Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by quakernuts on Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:39 am

Jake had been walking around the hallways with little to no direction in his movements. Everything was spent on mostly inner thoughts; of betrayal, of sacrifice, of self-preservation. Mostly his thoughts revolved around the curious nature as to whether or not he should stick by the group or abandon them to their fate the first moment he was able to. Jake's eyes darted from side to side, not missing a beat as he took in every little detail, something that his other side always casually brushed aside. To be honest, Ekaj was surprised that this...vessel was even still functioning considering the amount of times that Jake's simple lack of caution had gotten them into trouble. Left alone to his thoughts, they drifted very dangerously to the idea of actually joining Udonis, being on a sure fire side of winning was something that appealed to Ekaj immensely.

His thoughts were interrupted however, when Eri came walking down the hallway behind him. She called his name, and he glanced back at her. He could practically smell the apprehension on her, the very disgust that filled her presence when she came closer to him to explain a few things about the situation. On the inside, this made Ekaj smile. She was getting farther away, and without him having to kill her, that was a definite change. Whether or not it would be a good one only time could tell. After relaying her information, Eri took off down the hallway, and Ekaj only watched her go as she rounded the corner. Apocalyptic proportion powers? Jake had already seen this man survive a spear to the heart, only to shake it off and later decapitate the man that had acted against him. The odds were not in their favour and yet the rest of them were willing to risk their lives on a doomed cause? The logic of the situation made Jake shake his head, but finally move his feet towards the meditation chamber. His instinct for self-preservation was only matched by his lust for violence and blood. If that weren't the case, he would have already left the temple, and everyone in it, to their fate and struck it out on his own.

It took a bit of time, but Jake managed to get to the meditation chamber quickly enough. At the very least he wasn't the last one, and without a word, took a spot in the room. When Tal finally entered, the briefing took place. Jake did not say a word throughout the briefing, nor did he even move from his position. His kite shield strapped to his back, his new mace strapped to his side, and his arms crossed while his eyes stared straight through to Adina's soul. At this point, he was no longer concerned with playing the fool that these people were used to dealing with. They were at the point of no return, and regardless of what they thought of his new...personality, they would be forced to rely and fight with him. What Jake didn't know, was if he wanted to fight with them.

As she stated everything that Udonis could do, coupled with 'if's' and 'maybes' that irritated Jake to no end, Jake was starting to feel uncertainty creep more and more into his mind. Nothing was concrete, everything was pliable, and their lives were in the balance based off a hunch. The more she talked, the more Jake was convinced they were on the losing side. They were supposed to be able to search an entire continent for one man and his team of magi. If they were given an unlimited amount of time to do so, that wouldn't have been a problem. However, they were supposed to do it before the battle of the Temple was over, in order to determine if he was even on the continent so that they could either receive backup or fall back to the temple. In either case, it would already be too late and to go back or forward would be a choice between one suicide or another. Jake gave a slight sneer at the concept, but refused to say anything. It was very much a point of no return for him as well.

He had three options available to him. He could follow these people to their deaths, and most likely his. He could follow them, and blind side them by siding with Udonis when the time was right in hopes the man would see him useful and not kill him in the upcoming rise of his reign, or he could simply leave. He could walk away and not worry about any of this, only himself. However, the only real option was the first one. The second one was too dependent on Udonis not killing him outright for interfering with his plans in the first place, and the third placed him in a spot that promised no glory or battle. Therefore, his point of no return had been reached. He only had one way forward, and this scratched against the barrier of cold logic that Ekaj liked to project.

Finally, Adina brought Brycen in and managed to do some monk voodoo trick that opened a portal to the risen continent. Once he stepped through that portal, it was do or die. Jake, the real Jake, would have loved this. His attitude so careless, like a puppy. Ekaj only stared coldly at the portal, before walking towards it and eventually going through it. Oddly enough, there was very little disorientation as Jake looked around at his new surroundings. The monks that had accompanied them were around them, and once everyone was through, they all looked ready to move. Jake didn't say anything, instead opting to look at the surrounding area. Jake had to admit, the stone memorial made a perfect ambush spot, and they were in the dead center of it. Jake walked forward, his armour oddly quiet due to Ekaj's very smooth nature of movement. Now that he was here, in a place that none of them could leave until their mission was complete, he felt no need to play the role of the fool any longer. He walked up to the first large stone and placed his hand on it. He looked back to the others, his face a mixture of seriousness and reprimand. "This was a poor place to land. We need to move, get out of this area, and figure a direction to move once we are clear from here."


Last edited by quakernuts on Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Guilty Carrion on Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:50 pm

The briefing was notably grim, and for good reason. An entire continent raised from it’s grave, only to send thousands, if not millions to their own. All done in the name of…what? Power? The thought of all the suffering Udonis had caused made rage burn in Tal’s gut, but he gave little outward sign aside from the tightening of his jaw and the white knuckle fist clenched at his side. It’d do him no good right now to get angry. He’d have to save it for when they were staring Udonis down.

Provided he was even where they were going in the first place. They were being sent to Fyr on an educated guess, and little more. Udonis could very well be anywhere, but this was really their best bet to find him before he could pull anything more. Borri and Lucient were both men of imposing stature, and the vagabond was silently thankful to see two of the council being sent to ‘assist’. All they had to do was kept them in the clear so that they could handle Udonis. How hard could that be? Udonis had numerous tricks up his sleeve, but this late in the game, he had to be running short of pocket aces.

He hoped. With an inward sigh, Tal diverted his gaze from Adina as she opened the portal, looking to the others for a moment. This could be the last moment they ever had peacefully with each other, but as he looked at each of them, he saw the grim determination that each possessed, and the thought of failure grew further and further from his mind. They’d been through hell and back, hadn’t they? And now that it was calling them back, how could they ignore the challenge?

Udonis had tried countless times to kill them, and they’d come back every single time, still moving, still fighting. Now the heretic was weakened, and they were coming for him, rested and eager for some revenge. T’yang spoke, and Tal looked to her with the faintest of grins on his face. “Very well. Udonis has much to answer for. Let us ensure he feels our revenge.” She followed the monks through the portal, and Tal watched as the others followed her through, nodding to himself quietly.

“Alright. Nowhere left to go.” With a thought, he felt Darren disappear from the yards outside, tucking the summon away in his mind before striding through the portal and onto the lost continent of Fyr. He was dizzy for only a moment, before his eyes flicked over their surroundings briefly. He’d never imagined he’d stand on the lost continent within his lifetime, but the catastrophe that had befallen the world at Fyr’s resurrection diminished his wonder to a dulled curiosity that was summarily tucked to the back of his mind.

T’yang wasted little time questioning the council members on their next move. “Do we know where to begin looking? The continent is not so small that we can afford to waste time searching it.” He nodded in agreement, as Eri chimed in with the offer to scout with Arashi. Before Tal could offer any of his own thoughts though, Jake spoke, his tone cold and if Tal hadn’t known any better, there was a slight hint of scolding in the undercurrent.

“This was a poor place to land. We need to move, get out of this area, and figure a direction to move once we are clear from here.”

“You sound grumpy.” The vagabond offered, nodding towards the others. “We need to figure out where Udonis is before we start booting around the continent that no one has really seen in forever. We’ll just get lost if we don’t use our heads.” Something seemed off about Jake, but Tal couldn't really place it. Was the gravity of the situation finally effecting his ‘go-go-go’ mentality?

Looking out the their surroundings once more, he frowned silently to himself. “There’s a lot of places they can hide when we don’t know anything about the area.”
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Loki on Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 pm

As the group traveled beyond the gateway, they found themselves in a craggy landscape of knee-high grass went on in three of the cardinal directions before dropping off into steep cliffs. The air was thin and cold at that altitude, but only through the fleeting radiant heat of the earth beneath them was it tolerable. Ahead of them in the near distance was a man-made stone structure set into the base of a mountain that had weathered the advancing elements by the merit of being among them. The stonework was heavily adorned in vines, shrubs, trees, and wildflowers that helped to blunt the otherwise overwhelming scale of the structure and soften its overall appearance. Everybody knew of the Fyr Memorial, but very few have actually ventured across the ocean to see it firsthand.

Lucient was the one who responded to the concerns of the group, though he only turned his head slightly so as to more easily be heard by those behind him, clearly not intending to turn his back or eyes from the structure ahead. “Even now that this continent has been fully restored, there is only one place Udonis is likely to be residing; only one place that makes sense that he’ll choose as the seat of his power. Come, time works against us and we do not have the luxury to be discrete. We must move and hope that the Sanctuary has not yet been compromised.” Without further explanation, Borri and Lucient advanced at a hastened pace towards the memorial expecting the others to keep pace.

The Goddess who had succeeded Eraclea spared no expense when it came to honoring those who had needlessly perished at the hands of her progenitor’s corruption. Not through the use of precious gemstones and metals, but of masterfully formed earth and flora to provide a timeless beauty that would remain sacred rather than coveted. The memorial’s garden was large enough to contain the field and the attendance of even the largest of sporting events comfortably within its ring of standing stones that makes Stonehenge look like simple Lego pieces in both scale and aesthetic impression. Stories and artwork of the site always fell short when it came to capturing the true awe-inspiring wonder that was the Fyr Memorial. And still yet, so much was still unknown about the site. At the far side of the garden was a set of heavy stone doors larger than most buildings wrought into what was now the base of the mountain’s peak. It is widely accepted that only a Goddess is capable of opening the gates into the memorial’s sanctuary; something that is reinforced by the countless failed attempts of countless excavations teams and powerful Saturates who did all they could to discover the temple’s true secrets only to give up without so much as blemishing the monstrous doors. Despite countless inquisitions and requests, the Temple of the Goddess never revealed what was sealed within nor allowed any to enter.

Whatever mystery lies beyond those doors, it was enough to cause both of the council members to freeze in their tracks when they entered the gardens between two vertical stones to see the yawning entrance to the Sanctuary. The two surveyed the gardens before exchanging a glance and looking over their shoulders towards the rest of the group. Borri was the one to communicate this time, pointing a finger at Loki. “You can fly, yes? Return to the portal and tell the Grand Mistress that the Sanctuary has been compromised and bring back whatever aid she can spare with you. The rest of us have to press ahead to secure the gateway; if there is a significant force here, the only place they could be hidden is within the Sanctuary annex itself. We will use the doorway as a choke point to make sure we are not overwhelmed by numbers. Stick to the original plan, Lucient and I will remove any obstacles directly ahead of us while the rest of you protect our flanks.”

Loki’s eyes went wide with the command, uncertainty showing in his body language as his gaze flicked over his friends clearly not wanting to leave their sides for any length of time. A very familiar expression to those around him of the youth that still resided in the more mature body. “But why me?” A snarl bubbled beneath Borri’s facemask at being questioned in the midst of a critical situation. ”Because you’re fast and the Grand Mistress has some measure of trust in you. Now. GO!” The intensity of the man’s voice was practically a physical entity in of itself that kick started Loki a few uncertain paces back towards the portal. Once again he looked at his friends with a little more resolution in his expression as the tendrils of light began to weave themselves into wings. “Be careful, I will be back soon.” With that, Loki turned and took off as low and swiftly as he could manage.

Satisfied that the message had been dispatched, the two saturates faced forward once again. Lucient unwound the chain from around his arms and gripped either end in each hand with all the posture of a swordsman drawing his blade while flames began to lick along the shaft of Borri’s exotic polearm before wreathing the blade in flames. Without wasting the breath to issue the attack, Borri and Lucient charged for the gate in a dead sprint intent on taking the vantage point while they had the opportunity. They had made it a quarter of the way through the garden before a shout from upon the exterior wall called an alarm. Borri flicked out his hand in an almost absentminded gesture towards the voice’s source and a bolt of fire streaked towards the sentry cutting his cry short as a hole the size of a man’s head was seared clear through his chest in an instant killing him outright. However, it had only bought them a moment before the confusion caused by the abruptly terminated call to arms was answered with the cacophony of more shouts. The two councilmen only pressed harder forward toward their objective, goaded by the sounds of movements coming from the massive doorway that was still several dozen yards away even as the occasional burst of energy rifle fire came from the garden’s ramparts. They had closed the distance to a few dozen yards just as a group of armed guardsmen emerged from the Sanctuary, but they hadn’t so much as had a chance to raise their weapons when Borri slashed his weapon before him in a horizontal arc sending a large crescent of scarlet fire lashing out towards them that cut them down as quickly and effectively as wheat before a farmer’s scythe.

The much larger wave of Udonis’ guardsmen were not far behind the former, but it was enough for Borri and Lucient to gain the doorway standing side-by-side with plenty of space between them to do battle. As they took aim with their weapons, Lucient began swinging his heavy chain around as though it was a common nunchaku causing its links to rattle and chime. As he did so, countless orbs of faint blue light blinked into existence for the briefest of moments before vanishing once more as if the individual chime of metal on metal became tangible. The rate at which it happened was slightly nauseating with its speed that created an imperfect yet constantly moving wall of those lights. And yet, every round loosed by the guardsmen managed to be intercepted by one of these orbs in the moment before it flashed out of existence once more. Even as the rate of fire increased, none managed to bypass the flickering wall of shields. After several moments of yielding no results, the rate of fire waned to a slight trickle as a majority of the body of troops charged. Before the mass could gain much momentum, Lucient took advantage of the faltering rate of fire to strike out with his chain as if it were a whip in the direction of the advancing group. While a normal leather whip would have made a sharp, but otherwise ineffective crack of sound when the tip finally reached the maximum velocity at the end of its arc, the chain that was much too short to reach the group in of itself still managed to detonate a blast of sound that was on par with a concussion grenade directly in the center of the group. Although not lethal outright, most of their combined momentum was lost as the middle ranks stumbled from disorientation, the rearmost ranks collided over their faltering mid-rank, and the front ranks were met with Borri’s weapon that moved with startling speed and precision in a torrent of blade and fire. Without the support of the rest of their numbers, the assault quickly resulted in a withdraw as none managed to get within the polearm’s reach to use their own weapons. Once again, a hail of energy bolts was unleashed towards the two and Lucient’s defenses held them at bay as the guardsmen regrouped and reevaluated their tactics.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by quakernuts on Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:39 pm

Jake turned to the one armed vagabond that addressed him first out of the group. He gave a simple huff, looking off in another direction. "We'll get dead. It's safe to assume that our enemies would know we would find our way here. If they had any wits about them, they would have set up ambushes in multiple spots, most likely magi similar to the Ley Line will be here as well." Jake looked back to him. "Lost, is a lot better than dead." Jake left the conversation at that, following after the monks as they travelled forward. Despite his constant irritation of having to depend on someone else for direction, he buried it as they continued on. He would have need of them once the fighting was upon them, either as actual combatants or sacrificial human shields.

As the group carried on, bringing them to what appeared to be either a resting ground or a holy place meant to honour fallen, Jake's eyes darted back and forth from every single corner and crevice. He couldn't lose that feeling of being watched. He felt eyes on them everywhere, but he couldn't see them himself and it was forcing him to grit his teeth in irritation. It didn't dawn on Jake until a few moments later, that he was actually standing within the grounds of the Fyr Memorial, built after the reign of Eraclea to remember and honour those who died at her hands. Jake scoffed inwardly, finding the entire place to be an overindulgence when the fact was that the dead no longer cared about such things. However, he had to admit, getting into a fight that could determine the fate of Viemera on the grounds of the Fyr Memorial was definitely exciting.

The monks stopped long enough to make certain what Jake was already thinking. There was only one spot Udonis would try to make his rise to power. It was symbolic, but by the looks of the entire Memorial, the place looked like it could easily be turned into a fortress. If Jake had been in Udonis's position, he most likely would have picked the same place. They continued forward, Jake's eyes still darting over the landscape as if he expected the entire place to erupt into action at any point in time now. It wasn't an irrational paranoia, it was one that was surrounded by logic and fact. So, by the time that the monks had stopped them again, Jake's shield and mace were already out. The monks pointed back to Loki to go get more help, saying the Sanctuary was breached. Jake couldn't make out just how these monks could tell, nor did he care. He knew they weren't ones to joke, and knew the area better than him. With this, he treaded forward in a cautious stance, his mace held tightly in his hands and his shield just slightly off to his side to allow for a better view of the area.

It wasn't until the monks stopped and immediately started speaking of a plan that Jake brought his attention back to the group. He trusted their judgement enough to know that there was definitely enemy soldiers around. With that in mind, he pried himself away from the conversation and started scanning the surrounding area intensely. Jake barely gave notice as Loki told them to be careful, and lifted off to get the help that was requested. Before Jake could ask what they were sensing, they both rushed forwards with their weapons out and ready to fight. Jake watched silently as they strode forward, until the first sign of opposition sounded out. Jake readied his weapon, but stopped as he watched the man's head come clean off his head from his shoulders. He watched in silence as the monks managed to cleave their way to the door, and create a funnel for the enemy guardsmen. They would have to get through them in order to get to Jake and his group, which with a begrudging tad of respect, Jake knew that wasn't happening any time soon. However, the feeling of being watched was still there, and his eyes darted to around the Sanctuary Annex, looking closely for anything and everything that was out of place.

Jake caught it at the last second and his shield came to the for. "Company." Jake stated as if this was just another day at the office. With a shield bash, a column of water was dispelled as it came charging at Jake. Before he could make another move, another one came from cover, and he planted himself into his spot as the water pounded his shield so hard it actually started pushing him back. His feet started leaving deep gouges in the earth as his shield rattled on his arm. With a silent gritting of his teeth, he took his mace and pounded it into the earth, creating another anchor for him as he managed to make himself stop moving. After bearing the pressure for a few seconds, he gripped the mace and gave a god push forward, taking the weapon as he did so. He managed to get enough forward momentum to spin around the column of water spraying at him, and took off running into the stone structures without bothering to see if the others were alright. If they allowed themselves to be killed or overwhelmed from a simple ambush, then they didn't deserve to be here. At least it was a great place to be buried.

As his eyes betrayed him, not being able to pin point where the water cannon had been shot from, another one came from a fair distance away. Jake spun, his armour slowing him down marginally, but not enough that he wasn't able to skirt around the edges of the plume. When he had managed to get closer, he spotted his mark. A man armed with a pistol and rapier was folding his hands around one another, a ball of water forming at his finger tips. Jake closed the distance in a surprisingly short time, catching the man off guard as he let loose with another shot of water. Jake prepped his shield, watching as the water sprayed all around and drenching him. When the water finally dispelled, Jake dropped his shield, getting within striking distance before a sudden chill overcame him. He looked at his arm to see ice crystals starting to form all around his armour. His shield, which had taken the brunt of the attack, began to crystallize into a much weaker version of itself as David, for all intents and purposes, dropped the water's ambient temperature and made it cold enough to freeze around his armour. He could feel shards forming on his face, but didn't hesitate as he smashed his mace sideways to stop the man from hampering his movement.

David ducked at the last second, the mace imbedding itself in the stone pillar as he spun around and back pedalled a few feet. Jake broke the mace free from the structure, giving his shield and armour a good hit to shake off the ice before shaking his head free as well. When he looked up again, he saw the man's hands fan out, ice shards shooting at him as Jake stepped forward under the protective covering of his shield. They bounced harmlessly off of his shield, and even his armour as David lacked the ability to make them solid enough to pierce plate. In another move, David took a couple steps back and placed his hands in the air. Within moments, the immediate area was shrouded in such thick fog that Jake could barely see inches from his own face. Instead of entering a blind rage, like the others were used to seeing, Jake stopped completely. He tuned out everything as his own breathing became his pulse. He could hear the battles of the others, but they were unimportant. A small sound caught his attention to the right as he swung his shield. A giant spike of ice shattered as it contacted with his shield. Within moments he was swinging his shield and dodging multiple spikes of ice as he patiently attempted to locate the water user.

He holstered his mace, and felt his arm tingle as black fire surrounded it. Within moments, a double bladed hand axe made of fire as black as the soul who wielded it was in his hand. Jake paused, blocking and dodging a few more ice spikes before suddenly and violently throwing his summoned axe into the fog. There was a brief moment of silence before a cry came from the direction of his throw. He 'turned off' his fire, grabbing his mace once again as he followed the sound. The fog started to lift, and Jake was left with a sight on his enemy. A gash ran across his chest, not fatal but definitely painful. He had most likely parried at the last second, but was unable to avoid injury. Before the man was able to move, Jake brought his axe down. David sliced expertly with his rapier, parrying the blow with an almost practiced precision as Jake continued his attack. Jake's movements, while still brutal, were also different from the norm. Rather than relying purely on pure physical prowess, there was a look of sadistic pleasure etched on his face as his chosen enemy was forced back step after step. It was as if he was prolonging the fight to ensure the most pain on David. His moves were calculated, planned, and executed as David was forced to give ground or be beaten to a bloody pulp.

In a surprise move, David parried Jake's mace, spinning around to one knee and shot a plume of water one handed at Jake's knee. This forced Jake's leg out from under him as he fell to his hands. David clenched his hands into a fist, and Jake watched as the armour froze solid. He looked up to see a pistol pointing him in the face, and faster than anyone thought possibly, Jake dropped his mace and gripped the man's hand. He pulled it to the side, feeling the round ping off his shoulder guard and most likely ricochet somewhere into the garden. He brought the man down, and connected his own head with that of David's. This sent the man reeling backwards in a daze, falling to his knees for a few seconds before getting up once more. Jake smashed his fist against the ice surrounded his leg, and watched as not only the ice shattered, but the armour surrounding his leg as well. The man had managed to get water into the joints, expanding the water when he turned it into a solid, and separating it when Jake finally smashed it to get loose. It still clung to his leg, but was currently more of an encumbrance than protective. He grabbed one of the joints, giving a pull and watching as it came off with relatively little effort.

Once that was done, he retrieved his mace, feeling slightly off balance now that one side was heavier than the other, but he had no choice. He couldn't rip the armour off his other leg as easily without being frozen first. David looked at Jake, noticing that his one leg was now exposed, and shot another plume of water at it in what Jake thought was an attempt to freeze it. He spun around the water column, his movement slightly off kilter due to the weight difference, but still managed to make good time to cut the few feet between the two of them down to one. David brought his rapier to the fore, parrying Jake's blows once more while using his free hand to drench Jake. The only thing preventing him from freezing the man was the fact that if he took the time to use that power, Jake would cave his skull in.

For the minutes that felt like hours, Jake and David battled almost across the entire garden, passing the others as they fought their own individual battles. By the time that David had managed to get some distance between the two of them, he was exhausted. His breaths came in gasps from the mixture of having to deal with a close range powerhouse, and using his power in short, but constant bursts. Jake looked none the worse for wear. He was drenched, his hair matted down from the water and droplets leaking from just about everywhere as he took slow and methodical steps forward. He had seen what the man was capable of now, every move up to this point testing his opponent and gauging their reactions. David was skilled, if somewhat unsuited for this kind of adversary. David looked at the man as he approached, a wicked smile painted on Jake's face as his eyes started to glow a disturbing black. Wisps of blackened essence trailed from his corneas as he started pouring his essence reserves into his manipulator abilities of strength and reflexes. No taunts were made, no threats were issued, only presence and menacing facial features were made known to David as he back pedalled from the sight.

However, he quickly caught his wits, and holstered his rapier. His hands twirled in front of him, a blue ball of water forming at his fingertips. Jake quickened his pace, fully sprinting at the man as the water formation in his hands got larger. Jake had only managed to get within a few feet of the man before he shot out another column of water, this one connecting with his weapon hand. He spun with the blast to keep momentum, but before he could swing, he felt his hand freeze. He look up to see the mace coated in ice. Despite the obvious handicap of what had just happened to his weapon, he swung anyways. David ducked underneath the blow, spinning and pulling out his rapier at the same time. With a follow up swing, Jake watched as his mace shattered, the sword connecting at the hilt and forcing the entire weapon to break into a few dozen pieces. David swung again, but was too slow as it bounced harmlessly off of Jake's shield. With one bash, Jake pushed David back. A second one just as quick sent the man flying to the ground, giving Jake enough time to assess the damage.

His mace was useless, nothing more than shattered ice on the ground. The water had also managed to get onto his gauntlet, which he smashed and found to be in the same condition of his weapon as it shattered into dozens of smaller pieces. Now he was without armour on his right leg and weapon hand. Not exactly the best of conditions, but he would have to make due. The man was still attempting to get to his feet when Jake sprinted the distance, his fist clenched and wound up behind him. David look back, and only had time to throw up a quick ice shield before Jake's massive blow connected.

Jake shattered the shield, and sent the man quite literally flying through the garden as if he had been shot by a rocket. Jake followed after him, although a fair distance behind as he was unable to keep up with the flying water user. David flew between Tal and his opponent, and moments later, Jake burst between the two of them, Tal's enemy stepping in front of him as he made to move. With a quick switch of running style, Jake ploughed his shoulder into the woman, driving her to the ground so hard that her head snapped back into the dirt. Jake paid no heed to the woman or Tal as he continued running towards his opponent. David finally landed, rolling end over end as he forced himself into a crouched position where he stood. His one hand was planted on the ground, his other on his knee as he took deep gulps of air. Jake still had a few good feet to go before he reached the man, who finally managed to look up. Within moments, he had gotten himself to his feet and was shooting more columns of water at Jake, who was deciding that dodging was better than blocking at this point. The moment was surreal, everything happening in a blur as Jake's enhanced reflexes allowed him to comprehend more information faster than a normal human being. He watched as water sprayed past him in slow motion, spinning as another one shot at him. Before long, Jake was once again within arms reach. He smiled widely, one that was devoid of anything other than the brutal happiness of inflicting pain upon another human being. His arm became embroiled in black flames as an axe appeared in his hand. His weapon came down as David raised his arms and shot out another spray of water with enough velocity to stop the axe cold. Ekaj poured his essence into his abilities, black wisps of smoke whirling around his body as his grin grew wider. Veins popped out on Jake's arms as David gritted his teeth so hard it looked like they were going to break. Both were trying their hardest to force the other down or away as steam rose from the black fire and the water colliding. Soon, a smaller version of David's fog had formed around them, David going white with the effort of holding off Jake and sweat starting to form on Jake's own brow as he tried with all of his effort to bring down the axe with both hands.

In a move that was nearly suicidal, David let the water cannon down, flinching off to the side as the axe slid by his arm, creating second degree burns where it skinned him. With a quick reflex, his pistol was in his hand and firing in rapid succession at Jake. Had he been in possession of his full set of armour, Jake would have killed the man right there. However, he was aiming for his exposed sections as rounds graze his leg and arm. Jake spun backwards, his shield connecting with David on the back swing, forcing the man to fly through the air a few feet and land outside the protective cover of the steam generated fog.

So there they stood, David slowly getting to his feet, still clutching the pistol. Jake walked out of the fog and stood across from him, a good ten feet separating the two as Jake's head was hung low, his eyes glowing black and peering at David through sweat stained bangs. They stood there, neither one moving as they regained their strength. Finally, David wiped his forehead and mouth before taking a deep breath. "Round two?" He stated.

"We're not finished round one." Jake stated as he twirled his summoned axe once before sprinting the distance between them.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Silvan Arrow on Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:44 pm

Eri kept her senses on high alert as she followed Borri and Lucient across the long-forgotten continent of Fyr. The feathers under her hair prickled uneasily as the terrain transitioned to knee-high grass with no cover in sight. Her gaze continually flicked upwards. It was far too easy for their enemies to spot them, and they already lacked the home field advantage.

At least we can easily get airborne if necessary, Arashi remarked.

‘Yes, but I don’t want to weaken our defenses here on the ground. We’re a small enough group as it is,’ Eri replied. She widened their mental link, and her eyes switched over to Arashi’s crystal blue orbs. Having a longer field of view made her feel slightly less exposed, and she could finally see where the two Monks were leading them. ‘It looks like…some sort of gateway.’ Two vertical stones in the distance stood as sentinels to a sprawling, scenic garden. How ironic that they would soon be spilling blood and desecrating a place of such beauty.

At that point, Lucient spoke up and addressed the group’s concerns as to where Udonis might be hiding. “Even now that this continent has been fully restored, there is only one place Udonis is likely to be residing; only one place that makes sense that he’ll choose as the seat of his power. Come, time works against us and we do not have the luxury to be discrete. We must move and hope that the Sanctuary has not yet been compromised.” Eri wanted to ask what he meant by a sanctuary but held her peace. She didn’t need to know the history of the location, just that their enemies were there and that they needed to be stopped at all costs.

An uneasy silence held sway over the group as they approached and passed between the vertical stones. Beautiful scenic gardens, untouched by the ravages of time spent beneath the surface of the ocean, lay between them and the gateway to the Sanctuary. Borri and Lucient abruptly stopped and surveyed the area before sending Loki back for reinforcements. His youthful uncertainty and innocence, now out of place on his adult face, showed in his eyes and body language, and Eri tried to meet his gaze and give him an encouraging nod. “Be careful, I will be back soon,” he said as he took off back for the portal.

“Be safe,” Eri murmered. Even though they could use him here and now, she was secretly grateful that he was getting out of danger for the moment. They could be walking into a trap for all she knew, but at least Loki would have the protection of the Temple’s monks if he returned only to find their bodies.

As for Borri and Lucient, they drew weapons and charged the gateway, counting on the others to keep up and protect their flanks. Eri duel-wielded her swords and stuck close to Raewyn while keeping her Essence reserves within easy mental reach. They didn’t get far before the garden erupted into chaos. Eri shoved Raewyn behind her into the middle fo the group for protection, but waves of scarlet fire and blue light from the monks decimated Udonis’ guardsmen as easily as their tangible weapons. Lucient’s blue light orbs deflected most of the energy bolts raining on them from above, and Eri could finally appreciate just how formidable the Temple monks could be in a fight. Tsume alone had been a force to reckon with, but having two monks was almost overkill for these foot soldiers. They were cannon fodder, nothing more.

For once in her life, Eri really didn’t have much to do in the way of contributing to the offense. Using Arashi’s vision, she kept her eye on the guardsmen in case any of them tried to get behind the group, but it didn’t take long before they started to retreat from the unyielding reach of the monks’ polearm, chain, and Essence powers. The energy bolts rained down harder, and Eri sent out a blade of wind just to see if it could deflect the fire. She managed to dissipate a couple of rounds, but she had to get the aiming just right and figured Lucient’s light shields worked much better.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have long to wait for something to do. “Company,” was all Jake (Ekaj, to her) said before bashing a column of water aside with his shield. A second, stronger column of water shot towards them, and Jake bore it against his shield again. Eri saw him reach for his mace and barely had time to get between him and Raewyn before he spun around the column of water and took off running. Without his body and shield as cover, the water shot forward and struck Eri squarely between the shoulder blades, sending her flying to faceplant in the dirt. She spat out mud and shakily scrambled to her knees, still clutching her swords while gasping to regain the wind that had been knocked out of her. Mistress, incoming! Arashi shouted. Eri saw it half a second later and shot out a blade of slicing wind to dispel the air push that came from the edge of the trees. The two Essence-powered winds collided and canceled each other out in a turbulent series of gusts that sent leaves and grass flying in all directions. Eri remembered the feel of this Essence signature, and she got to her feet and narrowed her eyes at the familiar locks of red hair as Marinik sauntered into view.

The wind User chuckled arrogantly and leaned his pistol casually his shoulder, tapping the side of the barrel against his jacket in time with his steps. His eyes raked up and down her body, noting the dirt stains with disdain and making her skin crawl. “My my, how the not-so mighty have fallen. What’s wrong? You like to eat dirt when your parrot isn’t around?”

“Shut up,” Eri growled, sinking into a defensive crouch with her swords held to either side, protecting her torso. She wouldn’t summon Arashi now. Better that Marinik think he was incapacitated and then use him as a surprise trump card. “Last I saw you, you ran away like a whipped dog when your master called,” she retorted, referring to their brief encounter at the refinery.

Marinik’s smirk only widened, un-phased by Eri’s attempt at an insult. The two began circling each other slowly, like predators sizing up the competition. “Unlike you, I had more important things to deal with than taking out the trash. Such a shame. Looks like I’ll have to do that anyway.”

Eri glared daggers at Marinik but refused to say anything. Let him try and taunt her. Let him waste his breath. She didn’t come here to banter words with the enemy. Marinik seemed to read her mind, because he laughed once again at her stubborn silence. “What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue? I hear you’ve learned a couple new parlor tricks since last we fought. Shall we see who is the better wind user? I’ll give you a hint.” Marinik unleashed one of his signature air pushes, which Eri quickly countered with an air shockwave. As the dust cleared from the collision of the two, Marinik grinned and taunted, “That’s it? Looks like a half-baked User ability to me. That little Goddess of yours could have helped you more.”

Eri glanced behind her briefly at Raewyn. She couldn’t stand between her and Marinik indefinitely. If she stayed at a distance, Marinik would take her out with his pistol. She had to get in close. “Protect her, T’yang,” Eri said quickly, meeting the older woman’s gaze, before charging her foe with swords at the ready.

Eri unleashed two air blades in rapid succession, aiming them low to the ground so they would kick up a cloud of dust and keep Marinik from aiming his pistol. Marinik nimbly leaped and rolled to dodge the onslaught and called wind to dispel the dustcloud. By this point, Eri had closed the distance and was nearly within striking distance with her swords. Before she could get closer, the air left her lungs in a rush, stopping her cold as spots swam before her eyes and the ground tilted at an odd angle. Luckily, she had a plan. ‘Arashi!’ The eagle burst into the physical realm in a cloud of white feathers behind Marinik, claws extended and beak agape in a battle screech. The redhead rolled to the side and fired his pistol at Arashi to fend him off, breaking his hold on the air vacuum and buying Eri a few precious seconds to catch her breath. Arashi barrel-rolled to dodge the bullets and climbed to gain altitude and wheel around for another dive. Meanwhile, Marinik and Eri both fired off their wind powers at close-range, sending them flying backwards away from each other. Marinik landed on his feet in his crouch, while Eri flipped backwards in the air and had to summon her wings to regain control and land on all fours, digging her swords into the ground for balance.

“Heh, another new parlor trick?” Marinik taunted, noting the jet-black wings protruding from her shoulders. “Too bad I’ll have to clip them!” He fired off several rounds from his pistol, which Eri managed to dodge or deflect with a well-timed wind blade. Marinik would have hit his mark if Arashi didn’t take the chance to try and dive-bomb him from above. He tucked and rolled out of the way, firing at Arashi to fend him off while sending an air push at Eri, who was charging again. An energy round clipped Arashi’s wing, and Eri once again had to use her wings as parachutes so she didn’t go turning somersaults in midair.

‘Arashi, I need a diversion!’ Eri sent out twin air blades at Marinik to distract him while Arashi dived at him head-on. He did exactly as Eri predicted and pulled out a belt of explosives similar to the one he used to take out Alco on their first meeting. ‘Trust me. Keep charging!’ Arashi did as Eri asked, and right before he got within range of the belt, Eri severed the Essence link. The white eagle vanished in a cloud of white feathers, leaving Marinik’s belt of explosives to wrap around empty air. By this time, Eri was almost on top of him. ‘Got you!’ She prepared to swing her sword at Marinik’s exposed torso…

Eri, watch out!

…and collided face-first into an armored human wrecking ball.

Faster than humanly possible, Jake had come out of nowhere and bulldozed right through Eri, so caught up he was in his battle against David, the water User they had encountered earlier. He only clipped her with his side, but the impact was like hitting a brick wall. If she hadn’t been wearing her leather armor, she probably would have cracked a rib. She saw stars as she flew backwards and landed roughly on her wing, too addled to use them for balance. This time, Marinik wasted no time in weaving the air from her lungs. Dazed and unable to breathe, she thrashed helplessly on the ground as he stalked closer, smirking and aiming his pistol at her head. “Such a shame. I had hoped for more…”

Before he could pull the trigger, Eri had just enough presence of mind to re-summon Arashi, and he burst into the physical realm again, healed of his minor bullet wound and in a protective rage. Marinik jumped away from Arashi’s deadly talons but scored a couple of shallow gashes across his shoulders that bled profusely. At that moment, air rushed back into Eri’s lungs, and she breathed deeply as she got back to her feet. Arashi barrel-rolled away from Marinik and rowed for altitude, but he once again got clipped with the pistol. Don’t worry, they didn’t penetrate any bones or muscles, Arashi reassured her.

“Heh, saved by your parrot again. You can’t do anything by yourself, can you?” Marinik teased, grinning despite the bleeding wounds on his back.

Eri growled under her breath, and her eyes narrowed in fury. “Shut…UP!” She shot more air blades at him, all of which he either dodged or countered with air pushes. For the next few minutes, Eri and Marinik were caught in a stalemate. She couldn’t get close to him without taking an air push in the face, so they traded air attacks back and forth, diving and rolling and flying around each other’s blows, while Marinik’s pistol also kept Arashi at a distance. Her breath started to come in short gasps. ‘He’s just toying with us, trying to get us to waste our strength.’

Then let us finish this here and now! Arashi replied with a furious shriek.

‘Absolutely!’ Eri flew above Marinik’s next series of air pushes, came down with her swords to counter with her air blades…

…and Jake ran right in front of her.

“Watch out!” Eri screamed. She managed to angle her swords at the last second so the air blades flew on either side of him, but the turbulence generated still made him falter. For a few seconds, they were smack in the middle of each other’s crossfires. Eri was to Jake’s left, Marinik was on his right, and David was in front of Jake. “Get out of the way!” She managed to duck behind Jake to shoot an air blade at Marinik to keep him from taking aim at either of them. Irony was a cruel mistress. Eri and Jake had fought together seamlessly in the dream world against hordes of enemies generated from their darkest fears, but now that Ekaj was in control, that rapport had completely vanished.

Eri’s anger started to boil over, and she yelled, “Are you TRYING to get us both killed? Move!”

Marinik could only stand by and laugh as he readied his pistol and Essence for round two.


Last edited by Silvan Arrow on Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Digital Muse on Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:01 am

Walking forward behind the two monks, T’yang reflected on how a place of peace and memory was about to become a battleground. As the group neared the sanctuary, she drew her fans from her sash and held them at the ready, not open, but ready to snap open in an instant. As they crested a small hill, the monks stopped dead. The Sanctuary had been breached. T’yang’s mind raced, it was the power Udonis had stolen from Raewyn that allowed him access, she concluded.

Borri ordered Loki back through the portal to warn the Grand Mistress and the boy left, albeit reluctantly. T’yang moved closer to Raewyn, the girl was the most vulnerable, regardless of the armor she wore. Suddenly, the monks rushed forward toward the open door of the sanctuary and came under intense fire from Udonis’ army of riflemen. T’yang’s brow quirked upward upon seeing the display of power from both of the monks and how they bottlenecked the doorway.

Not having time to move forward, both Eri and Jake came under attack. The water user, David, kept up a deluge of hammering blows going against the very changed Jake and Marinik, the air manipulator trying to suffocate Eri in an effort to end their battle quickly. Before T’yang could call her shadows to aid the girl, she felt a freezing mist climb up her legs. T’yang whirled to face the ice manipulator, snapping her fans open in a steel shield before her. But, Arina’s target was not her, rather, Arina was targeting Raewyn. Dozens of daggers made of crystalline ice formed around Arina and with a sudden throwing motion of her arms, she sent the deadly icicles flying toward Raewyn a few feet to T’yang’s left.

T’yang flowed smoothly to intercept the icicles and smashed them from the air with a whirring of her fans. T’yang’s eyes narrowed at the uncharacteristic silence of the ice manipulator. Arina merely grinned and let loose a bubbling laughter that came nowhere close to the happy sound it should have been. Arina then began to circle T’yang, forcing her to continue to move in order to protect Raewyn. T’yang whispered softly and her shadows answered her instantly, swirling about her body. Another whisper solidified Arina’s own shadow, causing it to grip the girl’s ankles, rooting her to the spot. T’yang immediately began another whisper to force the shadows up the girl’s body to stop her from being able to launch another attack.

Arina, however, was not inexperienced in combat and she glared her hatred at T’yang. “You think it will be that easy, T’yang? There is so much water in human bodies, you know.” She reached forward with an open hand and suddenly clasped it into a fist. “Water that can freeze solid.” She added in grim enjoyment.

T’yang arched her back in pain. The very cells in her body seized as ice crystals formed inside them. She couldn’t scream, couldn’t move and every nerve within her blared pain within her. T‘yang’s thoughts slowed and dulled as the ice invaded her body. Arina was going to kill her. At that thought something inside of T’yang burst forth and suddenly, she was free. T’yang dropped to a knee breathing heavily and trying to recover from the intense agony she’d just experienced.

She heard Arina scream in sheer frustration and looked up to see the ice manipulator turning in circles as if looking for something. T’yang watched as Arina refocused on Raewyn who also looked confused and terrified.

“You!” Arina screamed pressing her fists against her temples, “Get out of my head! I know she’s still there.”

Raewyn’s eyes grew huge, “No..I..” She stammered.
But, Arina wasn’t listening, she formed an icy ball between her hands and kept adding to it little by little, growing it into a massive boulder-sized projectile. She flung her arms forward, sending the ice ball at incredible speed toward Raewyn.

T’yang leapt to her feet and rushed toward the former goddess and scooped her up with a single arm around her waist. She threw herself forward, carrying Raewyn out of the boulder’s path by mere centimeters. It carried on and smashed through several trees before it dashed itself to pieces against a stone wall. T’yang picked herself up and looked into Raewyn’s face to make sure she was alright. Raewyn gave her a wide-eyed nod.

“There you are.” Arina trilled sweetly. “She can’t hide you from me.”

T’yang picked herself up and snapped her fans open in a defensive shield again. She called her shadows instantly and sent a pool of them toward Arina. The girl was engulfed in a dark mass, trapping her arms against her body. T’yang quickly glanced back toward Raewyn whose eyes had glazed over in a deep trance. Evidently she was already in a mental battle of her own. That forced T’yang into an untenable situation; she could not leave Raewyn’s side. Her eyes snapped back to Arina and was shocked to see Arina shatter the shackles of dark shadow with spikes of ice crystals.

Arina laughed brightly, “And I thought you’d be more fun, T’yang. They all said you were dangerous. That I should just kill you. But, I do so love games.” Arina drew in a deep breath and as she blew out again, a crystalline cloud burst forth, covering everything between herself and T’yang in fine ice crystals.
T’yang raced away from Raewyn, hoping Arina would follow her. She could hear the heavy limbs of the trees behind her creak with the weight of the ice and sudden crashing sounds of those that broke off and fell to the ground. The icy mists hit T’yang in a wave, freezing her clothes and hair solid. Her forward momentum sent her crashing to the ground trapped within her own brittle clothes. Ice formed on her lashes and a fine powdery snow covered her skin. T’yang was chilled to the bone and could barely think as her teeth chattered.

Arina laughed brightly and skipped toward T’yang’s prone body. “Awww. My pretty ice statue fell over.”
T’yang forced her head to turn to see the dark patent shoes and ankles of Arina standing over her. She tried to call her shadows to her, but could not form the words. Her mind raced. Then she felt it again; a burst of energy flashed through her body and she was free again. She lay there for a bare moment trying to get the blood flowing again. She had no time to waste before Arina would realize she wasn’t helpless. She looked down to begin to push herself upright. What she saw stopped her dead. Or, rather what she didn’t see. She was invisible!

Arina screamed again. “No fair! No fair!” She whirled around searching for her opponent. “That little brat is not going to ruin my game!” Arina slapped her own cheek harshly as if trying to wake herself from a dream. And then turned back to where T’yang should be lying on the ground. “No! No! No!” She screamed in frustration.

T’yang had taken advantage of Arina’s momentary inattention to flow to her feet. As she did, she noted that she had phased into a solid form once again. But when she stopped moving, she became intangible once more. T’yang didn’t understand what had happened to her, but at the moment, she didn’t care. When Arina turned back toward her T’yang reached out with and slapped the girl soundly across the face. “You are not a soldier. You are a child.” She said coldly.

Arina reeled in shock by the attack. Her face flushed an angry scarlet. “You…you can’t talk to me like that.” She looked around wildly, trying to spot T’yang.

Each time Arina looked away from her, T’yang moved forward, phasing back into view. But she stopped moving the moment Arina looked back toward her and disappeared again. Each time Arina moved, T’yang followed in small increments of solid and invisible steps. Each time she was close enough, she delivered another stinging slap to the face.

Arina kept retreating, completely off balance from the slaps across her face. She screamed at the very air in humiliating anger. Each time she tried to gather her Essence to form an attack, it seemed like a T’yang was suddenly there and another slap was delivered, ruining her concentration and dissipating her Essence back into the air. “Stop it!” She screamed. “I am not a child! I’ll kill you!” She finally gained enough space between herself and her invisible tormentor that she hastily gathered her Essence and with a flinging gesture blanketed an area of 20 feet around her in a fine snow.

The light, powdery snow fell upon T’yang’s head and shoulders, revealing her position. Before she could run forward to attack the girl, Arina smiled grimly and sang, “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” She formed hundreds of ice daggers that completely surrounded T’yang and sent them flying toward the former monk.

T’yang’s fans were a whirling blur, smashing at the ice daggers. However, there were so many and coming from every angle that many penetrated her defenses. As fast as she might be, she simple couldn’t stop them all and many sliced through her clothes and skin as she flowed from one stance to another. Two slice cleanly through her right thigh, sending her to a knee. Another creased her temple, covering her face in blood. Yet another pierced her chest, which threw her to her side. It had punctured her left lung, leaving her gasping for air while bloody bubbles formed around the icicle protruding from her chest.

Arina giggled and clapped her hands happily. “There you are!” She lazily sauntered toward the fallen T’yang. “Fancy, fancy T’yang.” She crouched down next to her, though she wisely stayed out of arms reach. “Think you’re so special?” She snarled. “You aren’t! You’re going to die just like all the others.”
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Guilty Carrion on Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:25 am

Watching Loki go quietly, Tal rubbed his chin quietly in thought. He’d never really heard much about a Sanctuary. Was it something Tsume would have known about? Before he could ponder it much further, the monks derailed his mind through their impressive show of force. Monks were skilled; he had always known that since he was young, but watching two easily battle an army with apparent ease had a way of humbling someone.

“Could have used them a lot earlier…” He muttered, glancing idly at his surroundings for a moment. Off behind him, Tal heard Jake’s casual mention of ‘Company’. The vagabond turned partially to see what he meant, wincing as Eri took a water spout to the shoulders. “Hey, yo-”

“Are you strong?”

Tal froze at the question, glancing over his shoulder to see the source standing silently a few feet away. It took him only a moment to see she wasn’t one of the Magi they had encountered before, and he cautiously faced her properly, hand hovering inches above his hammer. Steel grey eyes watched him move, carefully taking in every detail as fingers flexed inside the imposing steel confines of the cestus around her hands.

“Are you strong?” The question was repeated, her voice firm and imposing. She certainly wasn’t a normal woman; this much Tal was certain of.

“I’d say yeah.” The moment the words left his mouth, she was already blitzing across the distance between them. Pulling his hammer free, Tal swung it immediately, but the head met solidly with the cestus in an echoing crash. Try as he might, he couldn’t push the hammer further, every muscle in her arm tightening and resisting the action.

“Who will be strongest?” The oddity of her question threw him off, which left him wide open when she threw the weight of the second cestus across his exposed chin. The force of it threw off his balance, which only lead to an uppercut that made his ears ring. With a pained grunt, the vagabond reared his knee, catching her in the gut that made her double over slightly. There was only a brief moment of hesitation in his mind before arcing the hammer up over his head and slamming it into the back of her skull.

The impact slammed the red-haired woman into the dirt, and she was still. Tal staggered back a few steps; a grim frown upon his face as he spun the hammer about in his grip. “Makes me the strongest, I guess.” As he muttered the words, the woman stirred. Hands coiling into fists, she slammed her knuckles into the earth roughly, neck cracking as she reared back up to her feet. The thick braid of her red hair tumbled freely around her shoulders, as those cold steel eyes bore into Tal with an intensity he wasn’t expecting from someone who should be dead right now.

“It will take more than that.” She growled; eyes flashing dangerously as Tal tightened his grip on the hammer.

‘Okay. She’s not dead. Does she have regenerative powers?’ She rocketed forward, and Tal immediately began to back away but as large as she was, she was far more nimble than a massive man clad in plate armour. The cestus connected soundly against his armour several times, the sheer force of the hits sending painful vibrations rattling along his frame. ‘How the hell can she hit metal so hard and not even react?!’

The lack of an arm made the close range even more dangerous, as she weaved inside his sloppy hammer swings to pound against his defenceless sides. Desperate for some space to think, Tal ducked under one of her strikes and tackled the legs out from under her. As she toppled, he brought a powerful boot down on her chest as he smashed the hammer across her face.

The hits only bought him seconds as he back-pedalled away from what should have been a corpse by now. She was already climbing back to her feet, and he could see something akin to anger beginning to burn in those once stoic eyes. ‘Darren…I’m running out of ideas here!’

The magi began forward once again, but Tal was given another few moments respite as Jake barrelled through the fray with all the subtly of a bull in a china shop. With a brutal check, she was thrown to the ground so hard that her head rebounded into the dirt. The implacable woman began to rise again, and Darren grunted in annoyance. ‘She‘s awful…robust.’

Edging away from the rising figure, Tal raised an eyebrow in confusion. ‘Robust!? This isn’t the time for compliments!’ He hurried back several extra steps, feeling the air pulse and shift the closer he drew to the warring manipulators. The seemingly indestructible woman was back on her feet, already stalking towards him with a growing fire in her eye.

‘It might be more apt than you think. She’s not been injured once.’ Before Tal could reply, the summon continued. You’ve hit her, yes, but that isn’t an injury. Even when struck in the head by your hammer, she hasn’t shed a single drop of blood. It’s not that she’s recovering from your attacks…she’s just simply not taking any damage from them in the first place.’ Blocking one of her strikes with his hammer, Tal gritted his teeth.

It made sense, but not the good kind of sense. It was the worst case kinda sense that meant this woman was going to be a hell of a lot more trouble than she originally seemed. “You’re a tough one…” He grunted before a salvo of fist-strikes pounded him back several steps. “But you’re only one person!”

Slamming his hammer into her flank, the vagabond was quick to use the precious seconds the attack bought him. In a flash of light, and an irritated snort, Darren appeared alongside the unsuspecting warrior. With a powerful sweep of his head, the rhino knocked the woman clean from her feet and back several feet, as Tal quickly clambered up onto his partner’s back.

“A summoner.” The voice shook with a fury barely contained inside, as she climbed back up to her feet with a threatening glare. Every hit seemed to be spurning her on, and every time Tal managed to lock eyes with her, the ‘cold’ seemed to be vanishing into something…else. “With a rhino, no less.” Darren huffed darkly at her acknowledgement.

“Damn straight. You’re tough, but we’ve got a couple hundred pounds on you now.” Tightening his grip on the hammer, Tal grinned humourlessly. “How about you just pack it in now?”

“The strong do not run from the weak.” Cracking her shoulders, the woman’s fists tightened and she started forward slowly. “The strong do not run from the strong. The strong fight.” Darren stomped the ground, breaking into a light run towards the magi. “I will not run.” Her face split into a dark grin, and it quickly dawned that she was, in fact, enjoying this. “I will FIGHT!”

Seemingly unconcerned with the mountain of muscle charging her, Iraia planted her feet and threw her hands out wide. Darren collided with her full on seconds later, driving the warrior back as he gained more and more momentum. With one hand gripping the horn, she coiled back her fists and began to hammer away at the rhino’s skull, legs dangling uselessly beneath his skull as his horn pushed fruitlessly on her chest. ‘Her skin is like bloody iron! It just won’t pierce!’

Tal slid down the lumbering summon’s neck towards Iraia, who’s eyes snapped to him the second he came within striking distance. Neither had the advantage of much balance with Darren rapidly gaining speed, but Tal simply grip his summon’s neck tighter with his legs and swung the hammer at the hand’s gripping his horn. Unexpectedly, the hand released the horn to grip the hammer’s head, tightening into a vice and pulling roughly on the weapon to bring Tal into reach.

Pulling roughly on the weapon, he tried to free it with little success, which only seemed to bring him closer and closer to the deadly fists of his opponent. Rearing higher, she made a grab for Tal with her free hand, only to fall short by a few inches. ‘Hold on!’ The rhino quickly picked up speed, and Tal toppled partially over the side. His legs roared in protest at the task of holding his bulk up, but he wasn’t willing to relinquish his hammer to get a better grip.

As Iraia began to climb up from the front of his snout, Darren opened his mouth and clamped down roughly on the warrior’s leg. She tugged once or twice, before deciding that punching the rhino was a more efficient strategy than trying to out-muscle it. Darren’s head jerked slightly from the sheer force of the blows, but they were little more than a nuisance for such a thick-skulled creature. ‘Darren! We gotta slow her down!’

The rhino snorted indignantly, but Tal ignored him, ivory eyes scanning their surroundings. All the others were preoccupied with their own fights, so there was little chance of getting help from them. He almost preferred that, not wanting to think what would happen to the more fragile fighters if the warrior got her hands on them.

Pain screamed through his mental bonds, and Tal felt his chest partially spasm at the fire spreading across his body. Spots danced in his vision as he looked back towards his opponent, facing paling in horror as he watched her fingers tear free of the socket where Darren’s eye was supposed to be. There were no words from the link, only a sudden surging animal instinct that Tal had never felt before, but it clawed at his mind and fought for control as if it were his own. “Darren!” He shouted, as the rhino’s massive strides stumbled and slipped along the ground it could no longer see. “Darren, you’ve gotta…oh Goddess, tur-”

The stone splintered and shattered as the bulk of Iraia’s back, driven by the thundering drive of Darren’s bulked, smashed into the thick of one of the great standing stones that encircled the Memorial. Tal was flung from his place and smashed against the stone before tumbling to the ground several feet away.

The grass did little to soften his fall, but the soft feel of it beneath his fingers was a momentary respite he didn’t have time to savour. Rising with a laboured grunt, the vagabond stumbled forward a few steps as Darren collapsed onto his side. Thick as his hide and skull, even a might rhino didn’t ram a solid rock by choice. There would be no lasting damage, he was certain, and the summoner mental reached to dismiss his companion to repair the damage sustained.

He froze as the standing stone creaked, eyes slowly drifting to the small indentation that marked the impact. Despite the din of the battles still raging behind him, Tal heard nothing in the world save for the slow, deep breath as the figure rose from the dirt. The leather cloth that served as her garment was shredded beyond repair, and as those eyes found him once more, his mouth dried at the expression stretching slowly across her face. Lips peeling back in a snarling smile, it was an expression of both suffocating joy, and something he could only describe as pure, relentless fury.

“What the hell are you..?” He whispered, taking a hesitant step back as she tore the battered remnants of cloth from her frame. “…just what the hell are you?!”

Smeared in dirt and the dust of rubble, with no armour save the thick of her skin and the markings of ink that swirled on her now exposed body, Iraia took a single thunderous step forward. “I am strong. As are you.” Her smile widened, as every muscle tensed for the fight to come. “A name is an honour. I am Iraia of the Iotrecil. I ask yours.”

He stared in mild bewilderment, trying not to waver in the face of his foe. His eyes flicked to the grass, where his hammer lay but a few feet from him, having tumbled free during his 'flight'. Breathing in sharply, the worried ivory of his gaze locked with her molten steel with a resolve he didn't think his body actually had in it. “It’s…Tal. I’m Tal Kaperray.” The warrior, this Iraia, inclined her head in some form of greeting which only added to Tal’s rapidly growing confusion and slight panic.

“Then, Tal of the Kaperray, it is an honour to fight you this day. Defeat or victory, show me how truly strong you are! Who is the strongest?!” Before he could breathe another word, she was upon him with the snarling smile that chilled his bones to the core.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Digital Muse on Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:53 pm

Stepping through the portal with the others left none of the lingering vertigo that they’d experienced the first time. Raewyn stayed close to Eri, shifting her weight from foot to foot uneasily. They travelled on toward a massive courtyard when the two, rather intimidating Council members, Lucient and Borri stopped dead and ordered a reluctant Loki back through the portal to tell the Grand Mistress about the sanctuary having been accessed. Raewyn didn’t know why that was a bad thing. But, obviously, from the monks’ and T’yang’s reaction it was very bad news.

Once Loki was airborn and heading back to the portal, Lucient and Borri rushed forward to begin the assault on Udonis’ army. Raewyn’s heart leapt into her throat in fear. Without hearing her move, T’yang was suddenly beside her.

“Raewyn, no matter what happens or what you think you see, stay beside me. I will protect you.” T’yang and Eri shared a look of acknowledgement. Eri needed to be able to fly and she couldn’t do that if she had to stay behind to protect Raewyn.

Raewyn glanced up at the dark-haired woman with some trepidation. She hated having to be protected, she knew she was a liability to the group.

T’yang nodded solemnly, “You can do this, Maeve is sadistic, but she is overconfident. Just remember, you defeated her before. You can do it again.” The dark-haired warrior assured her.

Raewyn bit her lower lip. She was terrified, frankly. What if someone else was hurt or even killed? An icy fist closed over her heart. She couldn’t handle it, anymore. Raewyn paused and made a visible effort to get herself together. She also couldn’t allow her own fear and uncertainty to leak out and affect the others.
When T’yang began to move after Borri and Lucient, Raewyn ran a few quick paces to keep close to her.

Suddenly, Jake quietly commented, “Company.” No sooner had he said that when a geyser of water slammed into the brawler, pushing him across the small clearing. Raewyn whirled to try to locate where the attack had come from. She spotted David very briefly before she felt another familiar presence leaked into her mind. Marinik! Just as she turned her head to locate this new threat, it all flew into chaos. Eri was hammered to the ground by a water spout that Jake had spun around in his charge toward David.


Raewyn was about to shout out that Marinik was there when she noted another presence; Arina and someone else she’d never encountered before. Raewyn heard Arashi warn Eri of Marinik’s appearance. Raewyn’s eyes didn’t know where to look first. She desperately wanted to help…somehow. But, how and who? Rooted to the ground, Raewyn watched as her friends were all engaged in a deadly final battle. That’s when she felt it; a cold mist creeping along the ground and a sadistic glee worming its way into her thoughts. Arina. She whirled in time to see ice shards streaking through the air toward her unprotected back. Before Raewyn even had a chance to try to duck, T’yang was there, slashing the deadly icicles from the air with a whirling shield of her war fans.

Raewyn watched in horrified fascination as the Ice Manipulator circled her and T’yang like a wolf might circle wounded but still dangerous wounded prey. With each step Arina made, T’yang mirrored her movements to keep herself between Raewyn and the slightly insane Ice User. T’yang gathered the shadows around her and caused Arina’s shadow to solidify and root her to her place. But the girl only grinned and with a clenching of her fist began to freeze the water within T’yang’s body. The former monk arched her back ind went rigid with pain. Her mouth opened in a scream, but she seemed incapable of actually making a sound. Raewyn’s eyes widened in terror as T’yang’s eyes began to glaze over and the life fade from them.

“No!” Raewyn cried out. She began to race forward to throw herself at Arina, but before she had even taken more than 2 steps, she felt a massive flair of Essence and suddenly T’yang was simply gone. Raewyn stumbled to a halt blinking in confusion. A teleporter? She stared at the spot where T’yang had been. Her eyes must be playing tricks on her. She couldn’t see T’yang, but she still sensed the former monk as strongly as ever. What had happened? A slow chill crept up her spine…Maeve? Was the Dream Walker somehow responsible? If so, why? Raewyn wondered.

A scream of angry frustration brought Raewyn sharply out of her reverie. She realized to her horror that Arina had focused on her, blaming her for T’yang’s sudden disappearance.

“You!” Arina screamed pressing her fists against her temples, “Get out of my head! I know she’s still there.”

Raewyn’s eyes grew huge, “No..I..” She stammered.

The Ice User, didn’t believe her and began to form a massive ball of ice between her hands. With a negligent push, the boulder-sized ice ball raced toward Raewyn. Raewyn tried to back pedal, but suddenly someone grabbed her around the waist in an iron grip and she found herself being flung to the side out of the ice boulder’s path. Pushing herself up to her knees, she stared in wide-eyed wonder at T’yang. She nodded at the warrior’s interrogatory look of concern.

Arina skipped toward then almost singing, “There you are. She can’t hide you from me.”

T’yang rose smoothly to face the girl with a snap of her war fans opening. Raewyn started to watch T’yang engulf Arina in her dark shadows.

But suddenly, Raewyn’s vision jerked to a dim twilight-scape with no features that she could discern. Maeve. She had been dreading this inevitable encounter. She’d almost worried herself sick thinking about it. But, now that she felt the Dream Walker’s intrusion into her mind, she was determined and resolute. Raewyn settled her fears into a small closed off portion of her mind. She pressed her lips together into a thin line of determination. More than anyone, save Udonis himself, Maeve had hurt them all.

Raewyn remained aware of her friends’ senses. While they were all completely focused on their respective battles, Raewyn could feel their struggles quite plainly. If she wanted to help them, she had to deal with Maeve first. She just hoped she was up to it. Settling down and slowing her racing heat beat, Raewyn waited. Maeve would have to come to her-

“Hello again, Raewyn.” Maeve’s condescending voice sounded seemingly from everywhere in this odd non-place. “Afraid?”

Raewyn thought about it a moment and answered truthfully, “No.” She kept an eye on her surroundings from the corner of her eyes for any telltale movement. “Are you?” She asked irreverently.

Delighted silver laughter sounded all around her. “For someone so alone and, I might add, powerless, you are very bold.”

Raewyn’s eyes widened in sudden realization. She doesn’t know! Raewyn gathered her thoughts again, she couldn’t afford to be overconfident. That was Maeve’s flaw, T’yang had told her. Raewyn had to make the most of that. “We stopped you before. We can do it again.” She said with a quaver in her voice that she hoped would entice Maeve out into the open.

Maeve obliged her by fading into view. “I am curious, just how did you escape from the refinery? Treachery, I presume.” Maeve’s avatar circled her slowly and Raewyn let Maeve ‘see’ what had occurred, although she blocked her own role in forcing Brycen to open a portal to the Temple. “Well now. Rayne had a sudden fit of conscience, did he? I can’t say I’m surprised. He was always so weak.” Further probing showed her Branom’s death at the refinery. It made Maeve smile. “At least Owen was finally good for something.” She cooed. It was clear she was trying to get a rise out of Raewyn. But, Raewyn stubbornly remained silent.
Raewyn watched Maeve quietly, “What is Udonis hoping to gain? He can’t possibly understand that he will kill the very world he wants to control.” She had to ask the question. Maybe the Dream Walker would reveal the madman’s ultimate plan in a fit of hubris.

“Lord Udonis.” Maeve corrected her with a soft tsk. She smiled again, “Hoping for something that you can warn your friends with? Do you really think your friends or the monks of the Temple can stop him? Soon, they won’t be a factor.”

Raewyn fought the sudden bloom of fear in her heart. “What do you mean?” She asked in a tight voice.

Maeve began to smile more widely when her eyes narrowed slightly. “You knew.” She accused. “What are you hiding, little girl?”

Raewyn felt the pressure in her head as Maeve insinuated herself into her thoughts. Raewyn reflexively threw up barriers to keep the Dream Walker out.

Maeve reeled slightly in shock. But she recovered smoothly. “Well now.” She purred menacingly. “You’re just full of surprises.” In the mindscape, Maeve grew in size until she seemed 15 feet tall. She loomed over the kneeling Raewyn. “Do you really think your puny barriers can keep me out?”

Raewyn looked up at the massive version of Maeve and was forced to remind herself that it was nothing more than an illusion. She took a moment to stand and collect herself. She looked up at Maeve again, “It doesn’t matter if I can or not, Maeve. I don’t have to block you from my mind. Come in if you want.” She waited and watched the malicious glee sparkle in Maeve’s eyes.

The pain was instantaneous and searing in her head. Maeve was not being subtle about her intrusion this time. Raeywn felt her sense of self begin to shatter under the unrelenting pressure of Maeve’s mind. Rather than fight the Dream Walker, Raewyn opened her mind and let her in.

The sudden lack of resistance startled Maeve at first, but her supreme confidence didn’t allow her to see the trap until Raewyn shut the doors behind her. Raewyn erected layer upon layer of metal bars, stone walls, thorned bushes and more to entirely imprison Maeve’s consciousness in her own mind. Maeve battered down the first few layers of her prison with ease, but Reawyn just kept adding more and more. Faster than Maeve could tear down her defenses, Raewyn erected more. The layers became more fluid and less brittle as she went. She’d learned that a single static barrier would never hold up against a determined assault. So she simple added more and more and more layers.

Maeve grew more and more angry at the insolence of the former goddess. The nobody. The child. How dare she try to trap her! Maeve brought her considerable will to bear and tore down the walls that surrounded her. But with each layer she tore away, she was confronted by another wall. Wood and steel and brick and stone and on and on. It seemed never ending. Soon she was sweating with the effort and with frustrated fury. She panted and raged at her prison.

Raewyn remained kneeling in the midst of the clearing, head bowed and sweat pouring from her face as she so completely immersed herself in her battle with Maeve that she was completely unaware of her surroundings and was only peripherally aware of the surface thoughts of her friends. She kept erecting more barriers around Maeve. She didn’t dare stop for fear the Dream Walker would break through. But, the effort needed from her to keep building more walls around
Maeve was taking a horrific toll on Raewyn’s energy. She was growing almost faint with the effort and wasn’t sure how long she’d be able to keep up the effort.
Maeve’s voice became more faint with every layer Raewyn built around her. Raeywn knew that she had to end this before Maeve broke free as she surely would. But, Raewyn shied away from the thought of actually killing Maeve. She just couldn’t. She wasn’t like them. She wasn’t!

Maeve renewed her efforts, filled with outraged fury. Wall after all came down under her onslaught. She began to sense Raewyn distantly and knew she was getting closer and the girl was growing weaker. She’d flay the little brat when she broke free! Maeve doubled her efforts, hammering away at the prison Raewyn had built around her and in a titanic effort, exploded the last few walls around her. The effort left her breathless and feeling slightly sick. But, she could feel Raewyn falter and flinch away from her. “Got you, you little bitch!”

As the last walls exploded under Maeve’s attack, Raewyn felt as though an ice pick had been driven through her temples. She swayed on her knees and collapsed to the side, her nose bleeding freely from the gargantuan effort to imprison Maeve. Her eyelids fluttered as Raewyn fought to stay conscious.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Loki on Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:34 pm

Loki flew for what felt like an eternity even though it couldn’t have been more than a few minutes. Fear for his friends’ safety caused time to stretch on endlessly and he wanted nothing more than to be at their side and helping however he could. Still, he knew the elite monks were right in sending him to gather reinforcements and it was only that understanding that kept him from turning back.

A surge of adrenaline flashed through his body as he reached the site where he thought the gateway should be. Had he gone too far or veered off path? Loki dropped to the earth and looked all around him for that tear in space; one that shouldn’t have been so subtle. His eyes drifted to the ground and hope once again returned as he noticed the path of matted grass that marked their trail. Without further hesitation Loki sprinted in the direction of that trail, intent not to lose it and waste more precious time. It only took another minute before the trail widened into a larger area before ending abruptly and he just stood there with a sense of confusion that rapidly turned into dread. Just to be sure, Loki reached out in the open air feeling around for that rift and hoping it was just an effect of the crafting that made it difficult to see. Only a few seconds were wasted in what he knew would be a practice of futility.

The rift was closed and they would be on their own. A part of him wondered how bad things were at the Temple for Adina to close it so quickly. They hadn’t been gone that long had they? Loki hadn’t allowed that building dread to control him; not again. Instead, he used it to fuel the building rage within him to reinforce his determination. “Fuck it.” With a leap and powerful stroke of his wings, Loki was once again airborne and racing back towards the Sanctuary to settle matters one way or another.

The scene around the Sanctuary made it readily self-evident that the fight was already well under way. The ground was being ravaged as powerful Saturates locked into combat and Loki was doing his best to follow the action to determine friend from foe. He had only located half of the group amongst the din when his gaze locked on Raewyn whose balance was clearly faltering even from his distance. In a maneuver born of instinct more so than conscious thought, Loki dove towards the straining girl landing just a few strides away the instant her legs gave out on her.

“Raewyn!” In an alarmed haste, he closed the few remaining feet between them before crouching over her and allowing his protective wings to fold over the both of them to offer some measure of cover from the fighting that was taking place nearby. The trickle of blood from her nose was the only injury he could identify and clearly wasn’t the cause of her current state. Only when he placed his hand on her arm was he able to better comprehend her condition; it was a sensation similar to what he had experienced before when he was pulling the poisoned Essence from their bodies. Loki tilted his head in introspection before coming to the conclusion he was sensing the supernatural life force flowing through her and every other Saturate though the physical contact. Though instead of the sickening quality that had been present the last time he felt this, there was a noticeable lack of that energy. Not enough to be life threatening, but more than plenty to render her exhausted to the point of near unconsciousness. What he did next only seemed like the most logical course of action to help her.

With a minor effort of concentration, Loki allowed a portion of his own deep reserves of Essence to flow down his arm and into Raewyn to replenish what she had expended. He felt the energy revitalize her like a shot of adrenaline that jolted her back firmly in the realm of consciousness. “It’s okay, it’s me.” He said softly, feeling the abrupt confusion and tension in her. “I’m here to help.”
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Silvan Arrow on Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:40 pm

Some people say, “Be careful what you wish for.” Usually it refers to being careful about making snap decisions about what one wants in life. Sometimes it refers to something as simple as wishing for a break in the day-to-day routine. Either way, most people don’t think to apply such a proverb to a life-or-death battle royale.

Too bad no one had bothered to clue in Eri about this saying. Otherwise she never would have wished - demanded, rather - that Jake (currently the sadistic, battle-hungry Ekaj) get out of her way.

It was one giant mass of chaos, with Eri, Jake/Ekaj, David, and Marinik all in a confusing cluster of crossfires with no way for Eri to use her swords and wind without hurting herself or Jake. So of course it made sense for her to ask Jake to move, although she could have probably chosen a nicer approach than shouting angrily at him.

Not that it really mattered. With Ekaj’s personality in control, all Jake cared about was getting to his chosen opponent in the most direct manner possible, regardless of what obstacles, human or otherwise, were in his way. So it made perfect sense to him, apparently, to wordlessly push Eri out of the way with one hand and attempt a brutal haymaker to Marinik before either one had a chance to react.

Of course, a casual “push” from Jake still hit Eri like a punch to the gut. Eri’s vision went white for a moment, and the air left her lungs in a rush as the impact sent her flying a good ten feet only to land roughly and slide to a stop in a crumpled heap. She coughed violently and tasted dirt and blood in her mouth, and an arm wrapped around her side where he had hit. If she hadn’t been wearing armor, he would have most certainly cracked a few ribs. As it was, she would be lucky to get out with only minimal internal bruising. Eri! Are you okay?! Arashi’s mental voice screeched across their mental link. She sensed his outrage and sent him a weak mental acknowledgement to wrench his attention from going after Jake in revenge. The eagle landed beside Eri and crouched over her, wings outspread, while she regained her footing and grip on her swords.

A short distance away, Marinik also got to his feet, a bit shaky but still in one piece. “Son...of a...” he cursed to himself, one hand gripping his head. He gave it a little shake, as though his head were rattled, and then regarded Eri with a cocky glare. “What’s wrong? Disappointed that he didn’t hit me harder? It’s like I said earlier. You can’t do anything on your own.”

Eri growled, the fall having done nothing to diffuse her anger. “Don’t toy with me!” She used a quick flap of her wings to propel her forward on foot towards Marinik, both swords at the ready. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. She closed the distance from yards to feet, Marinik smirked as she was nearly on top of him...

...inhaled a deep breath...

Eri, stop!

...and screamed.

The “scream” was soundless, save for the howling of the gale-force winds that suddenly spiraled towards Eri much like the pattern of shotgun pellets, only they originated from Marinik’s open mouth instead of a gun barrel. Eri cried out in surprise as her half-furled wings acted like parachutes and once again sent her flying backwards. Luckily, before she could hit the ground, Arashi’s talons hooked into the top of her armor and arrested her fall as he rowed for height to get out of range of the energy bullets now coming their way. Eri flapped onto Arashi’s back once he released her and glared down at the User.

Where Eri specialized in close-range combat, Marinik was a master of keeping his foes at a distance. She had already struggled to get in close where he couldn’t use his pistol or hands to wield air, and now he had just revealed the ideal technique to maintain distance control. She resisted the urge to punch something out of frustration, as she was currently kneeling on Arashi’s back.

Mistress, when Marinik weaves air from your lungs, it creates a vacuum. You might not get close, but-

But I don’t have to,’ Eri finished, realizing what Arashi was suggesting. Using her knees, she directed him into a steep dive and skimmed low to the ground, circling around to come at Marinik from behind. Just as she thought, Marinik predicted her approach and turned to face her. She jumped off Arashi’s back and used her wings to propel her forward again while firing off a wind blade with one sword to kick up dust and grass to mess with Marinik’s visibility. If he couldn’t get a fix on her position, then hopefully he wouldn’t be able to use that air-shotgun-scream to push her back again. Then she felt it. The air rushed out of her lungs again, but instead of the initial knee-jerk reaction to panic and run, she paused for a few seconds while holding her breath. There it was. Marinik’s technique of robbing a person of air created a low-pressure vacuum, with the gradient directing air towards Marinik. He had widened the range of the vacuum to compensate for the low visibility, but Eri could still trace its origin back to the User behind the dust screen.

Those few seconds were all she needed. She didn’t have much air to work with inside the vacuum, but she had just enough Essence to bolster what she could call to her swords. She sent two wind blades directly into the vacuum, which actually propelled the projectiles right to Marinik, slicing through the dust screen and allowing her to see what happened. The redhead actually gave a startled shout and dove to the ground to avoid a direct hit to his head and chest, but they left two deep, bleeding gashes on his side and shoulder and broke the vacuum. Thinking he was down for the count, Eri charged in, blades drawn, to finish the job, but Marinik managed to regroup in time to lift himself to one knee and fire off two quick energy shots of his pistol. As such close range, Eri didn’t have a chance of avoiding it. The first shot punched through her armor just under her chest and burned her side, eliciting a shout of pain from Eri and stopping her in her tracks, and the second scored her left arm and made her drop her summoned sword, which vanished back into the elements.

Marinik took advantage of Eri’s downed state and fired more shots, but Arashi dived to put himself in the line of fire and screeched in pain as the energy rounds punched through his wings and chest, leaving bleeding burn holes. ‘Arashi! Hang on!’ Drawing on nothing except adrenaline, Eri dismissed Arashi before he succumbed to his wounds, fired off a wind blade into the ground to create another dust screen, and took flight, the burns in her side and arm throbbing with each thrust of her wings while she struggled to keep a grip on her father’s sword. Eri noticeably felt the drain in her Essence from dismissing Arashi and the volley of wind blades and realized that she wouldn’t have enough Essence to keep on her feet if she tried re-summoning Arashi.

Despite his wounds, Marinik kept up a steady barrage with his pistol to keep Eri at bay, but it was clear that he wasn’t aiming as well. Eri ducked and dodged as best he could but mainly focused on gaining height to get out of range and give herself a few moments to regroup. And besides, the longer she stalled, the longer Marinik would suffer blood loss from his wounds. She doubted he would bleed out, but at least it might weaken him to the point where he couldn’t call wind as easily.

However, staying airborne was more painful than Eri guessed. The physical exertion of flapping her wings only intensified the pain of her burns. Her armor had saved her from a deep bullet hole, but she could still feel a trickle of blood from where the energy round had burned her. Her left arm throbbed painfully from the second shot, which meant she would have trouble wielding her sword.

‘I can’t stall any longer,’ Eri thought grimly. She tucked her wings against her side and went into a steep nosedive, the air ripping tears from her eyes as she picked up speed. Gripping her sword in both hands, she launched another wind blade at Marinik, but it was much smaller than her previous ones due to her dwindling Essence. Marinik parried the brunt of the hit with a one-handed air push, waited until Eri was close enough, and sent her flying with another air scream. She tumbled head over heels mid-air and managed to right herself with her wings to land on one knee, breathing heavily and gripping her burned side with her free hand.

Marinik, at least, was finally showing signs of tiring as well. He had lost a lot of blood from his wounds and was also panting as he tilted unsteadily on his feet. “Not bad...but you’re as good as dead...without your parrot...” he taunted between breaths.

Eri dug her sword tip into the ground and pushed herself to her feet with both hands. “Says the guy...who can barely...stay standing...” she shot back.

“Admit it...you wouldn’t have lasted this long...without your bird,” Marinik continued with a smirk. “I’ll bet you haven’t won a single battle on your own since you joined up with that lot,” he added, motioning to the chaos that was raging around them. “Not that it matters. They’ll all be dead soon anyway, and you can join them in Hell.”

A fresh burst of red-hot anger propelled Eri fully upright as she readjusted her grip on her sword. She hated to admit it, but Marinik’s words stung. She had never been without Arashi since she left home, and despite her claim that she hated working in groups, she had somehow come to rely on her comrades in the short amount of time that they had traveled and fought together. But this time, she had no one to turn to for help.

“Not if I send you there first,” Eri growled back. She knew Marinik was baiting her, and by the Goddess it was working.

Marinik gave a laugh and stood fully upright, holding out his hands in mock surrender. “Then by all means, I’d like to see you try.”

Eri took off on foot, except this time she didn’t charge head-first. She tried circling in hopes of getting behind Marinik. Reading her movements, Marinik fired off a volley of energy rounds. Eri swung her sword at the ground to create a gust of wind to propel her in the opposite direction, then repeated when he tried it again. Slowly but surely, she started to zig-zag and close the gap, firing off wind blades when she could to try and keep him off-balance. That was about all they were good for at this point. She was still too low on Essence. She had to finish him with a physical blade at this point.

Just as she was starting to get close, Marinik taunted, “I think you need to hold still.” Keeping his pistol in one hand, Marinik brought his hands around in a wide, sweeping arc, as though concentrating his Essence, leaped backwards to land in a crouch, brought his hands back towards his chest, and then thrust them outward.

Gale-force winds spiraled out from his hands, forming a horizontal funnel that caught Eri in the eye of the storm. The wind didn’t touch her where she stood, but if she tried to move to either side or fly up, she would be caught up in the funnel and either sliced into ribbons or thrown against the ground, which would crack her head open and kill on impact. She had only a moment to process this before Marinik took aim with his pistol, and this time she had nowhere to run.

Eri did the only thing she could think to do. She summoned Gale Cleaver and crossed both blades in front of her face and chest protectively while she fanned out her wings and caught the tips in the funnel. The effect was instant. Her wings acted like a parachute and rocketed her out the far end of the funnel while Marinik’s energy rounds either bounced off her swords or left marks in her armor. Once she was free, she pumped her wings to gain height and flew low over the funnel, driving her swords into the current.

‘I’ll borrow some of this if you don’t mind,’ Eri thought with a smirk. Wind was wind, no matter what form it took, which meant Eri could use it. She felt a modicum of her strength return as some of Marinik’s Essence, which was infused into the wind, coursed through her blades and into her body. The wind gathered around her swords, creating two massive wind blades aimed for Marinik’s face. What Eri didn’t notice was the slipstream created from her swords slicing through the funnel or how the funnel began arcing upwards to follow the slipstream.

Before the wind blades could strike, Marinik directed an air push at the ground to leap high into the air to dodge. With a powerful thrust of her wings, Eri banked up sharply to pursue as the funnel arced up into the sky behind her. She lashed out with twin wind blades, but then something odd happened...

Instead of heading towards their target, the high-pressure wind blades were sucked back into the low-pressure funnel, which, to Eri’s horror...expanded from a funnel cloud into a full-fledged tornado. The destruction began almost instantly as the tornado tore up grass and kicked rocks and clouds of dust into the air, obscuring Eri’s vision even as high up as she was.

Eri temporarily forgot about Marinik and pounded her wings as fast as she could in her attempt to flee. She tried to spot her friends on the ground, but between the gale-force winds howling in her ear, the rocks pounding her skin and embedding themselves in her armor, and the sheer amount of dust and grass in the air, she couldn’t even see the ground. As she fought desperately against the current trying to pull her backwards and to her death, Eri could only think of one thing...

‘Oh Goddess, what have I done...?’
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Digital Muse on Fri May 10, 2013 6:10 pm

T’yang pushed herself to her feet, but was unsteady as she stood due to the wound in her leg. The pain from her collapsed lung made her breathing quick and shallow. Looking up, T’yang saw Arina bouncing slightly just a scant few yards away with a cruel smile playing on her lips.

“How does it feel to know you’re not untouchable, T’yang? Does it hurt?” Arina weaved her hands in the air before her in a delicate dance that gathered her Essence to her readying an attack at the injured shadow user.

T’yang shivered suddenly, but not from the cold. She remembered the dreamscape that Maeve had trapped her in that made her feel helpless. It still affected hr deeply. T’yang’s gaze flicked for an instant to find Raewyn and was alarmed to see the girl collapsed on the ground. As if summoned, Loki suddenly appeared and crouched over the former goddess protectively. T’yang nodded to the boy. She was no longer confined to staying close to the former goddess.

Arina’s eyes followed the direction of T’yang’s gaze. Her lips peeled back from her teeth in an ugly imposter of a smile. “He can’t save her. You can’t save her.” Arina’s Essence peaked, “You can’t even save yourself!” With that, Arina pushed her hands outward toward T’yang sharply sending a wall of ice taller than T’yang and twice as wide racing toward the injured shadow user.

Hampered as she was with her injuries, T’yang knew that moving out of the way was impossible. Standing her ground, she whispered a command forming a sharp spike of inky darkness that speared through the ice wall in front of her, shattering it and sending chunks of ice all around her. Releasing the shadows to conserve her energy, T’yang snapped open her war fans again to form a shield before her.

Frustrated that the older woman refused to rise to her baiting, Arina stamped her foot in anger like a child. “They said you should just be killed, but that’s not fun. At all.” She skipped around T’yang forcing her to move on her injured leg to keep Arina in sight. “You aren’t as fun as you’re supposed to be. You need to talk more. Always so cold.” She complained before laughing out loud at her own joke. Despite her control of ice, Arina was sweating slightly and breathing quickly. She had been using an enormous amount of energy thus far against T’yang. Despite that, she whipped her hand toward T’yang in a throwing motion and more daggers of ice flew through the air toward her opponent. “Let me show you what cold really is!” Arina shouted.

A whirling, weaving of her steel fans smashed the icicles from the air, though T’yang was forced back several paces because she could not move fluidly through her normal stances. She had to rely on brute force rather than the liquid, flowing moves she normally used to evade incoming attacks. Using her momentum, T’yang kept moving forward toward Arina, catching the girl by surprise. Their styles both relied on distance, so it took a moment for Arina to back away. A sudden lunge by T’yang cut an angry slash across Arina’s chest and right bicep with her fans. Unfortunately, the move almost drove T’yang to her knees in pain.

Only a last minute dive to the side saved her from a debilitating wound. Landing in an ungraceful heap on the ground, Arina cried out n pain. She scrambled to her feet and looked down at the blood that was quickly soaking the front of her clothes in shock. The ice user slowly lifted her head to glare at T’yang. “Now. We. Are. Done.” She hissed through gritted teeth. Arina ran around T’yang to force her to move, staying just ahead of where T’yang could comfortably attack her with her fans. As she did so, she pulled Essence from the very air around her it seemed. Suddenly stopping, Arina raised her hands above her head and brought them down suddenly as if closing a hinged box.

Before T’yang could catch her breath, pillars of solid ice slammed into the ground in a ring around her forming a cage. One that exuded a cold so intense that it seeped into her very being. The cold made her teeth chatter and her fingers began to numb almost immediately. Her mind dulled, she wanted nothing more than to sleep. Deep within her mind, T’yang knew she was dying of hypothermia. She had to think. Think! She screamed to herself. Sluggishly, T’yang whispered a plea to the shadows and they answered just as slowly. Several large stones lifted from the ground and began to fly toward Arina and the cage T’yang was trapped in.

Arina screamed her defiance and began hurling chunks of ices into the rocks trying to alter their path. Self-preservation forced the girl to concentrate her efforts on the stones hurtling for her. But even with all her efforts one struck her left shoulder making it go limp and hang at a gruesome angle. She screamed in pain, falling to her uninjured side on the ground.

Three remaining boulders passed through the hailstorm Arina put up and smashed into the two pillars at the front of the circle. As they crashed to the ground, T’yang summoned more shadows to protect her from the huge shards of ice. Releasing the shadows, T’yang barely recovered to her feet, her teeth still chattered and she felt she’d never be warm again. She’d never known that Arina had been so powerful. Turning to face the girl, she found Arina already on her feet. But now she was encased in thick layers of ice. As she moved, the ice armor moved with her, making the girl look like a glinting diamond Gollum.

The ground shook as Arina moved forward, a dark, insane look in her eyes. “Your kind killed my family. My entire village! All you do is kill and kill” A massive fist swung towards T’yang slamming into her fans and sending her falling back several yards. Arina kept coming, keeping the still nearly frozen T’yang off balance. Punching against T’yang’s fans, bashing through any hastily erected shield of shadow, Arina drove T’yang back over the rocky ground. Back toward the precipice of the cliffs.

The wound in T’yang’s leg began bleeding again and the shadows that sealed the hole in her chest dissolved as T’yang grew progressively weaker under Arina’s relentless attack. Suddenly, her heel caught on the crumbling edge of the cliff and one final blast of ice daggers from the ice Gollum sent the shadow user falling down toward the rocks hundreds of feet below.

Arina frowned. She heard no scream. T’yang had robbed her of a scream. As the adrenaline began to leave her, she shakily walked to the edge of the cliff, letting her armor go back into the mist. Arina panted and shook and when she looked over the edge of the cliff, she saw nothing. T’yang’s body had been swallowed by the sea below. Arina turned away hurt and bloodied, but triumphant. She had killed T’yang. Her! No one else.

T’yang’s shadows clung to the tiniest handhold on the face of the cliff. She remained absolutely still knowing that Arina would come to gloat over her body below. A small glance proved her right, she was invisible to the girl. The effort of maintaining the hold on the cliff face made a sweat break out on her brow and she was nearly sick from pain and fatigue. Finally Arina had stalked away. T’yang used that respite to use the shadows to help lift her to the top of the cliff. With her injuries she couldn’t climb on her own. Gaining the ledge, T’yang lay there catching her breath, glad that she’d conserved her Essence as much as she had. It had saved her life.

Arina stalked forward toward the rest of the battles, but her injuries made her decide on easier prey. The boy Loki and the goddess. But the sound of soft footfalls behind her made her whirl to face her new attacker. Seeing T’yang rattled her more than anything ever had. “What? How?” She started.

Calling on her Essence once more, T’yang created thin, whip-like tendrils of shadow that lashed at Arina’s legs. A winded Arina had to jump back to avoid getting ensnared and thrown to the grown. T’yang repeated the movement over and over, preventing Arina from resting or from gathering her Essence. With each whip at Arina’s feet, T’yang moved closer to the girl, breaking her silence finally. “You are a child, not a soldier, Arina. You have no free will, you are a slave, a weapon to be wielded by someone else.”

Arina shrieked at what she thought was T’yang’s taunting, “You don’t know me! You don’t know anything!”

T’yang moved inexorably closer to Arina, shaking her head at her in disagreement. “I was like you, Arina. I survived on hatred and never allowed anyone to get close. I know now that was what made me weak.”

Arina backed away again, trying to get some distance between the older woman and her. The shadow whips kept her from getting her footing truly set, however. “Shut up! Shut up!”

“Do not become like me. You do not have to be alone anymore, Arina.” T’yang kept up the solemn tone in her voice. “Hunted. Hated.” Just then Arina was forced to jump over the shadow whips again to avoid them. In that instant, T’yang whispered another command and the shadows changed shape. Arina was instantly enveloped in an inky cocoon from the neck down preventing her from using her hands to call her Essence.

Arina screamed and thrashed in her dark prison trying to free herself, but to no avail. Entrapped, the ice user stared in wide eyed fear at her executioner, her mouth opened but no sound came out. But, rather than ending the girl’s life as she would so easily have done before, T’yang stepped close and folded Arina into an embrace. Arina thrashed even more, certain this was to be the killing blow. “What are you doing! No!”

T’yang held her gently and whispered into Arina’s ear, “This life is not for you. When you are ready, come to the Temple. I will be there.”

Arina went still in surprised shock. Almost imperceptivitly, her spine became less rigid and she leaned into the embrace, her eyes misting with unbidden tears.

Feeling Arina relax slightly, T’yang released her and took a step back. Arina immediately back-pedaled to gain some distance and she quickly drew her Essence around her preparing to finish the fight in one all powerful blow against the shadow user. “You’re so stupid! I’m going to kill you! Do you hear me?” Arina’s voice shook with anger.

T’yang merely stood where she had been. Her arms remained at her side, relaxed. She drew no Essence to defend herself. She searched the girl’s face and repeated, “Do not become me.” She spoke each word carefully, softly.

Arina blinked rapidly, then rubbed a fist against the tears trying to focus on the woman she hated so much. Her body quivered tensely, but T’yang didn’t move. She wasn’t afraid of Arina. Staring at the older woman who stood there bloodied, but serene Arina wanted to strike her down. She wanted her to be afraid. More tears came unbidden, flowing down her dirtied cheek. And suddenly it all came crashing back to her. Her family was lost because of her and what she’d become. Wheeling with a cry, she spun on her heel and ran. Like she’d run all those years ago.

Behind her, T’yang’s shoulders slumped as the tension left her body. She would have killed the girl instantly had she started to attack. Looking toward the tree line to where Arina had run off, she thought “In saving you, perhaps…perhaps I can redeem myself as well.”
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by quakernuts on Wed May 22, 2013 6:37 pm

Despite his injuries, short comings, and humiliation at the hands of Jake, David was proving to be more trouble than he was worth. Summoning energy from somewhere deep inside himself, he started parrying Jake's swings with a quickening pace. Before long, their entire fight was a shower of sparks and fire as Jake's black axe attempted to carve into the man, only to be turned away at the last second. As the fight continued, Jake felt something that he had not felt in his entire career of fighting and blood shed.

He was getting tired.

What was this? How was this happening? He had never gotten tired through a fight before? Granted, most of his fights had been over before they had truly begun, yet he never felt this exhaustion slowly crawling towards him from the very pit of his being. As he took another swing and the fire licked at David's face, it clued in on him. He was a manipulator, someone with enhanced physical conditions, not external powers. He was using User-type and Summoner-type powers with a manipulator's essence draw with next to no recuperation time.

Through this introspection, David caught a small moment of weakness, enough to drive his rapier through Jake's block and slice across the joint of armor between his bicep and his shoulder. When the rapier retracted, it was covered in blood as Jake grimaced and took a step back, his breathing heavier than it should have been. Jake looked at his summoned weapon, before looking back to David and dispelling his blade. David paused, considering the ramifications of such an act before Jake pounded his shield several times. David didn't take the bait, approaching slowly as Jake slowly stepped backwards as he did so. He no longer had a main weapon, and he didn't know how much summoning and dispelling his axe was going to cost him in the long run. He had to play smart.

David held his sword in front of him one handed, while his off hand currently held a small ball of water. Jake looked closely, seeing sweat bead on the man's face as he was also feeling the drain of power from him. David kept crawling forward, not knowing what Jake's game was with the dispelling of his axe, and not wanting to be caught in a trap. Jake matched his movements, each step matched in perfect unison as David finally mustered the courage to lunge forward.

Jake bashed the rapier aside with his shield, but was caught on the underside by a powerful plume of water that threatened to shoot his legs out from underneath him. David twisted as did Jake, sword and shield matching again as metal screeched a painful mourning. Jake forced the shield and sword upwards, kicking out with his leg and catching the man slightly as he took a step back to avoid the boot. Jake made to grab David's wrist with his free hand, but David pivoted and scratched Jake's wrist as the sword made a downward arc. Jake's gauntlet protected against most of the damage, leaving a gouge in his armor and a numbness through his arm. Jake spun, bringing his shield around in what would have been a devastating downwards strike. David backpedaled, returning to his stance as the shield imbedded itself into the ground slightly. Jake lifted it with a slight grunt and rushed forward to meet his attacker. David would have to remain on the defensive if Jake was intending to win this.

Jake lunged forward, jumping up into the air and launching his fist forward. David sidestepped as Jake spun, using his shield as a makeshift battering ram. David's hand shot out and a plume of water hit the shield with enough force to slow it and allow him to step out of the way. With Jake's guard open, David launched a flurry of attacks that were mainly deflected by Jake's thick plate armor rather than his own combat ability. With the noticeable lack of a primary weapon, Jake had to rely on dodging the blows and blocking with his shield. Had David's weapon of choice been more of a blunt or heavy nature, this wouldn't have been a problem. However, the rapier was a weapon of precision and skill, allowing him to pick apart Jake's flank with ease.

By the time Jake had managed to detach David from slaughtering the paint on his armor, he had been pushed back a dozen feet. Jake looked down, witnessing the numerous scratches, and near the joints, red liquid oozed out between the armored joints. His adrenaline was spiking, allowing the pain of the wounds to be blanked out by the pure need to rip this man's spine from his body. Jake suppressed the urge, looking at the man as one would look at a puzzle. He couldn't continue to beat on this man without a weapon, and he couldn't summon his weapon without tiring himself. If he tired himself out to much on Udonis's henchmen, he wouldn't stand a chance against the man himself. The problem was obvious, and the solution was as well.

He needed a weapon of made of physical material.

David switched up his tactics, his hand reaching for his pistol and fired several rounds. Jake planted his shield, minimizing his body mass as best he could behind the armored bastion of safety. When the rounds finished ricocheting off of his shields, he could figure out what came next. Instead of poking his head around to see what David was doing now, he pushed forward with his shield in a short burst of speed. Jake was rewarded for his effort when his shield met David's body, followed by a cry of pain as the man was brutally thrown to the ground. He had tried to rush while Jake was blinded behind the shield and it backfired on him. David raised his pistol, firing off more rounds in an attempt to keep Jake off of his prone body long enough for him to find his footing. Jake jogged forward, feeling the rounds ping off his shield, but faltered when one found a weak spot in his armor, striking his unshielded leg and cleaving through some of the soft tissue. Jake fell to one knee but was quickly up again as he stumbled backwards. He looked down to assess the damage and was both relieved and angry at the same time.

The bullet had hit his leg, but it had gone through and through. It had missed the bones, but still took a portion of his muscle with it. Already the burn from the wound was entering his consciousness and Jake could feel his strength sapping from the wound as putting any weight on the leg made it want to collapse. He was forced to lean to his right, and keep weight off of his leg if he intended on continuing this fight in a quick manner.

David took the moment that Jake was inspecting himself to right himself and do the same quickly. He was bruised, broken, and bloody but still willing and able to fight. Jake summoned whatever reserve of adrenaline he hadn't used yet and forced himself to stand on his leg. Nerve endings screamed at him, pain blinded him to all but anger, and had he been through his own little 'change' he might have blindly lashed out with emotion. Instead, Jake made sure the leg was capable of supporting his weight first, before staring at the man behind black glowing eyes smoking of essence.

As David and Jake rushed across the open ground, the wind started picking up. Slowly at first, and then with all the subtlety of a crashing train a tornado formed on the battlefield. The force of the winds was incredibly strong, so much so Jake felt himself being pulled inwards, he looked around him for some sort of anchor, and finding none swore at himself as he summoned his axe once more and planted it in the ground to keep himself from being sucked into the windy abyss. As Jake was afraid of, the act of summoning the weapon was much more than he anticipated as he started to physically feel the effects of summoning the weapon.

Jake looked over to see if David had been sucked in, but much like Jake had managed to plunge his blade into the dirt and anchor himself to the ground even as his feet were lifted into the air and threatening to suck him into the raging tornado. Unlike Jake's summoned weapon, by burying his sword into the dirt he was dulling the blade. Before long, if this kept up for any length of time, the blade would be duller than the man himself. Jake looked away at the man, feeling his grip slip on his summoned weapon, and attempted to bring himself closer. He didn't even think it was possibly to lose a grip on a summoned weapon, but there it was.

There was a loud crack, and Jake looked up in time to see a large stone pillar crash to the ground and begin rolling towards him. It would hit him, this much he was certain, and as he looked over at David, he saw that he had come to the same conclusion. With a grimace from either one, and eyes that told the entire battle to come, they each released their weapons a moment before the pillar hit them and felt themselves being lifted into the tornado.

Jake tumbled end over end, his hand clutching the tower shield as his only life line between him and David as he caught sight of the man having the same issues as Jake. Both of them were in no condition to fight in this scenario, yet Jake tried to all the same. When, by chance, David came within arm's reach, Jake reached out and managed to grip the man by the collar. The man whipped around, sending them both tumbling even faster as Jake raised his fist and pounded once into the man's face. Jake felt bones break as his grip on the man was whipped away from him as the tornado finally had enough of these two intruders inside it's belly.

Jake felt himself being thrown from the tornado violently, and waited for the inevitable pain from the drop.

3 seconds...

5 seconds...

7 seconds...

Jake finally hit the ground with an earth shaking crash as his rolled end over end, creating small gouges in the dirt as his armor caught on patches of grass and ripped the earth up like a piece of paper. At first he just laid there, the pain wracking his senses as the now calm and rational Jake in comparison to his other half assessed the damage through a prone state. Once the pain began to subside for a moment Jake attempted to get up on his own accord. His entire body screamed at him for mercy, that his bones needed rest and his muscles required tending, but he ignored their pitiful cries as those of a coward.

Jake managed to get to a standing position, slightly hunched as he looked down at his armor. Much of it was worthless now, having shielded him from the worst of the fall, but taking too much damage to protect against a kitten, let alone a blade or bullet. Jake took a moment, releasing the latches of his armor and watching the plate mail fall to the ground. It took him a few moments to get the entirety of it off, sighing to himself as he realized why his other side never wore the stuff.

Jake heard the cocking of a gun, and looked up. David was standing, somewhat, and aiming his pistol at the now exposed Jake. Jake attempted to bring his shield in front of him, but saw that it too was damaged. Bent and twisted, but not yet quite unusable. As David fired, the round pinged off the metal and sent vibrations through Jakes arm as the integrity of the shield was much lower than before. Each vibration caused a new sensation of pain as Jake took a couple steps backwards. David walked forward, firing several more rounds and Jake matching his steps only backwards. After the fourth round, Jake heard the ground shaking and looked up to see Darren thundering across the field towards David, who managed to side step but was still bluntly thrown away.

"Jake!" Jake looked over to see Tal, jogging towards him slightly. He was scratched, bloodied and bruised, but looked to be in good enough shape. Jake simply stared at the man, not deigning words necessary until it was clear what he wanted. "I need ash!" Jake stared at the man for a moment, not quite understanding what he was meaning. "Fire!" He stated, seemingly out of breath slightly. "Use your axe! I need ash!" Jake grunted, looking away at the man and starting for David once more.

"Jake!" Tal lumbered after him. "I have ash manipulation! A side effect from our teleportation from the refinery! I need ash now!" Jake stopped, turned to the man and contemplated helping him. He was wounded himself and while he had no doubt he could handle David with little trouble, was wondering if it was worth it to help this vagabond. He would need him in the final battle, even if it was just a human shield. The power would weaken Jake, needing to maintain a level heat from his flames rather than letting them do their work, so he wouldn't be able to defend himself while he did this. Jake grimaced at Tal, before looking back to where Darren was ripping the area up running after David. Jake walked over to Tal quickly.

"If I get hit while I'm performing this favor for you..." Jake stated, leaving it at that as he strode past and found a relatively untouched area of ground. The grass was long, but also slightly wet. It would take time and vulnerability from Jake in order to accomplish this task as he summoned his axe and held it in front of him for a second. He heard feet rushing at him, and turned to see a woman barely armored, or clothed for that matter running at him. Before she could get within five feet, Tal's hammer came crashing into her face, sending her flying backwards. Tal looked at Jake, who gave no expression or gratitude as he lowered his axe to the ground and watched as the black flames took hold.

He couldn't burn too fast, or he would need to ignite the fire again, nor could he go too slow, or else he would run out of time. So he ignited a circle around him, and stood in the center holding his arms out with clenched fists. The flames grew higher, spreading slowly outwards from him. It would take time, but so long as Tal and Darren didn't fuck up, he would be fine.

They wouldn't fuck up...for their sakes they wouldn't fuck up.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Guilty Carrion on Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:34 am

Tal had fought several times in his life. Brawls were common place, battles an unavoidable certainty during long journeys. He didn’t relish combat the way some might, nor did he particularly have a modicum of skill for the ‘art form’ as it was sometimes called. Strong and big. That was all the carried him against every foe, and the formidable back up of a massive animal when the going got rough.

Despite it, he’d never been scared to fight, if it was the right thing to do. No opponent so perfectly intimidated him that he wasn’t willing to try.

As the plate armour on his stomach began to buckle around the steel knuckles of Iraia’s cestus, the vagabond found himself intimately familiar with the suffocation fear of an opponent outside his ability. The sharpened savage teeth that snarled beneath a predatory smile choked the air from his lungs, and the sheer intensity of the molten steel eyes made his blood run a frigid cold.

Lone arm clawing frantically at the warrior’s throat, he felt the metallic fingers digging up under the metal protection of his summoned helmet; tightening immediately into a vice grip as her weight pivoted into full arcing throw that drove him painfully across the ground head first. Coughing clumps of grass and gravel, Tal rolled to the side as she bellowed a battle-cry of unknown words, barely avoiding her fist as it smashed open the earth.

Fumbling up to his feet as fast as his heavy frame would allow, Tal caught the first strike in his hand with a hissing wince; painful vibrations shaking up his arm and into his shoulder as Iraia cocked her other fist to strike. Growling despite the fear thick in his throat, the summoner ripped the arm still trapped in his grip forward and rammed his plated knee up into the warrior’s stomach. She doubled over the limb from the force, and he released her hand to grip her head and force her down for another stronger strike to the same place. Before he could attempt a third, she gripped the knee at the joint as it tried to rise, trying to crush the joint even as she slammed her shoulder sharply into his gut.

Using the low position, she easily shattered his stance as her free hand snapped up to grip the wrist of the hand still upon her head. Caught off guard by the hit to the stomach, Tal could do little to resist as she pivoted her body and shifted his weight up onto her shoulders for a brief moment. Back coiled around her head, she threw herself backwards to the ground, crushing his torso between the unforgiving earth and the steel-like strength of her body. The armour on his stomach cracked from the impact, and everything went limp for the vagabond.

The beginnings of dry heaves clutched his throat, but through sheer force of will he slammed the urge into the back of his mind. Iraia rose with a powerful push from her hands before coiling them behind her head like a sledgehammer and slamming them down onto his battered chest plate relentlessly. The bones in his chest screamed in pain, and for a moment Tal felt as if every vital organ was being pulped under her onslaught.

There would be little mercy here, he suspected, and urged his aching body into action. Rearing his head sharply at she brought her hands down for another hammer blow, his rock hard skull, reinforced by the strength of his summoned helmet; collided with the battered cestus. It made his head ring painfully, but the power behind it forced the hands apart and he threw all of his weight into a rising charge that drove up straight into her mid-section. Bellowing deep and primal, the vagabond drove her back several feet before a painful knee smashed his slightly exposed chin.

Staggering back and meeting her gaze again, the two fighters stared across the small space between them as each panted lightly for breath, although Tal’s was far more ragged than hers. “Far too many suns have set since my last true opponent.” She called; face still spread in a manic grin that was only just losing its edge from exertion. “You are quite strong, Tal of Kaperray.”

Mouth set in a grim line, Tal simply stared back with blank ivory eyes. As much of a talker as he was, this didn’t seem like a figure who truly sought to understand words. Everything she said was thick with an accent he didn’t recognize, but the way she moved, how he could feel everything she had thrown into every individual strike, combat was a language all it’s own to her. In another situation, he’d have found it remarkable, maybe even inspiring.

Staring it down, however, dampened any enthusiasm for a ‘dialogue’ of fists. Both set their feet, digging imprints into the dirt as both readied for the next furious exchange. Tal sucked in a breath, drawing up his essence as he felt grim resolve echo through his link with Darren, before Iraia broke the stalemate with a lightning fast lunge.

The summon exploded into existence before her, body materializing seemingly mid-charge with furious eyes locked on her own. Swerving on her ankle, she weaved past the horn to the right, feet pounding the earth as she rounded the summon to strike its master. ‘Tal! Right side!’ Shifting his weight behind his arm, the vagabond pulled everything into a haymaker as she rounded Darren’s flank, slamming into her temple and using her own momentum to drive her further into the ground. 

“Let’s go!” He barked; storming after Darren as fast as his battered frame would go. The summon slowed only enough for him to catch hold and begin to climb upon its back before picking up speed again. Gripping the skin of Darren’s back, Tal gasped deeply as he felt the lack of essence painfully. Summoning Darren in succession was taxing on his reserves of essence, and he doubted he had enough left to do so again.

The thought of essence made him give pause, remembering back to the temple and the way the ash responded to his presence. It wasn’t much, not by any stretch, but brute force was getting him nowhere with the magi. The only question was how to create enough ash to be of use in combat. The train of thought came to a crashing halt as the air filled with screaming winds and the vagabond felt himself almost begin to lift off of Darren’s back. Only a moment later, he spotted the source; a grey-black tornado of furious winds swallowing the sky behind a plume of flying dirt and grass.

The wind even hampered Darren, forcing him to a stop as his massive feet dug themselves into the dirt to root further. Tal began to lower down to the side more shielded from the winds when he felt a hand grip his leg. Incredulously, she’d managed to close the distance that Darren had put between them despite the winds trying to haul everyone into the eye of the storm. It was like she wasn’t even aware of the natural disaster looming above their heads.

Neither wasted any time in striking the other, Tal throwing a punch downward as he dismounted into her head as Iraia slammed her cestus into the cracking armour of his stomach. As the winds grew in intensity, their imbalance from their strikes saw their bodies begin to lift from the ground, but Darren quickly shifted his head so Tal might grab his horn and resist the tornado. The warrior still clung to his leg, clawing with her other hand to get another grip on the vagabond as Tal reared his other leg back. “Time to fly!” Stomping sharply on her head, he felt the strap of his leg armour snap under the strain.

The piece detached a moment later, dislodging her and tossing her upward into the funnel dominating the battlefield. Tal watched her vanish into the grey, before Darren jerked his head sharply and half tossed Tal behind his girth. Bracing against his monstrous mount, Tal sucked in several precious breaths of air, somewhat thankful for the tornado for buying him a much longer respite than he could have managed alone.

His mind leapt back to the ash, trying to decipher something he could use to acquire it. It was only as he caught sight of Jake’s plummeting silhouette that he recalled the brief glimpses of the man’s new axe of flame. That was his only shot in the middle of all this chaos, and he didn’t have any other ideas on how to combat his opponent aside from bringing his new ability into the fray.

The summoner began to move towards his ally, Darren keeping close to buffer the winds, but before they could get much closer, Tal caught sight of James and became aware of the battered Jake’s plight. “Darren, go!” There was a brief note of hesitation across their bond, knowing that the rhino was his only shield against the dangers of the funnel, but Tal barked with a furious firmness that quenched protest. “Now! Get that Magi off of him!” The rhino snorted loudly, heavy steps throwing clouds of dirt into the air as the summon barrelled towards its target.

Tal wavered at his exposure to the vortex, but gritted his teeth and hurried towards Jake regardless. Every step seemed to weaken the wind as the brash man had been flung roughly away from the tornado, and his stride only quickened as Jake’s opponent was chased away by Darren’s aggressive attacks. “Jake!” The man looked to him blankly, oddly inexpressive for the brawler but he dismissed the thought as quickly as it came. “I need ash!” Panting, Tal spun his hand about as he fought for the words through gasped lungful. “Fire! Use your axe! I need ash!”

There was only a moment’s pause before Jake grunted and turned back towards his opponent. Tal growled through his teeth, hurrying after him. “Jake! I have ash manipulation! A side effect of our teleportation from the refinery! I need ash now!” At least, he thought it was caused by the teleportation. It was around then, anyway. The brawler watched contemplatively, and Tal resisted the urge to swat him upside the head for his hesitance. After a moment, he brushed past Tal.

“If I get hit while performing this favour for you…”

“You won’t.” Jake didn’t seem to be listening, and Tal glanced to the ground to find his hammer laying half lodged in the dirt a few feet away. Gripping the handle, the vagabond began to tug as he heard the now familiar hammering footsteps of his opponent. Head snapping towards the source, spotting Iraia barrelling forward from what looked like a long skid in the earth that must have been her impact point; heading straight at Jake’s unprotected flank. Jerking the hammer free, Tal swept past his ally faster than he thought himself capable and clubbed the cracking hammer across the warrior woman’s face. She skidded backwards, and Tal spared a brief glance at Jake, who ignored him to focus on the task at hand.

A good idea, given what he was facing. Tightening his grip on the hammer, Tal watched Iraia touch her mouth for a moment, recognizing the faint traces of red lining her teeth as blood. Emboldened by even the most minor of injuries she’d suffered, he grinned beneath his helmet. “That hurt?”

Cracking her shoulders, the warrior tightened her hands within her cestus, smiling through the red splatter on her gums. “No.” Her tone betrayed her excitement, and he briefly considered if he was making it worse by apparently meeting her expectations. “You’ll protect this one?”

“Damn right.”

“It gives you strength, Tal of Kaperray.” The two traded no more words, closing the distance and squaring off once again. Despite the exhaustion from earlier, Tal fond himself fighting better against her than he had at the beginning of their fight, holding his ground instead of sacrificing it to gain an edge. Her fists snuck past his defences, but the painful strikes only made him lash out harder with his hammer against her. The thunderous rumble of Darren’s attacks on James echoed in his mind, as the pair fought tooth and nail to shield Jake from the Magi.

They traded blows even as chunks of debris rained from the tornado above, bits of collapsing pillars crashing down around them like a meteor storm, but both remained focused on the opponent straight ahead. Tal head butted her backwards, before shoulder slamming her back into one of the battered chunks and hammering wherever his weapon could hit. She slammed it to the side after enduring its assault, before using a palm strike to stagger the vagabond back and rattle his helm with several lightning fast jabs. They readied for another exchange before his summon shouted through their bond.

‘Tal!’ A brief flicker of shared sight revealed an arc of water racing past Darren to strike at the fire, and Tal spun on his heel even as his own foe punched deepening cracks into his plate armour. His hammer swung wide, and Tal slammed it against the torrent head with all his might, feeling the ligaments in his arm scream at the sudden force slamming back against them. Shattering the spout, he was defenseless against Iraia as her fist shattered through the widening crack of his chest armour and collided with the rough skin of his stomach. She ripped it clear a moment later, tearing the plate outwards with her arm as the shards of metal sliced fruitlessly against her skin.

Half hunched over, Tal eyed the woman as she observed him from a slackened stance. She looked almost confused by his actions, and was in the process of opening her mouth when there was a cold “Done.” that boomed in his eardrums. A second later, Jake’s fist swept over Tal and connected head on with her chest, and for a moment, it felt like witnessing the unstoppable force collide with an immovable object. The reaction almost seemed delayed, but the adrenaline rushing through his veins only made the moment so brutally clear before the impact sent her sailing backwards like she’d been struck by a truck.

Jake straightened and partly turned to the vagabond, ignoring his damaged state as he rubbed his hand quietly. It seemed punching a woman made of steel could hurt even Jake a bit. “I owe you one.” The vagabond breathed, but the brawler simply moved past to fight his own battle once again. Releasing a slow breath, Tal reared back to his full height, feeling his essence drift and connect to the flecks of ash floating from the fire. 

Across the field, Iraia rose slowly, caught off guard by the power of Jake’s strike as thick clumps of dirt fell from her tattooed visage. Tal stared back at her, letting his hammer drop from his hand as thick clumps of ash began to dance towards him despite the winds, slowly vanishing into the mangled gap in his chest plate. She started forward, quickly at first before slowing at the sight of the ash now spiraling around him.

Thick clumps entangled themselves against his arm, fastening to the surface and expanding outwards into a great black shield that sparked with dying embers and smoking wisps. “Makes me strong, huh?” He called over the wind, eyes impassive as the ash started to creep out over the stump of his lost arm. “I think you’re wrong about me, Iraia of the Iotrecil. I’m really not that strong…” The ash extended from the stump, twitching and taking shape as he started towards the warrior. She tilted her head slightly, making no moves to approach as he explored this new ability. “But if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s taking a hit.”

His lips split into a grin, confidence burning in his stride as the ash coalesced into a dark, ashen three fingered limb thicker than his regular arm. “And every hit you throw at me is one someone else doesn’t have to take!” His feet dug into the earth, the new limb flexing experimentally as his essence flared along the artificial constructs.

This Magi was dangerous, perhaps the most dangerous he’d seen due to her sheer resilience. He was tough; he could take her hits, but what of everyone else? Would Eri have the strength left? Would Jake? T’yang? Raewyn flashed to the forefront of his mind, and the vagabond’s eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. “And that’s all I need. I don’t need to be strong. I just have to be tough. Tougher than you. Tougher than Udonis. Tougher than anyone!”

Her smile widened, and his was a mirror image of fury and pride, as the two stared each other down in a titanic contest of will, the winds all but forgotten in their show of strength. The ashen limb jabbed forward, pointing a crooked finger at her. “I‘m not the strongest! But I’m going to show you just how goddamned indestructible a Kaperray can be! BRING IT ON!”
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Digital Muse on Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:16 am

***Collab with Loki***

Raewyn looked up into Loki’s changed face for a moment before she comprehended what he’d said. Smiling, she nodded, “Thank you. Maeve is tired too. I surprised her.” Her face grew more serious. “She’s not surprised anymore. But, she is furious. Maybe that will help.” Raewyn looked around, surprised, in fact, that Maeve had not renewed the assault on her mind. “I have to get somewhere safe to do this.” Her eyes searched the area desperately. “Inside the sanctuary. Adina wanted me as close to Udonis as possible if…” She paused and her face became resolute. “When we defeat him.”

Standing, Raewyn took a deep breath and carefully segmented her mind; constructing the illusion that she was nearly unconscious and defenseless. When Maeve gathered her strength and returned to finish her off, she’d see just what she expected to see. Refreshed as she was, setting the trap was a ruse easily constructed. Looking at Loki, she smiled in what she hoped was confidence. “Can you get me inside?

“Uh.” Loki faltered at Raewyn’s request, entirely uncertain if it was riskier to stay behind the barrier in the midst of the tempest or risk lowering it in order to seek some potential semblance of a shelter. Peaking past his defenses to the chaos roiling all around them, he weighed the risks and determined what options were viable. Were it not the middle of battle with significantly more pressing matters at hand, he might have mused at the realization of how much he had changed since he was that frightened boy who had just ran away from home. As bad as things were, there seemed to be at least a relatively clear path to the doorway if he was to fly the two of them over the fray. “Is it any safer in there? Where are Borri and Lucient?”

Raewyn looked at the utter chaos of the battles going on all around the temporary sanctuary that Loki’s wings provided. The mention of the two Monks that had accompanied them made her heart skip a beat. They were nowhere to be seen. Had they been killed? Were they inside the sanctuary still fighting? She couldn’t dwell on their fates at the moment. “I think the Mages are mostly out here, Loki. If there are any troops inside they’ll likely be a regular army with those energy rifles.” She paused and glanced up at him once more. “Right? You can take care of those…right?” Her tone was hopeful.

“I think it might be better for me to be inside. Then I can concentrate on Maeve and you can be free to help the others or…do what you can for Borri and Lucient.” Raewyn climbed to her feet and took a deep breath to steady her nerves. “We just need to make sure Udonis doesn’t know we’re there.”

“I think so.” Loki replied to the question about the gunmen, though there wasn’t much confidence behind those words. Sure, his wings would be able to soak up shots from energy weapons, but that wasn’t to say there were no adverse effects to such a thing. Depending on the number of gunmen, he couldn’t be sure how long he would be able to endure the nauseating sensation of absorbing so much unrefined Essence. Granted, dumping the lot of that tainted energy has proven useful numerous times in the past, but even that has its limits and doesn’t come without a price of his reserves. Even so, they weren’t exactly spoiled for options and the situation around them wasn’t exactly improving. He knew that she was right, the Sanctuary was likely the best option to gain some measure of safety, if for no other purpose than to limit the lines of attack. With any luck they would find themselves fighting back to back with Borri and Lucient. Given the intensity of the fighting between the Magi and their companions duking it out, there might be enough distraction to make it to their objective without incident.

That thought had just run through Loki’s mind before a powerful vortex howled into existence in the middle of the battlefield, tearing the hallowed place asunder with its powerful winds. The sound was as intense as the winds that formed it and it was obvious that flight of any kind would be suicidal. It was far enough away to where the two of them weren’t pulled into its body outright, but Loki was forced to brace his footing against it and make his wings intangible to cut down on the drag they would have presented. His arms wrapped around Raewyn’s abdomen, binding her close to his chest to offer his strength to her as well. He tried to shout something reassuring to her, but his voice was lost amongst the din of the cyclone even to his own ears. The debris filled base loomed ever closer, a sight that coaxed Loki’s body into motion in an attempt to avoid being pulled in.

Gritting his teeth in effort, he waded through the turbulent air like he would an ocean gaining both distance from the lazily dancing twister towards the protection the doorway had to offer. There was no telling what fate was befalling the others and Loki knew it would be foolish of himself to do anything other than focus on getting to safety. Every opportunity he had to use his wings to ensnare some sort of anchor point to help pull him along and provide some measure of safety was exploited. It was something that came in handy at one point when the better portion of a tree soared out of the tornado’s body like an oversized missile, forcing him to relinquish his footing for the sake of dodging. Had it not been for the wing that had been looped around a nearby stone pillar, the two very well might not have gotten another opportunity to regain their footing against the relentless winds.

After an adrenaline fueled eternity, the two of them succeeded in getting close enough to the Sanctuary’s doorway where the moving winds were more manageable. Loki was surprised to find the caverning hallway that was the entrance empty apart from several score of fallen mercenaries. With no sign of either of the monks, he could only assume they had pressed deeper into the structure, but the roaring winds from outside prevented them from hearing anything more than a few feet away. “This seems as good of a place as any. Do what you need to do and I’ll watch over you.”

Raewyn was intensely relieved when Loki confirmed that he should be able to avert most of the damage from the energy rifles any remaining soldiers inside the Sanctuary might turn against them. She hadn’t been sure that her idea was a good one, but he had apparently agreed that it was their only viable option. Knowing that some part of Tsume lived on inside Loki somehow made that small decision set better within her.

Before they had the chance to take even a single step toward the abandoned open door of the Sanctuary, a howling horizontal tornado erupted between Marinik and Eri. The force of it ripped up trees, threw smaller monoliths to the ground and threatened to suck the pair of them into the wake of its destruction. Loki quickly made his wings less solid so he wasn’t dragged into the vortex. Even so, he was forced to plan his feet firmly and lean heavily against the winds just to maintain his position.

Raewyn felt Loki’s arms wrap her up tightly, as if afraid of losing her into the immense pull of the tornado’s wrath. Together, they fought, inch by inch and foot by foot toward the goal of the Sanctuary door. The screaming wind drowned out any attempts at communication, so neither tried. Raewyn just kept her head down and clung to Loki’s forearms, trying her best to help push against the inexorable gale. At one point, both of them were completely lifted off their feet and Raewyn screamed a high counterpoint to the wind’s howl. Only the grip of Loki’s wings on a massive stone pillar kept them from being swept away.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the pair gained the stunning quiet of the Sanctuary itself. Raewyn and Loki shared a troubled look. Only the fallen of Udonis’ troops were in sight. The continued howling outside and ringing of their ears made it impossible to tell if anything was happening deeper into the Sanctuary itself. “This seems as good of a place as any. Do what you need to do and I’ll watch over you.” Loki instructed her.

Raewyn was both relieved and worried that she couldn’t see what had become of Lucient and Borri. She spared a moment to pray they were still alive. Glancing around, Raewyn found a relatively sheltered corner in which to settle. She wanted to get closer to wherever Udonis might be, but had to steel herself to dealing with one thing at a time. She had to go after Maeve before the Dream Walker recovered too much of her strength. Just before delving into the trance she needed to seek out Maeve, she met Loki’s gaze once more. “If you must leave me, then go. I don’t want anyone else to die.” It surprised her more than a little that she meant it. She was afraid, of course. But, she was just a tiny piece in a much grander scheme.

Loki shook his head while still meeting Raewyn's gaze. "I'm not leaving you here alone and vulnerable. Plus..." he began with a casual smile on his lips, hoping it would hide his anxiety "somebody needs to stand sentry here to protect the monks' backs, right?"

Though he would not say as much, he could easily sense the confluence of energies raging outside as their friends and the Magi battled it out. Essence was saturating the air just as tangibly to the energy manipulator as the whipping wind in their shelter. And yet, it was the energies that raged even further inside the Sanctuary that caused the fine hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end, more closely resembling the winds of the tornado itself as the forces clash.
With Loki stood watch over her, Raewyn nodded, took a deep calming breath and sank into her trance once more. A void of her own thoughts were all that greeted her. While she and Loki had fought to gain the entrance of the Temple, a plan began for form in her mind. She thought of Adina, Tsume and even T’yang. She thought of their inner strength. It had not come from anger or rash actions; but from calm confidence. Her effort against Brycen had been crude and…was it possible…unnecessary? The hundreds of layers of containment she’d first heaped upon Maeve had set the stage. What if now, with her energies restored, she feigned weakness and called on the strength of Tsume…in a rather literal way?

She carefully segmented her mind as she knew Maeve would be expecting it. But instead of trying to follow what was happening to her friends, she pictured Tsume. She fixated on every detail of him; his height,  weight, clothing, voice, eye color, even his pulse, smell and rate of breathing. She remembered it all from before Udonis had stolen her ability. She created an image of the monk in her mind and the very clarity of it nearly startled her. She had to swallow against a sudden tightness in her throat. Sure that she could hold Tsume’s image with little effort, Raewyn went hunting.

Scanning the void if the mental planes she and Maeve had met and dueled on before, Raewyn spied a silvery glow in the distance. She knew it was Maeve. She approached cautiously, making sure she kept her renewed strength well hidden. Maeve was no fool and could just as easily be laying a trap for her as well. Raewyn lowered herself to a crouch and waited for the inevitable.

The hammer blow against her mind caused her to cry out, but she did notlose her hold on her trance or Tsume’s image. Maeve was seething and outraged that Raewyn had dared try to entrap her earlier. She intended to smash the brat once and for all. Udonis did not need her once her power had been drained and it would be her pleasure to watch the light fade from the former goddess’ eyes. “You made a very big mistake coming here, Raewyn. You’re going to die, as will all of your friends.”

Raewyn reeled from the ferocity of the attack. She threw up wall after all trying to protect her mind against the onslaught. She just had to endure. Maeve couldn’t keep up that much energy. Could she? She felt Maeve picking at the surface of the segments of her mind and Raewyn desperately shut the Dreamwalker out. “Like we died before, Maeve?” She taunted. “Like before the factory in your little mental prison? Or even in the factory itself?”

She was rewarded with a shriek of rage. “You little bitch! You only lived because that monk sacrificed himself and the other Mages were incompetent.”

Raewyn nodded, this was what she wanted. She wanted Maeve to be angry and overconfident. She needed the Dreamwalker to get sloppy. “Were they incompetent? Or was Udonis cutting back on hangers on? You think he wouldn’t drain your powers too? He doesn’t need you anymore. Not really. Have you thought of that-“

This time Maeve appeared directly in front of Raewyn and gripped her chin in a savage grip to haul her to her knees. Spitting her words, Maeve hissed, “You know nothing! He will reward those of us who have served him well and loyally.” Maeve bore down on Raewyn’s mind threatening to shatter her sanity in one single devastating attack.

Raewyn whimpered from the pain of it. But as she had layered Maeve with barriers before, she now erected barriers to protect herself. Maeve’s waves of killing thoughts crashed against more and more beach. The more Maeve plunged into her mind, the more ground Raewyn allowed her to gain. The effort of maintaining consciousness and clinging to the image of Tsume caused her limbs to convulse and she had to grit her teeth to stave off a full seizure.

Maeve sensed the girl weakening. Stupid child, how dare she defy her? And not once or twice but repeatedly! And to question Lord Udonis? She’d make the little cow bleed. Take everything that made her who she was away and leave her alive, but unable to do more than drool in the muck of her own waste! She pushed and little by little, she forced Raewyn back as she tried to retreat to the dark corners of her mind.  Maeve was growing tired, but it shouldn’t take much more. Just a little further. Maeve’s hands began to tremble with the effort. She’d rarely wanted to kill someone more.

And then suddenly, Maeve felt the last bit of resistance yield to her assault. She surged forward triumphantly and felt an excruciating pain in her stomach. Perplexed, she looked down to see the shaft of a spear protruding from her belly. Following the line of the shaft, she looked up into the fierce and determined eyes of the dead monk, Tsume. “Did I not tell you that you underestimated what we were capable of?” His baritone voice asked quietly.

“Impossible..” Maeve gasped. Blood tricked from her lips and se gripped the spear’s shaft at her stomach, trying to push herself off of it. “You’re dead. You’re dead…”

Raewyn pressed the illusion further, feeling Maeve’s confusion and exhaustion. The Dreamwalker had used every ounce of her reserves in this last attack. Tsume spoke once more. “And now, so are you.” He intoned as if passing sentence.

Maeve reeled backwards, pulling herself off of the spear and collapsing on the ground of the void where she and Raewyn battled. She watched the mirage of Tsume fade, leaving only Raewyn struggling weakly to her feet. But, the Dreamwalker had no reserves left. She smiled, oddly enough. “You…you’re more clever than I thought.” With that, Maeve lay her head down on her arms, closed her eyes one last time and was gone.

Raewyn staggered drunkenly when she realized that Maeve was truly dead. She wept, and spent a full 5 minutes simply trying to gain enough strength to wake from her trance. Everything was so heavy, even down to the last strand of her hair. Sound returned to her as if traveling from a vast distance. When she was able to open her eyes once more, she was looking down at her hands, they were awash with her own blood from her nose and where she’d bitten her tongue rather severely. She wanted to simply lie down, but even that small movement was beyond her at the moment.

Opening dry, cracked lips, she tried to call to Loki, but no sound came out of her mouth. On a second try, she managed to murmur his name. “Loki…where are you?”
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by quakernuts on Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:43 am

Jake's mind cleared from the chaos around him as his flames licked and spit at the earth surrounding him.  Fire as black as night stretched outward in a circular fashion, leaving nothing but dead plant life behind them.  He would be lying if he said he didn't take some amount of pleasure in watching the earth around him slowly choke and die on his power, but now was not the time to be reveling in his own sadistic pleasures.  His concentration, surprisingly unbroken due to Tal taking care of his opponent, was focused completely on maintaining the flames and soon there was a wide swath of land that was burnt to a crisp.  The wind swept up many of the ashes that Tal was craving, but that was no longer Jake's concern as he took one last look at his handiwork before returning to the task at hand.  

He looked around for Tal, only to find that he was being beaten down by his opponent in what looked like an unsurprisingly pathetic manner.  Despite this, Jake's entire effort would be wasted if the man wasn't around to use the ash that he had been asked to make.  Giving an inward sigh, he started sprinting towards the man.  As he reached him, he reared his fist back and gave a quick "Done." to Tal as his fist connected with the woman's chest.  Jake was surprised by the amount of resistance he felt when he connected, actually feeling the impact send shivers all the way up his arm and back again as the woman went flying backwards as if fired from a cannon.  Jake rubbed his hand, and barely heard Tal voice his appreciative nature before turning back towards his own fight.  

Tal's summon, Daren had been keeping David occupied, which by Jake's experience was an easy task.  The Rhino charged David, who deftly stepped out of the way and fired several rounds after the creature.  It's hide took the brunt of the assault, despite showing signs of puncture along the side.  David's full attention was on the Rhino as it turned around and saw Jake standing there.  Giving a snuff to the air, it stomped it's foot twice before charging at David once more.  Jake started running up behind David, doing his best to match the Rhino's speed.  As David inevitably sidestepped the Rhino once more, he turned only to see Jake's fist coming at his face one second before it connected.  

The momentum of the punch plus Jakes enhanced strength sent David flying across the battlefield.  His body, incapable of even the simplest of aerodynamic maneuvers, flailed as it sailed through the air to land hard and crash into one of the few pillars left standing in the previously sunken tribute graveyard.  David was still struggling to stand when he managed to catch a glimpse of Jake rushing towards him in his weakened state.  David managed to get his wits about him in enough of a moment to raise his pistol and start firing off rounds.  By this point, Jake was in full sprint as he brought up what remained of his shield to the front.  Had David's weapon been a higher caliber, it might have forced Jake to slow down or stop entirely.  Jake was used to the pistol's vibrations this time around however, and the sensation did nothing to slow him as David's pistol finally rung empty.  Jake unlatched the shield from his arm, letting it fall to the ground without breaking stride as he slapped his fist into his palm and brought it back for a haymaker.  David ducked as Jake's fist connected with the pillar behind him, gouging the stone work and sending chips flying in all directions.  

David thrust upwards with his rapier, but Jake twisted and palmed the sword sideways.  Slits appeared on his hand where the double bladed sharpness of the weapon pierced his sin, but it had  the desired effect.  The rapier was thrust away from Jake who came inside David's guard and delivered a headbutt to the already dazed man.  Stumbling backwards a few steps, he shot out his hand and fired another plume of water at Jake.  It hit Jake dead on in the chest, forcing him to pause as David holstered his rapier and clenched his fist to froze the water while shooting more water from his other hand.  Jake looked down to see solid ice start to form on his chest and spread.  He tried to twist away but the ice was preventing him from moving too quickly.  Before long it had crept up to his neck and down his legs.  His strength was helping him, slowly breaking the ice away but David kept pouring more and more into it.  Jake could feel his internal body temperature dropping his teeth started to chatter on their own accord and frost formed from his breath.  He didn't want to waste his own reserves of essence, but if he was dead then there would be no need.  

Jake summoned his axe and broke his arm free.  Holding his axe in front of him, he poured heat into it and felt the ice start to melt away despite David's attempts.  The water was turning into steam as it made contact with the black axe, and David's face turned to panic as he started to back away faster.  He still fired water from his one hand, his air coming in gasps as his essence reserves finally started to run out, while his other reached for his pistol once more.  He would need to reload it, and Jake wasn't going to allow that.  Jake slammed the axe sideways onto his chest, feeling the ice shatter and his internal temperature start to climb once more.  

Jake strode forward as David readied his rapier to fight Jake once more.  Jake's swings came with ever growing intensity as David parried and dodged as his life depended on it, but it simply wasn't enough.  He was tired, his well of essence nearly depleted and had been on Jake's terms ever since he had come into close contact with the man.  Finally, after minutes of staving off Jake's attacks, Jake forced his axe down onto the rapier and locked it to the ground.  With a quick jerk, Jake brought his knee into the man's stomach and lifted him off the ground a good foot.  Jake twisted around, dispelling his axe as he gripped David's sword arm with both arms and snapped it like a twig.  David gave a blood curdling yell as Jake gave him no respite.  As the rapier dropped to the ground, Jake grabbed the man's bruised jaw and pulled back.  He curled his hand into a fist, and punched with all his force into the lower of the man's back.  

There was a sickening crack as David screamed even louder now that his legs would no longer hold him.  Jake had broken his back, specifically, paralyzed him from the waist down.  The man was in an obvious amount of pain, his screaming and crying loud enough to almost pierce the battle noise of the other occupants.  Jake walked slowly to the man's side, kneeling down beside his head and stared at him.  David stopped screaming enough to look up at the man's face and form an expression of terror.  There was no remorse to be found in those eyes of Jake's, nor mercy or respect.  All that was in them was a need to inflict pain, pain that had been bottled up for a long time with no outlet.  David understood that he was that outlet, and despite his status, tried to crawl himself away as Jake grabbed the collar his shirt.  

"No...No no no no!"  David was screaming as Jake's arm lit on fire.  Slowly, methodically, and with a sickeningly happy smile on his lips, Jake lowered his hand onto David's face.  The screams were even louder now as the flames slowly melted the skin on his face, Jake controlling the heat of the flames to make it last longer than was necessary.  Jake stood up, his hand absently flexing as David clawed at his face for what seemed like minutes before finally succumbing and growing still.  Jake snuffed the flames, looking at the remnants of David's facial features.  Like something out of a bad horror story, David's face had melted to unrecognizable status, with some of the skin still dripping off of his skull like some over done cake mix.  To say that he hadn't enjoyed that would be lying to himself as he looked out over the battleground to see that it had relatively calmed down.  The group was still spread out over the battlefield, their foes otherwise beaten or killed, save for Raewyn and Loki who appeared to be nowhere in sight.  

That was no matter, they were no longer his responsibility.  When Jake had taken on this...quest for a lack of a better term, it was to protect the Goddess.  Raewyn was no longer the Goddess, simply a slightly better than average telepath.  Loki was a child in an adult's form trying to act like he deserved the body he got.  The kid had determination, but not the skill.  Neither one would be worth anything in the coming fight.  Jake started to stride towards the memorial building before his eyes started to lock onto a certain figure.  Changing his course and walking towards Tal, his eyes remained glued onto the woman who was supposedly unharmed in front of him.  

"What is this?"  Tal looked up from the woman, staring at Jake.


"She surrendered.  It's done."  Jake looked up from the woman long enough to give Tal a once over.  He had been beaten, judging by his armour and stature, and this woman had given up?  It could have been the ash that saved him, but regardless, that was no excuse.  Tal was weakened, and undoubtedly everyone else would be as well.  

"She surrendered..."  Jake stated slightly before walking closer to the woman.  "A magi in the service of Udonis surrendered, and we're supposed to take her word?"  Jake's voice was level and calm, but unlike Jake who had always made his feelings heard, it wasn't clear if Jake was threatening Iraia, Tal, or both.  Jake place a hand on Iraia's shoulder, looking over to Tal.  "Then she won't put up a fight."  Jake stated as he placed his hands around Iraia's head and started to twist.  The woman's neck was surprisingly resilient as a resistance was felt that Jake never anticipated.  Before he could put more strength into it, Tal's hand slapped down on Jake's wrist.  The man's eyes bore into his, with Jake giving nothing back but a blank face and a cold stare.  

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"  Tal hissed at Jake, who slowly looked down at the hand clamped onto his wrist.  Very slowly and deliberately, Jake grabbed Tal's wrist and squeezed with enough force to make the vagabond twitch in pain as the grip was released on his hand.  Jake, however, did not let go.  

"I'm ending a possible threat before it becomes one.  I will not allow your empathy to allow an enemy to stab us in the back."  Jake stated calmly, his grip on Tal's wrist not wavering.  

"I'm not about to let you kill someone who's already given up."  Tal stated, straightening himself to his full height and slightly towering over Jake.  "Back...Down."  Jake stared up at the man, wondering where he got the idea that Jake would be cowed by the size of this man.  Jake looked over to Iraia, then back to Tal.  

"I don't have time for this."  Jake stated, taking Tal's arm and whipping him around.  With a good amount of momentum, Jake threw Tal a few yards away, rolling to a stop as he landed.  Jake stared after the man, before turning back towards the real enemy.  This time, he focused what was left of his essence reserves and pumped it into his strength.  The veins started bulging out on his arms as he came within a few feet of her.  

Before he even came into arms reach, he heard what sounded like a stampede behind him.  He turned around, and just as he did so he caught Tal's spear tackle right into his chest.  Tal carried the man for several yards before stopping and watching Jake tumble through the dirt and grass, finally skidding to a stop a fair distance away.  Tal stomped his foot once, leaving an impression in the ground as Jake slowly stood to his feet.  The man had the current advantage, his armour dented but still usable.  Along with this, Darren had moved to place himself between Tal and Iraia, should Jake get through he would have to fight a Rhino as well.  Jake looked to the others, who were quickly coming together around them and would no doubt try to intervene given the chance.  Jake needed to do this quickly, before the others sided with Tal in a disgusting display of sympathy and empathy.  

However, he was at a disadvantage.  Tal was, technically, an ally.  Should he harm him in any major way, Jake had no doubt the group would turn on him.  So with that in mind, he goal was not to hurt Tal, but to get past him and Darren to finish off the woman.  Jake looked towards Tal, straightening up and walking forward.  "You chose this fight Tal."  Jake stated, the veins in his arms lessening as he intentionally handicapped himself in the strength department.  This wasn't out of some misplaced sense of morality or camaraderie, but out of pure self preservation.  

"You're damn right I did."  Tal stated as he spread his hand and legs out to brace for the impact of Jake running into him.  "And you're out of your god damn mind if you think you're going to get one step past me."  Jake continued his walk, not bothering to run knowing that's what Tal was wanting.  Jake had yet to see all of Tal's moves in combat, and was wary of his style.  He knew he was strong, big, and made of muscle.  His strength still didn't compare to Jake, but naturally it was closer than he had ever come into contact with.  He was missing a limb, which would hinder him greatly, but he was motivated which was dangerous.  

Jake didn't bother with a retort as he put on a ruse.  He knew his eyes tended to glow and wisp as his essence was being used, so he pumped it into his reflexes causing the same effect but flexed his muscles as if he had just upped his strength.  As he got closer, still walking at the same pace until he was within arm's reach of Tal, who seemed to be slightly thrown off by this approach.  Jake paused for a split second before fake jabbing with his right and then slamming his left fist into Tal's side.  Tal gave out a breath as the jab connected before Jake grabbed the man by the back of the neck and slammed a knee into his stomach.  Before Jake could do another move however, Tal's arm shot out and connected with Jake's stomach, causing his grip on Tal's head to weaken.  Wih a quick jerk, Tal had broken from Jake's head lock and had gripped Jake's collar.  He reared his head back and smashed it forward.  

The next few moments, much to the shame of Jake, were lost to him as Tal's head connected with his driving him into the ground.  Jake shook his head, his vision still blurry from such a hit that he had not been expecting.  At least he knew now, that apparently his connection to Darren had strengthened his skull.  At least he could honestly say that Tal was thick headed.  Jake looked up to see that Tal had taken a step back to avoid Jake rushing him immediately.  "That knock some sense back into your skull?"  Tal stated as Jake returned to his standing position.  He cracked his neck, and without warning, bolted at Tal.  

This was the type of style Tal was used to however, as Jake ran into him fully and driving gouges into the ground as Tal stood stalwart against the human wrecking ball.  Jake started launching a flurry of attacks to Tal's underside while using his shoulder to drive the man back, and despite his control found himself dumping more and more essence into his strength to get the man to give.  Despite this, Tal found an opening and grabbed Jake's arm.  He spun Jake around, mainly due to Jake's own momentum and instead of releasing him at the end of the spin, used it like a slingshot.  Tal pulled Jake towards him, and cloths lined him with a headbutt rather than a stiff arm.  Jake was driven to the ground, stunned for a precious few seconds before Tal grabbed his collar and dragged him farther away from Iraia and dumping him off back where he had started.  

Jake didn't get angry however, as he calmly got to his feet once more.  He rolled his shoulders, cracking his neck and back once more as he looked to Tal once again.  The others were standing off to the side by this point, unwilling to enter the fray for one reason or another.  Jake looked to Tal, who was once again standing between him and the woman. This time Jake walked forward, his fists in a brawler stance as he started taking potshots at Tal, who fended what he could with his one arm.  Jake landed some shots, drawing some blood on the Vagabond's face as bruises came to accompany the sight.  Jake launched a flurry of hits to Tal's chest, denting the armour even more and forcing Tal to step backwards more and more.  Jake managed to land a heavy hit on Tal's face, forcing him to a knee as Jake brought up his own knee to knock Tal back.  

Instead, Tal took the knee to the face quite well, barely moving before quickly darting out and grabbing Jake's arm and tossing him over him.  With a quick twist, he landed a couple of punches to Jake's head before grabbing him by the collar once more and dragging him back to the start.  Again Tal took a defensive stance, and again Jake calmly stood up.  He looked to Tal, then to Darren, then to Iraia who was simply sitting there.  She may have thought Tal could force him to back down, but Jake wouldn't stop until she was dead.  Jake looked to Tal, figuring it was time to end this little farce.  He had tested the man enough, and was done with the beta so to speak.  Jake ran towards Tal, but instead of tackling him head on, delivered a massive blow to his stomach causing him to double over.  Jake took the opportunity to roll over the back of the man, and felt his feet touch ground on the other side of the man.  Without looking to confirm what he already knew, he jumped up and planted both feet on Tal's chest as he turned to chase after Jake.  Tal was sent tumbling through the dirt as Jake started running towards Iraia.  

Darren had different idea in mind as he stomped his foot once in warning to Jake who ignored it.  With a mighty snuff of his snout, Darren started charging Jake, lowering his horn as he did so.  Jake stepped slightly to the side at the last second, causing the horn to miss him as he gripped the ivory nose ornament and felt the beast's strength first hand.  It was a mass of muscle as Jake found out, struggling to keep his ground as he forced the Rhino to slow down and eventually stop.  Darren huffed once more as Jake shoved everything he had into his strength.  Darren continued to push, but surprisingly found himself being lifted up as his front feet lost contact with the ground.  Jake grunted and veins bulged from his arms and neck and he forced Darren off of the ground, walking him up as he first used his horn, then his head, and then working his way down Darren's chest.  Darren's hind legs were now supporting his entire weight, but before Jake could fully flip Darren onto his back, he felt a hand grab his collar and whip him backwards.  

He rolled slightly, before landing in a crouched state.  Darren crashed back down to the ground, giving a huff and joining the now group of people standing between him and Iraia.  Eri and T'yang stood beside Tal as a wall between Jake and his target, a better defense than anything Tal could have done on his own.  The choice was simple, either stand down or take on the entire group.  Jake looked to all of them, bushing himself off slightly as he did so.  "So be it.  I hope you can sleep soundly at night when she ends up stabbing you in the chest."  Jake stated, looking at them all before walking off away from them towards the memorial.  

Jake strode inside the memorial, his eyes locking on the young Raewyn for a split second before moving past her without a second thought.  Bodies littered the hallway where he walked, but he paid them no mind save for stepping over or around them.  He was done dealing with this group of weak willed push overs who were too busy worrying about their own morality and not enough about the job at hand.  Someone inside this temple needed to die today, and he didn't care who it was.  

So long as it wasn't him.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Silvan Arrow on Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:37 pm

Eri pounded her wings as fast as she could go, until the muscles around her shoulders burned from lactic acid and her wings, arms, and even fingertips went numb from exertion. And yet, no matter how hard she worked, the tornado continued to yawn behind her, its currents pulling her backward inch by agonizing inch and growing stronger the closer she got. Her swords had flown from her hands almost immediately, and the loss of that extra weight was probably the only reason she had lasted as long as she had.

Finally her wings were too numb to respond to her muscles, and they folded of their own accord. Time seemed to slow down as Eri fell backwards to her demise, unable to see through the buffeting winds and clouds of dust. She could only feel the currents tugging at her body.

In desperation, she called on Essence she didn’t even think she possessed, and her mind instinctively reached for her summon as her arms reached out as if in supplication. ‘ARASHI!!!!’

A bright flash of light and feathers pierced the din of dust and debris, and Arashi plummeted from the sky headfirst to reach his distressed mistress. The universe jerked and tilted at an odd angle as he caught the back of Eri’s armor in his talons and used his wings like sails to ride the outer bands of the tornado and sling-shot out the other side.

Arashi gently set Eri on the ground on the other side of the field and landed beside her, both battered and ruffled but still in one piece. Eri lay facedown and completely prostrate for a few seconds, unable to do anything except gasp for air. Her mind couldn’t even form coherent words to thank Arashi, but relief flooded their link when she heard the howling winds start to die.

‘Thank the goddess...I’m never doing that again.’

Agreed...


Eri finally gathered enough strength to lever herself up on her elbows, then to her knees to survey the battlefield. She could see Tal, Darren, and Jake fighting opponents on the far side of the field, she had lost track of Raewyn and T’yang, she had never seen Loki return, and she had long ago lost track of the monks. ‘Maybe...Marinik didn’t make it?’

Mistress...over there.


Eri followed Arashi’s mental probe to the middle of the field, right where the tornado had spawned. Instead of running, Marinik had hunkered down and used his wind manipulation to create a bubble of positive pressure to offset the negative pressure of the tornado, and the shield dissipated just as he stood and locked onto Eri’s position. However, he definitely wasn’t moving with his usual swagger. This time, Eri and Marinik both looked equally spent. While Eri’s movements echoed pure exhaustion, Marinik was battered, bruised, and cut from head to toe. The wind shield may have saved him from being crushed, but it had not blocked all the flying debris.

The two foes staggered across the field toward each other while Arashi crouched protectively behind Eri. “Last chance, Marinik. Give up now. We both know you’re out of Essence.”

Despite his sorry state, Marinik still managed an infuriating smirk. “Says the girl...without a weapon.” That’s when he pulled out his pistol from underneath his jacket.

Eri didn’t have a weapon in her hand. She couldn’t see where her father’s sword had landed, and she couldn’t spare the mental concentration to dismiss and re-summon Gale Cleaver from wherever it was. She could only use her wings and summon Arashi’s vision to help zig-zag around the barrage of energy bullets flying at her face. At such close range, she couldn’t dodge all of them, but she managed to keep the blows off her face and arms and let her armor take the brunt of the damage.

For the first time in battle, Eri finally managed to close the distance without worrying about Marinik’s wind manipulation and suffocation techniques. She deflected his pistol to the side with a one-arm block and smacked the back of his hand to send the gun flying from his grip. Now she could finally a hint of genuine fear in the User’s eyes as they traded blows in hand-to-hand combat. At one point, Marinik’s jacket lifted just enough for Eri to glimpse something hidden underneath. Within seconds, she sent the mental images of her plan to Arashi.

Eri deliberately dropped her guard long enough for Marinik to send her skidding backwards with a well-placed kick to her armored torso. Sensing weakness, he advanced forward, intending to finish the job.

But he had forgotten about Arashi.

A pair of talons swept Marinik off the ground and into the air, and Arashi rowed straight upward for height while carrying his struggling burden. Once the figures on the battlefield looked the size of dolls, Arashi tossed Marinik up, snapped at his torso with his beak, which barely avoided his skin, and then...let him fall.

The ground raced towards Marinik at an alarming speed, but the adrenaline rush somehow flooded him with enough energy for one last burst of Essence. Using both hands, Marinik sent an air push straight down at the ground to cushion his fall, and he flipped forward to land on his feet facing Eri on the other side of the field.

“Heh, a wasted effort,” Marinik taunted.

“Wrong.”

Still completely unarmed, Eri stood calmly facing him. She simply held up an open hand, and a remote with a red bottom dropped into her palm as Arashi passed overhead. He had pick-pocketed the User with his beak.

Despite knowing he was beaten, Marinik still managed one last smug look. “Still can’t win on your own, can you?”

Click.

BOOM.

All sound seemed to vanish right before the belt of explosives hidden under Marinik’s jacket detonated, and the resulting explosion was tinged red from the blood and gore. Eri stood unmoving, only shielding her face with her arms while dust, scraps of cloth, bits of gore, and blood spattered outward along with a horrific sound that would forever be seared into her memory. Bits of bone shrapnel gouged and embedded themselves in her armor, and a single piece of shrapnel got past her guard and sliced her cheek. But Eri didn’t feel the sting of the cut or barely register the pounding ache in her eardrums from the explosion. Only one thought dominated her mind.

‘That...was for Tsume and Alco.’

The adrenaline rush abruptly evaporated, and Eri’s knees trembled and finally gave up the effort to support her weight. ‘Arashi...what do you see?’ she asked the eagle still circling the battlefield.

Arashi sent her mental images of Tal and Jake still locked in battle, as well as massive clouds of ash radiating outward from Jake’s summoned axe. I sense Loki and Raewyn inside the building.

‘Loki? Did he return?’

Apparently so, but I sense no others with him.


Eri’s expression turned grim. For some reason or another, he hadn’t been able to bring back reinforcements. Mistress... She looked up just as Arashi daintily landed in front of her, balancing on one foot while holding something with the other. He reverently deposited the object in front of her. I’m sorry, but it must have taken damage in the tornado.

Unshed tears sprang to Eri’s eyes as she beheld the battered remains of the sword her father had made for her all those years ago. The blade was nicked and dented beyond repair, and a piece of the hilt had broken off completely. Wordlessly, she lifted the sword from the ground and returned it to its sheath. She had always felt that her father was protecting her from a distance whenever she used that sword, and now, with the blade unusable except through summoned Essence, she felt oddly alone and vulnerable.

Arashi’s voice broke through her reverie. Eri, T’yang is badly wounded.

Blinking a few times to clear her vision, Eri stood and climbed on Arashi’s back. ‘Show me.’

It was a quick flight-hop across the battlefield to the cliff overlooking the sea. T’yang knelt beside the cliff, her expression clearly echoing pain and her shoulders heaving from the effort to draw even breaths. She looked up wordlessly as Arashi landed, and Eri noticed with alarm the blue tinge to her lips and the subtle shivering of her muscles. Blood marked black-colored holes on her upper chest and right thigh. Despite the copious blood and cuts covering her body, her shadows kept them closed and were the only reason she hadn’t bled out already.

A pierced thigh and lung, judging from the way she’s breathing, Arashi suggested. Her shadows are clotting the wounds, but they’ll only last as long as her Essence.

Eri slid down from Arashi’s back and approached T’yang while Arashi moved behind the Saturate and mantled his wings over her for warmth. “T’yang, your wounds...” she began, kneeling in front of her while her hands glowed with purple summoned Essence.

T'yang looked back from where Arina had run away to regard Eri with a bone weary expression. She felt T’yang’s gaze travel over her to ensure she was still in one piece. "It is most difficult to combat a foe when you do not wish to kill," she murmured ruefully.

Eri glanced over the gore on her armor, both hers and Marinik’s, and gave an equally rueful expression. "I wish I could say the same." She looked over T’yang. "The shadows won't keep your wounds closed forever. Here, let me help." She slowly moved her hands closer.

T'yang tried to block Eri's reaching hands. "You should conserve your strength. Don't waste your reserves on me."

Honestly, Eri should have expected this reaction. She glanced up desperately at Arashi. You can draw from my strength.

“I can borrow Arashi’s Essence.” Her expression softened slightly. “Look, Loki wasn’t able to bring back help, and we can’t protect Raewyn while also protecting the injured and fighting Udonis. Now I can wait until Darren is free to sit on you, or we can take care of this now.”

T'yang quirked a brow. Somehow, she guessed Eri was only half kidding. "How long will you need?" she asked practically.

“Just a couple of minutes.”

T'yang glanced around the ruined sanctuary and nodded sharply. "Do it quickly. We must be ready to go after Udonis." Her eyes then lifted to Arashi, "Do not permit her to overextend herself." He couldn’t speak directly to her mind, but he nodded sagely in response.

“Okay, just hold very still.” Placing her hands gently over the wound on T’yang’s thigh, Eri closed her eyes and sublimated herself deep within her mind, recalling the healing patterns Tsume had shown her. A lump rose unbidden to her throat as Eri remembered the kind, firm instruction he had given her, the time he had saved her life with these exact Essence weaves, and the time they had spent together, almost like master and apprentice, while healing the wounds of their comrades. She wove those memories and emotions together into a multi-braided rope and plunged into the deepest recesses of her Essence, draining every scrap she could find. It was a monumental effort, and sweat began to bead on her forehead. She took the raw Essence, spun it into the summoned blood and tissues that she needed, and sent the warm glow into T’yang’s wound. After a few seconds, she felt T’yang’s shivering subside.

Eri... Arashi warned. Underneath her hands, she felt T’yang began to shift as though she was considering stopping Eri. Use my strength. Call my Essence to bolster yours. He widened the mental link between them, and Eri plunged into his Essence reserves like a parched man in a desert who’s just found an oasis. With Arashi’s help, Eri quickly healed T’yang’s thigh and then moved her hands ever so gently to the blackened wound on her chest.

The punctured lung was trickier to heal, as the wound was deep within the chest cavity and required multiple types of summoned tissue. Eri took a few seconds longer to visualize and summon the delicate lung tissue she needed before sending it into the wound.

A quick stab of pain flashed across her senses, muffled as quickly as it had appeared, and Eri looked up with alarm to see the source. ‘Arashi!’ He was...shrinking! The more Essence she drained, the smaller he grew. The difference was subtle, but she could tell he had lost almost half a foot in height.

Immediately Eri tried to sever the Essence link, but Arashi grabbed onto it and held it steady by sheer force of will. No, Mistress, he replied gently. You must finish this, or she will die in the next battle.

‘Arashi...I’m so sorry...’ Knowing she wouldn’t change his mind, Eri reached for his Essence one last time and tearfully plunged it into T’yang’s wound, sealing it with a final burst of energy. She immediately severed the Essence link with Arashi and the healing link she had forged with T’yang. The wounds in her chest and thigh were completely healed, but some of the superficial cuts still remained. They weren’t life-threatening, and Eri wasn’t willing to risk Arashi anymore. He had shrunk in height by nearly a foot, meaning that he had lost almost all of the size he had gained since joining the group.

Eri stood, shaking the tingles out her legs from kneeling in one place. “That’s as much as I can safely manage.” She turned to Arashi with a furious expression. ‘Why didn’t you tell me this would happen?!’

Arashi had the good grace to look abashed. As you rightly said, we need everyone for the final battle, and I did not wish to make you choose between my well-being and T’yang’s. Do not worry, I can still fight. Before Eri could protest, Arashi suddenly whipped his head up at the sound of an enraged bellow. Darren’s, without a doubt. Eri and T’yang also tried to look in the direction of the noise. Something is wrong, Arashi stated, crouching lower so Eri could climb aboard. We must go. Quickly, both of you on my back. At Eri’s skeptical look, he added, I can still carry double. Hurry!

The urgency in Arashi’s voice spurred Eri into action, and she turned to T’yang. “Arashi says something is wrong, and he’s going to carry us both. Come on.” T’yang clambered up wordlessly behind Eri, and Arashi wasted no time in rowing for height. He pumped his wings harder to compensate for the extra weight on a suddenly smaller body, but he still covered the battlefield quickly and spotted the source of Darren’s distress moments before the two women.

Eri... His mental voice choked as he went into a spiraling descent.

Eri’s heart stalled in her chest. “No...” She mouthed the word silently. Ekaj was attacking Tal while Darren stood guard over an unfamiliar woman. She must have been one of the enemy Magi, but why would Tal and Darren defend her? Eri didn’t have time to ponder this strange turn of events. Instead, all she could hear were the words Jake had spoken in that clearing in the forest, back when he was still Jake:

“You have to make me a promise.” Jake’s gaze drifted downward, as if contemplating his next words, before returning to her eyes. “If I ever, ever lose control. I mean to the point where I willingly attack one of our group, I want you to put me down.” Eri’s eyes widened as he added the last part. “For good.”

Every fiber in her being railed against the words he had spoken and the consent she had spoken to bind herself to that promise. But then Tal went flying, Darren charged Ekaj to protect his downed Summoner and the woman, and when Eri’s feet touched the ground, she was running, Gale Cleaver in hand.

Eri didn’t bother to question Tal’s actions. She saw him regroup and fling Ekaj backwards before he could flip Darren onto his back and ran past the fray to plant herself in front of the woman. Within seconds, she, Darren, Tal, and T’yang had formed a living wall between Ejak and his target, and she hoped that his cold-hearted logic would convince him to stand down. Arashi crouched on Ekaj’s other side and screeched a warning, wings half-spread in unquestionable threat.

The moments stretched on in silence as Ekaj regarded them with eyes that were both familiar yet alien to Eri, but he finally spoke: “So be it. I hope you can sleep soundly at night when she ends up stabbing you in the chest.” He looked at all of them in turn before striding off towards the Sanctuary.

Eri’s shoulders sagged in relief and gratefully let Gale Cleaver and Arashi dissolve back into the elements to save her Essence. She looked up at Tal and raised an eyebrow. “You mind explaining what in the Goddess’ name just happened?”
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Guilty Carrion on Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:22 pm

The time for strategy, for tactics and maneuvering, had passed. All movement was forward. All pressure was forward, and with mirrored cries of battle, the two titanic figures thundered into each other. Whatever thoughts lingering in his mind were smashed away by the opening haymaker that shook his helmet violently, but his ash arm had copied the attack, striking the indestructible woman without concern for damage sustained. Splintering shards of grey danced in his vision, but they ignored as his face twisted in an animal roar as his natural arm followed up his opening strike. His gauntlets almost felt as though they were breaking from the impact, knuckles no doubt bleeding from the force behind the blow.

The magi gave only an inch of ground, before hammering forward with a flurry of attacks straight to his battered chest plate, then heaving herself into a round kick for his jaw. The ash arm snapped up, blocking the limb even as it smashed deeply into the haggard limb, but that played only to his advantage. The ash snapped shut like a constrictor, trapping the leg inside the appendage. Iraia reacted with a fighter’s instinct, sweeping her other leg out from under her boy and drawing both the legs inwards as she dropped to her hands.

The position afforded her more room for a split second, and she wasted no time driving both legs forward like a missile to Tal’s chest. He staggered for a brief moment, but grabbed the ankle of her free leg even as she tried to free the other. The ash arm shifted its grip on his whim, grabbing the same place as the vagabond stooped low to the ground. There was only a brief look of confusion upon her face, before Tal heaved the woman up and brought her swinging like a hammer over his shoulder back into the dirt. Seizing the temporary disorientation, he repeated the process, once, then twice more.

The process took more out of him than he cared to admit, and as he sucked in a greedy gulp of air to slam her once more, the warrior slammed her fists into the earth and with a strength that really shouldn’t have surprised him, launched her torso upwards with a furious push from her arms. His hands, still tight around her ankles, were drawn upwards and her legs retracted. He saw the blow, but his lack of training betrayed him in reaction. Releasing the limbs, his hands moved to block futility, only for the legs to smash into his upper chest enough force to smash the air from his lungs and drive the vagabond into the dirt like a rocket.

He breathed a groan, even as his opponent rose to her feet to continue their battle. She was atop him in a moment; astride his chest with ferocity her arms quickly laid a salvo of hits to his beleaguered helmet. Each unblocked blow made his skull ring, and after a particularly forceful one, Tal felt the cartilage in his nose snap painfully. Bellowing in pain, the sudden surge brought with it an adrenaline induced clarity. Raising his arm with the ash shield, he stopped the next strike in its tracks, brushing it away with a sweep of the arm while his ash limb shot straight up like a hammer to the Magi’s throat. The blow made her wobble backwards atop him, and he reared both arms back into a hammer blow to her stomach that knocked the woman from her perch atop him. Both rose quickly, but Tal noticed the rough coughs she spat out as she did.

Emboldened by the damage he seemed to have caused, Tal pressed his temporary advantage, ignoring the lingering exhaustion beginning to grip his body and mind. He hadn’t fought this hard in his life before, not that he could remember, and the energy needed to move a man his size was beginning to catch up to him. As she fought with the cough, he swept in a series of punches, but to his surprise, the magi actually stepped backwards to avoid them, nursing her throat with one hand with the other raised in guard. Their eyes met as he tried another strike, and he could see what could only be described as surprise in her eyes.

Throwing a haymaker with all his might, Tal connected with nothing but air as she weaved in past the strike and gripped the mangled visor of his helmet like a cage. The sudden proximity sucked the fire out of his stomach, staring into the intense grey eyes at point blank while the muscles in her arms strained and tensed. He honestly didn’t know what to expect, least of all that, in a painful screech of rending metal; his helmet was torn in half with a furious roar. The twin pieces it had become quickly vanished into essence and Tal fired off with his first instinct to an enemy so close to his face.

He reared back, and smashed his forehead forward into hers. She wobbled back for only but a second, and Tal took a cautionary step back as his head now lacked safety from her giant cestuses. It was his turn to be surprised though, as she immediately snapped her body into a forward sprint and drove her own head straight back into his own. His skull rang as she gripped his arm and spun the vagabond into a throw that sent him tumbling through the dirt.

‘What just happened.’ The words echoed in his head as he rose, surprised his opponent wasn’t already closing the distance to lay some further smack down on him. She watched, like a cautious predator he noted grimly, as if he had provided something more than she expected and was now reconsidering her plan of attack. While thankful for the break, Tal had far too much time to feel his injuries the longer the two held their stare down. From what little skin he could see, Tal’s body was going to be a roadmap of bruises after this, and thick globs of blood were running freely from his broken nose by this point.

Rubbing the back of his gauntlet against his face, he smeared the blood across the metal and his skin. ‘Udonis is next. I can’t take much more of this and still expect to be of any help. But how do I win this..?’ His one successful injury on her aside, this battle was lopsided completely in her favour. His essence was dwindling the longer he held his ash in form. The howl of the winds began to fade from his ear, and both spared a moment to look to the dissipating tornado. ‘One problem out of the way, but somehow I’ve still got a bigger one…’

Tal’s eyes flicked to Iraia, her attention focused back on him and her hands tightening back into deadly fists. This fight would be over in no time if he kept pushing into the thick of it with her, but what else could he do? She began to approach, slowly as if suspecting something from his seeming lack of concentration. It’d buy him a few seconds, if that. Hunkering himself down lower, Tal raised the ash shield in front of him, grimacing as he spotted the edges beginning to splinter and come apart. His essence was getting low and the ash was beginning to dance across his gaze. Sucking in a breath to calm down, Tal choked sharply on a few mouthfuls of the ash.

The idea struck him with all the force of three week drinking binge. The slight reddening of the tissue around her throat reminded him of the lucky blow he’d dealt her, and the way even the indestructible woman had needed to catch her breath from it. A confident grin split his face, and the magi broke into a charge to close the last few feet between them. He raised the shield to block, feeling the impact splinter the ash, but he didn’t need it for defence anymore. “Hell of a fight.” He grunted, as the shield snapped down shut on her arm. She jerked on the limb roughly, but before she could really attempt to free it, the ash arm swept up and the black ‘fingers’ clamped around her face, driving the ash tight to her skull.

Her eyes remained uncovered, and it took only a moment for realization to sink in and her body to begin thrashing violently against the entrapping limbs. Her free arm swept in like a hammer to his side, but the hits were ignored to the best of his ability. Breaking his concentration would break his control of the ash, and he doubted he’d get a second chance to attempt this.

Pushing his weight into the woman, he leveraged his weight against her more and more to drive the powerful magi down to her knees, never managing to pull his gaze from her own. In the back of his mind, Tal felt the hammering of his conscience, that what he was doing was horrible and monstrous. Drowning it out wasn’t possible, as the feeling began to grow into a beating drum as Iraia’s hits grew weaker with each passing moment. A former sailor, Tal knew it didn’t take long for someone to drown, but he wasn’t entirely sure if that was the same with actually choking them.

Squeezing his eyes shut Tal bit down on his tongue so hard he tasted iron, although it was more likely the blood from his nose. The punches stopped all together, and he ground his teeth in preparation for a renewed hit but it didn’t come. It was only when he felt the heavy hand rest lightly on his arm that Tal dared to open his eyes. She stared quietly at him, eyes dulling from the lack of oxygen. Her hand tapped on his arm twice, before raising open palmed above her shoulder. There was no struggle in her body, and he came to a conclusion he hadn’t expected from the warrior.

Surrender. The hostility had left her body, and she wouldn’t even be able to attack him immediately if it was a trick. Part of him didn’t want to trust her, knowing full well the danger she posed. Could he risk the safety of the group for one of Udonis’s Magi? The ash arm tightened for a moment, and Iraia’s arm dropped to her side with silent resignation. His heart hitched in his throat.

Now this wasn’t a fight. His conscience won out, and the vagabond willed the ash to collapse, watching the constructs shatter into grey wisps and drift to the ground. She fell forward; barely catching herself as she greedily swallowed thick gulps of air to feed her burning lungs. He hovered closely, out of partial concern and responsibility to ensure she was no longer a threat to the others. While the summon had remained silent for the duration of the fight, Darren slowly lumbered over, watching the two carefully. Tal wished he could have relied on the summon more, but in a close quarters fight, it was pretty difficult to include a rhino.

Body tensed, Tal stooped down near the magi and cleared his throat. “We’re done, yeah?” He asked uncertainly, frowning slightly at the way she continued to cough. “You alright? Probably still got some ash stuck in your lungs…” He motioned briefly with his fingers, and sure enough, a few small clumps of ash fell from her mouth. “There, you can probably breathe better n-”

Her head snapped up as soon as the coughing subsided, fixing him with a sharp look that made him fumble backwards for a moment, hand raised defensively. Darren snorted sharply at the woman, who ignored the massive creature to examining Tal. “Tal of Kaperray…” Her voice rasped, clearly hurting but unwilling to be slowed by it. “…you are stronger.”

He blinked, unsure of how to respond at first. He eventually settled on a light, “Uh…sure?” She stared at him for a moment longer, before sitting back on her legs, still fixing him with that weird look. He held it for a moment before glancing off to Darren with a confused raise of his brow. “Uhm…are we done, then?”

“You are stronger. There is no point to further conflict.” She stated succinctly, eyes finally losing their steel and watching him normally. Tal stared blankly, unsure if what he was really hearing what she was saying. “You are troubled.” Her head tilted curiously, glancing between the summoner and summon. “Are you not pleased with your strength?”

“I...guess? I just can’t say I’ve…” He trailed off, rubbing his chin as if to consider his words for a moment. “…ever heard that before.”

“Combat serves its purpose to determine strength. There is no point to conflict beyond that.” She looked off towards the diminish sounds of battle, her cestus covered hands resting lightly on her thighs. “After all, death is simply an end. A weakling serves no point in death. The strong have no value as corpses. It is pointless.” Darren and Tal shared a bemused look, as the warrior examined the mangled battlefield. After another moment, her gaze snapped back to Tal. “Do you intend to face Lord Udonis?”

He nodded grimly. “Yes. Is that going to be an issu-?”

“Do you believe you can win, Tal of Kaperray?” Her voice wasn’t cautioning, if anything it sounded more excited at the prospect. “He is far stronger than I. He is the single strongest opponent I’ve ever seen. I am curious who will emerge victorious.” There was no mistaking her tone, or the way her face lit up. Excitement, plain and simple. As she trailed into quiet mumbles to herself about the prospective battle, Tal couldn’t help chuckling lightly through his bond with Darren, who just seemed baffled by the woman’s behaviour.

‘She’s…an odd one, huh?’

‘An understatement.’ Darren replied evenly, snorting and shifting his weight to look towards the others. Tal straightened out, wiping more blood from his nose and trying to ignore the dull throb radiating from his entire body. ‘Do you think she can be trusted?’ The summon asked calmly, not accusing, but simply curious to his commoner’s intentions.

‘I don’t really know, honestly.’ He grinned sheepishly at the giant animal, sparing a quick glance to the magi. ‘But…I’ll take the chance. Everyone deserves at least a chance, in my books.’

‘Always the bleeding heart, hm?’ Despite his tone, Tal knew the rhino agreed with his conclusion. Iraia rose to her feet behind him, following the two’s gaze out to the battlefield and noticing a figure approaching. Darren eased back a step to let Jake past, and Tal watched the man approach calmly. Before he could even offer greeting, Jake spoke.

“What is this?”

The vagabond gestured lightly at her. “She surrendered. It’s done.” As Jake gave him a cursory glance, Tal thought quietly how it didn’t look anything like a victory, given how he looked like he’d been run over by a truck and she was no worse for wear than a sore throat and some bleeding gums. Tal opened his mouth to explain further, but Jake beat him to it.

“She surrendered…” He repeated as he took a step closer to the Magi. His proximity didn’t seemingly faze her, simply watching him impassively with dull eyes. “Magi in the service of Udonis surrendered, and we’re supposed to take her word?” Tal immediately didn’t like the tone to Jake’s voice, although he wasn’t entirely sure what about it was doing that. It was too neutral for the hot-blooded man. “Then she won’t put up a fight.” He gripped her head quickly, and made to twist.

Iraia’s head barely turned at all, still staring calmly at Jake as if what he wasn’t trying to snap her neck. But for all her passiveness, Tal was not; immediately slamming his hand on Jake’s wrist and hissing through his teeth. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Jake took his own wrist, and squeezed hard enough to make Tal let go, staring blankly back at him.

“I’m ending a possible threat before it becomes one. I will not allow your empathy to allow an enemy to stab us in the back.” Tal straightened to his full height, ignoring his arm trapped in the lock as he glared down his nose at his companion.

“I’m not about to let you kill someone who’s already given up.”

‘Tal…’ Darren cautioned, clearly unsettled by the rising hostility between the two men. He was ignored, as Tal ground out a warning.

“Back. Down.” There was a brief pause, as Jake looked to the magi, then back up to Tal. For a moment, it seemed like he might actually comply.

“I don’t have time for this.” Tal regretted getting his hopes up, as Jake whipped the massive man around with his enhanced strength before tossing him several yards with minimal effort. Tal hit the ground in a roll, managing to right himself and skid to a stop as his hand dug into the dirt. The vagabond could see the arms on the man beginning to bulge with power, and knew Jake was going to put more effort into killing Iraia.

‘We’re going to fight Jake over an enemy, Tal?’ Darren asked calmly, as the manipulator drew closer to his target. ‘This will just make us weaker.’ Tal’s feet dug into the dirt, and with a grunt of exertion, he broke into a sprint as fast as his battered frame would go. ‘This is not going to end well.’

His heavy strides thundered loudly as he closed the gap between him and Jake, who turned just in time to catch the massive tackle from Tal’s shoulder straight to the gut. Using the momentum, Tal carried the stunned man for several feet before coming to a halt and letting the momentum toss Jake through the dirt. Heaving a heavy breath, Tal narrowed his eyes as he slammed his foot into the ground much like Darren always did in warning, planting himself between his ally and his former-opponent. ‘We’re not going to let him by. No matter what.’ He instructed, feeling Darren lumber behind him to form a second wall for Jake to pass.

Iraia peered slightly around the creature’s massive girth, eagerly watching the fight unfolding before her and over her no less. Jake rose from the ground, visibly unphased save for a few stains of dirt along his battered clothing, watching the three calmly for a moment. “You chose this fight, Tal.” There was no emotion to the man’s voice, which just continued to send warning signs up in Tal’s mind. Jake had always been a rather noisy fighter, hadn’t he?

“You’re damn right I did.” He replied, spreading himself out in a low stance. He’d seen Jake fight a little, and he always tried to close on his opponents quickly. A charge was something Tal was more than equipped to handle. “And you’re out of your damn mind if you think you’re going to get even one step past me.” I
He tried not to show it as the man slowly approached, eyes glowing with essence as he flexed experimentally, but the vagabond knew full well he was staring down something perhaps beyond him. Jake was stronger, and could easily damage Tal massively with one solid punch.

Once the man had closed to striking distance, Tal braced for what he knew would be a devastating hit. The fake jab caught him off guard, and it’s follow up to his already battered sides made him hiss in pain and bend slightly. Jake took the chance to grip his neck, before ramming a knee into the weakened center of his armour. The blow took the air from his lungs momentarily, but Tal retaliated with a heavy strike to Jake’s stomach. Un-armoured, it did enough to loosen Jake’s grip and Tal jerked his head free of the headlock and took a fistful of his collar. He reared back for but a moment, before slamming his head forward.

His thick skull slammed into Jake’s and Tal followed through on the hit to drive Jake straight to the ground; taking advantage of his momentary stunning to take a step back to avoid an easy counter. “That knock some sense back into your skull?” Baiting the powerhouse wasn’t a great idea, but tiring him out was likely Tal’s only option at winning. As soon as Jake was standing, he raced forward like a wrecking ball.

This was how Tal preferred it though, digging his heels in as Jake drove him back further and further with gouges digging into the earth from the force of the charge. He gave no ground easily, and Jake began to unload a blistering salvo of punches to his lower torso to gain more ground on the vagabond. The punches began to increase in strength, forcing Tal to retaliate instead of enduring. Catching one of the arms mid swing, he turned with the momentum to slingshot Jake out, and then brought him back in with a sharp pull into a head butt.

The impact laid the man out for a few moments, and Tal grabbed his collar to haul him back to where he‘d started his charge and dumped him stiffly. There were no words of anger from Jake, simply rising once more to face off again with calm precision. Like a calculating machine, the approach changed once more, fighting Tal conventionally with heavy strikes from his fists that could only be blocked so much by his one lone arm. Several hits landed, drawing more blood from his shattered nose, and the momentary stun was used to batter his chest plate even more than it already was. Before he could muster a defence, a savage haymaker collided with his jaw and dropping him down to a knee.

The knee came without warning, making his teeth ring from the impact but his thick skull endured the hit with minimal difficulty. Against Jake’s expectations, he barely budged from the force, quickly stepping up as fast as his titanic frame could and caught one of the lashing arms to pivot his weight and throw Jake over his shoulder. He didn’t let up, striking his comrade in the face several times before once more hauling him back to the starting point.

As they stared each other down once more, Tal panted heavily from the exertion this fight was forcing upon him. Jake couldn’t be much better, but the man gave no outward signs as he once more broke into a charge. Tal geared forward to take the charge head on, but found himself unprepared for the sweeping upward blow into his stomach that caused him to double over the limb as Jake used his momentum to roll over his back. Shifting on his feet, the summoner turned after the manipulator, only to feel the feet press on his chest for a split second.

Jake’s massive strength launched him like a cannon, sending him sailing through the air in a tumbling ball of flailing limbs that crashed painfully through the earth. His head rang dully as he fumbled dully for purchase with his legs and arm; hearing Darren’s charge but unable to pinpoint his summon as his vision swam. His fingers dug into the soft dirt, tightening into a fist before pushing off the limb to wobble up to his feet.

With dancing visions of Jake beginning to hoist his summon from the ground, Tal hobbled forward almost drunkenly, struggling to keep his feet beneath him at first but growing more stable with each stride towards the fight. Drawing up a surge of strength, Tal willed a long limb of ash as he pushed his legs harder to close the distance. Jake was close to flipping the rhino onto its back when the great grey limb snared his collar and Tal hauled the man from his feet and threw him with a near reckless abandon.

The arm fell into nothing quickly, Tal staring after Jake as Darren landed thunderously back on his feet and stood firmly behind his summoner. Moments later, Eri and T’yang flanked his sides, forming a wall between Jake and his intended target. Arashi swooped in as well, providing a defiant screech that spoke clear of his intentions.

It was a tense stare down but before long, Jake brushed himself off and turned away with a cold statement. “So be it. I hope you can sleep soundly at night when she ends up stabbing you in the chest.”

‘Unlikely…she uses a fist weapon.’ He mentally retorted, falling back on his haunches with a heavy groan. Eri looked at him with some degree of relief and concerned curiosity, and the vagabond offered a light lopsided grin.

“You mind explaining what in the Goddess’ name just happened?”

“Man talk, probably.” He fiddled with his nose for a moment, before deciding to just ignore the mangled cartilage for the time being. He glanced back past Darren to Iraia, who approached lightly and stared down at him. “You’re fine, yea-Goddess, where the hell is your shirt?!” She looked down for a moment, before finding the battered cloak from his pauldron stuffed into her hands. “Never mind, use that.”

She took it sceptically, but after a moment of looking between the garment and him, draped it over her shoulders and fastened it around her neck. “I…thank you?” She offered uncertainly, but he waved a hand dismissively.

“Don’t mention it. We should…” He looked towards the memorial, then at the others. “We should catch up to the Monks and Jake. Udonis isn’t going to wait for us to get ourselves ready.” He shared a look with Darren, before sparing one last glance at Iraia. “And you’re…not going to intervene..?”

“The stronger must be decided. I’m curious to see who shall be strongest.” Came her reply, and the magi shifted onto the back of her feet lightly. “I neither gain nor lose in either outcome. No point for me to fight.” There was no reason to trust her, but at this point, he’d already brawled Jake to save the woman, so he figured he might as well take her word at face value.

“Alright then.” Sucking in a deep breath, Tal set his eyes on the memorial and started forward with Darren close behind. “Let’s go take on a god, shall we?” He called to T’yang and Eri, offering a confident back at them. He didn’t feel it, but they would all need it. For all their struggles, and the intensity of the battles they’d just fought, what was to come would dwarf them all.

Wiping the blood from his nose one final time, Tal trudged on.[/i][/i]
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Loki on Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:36 pm

“Loki…where are you?”

Upon hearing his name, Loki moved in to brace Raewyn so she didn’t collapse on the hard floor even from her seated position. He drew in a breath that he had been unaware he was holding. Without having any way to join in or even see the battle take place, all he could do was watch in growing unease as strain began to show in her expression and blood began to trickle from her nose. When the signs of mental exertion finally subsided from her appearance, anxiety transitioned to excitement, then back to dread as for several long minutes she hadn’t recovered from her trance and her breathing looked labored and he feared he was watching her final moments.

“I’m here. Are you okay?”

"Yes. I'm alrght. It's over." Raewyn shivered, her clammy skin now felt cold after the intense mental effort. "Maeve is..she's dead." In spite of all the DreamWalker had put them through, the Magi's death weighed heavily on Raewyn's mind.

Raewyn slowly eased herself back onto her knees, feeling stiff and battered from the strain of it all. "We have to help Lucient and Borri. They can't handle Udonis alone. We all have to be there." The former goddess turned her head toward the eerily silent exterior of the sanctuary. "I think they're all OK. But, it's hard to focus now."

Footsteps began resonating on the hard stone floor at the entrance of the hall and Loki looked up ready to square off against a Magi only to feel a rush of relief to see it was Jake who was walking towards them.

“Jake! Is the fighting done out there? Is everybody okay?”

With little more than an emotionless glance towards Raewyn, he continued past them heading deeper into the temple. “Hold on, where are the others? Jake?” A pit formed in Loki’s stomach as Jake’s cold and uncaring demeanor caused him to fear the worst. Had the others not made it out of that mess alive? He recalled that violent twister and how fortunate he was to avoid getting pulled into its deadly embrace; had it not been for his wings he was confident both he and Raewyn would not be alive at this moment. Loki stood there for what felt like an eternity though no more than a minute could have passed as he debated joining Jake or seeing the havoc outside for himself.

It was the sound of several sets of footfalls coming from the entrance that finally snapped him out of his introspection. There was an instant of disbelief when he saw the others approaching, making him wonder that he had truly lost it only to shake off that notion. They all looked battered, bruised, and fatigued, but they were all moving under their own power. That sight in of itself removed the burden of dread from his shoulders. “Jake already went ahead. He knows this isn’t the sort of fight he can just charge headlong into like usual, right?” The question was a rhetorical one, figuring that nobody could truly get inside Jake’s mind to understand his thought processes; particularly when battle was in order.

Together they moved deeper into the temple, side-stepping the bodies of fallen soldiers until they came across an antechamber. The high walls and columns there were adorned with elaborate glyphs that were both aesthetically pleasing and entirely indecipherable as far as Loki could tell. He took a moment to allow his gaze to linger on a nearby column as he passed by and noticed that they appeared to have been engraved into the stonework rather than printed upon them. The precision of their crafting suggested that it might not have been done by hand. The antechamber itself was large enough to house a small army, which was appropriate all things considered, and given the stockpiles of crates it seemed to be the intention. Some were already open revealing food and water rations as well as Essence cells for the soldiers’ weapons. Loki grabbed two of the water flasks and handed one to Raewyn, figuring from her parched lips that she could use it.

At the opposing end of the antechamber was another tunnel, this one with a lower ceiling and another set of heavy looking doors that were yawning open. The sounds of fighting could now be heard and the light at the end of the tunnel looked as brilliant as daylight in comparison to the torches lining the walls leading there. A lone silhouette stood at the end of that corridor and cursory glance over his shoulder identified him as Jake. That in of itself was a little unnerving to Loki. Normally he would have expected the man to jump into the fray as soon as he could so he could soak up every moment of the fight. Were things really so bad that even Jake hesitated?

Once they reached the mouth of the corridor, it was clear that things certainly weren’t going well. Borri and his enflamed jūmonji yari was harassing Udonis while also doing his best to keep his massive summon at bay. Lucient lay off to the side in a pool of blood; his body bisected from the shoulder to the opposing hip. Udonis looked almost gleeful as he gracefully danced around the monk, dark crystalline rapier flicking and parrying his opponent’s assaults. His vestments, as ornate and lavish as one would expect from somebody who perceived themselves as a deity, bore several charred slashes where either the blade got close enough to singe them or outright landed only to be healed. Meanwhile, Borri’s armor bore several cuts and was even missing a few armored plates. His movements seemed to favor his right side and whenever he lifted his arm to strike it would be easy to see the steady rivulet of blood flowing from a gap in his armor.

The massive round room itself offered little in the way of cover. In the center of the room was a circular platform of ivory marble laced with gold large enough to fit most houses Loki has seen, raised only a few inches from the onyx cobbled ground. Between the massive expanses of space between the doorway and the center of the room was a ring of columns of the same glassy black stone as the floor, each on the scale of size that was seen in the trees of the Leyline and bearing similar glyphs as seen in the antechamber. Far above was a dome as brilliant and white as daylight, which actually seemed to be the source of the room’s illumination. Loki made a mental note that flying was more than a viable option given the proportions of the room. A part of him actually felt guilty for the violence that was taking place in such an awe inspiring structure.

It didn’t take Loki more than a handful of seconds to survey the situation and surroundings, but apparently that was all it took for Udonis to make his move against the monk. He parried in such a way that left him wide open for attack, something that Borri seemed to have anticipated and exploited by burying the blade of his fiery polearm to the crossguard. With a sinister snarl of both agony and glee, Udonis held the shaft of the weapon, preventing the monk from withdrawing it for a crucial moment. The group could only look in horror as a still fresh memory repeated itself before their eyes as the shadowy summon stepped up behind the monk as with blade ready to strike.

“Behind you!” Loki’s lips had worked on their own accord, not bothering to check with his mind regarding the importance of strategy and concealment. The warning had given the monk the precious second he needed to release his hold on his weapon and turn to face the creature already drawing the sword at his hip in an attempt to deflect the attack. Before he could fully clear his blade from its scabbard, Udonis threw his hand forward as a bolt of nearly-transparent blue light surged forth and struck the monk like a battering ram in the center of his back throwing off his balance and sending him forth to meet the summon’s blade. The large sword slid clean through the plates of heavy leather armor and skewered yet another monk through the abdomen. Transfixed as he was, Borri still finished drawing his short blade and drew it back intent on returning the favor by embedding it through the beasts’ eye.

That was until the tip of a dark slender sword burst through the crest on Borri’s helmet. “There will be none of that.” Udonis’ tone was more than condescending as he withdrew his rapier from the little gap beneath the back of the monk’s helmet in a swift motion; an angle afforded him by the way his summon lifted its adversary upon impaling the monk. Borri’s sword clattered to the ground with a finite chime as Udonis turned to face the group and Loki noticed that the wound on his torso was just now starting to completely regenerate. He couldn’t be sure if it was because of the cauterizing effects the super-heated blade had or if he was genuinely starting to run out of steam, but the wound definitely took longer to heal than he had expected.

Lord Udonis actually looked annoyed once he identified who stood there opposing him. “You survive the refinery only to throw your lives away here? It would have been in your best interest to have accepted your fate then, at least it would have been instantaneous and relatively painless.” There was a heavy thud on the ground as Vox cleared the deceased monk from his blade with all the ceremony one held for clearing an unwanted meal into the garbage from one’s plate. The large summon stepped to its master’s side and let out a deep bellow of warning to the newcomers.

Loki could feel the rage within him pressing against his temperance, straining it to its limits. He was not sure when he had called upon his blade, but when he clenched his fist he found himself gripping onto the hilt of his sword that was already aglow with searing Essence. It was all he could do to satiate himself with clenching his teeth and keeping a white-knuckled grip on his weapon. All the pain, suffering, and death Udonis had inflicted upon the world and its inhabitants would be returned ten-fold, he would personally see to that.

”Wait a moment… Is that you, Loki? My, you’ve certainly grown up quick; I almost didn’t recognized you. I didn’t think I’d have a chance to express my gratitude for making all this possible with your generous donation of Essence. It allowed me to expedite my plans by months and saved me from having to endure all sorts of headaches. I genuinely mean it from the bottom of my heart; thank you.”

With that claim of being an accessory to his wickedness, the walls of composure holding back those volatile emotions shattered. Before his mind was aware of what was happening Loki was already in flight and gaining as much speed as his wings could muster, both hands with an iron-tight grip on the hilt of his crystalline bastard sword, and roaring out a savage battle cry. The last time he had performed an attack like this he had bypassed a dragon’s armored hide and nearly dealt it a mortal blow. This time he was intent on seeing what it would do to unprotected flesh.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Digital Muse on Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:24 pm

After the odd confrontation with Jake over the fate of the Mage Tal had been battling, T’yang watched the unusually surly brawler stalk towards the Sanctuary. She shared a look with Eri and Tal and the big man sucked in a deep breath. “Alright then.”  Tal set his eyes on the memorial and started forward with Darren close behind. “Let’s go take on a god, shall we?” He called to T’yang and Eri, offering a confident back at them. He didn’t feel it, but they would all need it. For all their struggles, and the intensity of the battles they’d just fought, what was to come would dwarf them all.

T’yang would have smiled under other circumstances, but not today. She started forward in step with Eri trying to formulate some kind of a plan. Just inside the entrance of the Sanctuary, they found Raewyn and Loki unharmed, although Raewyn looked exhausted and somewhat haunted. She offered them a smile and let Eri have a moment with Loki before ushering them further into the Sanctuary. Raewyn glanced toward the interior, “What happened? Why was Jake so…angry or …something. He didn’t even stop to talk to us.”  T’yang could only shrug, “This fight has taken its toll on all of us, Raewyn. He may simply be at the end of his patience.”  Loki’s question about Jake’s usual strategy of simply charging head-long into combat wouldn’t work here but she didn’t want to voice that at the moment.

As the rest of the group moved to catch up with Jake, T’yang kept a gentle hand on Raewyn’s shoulder, though she couldn’t tell if it helped the girl or not. Arriving in the antechamber, T’yang recognized the colonnaded room from tapestries hanging in the Temple. She’d never known what the beautiful tapestries depicted until now. At the far side of the massive Antechamber, was another hallway that lead to an opening with massive doors that yawned open. In the opening, Jake stood, apparently watching something. T’yang hurried the others through the Antechamber to join Jake and they arrived just in time to see Lucient already dead and Borri was set upon by both Udonis and his massive Summon, Vox.

If T’yang had time to appreciate the beauty of the massive room with the circular platform in the middle, she might have recognized it as well from various tapestries she’d seen while she was at the Temple. But, instead she saw a repeat of the same scenario that had ended Tsume’s life. Udonis kept Borri’s polearm buried in his own chest while Vox stepped in for the death stroke. Loki also saw history repeating itself and shouted a warning to the monk buying him precious seconds to release his weapon and turn to counter the Summon’s attack. Unfortunately, he had not reckoned with Udonis’ regenerative powers and a bolt of pale blue light slammed into Borri’s back sending him stumbling forward to be impaled on Vox’s blade.

T’yang drew a sharp breath and watched as Borri’s attempt to strike a blow even as he dies was thwarted by Udonis’ black rapier through his skull.

When Udonis turned to face them, he looked no more than annoyed at their presence¬¬¬. “You survive the refinery only to throw your lives away here? It would have been in your best interest to have accepted your fate then, at least it would have been instantaneous and relatively painless.” As if to taunt them further, Udonis addressed Loki condescendingly. ”Wait a moment… Is that you, Loki? My, you’ve certainly grown up quick; I almost didn’t recognized you. I didn’t think I’d have a chance to express my gratitude for making all this possible with your generous donation of Essence. It allowed me to expedite my plans by months and saved me from having to endure all sorts of headaches. I genuinely mean it from the bottom of my heart; thank you.”

Before T’yang could stop him, the boy gave into his rage and was in flight almost halfway to Udonis before she could react. No! T’yang thought. He will not die this way! Throwing her hand out, shadows sped from every corner of the large room and engulfed Loki in mid-flight. The momentum he had built up had been tremendous and it took a monumental effort to stop his progress. As soon as she had control, she speedily drew the boy back to the group to prevent Udonis from taking advantage of his immobility. Dropping Loki near Eri, she thought fast.

“Tal. Jake. You are the strongest of us. You take Vox. Kill it if you can, it will weaken Udonis. He must have been battling the monks all this time, so he may be low on Essence. Do not allow the beast to interfere with us.” She turned her head to catch Eri and Loki’s eye. “We must deal with Udonis. Use as little Essence as you can. We shall take turns and harry him.” Glancing to Arashi, she smiled. “You do what you do best, run interference. Keep him off guard should any of us falter.” A more stern look fell over her face when she looked to Loki. “You need to be calm and think. I know it is hard. But now is not the time to give in to your rage and hatred. You will also have to help Eri and I replenish our Essence use if you can. The fresher we are, the better we can all fight him.” Finally, T’yang’s eyes rested on Raewyn. “Raewyn, if you have anything left, you need to interfere with the mental link between Udonis and Vox. Without it, they cannot coordinate and we have a better chance of fighting them and killing them. Can you do it?”

Raewyn caught her lower lip in her teeth and nodded sharply. “Yes. I’ll manage.”

She addressed the group once more. “Whatever he was planning here in this place must be a ritual of some kind. We have to stop him at all costs.” She gave each of them a nod. “For all you hold dear.”

With that, T’yang withdrew the war fans from her sash and snapped them open. She wove a soft whirling pattern of movements with them as she approached Udonis. He merely smiled a predatory grin. “Come to die, T’yang? Really, if you had wished to meet your end, you might have saved us all the trouble and given up in the refinery along with everyone else.”

T’yang simply watched Udonis’ body movements with an impassive face. She had never seen the man in combat and had no intentions of taking him for granted. Even without Vox to back him, she was certain he was incredibly dangerous. She would remember his willingness to take a mortal wound because of his regeneration and resolved to remove the man’s head at the first opportunity. She should have warned Eri not to try to hold her blade if Udonis tried to keep hold of it, but she had to trust the girl and Arashi.

“No words for your betters? I’m disappointed. But, then, you were the least talkative of them all. But, just as large an ego as the rest of them. And look where that’s brought you. Within arm’s reach of the end of the old way and you can do nothing to stop it.”

Still T’yang did not  speak, but neither was she willing to allow the man rest, even for a moment. Once Tal and Jake had drawn the Summon away, T’yang slipped inside the guard of Udonis’ black rapier and slashed at him with the sharpened edge of her fans. The heretic god proved to be far more nimble that she’d expected and he gracefully danced out of her reach He remained in a lazy, negligent stance, grinning at her.

“Come along then. Let’s see if you’re as good as the stories they told me about you.” The wolfish smile never left his lips and he danced forward sharply, the point of his rapier snaking out to cut along her neck and shoulder. Only the sudden flickering movement of her fans kept the wicked blade from doing any real harm.  “Tsk. Really now. You can’t tell me Arina has tired you that much.” Udonis looked at T’yangs clothing, “Although, she does seem to have done a significant amount of damage.” He and T’yang circled one another, watching one another’s movements. “I wonder. Is she dead?” He didn’t sound like he cared one way or another.

T’yang shook her head. “No. But you are alone. Your allies are dead or out of the battle. Soon, you and your beast will be little more than a story told to children that misbehave.” Suddenly sweeping low, T’yang whirled and swept at Udonis’ legs with an outstretched leg. He stumbled, but managed to gain enough space to avoid more than a slight gash to his chest from T’yang’s fans. Slowly, the wound disappeared. As did his grin.

T’yang did not give the would-be god any time to get set. She attacked in a flurry of whirling fan blades, kicks and punches. Despite his best efforts, the slender rapier was met time and again by the broad shield of T’yang’s war fans. Once or twice it penetrated her defense, but he had to withdraw it quickly to prevent it from becoming ensnared in the fans themselves. “You don’t think you’re a match for me!” Growling ferociously, Udonis pushed outward with his left hand and a thin blue bolt of energy slammed into T’yang’s chest and sent her skittering back along the marble floor and took her breath away.

T’yang leapt to her feet and with an open palm she swept her hand left to right and a force of pure darkness smashed into Udonis throwing him across the platform to smash hard into a column. “I am not. But, we are.”
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Silvan Arrow on Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:06 am

Despite Tal’s attempt at lightening the mood, Eri couldn’t shake the sense of dread over what had just happened. She stared after Jake’s back for a moment, carefully masking any emotion on her face that might betray the secret she still guarded. Luckily, the Magi that Tal and Darren had fought made for a convenient distraction. Practically naked save for Tal’s cloak, she regarded the group with an impassive stare. Eri took a cautious step forward with Arashi flanking her and raised an eyebrow.

“I take it we’re not going to have any trouble from you?” She didn’t trust this wild woman at all, but if Tal had been willing to brawl Jake to the death to protect her, he must have known somehow that her presence would not endanger the Goddess. She wasn’t going to count on the Magi as an ally, but as long as she didn’t attack any of the group, Eri was content to ignore her.

“You are uncertain, and yet you stepped to my defense.”

Eri blinked once in stunned shock and gave a humorless laugh at that logic. “Correction. I stepped to Tal’s defense. I don’t know you, but I trust him. For now, that’s enough.” She turned and stepped forward alongside T’yang in silence. The other woman seemed lost in thought, her expression carefully calculating. Arashi followed alongside, walking as gracefully as he could manage for the sake of keeping a low profile.

To Eri’s utter relief, they found Loki and Raewyn sheltered just inside the entrance to the Sanctuary. “Jake already went ahead. He knows this isn’t the sort of fight he can just charge headlong into like usual, right?” Loki asked, clearly confused at their comrade’s unusual behavior.

Noting Raewyn’s exhausted expression, Eri didn’t make her waste energy in idle conversation but instead approached Loki with a small smile and a clap on the shoulder. She really hadn’t had the chance until now to stop and actually process how the incident at the refinery had changed him. She had grown so accustomed to the younger, somewhat naive boy who had looked up to her, both figuratively and literally. Now he towered a head taller than her, and she was by no means short, giving her hand-on-shoulder gesture an almost comical appearance.

“Jake knows what he’s doing,” was all Eri offered in answer to Loki’s question. She had to work to keep a straight face simply saying his name without arousing suspicion. “I’m relieved to see the both of you in one piece. What happened when you tried to go back for help?”

Loki recounted his hurried flight back to the portal to discover that it had dissolved, Eri’s expression growing steadily more grim. They couldn’t count on any outside help unless Adina could open another portal. She gave Loki’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze, as much for her sake as his. “We’ve made it this far without outside help. We’ll just have to do so one more time and trust that the monks can hold the Temple until then.” Brave words, but she didn’t feel as confident as she sounded. Udonis’ ploy had worked like a charm. Thanks to his Magi, they were all wounded and nearly drained of Essence. How could they hope to survive against a heretic god? Arashi wordlessly draped his head over Eri’s shoulder and cooed soothingly, and Eri cupped his face against her cheek for a moment before moving forward with the others.

Passing over the bodies of dead soldiers, they came to the end of a tunnel where Jake waited at the entrance of an impressive antechamber. Eri took in the ornate construction, the towering ceilings that would allow for flight, and central platform only momentarily before she froze in horror and watched Tsume die all over again in the form of Borri. They were already too late to save Lucient and could only watch helplessly as the same underhanded tricks took Borri’s life as well. Eri’s fists clenched white around the hilt of her summoned sword, which leapt to her hand in fury. She hissed at Loki to hush when he tried calling to the doomed monk, but they would have lost the element of surprise soon enough anyway. Perhaps Udonis had already sensed them and wanted to make Borri’s death a spectacle for them.

Either way, it was positively sickening.

Even more sickening was how Udonis taunted Eri’s student and tried to lay the blame for his evils on a young boy’s shoulders. “I didn’t think I’d have a chance to express my gratitude for making all this possible with your generous donation of Essence. It allowed me to expedite my plans by months and saved me from having to endure all sorts of headaches. I genuinely make it from the bottom of my heart; thank you.”

Before Eri could react, Loki completely lost control and launched himself across the field toward Udonis with a savage cry. “Loki! No!” Eri shouted as she took off in pursuit, but she had no chance of catching up with his rage-induced flight. Then shadows, blessed shadows, snaked from every dark corner of the room, and Eri back-winged sharply as T’yang snatched Loki from the air and dropped him down beside her. He instantly tried to lurch forward again, but Eri planted a firm hand on his chest to hold him back. Granted, he could have brute-forced his way through, but the gesture alone was enough to give him pause.

While T’yang rapped out orders to Tal and Jake, Eri spoke in a hushed undertone, sternly meeting her student’s eyes. “Stop. This is exactly what Udonis wants. Take a deep breath and control yourself. He will die, but we must not act reckless.” T’yang turned to them and Arashi and explained the rest of the plan, and Eri nodded in response. “Understood.”

“Whatever he was planning here in this place must be a ritual of some kind. We have to stop him at all costs.” T’yang addressed them each in turn. “For all you hold dear.”

T’yang charged Udonis first in a whirl of sweeping war fans and graceful movements that belied her deadly intentions. Eri sent Arashi up to circle high above the battlefield while Tal and Jake engaged Vox. That left her with Loki and Raewyn, and she addressed them both in a hurried whisper. “I’m going to circle and come at him from behind while T’yang has him distracted. Loki, guard Raewyn for now. Wait for me to draw my second blade, and we’ll tag-team him. Be ready to restore our Essence any chance you get.”

That said, Eri waited until she saw Udonis’ back, and then she slipped off to the side. She moved along the perimeter of the battlefield, keeping to the shadows and hiding behind the pillars as much as possible. By the time she reached the opposite side, Udonis was beginning to lose his overconfident composure as T’yang continually kept him at bay. “You don’t think you’re a match for me!” Blue energy arced from his left hand and sent T’yang flying.

The woman quickly regained her feet and summoned a shadow to smash Udonis into a column. “I am not. But, we are.”

As if on cue, Eri wordlessly flew from the shadows, black wings outspread menacingly, and aimed her blade for his more vulnerable left side. With incredible reflexes, Udonis parried with his rapier while he leaped to his feet and followed up with another bolt of blue energy that sent Eri diving to the floor and rolling to dodge.

“Quite the dirty tactic, young lady,” Udonis chided in a mocking imitation of a grandfather. “You would attack an old man from behind while he’s down?”

Eri rolled to her feet and assumed a defensive stance. “You’re not worthy of honor after all the people you’ve murdered,” she growled. She and Udonis circled each other warily in an almost predatory fashion before charging in unison to meet in a clash of black steel and purple Essence. No more games with trying to close in on long-distance fighters. Close combat had always been Eri’s strength, and now she reveled in the dance of blade on blade, of two opponents sliding within inches of razor-sharp death. Only this time, instead of the training matches she had fought with her father and used to train Loki, she fought to kill. Udonis would receive no honor, no formal rules of engagement that even the most soul-stained duelists followed.

But where Eri was fast, Udonis was faster. The lightweight nimbleness of his rapier, coupled with decades of experience, forced Eri back inch by agonizing inch. She borrowed Arashi’s sight and looked out from crystal blue eyes to simply match his blistering pace. She could not best him one-on-one, but luckily she didn’t have to.

Arashi, now!’ came the mental command. The white eagle melted out of the shadows above, talons outspread and beak open in a soundless war cry as he dive-bombed Udonis. He broke away from Eri and rolled, missing Arashi’s lethal talons by inches, and followed up with a bolt of blue energy from each hand. One singed Eri’s armored torso and sent her to her knees with a grunt of pain, while the other struck Arashi in the wing and elicited a screech of pain and a cloud of feathers. Using what little Essence she had left, Eri sent a wind blade rocketing toward Udonis to take the heat off Arashi and give him time to clumsily retreat to the air and regroup. ‘You okay?!’ she asked worriedly.

I will manage, came the terse response. The burn of singed feathers and skin echoed faintly across their mental link, but Eri didn’t have the Essence to summon and re-summon Arashi. She would have to wait for a chance for Loki to refuel her.

She didn’t wait for the dust to settle from her wind blade but instead rocketed toward Udonis again, trying to find an opening in his defense. Once again, she steadily retreated backward as Udonis’ more nimble rapier set the pace over Eri’s heavier blade. She didn’t have to defeat him here and now, she told herself. Just keep harrying him and chip at his Essence bit by bit until he could no longer regenerate, then go in for the kill. Still using Arashi’s eyes, she noted the subtle twitch of Udonis’ left hand and ducked her head just before he fired off another bolt of energy that would have nailed her between the eyes.

That was the opening she needed. Reaching across with her left hand, she drew her father’s sword, summoning enough Essence to reinforce the damaged blade in a sheath of crystalline purple. She sliced at his extended arm and was pleased to see the blade come away slick with red blood. Udonis’ confident smirk faltered only slightly as the gash quickly regenerated.

‘Now, Loki!’ she thought, feeling the surge of Essence behind her in response to her signal. Now was the time to see if their training had paid off.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by quakernuts on Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:26 pm

In the face of absolute power.

What you do determines who you are.

Do you run?  Hoping that the power will never reach you yet knowing it is inevitable?  Then you are a coward.

Do you join it?  Hoping that the power doesn't see you as useless yet knowing it is inevitable?  Then you are a weakling.

Or do you fight?  Hoping that through some act or miracle of God that you can somehow overcome this power.

This power filled with so much certainty of absolution that it occupies the room with dread, despair, jealousy, envy and fear all at the same time.

This power so concentrated and controlled that should it spend more than a second observing you, your very soul would be corrupted.

Then you are a Fool.

Jake witnessed the entirety of the fight with a mixture of emotions, although he bet they varied slightly from his compatriots.  Yes, slight fear and anger was there, but in it's place was awe, admiration, and more than a slight twinge of jealousy.  Here stood a man with more power than any known being in the world, something that Jake could only hope to aspire to.  He glanced back at his comrades, knowing full well what they wanted to do, and to be perfectly honest, he was with them.

He knew Udonis would never share his power, let alone give it up.  He knew that he couldn't serve the man, after all he had been fighting to stop him the entire time.  He couldn't run because he doubted it would take the man long to find him even if he had a way out.  There was only one real option, one suicidal path that lead to sadness and tears for everyone involved.  Jake gritted his teeth as once more, his choices were locked to him, forcing him to do something that he wasn't entirely sure he even wanted to do.

However, despite the man's obvious power, Jake couldn't help but roll his eyes as the man started reciting a monologue before he quickly found the hypocrite himself and stopped.  When he started crediting Loki for his donation of Essence, Jake looked over with a very bored look that spoke volumes of what he thought of the idea.  This, along with the fact that he knew what was coming next, he could have had all the emotion of a man reading bingo numbers.  Loki took off into the air, and T'yang pulled him back using her shadows before spouting orders.  Jake simply looked to the two beings in front of them.

T'yang wasn't in charge of him, but he had already been sizing up Vox.  Udonis was a quick, agile fighter much like David.  The difference being that Udonis was a master at what he did, along with the fact that his mix of powers made him dangerous at everything put Jake at a disadvantage.  He didn't have a weapon, he didn't have armour, and his main method of pain deliverance relied on getting close and staying close.  Vox on the other hand would have a style much like Jake's own, save for an extended reach with a sword that looked like it was compensating for something.

Jake strode forward, his gaze never leaving Vox save for a cursory glance at his side when Tal appeared there.  "Stay back old man, you'll only get in my way."

"I was thinking of getting in his.  Since that's what I'm good at."  Tal gave a grin.  "You would know, eh?"  Jake looked over at the man for a split second.

"Let me put this a different way...Tal.  I will not allow you to get in my way.  Keep up, step out, or drop down."  Jake stated, his level voice carrying the threat far further than an angry yelling ever could.

"Your concern is touching, but, honestly?" Tal grinned wider. "There ain't a damn thing you could do to make me."  Jake stared at him for a moment, his eyes staring at the man and delivering the message of 'Yes there is' without words ever being spoken as the two of them started towards Vox.  As the giant summon swung his sword as menacingly as he could, Jake's obvious lack of weapons made him more cautious than he normally would have been.  

As the two men got closer, Vox stepped down from his high pedestal with enough of a clatter that the very room shook around them, or it could have seemed that way anyways.  This was a being that was made by what appeared to be pure darkness, and had already killed a number of their own troop.  Jake tried not to equate the being to himself, knowing that he was fighting a losing battle in that regard.

Jake knew this summon played to strength over anything else, and his incredibly large sword was faster than one would assume.  Vox would match Jake in brawn, and possibly speed if he wasn't careful.  Vox was bigger and not even physically real.  Even if they killed him, he would still be alive so long as Udonis remained upright, which made this fight almost pointless if it weren't for the fact that killing Vox would weaken Udonis.  So, what was the strategy?  Jake had no weapons, no armour, and a one armed man claiming to be his backup.  Not exactly the best of odds.

Using what little remained in his essence reserves, he pumped it into his strength and reflexes respectively.  He had to get a weapon, and the monks weren't using theirs anytime soon.  A decision, a polearm or chains?  The chains wouldn't have the edge needed to inflict deep wounds, but he had used them before in the refinery.  It would be familiar, and familiar might just keep him alive.

Jake took off in a jog, quickly climbing into a sprint as he left Tal behind him with little to no regard to his person.  Vox lifted his sword with both his hands, and as Jake got into range, swung horizontally at him with enough force to level a platoon of soldiers.  Jake saw the attack coming, and with essence pouring into his reflexes to counter Vox's surprising speed, hit the glistening ground fast enough to slide underneath the sword and end up at the summon's feet.  He clamored to his feet, delivering a kick to the back of the summon's knee, forcing it down on one leg.  A quick grab of the summon's head, and he brought it down backwards to slam the being's head down on the edge of the circular platform before climbing it himself.

Vox didn't remain down long, and almost as soon as Jake had taken that step to get up to the platform, Vox was swinging after him again, only to be delayed by a hammer sweeping in and knocking the sword from it's path.  Vox swept around, delivering a backhand that would have stopped the man cold if his head wasn’t as hard as the floor they were currently standing on.  Instead, Vox was surprised when the man not only withstood the backhand to the literal face, but also when his summon decided to try and gore him as well.  Darren came charging from behind Tal, lifting Vox up and onto the few inch high pedestal.  

By this time, Jake had reached the body of Lucient, quickly and unceremoniously flipping his body over to grab a hold of the chains that the man used for weapons.  With little regard for who the man was, what he did, or how blessed he was by thine creators Jake had ripped the man of his weapons and left the body as quickly as he had tossed it.  In the few seconds that it had taken Jake to secure the chains and wrap them around his arms, reminiscent of the foundry, Darren had been thrown across the room and fallen off the pedestal, and Tal was currently doing his best to dodge and deflect the blows from Vox.  The Summon was slowly and surely pushing the man back, hindered by his one arm and unable to keep up in speed and strength to the larger being.  

Vox got Tal down to one knee, slamming on his hammer as he surprisingly withstood the barrage from Vox’s sword.  Jake swung his chains slightly to gain momentum before whipping them forward to catch the sword.  Unfortunately, they both got tangled in each other, but managed to smash directly into Vox’s face, ceasing the hammering of Tal.  As soon as Vox was hit, Tal pushed forward and bulldozed the being to the ground and making to smash his hammer into the Summon’s face.  

Vox gripped the man’s throat before he could bring the hammer down both figuratively and literally, before standing up and slamming the man into the ground once.  With a quick toss, he whipped Tal towards Jake, who simply side stepped to watch the man go by with nothing more than a cursory glance.  If he knew what was good for him, he would stand aside.  He might even survive the battle that way.  As Vox and Jake closed the distance between each other in a slight jog, Jake pulled the chains back and formed impromptu chain knuckles.  

Vox swung his sword, Jake sidestepped in time to see the weapon gouge a chunk of the floor an inch to his right before Vox landed a very solid punch on the man’s face, forcing him to the ground and scrambling to get up as the sword was raised again.  Jake brought up his arms, covered in chain and braced as the metal held strong and stopped the weapon from slicing him in half.  Vox made to punch Jake once more, his fist already in mid swing by the time Jake had turned from the block, but he was ready.  Jake grabbed the fist, throwing the Summon over his shoulder and onto the ground.  Vox was there less than a second as it rolled to it’s side, backing up slightly as Tal and Darren joined the fray once more.  

“Do you have an aversion to gravity, common sense, or both old man?”  Jake asked as Tal stood beside him, Darren flanking him on the other side.  The vagabond chuckled lightly, cracking his neck before glancing over.

“Says the man trying to fight that thing all by himself.” The rhino snorted roughly, seemingly in agreement with it’s master. “You’re talking some big game, kid, but you sure haven’t brought it yet.”  

Jake simply stared at the man for a split second, looking to Vox who was holding his sword in the ready position.  The man seemed like he was fishing for an emotional response that Jake wasn’t going to give him, or he was simply saying what was on his mind regardless of what the consequences would be.  Whichever one it was, it didn’t matter.  Jake was fighting a larger enemy with an ever dwindling supply of essence using a pair of weapons he was only marginally familiar with while a one armed vagabond with a hard skull and a belligerent rhino stood behind him.  

“Get the right.”  Was all Jake said as he bolted left, watching as Vox cocked his head to the side and his massive sword mirrored Jake’s movements to match his own.  As Tal and Darren started taking to the left, Vox slowly started backing up to gain space.  The Summon seemed calm if somewhat cautious now at the fact that they were attacking him at the same time.  If it was any consolation to the massive energy being, Jake didn’t like it either.  

After a wide enough run to put everyone more or less in a line, Jake launched himself at Vox, forcing the Summon to bear his sword to deflect the metal infused strength induced punches of the brawler.  Meanwhile, on his other side, Darren charged forward at Vox’s leg, intent on spearing it on his horn while Tal made to follow up with a massive swing of his hammer.  Vox was not easily cowed.  

His sword deflected Jake’s blows as he spun around, causing Darren to miss his leg.  Vox lunged forward suddenly, catching the summon with a knee and sending it sprawling to the ground.  Next he stepped inside Jake’s guard, causing Tal’s hammer to swing just shallow, skimming the dark energy that passed as Vox’s skin.  Jake was not expecting the sudden close in distance, and Vox thrust forward with his sword, catching the chains wrapped up on Jake’s arms.  With a quick flick, Jake was tossed across the pedestal.  Before Vox could turn around however, Tal’s hammer struck hard enough on the Summon’s side to cause a somewhat deep and eerie cry of pain from the summon before he swung his sword over top of his body, forcing Tal to quickly fall back or be sliced in two.  

Tal came to a skidding stop as Jake managed to right himself.  He was in pain by this point, the toll of the battles across the day finally catching up to him as he started realizing just how tired he was starting to feel.  He chalked most of that up to essence withdrawal as his reserves started to dwindle even with him trying not to use them as best he possibly could.  Vox assumed a wider stance, his sword held in both hands in front of him, but he was still in closing distance.  He was playing carefully, realizing it was a three on one, and not willing to instigate the fight just yet.  Jake pounded the ground once with his fist before getting up in a run.  

“Tal!  Brace!”  Jake yelled, giving the man exactly two seconds to respond.  Luckily he either clued in very quickly, or Darren saw what Jake was doing and warned Tal.  Either way, Tal prepped himself by stabilizing his position as Jake launched himself off the man’s back.  Out of the things that Vox had been prepping for, that was not one as he was unable to get his sword up in time to stop Jake’s fist from sailing into his face.  

Both Jake and the Summon crashed to the ground, Jake rolling slightly as he landed off kilter from the attack.  For the first time in the fight, Vox didn’t immediately get up, and was quickly set upon by Tal who landed hammer blow after hammer blow on the Summon’s face before a quick punch forced the man to stumble off the summon.  Vox was halfway through getting up when Darren ploughed into Vox with enough force to carry him a few feet.  Darren stopped and Vox rolled off the horn, leaving inky blood where he laid for a moment before pounding the ground with his sword with enough force to cause the Rhino to back up before standing on his own.  

Vox reached for his chest for a moment, bringing it down and letting the ink that passed for the Summon’s life fluids slowly pour onto the pedestal.  Vox let loose a howl, not unlike something that was drowning.  Jake didn’t even think the thing could grunt, let alone howl like a mad...thing.  There was distance, which gave Jake enough time to realize just how damn tired he was.  Even at the moment, the veins in his arms were receding, the residual wisps of essence fading from his eyes.  Try as he might, they had to finish this soon or Jake would simply not be able to keep up, he would be literally empty of energy.  

With what little he had left, and through a force of will, he pushed the rest of his essence into forming his black fire, which clung to the chain on his right hand.  Tal came up beside him, Darren close behind as the battered warriors spared each other only the briefest of glances. Ash swirled around the vagabond, as the fires crept further up the brawler’s chains. Nothing needed said. Both already understood.

Do or Die.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Loki on Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:52 pm

Loki’s vision tunneled as he rushed towards Udonis, more out of intense focus than speed, though the latter did play some part.  There was a flash of panic as darkness enveloped his vision entirely and he felt his speed sapped away just as quickly as if he had plunged into a wall of tar.  He did his best to thrash his way free of the shadowy prison even as he felt himself being redirected, but even the slightest motion to exceptional strength to achieve.  It wasn’t until the shadows pulled away from him and he dropped prone amongst his friends that he realized it had been T’yang who had stopped him rather than Udonis or Vox.

With a snarl of frustration, he jumped to his feet and took the first step that would renew his assault.  Before he could take the second step, a firm hand thumped into his chest causing him to falter long enough to see that it was Eri who was now blocking his advance.  “Stop. This is exactly what Udonis wants. Take a deep breath and control yourself. He will die, but we must not act reckless.”  Only then did he finally relent, though every muscle in his body remained tense with hatred and the need to act.

“You need to be calm and think. I know it is hard. But now is not the time to give in to your rage and hatred. You will also have to help Eri and I replenish our Essence use if you can. The fresher we are, the better we can all fight him.”  Even as T’yang addressed him, he only kept the former monk in the corner of his vision while the majority of it remained on Eri.  At that moment, she was his bastion of sanity that was built over the countless hours she spent teaching him and garnering his respect.  It was enough for him to reign in his emotions and realize they were right, that their intervention had saved his life from what was surely a trap.  Loki drew in a deep breath to help solidify the restraints on his emotions before responding simply by saying, “I will do what I can.”

As the group dispersed to engage their targets, Loki remained in place with his eyes fixated on Udonis as T’yang locked into battle with him.  Every fiber in his being was poised like a spring ready to snap into motion.  Though it was a strain for him to hold that posture in terms of his patience, watching T’yang fight the man gave Loki the time he needed to clear his head enough to be a competent fighter once more and ease back the tension.  He watched as T’yang got knocked away and waited for Eri to engage to go to the shadow manipulator’s aid.  She, just like the others, looked to be on the edge of her endurance as a result of using so much of their Essence.  While his well of energy was larger than that of the non-User Saturates, he still had to be careful how much he had left to give after providing Raewyn a substantial portion of it.

“Here.” He said simply, taking T’yang’s hand in his and allowed a portion of his energy to flow through the channel to reenergize her over the course of a few seconds.  It wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to put her at 100%, but enough to last her a short while if she was conservative with the usage of her powers.  “That’s all I can spare for now, I’ll try to get more when I get a chance.”  With that task complete, he directed his focus back towards Eri and Udonis, poising himself to join it when the time came.

When the signal finally came, a powerful stroke of his wings sent him arching towards Udonis in something that was more akin to a superhuman leap rather than in a flying charge.  Loki was intent to fight smarter rather than harder this time around.  He watched below as Udonis glanced up towards him as he descended from his leap, but not daring to tear his attention away from Eri for any length of time.  A malevolent grin spread across Loki’s lips as another quick flap of his wings altered his course at the last minute, the both allowed him to land behind Udonis as well as slow his decent enough for him to unravel his wings into their individual strands before his feet hit the ground.

Without wasting a moment, Loki spun and harassed the man who now found himself between opponents that both moved in to engage.  A rushed blast of blue force glanced off Loki’s shoulder, stealing some balance and momentum allowing Udonis to direct his attention to Eri as he attempted to strafe out from between the two of them, however his escape was cut short as a tendril of light snared around his ankle and tugged him off balance.  Before Loki could fully sweep his leg Udonis cut himself free of the coil, which gave Eri enough time to land a shallow cut across his chest that healed a moment later.  Once Loki caught up, it quickly became apparent that, while his speed and skill outmatched any single challenger, he was struggling to keep up with flanking attackers as his techniques became more defensive and hurried.  Bit by bit Udonis was losing ground as several attacks partially bypassed his defenses to inflict light wounds while his attempts to evade the flanking maneuver were thwarted by Loki’s wings that sought to interfere with his footing.

For the first time that Loki had ever witnessed, frustration shown on Udonis’ face.  Realizing the need to take drastic measures, lowered his defenses to hit Loki with a weak burst of force that struck his jaw like a solid punch caused him to stagger back drunkenly.  That maneuver cost him, however, as Eri exploited the opening and cut Udonis’ throat all the way to the bone that very well could have decapitated him had he not flinched away an instant before the attack landed.  Blood erupted from the critical wound that would have slain anybody else, but instead Udonis glared at her as he took an instant to gather his energy and hit her with a blast of force that struck her with all the power of a charging bull sending her tumbling and sliding across the great chamber.

Udonis knew that attack wouldn’t have been enough to kill the woman, but it was more than enough to isolate the weakest fighter and kill him to put an end to their flanking tactic.  Before he could turn to face Loki, a sword erupted from Udonis’ abdomen an instant before an arm wrapped around his neck and Loki’s Guardian Wings bound around his arms pulling them out and back as if being crucified.  “You took something from me”  Loki said, voice dripping with malice as he had already begun pulling the Essence out of Udonis’ body.  “And I’m going to take it all back!”

Udonis bellowed out in pain and rage as he struggled against Loki.  He could feel his energy being ripped from his body at an alarming rate while blood continued to flow out of the wound in his neck that was struggling to heal completely with the arm that obstructed it from doing so and a sword limiting the amount of movement he had.  Meanwhile, Loki could not believe how much energy his opponent was capable of holding even after recently expending enough to raise a continent.  Somewhere in the room, Vox let out his own bellow for its master and Loki hoped Jake and Tal would be able to stop the summon from taking advantage of his own immobility.  It had only been a few seconds since he started, but he wasn’t being delicate about the process and absorbed as much as he could without regards to the anguish either of them was feeling.  It hadn’t taken him long to restore his energy, but Loki did not stop there and continued to pull more and more out of Udonis until his entire body felt like a pressure vessel straining to hold its contents.

At some point, Loki figured the pull on the energy had faltered as he felt Udonis get a grasp on it and release it in a nova of force that erupted all around him that tore away Loki’s grip on the man and send him bouncing to the far end of the room.  The heretic god was looking as disheveled as his tattered blood soaked clothing; his breathing deep as it took him a moment to steady his footing and his wounds to heal at a noticeable slower rate than before.  It was clear in his eyes that the time for games had come to an end and that he had no intention on holding back. To any that could sense the energy of a Saturate, Udonis was now radiating his presence like a Sun as he was preparing to bring the true might of his energy to bear.  His sword clattered to his feet as the blue light of his force power gathered along his hands and arms, now teeming with fire and lightning that danced along his flesh.  Even Vox grew noticeably larger, practically doubling his mass and almost assuredly his strength.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Silvan Arrow on Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:10 pm

It was at this moment in time, with Udonis in front of her and his expression faltering, that Eri was so unbelievably glad that she had put in all the hours of training with Loki. They knew each other’s moves and strategies from the evenings spent sparring around the campfires, and now Udonis had to deal with them as a unit. Loki landed behind Udonis and unraveled his wings while Eri charged with both swords drawn. Udonis fired off a quick blast of blue energy to throw Loki off balance so he could deflect Eri’s blows with his rapier. He tried to get out from between them while fending off Eri’s swords, but Loki regained his balance and yanked at Udonis’ ankle with a shining tendril from his wings. His rapier slashed through the tendril, which abruptly lost its glow and dissolved, and Eri nailed him across the chest. Only Udonis’ quick reflexes saved him from a deeper cut, but the shallow wound still poured blood in the few seconds it took to heal.

Loki caught up with the two combatants, and he and Eri resumed their flanking strategy. The three became a whirling dervish of blades, wings, and blasts of Essence. Udonis’s rapier moved so quickly it was a blur, fending off Eri’s two blades and Loki’s Essence sword and wings. They continually circled the man, testing, probing, searching for weak points with their blades against Udonis’ stalwart defenses. Loki’s wing tendrils harassed his feet and distorted his vision while Eri inflicted shallow cuts on his arms, legs, and any bit of skin she could mark.

Udonis suddenly switched from defense to offense with a desperation blast of Essence aimed at Loki. He staggered backward, but Udonis left himself open. ‘Die, bastard,’ Eri hissed mentally. She swung her father’s sword for the kill and slit Udonis’ throat and neck open right down to the bone. Once again, Udonis’ insane reflexes saved him from complete decapitation, and any lesser Saturate would have died instantly. Blood poured from the severed arteries, and it was a wonder he could still breathe despite the slashed windpipe. That’s why it took her off-guard when Udonis simply glared at her, as though she were little more than a pest, and blasted her with so much force that she went flying across the chamber with a cry of pain and skidded another twenty feet, wings in a giant feathery tangle, before slamming against a pillar and crumpling into a heap.

Spots swam before Eri’s eyes, and her limbs throbbed painfully as her heart pumped blood to all the bruises covering her body. She distantly heard Arashi’s voice echoing at the back of her mind frantically asking if she was all right, but all she could manage was the equivalent of a mental groan. She looked up, still on her stomach, to see her father’s sword lying nearby, its coating of Essence gone, and her summoned weapon nowhere in sight. Udonis had literally knocked the Essence out of her. She checked her link with Arashi, which still held strong as the white eagle shrieked and continued to harass Vox.

A sudden flash of light nearly blinded Eri, and she saw that Loki had impaled Udonis through the belly and stood behind him, his wings holding him out as though he were being crucified while Essence pulsed along the shining tendrils into her student’s body. The sight was both horrifying and beautiful. Then Udonis wrenched away control of the flow of energy and released it in a tangible wave that sent Loki flying. The cloying press of Essence was so thick Eri could almost smell it as Udonis made no effort to mask the sheer might of his power. Vox bellowed and doubled in size in response to the extra Essence his master radiated. He dropped his rapier in disdain and gathered power in his arms and hands, a terrifying sight that made the blood covering his clothes and wounds blaze like fire.

‘Im-impossible...’ Eri thought in horror. How could he still have so much power? It was as though he had been toying with them, testing the limits of their power, and now he was ready to finish the job.

Udonis started towards the downed Loki, who was closer, and Eri tried to lurch to her feet in time. Thankfully, T’yang darted into the fray seemingly out of nowhere and attacked him with renewed vigor. Even without his rapier, Udonis still dodged her whirling fans with the same lightning reflexes, no longer needing a weapon to deflect the blows. Eri reached for her father’s broken sword and summoned Essence to reinforce the blade...and promptly gasped in pain. The simple act of calling forth Essence - and not even for a whole weapon - had felt like a stab in the gut. She was completely spent, her Essence reserves as dry as an empty well.

And she had no choice but to charge Udonis now to back up T’yang before he switched to offense. Pounding her aching wings, Eri shot forward like a bullet, circling to flank him. He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye with pure disgust and simply reached out with one hand to grab the blade of her sword. The sharp edge of Essence sliced the palm of his hand open, and blood dripped to the floor, but he didn’t let go. Blue Essence energy arced from Udonis’ bleeding hand through the blade like a lightning rod and exploded against Eri’s torso with the force of a sledgehammer. She screamed in pain and went flying backwards, hitting the ground hard and rolling several yards until skidding to a halt. Her wings dispersed in a cloud of feathers without the Essence to sustain their existence. White spots exploded in her vision as she tasted bile in the back of her throat. She groped blindly at her stomach and felt the shreds of her ruined tunic and the leather armor beneath that had saved her life. It wouldn’t stand another direct hit, but it had done its job at least.

Eri! Arashi exclaimed. She felt him screech an infuriated battle cry and peel away from harassing Vox to dive for Udonis, talons and wings outspread. Between T’yang’s constant pressure and the eagle’s fury, Udonis fell back into defense temporarily, rolling to dodge Arashi’s talons and using smaller blasts of Essence to keep them at bay.

Eri felt a hand on her shoulder as her vision cleared and looked up to see Loki crouched over her, his guardian wings spread in a protective canopy over them both. “Loki...” she croaked, coughing around her dry throat as he helped her sit up. “You’re...”

“Easy, don’t talk yet,” Loki cut her off before she could ask if he was okay. He took hold of one of her hands and wrapped a single tendril from his wings around her wrist. His hand and wing glowed, and Eri felt pure, restoring Essence flow into her body and pulse through her veins in time with her heartbeat. It was like plunging into an oasis in the middle of a desert, and Eri now drank eagerly from a practically endless well. Her aches didn’t quite vanish, but they dulled to background noise amidst the din of battle. She stood easily, now filled to the brim, and gripped her broken blade as Loki cut the link and stood with her.

Eri summoned her wings with a burst of Essence, raven-black next to Loki’s shining tendrils, called her Essence blades to her hands, and met her student’s - no, her companion’s - eyes with steely determination. “Help me kill this bastard.”

They raced for Udonis again, splitting up to flank him, but instead of going straight for the kill again, Eri pounded her wings and took to the air. ‘Arashi!’ she called. He responded immediately, flipping under her so she could grab his wing and swing herself onto his back. They wheeled around and gained height, waiting for Loki to engage Udonis along with T’yang. She waited until they had forced Udonis to turn his back to her before using her knees to send Arashi into a dive. Her body hummed with energy that ached for release, and she shot bursts of Essence through her swords as she swung them, sending twin shockwaves of slicing wind at Udonis’ head. He apparently heard or sensed the attack and whirled on his heels, shooting twin bursts of electricity from his palms to cancel the Essence-fueled winds in an explosion of smoke and dust.

The dust cloud actually worked in Eri’s favor. Arashi skimmed just above the ground, using the cloud as cover, and let Eri leap off his back before banking sharply upward. ‘Go help Jake and Tal,’ Eri ordered, not breaking momentum and borrowing Arashi’s sight to see through the dust and aim for Udonis with both swords. He sent a blast of fire from one palm while using his other to fend off Loki. Eri crossed her swords across her chest, and the Essence in the blades effectively shielded her from his blast. T’yang fell back to let the two sword slingers take the front lines and harry him while she kept up a steady stream of shadows to trap and hinder his movements. Every time he blasted one shadow, another rose up to take its place, which made it more and more difficult to fend off the blades that marked him as quickly as he could heal.

‘He’s still healing too quickly,’ Eri thought.

Then let us inflict a stronger blow! Arashi screeched fiercely, his energy also bolstered from Loki’s donation of Essence.

‘Absolutely,’ Eri replied. Udonis found a break and sent a blast of blue lightning at Loki, forcing him to retreat. Eri glanced at T’yang and shouted, “T’yang! Hold him!”

Half a dozen shadows rose up in a circle around Udonis and wrapped around his arms, legs, and torso, holding him in place. Already Eri sensed his Essence rising to blast them away, but the move bought her and Arashi a few precious seconds. Eri called up as much Essence as she could hold and sent it funneling down her mental link to Arashi. ‘Get ready!’

Eri backpedaled on the wing and sent twin shockwaves of slicing wind straight at the imprisoned heretic god. In a desperate move, he blasted away the shadows by radiating lightning Essence from his entire body to deflect the bursts of wind...

...at the same time that Arashi dive-bombed him straight down and headfirst, screeching his fury and shrouded in a dozen blades of gale-force winds in the same attack that had broken the dragon Kuresh’s spine at the leyline.

Essence flared around Udonis at the last second, and Arashi’s attack collided with such force that a cloud of dust whipped up in the midst of a mini-tornado. Eri brought her wings and swords forward to shield her torso and face and could only hunker down and wait for the dust to settle. Eri coughed and tried to breathe against her sleeve. That last blast had taken it out of her, but it would be worth it if it worked.

“Did...did we get him?”
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Guilty Carrion on Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:01 am

Vox gave them no time to plan, nor recover. It's anger at it's injury seemed almost palpable as it barreled the distance between the them, and Tal was silently thankful that he'd drug the ash along with him as he'd come inside. Stepping in front of Jake without delay, the Vagabond grunted in exertion as his essence swelled and the ash smashed into a tower shield before his arm and the summons great-sword smashed down.

Tal felt the weight of it's massive strength for a moment, shoulder straining from the weight of holding the attack, before Jake swept passed the shield with a massive swing of his arms to Vox's leg. The summon's footing faltered, and he pushed up with all his strength to push the sword aside as the ash swirled back into a massive black gauntlet and slam it straight up into the titanic creature's face. It staggered back, nearly toppling before the process was expedited by Jake, snapping his arms around it's waist as they swelled with essence he was seemingly pulling from nowhere.

With a grunt of annoyance, the brawler hurled himself backwards; capitalizing on the momentum from it's lost balance to brutally suplex the creature onto it's head. Wisely, he wasted no time disentangling himself from the shadow-y being, and took a few steps back as it right itself with terrifying speed. As if angering the monster wasn't bad enough, both men could only watch as it swelled larger from what could only be an influx of essence from it's master. Jake barely seemed bothered by the prospect, even as Tal scowled darkly.

It closed on the two, and where they had managed to hold before, they now quickly found themselves being driven back by it's massive swings. The colossal blade it swung with ease left deep scores in the ground as it slashed after their retreating strides. Even with the chains on his arms, Jake knew better than to attempt a deflection on the monstrous weapon now, as it'd more likely just cleave clean through. Tal swallowed air greedily as he tried to keep his ash gauntlet from crumbling apart, the deprivation of essence ringing loudly in his senses.

Before long, it's advanced forced them apart, the summon standing between them and keeping both from attempting to form back up. It was something of a stalemate, which wouldn't have made sense typically but it was clear that the summon was also focused on trying to keep them occupied as much as kill them. No doubt Udonis felt he was capable of handling the others by himself. Daring forward, Tal drew the summon's attention and ducked past it's blade and hurled his weight behind a furious hay-maker to it's already wounded chest.

Gritting his teeth against the pain of using his nearly non-existent essence, he forced the ash further into the wound, digging it like hooks against the shadow's flesh and earning that drowning howl of fury that made his head ring from the proximity. It's massive hand clamped around his shoulder, and Tal paled quickly at the realization that he was much more hindered by being stuck to the monster than it was by him.

Fortunately, he wasn't engaging the behemoth alone. With a grunt of exertion, and a no doubt strength enhanced jump, Jake crashed into Vox's back like a cannon shot. He wasted little time, immediately part of the chain's he'd recovered around the monster's neck before dropping back like a stone to strangle it with his own weight. Vox tilted back slightly, but it didn't falter enough to let Jake's feet plant back to the ground. It howled, slightly muffled by the chain now digging into it's neck, but it seemed more like the attempt was pissing it off than actually seeming to kill it.

Using the distraction, Tal tore the ash gauntlet free with a heavy tug, before slamming it repeatedly on the injury as fast and as hard as he could. Vox would have little of his assault, using it's already established grip to simply squeeze then hurl the vagabond like he was little more than a child across the room. Bouncing painfully off the hard ground, Tal rolled to a stop and looked back to the fight with a heavy breath.

Jake was fighting the creature as much as he could, but with it's hand now free, Vox had little difficultly pulling on the chain and trying to haul the man into a position where it could more easily rend him apart with it's blade. Jake kicked furiously at it's thick hide, his one hand firmly holding the chain even as his other hammered angrily on it's body. It wasn't clear how long he'd manage to last before the creature got the better of him, but Tal knew he needed to get back into the fray.

Struggling against the protests of his battered body, he began to stand but soon felt strong arms wrap around his own and haul him upwards. He looked wearily to the source, and Loki looked back with some concern. Tal grinned widely in response, hoping to ease his concerns. "Thanks."

"Don't mention it." Before Tal could pull away, one of his radiant wings coiled around his arm and he felt the surge of essence push into his body. The draining fatigue faded almost instantly under the filling pulse of the precious energy, and his visioned sharpened as his senses hummed back to proper life. He felt his bond with Darren hum stronger with the reinforcing essence, and before he could stop himself Tal slapped a gracious hand roughly on Loki's back.

He almost toppled the man, but his grin didn't falter. "Haha! I owe you one when this is over, kid! Jake's going to need a top up as well." The two looked towards the man still fighting the creature, although he was looking more and more infuriated by the second. "Just let me get him for you. Darren!"

The rhino was already waiting as Tal practically leapt onto it's back, but before he could rush off, Loki held up the handle of the battle worn hammer for him. "You dropped this." Tal took it with a grin, drawing on his new essence to swirl the ash around the hammer's head. The substance began to cling and mold onto the weapon, and before long, it began to look more akin to the war-hammer he'd used prior to the loss of his arm at the refinery.

Still grinning like a madman, more of the ash swirled around him, once more forming a tangled limb of ash to remedy the weakness of the lost limb. The surge of essence felt barely phased by the manipulation, and he couldn't fight the grin even as it was swallowed beneath the helmet materializing around his head. "Let's hit him where it hurts!" Darren broke into a run without delay, lowering his head with a furious snort as Tal swept his newly forged ash war-hammer to a ready position.

Jake didn't need a verbal warning, as there was no way to properly disguise a furious rhino barreling towards you, and even Vox's attention shifted to the hostile summon. It released the chain holding Jake promptly, bringing it's girth about to face the incoming attack. It lowered down to catch Darren's horn like it had before at the refinery, but Tal was waiting for that. "Learn some new tricks, you dumb bastard!"

The hammer, raised to the ready up behind him,  dropped downward as before swinging up sharply with the weight of the swing and the momentum of Darren's charge. Vox was ill-prepared, catching the brutal slam straight to the chest as the summoner pair dragged the titanic figure along before tossing him with a roar of exertion. It crashed into the stone floor like a boulder, cracking the stone and making that awful howl once more.

"Quit roaring and fight!" He barked, resting his hammer on his shoulder as Darren began to circle towards the shadow summon. Vox was already rising, even with it's wound leaking precious 'blood' and he could swear it's lifeless eyes were filling with something akin to anger. Oh, they'd pissed it off finally?

In the corner of his eyes, he could see Loki was already beginning to replenish Jake's essence, which meant now he simply had to buy a little time for his comrade to re-enter the fray so they could end this miserable thing. Vox seemed aware of the two as well, but Tal and Darren were already between them before it could begin to move. "Not so fast there, beastie. You're fighting me right now."

Neither he nor Darren needed to speak, already moving forward into a charge as Vox raised it's great-sword. The first pass accomplished little, war-hammer smashing forcefully against the sword but neither buckled under the attack. Darren rounded about, but Vox lumbered forward to meet them, slashing low to take out the summon's legs. The rhino was no simple cavalry mount though, raising it's horn suddenly to deflect the attack as Tal crashed his hammer against it's arm.

Vox staggered slightly, but despite the injuries they seemed to be dealing, the monster showed little signs of slowing. It was almost as durable as the Magi he'd fought outside, it seemed, but at least it was capable of being injured. Darren made to move forward again, but Vox closed faster than something it's size should have been capable of. It was learning quickly, it seemed, knowing Darren's strength lay in the charge so it removed his ability to move forward. It's weapon swung down in a powerful overhead arc, forcing Tal to block with the shaft of his war-hammer. The massive weapon pushed into the ashen shaft, and Tal pushed on the ash as much as he could to resist and hold the weapon back.

Darren's legs locked beneath them, providing the summoner a proper support beneath his body to push back on the entrenching weapon. Heavy steps behind the pair made Tal wonder what the hell was making the sound, when the rhino beneath him shook from a sudden landing on it's back. Tal caught a slight glimpse of Jake's battered clothes as the man leapt over the locked weaponry for a massive hit.

"Jake! Catch!" Tal's ash arm released his war-hammer, grabbing the blade forcefully and locking it in place while his other tossed the war-hammer upwards to the soaring man. He caught it deftly, twirling it about before arcing it down over his head and letting momentum and gravity swing it like a meteor into Vox's back.

The shadow beast roared in what could only be pain, and Darren raised his head furiously as the monster lurched forward to smash his horn through the creature's torso. Thick ink poured from the injury, coating the rhino's face as Tal pushed the massive weapon aside and it clattered loudly to the ground. Jake landed with a heavy thud a second later, holding the war-hammer casually and looking at the toppled giant. He seemed satisfied by the horn jutting out of it's back, knowing it had likely done the job.

Tal, however, stared oddly at the still form for a moment. "Summons normally dissipate after they di-" The deafening howl rang in his ears and Tal didn't have time to react before a furious fist smashed him clean from his mount. He hit the ground rolling, feeling his plate armour buckling from the impact with the creature's monstrous strength. Prone on his side, Tal could only watch as Vox hefted Darren with a bellow and tossed the rhino much like it had tossed him earlier. Darren crashed thunderously to the ground not far from the vagabond, clearly more stunned than truly injured as Vox's dark gaze fell on the trio.

The wound was gaping now, and the ink ran freely down it's torso but the summon paid it's injury no mind. Jake was closest, still holding the war-hammer with an irritated look on his face. Tal began rising to his feet, watching as Vox simply lifted it's sword once more and gazed down at their battered bodies. "What does it take to kill this thing..?"

Vox swung it's blade at Jake, who used his enhanced reflexes to sharply sidestep the attack, before two handing the war-hammer and swinging it at the beast. The summon was ready for it however, it's other hand catching the swing dead in it's tracks. The brawler gave the weapon a tug, but even his impressive strength was no match for the powered up Vox. It ripped the weapon from his hands, discarding it in the same motion as it's thick leg raised up.

Tal winced in empathy as the massive kick landed center mass and set Jake sailing like a missile across the room. The thunderous impact was enough to make Tal concerned, looking towards his ally who dropped down from the wall he'd smashed into rather unceremoniously. The sheer power of the kick had sent him sailing clean through the other's confrontation with Udonis, and the Heretic God's attention shifted towards the man coldly.

"Shit." It was unlikely that Jake was about to get away from Udonis to assist with Vox, and Loki had already returned to the others. Tal lumbered up to his feet, feeling the plate armour crumpling off his body as little more than the mangled remnants of his chest plate and pauldrons managed to stay on. Darren rolled furiously to right himself, a sight which would have been comical in a less life threatening situation, but the summoner managed a smile all the same.

Calling on the ash infused within the war-hammer, Tal drew the weapon back to his hands , catching it with an outstretched palm and resting it evenly in his hands. "So, me and you versus this big ugly, huh?" He commented, watching Vox lumber forward with impassive eyes.

"Doesn't seem very fair, does it?"

"Not at all." Tal stepped up onto Darren as Vox broke into a charge across the battered stone floor. His legs had barely gripped the rhino's sides before it broke into it's own run towards their opponent. The hammer  crashed against the broadsword as the creature pushed them into a lock. "But neither is stabbing a man in the back. So let's rip this damn thing in half, Darren!"

Tal's ivory eyes locked with the soulless blacks of Vox, and in unison, summoner and summon roared their hate. Their blood burned, their hearts hammered in sync, and rage swelled in their breast. Mercy, for this single moment in life, became alien, unfeasible, and foreign.

And with an ease he'd never wished for, the protector swung to kill.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Digital Muse on Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:54 pm

Raewyn found a thick column at the edge of the main battle to hide behind. She was determined to do exactly what T’yang had asked of her. Never in her short life had she ever truly wanted someone dead. But she did now. Udonis had hurt her, hurt her parents. He’d made her what she was. Something she’d never wanted to be. He’d killed Tsume, hurt her friends and worst, he wanted to completely destroy the world. She couldn’t begin to understand why, but, it really didn’t matter anymore.

She watched with trepidation as Jake, Tal and Darren kept up a punishing assault on the massive Vox. The dark behemoth was far faster than it had any right to be. Both men took hits, but seemed to weather them for the most part. Every time it happened, though, Raewyn’s heart stuck in her throat. She couldn’t forget what it had done to Tsume, Lucient and Borri.

Raewyn’s attention was split between the battle with Vox and the one against the confident Udonis. He seemed little more than annoyed by T’yang, Eri and Loki’s efforts. T’yang’s fluid, dance-like movements and sharp snapping jabs with her fans cut Udonis again and again. But he kept healing. Eri and Arashi harried him from the ground and the air, yet even a near-decapitation did little but inconveniences him momentarily. It was only when Loki managed to land behind him, ram his sword through his abdomen and then begin to drain Udonis’ Essence away that the Heretic god realized he could be in trouble. A sudden massive blast of force sent everyone around him flying and allowed Udonis to recover from the myriad wounds he’d gained in the close quarters combat with the three.

Raewyn’s eyes grew huge as Udonis seemed to fairly radiate power and even Vox grew larger before their eyes. “His goddess powers!” Raewyn shouted. “He’s using my powers!” It was an unnecessary exclamation. Everyone was probably already aware that the stakes had just become suicidal for them all. When Udonis turned to blast Loki’s prone form, T’yang was there instantly. Her attack was a blur of fans, knees, elbows, fists and feet. She never stopped moving. Never left Udonis a target to lash out at and used her Shadows sparingly to keep him from being able to set himself again. It was entrancing and frightening at the same time.

She knew it was now or never. With Udonis busy, Raewyn took her time and felt out the minds in the room. Those of her friends fairly blared in her head, except for T’yang and surprisingly, Jake. They were quiet and calculating. While Udonis was a massive presence she almost cowered from. Vox, on the other hand was an oily, hole of low cunning. Raewyn shuddered when she touched the alien presence. But, if she could help Jake and Tal kill Vox, it would weaken Udonis. Intruding into Vox’s mind was like slipping her hands into a particularly disgusting vat of animal innards. She could understand it. It was basically intelligent and self-aware, but it didn’t do much thinking for itself. Remembering the link she had seen between Eri and Arashi, Raewyn looked for that strong silver cord that signified the link between Vox and his Summoner. But, try as she might, she couldn’t see it anywhere. The mind-space of the Summon was consumed at that moment with an intense infusion of golden light. The goddess powers! She thought. It’s why Vox is growing and why I can’t see the link! She closed her eyes and tried to listen for Udonis’ voice in the Summon’s head instead. She could hear the tone of command above the din of the battle noises. “Kill them and be done!” Udonis’ voice rang in Vox’s mind.

Raewyn’s mind blanked for a moment. How could she influence something as alien as this summon? She doubted she could play a trick on it or scare it or… She stopped suddenly. Maybe she could do both. Dredging up her energy and renewed Essence, Raewyn recalled their interrogation of Bryce and having Udonis right in front of her made copying his image far easier this time. All she had to do was…

Suddenly, Vox grunted and stopped moving for a moment. It peered at the spot where Udonis was standing. While Udonis struggled in the grip of T’yang’s shadows, Vox saw his Master being squeezed so strongly that blood came from his nose, eyes and ears. It blinked trying to reconcile the image it saw with the still strong mental link it felt in its head. Unconsciously, it sent a query through its link to Udonis and showed Raewyn right where it was.

Just at that moment, Eri and Arashi unleashed their devastating wind vortex at Udonis who had blasted the shadows away with lightning. The collision of air, Eagle and force blast was so great that dust rained from the ceiling and was lifted from the floor. T’yang used her shadows to envelop herself in a protective cocoon and Raewyn hid behind the massive marble column, avoiding most of the blast.

The attack melted her illusion, but it also stopped the raw Essence being fed from Udonis to Vox which allowed Raewyn to see the silvery link between their minds. Now I have something I can work with. She thought to herself.  Gingerly at first, Raewyn entered Vox’s mind more fully; giving up any attempt to protect her body in the effort. It was all or nothing at this point. She cloaked her presence from Udonis by the simple expedient of disguising her looks as a memory of Maeve. Once at the silver link thread, Raewyn remembered how she had nearly taken over Arashi inadvertently all those weeks ago in the forest. Could she do that again?

Boldly now, Raewyn reached out and grasped the silvery thread of the link and began snipping it thread by thread. It took quite some time. But, as she worked, she inserted her own thoughts into Vox’s awareness. She slowed its movements and confused it as it looked for Jake and Tal. It wasn’t much, but she was certain Tal and Jake could take advantage of any weakness she could produce.

Across the link, Raewyn could hear Udonis shouting at Vox. He could feel Raewyn’s presence in the mind of his summon and tried desperately to wrest control of the Summon from her. Raewyn hoped that he wouldn’t have the Essence or the time to dismiss and re-summon Vox. If he did, she’d have to start again. But, she felt she could keep interfering as long as it took to kill them both. A sudden scream from Udonis jolted Raewyn from Vox’s consciousness. Snapped back to her own mind was disorienting, but she was rewarded with the sight of Udonis cradling both arms to his chest. Slowly the blood slowed and tissue began to reform at the ends of his forearms. But, Eri, Loki and T’yang converged on the man simultaneously before he could recover.

Knowing the time was growing closer, Raewyn drew her daggers out of their slender scabbards at her waist and moved around the dais away from Vox but drawing closer to the malestrom of fighting that centered on Udonis. She knew to stay out of her friends’ way, but Adina’s words repeated themselves over and over in her mind. She had to be close to Udonis when he died. Edging to the columns immediately behind Udonis, Raewyn also got back to work on the Summon.
_______________________________________________________________________________

After the blast of energy from Udonis to dissipate her shadows, T’yang watched as Udonis turned to end Loki. She raced forward and became the hard killing machine she’d learned to become since leaving the Temple. No quarter could be expected, so none was going to be given. She would fight and kill this man even to her last breath. She could not spare a glance back to Tal or Jake. The horrific crashes and flying debris was the only clue she had that the pair were still in the fight. She’d have to trust to them.

Udonis had given up the use of his rapier, preferring to use his force blasts to shred their armor and send them flying across the massive room. T’yang only managed to remain close by the simple expedient of anchoring herself to Udonis or the ground using her shadows. She slowly closed the distance to the man who suddenly snarled toward his summon to finish Jake and Tall when he extended his hand toward Arashi and sent a blast of blue energy arcing toward the Eagle. Arashi screeched angrily, almost lost in a blood-lust, but managed a mid-air barrel roll to avoid most of the blast. This momentary lapse allowed T’yang to get under Udonis’ guard and she jammed a closed fan up under his chin with such force that his head snapped back sharply. Udonis was lifted off his feet and thrown off the dais, rolling a few feet to get some distance between himself and his attackers.

“Crude.” He wiped a small trickle of blood from his chin where he’d been cut. “But somewhat effective.” His predatory smile returned, though it was now tinged with hatred. “It won’t help you in the end.” He sneered as he lifted both hands toward T’yang. Rather than dodging, T’yang sprinted straight for Udonis. He didn’t falter, blasting at her with a massive blue arc which she side stepped at the last moment. Not losing any momentum, T’yang launched herself off the dais fans held closed out before her as if to ram into the heretic god.

Udonis’ lips peeled back from his teeth preparing to incinerate the former monk. But, just as he lifted his hand toward T’yang, both fans snapped open with a sharp wrist flick and her hands crossed over one another and back again while she rolled over Udonis’ right shoulder. Something fleshy plopped wetly to the marble floor. Udonis screamed in pain and a near-insane rage as he held his blood=spraying arms to his chest. The hands had been amputated as cleanly as if done by a surgeon. Flesh began to boil from the wounds to rebuild the missing hands but it was far slower than before and He'd be unable to summon his rapier or use his force blasts for several precious seconds.

T’yang called to Eri and Loki. “Now! Surround and kill him!
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by quakernuts on Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:33 pm

The fight had been finally looking like it might be in their favor.  As much as Jake didn't want to admit it, Tal's help was becoming invaluable in the fight against the now super powered Vox.  He doubt he could have gotten as far as he did without the vagabond's abilities and unrelenting stubbornness, but you would never hear him say those words aloud.  The fight had been a tug of war, a literal battle of resolve that all combatants could probably say would be the fight of their life as Tal and Jake would combine to land a massive blow only for Vox to stand up and start unleashing his own hell of their persons.  It wasn't until Loki had come in to help them that Jake even considered the possibility of being able to put this thing down for good.  

Jake's strength and reflexes had been waning to the point of non-existence.  His body and mind were aching, making him slow as all he could for the most part was hold onto the chain that Vox had grabbed and fruitlessly pound on the summon's body as he was whipped around.  He had nothing left, despite the fact that his powers required the least amount of essence from the group.  All he had going for him now was his natural strength and reflexes as he felt his grip slipping from the chain, his only weapon in this fight.  At that moment, he caught sight of a rhino and it's rider charging at the summon he was currently trying desperately to hold onto.  Vox let go of the chain, allowing Jake to fall to the ground with a crash rather than a roll as his legs gave out from beneath him.  It took him a precious moment to find his footing and make his way over to Loki, who simply looked at Jake for a moment before wrapping a tendril around his arm.  

Whatever he had to say about the kid, he would take back once the fight was over as essence flooded his body and his vigor returned.  It felt like he had just been hit with several doses of adrenaline without the backlash, and it felt good.  Jake's grin grew, the sadistic one that was now almost always present during a battle as his eyes returned to their black wispy state.  His arms bulged once more as he was able to divert more essence into his strength and reflexes, and the moment Loki was done, Jake was off without so much as a thank you.  

Jake ran forward, murder on his mind and soul as his essence poured heavily enough into him to warrant 'thuds' to each of his steps.  Without warning or any sort of forethought, Jake had jumped up onto Darren's back and launched himself at Vox.  

"Jake!  Catch!"  Jake looked down slightly to see a warhammer come flying at him, which he managed to catch and with a slight twirl, had in position soon enough to bring the massive weapon crashing down into Vox's back.  The plan, or at least the thought that had entered Jake's mind seconds before the impact, had worked.  Vox lurched forward, and like a samurai gutting himself with his own sword, Vox was impaled onto Darren's horn once more.  Inky blood poured freely from the wound as Jake landed fairly close to the summon, creating cracks in the flooring as he did so.  Finally, this thing was dead and they could move onto bigger and better prey.  

"Summons normally dissipate after they di-"  Tal was in the middle of saying when a roar erupted from Vox.  The massive summon's fist came flying out before even Jake could do anything about it, and smashed Tal from his spot on top of Darren.  Within seconds, Vox had cleared himself of Darren's horn, grabbed the beast of a summon, and tossed him back to be with his master.  This left Jake to deal with the wounded Vox, which was fine by him as Jake charged forward to meet the summon with his now replenished reserves of essence.  He heard Tal yell something, but paid it no heed as he took the warhammer he had been given, and threw a massive swing at the beast.  

Vox simply grabbed the weapon, much to Jake's surprise as he tried to clear the weapon only to find that Vox was holding fast.  Vox ripped the weapon from Jake's hands and discarded it, throwing Jake off balance as the black summon's leg raised up and lurched forward.  The resulting impact was enough to make even Jake yell out in pain as he was physically launched across the battlefield to land sprawling on the other side.  The impact from the hit made Jake black out for a few seconds, not remembering ever hitting the ground after his initial impact.  

Jake laid there for a moment, sprawled on the floor as every fiber of his being was crying to him to stay down, don't move, and rest.  A violent cough erupted from Jake, causing a sharp pain to emanate from everywhere in his body at once as a pool of blood erupted from his mouth.  He curled up slightly as it felt like someone was playing his nerves like piano strings.  He knew that he most likely had multiple broken bones in his chest and back area, if he wasn't already paralyzed, and he knew for a fact that he was bleeding internally.  The bloody cough was all the evidence he needed of that.  

Despite this, he knew he had to get up, he knew he had to fight.  He didn't want to die, hell, he didn't even want to be here but this was the path laid out in front of him.  If he didn't get back up and join back in, everyone here was going to die.  Everyone included him.  Jake slowly placed his hands beneath his chest, and started pushing up to get his body in a standing position.  Despite his strength, his veins pulsing and blue with essence, his eyes black and wispy, he crashed to the ground once again resulting in nail grinding pain that brought literal tears to the man's face.  

He was too broken to do anything...or was he?  Jake remembered a time, when his other self had continued to fight despite his injuries, despite the fact that he should have died or given up long ago.  Why could he not do this?  Why could he not even get up off the ground?  WHAT WAS HE MISSING?!  Jake placed his hands beneath him again, drawing on his inner will as he searched for an answer that he already knew.  His body slowly started to raise from the floor as his right hand formed a fist and started lightly pounding the floor, slowly increasing in strength as he managed to get a leg underneath him.  

By the time he had reached a kneeling stance, his fist was pounding gouges into the earth.  His breathing was deep and ragged, much like an asthmatic old man as he forced himself to stand.  He was no longer calm and calculating, that was what was wrong with him.  Sometimes that was needed, but other times emotion was the only way forward.  You needed to use them to your advantage, much like pawns in a chess game.  They may seem like a useless little unit in the grand scheme of things, but they are many, and every once in awhile they are the ones that get you that ever elusive checkmate.  

At the moment...He was angry.  

He looked up, his teeth locked in a constant snarl as blood flowed from his mouth and numerous cuts from his body.  He didn't look like the carefree Jake they had first met, nor did he look like the dark and sadistic Ekaj that all but one of them had never known about.  He looked akin to a wounded and trapped animal as fire crept his arm and around the chain.  He stared at Udonis for a moment, watching as the man planted a palm on the ground and sent out a shockwave that sent everyone flying away from him.  That was his moment.  

With a charge and reckless abandon more in tune with the Jake of old, he launched himself at Udonis, who was caught slightly off guard as he sidestepped the flaming fist, only for Jake to up the intensity of the flames and literally burn the man's face by proximity alone.  Udonis backpedaled, gripping his face slightly as it healed slower than usual.  Jake normally would have made note of this, but he didn't have the time.  His body was failing him and he knew if he stopped to think about something he might not be able to force himself to stand again.  It was reckless abandon, but it was the only option left to him, much like this entire trip had been.  

Jake launched a flurry of attacks which were either parried or dodged completely, but they were coming in with such a ferocity that Udonis was forced to step back nearly every attack.  Jake's fire kept Udonis from gripping his one arm, his reflexes allowed him to keep in time with Udonis's parries and dodges, and Jake's strength allowed him to break any blocks the man hoped to use against the man.  Jake took a single step back, changing tactics as the chains around his arms uncoiled and he now held them like whips.  He wrapped his left chain around his right arm, allowing both chains to now wreathe in black fire, as he launched himself forward.  Udonis leapt backwards just as Eri, Loki, and T'yang all rejoined the fight only for Udonis to quickly force a 'push' of sorts from his hands in quick succession, forcing them all to back off slightly as Jake launched himself at the man again.  

By this point, Jake was losing control of his senses as the pain started coming into mind again and his rationality started fracturing against the constant onslaught of having to stay angry and dealing with the pain.  He lashed out with his chains, his essence being poured into his being with such a force that every single step he took created a mini crater, when his chains connected with the ground they gouged the earth, and his eyes looked like they were on fire while his arms looked like they would explode.  At this rate, his essence supply would be gone in mere minutes, but he didn't seem to care as his explosive attacks kept Udonis from closing the distance between the two of them.  However, this also worked in his favor as Jake's unrelenting assault also kept anyone else from getting close.  

"Jake!  Enough!"  He could hear someone yell, but he didn't care as he jumped into the air, twirling in the air with outstretched chains and becoming a living chainsaw as Udonis was forced to jump backwards to avoid being split down the middle.  The pain...the pain...It was all Jake was starting to think about even as his attacks seemed to get even stronger.  The only thing keeping Udonis from attacking was the speed at which Jake was launching his assault, not his attacks in particular as recklessness was etched in everything Jake was doing at this point.  There was no self-preservation at this point, it was the simple and clear motivation to kill whatever was standing in front of him.  

Jake charged forward, connecting a shoulder with the man who grunted and slid backwards as Jake threw both hands up, bringing the chains crashing down where the man had stood moments before.  Udonis had side stepped, and looked down at the chains as they seemed to shatter in slow motion, melting and splintering into the deep gouges where they had landed.  The force of the shatter was enough to cut into Jake's arms, which in turn, caused him to take a step back.  That was all that was needed.  

Within moments, Udonis had pressed the advantage, delivering a devastating punch to Jake's face, only for the man to spin around and attempt one of his own.  Udonis deftly dodged this, looking directly into Jake's eyes with a smile that matched his darker self.  Jake roared like something akin to a wounded animal, but was cut short in an instant.  He stood there, staring at the man as his eyes went wide and he slowly looked down.  

Udonis had formed ice around his arms, creating spikes much like Jake's old earthen armour weapons that drove deep into Jake's chest and out his back.  It took a moment for the body and mind to catch up to what had happened, but blood quickly erupted from his mouth and partially coated Udonis's face.  It seemed to match the smile that was plastered all over his features as Jake gave another act of defiance, throwing the punch that was already mid swing.  Udonis broke off the ice spikes, twirling around and launching another one from his elbow, spearing Jake through the middle of his back.  Jake didn't need to look down for this one now as blood flowed freely from his chest, back, and mouth.  Udonis looked at the others, Jake's blood covering his face and a smile that seemed way too out of place on such a man.  With a quick and precise movement, Udonis flinched his arm and broke off the spike from his elbow.  Jake fell forward to the ground with a thud, the ice shattering as he landed on it.  Blood immediately started pooling beneath his body as he slightly convulsed, wanting to cough but not having the oxygen to do so.  Jake looked onto the floor as his own life flowed freely in front of him, watching as the scene slowly changed from that of a bloodied floor to that of a cliff.  

Ekaj, in all his darkened glory stood on the edge of a cliff, looking out onto the village below him that was wreathed in fire.  Above him in the sky the clouds churned and spat out fire in the form of lightning.  It was a hurricane to say the least, and yet somehow the fire in the village lived on.  Slowly dwindling, yet carrying on regardless of the heavy downpour from the storm.  Despite the wind being fast enough to pick up a man and throw him like a rag doll, Ekaj stood confidently at the edge of the cliff over looking the spectacle before him without a care for the weather.  

"Well that's a fairly unpleasant sight."  A voice came from behind him.  Ekaj didn't need to look as the blue version of himself came to stand beside him.  They both sat there for a moment, watching the flames slowly falter against the storm, raging for all their worth yet not having a chance in hell of surviving.  "Is this what you wanted."  Jake asked, no malice or anger in his voice, just a cold neutrality that would have served Ekaj better.  Ekaj gave a smile, not a wretched sadistic one, but rather a sad close lipped one.  

"Of course not."  He replied.  "I wanted everything."  Ekaj stated as he looked over at Jake.  "I wanted power, I wanted wealth, I wanted the world Jake."  Ekaj looked back over the town.  "I wanted everything."

"Well that's funny."  Jake replied.  "I just wanted to live."  Ekaj looked over at him for a moment.  "Despite your need for material power, wealth, and status...I didn't hear that one on your wish list."  Jake stated.  Ekaj gave out a laugh.  

"So it would seem."  Ekaj stated, returning to his silent nature as he watched the flames start to flicker.  

"Is this why you let me out."  Jake stated, his face as passive as ever.  "To talk about what could have been and regrets?"  

"No."  Ekaj stated.  "We both inhabit this body Jake.  If it's to die, we both die, and there's no point in us fighting at that point.  I let you out so you could say goodbye."  Jake looked over at Ekaj, who's shadows seemed to fade to the point of looking like a literal copy of his physical self.  "I don't regret taking the body Jake, and had the situation been any different, I have no doubt in my mind I could have kept us alive far better than you could have."  Ekaj stated.  "What I do regret is not realizing that neither one of us had the ability to get through this on our own.  That was our downfall, and the first thing I would change given the chance."  

"A little late for that."  Jake stated, watching as Ekaj slowly started to blow away, starting from his feet.  

"It would seem so."  Ekaj stated, unconcerned that he was literally evaporating.  He looked over at Jake with a sincere smile.  "You still have a few moments...I suggest making peace."  Jake looked at the man, the one that had caused him so much pain, grief, and sorrow and could only feel sadness.  Sadness at the fact that he hadn't been able to move on, Ekaj being a complete and total by product of his ruined childhood.  He tried to hold himself above that man, this dark and twisted version of himself and only now could he see that he was simply a child without the knowledge of being a kid.  "You don't have much time Jake.  Make it quick...I'll be waiting on the other side."  

With that last line, Ekaj evaporated entirely, fading off into the distance as nothing but specks of dust as Jake looked down and found his body doing the same thing.  The fires in the village were nearly completely out by now, and he smiled at the thought.  Something that had plagued him for his entire life, something that had ultimately defined who he was today would finally be put to rest.  It wasn't the best way to go, nor would it have been the way he would have chosen given the circumstances, but it was no longer in his control.  With his last effort, he managed to peer through his eyes to see the others still fighting Udonis with a fury they had never seemed to possess before this moment, and he couldn't help but smile.  If all it took was his death to motivate these people...his friends into beating Udonis and ultimately saving the world, than he had to say that maybe this was the best way to go.  His eyes locked onto Eri's form as she struck with all the vengeance of a lightning bolt, her attacks quick and brutal, with nearly every strike landing a blow and his mind returned to sadness.  

"Another time, another place babe."  Jake said to himself as a smirk planted itself on his face right before it too evaporated.  

"Sorry."
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Silvan Arrow on Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:49 pm

The aftermath of Eri’s last brutal attack had left such a massive dust cloud that for a moment, she thought that maybe it had finally taken Udonis down for the count. After several agonizing seconds, he staggered out of the wrecked section of the cavernous room, bleeding from head to toe but slowly, infuriatingly, healing the dozens of cuts and gashes that had nearly dismembered him.

‘That...isn’t possible...’ Eri sagged noticeably on her feet, suddenly too drained to move. Loki and T’yang renewed the offensive with the weakened Udonis while crashes and booming thuds sounded behind them as Vox continued to battle Jake and Tal. At one point, Loki darted in that direction, presumably to refuel Jake or Tal with Essence, while Eri and T’yang held Udonis at bay with carefully placed wind blades and shadows. He returned seconds later to back them up, and then the battle erupted into chaos.

Jake flew overhead like a human bullet and hit the ground. Hard. Hard enough that Eri actually heard bones crunch and snap like so many twigs. Her feet lurched of their own accord to take her to his side, the need to help him overpowering her survival instincts.

Eri! Look out!

Eri gasped in shock and barely threw herself to the side to dodge a lightning bolt that had blasted T’yang and Loki cleanly halfway across the room. At that moment, Jake howled like a wounded, enraged animal and launched himself at the heretic god in a flurry of blazing fists and chains.

At first glance, Jake appeared to have the advantage as the speed and ferocity of his punches forced Udonis into defense. But then Eri noticed the trail of blood that Jake left behind, the blood pouring from wounds on his body, the blood trickling from his mouth...

She had to get to him. Now.

T’yang and Loki pushed forward with her to back up Jake, but a brutal Essence wave from Udonis flung them backwards. Jake got up first and re-engaged Udonis with reckless abandon. Essence pulsed around him in a visible, burning aura, from the mini-craters his steps left in the floor to the flames that wreathed his eyes and arms.

Eri staggered to her feet and dashed for Jake again at the same time as Udonis, but Jake’s blazing Essence aura abruptly stopped her in her tracks. She crossed her swords in front of her face and saw the Essence-reinforced blades turn molten red from the intense heat Jake was emitting. She couldn’t get closer. She tried firing a shockwave of slicing wind between the two fighters to separate them, but the Essence fueling the attack simply dissolved and was absorbed into Jake’s aura.

“Jake! Enough!” Eri cried desperately. If she could just get him away from the fight, Arashi could cover them long enough for her to use her summoning techniques to staunch the worst of the bleeding. She could keep him alive. Keep him here. With her. Before he bled out or destroyed himself in front of eyes.

She saw her chance to close the distance when Jake’s chains shattered against the floor, but then he stumbled backward for an instant. The flames around him dimmed, and Eri launched herself forward, pounding her wings furiously, but the next few seconds played out like the nightmare that would haunt her dreams for years to come...

Eri’s wings froze mid-flight, sending her crashing to her hands and knees, as spikes of ice erupted from Jake’s back, conjured from Udonis’ arms and impaling his chest in a wound that not even the strongest Temple healer could have hoped to mend. He coughed up blood over Udonis’ face, which only deepened the smirk widening his murderous face. In one last act of defiance, Jake tried throwing a punch, which earned him a third ice spear through the back.

As he held Jake in place, Udonis’ gaze swept across the others, taking in their horrified expressions, until he settled on Eri, smiling as she trembled uncontrollably and her body felt cold, far too cold. He broke off the ice spike protruding from his elbow, and Jake fell face-down into a pool of his own blood, convulsing as he inched ever closer to death’s embrace.

At that moment, a small portion of Eri’s mind - the only part that remained sane - instinctively closed itself off from the rest so that it could watch what happened next with an odd sort of detachment. The scream that tore itself from Eri’s throat didn’t even seem to come from her. She had not consciously made the decision to scream Jake’s name. It just...happened without thinking. But that tiny, sane section of her mind could only watch helplessly, powerless to interfere.

The sense of loss, shock, grief, and horror was so complete, so devastatingly real that it practically rent Eri’s soul in half. The grief she had felt at Tsume’s murder, at Owen’s sacrifice, at losing her ability to have children, was nothing compared to now. Those emotions blasted down her mental link to Arashi and back again, echoing and amplifying his emotions while forming a harmonic.

Gone...

We made a promise...

Gone...

I loved him...

GONE...

This man killed him...

GONE...

We.

Will.

DESTROY.

HIM.


At that moment, Eri’s mind - the part that hadn’t protected itself - shattered along with her heart. She and Arashi shrieked their pain, their fury, their vengeance as Essence whirled around their bodies with the fury of a cyclone and the invisible barrier that kept their minds separate exploded. Their minds merged into a single, savage consciousness in a crude version of a forbidden technique known only to the most powerful summoners in the Temple.

Suddenly Arashi had a vast well of life experiences and memories, both his Eri’s, to tap into for power, and Essence surged between summon and summoner as the winds swirling around the two reached a fever pitch. The transformation that took place was beautiful and terrifying. Arashi’s pristine, white plumage turned black and tattered, transforming him into a wild, deadly predator with blood red eyes and talons stained crimson. At the same time, Eri’s wings turned stark white while her eyes once again took on Arashi’s crystal blue.

And then, to complete the transformation, Eri sheathed what remained of her father’s sword, reached into a sheath on her back carefully concealed under her armor, and drew Jake’s battle-worn axe. Essence swirled around the weapon’s blade, encasing it with the same purple sheath as Eri’s swords.

Yes, it would be most fitting that Udonis die upon the weapon that belonged to the man he had slain. The man Eri had loved despite everything.

The winds swirling around them abated, and the duo surged forward with Essence-powered wings.

“YOU...WILL...DIE!!!”

The last time bloodlust had taken them, Eri had still maintained some presence of mind to hold Arashi back and keep from indiscriminately hitting the wrong target. They held nothing back now. Eri poured every ounce of pain, vengeance, and fury into lightning-fast attacks with both weapons while Arashi dive-bombed from above and harried with beak, wing, and talon. At the same time, their senses and mental awareness were heightened. Eri felt as though she could reach out and practically touch the minds of her friends, hear their thoughts, feel their pain as it poured into her and fueled the raging bloodlust of her and Arashi’s joined minds.

Through this heightened awareness, Eri could also sense Jake’s final fleeting thoughts. For a moment, she felt the Jake she knew and had grown to love, not the cold, sadistic Ekaj. And yet, she knew in that moment that Jake and Ekaj were two halves of the same whole. What Ekaj had done, he had done mostly to survive and, oddly, to keep Jake alive as well. She felt Jake’s eyes on her and the small, sad smile that crossed his lips at seeing how his fate had inspired the others to finish the fight for good.

“Another time, another place babe...”

‘Oh goddess, please no...’

“Sorry...”

Through her heightened senses, Eri felt the exact moment that Jake’s soul slipped from his body, and tears poured from her eyes as her soul shattered all over again and she redoubled her attacks on Udonis with a heartbroken wail.

Sound no longer registered in Eri’s mind, not the sounds of battle, the screams of pain from her and Arashi, or even the desperate cries of her companions telling her to back off. With Arashi’s eyesight helping her track Udonis’ movements, all she could see was his movements and his Essence striking out at her in spears of ice, bolts of lightning, and jets of flame. Eri alternated bursts of slicing wind from her sword and the broad side of Jake’s axe to deflect and dissipate the Essence attacks while lashing out with whatever weapon was free to attack. There was no chance for her companions to get close without taking a blast of Essence or a blow from a weapon.

Between dodging each other’s blows and Essence attacks, Eri and Udonis traded glancing blows to the limbs and torso evenly until Eri’s armor hung in tatters on her body and Udonis bled from head to toe. Eri somersaulted into the air over a bolt of lightning, countered with a blade of wind, and darted out of range while Arashi came in with talons prepared to skewer. Udonis flung the eagle away with a brutal Essence push, but that left Eri open to swing Jake’s axe at Udonis’ head while Arashi barrel-rolled to right himself.

The blow nearly decapitated Udonis once again, and his head lolled dangerously on his shattered spine. With a soundless cry of defiance, he flung a complete dome of blue, electric Essence from both hands, sending Eri and Arashi flying to opposite ends of the room and likely hitting T’yang and Loki as well.

Eri scrambled to her feet, heedless of the bruises and bleeding cuts clamoring for her attention. She did not even register them but instead pounded her wings and flew low to the ground to resume the fight. Shadows reached up from the ground with grasping hands to slow her down, but she sliced them away with axe and sword. Nothing would stand in her way of avenging Jake, not even her companions.

As she neared Udonis, he turned his re-attached head to her and smirked. “Girl, are you so desperate to join him in hell? Allow me to send you!”

A sob tore its way out of Eri’s throat while fresh tears stained her face and she cried, “Die, you monster!!!”

She swung her sword and Jake’s axe at the same time, sending savage blades of slicing wind that, instead of making a straight line for their target, whipped around Udonis to form a tornado that bound him in place. At the same time, Arashi soared from the other side of the room, cloaked in his own gale of deadly winds even more powerful than his last attack. A concentrated blast of blue Essence met the slicing gales in yet another explosion that rocked the foundation of the building, making the ground tremble beneath Eri’s feet.

Glaring out from icy blue eyes, Eri stalked toward the settling dust, white wings outspread in threat, intent on finishing anything that remained of the heretic god.

“Fool.”

Before Eri could react, twin spears of ice shot out from the middle of the dust and savagely impaled her wings, shattering the Essence bones with audible cracks and lifting her off her feet as though she were a sacrifice to be crucified. She shrieked in agony as her brain finally caught up with her body’s wounded state. Any attempt to struggle only made the ice spears rend larger holes in her wings, and her weapons fell uselessly from her hands.

Impossibly, Udonis limped out of the dust cloud, one arm hanging uselessly at his side and scowling at Eri with a look of pure virulent hatred.

“Die like your worthless lover.”

Udonis lifted his good arm, and time slowed down as Eri stared her own death in the face. Ice flecks danced in front of Udonis’ palm, formed a spear that shot toward Eri’s heart, and...

...then a death-black eagle stood between them, wings held defensively in front of him.

How Arashi had gotten there in time, Eri would never know. Perhaps she had unconsciously summoned him. Perhaps he had been fast enough. Either way, it had saved her life. The spear of ice rammed through Arashi’s wings and through his shoulder, in one side and out the other. Then too many things happened at once to track. In an instant, Eri and Arashi reverted back to their black wings and white plumage, respectively, as the unspeakable pain from Arashi’s injury echoed across their mental link and brutally tore their minds back into their respective bodies. He rent his own Essence link to the physical world and dissolved in a cloud of white feathers, not dead but barely conscious in the back of Eri’s mind. With a battle cry from Loki, the ice spears holding Eri aloft shattered while dozens of shadows wrapped in a restrictive cocoon around Udonis.

Eri’s broken wings dissolved with no Essence left to sustain their existence, and she collapsed to the ground face-down. As her vision dimmed, she turned her head and saw Jake’s body lying only a few feet from her in a pool of his own blood.

“Jake...” she mouthed soundlessly as her hand reached towards him, then trembled and fell to the ground. Her eyes closed, welcoming the dark, dreamless sleep that loomed so close...
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Guilty Carrion on Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:23 am

The ground shattered beneath Vox's furious charge, thick trails of ink black staining the craters left in his wake as the broadsword swung effortlessly in a single hand. The titan met Darren halfway but the battle was shifting it's strategy to properly handle the the rhino; Vox shifting it's weight at the last moment to drive the blade along the beast's side. Darren recoiled away from the pain, even as Tal's arm hammered against Vox's skull to stop the attack.


The joint howled in pain at the action, but Tal simply shrugged it roughly as Darren rounded about and Vox straightened up. The vagabond could barely pull his eyes from the monster to see how the others faired, nothing but debris and blasting sound to assure him there was still some form of fight happening against the heretic god. Something in the back of his mind urged him to go to their aide and ignore Vox, who was but a symptom of the actual problem. Sucking in a harsh breath, Tal flashed a furious grin through bleeding gums.


Neither he nor Vox seemed to care much for thinking at the moment though, as the two immediately broke towards each other again. Darren's massive strides shook the earth, unflinching and uncaring of the deep gash along his flank, Tal's calloused fingers digging into his hide as he straightened upon his summons back to a full stand. Vox's broadsword raised eagerly to hit the exposed target that he was, but the guardian's own snarl rivaled the sick thing stretching across the shadow-beasts. Tal swung his hammer to meet the blade that came to bisect him, ashen tip beginning to shatter around the force of the cleaving edge.


Darren's momentum didn't falter, but Tal's strike against the blade stopped him from continuing along with the rhino. The breaking ash snapped around the encroaching blade, snaring it inside the mangled head as gravity demanded Tal's heavy body return to earth. Extended to strike, Vox's grip was ill-prepared for several hundred pounds of meat and fuzz suddenly added, wrenching the weapon from its grip. Landing in a half crouch that made his knees shake from impact, Tal immediately hurled his war-hammer as hard as he could, gritting his teeth as he willed the ash to fly farther with the broadsword.


The momentary shock of losing it's weapon did not stop Vox from retaliating, sweeping one of it's giant limbs at Tal and trying to grab the man in a brutal vice-grip. Lacking Jake's enhanced strength, Tal knew it would be a death sentence to get entrapped in that black embrace, twisting himself painfully about to catch the attacking hand by the fingers with his own and digging his protesting feet in as much as they could. His legs stung with pain, but a sharp bite on his tongue drowned out their protest as thick beads of sweat poured down his head in exertion.


Vox raised it's other hand high above it's head, before slamming the furious fist down to crush him, but Tal called up all the strength he could muster and roughly forced the first hand aside and rushed inside Vox's broken guard. With no solid plan, Tal resorted to his first gut reaction as Vox's body arched down with the overhand, driving his arm up into the wound on it's torso. The limb shook as it impacted something nebulous but hard, akin to a bone but lacking anything that could be described as 'solid'. The black ink that pooled down the limb chilled his spine, cold and unlike any blood he'd every felt, but for all it's alien qualities, the creature still felt the pain. It roared, or perhaps the noise was more akin to a scream; the sound wordless and deafening in it's proximity to his head. It lurched backwards, that noise still clawing at his head as its titanic legs stumbled over themselves to distance itself from the pain source.


While Tal could not take advantage of the weakened footing; clutching his ringing head in a vain attempt to drown out the noise when he lacked the limbs to block his ears, Darren suffered from no such issue, catching Vox with his shoulder as he drove the monster across the room in a blistering stampede. The floor split and cracked in the titans' wake, leaving thick gouges in the ground and shattered craters where their legs struck. Tal swallowed a deep breath as his head dulled it's protests, and he struck after the two at as fast a pace his tiring frame could manage. Ash flowed in his wake in swirling strands, the makeshift limb of his arm still holding it's shape as his essence bled to feed the exertion and keep the ash stable and obeying.


As he hurried to Darren, Tal dared a glimpse towards the battle against the Heretic God, only for his blood to run ice cold as his heart hitched in his throat. The vagabond stopped almost instantly, a feat nearly impossible for a man of his size, but his mind had no concern for that as the scene before him came to it's bloody conclusion. Jake lay in his own blood, still and mutilated from a fight Tal didn't even see. The ash around him shuddered, the tendrils coiling and thrashing violently as the vagabond's mind drew blank.


Eri needed no thought, no pause, screaming forward like an angel of grim vengeance. The familiar swell of anger surging in his breast, an echo of the fury that swallowed his mind  in the refinery clawing at the mind, begging for an outlet. His lips peeled back, teeth bared in a feral snarl as his legs began to move, locked dead on Udonis as the craving to crack the man's skull like a nut surged to the forefront of his mind. His legs began to move quicker, the ground shaking beneath furious strides. Drawing back the ash, he felt it collect, forging a spear where his false arm had been. He wouldn't see it coming. He wouldn't survive it.


The limb didn't move when he willed it to, and before Tal's mind could catch up to the body, a familiar black limb smashed him aside like a child's toy. He rag-dolled across the ground, mind reeling from the sudden strike as his senses tried to figure out what was up and if the ringing was inside his head or outside and just how many ribs he'd just broken. The anger drained in the flash of pain, and Tal coughed a rough breath as his battered frame, somehow, straightened into a sit. Blood trickled down into his eyes, forcing him to drag his hand across his eyes to see the black colossus standing in his path.


Vox looked like it had been through hell and back, cuts and gashes visible along it's body from the protracted conflict, weeping that thick ink as the creature protected it's master from the vagabond. Perhaps there was something noble about it's unwavering dedication. Tal's weary eyes drifted towards Darren, the summon still standing despite numerous bruises and wounds sliced through it's hide. Both of the constructs looked ready to fall over dead with the next gust of wind. Somehow he doubted he looked much better.


Standing to his feet took more effort than he would have liked, arm dangling at his side while he forced his battered legs to hold his weight. His mind felt sluggish, and he could barely feel the ash dancing through the air around him. Ivory eyes drifted towards the battle beyond, still raging beyond his reach. "You're in my way." He grunted out, as if some statement or diplomacy would remove the creature from his path. Vox gave no reply, it's hollow gaze seemingly staring through the battered man before it, as if it stared at nothing.


There was no more time to waste on stupid half thoughts, as the raging battle beyond intensified, Tal looked to Darren and gave a heavy nod. Forcing the ash back into form, Tal crushed the fake arm's fist into a brutal club, and broke towards the summon without delay. Vox lumbered forward, looking towards Darren briefly as the rhino began to charge forward once again. Anyone more familiar with combat would have called it strategic stupidity, but smashing head first was pretty much all they knew.


Vox on the other hand, had a dark intellect, and knew how to keep an ace up it's sleeve. One of it's great limbs swept up, grabbing at nothing but air for a brief second before the black ink of it's body swirled up the outstretched arm, coalescing into the familiar great sword that Tal had ripped from it's hands only minutes ago. It's legs stopped their advance, planting swiftly as it brought the blade down in a malevolent stroke to rend the approaching Darren in two. Without the rhino, the vagabond would be little threat to the shadow beast, and it seemed Vox knew this fact well.


Tal's eyes widened for a brief moment as the world slowed; his heart hammering as the weapon trailed wisps of black through the air on it's path. Darren's own realization of the threat blared through their mental link, but there was no stopping something of that size moving as it was quickly. The two held a mute moment between their minds, neither sure of anything the other could do to avert the situation.


And then Tal struck out, the club limb extending in an instant to a black grey blade jutting from the stump of his ruined arm. It sliced, almost beautifully, through the abyssal matter of Vox's wrist, severing the hand from the bulk of the arm. Darren's thundering footsteps echoed loudly in the confines of his mind, pivoting painfully on his battered legs to catch the massive blade with his good arm. The weight crashed against his body, but with the momentum of Vox's swing, Tal spun, and with an impact that nearly dislocated his shoulder, slammed the titanic weapon back into the torso of it's master.


It jut out from the monster's form like a grand flag of conquest, and seconds later, as his summoner fell back from the monster in a drunken wobble, Darren crashed his full weight into the weapon. There was no sound, not even from Vox, as the blade cleaved the beast in two like it was little more than a scrap of paper. Tal collapsed onto the ground as the top half of Vox's ruined torso crashed down before him, splattering him with the thick ink of it's lifeblood.


That moment stretched out for an eternity, just seeing Udonis's beast laying in a growing pool of it's own fluid. But Tal couldn't let himself relish the taste of hard fought victory, turning about to face the battle as Eri smashed to the ground with an all too familiar similarity to Jake. "Hang on! I'm coming!" Tal roared through hoarse lungs, taking a step forward before something cold constricted around his knee. A second later, the limb shattered beneath an impossible pressure, and the vagabond fell to the ground like a ragdoll as the shock swallowed his mind.


The ash vanished from his control, body shaking as the pain consumed his mind and the black presence held the mangled joint in a death vice. Even Darren's presence, so potent in his mind, was drowned out by the spreading fire and agony from the injury, but in testament to his will, Tal's eyes managed to seek the source, and found his worst suspiscion confirmed. Vox's mangled torso, with it's singular good arm, held fast to the vagabond's knee, it's immense strength still crushing into the already shattered bones despite it's inability to move.


The dark things eyes stared at him, and it chilled him to his core that even now, the monster had still not truly died. The agony in his limb was likely a pale comparison to the pain swallowing it. And that thought, made him grit his teeth through the agony; forcing his torso upright with no resistance from the creature. The sweat rolled down his head, but Tal ignored it, clenching his fist as Vox continued to simply stare.


"Just die already."  The fist came down once. "Just die." It came down again. "Die." Again. "Die. Die. Die. DIE. DIE! DIE!" Each strike came down harder and harder, and eventually, the creature's skull gave way under Tal's strength. But the blows didn't stop, the mantra repeating as the summoner's fist hammered into the pulp over and over again.


It was only when the pulp was so utterly destroyed, and his knuckles nearly broken from punching into the stone flooring, that Tal relented. The liquid coated his arm, and much of his chest, but he made no attempt to remove it, still grinding his knuckle into the paste that remained. "Just...die..." The bitter taste of salt danced on his tongue, thin streams of tears running through the grime coating him. There was no swell of victory in his chest, just the pain clawing at his mind and a twisted tangle of emotions clogging up his mind. "...you're not taking anyone else from me. That was for Tsume."


Ripping his leg from it's limp grip, Tal nearly bit his tongue in two to muffle the pain. Rolling onto his side, arm propping his battered body up just off the ground, he reached out into the muddled depths of his mind for his summon. Their link was shrouded, but he could still feel Darren's presence nearby as his eyes drifted towards Raewyn. "C'mon...we gotta..." His arm reached out, grabbing at the stone and dragging his body along the ground a few inches. "...help...we gotta help Raewyn." Everything hurt, but he demanded his body continue, and not succumb to blissful sleep.


There would be time for rest when the Heretic God was dead.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Digital Muse on Sun May 04, 2014 2:54 pm

T’yang’s eyes snapped open. She’d been thrown several yards away by an intense lightning blast by Udonis. She must have lost consciousness temporarily. Scrambling to her feet, T’yang was only able to find one of her steel fans amidst the rubble of the disintegrating chamber. She didn’t have the time to waste looking for the other.

Looking toward where Udonis stood fending them all off despite their best efforts, she saw Jake launching himself at the Heretic god. He was a whirlwind of punches, kicks and lethal hatred. But, imperceptibly, the brawler was slowing. He was bleeding.

Together, Eri, Loki and T’yang moved to surround and back Jake up, but yet another force push sent them flying. T’yang reached out with a column of shadows and managed to root herself to the floor to prevent another tumbling roll across the room. Jake recovered first. It was as if he was possessed and intended to end Udonis on his own. Eri ran towards him, trying to get the man to back off so he could recover somewhat. The expenditure in his Essence would leave him weakened and vulnerable. T’yang tried to call to Eri, the girl wasn’t thinking, she was reacting. It would get her killed.

Suddenly, as Jake’s Essence left him, he was impaled upon a spike of ice. Udonis’ grin was a rictus of triumph as Jake coughed blood into his face. T’yang was dimly aware of Eri collapsing to the ground at the sight of the death-blow. Even knowing he was dead, Jake tried throwing a heavy punch to Udonis’ head, but two more ice shards tore their way through his back. Udonis dropped Jake to the floor with no more thought than having swatted a fly. T’yang could see Jake could not survive, though he struggled to move.

What T’yang was more concerned about Eri and what the girl would do.  Just as T’yang expected, Eri drew a battered axe from its sling on her back, wreathed it in a nimbus of her purple Essence and charged Udonis screaming her hatred and heartbreak. T’yang wasn’t able to prevent Eri from closing with Udonis. To grab her with her shadows as she’d done with Loki would have left the girl vulnerable to an attack and putting up a wall between them likely would have broken Eri’s neck. Udonis and Eri traded vicious blows and attacks with Arashi running a distracting counterpoint. Eri finally landed a vicious blow that nearly decapitated Udonis for a second time in as many minutes. But, frustratingly, Udonis righted his head and threw a crackling blue sheild above and around himself, tossing them all away like so many dice.

Even after a final desperate blast of sheering winds from sword and axe, Udonis walked through the resultant dust cloud almost unscathed. Before T’yang could right herself and attack, Udonis impaled Eri’s wings with ice, causing the last of her Essence reserves to wink out of existence and Eri collapsed into unconsciousness.

Before Udonis could finish the hapless girl, there came a battle cry from Loki, the ice spears holding Eri aloft shattered while dozens of shadows wrapped in a restrictive cocoon around Udonis. T’yang gritted her teeth, squeezing tightly down on the Heretic god. Only she and Loki were left at the moment to try to wear Udonis down. Eri and Jake had been undisciplined, but powerful. But, now they were no longer able to fight. Great crashing roars sounding behind her told her that Tal, at least was still fighting. But how long could he hold up against Vox alone? T’yang couldn’t spare the time to look for Raewyn. She could only hope the child did as she had been told. T’yang hissed out through clenched teeth. “Loki, I shall reveal parts of Udonis…I will keep cutting him until he can no longer heal. Use your wings to help me hold him.” The first portion she exposed was Udonis’ stomach, spilling his entrails. Then his throat, then arms and on and on. Even as she worked like a butcher on a side of beef, Udonis’ muffled roars could be heard, but he kept healing the wounds. But, slowly, ever so slowly, his ability to heal slowed and he was expending immense amounts of Essence to try to heal and break out of the hold the pair had upon him. T’yang kept squeezing, much like a Boa Constrictor trying to suffocate its prey. But, Udonis was still enormously powerful and didn’t succumb.

A sudden flash of brilliant azure blew T’yang off her feet, sending her flying to slam into one of the few remaining columns. The impact felt as if it had broken her back and she lay in a heap unable to move at first.  After a few precious, dazed seconds, feeling returned to her legs and arms and T’yang struggled to her feet.  Across the room, Udonis stood, bloodied, with a nearly insane light in his eyes. His lips were peeled back from his teeth as he dragged in great breaths. “You will die slowly and horribly. But first, you will watch as I rend this world and make it into my image. I will bring night down on this land and everyone will bow to me!” Suddenly his voice was soft, “If only you had remained loyal T’yang. You could be among my favored court.”

T’yang picked herself up from the floor, her Essence was dangerously low, but she still possessed one of her war fans. “Your favored court is dead or has deserted you, Udonis.” She answered coldly. As she spoke, Udonis’ own shadow slithered up his legs to his hip rooting him to the floor as if he had been cast in stone. “You will not be suffered to live, you are not a god. You are nothing more than a Saturate with ambitions beyond his abilities.” It was a calculated jibe to keep Udonis’ attention on her. She had to give Loki and Raewyn time to finish the man. Udonis screamed incoherently at her. But when he attempted to take a step forward to attack, he found he couldn’t. His eyes were truly insane now and T’yang had to wonder momentarily if it was Raewyn’s doing or if Udonis had actually gone mad.

The man looked down uncomprehending for a moment and with a roar, he expelled another force blast of blue crackling force to shred the prison of shadows that held him still.

T’yang had tried to anticipate the blast so she could drop the hold before it came to lessen the damage she also took from it. But in her exhausted state she left it a heartbeat too late and she fell to a knee as if she’d been kicked in the stomach. She gasped, trying to get her breath and heard Udonis laugh. “Now, you die.” He gritted out.
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

Post by Loki on Mon May 19, 2014 9:48 pm

Loki couldn’t help but think he had been a little too generous with recharging his friends as he had just finished with T’yang.  Jake had taken the remainder of the surplus he had stolen back from Udonis, leaving his own well of Essence to finish his supportive task.  Fatigue tugged at the peripheries of his consciousness, reminding him to conserve what remained until he had another chance to attain more.  Something he was confident would be far more difficult now that Udonis was aware of that particular trick.

Once more, T’yang, Eri, and Loki set in on Udonis as a cohesive unit intent on chipping away at the man until there was nothing left.  Their tactic didn’t last long as another blast of force that prevented them from gaining a foothold.  He wasn’t sure when Jake had found himself involved with their assault on Udonis, but it didn’t take more than an instant to realize he was in no condition to be moving, to say nothing of fighting one-on-one.  Despite all of his best efforts to reengage to provide Jake some measure of help since it was clear he had no intention to tend to his wounds, blasts of force, fire, and lightning kept him at bay long enough for Udonis to deliver the killing blow.  Loki could only watch in horror, momentarily forgetting about the pain of his battered and burned body, as the very first friend he had made on this adventure fall motionless in a pool of his own lifeblood.

This time it had been Eri who had lost control of her emotions and literally transformed before his eyes into something that was more feral than the teacher who had instructed him all those nights.  Loki called out to her to stop her reckless assault so they could attack in tandem, but she didn’t even seem to register that he had spoken.  Once again, Loki did his best to harry their target so he wouldn’t focus his wrath on one target.  It was an action that was once again rewarded by a blast of force that sent him tumbling across the chamber.  By the time he had regained his feet, Loki panicked as he saw Eri’s wings pinned on spikes of ice leaving her vulnerable to a killing blow similar to the one that took Jake’s life.  He found himself airborne on sheer reflex with this sword poised to strike, but Loki knew there was too much ground to cover even as Udonis launched his attack.

“No!”  That terrorized word left Loki’s lips as he watched the glacial skewer reach forth towards Eri’s heart.  By something just this side of a miracle, a streak of black feathers intercepted the coup de grace in a sacrifice that spared Eri’s life and allowed Loki the close the remaining distance to cleave his blade through the ice with a bellow of challenge.

Loki’s boots slid across the stone ground as he landed with nearly as much momentum as he had charged with, but wasted little time in redirecting it back towards Udonis.  Shadows closed around the heretic god as he moved in, bringing a hungry snarl across his lips as T’yang’s shadows presented openings in her binding large enough for Loki’s blade to sink deep into exposed flesh.  Enough Essence was poured into the blade’s length to partially cauterize the wounds it inflicted, making them that much more difficult to heal while still allowing some blood to flow.  Blood and gore splattered along his blade and upon his person as he lashed out at every opening the instant it was presented, targeting anything that stood in contrast to the shadows with all the precision of a butcher carving up a side of beef.

As focused as he was on his task, Loki did not anticipate the nova burst of force that launched him away from his target.  He felt the air knocked out of his lungs and the grip on his sword falter long enough to go skittering far away from where he had landed.  Dizziness overtook him for a moment before a throbbing migraine became the focus of his pain receptors.  Somewhere among his clouded thoughts, he had surmised that he had not taken his landing well and must have hit his head pretty hard against the stone floor.  It took him a few moments to pull himself up and focus his thoughts once more to the battle at hand.  By that time Udonis was standing over T’yang, ice crystals gathering once more in his hand in what was quickly becoming his favored form of execution.

At the same time Loki dashed forward to engage, gathering Essence of his own and quickly casting out a bolt of superheated energy into the middle of Udonis’ back.  The man arched in agony as his flesh charred from the heat, but quickly spun and met Loki’s charge with a blast of force originating from the top of his head pointing straight to the ground.  The cloudiness in Loki’s mind redoubled as he felt the side of his head rebound off the stone floor once more, fortunately having the foresight to turn his head to avoid his chin or face from taking the brunt of the impact.  As he tried to pull himself back up on his feet, Udonis’ foot impacted just under his chin with such force that it had to have been aided by his abilities.  It was strong enough to flip him from his stomach over to his back, nearly snapping his neck in the process.

Loki glanced up blearily to see Udonis holding a sphere of fire the size of a large athletic ball between his hands; the heat from it was intense enough to feel like sunburn on his exposed skin even from where he lay.  Just as the fireball was raised in preparation to be slammed down upon him, Loki flinched away putting his arms before his face in a futile attempt to block his own personal deathblow.  Udonis let out a strained snarling grunt of effort… and nothing happened.  Peeking out from behind his impotent defense, he was able to see Udonis slumping over barely able to stay standing.

Loki took the opportunity to land a powerful kick right into Udonis’ knee, causing the leg to straighten for an instant before caving in the opposite direction with a sickening pop of cartilage that elicited a cry of agony from the man as he fell to the ground.  Focus was once more returning to Loki’s thoughts and he looked towards the side of the chamber where Tal had been battling Vox where he saw the shadowy monstrosity’s broken body dissolving.  This is our window!

It wasn’t an easy task for Loki to pull himself to his feet as the ground tried to spin and shift under him.  Udonis was trying the same with labored breaths and was having even less luck as his ruined knee was struggling to reset itself, only getting so far as to pulling himself on all fours.  Tendrils of light reached out and snared the heretic god’s legs, arms, and neck allowing Loki to feel what little remained of Udonis’ Essence supply, but was disconcerted to feel it replenishing far faster than that of a normal Saturate.  There would have been no way for us to defeat him if it wasn’t for the toll Vox’s death took on him.  He very well could be back on his feet in a few minutes if given the opportunity.  I will have to keep draining him as I deliver the final blow.

Without wasting any more time, Loki siphoned what remained of Udonis’ Essence and whatever managed to regenerate.  The extra jolt of energy helped to take the edge off his fatigue, but did nothing to clear his concussed mind and it took him a moment to spot his sword across the chamber.  Loki began to trudge his way towards the weapon dragging the helpless man behind him, not wanting to risk resummoning it to him out of fear the effort could cause him to black out and give Udonis a chance to recover.  He had made it to the center of the room’s dais before he reached his physical limit and was unable to take another step while dragging his charge; at the same time, he didn’t dare breaking contact with the man even for an instant.  




Raewyn watched the battles rage and flow across the length and breadth of the massive colonnaded room. She barely dared to breadth as she watched her friends fling themselves against Udonis again and again, only to be rebuffed and sent tumbling away like sparrows caught in a tornado. She kept up her intrusion into the link between Vox and Udonis, allowing Jake and Tal to take on the behemoth with some success.

But suddenly, Jake was sent flying across the room, propelled by a massive kick from Vox. Raewyn stifled a cry when Jake struggled to rise and it took a couple tries. She had seen the blood he’d spat up. Raewyn wanted to get up and rush to his side, but he struggled to his feet and launched himself with a vengeance at Udonis.

But in the space of mere seconds, it had all gone terribly wrong. Jake had been stabbed 3 times by Udonis and she could feel him slipping away. Tears sprang into her eyes. He’d always been rough and since the leylines, something hade felt off about him, but he had been their crutch when it came to a fight. Now, she could almost sense his spirit leave his body. He was dead. Her mind refused to accept it. Not Jake too. Not like Tsume and Owen.

Eri’s scream jerked Raewyn out of the darkness she’d almost sunk into. She flashed her attention back to Tal and Vox. He was on his own now and Raewyn gritted her teeth, bringing her mind to bear on the huge Summon. She could sense more than see the rage and heartbreak emanating from Eri and Loki and even a little from T’yang. They harried Udonis from all sides, never giving him any respite. But time and again, he blasted them back with force explosions.

Tal was beginning to gain the upper hand against the Summon and a cry of agony sent a shock up Raewyn’s spine. Dread fear made her look back toward the battle with Udonis only to see Eri’s wings crucified on more of Udonis’ ice shards. Loki launched himself at Udonis to save his mentor’s life, but would never make it in time. Thankfully, Arashi did. And with that distraction, Loki was able to smash the ice shards that held Eri aloft. She crumpled to the ground, reaching feebly for Jake, but soon fell unconscious.

In Udonis’ fight with Eri and Loki, he had evidently forgotten T’yang because suddenly he was wrapped in a tight cuccoon of darkness. Between them, Loki and T’yang whittled away at the Heretic god as her Papa would have done with a length of wood. But, the man kept healing himself. Barely. He was becoming weaker. How much longer could they keep this up?

The sudden shrieking agony blaring from Tal’s mind made Raeywn clutch at her head in pain until she should section it off in her own mind. She couldn’t see what had happened But she was intensely relieved that he was still there in her mind and still conscious. And then she felt Tal’s mind shift from survival to opening a sluice gate of pent up anger, fear and pain. Blow after hammering blow was rained down on the summon Vox.

Another force blast from behind her startled her. Raewyn’s heart skipped a beat. No! It wasn’t possible. How could Udonis still had enough Essence to continue to fight. T’yang was thrown across the room and lay stunned momentarily. Udonis closed the distance and stood over her, taunting her before delivering the death blow.

But even as Udonis leaned down to end T’yang, Loki raced forward and blasted Udonis in the back with a bolt of energy. Udonis screamed as his flesh cooked. But, he spun and blasted Loki with a crushing blast of force from above him. Loki staggered and seemed dazed.. Udonis had given up on force blasts at that point and kicked Loki repeatedly sending him sprawling. Following after, Udonis built a huge fire ball between his hands preparing to finish him.

Meanwhile, Tal kept up his mad hammering on Vox. It went on for ages until the vagabond’s fists were almost smashed to pulp against the marble tiled floors. The Summon was banished. With Vox banished, the fireball in Udonis’ hands evaporated. A snarled grunt of pain was forced between Udonis’ lips. Not taking a second to think about it, Loki snapped out a kick and collapsed the Heretic god’s knee. Rising, Loki began casting about for his weapons and found them across the room. Slowly, relentlessly, he began to drag the weakened Udonis across the cratered and ruined floor. But, Loki was spent. He had nothing left to give and stood there with his head hanging.

Raewyn felt Tal’s determination and tears flowed down her cheeks now as she felt his unwavering goal to protect her. They all came here to protect her and to ensure that Udonis would not bring death and destruction to the world. She was humbled as she had never been before and vowed that if they ever got out of this alive, goddess or not, she would never be able to pay them respect they deserved.

Loki’s chest was heaving, trying to catch his breath. T’yang had struggled to her knees, but, her head was hanging and her shoulder was horrifically mal-formed. Raewyn sensed nothing but pain and exhaustion from the three, but a will to finish this fight as well. Raewyn edged out from behind one of the few remaining columns, drawing the slender stiletto daggers she’d picked out in the Temple’s armory and began to approach Loki who still stood in the middle of the room, his knees trembling with the will to stay upright. She watched in horror as Udonis gathered one last blast of Force and it struck Loki right in the chest. Loki’s tendrils wrapped around Udonis’ limbs were the only thing that saved him from being thrown across the room again. Unfortunately, it also meant he took the entirety of the blast. Udonis crawled to his feet, barely able to stand himself. But it was obvious his Essence reserves were now gone. He would need time to replenish them.

A white-hot anger flared through Raewyn. She focused entirely on the battered Udonis. This was the man who had ruined everything. Her family’s life, her friends’ lives, tried to destroy the entire world. As Udonis approached the disoriented Loki and bent to scoop up a large piece of broken stone, Raeywn raced forward and leapt onto his back. She hesitated momentarily, but as Udonis roared and tried to whirl and reach for her to dislodge her from his back, Raewyn sank both daggers down through the tops of his shoulders. Udonis roared, arching his back in an agony of pain. Raewyn clung to his back like a leech. Reaching up, she grabbed both sides of Udonis’ head and gritted her teeth in concentration. Udonis had drained her powers. But not all of them and in his weakened state, he might not know what precisely he’d left behind. She dragged his head back to she could whisper into his ear, “You took from me. Family, friends and tried to take the world. I’m taking it back.” Because of his weakened state and not having Maeve to protect his mind, Raewyn delved deep into Udonis’ sub-conscious. She found the fear of not being in control of being a slave rather than the master and fed it. She fanned the flames of doubt and fear and pain within his mind.

In his mind’s eye, Udonis felt a surge of heat and a golden glow traced itself from his eyes out, over his head and into Raewyn. She knew this sensation well and let Udonis experience it precisely as she had when he’d harvested her powers. Udonis thrashed even harder, screaming as the idea of Raewyn taken her powers from him. “Now, I’m going to take it all.” She murmured cruelly. Udonis crashed to his knees, but Raewyn didn’t budge from his back. She showed him the harvesting of every power he’d ever stolen. She showed it all flowing back into her. Her illusion was so complete, Udonis gasped, convinced he had no power at all left. Raewyn was so intent on making Udonis pay for the pain and deaths he’d caused that she dipped deeply into her own reserves of Essence. Though she’d been bolstered by Loki before the battle, her nose, ears and even the corners of her eyes began to bleed. But she was unrelenting.




It hadn’t dawned on Loki that figuring out how to claim his weapon would be enough to distract his concussed mind enough to let up on draining Udonis.  Only when a sound drew his attention from his thoughts and took a blast of invisible force to the center of mass as he turned to face its source had he realized his mistake.  The impact launched him backwards; he felt it as his tendrils grappling Udonis held long enough to significantly reduce his momentum, albeit at the cost of their grip on him.  The world became a senseless din, registering somewhere in the remote reaches of his mental peripheries along with the sense of urgency.  Things that felt so unimportant next to his lungs gasping to regain the breath that had been knocked from them and the insatiable need for sleep.

I’m so tired…  When was the last time I slept?

Memories were sluggish to reveal themselves through the fog as his eyelids continued to droop closed.  Oh, right…  The Temple after helping the others…  That thought inspired another, though it was just as slow to reveal itself to him.  There was something he needed to do, but he just felt so sore and tired.  I’m sure they won’t mind if I took a quick nap…  Thinking of the others only reinforced the growing sense of urgency of his forgotten task.  It was right there on the tip of his tongue even as he felt sleep beginning drift over him.

Raewyn’s cry of distress pierced through his stupor and brought with it the clear recollection of their situation.  Loki looked up in time to see Udonis pull both stilettos from his shoulders as he stalked over towards Raewyn who was sprawled on the ground as though she had been thrown there.  ”You little bitch!  I am sick of these games and am going to end this!”  The man lifted the piercing dagger with all the intent of a scorpion about to strike down its prey, but before he could bring it down a tendril of light wrapped itself around his ankle and viciously wrenched it out from beneath him.  The weapons clattered on the floor as Udonis fell, reflexively releasing his grip on them to catch his fall on his hands and knees.  Before he could so much as shift his weight, Loki tore away what Essence he had managed to replenish and made sure to focus on that link so he could not get that same opportunity a second time.  

“I don’t know what will happen to the Goddess ability when he dies, but I think the best opportunity we have to set things right is for you to be the one to deliver the final blow.”  Those words tasted bitter on his tongue as he pulled himself to his feet, instantly regretting saying it even though it needed to be said.  To his surprise, Raewyn didn’t seem to hesitate as she reclaimed one of her stilettos.  Loki gripped Udonis’ shoulders and held him in the kneeling position while his tendrils bound his hands behind his back and wrapped around his head and neck to hold it still while maintaining the energy siphon.

”Don’t be a fool, girl.  There is no telling what fate you’ll unleash upon this world if you slay me.”  Though Udoin’s words came out somnolent, they still maintained their confidence without the slightest hint of remorse.  ”At least with me the natural world will survive and its balance will remain, if not flourish from  having an immortal God.  Humanity will prosper under my rule.  Can you be so sure that you will regain your power from my death?  Can you even be sure that this power will return to the planet as it always had?”  A cold smile spread across his lips.  ”Can you so easily strike me down knowing that by doing so, you could very well be dooming all of Viemera?  Do you want to watch the world shrivel to a lifeless husk, knowing it was done by your own hand?”

The stiletto handle felt slick in her sweaty palm. Raewyn’s heart hammered in her chest so much that she could barely hear Loki for the blood rushing through her ears.  “Flourish? Nothing will flourish under your rule.” Her face was hard set, though her mind shied away from what she was about to do, she was determined to do it. “You have already proven you are willing to sacrifice anyone and anything to gain ultimate power. Whether I am right or I am wrong doesn’t matter anymore. Either the world will recover without you, or it will die without you.”  Raeywn’s eyes flicked only once toward Loki to ensure he would hold the Heretic god.

Steeling herself, Raewyn approached Udonis, needing to end this before her resolve left her. In the end, his cold, superior smile was the tipping point. He had hurt and killed too many people and he would never stop. Three quick strides took Raewyn directly to Udonis and with her momentum and all her strength, drove the stiletto’s thin blade directly into his skull. Udonis’ body shuddered slightly and Raewyn trembled as the realization of what she had done washed over her. “That is for my Mother. For me.” She whispered in his ear.

There was a long moment of unsettling stillness that following the finality of the stiletto embedding itself to the hilt in Udonis’ skull.  The heretic god knelt there limply, supported entirely by Loki’s restraints, his lifeless eyes half lidded as his lips still faintly resembled his self-assured grin.  Just as it seemed nothing more was going to happen, a mote of brilliant green light emanated from the center of his forehead and casually drifted upwards towards the chamber’s ceiling.  Before it could get far, more motes appeared to follow the first, each one emitting a sound that was just barely loud enough to hear from up close.  Just a few at first, but after a handful of seconds they were coming by the dozens, then hundreds, then thousands until Udonis’ body was veiled beneath the seemingly endless cascade of light and the combined sound that resembled some sort of cross between a harp string being plucked and a rainstorm.

Loki withdrew his wings and backed away until he was off the dais and watching from what he hoped was a safe distance.  He suspected that whatever was happening, Raewyn was the only one who should be close to it.  The sight was mesmerizingly beautiful and he was surprised that he could not detect even the slightest hint of Essence coming from that display; whatever it was, it was unlike anything he had ever encountered.

After a few dozen seconds from its start, things started to take a somewhat unsettling change.  It was slow and almost unnoticeable at first, but before long there was a second set of motes, these ones seemingly to absorb light causing spots of darkness to travel with the green lights in seemingly equal quantity emitting sounds that were flat and in disharmony from the green.  It provided a sort of discord that replaced Loki’s feelings of unease with that of dread, somewhere in his instincts he was aware that something was wrong.  Without warning there was a sudden burst of that sound, similar but concentrated enough to easily stand out from the din as two dense concentrations of those mixed motes erupted from the sides of the main body before beginning to helix their way up the column of light.  Just as they disappeared up through the ceiling, two more were emitted similar to the first, though one of the two was composed entirely of the darkness while the other seemed to split halfway up, spiraling around itself as it continued its helix beyond the ceiling.

The column of light heavily intermixed with the darkened motes began to thin over the course of a few seconds.  Rather than the sounds trailing off, it took on a more foreboding dull hum that quickly began to become higher pitched and more shrill as though something was under strain.  “Raewyn, get away from there!”  Just as he said that, whatever was under strain finally broke with the sound only abstractly resembling an explosion as a dome of that translucent darkness erupted from where Udonis’s body resided and spread out in all directions slow enough to see coming, but too fast to even consider outrunning.

Loki had put his wings before him in a rudimentary mesh to hopefully provide some sort of protection, but watched as they disintegrated as they came into contact with the darkness.  It was entirely unimpeded by his hasty defense and all he could think to do was put up his arms to cover his face as the field washed over him.  As it did so, he felt an overwhelming sense of disorientation rather than pain leaving him feeling nauseous and feeling acutely aware that while his body was unharmed, damage was certainly done.  He watched as the dome’s surface continued to radiate outwards towards Darren who was closer than any of the others and watched with horror as the summon fared just as well as his wings had, his flesh instantly dissolving as it came into contact with the translucent field until nothing but empty space remained where the summoned rhino once stood.

The growing dome continued onward, passing over everybody in the room and beyond, unmaking anything comprised of Essence along the way.  The disorientation quickly faded, but not the feeling of utter wrongness as Loki looked down at his hands.  He could no longer feel the presence of his wings nor the extra well of vitality within him.  He tried to call forth any manifestation of his abilities only to get nothing; it felt as though he had lost a part of himself and felt incomplete without it.  He looked at the center dais where only Raewyn now stood without any sign of Udonis' body.  She along with everybody else within sight all wore the same sort of stunned expression as realization set it, though it seemed the Summoners were already faring worse.  Not that he could blame them.  Whatever had just happened, he was confident it was something that was going to affect things on the global scale and couldn't even fathom what it would mean for those who lived upon it.
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Loki
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Re: Viemera: The Essence of Deceit [Complete]

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