Open Chronicles The Sun Bears Down On Alliria

A roleplay open for anyone to join

Elle Selena

Witch of the Wood
Character Biography
A black horse bearing a rider clad in a loose, flowing black robe with a pointed witch's hat approached the small, unassuming village of Loring in the Allirian Reach. The heat was unbearable, especially for those used to more temperate climes, as crops were beginning to wilt and wither, and the townsfolk hid in their homes to escape the scorching heat. It felt like a desert, and the heat threatened to slowly sap the life away from all in the area unfortunate enough to be trapped beneath the blistering sun. Elle wiped sweat off her brow for what must have been the 20th time in the last hour, but she spurred her diligent mount onward, for she knew that the source of the crisis must be in the village, lurking somewhere like a shadow in the mist.

She hated to admit it, for she knew what it meant that such heat had arrived--her death was nearing, at least in a theoretical sense. She remembered the prophecy, the words of her mother that spoke of impending disaster for the whole world when the spirit of the Moon finally decided to swallow her up on her 40th birthday, causing the final disaster, only... Elle was still only 22 years-old, childless and unable to continue the cycle of sacrifice, and at the moment, confused and terrified at the drought not only for the imminent risk to her life, but for the dire implications it held otherwise.

Elle remembered the first line of the prophecy, which was unmistakable in the ambient temperature of the air:

"First heat, fire, and drought there will be, when lunar spirit beseeches thee..."

The recitation came to Elle in her mother's voice, an almost occult incantation that Elle tried to get out of her head, and thankfully could thanks to the mental fog that was beginning to cloud her judgment due to the heat. Her horse trundled slowly into the streets of the little hamlet, where no inhabitants were to be found, but Elle could still feel the pull of whatever entity was behind this anomalous event, drawing her to the town's center with an almost gravitational pull. What she would find there between the homes of straw and timber, she knew not, nor did she know what other unfortunate souls she would find caught up in the disaster, but for now, she pressed onward, her outline contrasting starkly against the bright green of the fields and the white and brown of the homes around her, as if the sun itself were nearing closer and closer to the earth, threatening to set the entire world ablaze...

Yet she knew she must at least try to stop it; she hated her lot in life, and yet she could not bear the guilt of watching the world be swallowed up by the spirit which had claimed her. And so, she would find whatever magic was radiating from the center of the town, and bring an end to it, whatever the cost to her own health and safety. After all, she was going to die anyway... right?
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Magic was a hell of a thing. And those attuned to it often felt when it was near. Even if near truly wasn’t close at all. It’s more of a beckon, really. A spoken opportunity, if you will. While Raphael remained aggressively novice at his crafts, he still had that same pull that mages far greater than he had. So whatever it was that was that had made a home in this cozy nowhere, it was strong enough for someone of his low caliber to make him wander here.

His sense of direction was, frankly, abysmal. He himself had no idea how he’d found the place other than that ominous pull. And it seemed he was not alone in its discovery.

The dark rider at first seemed to be someone to watch out for. Maybe she was. But it seemed she wasn’t aggressive. Raphael approached her from her blind spot slowly, trying to not get too close before he spoke.

“Hey uh, you here for the same reason I am?”

Elle Selena
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Elle was startled by the sudden voice of another, and, before turning, suspected it may have been one of the townsfolk who had spotted her, perhaps to warn her of the heat, maybe even to offer her shelter inside. Yet his question--his voice decidedly male--had caught her off-guard, and she paid little heed to the deeper implications it might have, as even some of the greater mages of Elbion seemed to know little of her plight, and she suspected a random stranger wouldn't either.

And so, she led with her usual biting sarcasm instead.

"Why yes, I suppose I am," Elle said, turning finally to reveal her face to the man behind her, who had perhaps caught up by now. "I simply adore sudden spikes in temperature, especially when there's a particular risk of dying of exposure. After all, these black robes are remarkably protective against the sun's rays, and certainly not a cotton coffin within which I might asphyxiate..."

She turned her head back forward, feeling the pull of the magic again along with another temporary splitting pain in her head. She had to be getting close now... but what would she find?

"You may want to turn back," she said, her voice more solemn now. "Something dangerous and magical is here in this hamlet, and I think it has something to do with me..."

Raphael Thrice
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It was a true wonder to Raphael how every time so far he’d had the chance to meet a woman, they had both managed to be mercilessly sarcastic and ten times as powerful as he. His background in Allirian nobility had driven a narrow view of women in his life and so this was still an unexpected result for him. One he found to be rather enjoyable.

He stood a moment as she said what she had, contemplating it in its entirety. There was a sad arrogance to it. She spoke as if the entire universe was based around her existence, but she seemed to lament it at the same time. He guessed it would be quite the burden to be that important.

“Shit, I was just asking.“ He said, confused. “Seems you have a grasp on whatever the hell is going on here, though.”

His eyes wandered away from her and back to the center of the magical pull. It was intense this close. Heavy. Raphael whistled in impression.

“You’re definitely right about this being no joke. You think it’s an entity?”

Elle Selena
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"Forgive me," she said, quickly, growing more exasperated by the moment and the sudden pain. "The heat is making my temper even hotter, it seems."

She stayed atop her mount, but kept walking at a pace that the stranger could keep up, and continue chatting, if indeed that was what he desired to do--Elle's thoughts were elsewhere, perhaps understandably.

"Truthfully I don't know what lies ahead, only that... it is the beginning of my destiny. How to..." she said, wiping her forehead again both for the sweat and to clear her head. "how to explain... Well, perhaps there is no need to, at least not now: suffice it to say there is a great and terrible magic at work here, and I have no doubt it is the coming of a prophecy my mother used to tell me as a child. I must therefore be responsible in trying to undo the calamity then, am I not?"

She would have cracked a smile, were it not for the sweltering heat which only seemed to get worse as they neared the center of the town, and doubtless the epicenter of the magic at work. The town square was in sight now, less than a minute away down the road, where a faint glow could be seen emanating from the very ground itself...

Raphael Thrice
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Raphael wiped sweat from his brow as they approached. If they agreed on anything it was that it was unholy hot near this thing.

He’d hazard a guess that she knew more about her own destiny than he did but as a magic user, especially one that delved into the earths elements, he kinda thought pretty low about prophets. Supposedly wise and touched by the divine with absolutely no way to show or prove it since they consistently perish before they come true. Prophecies were just kinda…

”Yeah, or it’s bullshit.“ He said abrasively. “Temperature anomaly, definitely magic, sure. Perhaps you were given a terrible message that means nothing, though. I think we carve our own paths. You are not bound by anything you don’t want to be bound by.”

As he said this thoughtlessly, he spotted something on the ground in front of them.

A rune. It was loose in the dirt. Poorly drawn. And he couldn’t translate the thing if he wanted to. He pointed at it.

”Unless that there carving says otherwise.”

Elle Selena
"Yeah, or it's bullshit."

At this she did crack a smile, however faint. Would that it were, and that it hadn't claimed my mother, like it will soon claim me...

"My path or not, whatever has conjured this unbearable heat must be soon before us," she said. Together, they wandered into the town square, where the source of the magic was at last visible: a single rune, seemingly seared into the dirt and glowing hot. She looked directly into the symbol, where her mind began to swim with visions, images of terrible things which flashed through her mind so quickly she could make no sense of them, try as she might. She put her hand to her forehead, letting out a soft cry of pain.

"The rune... stranger... be careful!.."

As she said this, a ray of light connected Elle to the rune, writhing as if it were a being unto itself, the source of it seemingly Elle's body itself. She had no control of it, only feeling a sudden drain on herself, which lasted for only a few moments until the stream ended, which seemed to be sucked into the rune on the ground as if devoured by some beast.

Then, it began. Sparks flew out of the rune, which each ignited into tiny fires, each barely taller than one's foot, which perhaps didn't seem so threatening, except...

Her eyes widened. It burns without fuel... what evil have I awoken here?

Raphael Thrice
Gods, she spoke like a book of poetry. A brooding, sentient page of morose phrases. He tried to not acknowledge that fact too hard as she was allowing him to tag along in this nightmarish adventure.

Luckily, or unluckily, he wouldn’t have long to think about it. A stream of light flashed between the written incantation and the witch, making the mage step back in astonishment. She probably wasn’t bullshitting him. These things didn’t just happen.

Her call for him to flee went unheeded if for no other reason than the shock he felt in that moment. A true, dark magic was taking place before him. He’d never have seen anything beyond his own training. As the flames danced around the rune he feared his legs wouldn’t follow through on their purpose. For a long moment he just watched in horror.

Whatever snapped Raphael out of his stupor he would be forever grateful for. A quick slap to his own face made him recognize the severity of the situation. They may be in serious trouble if those flames weren‘t dealt with.

“N-no. I can help!”

His voice betrayed his confidence but still he moved to step in front of the witch and extend both arms outward to their respective sides. A blue crackle of lightning spread across his fingertips on both hands, foretelling his own magic. Not a second later, his arms were swallowed by the lightning as if the energy acted as gauntlets for him. At the edge of each gauntlet protruded a bolt shaped surge of lightning, which he pointed towards the ground.

The earth. If I can loosen and move the earth, I can suffocate it.

Raphael nodded to himself. It was just fire. Even if ignited by some arcane abomination it must disperse the same way, right?

Please, please be right.

A shower of bolts flew from the electromancers hands aimed straight for the dirt in order to loosen its structure. He wouldn’t need much, just enough to stop the flame from spreading. Once it was sufficient in his eyes, he crossed his arms across his chest and inhaled deeply.

All or nothing.

He lifted his foot high into the air and stomped it hard back to the ground in an attempt to commune with the earth below him. Dirt flew upward and a few loose rocks scattered away from the stomp.

But, alas, nothing happened.

“No, no not right now, not fucking here!”

He tried again and again but to no avail. He could not trigger his terramancy. It refused to respond to his commands. Raphael looked panicked as the fire spread towards his feet.

His plan had failed.

Elle Selena
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The world began to grow dark around her, dim shadows growing in place of the unnatural sunlight. Elle felt weak, as if she had just run from the tip of the continent to the other, exhausted in a way she hadn't been in longer than she could remember. Amid the darkness, the flames flickered, bright and undeterred. She saw the stranger--apparently a mage--doing his best to combat the growing fire, which at first, were only little flames, but were slowly growing in size, some of them even merging to create bigger flames. And yet more sparks, and more flames were spewing from the rune, with seemingly no ending.

She watched the mage with some interest, despite the haze and her inability to act.

Why do you fight...? she found herself thinking, her eyes fluttering, hardly able to focus, her consciousness beginning to wane. Can't you see it's pointless? The flame... it will swallow us whole...

As if reacting to her thoughts, the flames began to grow, but now, they also began to congregate, almost as if moving as one. slowly, their shape began to form, roiling like boiling water in a cauldron, until finally, a shape could be seen, only as large as a dog now, but nonetheless clear: a hand of flame, grasping at the ground as if regaining its feeling, as yet more sparks fulminated from the rune...

She caught herself as she almost fell out of the saddle, yet was unable to break out of the trance, the growing flames flickering in her eyes, and she felt rather unmistakably like a moth at the moment...

Raphael Thrice
His magic was failing him and the witch was being entranced by something that this rotten magic was causing. He was no curse-breaker, but he could try a good old fashion rousing. If the earth would not listen, then he'd be forced to go back to roots older than any planetary magic. A wake up call.

Raphael ran towards her. Her horse did not react well to his quick approach, but he needed her help.

"HEY!" He yelled out to her in her stupor.

"If we don't do something quick, we're gonna be eaten by these flames. You said you came here to set this right, right? Then, overcome this!"

Elle Selena
As if woken from a daydream, the sound of the mage's voice caused Elle to snap-to, her eyes refocusing on the growing flame around her, as well as the foolhardy mage who, against all odds, was actually trying to stop them. She nodded to him, her eyes filled with a sudden determination; she'd laughed in the face of soldiers, murderers, petty kings and death itself, so why was this any different? Was her own death so terrifying?

"Right," she said, gaining control of the reins of her horse again. "If it's me it wants--We can at least get it out of the village, away from the townsfolk here!"

As if to punctuate her point, some of the flames tagged the wall of a home on the edge of the town square, which started to crackle and burn. Elle offered her hand to the mage.

"Ride with me--there must be someplace we can battle this thing, but it is not here. There's enough kindling for it to set all of Alliria ablaze. Let's go!"

She kicked the side of her horse, getting close enough that she could offer her hand to the mage, who, if he accepted, she would then spur the beast on and away from the town square, hopefully far enough and long enough that she could begin to think of a way to deal with the situation.

But how did one deal with a living flame? The answer yet eluded her, and they had precious little time to wonder.

Raphael Thrice
Man, fuck prophecies.

Again, she was speaking on throwing herself away to this malevolent presence. Whoever she was, she didn't deserve to have her life ripped away from her because some celestial being got bored and screwed up the lives of mortals. He felt guilt then. It was a reminder of how good he's had it and how little gratitude he'd shown towards that fact. He'd help her however he could.

Raphael himself hadn't seen any of the townsfolk in the hamlet. He'd thought it abandoned until she said something. He hoped to all hope she was right that it would follow her wherever they went, despite how unfair he found this whole thing. An aggravated click of his tongue was all he gave to dissuade his anger.

Wordlessly, he grabbed her hand and swung himself on the back of the horse. When she turned, he would open fire with his arcane crossbows again. He could agitate it, pull its attention towards them.

"Come on, you dumb prophetic flame! Follow your pissant rules and chase us!"

Wasn't sure how susceptible to ridicule the flame was, but it was worth a shot!

It answered him quickly.

The flame rose like a serpent and hissed like one too. It held sentience, that was for sure, as it seemed to be watching them as he shot at it. The flame lunged forward, only to be caught on the ground beneath the rune.

Then, that ground began to crack.

Raphael's eyes widened in fear. Whatever they were looking at was just part of the thing that was causing this.

Elle Selena
He may have been an idiot, she thought, but he was at least quick on his feet. Elle quickly spurred her mount on, building from a walk to a full gallop after a few moments. She could hear the mage casting spells at the growing fire behind them, which she turned back to look at after a moment to see how much the living flame had spread. Unfortunately, the problem seemed to be getting far worse by the minute, as apart from the now serpent-like shape of the flame, she caught the quivering, cracking ground out of the corner of her eye just before turning her head forward again.

Even if they ran, how far could they really get? Horses were quick, to be sure, but how fast was a living flame? And would their diversion even prevent the houses from catching fire? There wasn't any time to worry about it; this was their only chance, or so Elle thought, even as something strange started to creep into her chest: a slight pang of regret, and a small fear for her very life, such as it was...

They were nearing the edge of the town, where at last they could hopefully guide the flame away from the village without too much damage. But where to next? Ahead she could only see forest and field, all of which were also unfortunately quite flammable, and the damage to the countryside might be more irreparable than the hamlet, even.

It dawned on her, though: what was the mage behind her doing, exactly?

"You can't stop something like that with conventional magic," she said, shouting above the wind rushing past their faces and the sound of beating hooves on the dirt road beneath them. Realizing she wasn't being helpful, she added, "We need some other source of magic, something powerful..."

But how? she asked herself. She was running through ideas in her head, but nothing seemed to be what they needed right now.

"Dammit, I'll think of something," she said. "We need to keep it busy until then!"

She had no idea what was going on behind her, but she knew the mage would, and could only imagine what the flame was doing now, as they neared a fork in the road ahead. She could only hope that the mage understood what she was saying, and that their combined efforts would be enough...

Raphael Thrice
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Raphael shook his head. If he was good at anything, dammit, it was elemental magic! He’d studied this for gods sake! He just had to think for a fucking second. Having the witch in his ear was not helping, but he understood the frantic feeling. He was experiencing it, too.

“It may not be that complicated!” He called back. ”I mean, think about it! Fire when based in nature or natural magic still requires a source of oxygen, meaning it could suffocate if it was buried deep under the ground. So we are clearly dealing with a school outside of nature!“

The flame was creeping closer as did the cracks beneath the ground. It was fully aware of them and was hunting them now.

”Magic has laws, right?“ He called back to her while taking more shots at the ground. “Unless you somehow pissed off a God, there’s a law it obeys. And even if it’s based in prophecy, you’re not so arrogant to think that a God would be after you, right?“

He could barely hear himself over the sound of hooves and the hiss of the fire as it got closer. The thing finally got close enough to reach up and lash out at him. He narrowly dodged the first swing of it,

“Fuck!” He exclaimed. They were running out of time. He had to do this quicker, with or without her say.

”To wrap up my point, this fire isn’t natural, but I don’t think it itself is sentient. Unnatural magic still needs a source. A point of conjuration. So you ask what I’m doing?”

He took one more shot at the cracks it was forming, finally splitting open the ground into a crevice.

”I’m trying to see who’s fucking wielding it!”

Elle Selena
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"’re not so arrogant to think that a God would be after you, right?“

Oh that you only knew, foolish boy...

Still, there was a certain truth to his suppositions and hypotheses: the fire was unlikely to function like a normal flame, unbound by the necessary elements of fuel and air to create a natural fire. No, this was a being of flame, an entity fueled not by thatch and timber, but by magic, though from which well it drew its undeniable power, she knew not. Yet knowledge or no, she would have to stop the flame, though she was beset by two conflicting ideas. On the one hand, the lunar patron seemed to want Elle as safe as possible, protecting her whenever she was in real danger; on the other, this giant flaming monstrosity was pursuing her, and her specifically, an act which seemed to only indicate a singular ending: her death, which...

If this is the lunar patron's doing, then I am in great and terrible danger by my very being here. And when I die, the world... the world will see a storm the likes of which most alive have never seen, nor will see again in their lifetime. So many will die because of me, because of my very existence, and the unbearable curse that is my birthright. Yet what can I do to stop it? Who am I to stop fate itself?

She could almost feel the heat from the monstrosity swiping at them with fiery appendages. If the horse wouldn't carry them fast enough to escape, they would need to start defending themselves. Just then, up ahead a little bit further, there was what appeared to be some body of water, though she couldn't tell through the treeline separating the fields around them and the area up ahead.

"I think I see water!" she shouted, spurring the horse again. "Perhaps there we can make our stand! Keep it at bay for just a few moments longer!"

They could go over the details when they had a moment. For now, haste was everything, or it was nothing.

Raphael Thrice
It was strange how in moments of peril, those involved have similar thoughts. Raphael also considered her fate in this while he narrowly avoided being slapped around by dancing flame. She was so fucking young, man. His age or younger. What kind of eldritch cruelty need there be to place a curse like this on someone just barely into their adulthood?

To send something like this, even as a trial, was so heartbreakingly unnecessary. He couldn’t pretend to know what the plan was for her, as he’d just met the girl. He just knew that whatever was involved was rewriting natural and magical laws for the sake of devastation. Fucking hell, Raphael was not a fan of the gods. Get a fucking hobby, for fucks sake, that’s what humans did!

“Keep pace, I think it’s meeting it’s top speed!”

Things to worry about later. Right now they needed to get to the water. It may not be extinguished by natural water, but at least it wouldn’t be able to ignite it. He believed in the planets power. It wouldn’t let the cosmos dictate it’s fate so easily. After all, it was part of it, too!

The bolts he launched were doing virtually nothing. That was fine. The crevice he’d made was being dragged with the flame now. It was opening earth as if it were a knife to an envelope, proving whatever it was was mighty as ever.

When he tried to get a good look into the hole, he could only see darkness. There was a sound, though, and it was getting louder.

“What the hell?”

It was a chittering and a gnashing. Like teeth grinding in a circle. Not seeing the thing only made it worse as now his imagination was free to do as it pleased. Before he could make out what the sound was, the hiss returned.

Followed by an inhuman, bloodcurdling shriek.

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The shriek sounded like something out of a nightmare, the type of noise one heard from only the darkest places of the world where no mortal dare tread. Elle's hair stood on end upon hearing it, her muscles tensing as if she were bracing for an incoming attack, though one never came. Their mount was swift enough to bear them to the water's edge, where Elle finally turned to face the growing monstrosity.

"Here..." she said, ominously. Then, more clearly, "Here we will make our stand! The water will be our ally! Let the flame break against pool and wave!"

She hopped off the horse, watching as the spirit of flame slowed to a halt, staring at them for a moment. The sudden calm reminded her of the blistering heat, but the pause was enough to give her and her new ally time to think, perhaps even time to plan. Once he was off the horse as well, Elle urged the horse to run, which it gladly did; the beast was stolen from a nearby village, and Elle was sure it would be happy to return to its proper home. She shared a similar sentiment, thinking of her small cottage in the Falwood.

"I draw power from the moon," Elle said to the mage, her eyes focused on the shifting entity of flame before them. "In the middle of the day like this, I have little strength of my own. Normally, when I'm in danger, something... intervenes to protect me, but it would appear such strength eludes me this day. I will just have to make do with what little power I have. For now it seems the living flame fears us, or at least the water, though how long that will last I cannot be certain..."

She took off her pointed witch's hat, revealing the long, flowing black hair beneath. Her skin was surprisingly pale, almost albino, her crystal blue eyes gleaming from the reflection of the midday sun.

"I'm Elle," she said. "I thought you should at least know my name before we're both turned to ash."

Raphael Thrice
Despite all his education, whatever made that noise from beneath the earth was not something he was ready for. He could manage the elements but it shrieked like a banshee. If this was an undead flame, there was no basic magical explanation for whatever was transpiring. Only more questions arose as they approached the water.

It seemed to stave off the monstrosity a moment. At least long enough for her to introduce herself. She was pretty. The doomed by fate always seemed to be.

Raphael. Sorry about the moon. And the insecure gods.“

He said in union with her. Yeah, what the hell. Get to know your grave neighbor.

The serpent of fire danced around trying to find an opening to strike without touching the water at their heels. It eyed them as it swirled midair and threatened a pounce at any moment. Raphael was terrified of whatever lay beneath the earth in wait, but it was absolutely the key to victory here. They needed visual on it.

“Okay! This is going to suck!

Raphael yelled nervously as he sprinted toward the flame and it’s crevice.

He needed it to attack first.
For a moment, she thought that he had a nice name at least, in the sense that perhaps he must have belonged to some upper echelon of society. Most mages did, didn't they? Who else was paying for their schooling? They couldn't all be witches raised in a remote cottage by their doomed-to-die mothers.

But this was hardly the time to muse on something like that; before them lay a terrible threat, the flame which thrashed and writhed about, and which split the very earth beneath it as if the foundation of the earth itself were angry with the inhabitants above. It seemed to be growing larger by the minute, and with it grew Elle's fears, both of the imminent danger and of the greater anxiety about what damage it would cause to the surrounding countryside. A fire this large, in the wrong place, could burn down every crop field and forest from here to the city of Alliria itself, a fire the size of the Reach in its totality.

They couldn't let that happen. It had to stop here. Yet she was taken by surprise when Raphael suddenly surged forward, away from the safety of the water. Spontaneous magic wasn't her forte, but she could hardly stand by even as he abandoned reason to charge the creature. She calmed herself, placing her arms out symmetrically at her sides, closing her eyes and slightly tilting her head back as she uttered an incantation with a chant-like rhythm:

"Spirit of moon, heed my call
From sky above, let water fall"

Fortunately, even weakened, the lake heeded her call, and small clouds formed above them. Shortly, rain began to fall, and while it was hardly enough to stop the living flame, perhaps it was the start of something greater...

Raphael Thrice
He could hear Elle casting behind him. She was bound to be leagues ahead of him in terms of magic and likely didn‘t need to focus nearly as hard as he did.

That didn‘t make him useless. He refused to be useless.

As the rain fell slightly, he felt the effects of the heat lessening if only by a small amount. It was enough. It had to be enough. Raphael aimed his hands up, his arm bows reforming and cocking arrows into place with an electrical whirr then hiss.

The currently flailing tentacle of flame whipped at Raphael as he ran passed it, but with a narrow margin Raphael managed to leap over the eldritch thing trying to sever him at his waist. Good. That was one step.

His heels dug into dirt as he reached the crevice that the inferno serpent was pouring from. He still couldn’t see what was happening inside of it, but he could hear a low growl. This was what had screeched, and if he could see it then maybe they would see a weakness. He had to hope that Elle could cover him during this.

Rapahel aimed both wrists at the same spot and fired. Over and over. As quickly as he could, he strafed in a circle around the crevice and blasted chunks of earth upward with his lightning. The dirt and sand kicked up and created a pseudo twister in its wake. When his circle had finished he leapt back in the opposite direction of the exposed flame.

There was silence as the dust settled. It seemed even the whipping flame knew not how to react. It’s source must not have thought it would be exposed so soon, or even at all. For a moment, Raphael felt a pang of pride in himself. He’d done it, he‘d actually done it!

Yet, even then, there are goals we should never hope to achieve. As the dust settled, Raphael realized he had made a terrible error with this move. His eyes were frozen in fear alongside his body. He could not even scream, for what he saw made no sense to him. It defied logic. And he now understood what Elle meant.

He should have ran away.

The Maw

The open earth revealed a horror beyond human comprehension. Akin to the angels that hid behind heavens, unfit for the eyes of mortals. It looked like a mouth, some sort of portal to the stomach of the planet. It had dozens of horrid rows of teeth that all mashed and spun like the devils wheels. It’s tongue was many. For those awful whips of flame were its tongues. And there at least twenty more of the things.

“Wha-what in the gods nam-“

He would not be allowed to finish his thought. One of the newly displayed tongues flew forward and slammed straight into Raphael’s abdomen. He flew backwards towards the beach, his head bouncing off the sand. It throbbed, but he‘d been lucky to not be burned severely.

He looked upward, unable to speak, and tried to come to terms with the fact that he would die this day.

84/100 stamina before unconsciousness
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The rain above felt good on her skin, cooling and refreshing after the blistering heat this entity had caused. It made sense that the lake responded to her incantation; the moon controlled the waves after all, though the reason why was beyond Elle. Though it seemed they at last had created a small moment to rest, Raphael had sprung forward from their sanctuary to reengage the living flame without a second thought. If it was dangerous enough for others to be here with some sense in their heads, it must have been doubly so for someone as brash as he was, she thought.

He was unlikely to do much of anything, so Elle extended her arms with her palms open, stepping back into the lake a little bit more, until she was shin-deep in the water. She removed her overcoat now, revealing that beneath she wore a simple black tunic and white knee-length breeches. The rest of her body was similarly pale, her thin frame and overall lean body now exposed. Her skin clashed with the blue of the lake, and as she took one more step back, it seemed as if she was the reflection of the moon itself in the water.

Then, she began to glow, as a mysterious energy materialized from the water, giving Elle a faint purple aura around her silhouette. She was gathering strength, drawing from the natural well of magic that many places such as lakes possess for the more naturalistic spellcaster. Raphael had given her a window to boost herself, perhaps not quite as strong as when the lunar patron gave her strength directly, but enough that she could do more than the simple parlor trick of conjuring a rain cloud.

And it seemed such strength would be needed, as Raphael's impressive feat of conjuring a twister and striking the flame repeatedly only seemed to anger it, or at least only expose its true wrath. She too watched with a horror as the ground itself opened up to reveal an unspeakable terror, whose description defied any sane comprehension of things natural or normal. Elle's eyes widened at the sight, her mouth slightly agape even as more power flowed into her, and fear began to take hold in her heart again.

But there was nowhere to run now. The horse was gone, and she was almost knee-deep in water with an antediluvian evil poised before her very eyes, ready to strike. Finally, however, she had gathered enough of the natural magic into her being, her faint aura now strong, emanating from her body like a purple flame.

She uttered the incantation clearly and loudly, though still with a chant-like cadence:

"Shape of water, fierce and free
Spirit of Lake, I summon thee!"

The water around her dispersed in a small radius from her feet, her long hair billowing behind her as the magical energy left her body to re-enter the lake again. In a moment, the water of the lake began to congregate directly behind Elle, drastically lowering the water level of the lake. At first, it was only an amorphous, shifting sphere, but as more water joined the mass, it began to take shape: taller than the trees around them, a massive turtle made of water stood behind her now, and Elle's body returned to a resting state now that the ritual was complete.

Staring into the belly of the beast, she lifted a single hand to beckon the elemental, which took one step forward with such a gravity that it caused the very ground around them to quake; as this happened, she rushed over to Raphael, who had been pummeled by the living flame just moments before. She kneeled next to him, looking down at him.

"Are you alright?" she asked, frantically. "Can you stand?"

She offered him his hand, although it might have been safer for him to stay put given how he'd just been given the punting of a lifetime...

Raphael Thrice
While his breath was a hard thing to find in the moment, at least his vision did not fail him as Elle began to display her immaculate magic. What she could was lightyears beyond his capabilities, and it felt a sin for him to even be witness to something with such awesome power. She had so much she could teach him, he thought.

His mouth even went agape at the sight of the giant turtle she had conjured. A combination of summoning and aquamancy, turned into one incredible spell. It gave him enough vigor to stand back up. A smile formed through his grimace, and he took her hand to help himself rise back to his feet.

Raphael looked onward to the elemental beast heading towards the nightmare maw that lay in front of them. And as usual, he had a wild idea.

"I'm alright, yeah. It didn't hit as hard as it looked. Hey, could that thing jump inside of that mouth you think?"
  • Cthuloo
Reactions: Elle Selena
Elle gave Raphael a confident nod as he stood again. "Good," she said. "I have enough to deal with without having someone's death on my conscience. I'm afraid that I'll be having that anyway though, before too long, if beasts like these keep appearing on my account."

She turned and stepped back into the receding waters, looking up at the elemental she had drawn forth from the natural well of magic possessed by the lake itself. In a sense, she had taken the lake and simply suggested it adopt a different form, using the style of incantation her mother had told her long ago she could use, though Elle had never found such a place until now. She felt far from confident, but with the turtle on their side, their chances had to have improved at least somewhat.

Once in the water, Elle turned back towards the living flame, gazing into its many rings of teeth and its tentacles with a vacant expression. She lifted a hand, her fingers pointed in the general direction of the beast.

"Raphael... be careful..." she said, as the glowing purple aura surrounded her once again. Her pupils dilated, as her tunic and hair began to gently billow again. Then, she uttered another incantation, this time in a language unknown to any tongue, with a voice which might chill the blood of even the most stalwart warrior:


The elemental began to move forward, drenching the ground with its every step. Finally, the living flame had recovered, renewing its assault as fiery tentacles slammed against the watery shell of the turtle. Elle was hardly conscious at this point, a conduit for the energy of the lake itself, her will and its as one, as the turtle lumbered closer to the living flame with every step.

However, in doing so she had left herself vulnerable, as tentacles erupted from the ground around the beach, dangerously close to the witch, who had lost all awareness of her immediate surroundings...

Raphael Thrice
The words she spoke were unlike anything he had ever heard. The primordial weight they carried spoke of their history, likely long buried by those who knew their power. Yet there she was, speaking them as if they were her native tongue. The secrets she held must be innumerable

Whatever she was conjuring it clearly needed time to manifest. The creature that opposed them would not give her the time to do so. Raphael saw the three monstrosities burst from the earth with the aim to attack her directly. So, it was intelligent. That was not good!

Raphael yanked his arms backward, loading his magical crossbows with bolts once more and aimed them at the fire-laden worms.

One flew with precision and magic against magic collided, sending the flame off course and reeling from the blow.

Wow, so, that would have been good to know five minutes ago. He guessed that’s what he got for assuming.

The second flew in short curve as Raphael ran towards Elle in the water. The flame struck towards the witch but met a bolt of lightning instead, flying upward as if it was displaying pain.

Raphael went to load his weapons again but the third flame had already gotten to her. His eyes widened and he shouted,

“Elle! Above you!”

As Raphael battled the tentacles, the elemental continued to lumber towards the source of the living flame, as many tentacles repeatedly were repelled by its watery shell. It was getting close now, perhaps only moments away from reaching the horror in the ground, but now that Elle was concentrated on willing the turtle forward, she hadn't noticed that one of the tentacles had found an opening.

It lowered itself close to her body, settling behind her back as it gingerly avoided the water. Then, the fiery appendage inserted its tip like a needle into Elle's lower back, burning a precise hole through her clothes as it entered. Elle herself, however, did not burst into flames, nor did it seem that she was immediately affected by the puncturing. Instead, the tentacle began to softly glow white, slowly starting to bulge as Elle, unaware, continued her incantation.


Yet in her subconscious, though her consciousness had shifted to that of the elemental, Elle could feel herself beginning to weaken, even as the turtle neared the very maw of the living flame itself...

Raphael Thrice