soul will just return to your tribe to be reborn. But I don’t know if that will happen if the portal closes, I don’t know how far away both worlds are from each other. your soul could be lost for eternity” He said urgently, silently begging for Pira to listen to him. He shook his head violently causing his long hair to swing from side to side.

    “Pira, can you return into your human form? You should be able to resist the corruption of the Vale better if you do. Please, you need to get back to your world, Captain Valliere is on the other side, we were asked to keep an eye out for you.” Sage said desperately, pleading with the Kitsune.

    But she just fell backwards on her haunches unmoving save for her twitching nose and swivelling ears. It was crystal clear that Pira had made a choice.

    “Then this is … your home … it feels. Wonderful, and alive with Aether.” She questioned admiringly as she allowed herself to bask in the world’s connection to the Tap. Her world was so far more removed from such a magical force that in this world where the magic was still pure and untainted, it was so easy to lose herself in its caress.

    And now that she allowed herself to focus on her friends beautiful home, she now found it impossible to miss the presence of another she had initially overlooked. She had thought him just a man, but now she could see him, not with her eyes, or her senses, his mere presence was enough to stir her most primal of instincts. It rekindled feelings she had not felt since she was last in the presence of her lord and felt an unparalleled happiness swell within her heart.

    “… My lord? Is … that you? My lord, we thought you were lost to us.” She said eagerly looking towards Vitrivion. “Your loyal servants are, and always have been eagerly awaiting your return.” She said reverently as his presence called her to him, causing her to blindly approach the man and turn her back on her world.

    “Pira, no, please, go back.” The boy once more pleaded, with one more step with his hand outstretched.

    Her jaws snapped closed as she lunged forwards narrowly missing his hand by the barest of inches. Sage stumbled backwards in surprised as he watched Pira’s vulpine face frozen with horror at what she had just done. Her body spasmed as her chest convulsed with skin and fur began to shed sand.

    “… I … I … Aahh … I … am … hungry … thirst … y-you … Run… r-RUN!!” She warned her friend and promptly dissolved into a pile of sand.

    His friend was gone, and all that was left was …

    Sage rolled over and leapt away from the snarling vulpine head that emerged from the sand below him, teeth snapped around his shirts sleeve and tore it away with little resistance and dragged it back under the sand. Sage quickly retreated back to his companions and realised in horror that the field was covered in sand. The Kitsune of Pira's Tribe were easily able to submerse themselves within the depths of the desert like it was an ocean and would hunt by hiding under the sand and strike at anything that came close.

    "Stay away from the sand" He warned taking several more steps back.
    Last edited by Sage; 10-25-2019 at 03:54 PM.
    Sage Ainsworth:
    Level 2

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