Quest Loot runners #6 We found a darker place

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Trovik was shouting at the fog.

Whelp, that was going to be his life for the foreseeable wasn't it? He couldn't even blame the mino since there were definitely shapes flitting in and out of the fog near and far. None of them strayed near enough that he could actually see anything but the vague outline and shape.

One of them took a swing at Zier and that was an issue - he didn't want to lug around a weakened elf. Dead weight would get them annoyingly attacked.

"Fine - someone hold the horse."


Reaching into his magic he expanded the flames held in his right hand, the orb expanding to the size of a torso with greater light and heat. The fog was pushed back and several vampires were seen for a second before they flitted away, the fog receding until it was pushed back to almost ten feet away from him.

And the horse was gone.

"FUCK."


Growling, he noted the way the horse's throat had seemingly been torn out without sight or sound of the vampires. Already keeping up the fire was beginning to drain him.

"We need to find a defensible position. I... can't keep this level of light up forever."


Trovik Half-horn Zier Xya Zythos
 
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Wallace Grimley

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Goddamn.

Why'd these damn harpies have to be all roosted down in some godsforsaken ravine? Yeah, wouldn't've been much better if they was up on some mountaintop or cliff face neither, but that wasn't the point. Point was all this climbing was for the birds, as they say. Didn't make much sense in this context, but it was for the birds nonetheless. Maybe they'd get lucky and find the scenic route on their way back, a nice little winding path; might take longer but, hell, if he could skip climbing back up the roots to the top that'd be just peachy.

Then those hands came bursting out of the roots and vines.

"Ah shit! Ah shit!" Wallace exclaimed. There wasn't much room to duck and bob his head out of the way, but he did what he could. One of the hands grabbed hold of Wallace's coat. He let go of the roots with one hand and tried beating on the taloned-hand. Didn't work.

What did by sheer accident work was when Wallace's grip slipped on the root, his remaining hand upon it not able to hold up his own weight. He slid down some considerable distance, the palm of his hand burning with friction and scraped by the roughness of the root. But! But as it turned out, Wallace's own weight was quite the weapon. His coat held and didn't rip, and the fiendish arm which had come out from the vines broke at the elbow as it tried to hold him up. A crisp snap as bone cracked in two.

And the hand let go of his coat!

Wallace clutched with sweaty palms back onto the root with both hands and held it for dear life. This for second or two.

"Shlide, buddy, shlide!" Wallace called back up to Zaid.

It was going to hurt like hell. It did hurt like hell. But Wallace, with his palms sufficiently greased with sweat, loosened his grip just enough to start in a controlled slide down the length of the root. Controlled at first. By the time he approached the bottom of the roots and thus the bottom of the ravine, he was only a few degrees removed from free-fall.

Wallace landed hard on his feet on the ravine floor and toppled right down onto his ass and flapped his agonized hands about and let loose a string of barely intelligible curses.

Zaid Ardin (Brock XoChitl)
 

Farzad Oldsummer

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The sun refused to shine.
The moon, glisten.
Light. Died.

He felt it's sickly ooze. He coughed a few times. He felt cold. Dark. The world had turned into a tunnel. The dirt around him towering high, than at the lisp. Eloping bushes. Towering and making the world around him a crescent as he stumbled. He ran his fingers through the dark, the damp texture of the moss rolled in his fingertips. The world had turned cold. But far from the comfortable kind. The dampness not the familiar kind. The magic that laced around him the only cold familiarity. His voice cooed softly. His bombasticness removed. He ran his finger in intricate workings around his body, tapping and repeating the same words. "Bel Faun Bicote, Bel Faun Bicote, Bel Faun Bicote..."

His body engaged with the darkness. A spiral of colour, greens clashed with orange white illuminated the nothingness of the empty and dirty moss with tinges with every other colour making a showing of desperate extravagance in the cruel and oppressive darkness. Ho... How long was I out... He looked around. There was nothing. No figures twisting and following, light itself foreign to the sky and even the dirts texture strung wrong. Craggy, rocky and isolating. "Just... Just another Loot Runner's Farzad..." He breathed heavily, he dug through his pocket. It was still there. The creature comfort. The crystal to tell him he wasn't alone. Though didn't tell him he was safe.

It was loot runners. This was the entertainment. Death.
It was almost comforting as the light of his body finally grappled with the world. He stumbled, his vision was a haze even in the darkness, the world only extended a few feet in every direction it seemed. Even the sky was gone. The intricate weave and web of nature ensnared the world caught in it's pincers.

He could only muster to take a few steps forward, clunky and overbearing. His leg felt busted form the fall as he started the slow trudge. It was there in the distance. Only a few feet forward. It was a trudge through what little dirt and moss was there, and if not that he was made loose on the footfall of rocks and pebbles that threatened to topple him at any moment. And it did just that, a few short feet from his quarterstaff, a vicious combination of moss and loose gravel knocked him over though this time he caught himself his hands scuffed and scraped against the cold stone before a crawl was voiced. It was familiar in the wrong way. He turned to see it. He turned to realize. He turned to look forward to confirm.

The towering bushels and ridges began to clamour and move. Slow. Desperate. Flowing. Even nature unrivaled their forms as the entire path behind him was slowly consumed, the branches rustling and dragging to create a flat silhouette of emptiness behind him. He was in pain as he tried to move forward, a limp leg dragging him behind as he slipped his quarterstaff from the ground and used it to leap it's wooden shaft as a crutch as he looked forward. It was far in the distance and the towering branchlings confined at the ridge. They consumed his world. He had only one path to follow.

He wasn't sure if it was fear. But something took control. His breath seemed to patter out, death was hanging like wall flowers all around him yet a sense of sangfroid was all he could feel. He heaved in and out. And slowly. Painfully slowly. Moved forward.
 
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Zaid Ardin

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Zaid pulled the knife free from his belt and plunged it into one of the grabbing arms, eliciting a shriek from the creature before it yanked its hand back within the confines of the vines.

Another hand swiped at him and tore through his clothes, drawing blood and once more emphasizing the danger of his situation. He let go of the vine, pushing himself away from the cliff side. He poured a small portion of magical energy into himself to cushion his fall as he hit the ground in a crouch. It wasn't quite graceful, but the fact that he managed to land on his feet at all was impressive.

He looked back up the cliff face and then at his partner who had made his own landing on the ground. The fact that he hadn't died or broken anything either was a small victory in Zaid's mind.

He offered his hand to his partner to help him back to his feet before tearing free a piece of his own now-tattered sleeve in order to bind up the injury to his forearm.

How much are these feathers worth, anyway? he asked as he worked. For the amount of effort they seemed to be causing, Zaid could only hope the sum was large.

Wallace Grimley
 
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Azulian

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"You know Willis, this place wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't for the leshons and all that. Imagine if this place wasn't... haunted?" The elf whispers as they approached the book. One leshon was down, but she felt they were maybe getting close to their target.

An owl hooting in the distance made the elf look around, freezing for a moment before continuing forward.

EAST
Smiling One
 
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Willis looked around the grey, dreary forest full of Dwarven corpses compared to the lost Elven city he saw at the last even with Caliane Ruinë Willis couldn't find anything majestic about this forest. "It'll probably be the same old scary forest you hear about in stories," Willis remarked as he heard an Owl screeching.

"Don't tell me you're afraid of Owls," the young man smirked as they inched closer to their destination.

Azulian
 

Azulian

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Azulian chuckles, “If its a giant owl hunting us, yeah because they are soooo quiet in flight!” She wasn’t scared of brids but those big monsterous ones like owls were on her no go list. They were just so quiet!

She looks ahead and then jumps up happily and run towards a small pedestal and on it laid the book. “Ooooo! We got it!” She looks around for any danger and takes the book and holds it up in the air all proud like.

”Lets read this stinker as soon as possible!” She runs up to Willis like a kid on Christmas, “Because it might hold some magic!”

Smiling One
 
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If there was one thing that Willis learned as a Monster Hunter was to never let your guard and always assume that the mundane was a sign of danger. Willis nodded at Azulian remark but gripped his Cutlass while he scanned the area for any threats.

"What's this?" Willis smirked as Azulian eagerly reached for the book ahead. "Azulian showing emotion that's just as rare as-"

Just then the hooting got louder as there was a huge monster emerging from the fog.



"OWLBEAR!" Willis shouted taking out an exploding knife. "GET DOWN!"
 

Azulian

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Azulian yelps as the owl bear came running forward and ducks down behind the pedestal using her hands to cover her ears.

“Thanks for the warning!” She yells preparing a lighting spell in her hand and zaps it at the owlbear before Willis throws his exploding knife.

Smiling One
 
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The Owlbear shook off the lightning bolt making a beeline towards Willis, the young man hurled the knife towards the Owlbear's throat though it the beast raised one huge paw and darted out of the way. "Ah fuck!" Willis rolled out of the way but the explosive knife landed on the ground exploding. The ground violently shook throwing the Owlbear off balance.

Willis took the opportunity to raise his Cutlass and leap on to the Owlbear's back placing his blade through its flesh. The Owlbear howled with pain beginning to run around attempting to yank Willis off of its back while he pressed his Cutlass deeper into the Owlbear's flesh blood beginning to pour around the wound.

Azulian
 

Brock

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XoChitl

“Oh bollocks,”. She cursed
Brok had exceptional vision in the dark, but he lost the harpy overhead in the canopy. The sound of it diving, and curse from his saviour, caught his attention.

Turning sharply, he took up his sword. He couldn't be a Knight if he abandoned those who would help him. In this case she was such a colourful creature he couldn't believe she had followed him without drawing his eye.

Brok called out as he charged. Another foolish notion. The harpy twisted about in its dive to face him. It beat its wings to get height, raising its talons to defend itself.

Brok lifted his shield to catch those close and then brought his sword over and down. His blade sank into the harpy below the chest, sending gore flying. The harpies cry rang out through the forest, likely rousing even more of the harpies around Wallace Grimley and Zaid Ardin.

It beat its wings again but Brok grabbed a leg and yanked down. His sword was stuck fast. He he to pull and twist it free before he could drive it through the harpy's chest.

"It's not like the training dummies is it?" he said to XoChitl as if this was a normal thing to say.
 
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Wallace Grimley

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"Gimme...whoo!...gimme a minute," Wallace said to Zaid once he'd offered his hand. Wallace pinched his eyes closed and made a strained face, scrunching his lips to one side and then the other, then opened his mouth and let out an exhausted wince.

But he got through his silent bitching and took Zaid's help (man had a hell of an arm on him, huh) in standing back up. He stumbled back a bit, but he'd found his footing. He gave his coat a shake--rattling and sloshing the copious amounts of wares stored on the inside--and then straightened it. Grabbed and held the lapels of his coat as he so often did.

"Worth? Heh. Worth enough to the right buyersh. Got shome back in Elbion I know of a few lookin' for shome harpy feathersh right now. I can get 'em shold for ya right quick or you can take wha'sh yoursh and try to find your own buyersh, however ya like. But ya trust yer ol' buddy Wallish and I'll get ya shome good coin for 'em."

Right as soon as he finished talking, the cry of an injured harpy rang out through the confines of the ravine. The flapping of wings followed.

Wallace grinned. Said, "Shoundsh like our friendsh havin' a good ol' time up ahead."

And Wallace reached into his coat and pulled out an Earthen Summoning Stone. Channeled that little bit of conjuration magic into it and tossed it down hard to the ground, where came a brief eruption of light and gnashing sound of rocks grinding against one another as his Rumbler was summoned. The Rumbler stood up to its full height of eight feet, the golem burly and humanoid and made entirely of drab brown stone. It stood by its master, awaiting commands.

"You get a good look at 'em, by the way?" Wallace asked Zaid. "I shaw a couple others goin' up this way north here after Grangomelle got done with his preamble back there, heh heh. Think one of 'em was a big feller. I dunno, maybe we'll find out shoon enough."

And Wallace started walking forward, keeping wary eyes above for the harpies that would be inevitably incoming. The Rumbler stomped after him.

Zaid Ardin (Brock XoChitl )
 

Farzad Oldsummer

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He had walked for only a few minutes, the darkness encroached behind him. Very step forward and another wave of blackness covered his steps. His past was being lost to the darkness and all he could see ahead of him was it. That small, doll. It hovered with melancholy. Hanging on empty threads of magic. He felt his breath grow heavy and weighted, each step on tough footfalls and loosened soil.

Another step forward.
A tide of black.
Step forward.
A wave of darkness.
Forward.
The tsunami of umbra.

He could feel the oppressive shadows in the darkness. He was an arm length way. One, arm length away. He felt the branches scrape and run along his back, a thousand hands dancing and trying to quell the colour of light that danced fantastic at his back and front. He stretched his arm outwards. Their limbs followed. Behind him was an unending tide, a million branches outstretched, and embraced him. He had only one arm to go as he felt the strings of magic. He was no different to a butterfly out stretching it's wings with a brilliant display of colours for the world to see. Only he was unseen in the cruel shadows and perpetual stygian. He was embraced in these moments. As his fingertips embraced the old, crude fabrics...
 
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Azulian

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Azulian puts the book down next to her and mutters many things under her breath as Willis drove his cutlass into the owlbear’s hide.

Her staff manifests and she stabs its end into the ground causing spikes of rock to impale the owlbear like a pin cushion. Running up to yank Willis off it it with the book in hand she just gives him a tired look and then turns to tun back to where they came from.

Smiling One
 
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Willis was pushed off the Owlbear the moment jagged stalagmites summoned by Azulian impaled the creature off of its feet. The Owlbear gave a haggard cry before its eyes glossed over, the young man brushed the mud and dark blood on his hands before reaching over to remove his Cutlass from the Owlbear's back before smirking at Azulian.

"It would help if you warned me that you were going to use a spell like that," he chuckled at the red headed Elf as he began to wipe the blood that was dripping from his blade.
 

Azulian

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Azulian chuckles, “Consider it payback for not warning me about that exploding knife.” She tells the human, “Now can we please go before a giant two hundred yard snakes suddenly appears and eats us?” She asks him holding the book close to her chest.

The elf looked ready to be gone from this place, she couldnt use anymore combat spells as she was reserving the rest of her magic for healing if needed.

Smiling One
 
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things were going from bad to worse, now the human's horse was dead they hadn't a single kill to there names, at this rate they won't be too far behind the horse. the human was right they needed to close the possible avenues of attack. with the expanded light, trovik made out a shape in the fog, large and boxy. "other there" he pointed hoped it was the outline of a build or some sort structure.

he didn't wait for the others, he quickly made his way towards the shape, which seemed to be a long abanded farmhouse that had seen better days, he barreled through the door nearly knocking it off its hinges, "in here!" he shouted towards them. Once the other two were through he would barricade the door with whatever furniture was available.

Nefieslab Zier Xya Zythos
 

Farzad Oldsummer

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The world was not what it seemed. The world flashed in the darkness. Soft candle lights illuminated the darkness. Where was he? Why was he so short? Why... Why wasn't he in control? He looked down across from him. A small girl. He felt like he them for a short lifetime. It was wrong. He looked down. He didn't control it. He couldn't control it. There's a knife in his hands... Those aren't his hands...


There's Alice, why do I have this knife...
There's Alice... Why is this knife red...
The world flashed, it was a rupture of movement. Faces screamed and scanned past his face. At first they were clear. Like an untapped puddle of water. But as he scrolled through them, face after face in rapid succession, the water grew murky with dirt and ripples. Each little detail, each feature lost as the puddle became muddled in shifting motions and faces. He stared long at it, each screaming portrait of movement a testament of a freakshow of fusion.

I miss my mirror... Why is it dark?
The darkness was turned off... I don't like my mirror...
He was confused. His mind was trapped with the inklings of a child he felt restrained... tied up like his mind was refused the chance to wander. The world kept rushing around him as he looked up. He saw it, some old monster of a man age withering him something horrible each second passing was like watching someone age faster than it takes for a knife to draw blood. And as the Wizard aged to his final years the world slowed down becomign faced with the prospect of light and shining steel braced by that cruel. Oppressive. Sun.

Finally someone here to help me... It's been so long...
Why does the rope hurt...
He wanted to bubble pity and rage. He wanted to feel hate. To feel as if he had control. But he was forced to play this things mind over in cruel repeat. He saw that familiar look, yet unfamiliar to this poor child. That unjustified hate. That wrathful purging look. The look that screamed 'I fear the unknown and will burn it'. He had seen it all too often. And he had experienced the same bitter cocktail of fear and confusion.

Why do they hurt me with light? Why does the rope hurt...
I'm going home... The rope broke...
It was the final vision. The final repeating play of that horrible moment. The world snapped back to the command of time, the present playing itself at it's fickle motion. Farzad felt two things in his hands. A small doll of loose fabric and cold magic. But something worse. Surrounded in him was a world of colour, the branches had twisted and shaped by something. He wasn't sure what. But in his free hand he held something black. Something familiar. Something he felt a short yet potent connection too.

It took a few seconds to register, he looked around, the arms and limbs of branches were now dead. Long and cold as he sat in a wide cocoon, his colours being the only soft light in their sanctuary. Farzad gripped the child closer, he was soon a face of tears as the quiet darkness returned his embrace with cold confusion. He held in a hand the doll. But in his arms he held something much more desperately.


"The world can be a cold place child..."
He could feel their features. His scrolls glow turned off by natural instinct as it let them sit and wallow in the darkness. It took a few seconds to realize what he handled wasn't flesh, it was moulded yes, in the shape of limbs in cold imitations, sunken cheeks and thimbly ligaments. But limbs none the less. Tiny, delicate twigs that felt as tender and snappable as porcelain as he brought his held low, his scratchy beard running through a head of braided knots, thorns and crackly leaves.
"But it can also be a place of great wonders, even in the darkness..."
 
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Well the dead horse was a sign that he really didn't want to be out in the dark with the Vampires and his ally had found a farmhouse. Did he think the farmhouse would stop the Vampires from taking swipes at them? Of course not - he wasn't fucking brain-dead.

But it would limit the angles of attack that they could utilize and that was a good thing.

Bursting into the farmhouse's main room, he cast a quick glance around before throwing the flames from his hand. They leapt from his fingertips to land in the fireplace, the wood there catching light and illuminating the farmhouse room.

Which meant he wouldn't need to be the torch for the team as they barricaded the door. Drawing his sword with his right hand, he muttered a spell and caused the blade to catch alight with blue flames as well.

"Leave one of the windows open."
he told his allies as he began placing trap spells in front of the closed back door, "If we give them an entrance it'll bottleneck them."

They weren't that smart after all.

Trovik Half-horn Zier Xya Zythos
 

Smiling One

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Willis chuckled at Azulian response. "Fine," he conceded "I guess I deserved that one," looking at the pinned up corpse of the Owlbear, Willis turned his attention towards the Grimoire that was in Azulian's arms. "Did you read it?" Willis asked as Crows began to fly above them.
 

Zier Xya Zythos

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Cover? Excellent. Even though he wonders why someone would build a farmhouse in this creepy ass place, he won't complain in this situation. He sheathed his sword, dashing behind them into the farmhouse. Once inside, he wasted no time helping out with the door by pushing barrels and chairs in front of it, then opening a single window.

Backing up beside Alexios Marxan, he noticed the elemental spell he casted onto his blade. "You'll... have to teach me that when this is over.." He said through labored breaths, grabbing his sword and awaiting the confrontation.

This was probably the worst part of the whole thing. He favors the fight more than the psychological torture because at least the battle has closure and you have in a say in it. Waiting? No. Here he is, waiting in a dimly lit room with the only sound available being the crackling firewood and the breath of his companions as the fog peers in through the window while vampires flank them.

Luckily and unluckily for him, he wouldn't have to wait any longer; a shrill, ravenous screech made his heart throb in his throat as a vampire, claws outstretched, leapt through the window at Zier. (Thank you dice.) As soon as it's red eyes pierced the veil of fog, he readied himself and sliced upwards without hesitation, splitting the vampire in two from the torso up. It's entrails flew loose, only for them and the body to slowly flicker away in yellow embers.

He repositioned his footing, peering through the window and spotting a few more sets of eyes.. and those are just the ones he can see. "Come on, assholes. Let's get this shit over with." He called out to the rest. One answered that call, lunging through the window like the other. That lunge was met with a jab of Ziers blade, but the vampire lurched to the side so it pierced it's shoulder. He yanked his blade from it as it shrieked, preparing another strike, only for the vampire--thank you dice-- to swipe a claw mid-swing and catch the elf on his cheek.

It wasn't the nastiest of scratches, but it'll certainly leave a faint mark. He grunted out in pain, leaping back from the vampire. In a small burst of anger, he extended an arm out towards the fireplace, siphoning a portion of the flames and-- gracias dice-- lashing his arm out in a tiny arc of fire with the intensity of a warm cup of tea.

What the fuck.

Ah, it's why he doesn't use his fire in anger. It's just weaker, but this was embarrassing and the weakest he's ever dealt.

Trovik Half-horn
 

Azulian

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Azulian shakes her head at Willis' question.

"No, I don't want to read this here. The woman asked for us to go and return it to her to inspect then we may go and keep it. I'd rather not read it here anyway." She looks up at the crows, "Because it seems another Leshon is coming for us." She says as she tries hurries away.

"Lets just get out of here." She begs Willis, "I don't have much magic left for attacks."

Smiling One
 
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Just then spiked branches shot up from the ground surrounding Azulian placing her in a cage of sorts. "Shit!" Willis raised his Cutlass only to have a wooden branch come up from behind him slamming Willis across the back. The young man gave a pained cry as he was blasted halfway across the foggy forest and landed face first on to the ground.

"Fuck....." Willis felt some dirt shoved down his mouth spitting it out and immediately crawling for his Cutlass which was lying down a foot ahead of him. The Leshon emerged from the fog staring at Azulian and the book before setting its sights on Willis.
 

Azulian

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Azulian was so close to swearing as the cage of branches encased her. It wasn't fun being cages but even less fun with Willis got hit by it. The elf grumbles thinking what she can do then her staff glows brightly for a second and outcomes her bladed whip.

It was essentially a blade but if she wanted to she can use it was a whip as the whip had blades attracted to it when she used it. So she lifts her hand and uses the whip part of it, whacking and cutting the Leshon down its back as it turned to Willis. She had no idea if holy weapons would work against it but hopefully, they did.

Smiling One
 
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Back in pain, Willis desperately reached for his Cutlass however he felt spiky thorns sink into his ankles. Willis growled in pain feeling himself being dragged as he turned around and saw the Leshon pulling him closer to it.

“Don’t you know when to fucking die?!” Willis scrambled through his little black bag trying to get another explosive knife however Willis saw the beast being slowed down by Azulian whip blade.

The young man then hurled the knife to the Leshon, the blade slammed against its cow skull exploding on impact. The monster was engulfed in flames as it staggered back.