The Great Ones The Great Ones Beneath

Tereth Adathar

Monster Hunters
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Tereth listened as she told the story of what had happened. He had seen glimpses of the conflict from a distance, but trying to kill a healer because someone was beyond saving? He knew healers, and they were typically good people. They had patched him up time and again after his hunts, and someday he knew the damage would be too severe to repair. Attacking one? He couldn't imagine.

He didn't say anything about it for a long while.

You would willingly follow someone who tried to kill you for no reason? he asked bluntly. His profession hadn't given him soft edges.

No amount of rage or despair excuses that, he said with a shake of his head, asserting his opinion whether it was asked for or not. He knew he couldn't make up her mind for her, but he knew he wouldn't have been caught dead in that situation. No matter what it would gain him. He had a tendency to kill things that killed others without reason.

All he could do was plant a seed of question in her mind. Her leg was mangled and torn to pieces and she was going to be left for dead. He wondered what fate had in mind to emerge from this moment.

When she offered him the jewelry, he found himself looking at it for a moment. He probably shouldn't have taken it, but his life wasn't one of abundance. The cost of elixirs and magical items was high, and some had been used in getting to here. He probably should have refused, but he didn't.

Thank you, he said with a nod as he took the offered payment. It was quite beautiful and he found himself looking at it for a moment before placing it in his small satchel of valuables.

Tereth Adathar, he said, as he took note of her name as well. Amol-Kalit was not the friendliest of lands, and having a friend in the region might serve well in the future.

If I survive this, I'm sure I will be back. I hope our paths cross again under better circumstances, he said. And perhaps I might help you avoid your attacker in the future, he thought to himself. No, he wouldn't always be there. The next time might end far worse. He hoped she took precautions to avoid the man in the future.

This all assumed that he would survive his ride to the monster. It threatened to ravage the world, and there was no telling what it had already laid waste to in the east. Things would get much worse before they got better. That much he knew.

Kiia Sidra
 

Zier Xya Zythos

Let's Be Honest, My Title Is Dumbass.
Elbion College
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“I’ll try to talk to it,” Awano began, “See what it wants."

“But it may be too late for that. So, we need to see what's in the Vault,” Awano suggested.
Alright. Maybe it work. Although, both plans could easily fail; What if Awano gets stomped on-- or fucking SWALLOWED. What if these artifacts don't work- How could he not think of the worst possible outcomes on this? Those probably aren't even the worse. Some good did come from this though. he'll FINALLY be able to explore the fault! He hasn't been in there before, and he doesn't know where exactly it is. Who knows what's in there! A floating orb that grants wishes? Food wishes... maybe there's a sparkly bar made out of something that can make me fly.

Mmm...

Fuck.


"Well, while we're in there, be sa- His words of warning were interrupted by a magnificent pillar of flame that erupted into the sky. It was blinding, causing Zier to momentarily throw a hand over his eyes, causing the obsidian slabs they rode on to fall for three seconds from his laspe in concentration. Fuck was that? a display of dominance against it? Guess they likes being the dragons carpet.

He doesn't know Gerra is down there, but he's heard of him, and he knows that the guy is absolutely no one to fuck with. "Well I'm certainly not the only pyromancer in town." He's counted three so far. Elbion was was close, and so was the dragon-- Why's that person's hair have... lava on it? Fire? Interesting characters around Elbion.
 

Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
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"Of course," he replied, "I would be no where else."
Ashuanar's response was nothing less than soothing. He was the most reliable person she knew, more than any of her own agents. Knowing that he'd be by her side through what was perhaps the world's darkest hour gave her hope, even confidence.

"Thank you..." She replied quietly.

May I travel with?” Kara asked.
Medja nodded silently before ascending to the Avatar of Aramekh's back, allowing Kara to safely occupy the now open palm.

The sorceress outright ignored Kiia as she was whisked away by Tereth. She may have attempted to drain Medja's life from her, but after centuries of doing the same to Arethil herself, the act felt somehow forgivable. She understood: the fear of death, desperately clinging to one's own survival...it was easy to fall to acts you wouldn't otherwise commit.

Regardless, petty revenge did not matter here. Petty revenge is what might have already doomed the world. To waste time splattering an Abtati that she had already risked her own life to save would be an egregious waste of time and energy. The Avatar of Aramekh drained a massive amount of energy from Medja under normal circumstances, and in spite of the boost she was receiving from Drakormir's blood she wasn't sure how long she'd be able to maintain its form.

"There is no more time to waste. Hold tight." Medja stated calmly, concern barely tinging her tone.

Aramekh's hands were large enough to cradle his passengers within his palms, fingers curled up to imitate a protective cage around them, but they would still need to grab hold if they wanted to stay stable along the way. Medja willed the golem to move and move it did, lunging forward and splaying its great wings wide. Despite its sheer size and weight, the stone titan moved remarkably fast, the ancient spirit of Aramekh still capable of geomancy of its own accord. In a manner not unlike Medja's own normal method of locomotion, the Avatar sailed off with its passengers faster than any horse or giant scorpion could carry them.

Elbion awaited...as did Drakormir.
 

Kara Orin

Staff
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603
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With Medja’s silent consent, Kara climbed onto the golem’s palm. When warned, Kara grabbed hold of whatever she could to keep herself from falling.

During the initial part of the journey, Kara did not speak. She silently looked out to the land scape while glancing back to the Viziers every so often.

As they all travelled toward Elbion, there would be one thought that something attempted to embed into Medja’s mind:

Would she be willing to trade her life to see Drakormir fall?


After tossing the ooze and potentially further ruining Alexios’s day, Drakormir returned to approaching Elbion by foot.

The black, eye-infested ooze landed in the middle of the Port District – the closest district to the dragon. With the appearance of the dragon, few people were spending their day normally. Those in the city, such as Focraig'Diin and Duago Trothar would either see or hear about the dragon and the panic it caused.

Once it landed in the Port District, the ooze consumed the closest bystander – a young orc dockhand. And it would continue to eat, never reaching a point of satiation.

Since Drakormir approached from the west, Lake Elbion and the Cairou River stood between Him and the city walls. In its journey forward, it just walked into the water as if it was a puddle. Any passengers that fell from the dragon at this point would be more likely to survive than before.

Still traveling with Zier, Professor Sitim saw the sight and exclaimed, “This is insane…”

Maester Awano, focused on the plan, told Zier Xya Zythos, “Bring me to the head, now!”

Gerra stood before the city gates in the Port District. Citizens nearby were startled. Those fleeing into the city walls stopped for a moment before deciding to just run around him since Gerra made no hostile moves. Due to the Port District being the most common area for visitors to Elbion, a merchant from Ragash happened to be nearby. When he saw Gerra, he fell to the ground to bow before his God-Emperor.

As Drakormir advanced, its eyes were drawn to the College of Elbion. The College sat on a mountainside and was the highest structure within the city. It sat separated from other important areas of the city – so it would be obvious to observers that the dragon’s attention pointed to it.

Yet when Gerra used the power of the Ring of Akhu, Drakormir turned His head toward the Port District gate while in mid-stride.

Words did not leave the dragon’s mouth. His eyes focused on the fire giant.

He sought magical power to feed on. Gerra could hear this.
 

Eren'thiel Xyrdithas

The Broken Sword
Monster Hunters
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For what seemed like some time, he felt nothing. He perceived nothing. There was simply...

Nothing.

But then, he began to see, and feel. And he found himself once again in that hidden place, in the deepest recesses of his mind. That hollow dark, where the light of the collective had once shined so brightly - before it was torn from him.

Walls of blackness rose up where brilliance once stood, and a place of warmth and comfort made empty.

It felt cold now.

And still, it rained.

He knelt there, his head hung solemnly, not yet fully aware of... what, why, and where. Recollection came - the destruction, the terror. The great beast that seemed bent on destroying all that lay before it. Even with only it's waking it decimated an entire city, which had stood for many a centuries and weathered many a trial. And this... thing, seemed unstoppable. And there now, in that pit, he felt grief - hopeless.

But then, high above, a small light burst through the dark,

and the voices of those many, once more for one desperate moment cried out, and then whispered,



Stand, Erën.

You are not broken yet.



His eyes shot open. His head throbbed. His ears rang.

The skin on his arms, and side of his face was burned, his hair was singed, and his body ached.

But... he was alive.

As he had once before in a frantic effort to survive, he had called upon the remains of he shattered Pillar to protect him, encasing him just long enough to survive the onslaught of the fire. However, its impact against him, carried on the currents of the dragon's breath was quite forceful, and it had lifted him off his feet and propelled him several tens of meters away.

After the fire dispersed, the protection of the Pillar vanished. It was unlikely he would be able to shield himself in such a way again.

He crawled onto his side, and his vision spun as he lifted himself to his knees. He coughed, and wiped his mouth as he turned his head up to see. The stars in his eyes began to fade. The pounding of his head, lessen. His awareness, started to return. He saw the dragon, Neha, growing larger and larger as it descended upon them, and the other, Sepheron, had retreated away. Lazule, as ever, steadfast against the odds - whatever they be.

He turned his head one way, and then the other.

There were so few... so few left to combat this monstrosity. But still... they fought, for whatever their own reasons, united in one consuming desire.


Survival.

He grabbed his sword from the ground beside him, and planted one foot on the ground, and then hoisted himself to his feet. And stood, and then started forward again - with each step channeling what strength he could, filling the sword and preparing another attack. He would bring himself back to Lazule's side, brandishing his weapon, and... wait...

...time seemed to crawl as thoughts whirled through his mind...

…but what seemed like minutes, tens of minutes even...

...it was really only a few seconds.

Lazule | Neha | Sepheron

 

Gerra

The Emperor
The Empire
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Monstrous eyes loomed like enormous hooded lanterns, swiveling to illuminate Gerra. Attention grasped, he cut off the flow of fire and the pillar of flame collapsed into nothingness.

The behemoth lusted for magic in the way a hungry wolf craved the calf. He could sense a gnawing hunger within Drakormir. A need to be sated.

"Do not seek the magic of the mages here. It is weak and paltry, unfitting for your worth, Great One. Come, bargain with me, and I will show you a feast of faye."


Kara Orin
 
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Alexios was not, what some people would consider, a smart man or even a good one.

He was hot-headed, he was prone to violence, he was greedy, he was lusty and he was rather rude, all things considered. Rather than think a problem through he would often decide to just attack it and hope for the best.

Sometimes he could come up with something on the fly during combat and it would just work!

But not this time.

He could feel the power within the blood and he knew he could use it immediately. The thought entered his mind about using the power within the blood right then and there - firing off a blast of dragon-fire from the blood and his own magic directly into the dragon's brain through the naturally occurring weak-point that was the inner ear. Blast through the thinnest part of the dragon's outer layer and cook it's brain with a taste of it's own weapon.

Could be that he killed the dragon, this unholy, unfathomably huge, threatening beast. But he knew, almost instinctively, that he likely wouldn't survive the attempt. Either the spell itself, the death-throws of the beast or something else but he knew it in his bones it was a real thing, a real chance.

But... he rather liked the land of the living.

All his stuff was here.

So the dragon palm coming up and the... well whatever the fuck the black mass of eyes and other messes was... well they didn't really factor into his decision making. No Alexios was, as was most often the case, motivated first and foremost by personal gain. And living counted as a big gain for him.

Alexios, feeling the blood on his hands, wiped his hand to gather as much as he could before letting go. He fell from the ear of the dragon and brought his fire to himself one more time to propel himself away from the beast, flying off with a burst of fire and air toward the outskirts of Elbion, where he would use the same trick to slow himself down enough that the landing didn't break anything.

... he still didn't quite stick the landing however and winced as he cut himself across both of his hands.

Seeing his own blood, his wounds exposed, alongside the dragon blood, he felt the urge and so he indulged himself and his urges as he so often did. There was fire within the blood of the dragon and he would have it for himself - he began to deliberately mix the dragon's blood in with his own through the cuts on his hands and lower arms. It hurt already and that was just from the physical aspect of it, he wasn't even sure what would happen when the magical part kicked in.

But he was in for a copper - why not in for a gold piece too?

With a grimace he licked his hands clean of his own blood and that of the dragon, grimacing at the taste but forcing himself to swallow the mixture down regardless. He wasn't into blood-play at all but the chance to take in that fire of the dragon? To take it within himself and to bend it, to twist it until it was part of his own fire?

"Let my fire burn and grow... until everything is either mine... or ashes."


Kara Orin
 

Zier Xya Zythos

Let's Be Honest, My Title Is Dumbass.
Elbion College
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Insane was one way to put it, and Zier could think of a lot more, profanity laced ones. He'll go with frightening. so frightening that he, again, almost missed what Awano said. Acting with urgency to his words, he commanded Awanos slab near the head, making it hover beside it. Now, he has no idea what the fuck how he's going to approach this dragon to speak with ut, but he better fly or jump the fuck off quickly unless he enjoys plummeting; Zier loses control of anything he isn't within ten yards of.

While flying past and towards the collage, "OHSHITTHAT'SGERRA-- And another pyromancer, nice." When they arrived to the collage, the obsidian slabs landed on the ground and Zier hoppee off. That thing was coming here and there's no doubt it'd level everything so they have to act quickly, but "I don't know where the vault is so-"
 

Duago Trothar

Youngest Son of the Trothar Clan
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Something was happening outside of the college. Indistinct sounds of people panicking over something. The fighter heard this before he heard the voice of the same guard who had let him in, approach from behind and cut off the response to his inquiry. It called out that he was to leave at once. Everyone aside from students and staff was to leave the college grounds and seek shelter elsewhere.

"Why must Duago leave? And seek shelter from what?"

"Your big brother's here." Came the snide reply of the guard. Duago took this literally and as they walked back to the college entrance he asked about his real brother.

"Syzoth Trothar has come looking for Duago? How did Syzoth know to come here?"

As they left and Duago was escorted to the gateway leading in and out of the college grounds however he saw it. The high ground on which the college was situated offer a clear view. He saw Drakormir. And heard the sounds of the panicking town below. And his jaw dropped.

"Kwenniavei!"
 
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Ashuanar

Vizier of the Imperial Army
The Empire
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His hand reached out, grabbing hold of one of Aramekh's digits to steady him as they ascended. He cast a glance downward, watching the landscape shrink beneath them, and the begin to pass.

And, as they started on their way, Ashuanar lost himself in thought as he looked down, trifling with the uncertainty of what consequences would come of all that had transpired - should they survive long enough for any of it to matter. He'd never imagined such a creature as this giant dragon could even exist, and it's size alone was far more than frightening. How could something so emmense be killed by ones so small?

He turned to the newcomer, Kara, "tell me, what do you know of this... 'dragon."

 

Kara Orin

Staff
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As they journeyed to Elbion, Kara heard Ashuanar’s question through the wind. She turned her head to the Vizier. Then her eyes drifted to the horizon – looking out to the distance.

A silent pause followed. Not even filler escaped Kara’s mouth. Her mind processed how to answer.

Looking to Ashuanar, Kara replied, “Nothing, but…

Turning to Medja, Kara asked, “You took in its blood?

Then explaining, “I’ve read some mythical beings form links this way. There may be some effect of your blood over the dragon?


Zier Xya Zythos got Maester Awano’s slab near the dragon’s head. Awano paused – thinking addressing the dragon from afar would be safer and more polite to Him. Just leaping on His head without permission might be a sign of disrespect, the Maester though.

Unfortunately, Zier never informed Awano that the slab would fall. Before Awano could say a word, the slab dropped. Thinking quickly, the Maester leaped toward Drakormir’s arm…

Meanwhile at the college, Zier and Professor Sitim landed in the courtyard just as Duago Trothar was urged to leave.

“Follow me then,” Sitim told Zier as he rushed toward the entrance.

“Hopefully an archivist is still there,” Sitim would tell Zier mid-stride, “I don’t even know all of what could be there.”

Depending on how long Zier had been associated with the College, he might have heard rumors of the artifacts in the College’s vault. Maybe he heard of one with great power or some effect specific to dragons. The rumors may not match reality, but it would help in case the archivist is not there or something worse occurs…



Alexios Marxan landed in the middle of the Port District. A few bystanders that had not yet fled saw this.

“Oh Astra! Is that someone?!” one screamed as they rushed toward Alexios.

Then Alexios drank Drakormir’s blood.

The sensation of fire blazed in his throat. Then his stomach. And soon, his own veins. A potent feeling that would surge through his whole body.

“Are you okay?!” the greying human male bystander asked as he got to Alexios.

The droning of music could almost drown out the man’s words. This music was something only Alexios could hear.

Alexios could feel some ethereal link between him and Drakormir.

Drakormir spared a few thoughts.

Another one joined the family.​
Tremendous power now coursed through Alexios’s blood.​
But if he bowed now before Drakormir, His name, he would have the power to burn nations.​



Then, a proposition came from Gerra. One to not replenish from magic here but with something else.

Drakormir’s march across the river continued. A front paw reached the docks. Ships were swept aside by the waves created when Drakormir moved. The piers immediately snapped under Drakormir’s weight. He still moved toward the College District.

Questions would grace Gerra's consciousness: Where? Why not take both?
 
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The concern of the average citizens of Elbion for one of their own was, in some ways, rather touching. But right now he didn't care for them - he never usually cared for them before either but he at least pretended to because it was better than alienating them. But as he consumed the blood, took it into himself, he could feel nothing but two things.

Pain and power.

Voices from the citizens were drowned out because all he could hear was the music. Some might think of music as strings, harps and violins and the like but to Alexios the truest form of music was drums. The deep, booming sound of war and the march of progress - he could hear it so deep within his own mind that he could barely hear his own thoughts.

He could feel the vibrations of the drumbeat running through him even though he knew it wasn't physical. It was all in his head but that didn't make it less real to him - if anything it made it so much more. The link to the dragon was instant and undeniable. It spoke within his mind, somehow both cutting through the drums and being comprised entirely of the drumbeats.

All he had to do to gain yet more power was to kneel... the idea sickened him.

Alexios had knelt before people who had lorded their positions over him his entire life. He had been forced to step out of the way of nobles who's only claim to said nobility was that they were pushed out of a royal pussy rather than a common one. To kneel was not in his nature any longer because he had decided, so very long ago, that he would not bow to some unworthy pissant who needed three servants to suck his cock before he could fuck another weakling into his horse of a wife.

Kneeling to a King or an Emperor was abhorrent to him on a visceral level. No, he would never bow to a man or elf or orc or whatever other mortal creature dared to demand he demean himself for the 'gift' of their rule. But this? Oh this was different.

He would not bow to a King.

But he could bow to a God.

Chest heaving as he pulled himself together, the pain and power both becoming more manageable with every move he made. He knelt on the ground, facing the dragon, facing Drakormir. He brought his right fist up to his chest, smacking it against his rib-cage in time to the beat of the drums he could still hear in his head even now.

"Hail Drakormir; God-King of Dragons."
he declared, eyeing the local who had come to him as well, "Bow before him and, perhaps, be spared his wrath."

Or not - he didn't really care if they lived or died.

Kara Orin
 

Gerra

The Emperor
The Empire
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"From here," Gerra hissed into the dragon's mind.

He drew then upon the Ring of Ren, seeking to divine the behemoth's true name. Not the name others called it, but the name that defined its being - its very essence. A name which would hold power over it. The magical energy that came forth from the ring for such a purpose was enormous, like a beacon in the astral plane.

"From me."

Kara Orin
 

Zier Xya Zythos

Let's Be Honest, My Title Is Dumbass.
Elbion College
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It really is unfortunate that his lack of communication (dumbassery), could cause Awano injury or, hopefully not, death. Sometimes, thinking ahead of time just isn't his thing.

Dragons? Honestly, he loves them. They're majestic and fearsome! He's read about they're strengths and weaknesses. Sadly for him-- and everyone else in this case-- he didn't really find that many weaknesses. He's read about dark magic that casted he-doesn't-know-what-the-fuck on one and cursing it, but that's far beyond his comprehension. Anything too specific for dragon killing he doesn't know of yet. Perhaps he should've searched better.

"I don't think I've read as much as i Could have about dragons, but I have read of a dragons own fire hurting it." He said as Sitim led him down the corridors. "It's a common assumption, but something at least to work on, or a stab to the heart. Although I don't know what would break through the scales of something that large."

Rumors of several artifacts he did hear of though. He doesn't really pay attention to them because his peers just love to fill his head with nonsense about how they saw or even touched the magical items within the vault. He likes to call that Bullshitmancy. Three artifacts were intriguing to him because, unlike the others the that might have been mentioned, actually exist. The Shattered Eye, Flame of Aberresai and, his personal favorite, the Dawnbreaker. Sounds cool, he'd definitely steal. Creatures of the night gotta count for dragons, right? hopefully. Man.. corridors are long..

"..any ideas of what it was looking for in Elbion though?" He knows that Sitim probably doesn't have the answer, but that dragon must've been headed here. Otherwise, it wouldn't have landed.
 

Focraig'Diin

Ice Mage Archivist!
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His temporary job as alarm bell done, the mage slammed his book shut, tossed it haphazardly in a corner and rushed out his room with a haste as if death were on his heel. Given the situation, it was not far off the mark. His rush led him out and into the streets of Elbion's Port District, where already it had fallen to chaos. People running to and fro, screaming their heads off at not the calamity knocking on their gates, but something else. Some however, stood their ground, but what would that man be doing just standing there, talking, he would not know.

First off, the problem that had everyone screaming.

He did not have to look to find it - bloody thing was right there, eating virtually everything in sight. Human, wood, rock, fruits - it was indiscriminate in both hunger and its victims. A black ooze that had eyes upon eyes virtually all over it. He wagered if he blasted it apart, it would spawn more of those organs out. And that size - easily the size of a house if it wasn't so spread out. He would take it apart piece by piece.

It was essentially sentient liquid. What would happen if he froze it and shattered it?

Eyes alight with cerulean glow as he readied his magic, Focraig pointed at a section of the black ooze.

"Eretejvan Tide."

And a thin line of white pierced the black slime, to freeze and shatter it into pieces. He would continue the grisly job of dismantling whatever the hell the creature was, and whilst doing it, he turned to those still standing about.

"No time to stand still and talk! Either help people get out, or get out yourself!"


Kara Orin Alexios Marxan
 

Zarko

Magnificent!
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"Hey, wait for me!"

Zarko staggered out of the Forgotten City's lost tombs, his pockets bulging with pilfered relics. Nobody on this expedition had said anything about mummies!

His stubby little legs could not carry him fast enough and whether by ignorance or design the massive stone golem's palm rescinded before he could get near enough to climb on. He waved his arms frantically but his quarry showed no sign of turning back or even slowing down.

"Typical."

Thinking quickly for once the gnomish trickster fumbled through his satchel, tossing out half a dozen live rabbits onto the sand dunes before producing the item he was looking for. In a matter of seconds the golem's massive strides would take it far out of reach. He uncoiled the rope in his hands and tied one end into a lasso.

"This is why Zarko makes the big coin," he grunted as he wound the rope around his head and heaved.

Of course it only traveled a few meters under the weak little wizard's own momentum, but that was when the magic took over. It was a simple enough enchantment. Dwarven mountaineers in particular appreciated the functionality of a rope that honed in on the nearest ledge and were willing to show their appreciation with pouches of gold. Of course there were no mountains around here...save for one.

Just before Medja and the others strode far beyond the Forbidden City, his magic rope caught on the edge of a jewel encrusted calf. Zarko grinned in triumph before recalling an Elbion lecture on equal and opposite reactions in the same moment his body was torn off the ground by the other end of a rope now fastened around his waist.
 

Neha

The Black Death
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Her Egg. They thought to keep her from that?

She cared not for Zachariah nor the Golden-Scaled dragon who seemed, at least for the moment, to be on her side of this battle. What mattered was her child. Petty illusions were nothing when Neha could sense life itself and the life of her own offspring sung the sweetest of songs.

Once more arrows were fired. Now that she had a wound they were more precise in their targeting but even still most hit against the rough armour of her scales and not the tiny speck of flesh that was open. That was at least until she felt the magic mingled with her blood. Her volcanic eyes searched for the one casting blood magic and it halted her flight path.

For a moment the dragon locked eyes with the insignificant worm and then she seemed to smile.

There was no scream of anger or pain as the wound that had been inflicted grew and spread then severed her entire leg from the rest of her body. The scaled mass fell to the ground and crushed more of the fleeing rodents. Then a great booming laugh filled the sky like the clap of thunder. Neha had once been the dragon of life but with her tainted magic what life she created was twisted.

Rivers of blood ran down the streets and washed over fallen bodies which began to twitch and writhe. Members of families who had been cradled by their loved ones now rose to destroy those who had held them so tenderly and turn upon those still left alive. For whoever touched her blood became victim to all the agony of the plague which would have stretched over a month into a single minute. When they awoke they were Turned.

As for Neha herself in the space where her leg had once been grew a dark twisted mimic of her leg.

She dove for the egg and snatched it up in a twisted claw then took to the skies once more.
 

Zachariah

The Right Hand of Death
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If words or other attacks seemed to bother him, Zachariah showed no signs of it. He was laughing. It was the laugh of a mad man with his senses gone; all he could feel was Neha's fury and he knew what it meant for the city around him. Death. Destruction. A beautiful symphony he had been allowed a small part in writing. He would continue to write it with his blood.

As the Arisen began to literally tear into their nearest and dearest with their teeth and nails, Zach stood and drew his weapon. Beneath the armour his skin was blistered from the flame but he would fight until his dying breath. He considered going after those foolish enough to touch Neha's egg but then decided against it; Neha would come for them like their reckoning. Instead his eyes went to the odd Templar and Elf duo who tried still to attack his mistress.

With his sword raised he plunged forwards to Lazule.
 

Medja

Vizier of Stars
The Empire
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Try as she might, Medja couldn't suppress the ever looming thoughts of death that weighed upon her mind. She could've stayed in Amol-Kalit, returned to Ragash and prepared her people for the tribulation that was to come. Instead she was practically jumping into lion's den...

Was dying even something she was prepared for? She had lived a long life, true, an unnaturally long one at that, but...it was a good life. She was comfortable and happy. Could she throw it all away when the time came? Perhaps...perhaps Drakormir could offer greater safety for her and her city...

"You took in its blood?"
The question shook Medja from her contemplation. That foul thing was perverting her thoughts, even now.

"I did not 'take it in' so much as it was thrust into my heart by the man I apparently call 'my Emperor.'" Medja sneered at the thought. She was no longer sure of where she stood with the Empire at large, but that was something that would need to be dealt with later. For now, she tried to focus on the task at hand, despite the song in her skull.

"If there is a bond between the dragon and me now then there is all the more reason to kill it. I will sever the bond, whatever it takes."
 

Lazule

The First Slayer
Monster Hunters
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197
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Someone was assailing the Black Dragon with magic. Devastating magic. And with the grievous wound inflicted on the Beast that someone who went unseen by Lazule had done righteous work. Anything and everything was to be leveraged against so wicked a monster, lest evil be given purchase with which to prosper.

Lazule watched as the leg of the Beast dropped from the sky and fell into the destroyed city and disappeared from sight. Watched as the blood poured from the Beast's wound and It laughed.

"From the vile, comes only the vile," Lazule recited, his eyes behind the visor of his helm witnessing that foul downpour. He did not yet see the effects of the blood upon the bodies littering the broken streets of Bhathairk.

Movement. To his side. He turned his head to look and saw him, Erën, restored from his sudden disappearance even if severely ravaged by flame. Hidden behind his helm, a warm smile. A nod of enduring camaraderie offered. From pursuing the necromancer Zeng to fighting the Amalgamation to the tragedy at Father's Tower to carrying his wounded body to the Gilded Vale to preventing Anur'Ephal from raising the Ancient Dweller, Lazule and Erën were forged together through many a shared trial. And even if this should prove to be their last, nothing could take away the righteous service and selfless sacrifice they had given to Arethil.

Lazule turned his helm forward again.

And it was not the Golden Dragon nor the Black Dragon that was coming for them. Emerging from the sheer wreckage of the Gates, it was...a human. Or an orc or an elf or other being of human-like form--proper discernment could not be made, clad as the man was in his armor. Armor that had been damaged as Lazule's had been damaged, like Erën, ravaged by flame. Inherent trust was immediately given to the man approaching them. Of course. Such was his nature, to trust humans, to trust all the allies of humanity. This until a reason given to do otherwise; proof of the sanctity of personhood lost.

So Lazule was beset by utter puzzlement when Zachariah came at him and plunged his sword forward in a thrust. Lazule caught the strike with the immensity of his Shield of Light solely by virtue of already having his Shield facing the correct direction--only minor adjustment required. The strength of the strike was taxing on his Shield and his Luminomancy sustaining it. Internally, Lazule's Life Fire burned hotter, further imperiling the Unknown Warrior's body.

"I do not understand," Lazule said to Zachariah. Voicing his direct thoughts. "Our Foes are in the sky: the Beasts yet to be slain."

Insight. Was his man driven mad by fear? Attacking anything and everything? Was he delusional? Did he think Lazule and Erën in league with the Dragons? He was a survivor from the city, was he not?

Lazule stayed defensive. Behind his Shield, Lance spared from any form of counterattack. Behind his helm his eyes were wide and intense, severely troubled by choice and lack of time. In deference to humanity, Lazule invoked Caliane's Way instead of Father's with regard to the man, for Father's Way would have him slay the man in self-defense now.

Discernment. Proper discernment was necessary.

"Please do not make me kill you."

Eren'thiel Xyrdithas Zachariah Neha Sepheron
 

Milo Vox

Brother-in-rags
Member
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2
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- Port District



“Omar al-Rashid?”


The man looked up, peering at Milo through his own veil of stringy black stresses hanging before his face. He was working quickly, trying to tie down his cargo and minimize loss as he dared to make a hasty escape. Somewhere inside him, he felt he should recognize this man in some capacity.

Omar was not the only one; the entire harbor, as well as the streets leading up to it, had been whipped into a veritable panic – the sporadic eclipse of the massive dragon silhouette passing to and fro over the city had provoked the neurosis in everyone.

Milo remained resolute in his purpose, however – It was in these trying times that the people who typically slipped through the cracks really disappeared into Hell. His gaze passed from Omar only for a second to track the dragon, but as soon as they had left, they were back again – his unsettling gaze leveled at the trader and shipper, his face neutral, but serious. Milo knew he had his man. Omar knew it, too.

“I have some questions about a delivery made from Ragash to Vel Anir…”

Within the space of the ellipses, Milo inspected a parchment with a symbol upon it, raising it to compare with the one upon Omar’s vessel. They matched. “About two months ago.” He put the paper away.

“Oh no…!,” Omar began, shaking his head vehemently. “No, no!” Apparently, Omar had made the paladin, recognizing him as a member of the Brotherhood-in-rags. “I do not have the time!” He was moving more frantically now, trying to continue the process of making his materials sea-ready, but he was clearly too flustered to focus. He knew what delivery Milo was talking about. It did not help ease the stress of the current situation.

The trader tore on his hair and stamped upon the deck, finally pointing out in the general direction of the encroaching beast. “CAN YOU NOT SEE? LOOK! LOOOOK!” He shook his pointing finger at it, for emphasis.

Milo indulged the man and took another look. The dragon, indeed, was still menacing.

It was not that Ser Vox was unafraid. It is just that “Cowardice” does not a hero make.

Milo’s eyes locked with Omar’s, his face wrenched into a scowl now. He stated firmly, his voice cutting through Omar’s shouted urgency. “Your delivery was short two peo-“ He remembered the nature of his work. Almost begrudgingly, he spat, “—units from the manifest.”

His brow fell, dicing the bullshit in half like it were a guillotine. “Her parents are beside themselves without their precious cargo.” There was bitter sarcasm in his tone. “Where –”

Peripheral vision had barely detected the falling black mass before the shriek ripped through the port sector. Milo whipped his head in the direction, the orc dockhand struggling to free itself to no avail, devoured and drowned in mass of eyeball-flavored Jello.

Omar swore in another tongue, his fear of history finally trumping his fear of Milo, his manners. He began pulling up his anchor, ready to abandon what remained on the pier. He shouted over his shoulder, not willing to give the paladin anymore time and attention that was required. “What happened in Ragash happened, Brother -- It is done. Don’t let –”

Milo silenced him.

Where are your peppers?! Your curries, your salts?!”

“What –”

“It’s a clutch of eyeballs, you moron!”

“Tha – That!” Omar pointed, chasing his finger to the back of his vessel as it began to pull away from the pier. Milo followed the line of sight, grabbing a barrel and spinning it around to reveal its marking: “Creeper curry.”

Amidst chaos and screaming, Milo heard the faintest phonemes of someone channeling “Eretejvan Tide.”

Closing his hands tightly around the rim, he pulled the barrel partially down the pier, pivoted his body, and with all his might, chucked the creeper chili curry at the eyeball slime. The barrel tumbled in graceless arc through the air, clipping its bottom on a crate that yanked it from the sky, and spit its midsection in half upon the edge on the other side. The powder broke loose, spilling out at the eyeball slime in a cloud of pink-orange dust.

He wasted no time, rushing back and turning the next barrel: “Allirian Sea Salt.”

With an “UNGrh!,” he repeated the taxing process, dusting his hands off and turning back to get another…

…just in time to feel the turbulence of the dragon’s approach. To stumble as the waves rocked the pier. To look up in horror to find Omar’s vessel had been launched, sent careening at the harbor wall.

Ser Vox would witness Omar’s desperate scream as his ship turned upside, letting him fall from its decks just so against the wake barrier.

As the pier gave out from underneath him, Milo would see Omar ground into smeared paste as his ship fell down upon him, dragging him against the wall.

Focraig'Diin Kara Orin Duago Trothar
 
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Kara Orin

Staff
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Kara’s eyes turned to Medja when the Vizier spoke. Then, her eyes wondered to the landscape around them as it shifted from desert to savanna. Her grip on the golem tightened.

Time continued to move forward as the golem flew through the air.

It was running out.



If Alexios Marxan was genuine in his devotion to Drakormir now, the dragon would be pleased. And Alexios would know this.

If he dedicated his heart, there would only be a gift of knowledge:

Say the words, “And the Lord said, ‘May My fire consume those that threaten My Children.’”

And Alexios could summon a torrential blue flame to consume his foes.

Whether that foe be @Focraig’Diin or the black ooze that was attacked.



“I’ve remember hearing the same thing,” Sitim replied to Zier Xya Zythos when he mentioned that dragons were susceptible to their own fire breath.

“And I don’t know what the dragon wants…” Sitim added.

It did not take long for the two to rush to the Vault. An elder archivist was still there and looked at the two with a raised eyebrow.

“You’ve probably heard, but there’s a giant dragon just outside,” Sitim informed the Archivist.

“We need something to stop it,” Sitim continued as he remembered Zier’s suggestion, “Something that could bounce its flames back… or to that effect.”

The Archivist scratched his chin with a hrm. A bit of doubt sat in his eyes, but that disappeared after a few seconds.

“The Shield of Elyleed might do that,” the Archivist told the two, “If you can find some way to carry it. Follow me.”

The Archivist would let Zier and Sitim to follow him into the Vault. The doors into it were bulky and protected by wards that the Archivist had to temporarily deactivate to enter. Once they entered, Zier would be able to see a cornucopia of magical items. Jewelry, weapons, staves, shields, and more. Each would be labeled only by name and a catalog number.

“The shield was supposedly used by dragonslayers years ago. It would absorb dragon fire only to spit it back out,” the Archivist told Zier and Sitim.

Unless Zier spotted something else, the Archivist would lead the two to the Shield of Elyleed within the Vault. It stood tall and wide – Zier would be able to just only see above the top of the shield if it was placed next to him. It was definitely made for someone with a much bulkier frame than Zier. The massive shield featured a dragon head shaped into the front. The eyes and open mouth faintly glowed.



Once Gerra activated the Ring of Ren, he had Drakormir’s full attention. The dragon turned His head toward Gerra and took a single step toward the Emperor. The ground shook. His foot crushed a building with no effort at all. It remained indifferent to the suffering of those below such as Milo Vox.

Drakormir’s lip-less maw slowly began to open before Gerra. The distance would still be great between the two, but the humidity in the air rose as it was exposed to the titanic beasts massive mouth.

The ring succeeded. Drakormir’s true name, if it could be called that, flew into Gerra’s mind. The words were something he could speak to use the ring’s second effect.

The electrum ring hummed. It likely would not allow Gerra to know Drakormir’s true name for long.

Gerra witnessed enough to possibly guess that Drakormir’s mind would be more powerful than the typical being of Arethil. To outright kill a being of such colossal stature would naturally take a lot to do so via magic.

The price to activate either effect would be great. Gerra would have to think about what he would give to stay alive. And the consequences would be extreme and irreversible.

Are you sure you want to do this?
 

Milo Vox

Brother-in-rags
Member
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2
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Milo grunted as the wave threw him up against the harbor bank, his hands and arms instinctively clinging to its edge even as the impact rocked the air from his lungs. He closed his eyes against the onslaught of water, wincing in response to a barrage of stimuli, too overwhelmed to suss out all the specific details. When the waves receded, he opened his lids and hoisted himself up, barely detecting his own groaning as he raked some errant pieces of pier against the wall from where it had impaled his side.

No, it was not until he finally reached his feet and stood at his full height that he buckled in half, brought low and to a knee as he became truly aware of the shattered piece of wood that had driven itself through his armor, through him, narrowly missing his kidney. In a muffled roar, he pushed to his feet, the pain, if nothing else, reminding himself that he was still alive…and that he intended to keep it that way.

Teeth clenched, hands clenched. He turned to seek out the Black Ooze, now lightly-dusted in the SPICY af pink-orange chili curry powder; sea salt scattered about its eye-feet (or whatever it had). He had hoped they would have dried out the ooze, or blinded it, or at least left it terrorized under the insufferable burning. Suppose time would still tell.

Regardless, now closer to the scene, the paladin was able to take better note of Focraig'Diin and Alexios Marxan

Raising his fists, he awaited the Ice Mage’s move before pressing the assault on the Black Ooze.

Kara Orin Duago Trothar
 
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Zarko

Magnificent!
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10
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"A mere setback for Zarko the Mag-"

Zarko plowed into another sand dune, exploding outward in a gust of sediment as the colossal stone golem continued its miles long stride. He coughed up lungfuls of desert and pondered his current predicament. For now the dunes were breaking his fall but this method of transportation would have to be rectified before they reached more temperate climes.

"Merlyn's Beard, this won't do at all!" he slammed back down then up again with the golem's gait, "Don't they know I'm a celebrity?!"

Flailing his arms in desperation the gnome finally grasped rope and began to slowly haul himself along. He fed the coil around his shoulder careful to brace for each impact so that he would not lose his grip and reset any forward progress. After what felt like an eternity the stone foot came crashing down and Zarko sailed forward just above the encroaching savanna.

It took the stubby little wizard a long time to climb the rest of the way, but finally his body thumped against stone a few feet below where his lasso had tied itself off. Now dangling just under the golem's knee the gnome took in several greedy lungfuls of air, sweat dripping down his face.

"Prepare yourself Elbion! Prepare for Zarko the Mag-oof!" he ricocheted off stone after another loping step. Still not ideal but at least he was no longer in danger of death by repeated blunt force trauma, "Suck it dragon gods!"

He began to fantasize about the look of stunned surprise on the face of Zier Xya Zythos when he arrived fashionably late of course with his own personal giant golem.
 
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Gerra

The Emperor
The Empire
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The essence of the titan rang within his mind like the tolling of a great bell. That word. That name. It seared his mind. Just trying to concentrate on it felt as though a hundred spikes were driving into his brain, an agonizing headache that threatened to split his head in twain.

He shook where he stood, shards of a collapsing building beneath Drakormir’s claw spraying out in plumes of stone particles and splinters. The wave of dust rolled over him like a pyroclastic flow, obscuring his form but for the glow of the yellow sapphire on his hand. The electrum band hummed, growing in pitch and volume the longer he sought to hold the name in his thoughts.

Gerra trembled, teeth gritting as he sought to remain standing. His black, desert robes flapped about him in the wind. His chain mail rattled. He did not have long.

The choice presented itself before him, as if the ring itself spoke into his mind.

By the ancient power of the Pharoah Amon-Thun, he could end this dragon with a single word.

But the price…

The price would be terrible.

Had he not already paid enough? He could still feel the featherweight of Maho’s body in his arms. Still hear that last rattle of breath, the thud of his body hitting the sand.

How much more did the gods seek from him?

He could stop now. He could pour his own life into the ring and merely nudge the dragon’s mind and send him off half-way across the world in search of a magical font of power. Perhaps to the tundra where the Eternum dwelled. But even if this succeeded. Even if the Eternum were destroyed in the process. Drakormir would return. And his sacrifice would only have bought them time.

Or…

Eyes that smoldered with the red-orange glow of the rising sun turned to look upon the city of Elbion. Beholden to the avarice of a merchant’s council and the maesters of the college. The same maesters who had turned Sparhawk against him. Who had twisted his mind with their lies.

Or I could...

The Empire of Amol-Kalit contained dozens of cities, hundreds of thousands of people. Could he consign them to tyranny and death beneath the behemoth’s awe because he was unwilling? Unwilling to sacrifice for the greater good?

After all...

Elbion was but one city. A small price. A small price to pay, when compared to the vast skein of destruction Drakormir might wreak upon the world. Gerra took in a shuddering breath, nearly choking on the dust.

He would not relish this, despite what the Maesters had done. The people of Elbion were not to blame for this, for any of this. They were ordinary people, with ordinary lives. They deserved better. But the choices of a ruler were cruel, unfair, and wretched. Some things must be sacrificed for the greater good.

No doubt some would call him a monster for this. No doubt many would curse his name. That was his burden to bear, his guilt to carry.

Heavy lies the crown.

The yellow sapphire flashed again as he made his choice. The ambient energy that it passively sucked in now became a mad and active grasping, like an enormous loadstone. But instead of drawing metal to it, it drew the life force of all those around Gerra. A passing dog, scampering from the rubble of the building, faltered and fell. Withering into a bag of bones on the road.

The budding flower in the dirt he had remarked on before blackened and died.

The effects spread, growing and growing as the yellow sapphire fed, sapping the lives of trees, pets, men, women, and yes, even the children. Indiscriminate. Mindless. Like the ravenous hunger of a wolf.

And with the deaths mounting into the dozens, then the hundreds, and rising, feeding the ring, he felt the name on his lips.

He prepared to speak the word.

He prepared to slay the dragon.

Kara Orin