Open Chronicles More violence, less violets

A roleplay open for anyone to join
The sky went from clear to cloudy with a chance of falling Kallach...

Vengeful Thorns paused near the warty trunk of a blighted walnut tree to search a small clearing for blood and footprints. Nothing. It seemed that one of her playthings had made an escape. This didn’t bother her in the slightest; she could always find more vermin to toy with. There seemed to be a never-ending supply!

An uproar from the northeast suggested that Grasping Roots was having her own bit of fun. Vengeful Thorns was considering abandoning her chase to see what exactly was going on up there, until an odd shadow in the sky caught her attention.

Curiously, she followed the low-flying thing. It was too solid to be a cloud, too large to be a bird. What was it? An excellent target, she thought, taking aim with her chakram.

The weapon buzzed through the air in an arc that missed the bulk of the cloud-shaped object. The chakram met slight resistance as it collided with the flying thing; apparently whatever it was, was magic. But so was Vengeful Thorns’s creation.

A chunk of the flocculent flyer tore off neatly and dissipated while the rest of its mass continued on at speed. Vengeful Thorns grinned as she took off at a sprint behind it. Her chakram had not yet returned to her hand before zooming off again at her command. This time a sizeable piece of the object was sliced apart, and to the spriggan’s surprise, dropped its humanoid cargo.

Tarid managed to find Josai’s trail in the underbrush, but where was Josai?

The trail led more-or-less northward into the forest. Josai hadn’t been moving through with any particular attempt at stealth given the bent grass, snapped branches and tracks left in bare sections of soil. He found several areas with plants flattened as if she’d stopped and knelt down there, and the remains of a mushroom stalk that had been cut off neatly near the ground.

But as the trail moved northward, the distance between her tracks suggested she was in a slight hurry; not sprinting, but faster than a casual gait.

Tarid came across a woman’s body cast upon a nest of brambles. Thankfully, not Josai, but another sign that something was amiss in these woods. The large slash across her back told that she had been felled by a weapon, although the jaggedness of the wound might have suggested that it was some kind of primitive weapon rather than steel that had caused her death.

Not far from the thicket, he found Josai’s belongings stashed securely between the trunks of an intertwined growth of pine trees. And still her trail led on, tracks set farther apart in places, pausing in others. Cautious haste.

Josai and Gromat had converged on the logging camp, the epicenter of Jauncho’s fireball explosion. An odd scene lay before them.

It appeared that a natural disaster had laid waste to a small area here; broken branches fell from mangled trees, bits of shrubs and earth were strewn about, scorch marks scored the ground. In the middle of it all sat Jauncho, remarkably none the worse for wear from the explosion he had been on top of, except for a few singed spots and a lingering ringing in his ears. Ringing which drowned out Gromat’s shout of warning -

Gromat’s arrow struck true and embedded itself in the figure hanging down from the branch. The tendrils keeping it aloft, now dead, quickly disintegrated. The spriggan’s body plummeted to the ground, missing Jauncho by only about a foot. A burned figure lay there poised in a position of shock, glaring eyelessly at the bard with an arrow sticking out of its wooden head.

The blast had splintered the attacking fir, sending the mass of its trunk and crown collapsing to the side with an ear-splitting crash. Its roots now spread haphazardly on top of the soil like some sort of terrestrial cephalopod, its remaining stump inanimate once again.


The loch’s light showed Josai another trail yet, albeit a confusing one. The light disappeared and re-appeared between two different trees before meandering into the middle of a grove. It vanished again in the dappled shade of mixed deciduous trees and firs, their sickly trunks oozing black sap on the damp leaf litter of the forest floor. Something had made its way here very recently, but then disappeared into thin air.

Kallach Juancho Ricco Gromat N’Daego Tarid Ra’leem Josai
To happen upon such a scene, with eyes enchanted as they were, with magick trailing and fading and twisting all about in a miasma, bordered on disorienting.

Oppressive purples, reds, golds and blues, the auras of the users, the traces of the spells. It near turned her stomach, so dense and overwhelming was the sight, her mind a whirl as she stood still, with her hands wrapped about her spear, its point aimed down as she stayed near the rushes from which she peered, all too aware of the range her weapon gave her, and how little it mattered against brambles and thorns, boughs and branches.

A breath in through the nose. Her eyes focused, still neath the shade of her wide brimmed hat. Still veiled by the silver blue light of the loch. Her heart thrummed in her ears. Felt the ripple of her blood pulsing out from her heart. Her feet planted on the ground as arrow struck bark and charred out husk cracked against the ground.

"Do not drop your guards!" the knight neath her hat called out. "We deal with a strangeness most foul!" she could see the light of it, dance between the trunks of so many blighted old trees, bent and withering and corrupted, pitch colored tar leaking out where amber and sap might have upon a healthier life.

Josai stepped from her cover, slowly, her spear held with the shaft long and low as she careful stepped forward into the clearing, her posture ever angled with shoulder and side pointed toward potential threat. The head of her winged spear gleamed, the runes etched upon its steel welled with a pulse of light, as cool as that same magick that shimmered in her eyes as she drew in cold breath.

A crackle and hiss, like ice over lake in the dead of winter, thrummed as diamond mist poured from the runed star of steel, old bones and stones rattled and knocked against hollowed reeds that hung about the weapons neck as small figures of eight traced white lines in the air. Wings of rime formed there about the head of magicked spear, and with a thrust, and a jab, two bolts of white frost hissed out. One smacked into one tree, the second broke and shattered utterly against the other.

But shards of ice. No bigger than a spear's head. Nothing to a tree, but bright glittering white to an eye.

"There! Those bleed the blight!" Josai tried to inform, though the whole picture still evaded her.

Blessed of the Forest Juancho Ricco Gromat N'Daego Tarid Ra’leem
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After his fireball had seemed to be a success against the enchanted fir tree Juancho pushed himself back up onto his feet. Patting off the dust and dirt on his clothes some. With his wand still in hand he flinched some from a new voice. Though with the ringing in his ears he wasn’t sure what was said. Nor could he hear the wiz of an arrow flying over head. Only a second later and things became a bit more clear as the wooden corpse of the spriggan fell beside him. Examining it he saw that it looked to have been slain by an unseen marksman.

While the noise in his ears became more clear, Jauncho looked around trying to see where the arrow may have originated from. Only to flinch again as the fir tree also began to collapse. Brimming with fight or flight energy in his body. “Hello?! Do my eyes deceive me or is there anything stalking about in these woods?” Jauncho called out, wishing to see his unseen protector.

During which from the magical protective bubble Sophie gradually poked her head over Pepper who she was using for cover even inside Juancho’s ward. She looked around to see if the coast was finally clear, through still trembled some as she did. Freightened both by the malevolent spriggan and even her companion to some extent. Rarely ever seeing him utilize such destructive incantations in her native language. Sometimes even forgetting his origins as patron’s warlock.

Blessed of the Forest | Gromat N'Daego | Josai
Flattened grass and disturbed dirt revealed the trail Josai had taken. Tarid followed the track through the forest., moving in quick bursts of speed whenever the path she blazed led him but pausing on occasion to scan the surrounding forest floor. On finding the next sign of her, he dashed towards again. A freshly cut mushroom stalk reassured him that he was on the right track.

The lifeless body of a woman in the distance however, was anything but reassuring. Though it was not Josai, it carried foreboding implications. Tarried searched his surroundings for any signs of threats, then hurried over immediately to inspect the cause of her demise. The wounds she bore appeared inflicted by a makeshift weapon that left her flesh torn, rather than cleanly cut. It seemed doubtful bandits were the culprit, but it didn't appear to be inflicted by wildlife, either. Neither did it seem to be inflicted by the magic that Kallach had warned him of, which meant that whatever threat he faced carried both magical and physical might.

Tarid had his scimitar drawn, and his eyes were cautiously scanning the surroundings. Rather than danger, he caught sight of what appeared to be Josai's belongings a short distance away. Tarid head off towards it promptly, continuing on in the direction the clue revealed to him before the sound of another caused him to pause again.

"Do not drop your guards!" Tarid heard Josai call out in the distance, and he headed immediately towards the sound of her voice. There, he found her, alongside Gromat as they ventured forth into a scene of pure destruction with Juancho standing within. Josai focused her energies in a spell, launching two icy projectiles at seemingly nothing, only to announce "There! Those bleed the blight!"

“Josai! I sensed trouble, but I’ve no clue what. I’m sure I’ve seen what you’ve seen on the way here.” Tarid announced as he hurried up to her, thankful to have found her before too long. Hopefully, she'd have information that he did not, and there was a lot he'd yet to learn of their situation. But before he could ask, another called out from afar.

“Hello?! Do my eyes deceive me or is there anything stalking about in these woods?” The voice called out.

“The first sounds probable, the second seems certain.” Tarid called back, shouting towards the voice from afar.

Josai Juancho Ricco Blessed of the Forest Gromat N'Daego Kallach
They've been hit. That much he could tell from the way his feet wobbled in the air. A cursory inspection revealed to Kallach that a sizable portion of his artificial construct was missing. It took him another split second to figure out why. It wasn't until the disklike silhouette whirled dangerously close to his head that he figured out that someone, or something, had thrown a bladed weapon at him.

He ducked down to avoid it but didn't have enough time nor concentration to tend to the structural integrity of his mount. Kallach's feet slipped through the wool-like material, and he found himself plummeting to the ground.

Thankfully for him, he was at most a mere fifteen meters off the ground when he began his descent. With this in mind, Kallach allowed a significant portion of his magic to surge into his limbs, effectively dispersing the familiar.

In order to avoid hitting any of the neighboring trees, Kallach twisted his body and performed what little maneuvering he could in midair. While doing so, he looked left and right in an effort to find the assailant, but he saw none in his immediate vicinity.

He landed feet first, but the impact of the landing had rattled his shin bones as if they were no more than a bundle of dry sticks. His legs, strong as they were, couldn't be stopped from sinking ankle-deep into the moist soil.

Blessed of the Forest
(After firing his arrow and bringing down his floral target, Gromat ducked back into the brush and wormed his way to another position in attempt to obfuscate his location and take another shot, all the while keeping his eyes outward in the direction of the skirmish. So long as none approached the source of his camouflage, the dense patch of bushes and high grass which he hid in, there he would stay.

Moving over to the other side of the undergrowth he knocked another arrow and prepared to pick a target only to see a woman enter the fray wielding a spear which she used to seemingly hurl ice at two trees! She cried out with verbal assistance while another man appeared at her side and the initial human combatant had now taken notice of Gromat's assistance.)

"There! Those bleed the blight!"

“Hello?! Do my eyes deceive me or is there anything stalking about in these woods?”

(Gromat opened his mouth as if to reply then thought against it. There would be ample time for frivolous talk once the immediate threat had been dispatched. His shifted his aim from the lone spriggan to one of the two trees hit by the ice. He knew nothing about the nature of the perversion of life here but was aware that arrows were the least useful in bleeding the sap from a tree, let alone doing any meaningful harm to one.

Putting his faith into what the woman said, Gromat thought for a moment and decided to abandon his meager advantage of stealth to instead strike out at what she may have perceived as a weakness of some sort. Aiming back at the spriggan he takes a shot at it's torso and drops his bow and quiver before grasping his quarterstaff and emerging from the brush.)

Gromat: "Nothing worse than what lies before you."

(Now sprinting at the copse of trees, Gromat hurls his quarterstaff at the ground beside the one with a shard of ice stuck within it and reaches for his axe, a tool meant for lumber, not a weapon meant for felling men. In the corner of his eye he spots something falling from the sky, but had no time to keep his focus on who or what they might be. As he gets within melee range he grasps the shaft firmly, plants his legs wide and twists his torso to cleave into the bark of the tree hoping to help!)

Blessed of the Forest Juancho Ricco Kallach Josai
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The blighted tree – first the object of Josai’s notice and now the object of Gromat’s wrath – offered nothing in its own defense as Gromat’s axe bit into its trunk. Rusty-black sap like blood and bile oozed out of the cut, and the canopy shivered from the impact. His second strike buried the axe head deep into the semi-rotten wood. Ichor gathered in viscous globs at his feet.

Then the tree leaned towards the half-orc, clutching the weapon in its trunk as a man might a gut wound. Try as Gromat might to pull the axe free, it was stuck fast. He heard a voice, thin and wispy but with a distinct wooden creak, gasp and wail as if in tremendous pain. The wailing grew in intensity until everyone in the clearing could hear it, the noisome clamor joined with a horrendous groaning and gurgling and creaking like the death rattle of a bad actor caught in a high wind.

A wicked giggle from high upon the spreading branches of a large pine ended the charade. White-tipped needles parted to reveal a face that at first appeared to be part of the tree until Grasping Roots’s willowy body came through the tangle of growth.

“I see that you’ve enjoyed my trick,” she said with a twisted grin, looking at her dummy twin. The cracks in her bark-like body lit bright green when she motioned at Juancho. The yew wand in his hand came alive, coiling around his arm like a carved snake before slithering its way up to his throat and squeezing ever so slightly.

“I’ll admit that you surprised me, human. But let’s do without the fire!” She ran a hand over the pine needles and dark wood that spread over half of her face like a shoddy graft.

She glanced over at Gromat’s axe in the tree with a disdainful tsk.

“You mortals always come out into the forest to destroy it. How would you like it if the forest was trying to destroy you?” She laughed again, a greenish glow all around her as she raised both of her hands, as if beckoning to something below.

“Why don’t we find out?” she asked with sinister glee.

At that moment, hundreds of roots burst from the ground beneath the afflicted trees like angry fingers reaching for the sky, grasping whatever or whomever was in their path.

About one-hundred yards away a strange figure stalked towards Kallach.

He’d been fortunate that he’d landed in the soft duff between two fallen pines that had long lost their foliage in a deadfall clearing. At first he thought himself alone, until a soft yellow-green light glowed from his left. The stuck mage soon made out a tall treant-like figure among the litter of decaying trunks. It looked like a person who had been trapped in a tree, its wooden skin smooth overall but ridged and cracked in places and covered in thorns in others.

A sharp snap sounded, followed by a voice somewhere between the tone of a woman and the creak of an old tree.

“All little birdies must land eventually – did something happen to your wings?” the voice purred.

Vengeful Thorns walked slowly across one of the fallen trees, observing the man’s peculiar condition with interest.

“You’ve planted yourself here like such a nice little sapling. What shall I do with you, I wonder?”

A monstrous grin split her face. She snapped the vine-like whip at her side. As if by command, the dead trunks around Kallach started to sprout razor-sharp thorns.

Kallach Juancho Ricco Gromat N’Daego Tarid Ra’leem Josai
Eventually Juancho was able to better understand he really wasn’t alone, at all. Rather reassuring to see that other opponents of the Spriggans were in the woods and seemed to be meeting up. Finally seeing the spear wielding woman, a presumed companion of hers who acknowledged his statement. Soon after which what seemed to be a half orc axeman rushed a corrupted tree to chop into it.

But what seemed most worrying was the seeming reentrance of the spriggan. Who hadn't actually been slain. Quick Juancho moved to aim his wand back up to her. There was still enough magic in him to fuel one last fireball. However, this effort of his was thwarted as the wand began to come alive, seemingly being jinxed by the spriggan. The arcane focus was being turned against him, and soon was beginning to strangle him.

No good, with a faulty arcane focus and a vine around his neck keeping him from casting his spells clearly he rapidly lost a great deal of his capabilities. With his free hand he struggled against the vine on his neck. Seeing this Sophie worried that her warlock companion was in serious trouble. Especially now as roots began to burst from the ground. Still protected by Jauncho’s ward, she felt like she needed to do something. Fluttering up to Pepper’s ear she tried to calm the donkey with some gentle words. Which enchanted the steed and made them lay down and fall asleep. So that they could remain in the magical dome and not get hurt by running out.

Finally flying up and out of the protective bubble she knew she wasn’t a very powerful opponent. But she didn’t need to be powerful to be helpful. In the air she polymorphed herself from a pixie into a bird, a woodpecker specifically. Rushing over to Grasping Roots she would attempt to perch up against the spriggan. Jauncho seeing his pixie friend had now left his protection he strained more against the vines from his wand. He didn’t want her to get hurt. The woodpecker eyed Grasping Roots for a moment before Sophie rapidly pecked her in the face with her beak. A barrage of about 20 pokes per second. Each one echoing out among the trees. Not really to do much harm. But to be irritating, really irritating and for the spriggan to lose her concentration and give Jauncho and the rest a possibly brief advantage.

Kallach | Blessed of the Forest | Gromat N'Daego | Josai | Tarid Ra’leem
About one-hundred yards away a strange figure stalked towards Kallach.

He’d been fortunate that he’d landed in the soft duff between two fallen pines that had long lost their foliage in a deadfall clearing. At first he thought himself alone, until a soft yellow-green light glowed from his left. The stuck mage soon made out a tall treant-like figure among the litter of decaying trunks. It looked like a person who had been trapped in a tree, its wooden skin smooth overall but ridged and cracked in places and covered in thorns in others.

A sharp snap sounded, followed by a voice somewhere between the tone of a woman and the creak of an old tree.

“All little birdies must land eventually – did something happen to your wings?” the voice purred.

Vengeful Thorns walked slowly across one of the fallen trees, observing the man’s peculiar condition with interest.

“You’ve planted yourself here like such a nice little sapling. What shall I do with you, I wonder?”

A monstrous grin split her face. She snapped the vine-like whip at her side. As if by command, the dead trunks around Kallach started to sprout razor-sharp thorns.

Kallach Juancho Ricco Gromat N’Daego Tarid Ra’leem Josai
The perpetrator, a strangely shaped aberration with a body that appeared to be made of numerous layers of tangled roots and moss-encrusted tree bark, caught Kallach's blue eyes.

Under Kallach's thick brow, cobalt-colored orbs flared, their irises swirling with chaotic energy.

A number of unruly strands that had fallen across his face were slicked back by Kallach as he lifted a palm to his face. Kallach swiftly managed to escape his captivity. His booted legs broke free from the muddy embrace of nature, shaking off the clumps of muddy muck that clung to their leathery surface.

"So you were the one who attacked me," he paused and glared at the whip-wielding spriggan. Immediately, he knew not to touch it, lest he'd be harmed by the unnatural weapon. But nevermind that. He had a weapon of his own in store for her.

His dominant hand's fingers curled as magical energy danced across the flat of his palm. It swirled and coagulated, like a little vortex, condensing into a tiny sphere that was stable for a split second before growing and forming a gigantic staff.

The staff's handle was clearly made of wood, and it must have been as long as Kallach was tall. Its circular top, which was shaped in the likeness of a human skull, was directed towards the spriggan by Kallach, who grasped it so firmly that his knuckles matched the skull's alabaster hue. The power that surged through the staff set the long vacant eye socks ablaze, warning any and all observers that it was as every bit as dangerous as any other arcane weapon.

"Hah! And who are you to strike at me so brazenly, you nameless thing? Do you know not that I'm as much
a warrior as I'm a scholar? Do you not fear death? "

Cold currents ran through the length of his powerful arm, seeping into the staff, which greedily absorbed them. It was not the staff that powered Kallach, but the other way around. The implement drank from his power like a weaning calf.
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As was the way of the Wylds. Death's threat came quick for all embroiled in the struggle to survive.

"Tarid! Quick, to the fore of the field, stand ready!" She tried to direct, her eyes still watching the tree line. From the rushes, a shout, the shape of a missile swift and sure as it flew and struck the earth beside the blighted tree, and there again from those same rushes emerged a body, strong of arm and broad of back with axe in hand. A chop that cracked through timber!

Josai's fingers regripped her weapon, "Stand back! Axe-man!" the Knight of Anatheaum called out.

The tree, strange and twisted as it was, bent over. A mockery. Josai shut her eyes as the vile spirit of the blighted woods appeared and spoke its hate filled truth. It taunt and jibed and as it did Josai felt its magicks move beneath the soil and earth. Spreading.

Terror. Terror, like a seed. Terror, deep in her own flesh-made heart.

It sprouted roots and began to spread.

Words. Old and ancient. Words long lost to so many ears. Words poured from Josai's lips.

Hear me now, oh stone and root,
hear me now oh grass and leaf,
humble, before thee,
Sovereigns of emerald blade and gold,

From her feet so planted upon the still green earth, unmarred by the waste of blight's touch, Josai felt strength's swell. Like lichen and vine come creep up a sturdy trunk, the magick of Wyld swirled with her channeled Loch. Here eyes came open once more. Lights of green and lights of blue danced across the pools of her vision, like fairy flies, come the last warm days of fall.

Rumble did the earth, as roots of many trees thrashed and quaked and yew-made-wand turned traitorous snake. Cold snap, a sharp breath in through the lungs as her gaze turned winter's-hue. Bits and baubles, bone charms and silver bells hung from jade and cerulean strings that stirred, as a black sphere of glassy stone hung down and still.

Rest now as winter takes.
Came the penultimate line of her cant. The bone charm fell, and whirl went the silver bell. Rune-worked steel, traced its lines in blue, and frosted over the spearhead hissed. Mist of ice, poured from the magicked metal, still as a pond frozen over, and just as level.

A blur of wing and feather, a dart so wyld and willing. Woodpecker's beak sharp as any spear, aimed at spriggan's face.

Sleep now, neath the ice.

Josai ended with a single forward thrust she jabbed her spear, and that spike of ice still stuck on the blighted tree burned a bright, sparkling light. The bark about it, blight and all, cracked into freezing white. That wood, dead with the corrupted weight, groaned and hissed and slowed as ice spread through its heartless fibers. A quick about step, a sharp turn of eye, and a back thrust of spear's blunt end. A cold wind swept toward Juancho. A voice to the yew that whispered sleep to that core still more than baled-lumber.
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"Tarid! Quick, to the fore of the field, stand ready!" Josai replied, and Tarid wasted no time in rushing to the location she had directed him upon. As he dashed over the thick grass and through the growth of the forest, Gromat came into his view clearly. The man loosed another arrow towards one of the wayward entities recently learned of, before tossing it aside in favour of his axe to charge towards his foe. Tarid held his scimitar at the ready, still uncertain of what he faced but now knowing where it was.

Axe bit into wood, and the thing emitted a horrible wail that did nothing to slow Tarid's charge forth. He only slowed when Grasping Roots made entrance from the thick trees and shrubs to taunt them with introduction.

“I see that you’ve enjoyed my trick,” She spoke, with a glance to the spriggan recently struck. Trickery by malevolent forces, it seemed this forest spirit sought to toy with them as an Ifrit might. But it was no Ifrit. Tarid knew not how to deal with it, but knew he would have to learn quickly for they appeared caught in its trap.

“You mortals always come out into the forest to destroy it. How would you like it if the forest was trying to destroy you?” She added, making her motivations and intentions clear enough. Well, he didn't fit the accusation, but he reasonably doubted diplomacy was about to get him anywhere. Nor were his own feet, as roots erupted from the ground beneath him to ensnare him by the legs.

With a swing of his scimitar, Tarid hacked away at the corrupted growth. Severed roots feel away, but more took their place, leaving Tarid to hack at them again and again. But sword along could not save him, and the struggle hardly looked to be going in his favour, though he did not cease in his counterattacks.

Josai prepared magic to assault it, infused into her spear and struck directly into their foe. She knew far more than Tarid did. Still a squire, he had little magic to aid but a learned enchantment upon his scimitar, but it might fare well against the spriggan magic assailing him. Tarid invoked the spell through verbal command, his scimitar glowing red hot though the magic infused in it by the spell. His burning hot blade scorched as it cut, the motions made easier but the roots remaining numerous. May Josai's attack prove fruitful.
(Upon the first couple of swings Gromat bit into the bark of the blighted tree with no problem. The next few began to bleed the black ichor from beneath, it oozing outward like tar colored sap. It was at this time that the branches and boughs above Gromat creaked, groaned and splintered as they reached downward and grasped the axe head holding it firmly in place.

Staring back wide eyed the animate tree began to lecture him, appearantly the assumed foe had been toying with them, and starting issuing threats. Flabbergasted, Gromat let go of the shaft of his axe, the thing wasn't going anywhere or going to be put to use as it was, and balked at the tree as it spoke. Pointing upwards at it's bark like 'face' he released a tirade of his own exposing the hypocrisy of it's words.)

"Your words have a ring o' truth but there 're some o' us that 'ave a bit o' respec' fer nature and all that dwells with 'er. You were once amongst that lott... once, but not that's changed, huh? You been warped, twisted and perverted by this... 'filth' into somethin' unnatural. Be it of the forest or no it's time to put you down!"

(Reaching for his quarterstaff, he placed the weapon before him expecting something from the cunning floral opponent... but not an attack from below! Grasping roots and vines surged upwards from the ground reached for Gromat who skillfully backpedaled and used the length of his staff to swat the arboreal appendages away but no matter where he stepped more seemed to spring forth reaching for him! He heard a warning from the woman nearby to get out of the way but had no way to move safely let alone quickly!

It was one thing to fight a stronger opponent as one simply needed to outpace and tire it over time by wearing them out and fighting cautiously.
For a faster opponent one would need to use foresight to keep ahead of them or find a way to immobilize them. Both situations resulted in the person on the receiving end to use the space around them but if they had no way to stay on their feet or choose where to stand then all strategy was lost. Gromat had no way to do either and so there was no feasable way to combat or flee from this foe. He the did the only thing he could think of...)

Gromat: "Thaja... come!!!"

( for help. As the roots finally grappled him and froze in place, some magic from other combatants at work, which trapped him in a cage of permifroze everyone could hear a soft rumbling in the distance shortly before feeling the reverberation in the ground as twelve hundred pounds of angry buffalo came crashing through the brush at Gromat! Bellowing loudly Thaja, a large female bison, charged right beside him who hooked himself deftly onto her horn as she sprinted by, the momentum tearing him and his staff out of the grasp of the frozen roots grasp! Veering around and keeping the momentum, Thaja then made a wide turn and came back around charging straight for the tree's trunk picking up speed as she went while Gromat poised himself upon her back as if readying to jump!)

Thaja: "Mooaa!!!"
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Vengeful Thorns’s form convulsed momentarily at Kallach’s challenge, her light dimmed to almost nothing. With a hideous snarl and a chorus of muffled cracks like the breaking of bones, her bark skin began to tear and slough off as thick plates erupted from within. With cruel efficiency this new flesh grew over her entire body, until she looked like a suit of plate mail covered with rows of long, curved thorns.

With this new growth, the spriggan now stood a few feet taller than the man. The green-yellow light within her body flared between armored plates like a sinister lantern. With a flick of her left wrist, a second thorn whip sprouted from her empty hand. She snapped the dual whips against the ground as she exclaimed in a powerful, booming voice,

“Fear death? I am death!”

And in an almost sultry tone, the spriggan added with a laugh of insane delight,

“And you have a weapon made of wood.”

The whole transformation, while useful in its own right, proved a most useful distraction for the tiny tendril of bramble that had split from the emerging growth around Kallach and was now curled ever-so-delicately against one side of the staff – which was quickly twisting and turning into a spinous brier of its own.


The half-blighted tree brought to life by the spriggan’s befouled power stilled in deference to the greater eminence of winter evoked by Josai’s spell, its healthy tissues falling into hibernation while the blighted wood erupted in feathery crystals of hoar frost. The tree’s roots that had been reaching for her legs either froze in place or dropped to the ground. Obstacles in terrain already made difficult by the pits and holes where they had first emerged; but she was unfettered. Tarid’s attack with his fire-infused scimitar fared similarly well, chopping through the corrupted tangle of roots in smoking arcs. Coordinating their onslaught of fire and ice momentarily gave them some space to move.

Sleep the spell whispered to Jauncho’s treacherous wand. It could not resist the Wintertide call any more than the tree could. It ceased its assault on the warlock’s throat, giving him a second to breathe. Though the roots around him continued their attempt to entrap him, they moved more slowly, as if the power controlling them had been interrupted.

A buffalo broke through the treeline at this moment, sending bits of dirt and wood flying as she made a beeline towards Gromat’s side with a bellow. The half-orc grabbed onto one of Thaja’s horns and performed a mounting maneuver while the great beast turned and charged the blighted tree. She struck with all the massive fury of an enraged bison, shattering the whole of the old ash as well as several nearby trees with horn and hoof and bulk. Gromat’s axe was sent spinning in the air in the process, landing a few feet away in the leaf litter.

“Get off of me, you little gnat!” Grasping Roots cried at the small bird creature that was tormenting her. The spriggan swatted and grabbed for the woodpecker, but Sophie proved to be as nimble an opponent as she was annoying; enough that the spriggan was having some trouble concentrating on controlling the roots, or keeping a close eye on all of the combatants below.

Kallach | Juancho Ricco | Gromat N’Daego | Tarid Ra’leem | Josai
It seemed as though the spear wielding mage’s frosty spell was invaluable. Especially now against the spriggans counter offensive. Although the amount of effort for them just to take on this lone monster was concerning to Junacho since the one they were fighting spoke of a “seed mother”. Who he imagined to be a more powerful matriarch. Could they even take her on?

Nonetheless as the wintery spell soothed his constricting wand, with his free hand Juancho managed to rip off the choking vine around his next. Before grabbing on his belt a sturdy, folding navaja knife. The internal ratchet clicked several times as he flicked it open. Taking the blade to his other hand he slipped it under the bulk of the creeping vines with a single slice. Cutting through the majority of it as. Freeing himself from his own arcane focus Juancho still had it in hand. Annoyed that he would need to carve away the rest nasty vines that had grown out of it.

Unfortunately the other roots from the ground were still surrounding him. Keeping him from rushing to aid sophie. Who he could still hear loudly pecking away at the spriggan. Aiming his wand at the roots around him he aimed his wand at an area in front of him. “รՇคเɭς Շђ๏เгภí!” Juancho shouted, before a cone of thunderous, concussive energy blasted out from the tip of his wand in front of him to blast away a small path through the roots for him to escape their dangerous embrace.

Folding his knife back up he stored it away onto his belt again. Before signaling to Sophie with a whistle. Causing her to stop her annoying pecking and fly back over to Junacho. He almost aimed his wand again for another attack at the spriggan before he noticed the raging bovine creature, and held off his attack, Not wanting to harm those around and actively engaging the spriggan.

Blessed of the Forest | Josai | Gromat N'Daego | Tarid Ra’leem
To cast such a spell, even aided by the forces of nature around her, took a great deal of energy from the spear witch. The head of her weapon bloomed with hoarfrost, its long shaft iced, and her own hands stung by winter's bite, her feet stuck to the soft earth by a frozen veil.

In came new breath. In came the heat of the air about her. She turned her foot, shook her weapon, and broke free from hibernation's hold, the charms at the end of her weapon rattled and chimed. She closed her eyes as and traced a line in an arc before her with the point of her toe. A full twist and turn of her hips saw the line drawn into circle, the spear's white coated head glittering behind her movement in a trace of ice-mist. A minor locus there in the earth, with her at its center. A seal of old and steady power, she drew it into the circle with the but of her spear.

A green glow, warmer than the ice, but cold still, fresh. Like spring water come in to the body. Josai would try and restore what magicks she spent, in that brief moment of space their efforts had won them.

The bone charm rattled and danced amidst the magick's swell, as the sphere of black and the bell of silver hung silent and still.

She would trust in the others to defend her, as the magicks of the earth drew in to her in gentle pulse. Slowly, the frost about her spear would abide, turned to water that ran down the length of the spear's shaft, and dripped back into the soil.

Blessed of the Forest Gromat N'Daego Tarid Ra’leem Kallach
Tarid continued to hack and slash at the masses of roots attempting to clamber up his, the burning blade of his scimitar cleaving straight through to litter the ground around him with their smouldering severed remains. Again and again, he brought the glowing blade against all that arrived to replace the first roots, swinging away with fury towards his foe and desperation to not be caught within her trap. After some time and several swings, all the scattered roots around him and Josai remained still and lifeless, affording the both some space to move while preparing for whatever the battle may next require of them.

Josai, meanwhile, was busy weaving magic towards that very same end, drawing a circle in the air as she focused her magical energies. Though Tarid had learned some talent for the arcane, he was far less versed with it as she was. The scimitar he held still glowed red-hot from the fiery magic infused within it a moment ago

Grasping Roots was busy fending off a small bird that was relentless in its aggression upon the spriggan. While hardly, the bird remained a persistent distraction that robbed her attention, and the commotion signalled that it was best not to tarry to seize the opportunity it had provided. While Josai continued to gather her energies, Tarid quickly pondered how he might best take the fight to the spriggan who was perched on a branch up high. The fire his sword was infused with appeared to be a weakness, though that it was seemed moot when the weapon lacked the range to reach her.

Tarid quickly concluded that he couldn’t attack her both directly and quickly, but he not completely without options at his disposal. Reaching to the pouch on his belt, he withdrew a glass vial that was filled with flammable oil. It was without wick or any means to set it alight – Tarid had carried it to light lamps and torches, rather than as an offensive weapon. But if fire was the weakness it appeared to be, the oil might serve usefulness here.

He wound an arm back as Grasping Roots swatted away at Sophie, hopefully distracted enough that she would not see the vial of oil coming. Should it connect, the glass would shatter on impact and the slick, flammable substance ought cover both the spriggan and the branch she perched upon. It also carried risk of dousing Sophie, and for that reason Tarid would be hesitant to touch his burning scimitar to immediately ignite the oil. Rather, he’d maintain his defensive stance with his focus on defending Josai as she continued to invoke her magic.

If his aim was true, there would likely be a latter opportunity to do so. For now, Tarid remained to defend his fellow knight.
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Gromat: "Hoo yeah! Tha's what I'm talkin' 'bout!"

(Gromat bellowed in glee as the frozen target of Thaja's rancor splintered under her bulk and sundered before her surprising momentum. As the frozen dark wood hit the ground it cascaded in a million pieces scattering every which way. Thaja mooed in mimicry of Gromat's war-cry as he began to survey the are around himself.

Some distance away a very brave bird was distracting a spriggan while Gromat spotted something flying through the air at the wooden creature. The mage responsible for the ice seemed to be casting some sort of spell, the only telltale sign of this that Gromat could surmise, what with his extremely limited experience seeing magic, was the obvious green light surrounding her. The last combatant, a young man wielding a burning blade, seemed to hang back somewhat near the mage. Finally deciding to take an action, Gromat spurred Thaja into action.)

Gromat: "Thaja, go. Heel... there."

*(Signalling with his quarterstaff, Thaja follows the direction that Gromat points to and trots over beside the mage.)*

Gromat: "Thaja... protec' here."

(The bison grunts as if understanding Gromat's simple order and paws her hoof into the ground readying to charge if the nearby spriggans gets near. Gromat cranes his neck around to regard the mage.)

Gromat: "Ey! You mind freeze'n 'nother one o' them? You set em up n' me and Thaja can knock em down, huh?"
Josai Tarid Ra’leem Juancho Ricco Blessed of the Forest Kallach
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Tarid’s vial of oil spun end over end as it sailed on a collision course with Grasping Roots’s perch. The squire’s aim proved perfect; the glass shattered against the spriggan’s body, splashing oil all over her. Grasping Roots screeched in outrage and redoubled her efforts to capture the bird before it could escape, but the thin liquid coating her hands made them slippery. Sophie darted back to Jauncho with a final taunt of chirr chirrr chirrp while Grasping Roots made a second terrible discovery – the oil had also coated the branch she was standing on.

The spriggan tried desperately to regain her balance, but her viney legs could find no purchase on the oil-slicked branch and she went plummeting to the ground not far from where Jauncho had blown apart a swath of animated roots.

Help me sister! A silent plea shivered through branch and soil.


Vengeful Thorns tilted her head when she heard something that her opponent could not. She’d of course heard the explosion of spells from the lumber camp, and felt a bit of envy that Grasping Roots might have all the fun. Now, amusingly, her sister was begging for help.

With a flick of her whips, the ground around Kallach exploded into a wall of briers that blocked his view and would serve to buffer her from his spells long enough for her to make her exit. She turned away from the wizard-warrior and took off towards the real battle. The bulk of her armor prevented her from travelling through the trees directly, though she managed a brisk enough pace by wrapping her whips around the trunks of larger trees ahead of her and pulling herself forward.

I’m coming, she returned through the network of the forest. What is it that is so interesting over there?

Gromat N'Daego Tarid Ra’leem Josai Juancho Ricco

A vessel, half empty, slowly filled back up as the magicks of the land swirled beneath her, and drew up the roots of her stance. Her breath pulled deep through her nose and down into her lungs. The fire, the ice, the blighted wood and the smell of ox as the creature thundered through the tangles and trunks.

A new voice cut across the din.

Freez'n 'nother one... Knock em down

The spear witch nodded, her hat bobbed with the sharp gesture, her spear rose from its rested position, and Josai opened her eyes, which did glow in the Wyld green of living forest.

"Huh!" Josai grunt in fierce agreement.

She brought her spear's point down once more and shift one foot forward, bent her legs at the knees and drew strength in to her muscles. The magick, willed so near to her by her previous spells, swirled about her, and she whipped the energies once more with the cold steel of her weapon. Now the bone charm and the ebon stone hung still, as if pulled to the earth itself, and the sliver bell charm seemed to swim in a current not seen.

Words flowed from Josai's lips. Old, cold, snapping in their cadence and slick utterance, and with a deathly hiss, like that of a mountain cat, she ended her cant, her spear's head frosted again with rime and white vapors poured from the metal head as it thrust forward once more.

A missile of ice, a sharp spike that aimed to pin the malevolent spriggan. Another whirl of the spear, another trail of mist fell from its head and the rime crept down its shaft, violently quick, her hands were bit by winter's cold, but Josai did not flinch, eyes focused on their enemy who had fallen from their perch, a second thrust shot a second bolt, and she whirled her weapon about in a channeling arc around her, stirring the winds and that feint trace of water that did ride within its currents.

Her hands stung, as ice crackled along her skin, and her bones felt he deep pangs of cold-born pain. Still, she would weave more magick as their battle decreed.

Gromat N'Daego Tarid Ra’leem Juancho Ricco
The lobbed container of oil flew skyward , and to his fortune, his aim was true. Glass shattered and oil soaked his foe, all while the bird provided a continued distraction. Grasping Roots was having little luck at dealing with either of them, for the oil carried the added effect of rendering her safe perch slippery and perilous. The bird flew away with a teasing chirp moments before her purchase on the tree branch began to gave way. The ground beneath Grasping Roots was devoid of danger or threat, with the lifeless remains of summoned plant roots scattered about where she fell.

She called out for another, revealing that she wasn’t a lone threat against them. Her sister must be close by, and would be upon them within a moment. With his watchful attention on Grasping Roots and his scimitar brandished, Tarid wasted no time in advancing. Grass and detritus crunched under foot as he rushed forth, the blade of his sword still burning red-hot from the spell recently cast upon it. Still a novice student of the craft, he was glad that the spell served him so well.

Josai was weaving further magic, uttering arcane words to offer further aid. He could feel the pull of magic as he pressed onward, along with the chill of her icy spear conjured forth and propelled towards their foe. Plummeting as she was, dodging seemed unlikely – although the young squire could not possibly know what countermeasures she or her sister might employ. With his scimitar wound back for a strike, Tarid would hesitate for only a moment to allow the spear to land first, before following through with a cleaving strike of heated steel.

Gromat N'Daego Josai Juancho Ricco
Gromat: "Get ready, girl."

(Thaja pawed at the ground in anticipation of eliminating the imminent threat. Eyeing the target of her aggression with very little patience, she snorted in frustration as she waiting for her comrade's signal to strike. Groman sat upon her hump watching the magical glittering shards of ice soar through the air towards the spriggan.

Sucking his teeth, Gromat thought it ill luck that the corrupted tree creature called out for aid, there was no doubt enemy reinforcements enroute meaning either they took down the target swiftly here and now or retreated if their backup was too numerous. He opted on the former...)

Gromat: "Thaja..."

( he began to get his companion's attention. Thaja stomped the ground and snorted loudly in affirmation before craning her head to the side to regard the half orc atop her. Gromat watched as the first ice shard struck the treat, then the second, frost spreading from the impact site making the few dark leaves appear brittle before cracking and crumbling. Gromat grinned ear to ear for a brief moment before finally speaking.)

Gromat: "...charge! Vital Strike! Take 'er down!"

(The bison bellowed and charge forwards as the target of her wrath with all her might as the target was apparently vulnerable! As she picked up speed, her hooves kicking up dirt and leaves as she thundered by, Gromat perched himself with his legs underneath his rear as if readying to leap off! The bison would attempt to charge into the tree creature threatening to splinter her bark from the mighty impact and knock her back, thereafter Gromat would be catapulted off Thaja both by her suddenly being stopped from impacting the target and him purposefully leaping off the tree monster with momentum to deliver a flying kick at the area Thaja splintered to deal extra damage... and sending them into Tarid and more importantly his sword strike!

This practiced maneuver, The 'Vital Strike", is a method Gromat devised to either shatter the spirit or kneecaps of the massive creatures he'd encounter in the icy tundra. By targeting the joints in the legs of the super sized predators in those regions Thaja and Gromat were able to reliably escape death provided they saw the creature coming!)

Josai Blessed of the Forest Tarid Ra’leem
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Grasping Roots knew just how vulnerable she was on the ground: her strengths and her strategy relied on keeping her admirers at a distance. This admiration was far too close for comfort. It took only a momentary glance for her to realize that she didn’t have time to recover before the combined onslaught of ice, fire and massive beast was upon her – so she did the only thing she could.

Sending out her will into what infected trees remained, she commanded the blight to her defense. A landscape already pocked and pitted from the previous burst of growth now buckled and groaned underfoot. As quick as thunder chasing a bolt of lightning, a barrier wove itself around her prone form from the distorted wood. It proved an adequate defense against Josai’s ice projectiles – they both shattered against the solid cage with high, glassy-sounding cracks. They weren’t entirely without effect, however: their energy spread out beyond their point of impact and partly-froze some of the tangle of branches and roots. Tarid struck a second after, cracking the wood as the heat from his blade added another temperature stress to the points previously weakened by the spear witch’s attack.

The barrier may have withstood Thaja’s attack normally, but as the bison charged into the widening cracks in the wooden shield, it shattered completely. The force of the impact stopped the bison, and Gromat leaped off to finish his maneuver, landing a kick that sent Grasping Roots flying – though there was hardly anything solid left of the withered creature hiding within the short-lived shield. Having anticipated a larger enemy, the half-orc’s kick proved to be slightly too powerful; a disembodied arm and shoulder were vaulted over Tarid’s head. Other pieces lay strewn about, each rooted to a piece of the wooden barrier.

Disembodied, but not yet dead – as some of them began twitching and even scurrying away from them like a nest of angry spiders.

@Gromat N'Daego @Tarid Ra’leem @Josai
Tarid swung with strength, but could not predict the swift defensive barrier summoned forth by Grasping Roots. Blighted treelife from the surrounding forest rushed inwards just in time to obstruct the spear of frigid ice Josai had conjured and propelled forth. The mass of twisted wood provided ample protection to the attack, blocking the spear which burst with frost upon impact. The blade of his scimitar bit into the frozen wood that resulted. Though the sudden cold had rendered the barrier brittle, it was not enough to enable his scimitar to break through and strike his foe.

Another would make an attempt after him, and the bulky bison he rode was far more successful. Barrelling into the barrier that he and Josai assailed, Thaja broke right through and shattered the twisted wood into flying shards. The sight of his foe suddenly absent of her summoned protection was one he was grateful for, and Tarid raised his scimitar to strike her again, rushing past the bison that had been stopped by the force of it destructive blow. Before he could strike, the rider delivered a forceful kick to Grasping Roots, or what remained at her. He swung with ferocity as the spriggan's severed arm flew at him, though his scimitar cut through nothing but thin air as the limb sailed overhead.

Tarid turned around to face his foe in a deft motion, surveying the scene to see more of her strewn about. For a moment, it appeared as if the battle might have been won, but just when Tarid was ready to sheathe his sword the sight of sudden motion gave him pause. In desperation, he ran at a spring to try to strike one of the scurrying pieces of his foe. He would cleave one if he could, but given the distance between them catching up seemed unlikely.

Whether he did or didn't, Tarid would slow to a stop, but he would keep his sword wielded.

“Not quite..” He uttered, disappointed that she had apparently gotten away.

Josai Gromat N'Daego Blessed of the Forest
It was a sharp and burning pain that stung Josai's fingers. The ice of winter, that most merciless form of Loch, sapped and drank and took her warmth with an uncaring greed. Fair exchange for its power.

Still, as her missiles shattered against the bramble walls, and the great ox did crash through the brittle barrier, Josai watched. Her spear's point aimed at their enemy, even as Gromat's kick landed flush and the husk of their enemy exploded into pieces. With steady breath and concentration of mind, Josai closed her eyes, and opened them anew, the Eye of Loch glowed bright in the pools of her own eyes and she could see the traces of blighted magick still swirling in each little piece of wood that flew and fell and crawled away.

"Around you! Tarid! Axe Man!" she called out, and felt her voice grow tight with the cold mist that swirled around her.

She could not say for sure, but she felt as if their enemy had split itself into many seeds, and cast them out now in hopes that one would take. One would hold on to their life. Brow furrowed beneath her wide-brimmed hat, Josai drew in a full and frigid breath, though the cold air bit her all the way down.

Words poured from her mouth once more, and again she bid the spirits of tree and stone to hear the song of winter's sleep. What frigid mist had erupted from her exploded shards of ice spread once more, like a fog low to the ground, it aimed to slow and chill the splinters of crawling spriggan.

Her arms ached, and her chest panged with pain, but her spell was woven. She coughed, harshly and hoarsly, and her body trembled with the cold. "Tarid," she let out in harsh rasp. "Your flames," she said as her stance wavered and she fell to one knee, and braced against her spear's shaft.

The silver bell rang harsh against the black sphere of obsidian, and the bone charm rattled against the wood.

Blessed of the Forest Tarid Ra’leem Gromat N'Daego
(Gromat felt the weight of his blow crash into the opponent backed by the momentum of Thaja and into the very spot she had weakened. He grinned ear to ear as he felt his target's form give way, his blow's force fragmenting the abomination and causing it's pieces to scatter every which way. With a mighty howl and a stomp upon the ground, accompanied by Thaja's own mimicry with her hoof, Gromat gestured with much confidence...)

Gromat: "How's that on fer size, huh?! Huh? What the..."

(...before the mage who had thrown ice shouted from across the thicket alerting the half orc to the many pieces of the treelike monstrosity which had begun grasping at the floor to scurry away! Recoiling from the squirming pieces like royalty from filthy vermin, the half orc took a step back as Thaja stared wide eyed at the floral pieces scramble across the ground.)

Gromat: "...Eaugh! Ugh! Filthy monsters!"

(After taking out took out his axe Gromat then and ran to the closest piece and began hacking away, each swing punctuated by his words!)

Gromat: "Just! Die! Already! Thaja, squash em already, would'ja!? Body Slam!"

(Thaja slowly swung her massive head around to regard the immediate environment and more importantly... movement. After locating the small flutter of leaves heading away from her she trotted in it's direction and upon getting close did the most peculiar thing. She stopped and rose up on her hind legs standing up vertically, towering over the tiny creature which now scampered desperately away from her. Taking slow deliberate steps which steadily got faster she tottered over to the ground based target with her side facing it and her head bend downward before finally allowing her bulk to fall upon the creature headfirst thoroughly intent on destroying it in one massive, the impact of which could be felt within the feet of all nearby!)
Josi Tarid Ra’leem Blessed of the Forest Juancho Ricco Kallach