Private Tales Headstrong Even in Death

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Aranhil Voronwe

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The small town of Vel Allende was on fire. A agrarian town that focused on producing wheat or heartier root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. They burned all the same. The wheat fields were in flames and the small village people were running and screaming about. The scream of children and goats, the frantic shouts of mothers and fathers mixed with the cry of scared horses— a chorus to the duanann’s ears. Nothing like releasing all that pent up stress that had been building up for months like wrecking havoc on the little insignificant mortals.

And they were little, at least to Aranhil Voronwe. He stared down at the the measly group of eight men who had armed themselves with whatever viable weapons they could find. A pitchfork— how quaint. Some dull sword that seemed like it would crumble any moment? Better, Aranhil supposed. But nothing that frightened him. This town was just what he needed— poor enough to not have much access to iron, but enough people and livestock to make this killing spree worthwhile.

Maybe he’d even take a child or two and turn them into his little changeling pets.

Or he could just kill them as well.

It’ll be hilarious. He would make sure enough people survived and got to safety just to tell others about the tall man with the pointed ears. They would blame the elves for this and then Aranhil could cast a glamour on himself and watch the petty feud from afar, laughing his ass off the entire time. Aranhil ready his bow. He was sure that the men felt that at this range he wouldn’t shouldn’t try to shoot at them, but they were sorely mistaken.

True shot. His affinity. He’d never miss a target, no matter how close or far away. Three arrows were threaded through and with lightning fast reflexes, he realized them. Fae arrows were crafted better than another species on Arethil, and Aranhil made sure he had the best of the best. The arrows went completely through the men, landing dozens of meters behind them. A heart stuck on each shaft.

C’mon!” He laughed, changing from iza to common tongue. “Don’t run away now my little playthings! Come at me with everything you have!
 
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Edric

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Word had slipped.

Not a whisper, but a scream that echoed out from the lips of a young boy. A child who had managed to find a horse, one who had ridden hard to the next down over. His torso bleeding, his fingers white from the stress of grabbing the reins.

He had called for aid, begged, demanded, and all that had come to his rescue was one Dreadlord Initiate and two Guardsmen.

They had been in the village to check on the mayor, complaints from the villagers that didn't seem to matter in the face of a slaughter. It had not taken Edric long to decide, to pull the Guardsmen with him to their horses. Whatever massacre was happening, he knew he had to stop it.

He took no care to hide himself.

Offered no semblance of stealth.

The three men came stampeding down the main road. The beats of their horses hooves echoing out as they road into the slaughter. Smoke filled the air, and Edric could feel the lives of those within the town slipping away.

Desperation pulled at him, and he let out a cry as he pushed his horse to go faster and faster. His gaze catching onto the glint of metal in the distance. His eyes trying desperately to spot the figure standing atop one of the buildings.
 
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Aranhil Voronwe

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Aranhil had finished off the men who had tried to stand against him. It was too easy. There was hardly any resistance. Why? Because they had no hope. Being nearly a thousand years old, Aranhil had came to the conclusion that it was only fun to kill people who had yet to witness despair.

Which was why humans were the best way to have fun. Always so filled with hope for no particular reason than other because they were too naive to understand their circumstances. Usually. He frowned, fixing another arrow into his bone and looking around. Nothing else to do but to hit those that were running away. It seemed like no one else was going to—

A resounding cry reached his ears. A cruel, malicious grin appeared on Aranhil’s face and he looked over to where he had heard the sound. Three men on horses. They’ll have to do for now. He aimed, his form impeccable after centuries upon centuries of practice. Nearly a millennia of using a bow and arrow. Even without his affinity, Aranhil wouldn’t miss, even from this sort of distance.

An arrow flew out, hitting one of the guardsmen squarely in their right eye.

Bullseye. Quite literally.

Aranhil slotted another arrow through.

Edric
 
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Edric

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A cry resounded besides him. One of the Guardsmen half reached for his head, but the hand fell away as the arrow pierced through his skull.

The loud thud of the man's corpse hitting the ground resonated outward, Edric feeling the flicker of his life rip away. His horse suddenly bucked left, turning away and rushing into the field just outside of town as it was no longer spurned forward.

Edric cursed, but he didn't slow.

The man to his left seemed to falter, waver as though he might rush away.

A single look was all that it took. A shot of his strange snake like eyes. They bored into the man's skull, demanding, pushing. Whoever this man was, whatever he was doing...he needed to die. Edric was sure of it. His fingers tightened on the reins.

His heels dug in.

The Horse let out a whinny, and they rushed forward. Breaking through the small entrance gate of the village as they drew closer to the Aranhil.
 

Aranhil Voronwe

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Aranhil had just pulled the string back, aimed, and right as the first man road through the gate, Aranhil let go, watching his arrow fly through the air once more to this time stab at the soft skin underneath the chin but right at the sweet spot where the neck guard of armor didn’t cover. Another perfect shot. But this arrow had been enhanced.

Three seconds later, the poor man’s head exploded.

Damn, his family really did make some great weaponry. The one and only lone rider coming towards him didn’t frighten him. Instead, he languidly pulled his flask off of his hip, unscrewed it and then took a deep swig. He may as well start celebrating early. He brought his hazel eyes over to look at the young man, a cruel grin still on his face.

He snapped his fingers and a large, swirling rush of flame flew directly at Edric.

Edric
 
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Edric

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Fire wrapped around him.

It rushed over Edric like a tidal wave. Biting. Screaming. Gnawing at his flesh and tearing at the sinew below. The smell of burning flesh reached into the air, the agonizing screech of his horse echoing alongside it as the inferno enveloped the both of them.

The sound of it would have torn bile from most men, rolled goosebumps over the skin of even the most hardened soldiers. Edric felt it. The pain. The agonizing burn that desperately sought to end his life. It peeled away at his skin, rent away his muscle, but it wasn't enough.

Life flowed into him.

Terrifying, beautiful, wondrous life.

It dragged from the small wells of the dying. From the villagers Aranhil had let suffer, from the horse beneath him, from the Guardsmen that had been tossing in their death throes. It poured into Edric. Muscles, tendons, skin regrowing as fast as it burned.

From the fire launched not a corpse, but a Dreadlord.

He sprang out of the inferno, fingers curled into a fist. Body lurching through the air as he thrashed into Aranhil.
 
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Aranhil Voronwe

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The grin on Aranhil’s face faltered. Surely, surely, that man should be nothing more than a pile of burning, rotting flesh by now. He narrowed his eyes, and too late he felt a fist punching his handsome face. Aranhil flew from the top of the little home and crashed down into it’s neighbor, breaking the thatch roof and falling on top of a kitchen table— and also breaking that too.

Laughter erupted from the duanann and he stood up, a fearsome mirth in his hazel eyes, his mouth wide with crazed glee.

It had been so long since someone other than his father had actually touched him.

Well it looks like someone who can provide me with some fun is finally here!” He created air currents, a harsh vortex of wind to block the hole in the roof to keep Edric from coming inside. Perhaps this man was resistant to flames. Very well, he’d take him out with an arrow then.

Swiftly, Aranhil excited the home, crashing through a glass window, bringing a hand to the quiver slung along his back and procuring a arrow. One of the exploding ones he had used earlier, aiming for Edric.

Edric
 
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Edric

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The man, the creature flew into the building besides him. Crashing through the ancient wooden and sundering the wall.

Lips thinned, fingers folded open. Skin slowly crawling up his hand as charred flesh was recuperated almost instantly. Air whipped up as the man spoke, his voice echoing out beyond the wall that formed in front of him. Fun? This was supposed to be fun?

The Elf in front of him seemed to smirk, lips parting in a wide grin as he called to the Initiate.

Edric shouted, his voice incredulous. "Who the fuck ar-"

Before he could finish there was a flicker of silver through the air. An arrow shot out from the wall of wind, breaching through the air in an instant. It buried itself within Edric's shoulder, his body half whirling as the silvery head pierced through his flesh.

Then it exploded.

Blood and splattered over the roof top as he was suddenly thrown back. A thud echoed out as Edric struck the ground, his reserve desperately clawing at whatever life was around him.

Grass wilted. Flowers planted in the spring died, and what little livestock remained alive began to falter.

Bone and muscle knit itself back together as Edric pulled himself from the ground. Lurching up with a desperate breath. Lips forming into a scowl as he peered through the streets and through the invisible wall at his attacker.

"THIS IS FUN FOR YOU!?" Edric's voice boomed as he stood, rage blooming in his chest as he stalked towards the figure.

His magic roiled, reaching, drawing in the life around him.

Slow waves of decay roiled from the Initiate. Grasping, clawing. Aranhil would feel it. A gentle tug at the core of his life. His very soul. A soft pull. "THIS IS ENTERTAINMENT?!"

He shouted, rage filling him.
 
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Aranhil Voronwe

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OF COURSE IT’S FUN!” Aranhil shouted back. “DO YOU KNOW WHAT I AM, YOU PUNY ANT?!” More of that crazed laughter, another large swig from his flask. Aranhil was ready to finish this man off, to blow a hole right through his head, but something caused him to pause.

What… what was that?

A look of confusion crossed over Aranhil’s features and he threw his flask to the side. He must have drank too much. That’s what it was. It had to be. He narrowed his eyes at the human as he just so leisurely came over to him. Shouldn’t he be running away by now? Or did he not fear death?

It didn’t matter. Aranhil was certain he’d make this man regret his choices. With a deep breath, he held out both of his hands. One hand in the shape of a fist, the other with a open palm facing Edric. The fist would have fire come from it whereas the open palm created a mini-tornado. Together, the fire and air magic worked together to create a howling gale of flame. He had gone too easy on him using his bow. He wanted to watch the flesh melt right off of his face, to see even his skull disintegrate.

Edric
 
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Edric

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Fire floated forward like a tidal wave.

The air itself flickered in a haze, rupturing, pulling apart as the inferno rolled towards him. Edric saw it. Watched as the spark ignited within the creatures fingers. It rolled towards him in a great gust, an inferno that could burn down whole cities. Heat torched the air.

Rushing. Scorching.

Burning.

It washed over him, stripping flesh from bones in an instant. Ripping and shredding muscle, tendon, and everything in between. The agony was unspeakable, the pain was unbearable. A lifetime of torture. An existence of suffering flickered in that second.

Edric felt it all. Those years spent within the dungeons. Those months stuffed in the box. Those days drowned and held at the bottom of the lake. When that fire touched him he remembered them all.

They flickered through his mind. Every second of his deaths. Every moment that he stood before the abyss. Every heartbeat of his ends.

As the fire took him. As the inferno consumed him. Edric could see it all. Every time the Proctor's had brought his end. Every moment that their knives. Their poisons. Their magics had pushed him over that edge. He saw them all.

And he clawed for life.

It wasn't his will that acted. It wasn't a thought. It was pure and utter instinct.

His magic lashed out, pulled, tore, ripped for everything that it possibly could. Insects, mushrooms, bare wisps of life that could sustain him. His reserve clawed and snatched at whatever it could find, until finally it latched onto the greatest source of life it could.

A single lash at first. A bare tendril.

Then another. Then another.

Aranhil would feel it. The clawing grasp of the ant before him. It reached into his heart, his very soul, ripping away at the shreds of existence the Fae had born all his long years.

A bare, tortured wrought form stepped through the form. A skeletal figure whose flesh was worn away. Whose muscle slowly grew back over bone. Whose eyes had melted within the heat of magical fire. It walked, stumbled as it's flesh slowly regrew. Muscles flexed as it spoke, a hand pressing against the wall of wind that separated them. "I know what you are."

The voice was a bare rasp, a stolen whisper from what should have been a grave. "A dead man."

Air flexed, shifted, and then suddenly burst as the magic before him struck in on itself. Exploding in a cascading gust of wind.
 
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Aranhil Voronwe

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The issue with being one of the strongest beings on Arethil and being able to snap one’s fingers to have the elements obey your every whim is that unless one purposely and dutifully trained, in a real fight were might was equal, they’d lose. Aranhil felt an ironic sense of back when he was a child, hearing stories about one of the mightiest fae, Asemir, and how he commanded armies and no foe was too great for him. He had went over any obstacles and challenges set before him, had been wounded or discouraged but still managed to rise back up.

Stories of valor had always been Aranhil’s favorite as a child.

But he was lazy. Prone to finding the easy way out or using other means to get his way. The truth of the matter was that Aranhil was an incredibly spoiled fae and while his skill with the bow was noteworthy, it meant nothing here. At least, not with a monster like Edric.

It was at that moment that Aranhil realized that surely Edric must be the monster, not him, because suddenly, a walking pile of bones was getting reanimated so grotesquely that Aranhil couldn’t look away due to the shock. It also didn’t help that he really felt it now.

Something that ate away at his magic, even pulling from his reserves when he had replenished himself at the ley line. Aranhil felt a shiver go through his entire form. He was no fighter. Never had been. Relying on his bow and arrows. Always being far away. He was suited to sniping out others, not close range combat.

In truth he had no idea what to do.

So instead he turned around and ran as magic was continually being stripped from him. He just had to find another leyline, he did that and his magic would be restored and he could leave this realm. That was his only goal.

Edric
 
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Edric

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The creature turned.

It ran.

Edric saw the fear in it's eyes. The flicker of horror that ran through it's gaze as it felt the terror that it had inflicted upon the villagers. Something deep within Edric spurned forward, something that trickled through his heart.

Wild eyes followed the man, skin stitching itself together as he continued to stalk forward. His steps growing faster, faster, until he broke out into a spring behind Aranhil.

No words fell from his lips. No taunts.

His mind was consumed with anger, rage, but more than that hunger. His magic ripped and tore at the Fae, clawing at the power which sat at his core. He was like a desperate ravenous dog, the strength of Aranhil feeding into a frenzy.

What he took drew into him, coursing through him like a song. Every muscle, every tendon in his body resonating with thundering glory.

Aranhil passed into the field beyond the village, and around him he would see the grass begin to die. Green turned to drought brown. Trees wilted. Insects curled in upon themselves. Everything began to die. A plague emanating from behind him that swept forward like a tidal wave.

All drawn in towards Edric.

All feeding an everlasting void of death.
 
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Aranhil Voronwe

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Aranhil felt his inhuman vitality drain. Didn’t seem to matter how fast he ran, even with the air aiding him to go ever faster, to try and get farther and farther away from this monster. But the issue was, it seemed that no matter how fast he ran, he seemed to be slower. And slower. And slower. Strangely enough, not even a quarter of his reserves were gone. But aranhil knew better than to stick around.

This thing was draining him. A fae. A high-fae. Duanann. One of the most powerful species in all of Arethil. And it didn’t seem like it was going to stop leeching his vitality off from him. Aranhil didn’t age, didn’t really struggle many others probably did when Edric used his magic against them. Instead, changed into his hawk form, hoping that he could fly away.

But even with more distance, those leeching tendrils were still wrapped around him. His heart, his soul, his mind. He could feel these invisible things sucking away at everything. He’d be hollow in no time. Spiders would be able to crawl throughout his bodies and creates homes within his empty shell. He’d be filled with only dust and spider silk instead of magic and life.

But. There was one last thing he could try.

If he failed, he’d have less than a half of his magic reserves within him. Maybe less than that. If he didn’t fail, then he would be saved.

He hated this. What he was about to do. It reminded him of his father. A ability that had been passed down and he couldn’t stand. Mixed with his mother’s gift of wind… a fatal explosion.

The hawk form of Aranhil flew high into the sky, until it quite literally couldn’t go any further. Even with it’s superb beast eye, Edric appeared to be no more than a speck of dust. Summoning a great bunch of magic, the hawk then began to dive down, heading towards Edric. Every quarter of a second, a mass of flames would grow.

More and more, blazing fury that grew and extended, all the air in the nearby area raising up to full the greedy flames that came purely from magic and were that point only energy. The heat reached more than just Edric, more than the more town of Vel Allende. Towns miles upon miles away would recount when the day suddenly got hotter than a summer afternoon, would recount how it seemed the sky grew orange and red and filled with smoke from seemingly nowhere.

Because now heading towards Edric was nearly all the power of a star. A dying star at that.

Edric
 
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Edric

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The world was fire. Heat. It raced over everything, the grass, the earth. Running across the ground like an insatiable inferno. The very air itself seemed to catch on fire, washing over the area and turning even the brightest vibrant life to ash.

Within his rage he felt it.

Agony. Pain like nothing that had ever touched him before.

He felt every cell of his skin burn away. Sensed his entire being burned away. Fire scorched over him, tore at his flesh, turned his muscle to ash, ripped away at his bones.

It threatened to take the whole of him. To drag away the flicker of life at his core.

Pain. Suffering. Hurt and agony the likes of which he had never felt before. It all struck him in the same instant. A cord strummed all at once, resonating, peeling back every layer of his existence and threatening to wipe him out.

It should have been the end.

It should have let the Fae escape, and yet...and yet another step was taken.

Rage did not bring him back to life. Agony did not revive him.

Hunger pulled him back from the abyss. An aching, desperate force. It dragged his skeletal form back from the abyss. Flecks of his being gathering, pulling together in pure desperation of starvation.

Slowly the Initiate stepped forward, a Shadow of humanity. A flicker of what he should have been. Flesh knitting back together second by second. "Stop."

His voice rang out burnt and smouldering vocal cords rasping out from his slowly dragged together mimicry of life.

"Stop." Edric demanded, stalking forward as stolen life knitted him back together. The wasteland around them feeding what little existence remained into his soul. Little more than bones, little more than skeletal figure of seething hatred.

Skin formed over him, drawn and pieced together by the life the Fae before him provided. "You know your fate."

His voice was a distant echo, a bare rasp of scorched vocal cords.

Skeletal fingers reached out, flesh forming over bone as a pool of magic expanded itself from the corpse like form Edric had taken on. Aranhil would feel himself pulled back, the air itself twisting and dragging into chains as the skeletal Initiate called upon his sorcery.

"Embrace it." His voice echoed. Demanding. Challenging, as the malformed and monstrous echo of humanity stepped towards the Fae. "Welcome it."

An echo clung to his words, bones slowly wrapped by flesh as more and more life was stolen. "For it is the only fate you deserve."

His call dragged the Fae backwards. Demanding, draining the power that he needed to stay alive. His life only sustained by the power of his foe.
 

Aranhil Voronwe

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It was everything that Aranhil had. The last bout of creativity. The last bout of power. The last bout of hope. For on the ground, he had felt hope blooming into him because surely he had won, surely he had ruined the monster of a man.

He listened to the call. He stopped trying to run away. Despair washed over him and he laid down on his back, crushing dried grass, laying on top of nothing but soil and decaying flora. He looked up at the sky. The sky was still a hazy mess, all due to him.

More and more life was drained from him, from his magic reserves. He had enough to where he could try and escape again, but felt that meant this monster would follow him, follow him into the fae realm. He had enough fae magic in him that he could probably accessed the ley lines.

Poor Aranhil. Poor him. He never even got to prove he was a good person.

But perhaps this was the fate befitting of a duanann who had been called a monster by his parents. He closed his eyes. Really. This wasn’t too bad of a feeling. It didn’t hurt, not really, although that could have been the adrenaline numbing such pain. He did feel a difference in his body. His bones felt brittle, he felt his muscle mass begin to shrink. He felt lighter for some reason.

His ethereal glow would begin to fade, slowly. Very slowly. His face remained handsome and ethereal, still not aging.

You’re just like me. I was always hungry, too. I never had a meal that actually satisfied me.” He took a deep breath. “Perhaps I just needed the gift to devour the world, too.” Minutes later, the glow would fade completely, and then his beauty would begin to melt away as he aged dramatically. Until he became nothing more than a dried out husk of a duanann.

The perfect place for spiders to make their homes.

Edric
 
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Edric took a breath.

The first breath of a new life. The first breath he had ever taken.

His entire body seemed to shake, vibrate almost. Every muscle, every bone, every tendon, every little cell within him swelled with power like he had never felt before. Power flooded through him. More than he had taken in the cells of the Academy. More than he had stolen in that brothel with Noel.

More than he’d ever felt in his entire life. It was a vast, endless strength.

Radiance flowed around him. His hand, little more than mangled flesh seconds ago, rose into the air. Fingers flickered with power, running, rupturing over his skin. It sparked through and from him. A chorus of power sang from within his reserve, calling screaming with utter delight and joy.

He could feel it, he could see it, it was like nothing he had never ever felt before. His eyes closed, the sensation sending a chill down his spine even as the heat of magic flowed over his hand.

It enthralled him. Encapsulated him. In that moment the power was the only thing that mattered. The only thing that he could feel.

Edric did not notice the fae corpse dwindling before him. He did not notice the wilted grass nor the desiccated trees. He did not see that for a mile around him everything was gone. Not burned by flames, not taken by the destructive whims of the now dead Duanan, but by him.

The monster.

“You’re just like me.”​

The words echoed in his mind, resounded, but they were lost. Lost to another sound.

A mirthful, joyous ring. He knew not where it came from. Did not notice the shake of his chest, the roar of laughter echoing from his lungs. All he could focus on was that power.

That glorious, wondrous depth of strength roiling within him.