The Syzygy The Syzygy: Rise of the Abyssal

For Syzygy event threads
Ed felt like one of the countless fish thrown up onto the docks of Teth at any time during the day, soaking wet and struggling to breathe. It took time for his head to register everything around him, but he was coherent enough to pick up the last of this kid's speech.

Finally, the guy spotted him, but Edward could only look at him in amazement.

"A-Are you dumb?"


This guy had to be crazy. They were going to fight this thing? It was the size of an island, unless these Anirians pulled a few tree-sized swords out of their asses then they weren't going to leave a mark.

"How do you plan on hurting this thing? Those swords of yours won't even hurt it. I know you Anirians like to think you are some untouchable killers, but that thing actually is one. Magic ain't working right and I just that thing sink my ship with one hit."

Ed quickly looked over to gauge whether he could make it to the ship that wasn't about to sail to its death, but it was too far away.

Shit, he was still screwed.

Ivan Skender
 
When Valimir was gifted a bond with her dragon, she knew she was not truly suited to be part of the Thanasian Army. A blind dragon, smaller than many, a runt. If she had not bonded with this dragon, if he had not saved her life, then she would not be flying north to meet a call she heard in passing.
Prior to her bonding with Cathán, she had dedicated her life to foraging in the Wylds for dragon scales. She was good at it, being able to go undetected and make it home after months away.

She knew Thanasian lands better than most too, and having to guide a dragon that relied on the bond to see was proving difficult. Faye had taught Cathán silent commands after learning to fly with him the first time, and it was this method that had them cutting through the clouds.

Carlyle had expected her home, but Faye had been exercising her dragon after he showed signs of distress from the eclipse. A rider had called out to her, telling her what was being reported, and diverted her flight path.

North was not the only strangeness happening below. She was wordless, unable to think of something to encapsulate the odd going ons below on the shores bordering this side of Malakath.

Evirea Nymbos Jensen
 
The Village of Virspoke
His gaze was drawn to the deep.

The madman spoke true. It called out to him in ways that made his spirit feel tainted. There was something vile about the sight before him and it wasn't just the decrepit prophet of the their enemy from the depths of the world itself. There was something reaching out to him that left his soul feeling oily. Touched by a spiritual tar so putrid he could smell it. And the longer he gazed into the abyss... Into the darkness that their ancient foe created, he knew that he had to face it. Come glory or come death, he had to face it. And not just for himself, but for all of the people gathered there. The village of Virspoke. The charge of the great city of Alliria. He didn't know why he could feel Isander's gaze on him, but he could.

He met his gaze.


"These people must be brought to safety," he said.

Alliria was a three days ride from where they were. Quintus hadn't brought enough men to protect them from whatever presence it was that called to him from beyond. And the bells. The ships called out for aid against the dark night that they faced. The Helm called to him and Quintus had been hesitant to answer this time around. The Star-Touched Armor for all of it's brilliance had been made sick by the Syzygy.

But I have to try... for the world itself may be swallowed up by this darkness.

The winged, crystalline helm slid overtop his eyes. His brown gaze that were flecked with gold were replaced with a field of stars from beneath the blackness of his helm. And then he swore he could see them clearly. Their's was a black splotch of space itself. So hungry that it looked to swallow even the dark between stars. It's tentacles writhed and the the Progeny of Astra did battle with them even on another plane. Tentacles ripped the Spirits from his mind and he could hear them crying through the cosmos. It would have brought him to his knees if he were lesser. It might have brought him to tears.


He raised Ghostwarden in the air for all it's brilliance. It shone as a second sun not yet cut by the encroachment of the moons. He stared the decaying madman in the eyes.

"I say nay... We walk not into the drink but to our salvation! To our absolution! As Lady Astra has commanded! As the many stars that shine in the ether have ordained! I forget not the gods. And our foe shall remember!"

Quintus turned to the head of his Men-At-Arms. He'd been commanded to round up whatever ships this fishing village could bring to bear and get the people of Virspoke to safety. And Quintus would need one himself. The brass bells of his brethren called to him. And he would not leave them to their fate...

 
The Village of Virspoke


Isander met the gold of that gaze, felt his skin crawl at its touch.

He writhed from it. A chill deeper than the rain pooling beneath his poncho accounted for. Wrongness. He could not shake free of it. The taste coiled at his tongue, the vile poison of doubt seeping into him. He had heard the Lord Councilor speak before, had experienced the awe surrounding so mythic a figure. No mere reverence held him.

He stiffened his spine. Clenched the slack from his jaw.

The penumbral dance above occluded reason from him. This he could not allow. The people must be brought to safety. First, foremost, the resonance of it became a mantra from which he nurtured strength. There remained no time for doubt, no measure of hesitation.

It stirred his feet to motion. Some kindling flame yet lingering within him.

"Rally!" he cried, a foundling strength in his throat. He threw wide his hand, encompassing all who stood before the barnacled figure's rapturous words. "Rally to the Lord Councilor! We will away from this place.

"I shall remain," he said, "to shepherd those who yet linger beyond the shoals. Follow the Lord's banner to safety with a Knight's pledge as surety of your retreat."

Resolve burned in his chest, mere cinders sheltered from the rain. The watch was to be held.
 
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Cortosi Coast

Aboard the frigate class, V.A.S. FEARLESS

A cutlass shimmered and flashed. Straight through the heart of a shambling man, crusted in barnacles and bottom feeders. “Pedazo de mierda,” captain Luck hissed. Yanked her blade free with a wet schlick and hard kick of her boot.

A screech from her side, and shell fish shaped thing with too many legs thrashed its rageful claws as it rushed her.

She grit her teeth. Tried to bring her blade to point, boots stepping back.


A great bearded ax crunched through the thing. Shell fissured.

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“Cant’ go losing you just yet, capn’”
the hooded sailor worked the axe loose with a grunt. The stocky creature fell to the deck in a heap.

Linidis grinned. “Take more than that ugly little fuck, Yelva,”

“Captain!”
came a cry from the mainmast. “It’s the Relentless, Ma’am! She’s, she’s goin straight for the beast!”

“What?!”


Yelva barked a laughed. Hacked down another scuttling thing with a horrid crunch. “Best pray to your Sun Father, pretty boy,”

Some of the men, with the strange stoways clean through the bone of their chest, begin to twitch. Begin to stand again, as the shelled barnacles pulse their tendrils through the holes they’d dug.


The Relentless

Signals from the Fearless communicate one thing. The flags signaling again and again. RETREAT.

But the prow of the proud ship breaks through the surf. As tentacles rise overhead, scuttlers and barnacles fall from the beast's looping arm, full in the fat globules of water that crash across the deck with enough force to stumble a man.

Something hits the side of the Relentless. You see tentacles anchor onto the railing.

“They’re chewing through the walls!” you hear the cries come from below deck.


For those Elves on the Distant shore.

Dead things wash upon the shore. Whales, sea serpents, sailors. Some sailors begin to twitch, and change. You see, unnatural growths, swelling on their backs, stomachs, and chests. Like strange shells. The rise. They march. Slow, and plodding, they search with hungry eyes.

From one of the homes you sea a young man, knees a tremble as he witnesses the horrors moving toward him, a spear held firm in his hand. He shouts and stabs through one of the half rotted men, clean through the leg. There is no pain there as their hands reach on. Their fingers like the craggy claws of a rugged shore.

Screams then. Of those who still remained, too stubborn to leave their ancestral home.


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Virspoke

The Drowned Man’s eyes gleamed all the brighter. All the fuller with frigid joy, with gentle nods as he watched the men of Alliria heed the call. Heed his words.

Call them by what tongue they may, it mattered not to him as he but watched, slathering as the soldiers made ready. Hedge wizards bent low, some made sick upon the floor, as other helped them up.

The night over Virspoke grew full in its darkness. And that light of the Ghostwarden was but a green memory. A cold phantasm of its own brilliance.

All the while the bells tolled on. Their clangs. Strike. Clangs. Called louder and louder. Their echoes turned to bright whispers across the water.

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The boats are made ready, men and women of the village board. At least, those brave enough to trust the sea. Some decline. Resist.

“You gone mad? That man, that… zealot! He said they came from the sea!”

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The guardsman frowns. “Ma’am, the Councliman Vexion will be with us, he is a peerless-”


“I don’t give a fish fuck who or what he is, I ain’t going on no ship!”

“Don’t you worry none, Sali, if we find Petri, I’ll be bringin him back,”


An old Allirian cutter that's seen better days is found and requisitioned. The Seahorse. Retrofitted for civilian use. Its deck is littered with fish spears, nets, and harpoons.

It is made ready as the bells toll on. Lost in silvery soup that clings to the surface of the Akiva.



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The Delta

A spear flashes from the greyness of the shores. Slices open Steppenwolf’s calf with a spray of blood. A feint shimmer where the attack had come from, but it is gone with the next roll and crush of waves.

The strange creature moves. Convulses. You see its belly kick and stretch. Purple and darken. Its fins move. Slow at first, then they whip. Thrash. Its limbs grow rigid before it raises itself up. From the mass of tentacles that look almost like hair upon a formless head, something is spat up in a wash of foamy film and rusty red.

Whatever came out of the creature, it matters little now. The thing, strange and beautiful as it was, is awake. Up, it sways in the air. Larger than any man thing by three or four times.

Its many arms, like the serpent heads of a hydra, thrash and whip, and at their center, a circular mouth with many teeth that opens wide and lets out a blood stained wail.


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Malakath

Wash and wane. Wash and wane. The waves do not relent. The lines of creatures carry on. Resolute. Minus the bits of chaos and stumbles that come with a dropped hunk of deep sea beast, and the scramble that comes with recovering it.

A pulse wakes through the air. Something felt betwixt the mind. Something felt between the multicolored strands of that brilliant bond that binds all riders to their dragon. A thing that turns that glow a deep and blotting purple.

Into the mountain. It seems to call. Into the ship. It pulls again.

Heed, or resist. It twists you. As if hands grabbed hold of gut and spine in one greedy grasp, and wrung it dry.
 
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"A-Are you dumb?"

A raised brow, over a perceptibly annoyed expression would be the first response Edward Lorain would get.

- "Again," - Ivan replied, after Edward finished what the initiate could only assume to be a hysteria-induced rant. - "are you really so eager to become crab food?" - Beyond him, down at the deck, a sailor gestured frantically - and uselessly - trying to get the attention of the initiate-turned-captain.

- "You ought to know," - He continued, also oblivious to the fact that, behind his back, the Fearless was frantically signalling them to retreat. - "as your sh--" -

He didn't finish the sentence.

All of a sudden, enormous tentacles burst out of the dark depths, soaring over the deck, and just narrowly missing either of the working masts.

Then all hell broke loose.

As the ship ground to a halt, as the falling waters swept men off their feet, and as a plethora of vicious spawn of the depths started to rampage through the deck of the Relentless, utter chaos ensued. Ivan though, could think on his feet.

- "CLOSE RANKS!" - He bellowed, as he instinctively stabbed a scuttler through it's hard shell. - "To the stern! Close ranks!" - With most of the mayhem taking place in the mid-deck, a handful of men were able to coalesce onto the stern castle around him and Edward, where they kept the creatures that had crept up onto the ship at bay. Ivan then went into the captain's cabin with a few of the other sailors, emerging from within with a myriad of weapons, mostly bows and harpoons. He started to hand them over to the sailors on the stern.

- "Those with melee weapons, keep those things off the stern." - He said. - "Archers, keep behind, and shoot any hostile down at the deck." - Though Ivan was only a novice in navigation, and combat at Sea, he could adapt his knowledge of ground war to the situation. This formation, with melee warriors holding the line, and archers shooting over their heads from behind, was his attempt to do so.

- "And you," - He told the men with the harpoons. - "aim at the tentacles that are clinging to the side of the ship. Keep them from damaging the hull." - He didn't know if that would be enough, but by Kress he sure hoped it would.

He then grabbed one the few melee weapons they'd brought from the cabin: a grand, two-headed axe large enough to cleave a horse in two with a single swing.

- "As for those of you that can still stomach a fight, with me!" - He said, pushing past the sailors holding back the sea creatures and down onto the main deck.

- "To me sailors!" - He bellowed, as he buried his axe onto the shell of a silver crab. - "Let's send these beasts back to the abyss!" -
 
By the Trinity! Why did he have to get stuck with the crazy Anirian? What was he talking about, they were all crazy. He had just managed to escape the wrath of this creature only for him to be delivered right to his doors once again.

He had no time to reflect on his horrible circumstances as the tentacles were once again upon them, but this time they brought friends. One thing he could admit, while Anirians were dumb they were dumb enough to make excellent meat shields.

Edward scrambled behind the soldiers and sailors just trying to avoid getting stabbed. When the blonde kid dispensed the weapons, he was at least quick enough to snatch up a knife off the deck that someone had dropped, hopefully, he would not have to use it.

He definitely did not have a stomach for a fight, so following that guy was out. He also was not getting anywhere near the tentacles. Then his eyes saw, one of the tentacles had reached up and grabbed the man manning the helm. That was where he could help.

Ed rushed forward sliding beneath an outstretched tentacle before pausing to allow a sailor to engage one of the crab creatures. Finally, he was there, one of the few places on this ship he might feel safe. Of course, he immediately thought about turning the ship around, but that was nearly impossible where the ship was at and without some other sailors for assistance.

Ivan Skender
 
Virspoke Village

Viktor had been barely comprehensive. With every question Arthur asked, he murmured either "Virspoke," or "the sea." At least Viktor seemed embarrassed at Arthur's questioning. That was the only sign that his mind was still upright in his skull and not on its way out his ear.

"What is wrong, damn you?" Arthur had said at last, infuriated with Viktor's incompetence. He'd usually never speak to a peer like that.

Viktor was not upset with Arthur's tone. He had merely lifted his face and looked into Arthur's eyes and said, with a voice harrowing and still, "It beckons."

So Arthur went to Virspoke. And it was cold. And it was wet. And all the while Arthur could not resist looking out to sea. He'd never stepped foot on a boat before. Not even one that was docked. The village, Arthur would say, seemed green. Green with sickness, like those rocked too roughly by the waves, forced to the side of a ship to hurl. It was curious to Arthur that those who got seasick were forced to stare into the sea as they got sick. If it were him, he would have either plunged in or cursed it.

Arthur watched as he made his way to the pier. He watched men keel over. Watched them vomit before themselves. A shiver ran down his spine, but he understood. There, in the distance, was a ship. He understood now that call. The beckoning. A wave of nausea splashed against his stomach. He pulled forward, joining the wave of those unable to cease their curiosity. It was like a spell, Arthur thought.

Like a hum in the back of his mind, like a whisper that had always been thrumming in the space between his ears, something or someone told him to board that ship. The one with the harpoons. And that figure, the one with the nasty face, who looked like he crawled from the sea. He was stone still but it felt to Arthur like he was laughing.
 
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The dead washed ashore, things of the sea appended to their faces, their chests, their backs. Unrecognizable and bloated from decay, from whatever lurked in the deep in the days and weeks before the Syzygy. Humans, elves, other creatures of the surface, it all mattered not. They all fell prey to the ocean and the depths, dragged down far beneath the surface and distorted beyond recognition. Maybe a pointed ear here, or an animalistic features there, betrayed the variety of the victims of the deep. But now they were united in one purpose - to sweep the living from the shores.

But the undead feared fire. Sometimes Holy, sometimes not. But often, the dead were kindled by flame as though they had been soaked in oil.

She reached out to the fabric of the world, the magic of the world, felt the nausea wrack her lower abdomen as she attempted to summon it. Tried to weave a thread of Fire and watched as it fizzled out in midair. A few of those around her tried as well, but Ignisa could see their weaves failing. One of her retinue, however, managed to struggle through the weave, forcing it into shape, only for it to snap into place suddenly. There was a surge and a rush of power, and every elf who was gifted in magic next to him threw themselves to the side as a conflagration burst forth. A wave of fire that blossomed towards the undead and the living who struggled against them.

Fire. The first spell, and some said the easiest.

Easy to summon maybe, but not to control.

The living screamed while they were consumed by fire. The dead, however, remained silent.

Ivinon paid a heavy price, consumed in the fires that he had started and devoured by the magic that he had summoned. No person was left alive to remonstrate, to discipline, when this fiasco was all over. The only consolation was that the fire had been directed towards the ocean and the sea, which boiled and hissed as it came into contact with the flames.

"Back!" Ignisa shouted over the roar of the fire. "Back to the woods."
 
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Virspoke

When Aderyn reached out to touch the madman's mind, she was frozen as his insanity flowed around her, offering her a glimpse of what was to come. His psyche defended itself - it attacked her with nightmares.

Nightmares of swollen bellies rising above dark, turbulent surf. Of black depths overtaking clear air, drawing her further and further away from everything she knew, surrounded by an unrecognizable form of life that seethed with torment and ached with hostility. The darkness was midnight, enveloping dappled light of what sun could manage to survive and poke through, ever-receding. There were arms... curling arms twisting like ribbons around wrists and despite all of the frigid environs they are warm, warmer at least than the seas themselves and far more inviting but for the accompanying howls and the silver gnashing of teeth latching on to the bellies of wooden whales, tearing them; rending them.

She could hear bells ringing. Bells calling, summoning above muted shouts. Bells warning of something inescapable, something inevitable.

Her heart pounding in her chest, her lungs straining to suck in enough air, she choked and sputtered trying to cough out water that she had neither breathed in nor swallowed. Her vision blacked as she sank into the abyss.

When Aderyn awoke, she was no longer in the town square. Her legs ached, and she had the faint memory of stumbling through the crowd, shoving them out of the way. She had tapped into some of her stored fury and pushed through men twice her size. Her palm hurt from where she had broken the jaw of someone trying to stop her. Were they trying to help, or looking for retribution for her physical assault against them? She'd probably never know.

She was on a rocky bluff overlooking the shore, the wind whipping her hair around as she stood. Below at the village dock was a ship laden with people looking for refuge, trying to get away from this place. But the ocean was the last place they wanted to go. She had the taste of salt and blood in her mouth still, and could feel the ghost of suckered tendrils wrapped around her arms and throat. No, she was sure they would die out there.

She made her way back down to the village in hope of convincing those remaining to go inland. Inland was hope.

Dingo
 
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MALAKATH

Although it was probably true that they wouldn’t want to leave these creatures unchecked, Evirea grappled with taking such violent action without knowing further details. However, that violation of mental space, the call that beckoned her and her dragon to the unearthly thing out at sea, was more than enough to spur her to action. The intrusion made it crystal clear: they were threats. Taivas thrashed his head and shrieked, a shrill, blood-curdling wail. Evirea dug her heels into his side and yanked the reins, and he twisted his neck around to stare her straight in the eyes. Calm washed over him as she forced her will through the bond, quashing the psychic incursion… for now.

“No,” the rider growled. “We absolutely don’t. Vaelthor is a tsonye, yes? How well do you think he can handle the things on the ground? Keep as many as possible from reaching that thing over there—” she pointed at the silvery mountain “—while Taivas and I try to find an exploitable weak point.” The white dragon’s magic was volatile under the effects of the dual eclipse. Sometimes a command Evirea sent him was executed, sometimes he struggled to will the wind to his command, and sometimes nothing happened at all. It wasn’t for lack of effort; it had been years since Taivas disobeyed a command. A particularly concerning problem considering the breed’s specialty was magic. But the eclipse couldn’t rob Taivas of his innate speed and agility.

“You there!” Evirea barked at the newcomer. “Part of the reinforcements? Are there more following you?”
***
Jensen, Faye Valimir
 
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Aboard the V.A.S. Relentless

Shoulder to shoulder, under the heated command of a youth that looked greener than the bilge weeds, the crew of the Relentless fought for some modicum of control atop the salt sprayed deck.

Human hands brought low silver crabs, and giant scuttling lice. But barbed mouths managed to bite with the last twitches of shoring nerves. Sent poison burning through the veins.

A sailor falls on the flank. Another near to the center. They hold the line, but one dying man sees his chest being chewed away. His screams high above the din of chaos on the roiling sea.

One of the fresh corpses begins to twitch. Move. Rise. It plods closer to the lines, a fresh barnacle growing from his spine.

Below deck the shouts of men, trying to fight back whatever it was they saw chewing through the hull, still holler out with a growing sense of desperation.


1705800388194.pngAt the stern-castle shriveled crabs, and withered louse dotted the floor. An old, white whiskered sailor wiped his blade clean and looked at the stranger who manned the wheel.

A grin.

The knife went slip into its sheath. A dropped axe was kicked up with a sure foot, and a whistle pierced out toward Edward. The axe was tossed his way, and the old sailor found another, still clutched in the hands of his mate.

A click of teeth as he watched one of thse tentacled barnacles squirm across the floor. One hand on the deadman's wrist. A heft of axe and a shout saw the bright head fall fast and split the barnacle open with a wet crunch.

"The tentacles!" he barked, and began to hack them off with heavy swings. "They're usin em like boarding hooks!"

From the elevated point of the wheel, you can see the sea swell up ahead. As if a wave come up from the deep. The Relentless groans as it cuts on forward. Shifts. The whole of it tilts ups as it surfs across the growing swell.


For the Elves on the Distant Shore.

Boil and hiss did the surf. Only to wash away, and crash anew. What died to the fire, fell. And what remained rose from the surf once more.

So freshly dead, the things that walked with creatures latched onto their chests, heads, and backs, the turned, marched after those that still wept. Some half burned. Some weeping by the charred remains.

But the things that came out of the sea cared little for their sorrow, and little for those things that hid in the trees. Cold hands latched on to still warm flesh. Claws pinched and dragged crying youths. Into the surf. Into the brackish break of the sea.

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Those survivors well enough to hear the call to flee did just that.

Followed by one who looked, touched by the cold gloom of the depths.



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A nudge comes across Arthur's side. "You lookin a lil to prim and proper to be from Virspoke, son," the old fisher says through a toothless grin.

People still make their way onto The Seahorse, as its lichen spotted figurehead stares ever forward toward the waves. Toward the fog, and all that awaited them.

A laugh from the old man. "Not to mention a bit green behind the gills,"


A small band of those distrusting of the sea gather around Aderyn. Eyes full of fear. They group together as scared people often do. With family. With friends. Neighbors try to quiet the weeping of children circumstances had them adopt as their own.

All while the distant bells toll on.


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"Well, glad someone seems to have a lick of sense around here," a mess of wild red hair poofs out from under a squished down cap. A true grin spreads across her face. "Name's Sali,"

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There on the horizon it remains. The silver mountain to which the line of creatures crawl.

As waves break around it, its shell seems to shudder. Seems to shake.


Maybe it was a play of the mind. But a sound breaks the static sound of wind, wave, and wing.


A low thrum that shakes every scale on beast's hide, and every hair across rider's skin. A horrid horn that blasts through bones like a hand across a drum.

A black cloud begins to pour about the silver thing. Billows as a skirt about it. So far away, you can't see where it comes from, or what causes it. Only that it is growing. And the creatures down below go on. Marching.

Now, the mountain draws closer. Dragging its skirt of inky darkness along with it as it shrugs its mass across the landscape.
 
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“Fuck's sake” - Was the thought that ran through his mind as he suddenly came face-to-face with one of his former sailors rising back from the dead. A split second of hesitation - brought about by the confusion - ground his attacks to a halt, though he quickly realised that whatever that man had become, it was no longer on his side.

The undead lunged at him, the barnacle on the side of his head protruding perceptibly from his skin. Ivan attempted to counter, though he soon found his double-headed axe too unwieldy for such, and instead narrowly managed to raise it in a parry.

With the creature's attack then thwarted, Ivan once again went on the offensive, swinging the large axe first upwards, and then downwards, the heavy weapon cleaving through the undead's shoulder like a hot knife through butter to come out reddened through the man's waist, the undead creature neatly cleaved in two.

As the now fully dead corpse collapsed before him, an even more distressing sight unfurled before his eyes: the colossal wall of dark water that now seemed to be heading straight for them.

With the deck in disarray, and the ship already damaged, he quickly realised that they couldn't stay where they were. Whether a full retreat, or a strategic repositioning, they needed to get out of dodge from whatever it was that was coming.

His head snapped towards the helm… Only to find that weird Cortosi at the helm of his ship.

What the fuck was he even doing there?

Next to Edward, he heard the moustachioed sailor commenting on the tentacles. Instinctively he looked around, indeed seeing many of the slimy arms interlocked with the railings of the ship. He moved to start chopping them out.

- “Cortosi!” - He bellowed, his voice rising over the sound of the waves, and of the dying. - “Get us out of here!” -

Edward Lorain
 
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M A L A K A T H

Vaelthor snarled as the voice scrapped along their shimmering link like sharpened nails on a graphite board. The tsonye shook his head in a futile hope to dislodge it and when that didn't appear to work, made to lunge forward to destroy that which affronted something so sacred to the Gods. If Jensen hadn't already been gripping so tight already they might have very well been on their way to take on the enemy solo. It wasn't like they hadn't done it before, but he had had Danika to have his back then. This Evirea was an unknown.

A bossy unknown.

Jensen listened with a bemused smile, glad for the distraction to his throbbing head, as she barked out orders. Looking at her she must have been several years his junior and confidence was never a sure sign of experience from his own observations.

"We can certainly do that," he drawled and lifted two fingers for a relaxed salute. His eyes flickered then to the nearing dragon. "I'll leave you to fill the newbie in," and with that he finally released the reins. Vaelthor shot forward like an arrow, spearing his way towards the shore with a frenzied urgency. They hit the black sands sending scuttling beasts spraying upwards with fistfuls of sand and the tsonye opened his maw to let forth a jet of flame, when the blast of a horn sounded.

Jensen felt every hair along the back of his neck and on his arms stand on end.

"Horns are never a good sign," he muttered, watching the darkness gathering on the horizon. "Let's go Thor," the emerald dragon didn't need any further encouragement as he raised his clubbed tail and slammed it into the earth with a bone shattering BOOM!
 
Virspoke Village

It took time for Arthur to come to. He was stuck in a strange trance. It was as though his feet had carried him abroad the ship of their own free will, like something or someone had cursed them into sentience. He was glued in place, those sentient feet footing into the wood of the deck. For a moment, he thought he was becoming one with the ship. His first ship. The first he'd ever stepped foot on.

It was the nudge of a rather bony elbow that forced Arthur brain to regain control of his consciousness. He jolted rather dramatically at it. An old man was smiling at him. And toothless. Arthur hardly repressed a shudder. His poetic education was rather influential on his perspective of beauty. He was used to being surrounded by young people with pretentious personal hygiene. That meant white teeth. And none of them missing.

"Oh, um," Arthur hesitated a moment to think about why it was he decided to come here. The purpose was lost for a while when his feet took over his brain, "Yes. I'm from Alliria. And I suppose I'm a bit prim. But I don't mind being roughened up a bit." Arthur forced an awkward smile of his own.

It was then that he looked out to the sea. To the vastness. The void of salty ocean, bellowing, undisturbed. Arthur was taken for moment by the thought that whatever happened on the sea, or in it, just like the nature on land, was not affected by the drama of the life it nurtured. It did not have the capacity to care. So whatever awaited him in the big blue was of no concern to the Asherah Ocean. That stretch of nothing between Alliria and Malakath.

For that moment, Arthur was met with the realization of how insignificantly small he was.

Aderyn Verchtegid
 

Cortosi Coast

Edward looked down at the axe that had been tossed into his hand. He looked back up with dread. Was this sailor man crazy, Ed was not some sort of muscle freak that could decapitate a tentacle in one go. But the man was right, they needed to get rid of the tentacles if they wanted this ship to move at all.

He was moving to one of the railings when Ivan's voice caught his attention. Turning to meet him, his jaw dropped open at the wall of water coming his way.

Fuck!

Looking back down at the axe, he threw the weapon head over end at one of the tentacles. He had originally just wanted it to get out of his hands, but it miraculously embedded itself in one of the appendages. The tentacles quickly pulled away from the ship.

Lucky.

Quickly, he grabbed the wheel and pulled with all his might to the port side. Thankfully. the ship did turn but not quickly enough. All the while, that wall of water grew ever closer. This was gonna be close. Edwards leaned in close to the wheel and began to whisper.

"C'mon you iron-hearted beauty, give me everything you got."

Ivan Skender
 
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THE DELTA

The sea called for a vigil, so arrange one she had.

In the darkness, perched betwixt sharp rocks, a fire built of driftwood billowed in a wild dance, weaving this way and that by what blew in from the vast expanse. Her dark hems were akin, flapping about her legs on which she’d chosen to wear her best stockings. Bright yellow, like marigolds, kept up by neat little white ribbons. She’d even weaved some beads into the ends of the garters, to hear them click as she ran and hassled about with building the flame.

So much joy to be had — the thrill of the eclipse crackling in the air, the ashes on the vial about her neck tossing and turning. Drawing in lungful after another, the stickiness of seawater on her tongue and hair, she felt hideously alive. Like she could bend the rock beneath her feet.

Could she? Seized by the thought she dropped to her knees on the damp stone, fingers bent to claws that sought to grasp it. Something like a whimper was in her throat as she tried for an incantation, only to realize her heart wasn't in it. Or was it her mind, promptly distracted from truly making an effort as voices mingled closer to the waves. A growl was in her throat as she listened, unsure if she was better off ignoring them all as was usually her way.

The quickly escalating goings on made the decision for her, commanding attention. Figures were spurred to action, movement — Blood was spilled, so swift it made her insides flip with excitement. Or was it horror? Was there a difference? Did it matter?

The fire was terribly loud at her back as she grew deathly still, unable to tear herself away as a great shift took place upon sand. A hill, remembering it could move. The stare in her black eyes was nigh reverent as she watched something she'd thought dead rear up, limbs stretching and reaching. But as magnificent as the creature was, there was one of greater interest to her yet, hidden —

That phase shifting killer. Determination in her look, she rose and searched the blackness about her. Took a couple steps down from her perch, towards the horrible being.

“ Oh, where have you gone — You of a swift blade, guardian. “ In the shelter her sleeve, flat against the wrist, her own knife remained just as ready.

“ Do come to my fire, if you dare. I invite thee. “



Cliffsnotes:
- Ronja is faffing about on the Delta, having built a fire on the rocks a little way away from the waterline
- Remaining where she is, not engaging the other goings on, she calls for the mysterious abyssal from afar
 
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The Delta

Sodden paws and a sinking heart followed Farren's trek through the craggy shoreline along the delta. With the coming of the Syzygy, came the water-slogged bodies of foreign creatures from the deep. Things she had no names for. Monsters that many innocent civilians who made their homes and livings off the water, had little defense against. The people needed to be evacuated and sequestered to a place of safety. A place the water could not reach.

Such a mission is what had brought the Dusk Knight to this part of the world, so far from the shadow of her Eldyr tree that it made her pelt itch. This place was wrong. The sky, the sea, her magic even. All of it was abnormal.

Farren tried once more to change back into her human form, but those silver flames, her sense of self, was just out of reach. Like something was stopping her from becoming a person.

Ever since Farren had arrived from the portal stone, she had lived a handful of days as a wolf, unable to approach the fleeing and the scared to offer comfort or direction. Instead, she made do with what she had and had followed in the shadows of evacuating villages, guarding them from harm the best she could without frightening them. She wasn't always successful, but she hoped that at least her lupine visage was a familiar terror that went bump in the night, compared to the grotesque marine forms that swam out of the abyss with the determined single-mindedness of extermination.

The path she trekked now was a familiar one as she made her way again down the river and towards the opening of the delta. In search of yet more people, more villages who might need her. Farren did not bother trying to ask questions of why and how. They were outside of her power to solve, so instead she would do her best to save those she could until she could do so no longer. Until perhaps, she herself needed saving.

It wasn't until the first dancing illumination of flames touched at her paws, where light battled the edges of shadows for supremacy, that the shapeshifter found herself standing at the outskirts of a small camp on the beach. Her subconscious bringing her to the familiar company of people, or in this case, a single person. A stranger to her. But a soft chuffing of the sea air told her enough to know she had found a person of magic. Twisted just like hers. At least in this, she didn't feel so lonely.

“ Do come to my fire, if you dare. I invite thee. “

Startled that her presence was so easily detected, Farren took a cautious step forward, her inky black pelt absorbing the light. Her head lowered warily and ghostly grey eyes glittering with the glow of the moon and all her lunar glory.

Ronja
 
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From the dark came forth not whom she’d expected, that figure of tentacles and an eerie, grey shimmer that’d so disappeared from sight. Nay, this was of the Wyld, she knew.

She blinked, requiring a fast passing moment to gather herself. It wasn’t every day that one got to be in the presence of a pitch black, much too large of a wolf. Staring at its eyes, she couldn’t but remark on how they appeared much like the twin moons that so were absent from being perceived.

A tale came to mind. Without further ado, she whipped her left leg back and bowed, knife flashing as her arm extended in a flourish. The beads about her neck and wrists gave a clatter, sheer.

“ Welcome, devourer of moons. I was not expecting you, I admit— “ Her straightening was like the release of a spring, heels snapping together and hands clasping behind her back, knife firmly held betwixt them.

“ But am glad to see you, all the same. Terror is afoot, on this shore. “

Her look went past her shoulder, at the thrashing horror. Was it closer, somehow?

" Have you come to fetch me from my Death? "

Or, perhaps, into it.

Farren Lóthlindor
 

Cortosi Coast​

"Zara, your father has said you are forbidden from taking the fleet and attacking the creature. Let the Anirians and their ironclads handle this situation."

Zara grunted in disgust as her long strides carried her through the docks towards a golden vessel with a Lion's head on the front. There was already a small group of sailors preparing to set sail, all decked in heavy weaponry.

"I heard the old man loud and clear. Thankfully Sylas, I am simply going on a relaxing voyage with a few friends." She motioned to the warriors on board.


The frazzled-looking assistant looked on helplessly as Zara boarded the ship. Zara glanced up to the sky and frowned. There wasn't a lot of sun out today, but it would have to do. Even without it, she still considered herself strong enough to take out a dozen men...or a few fish.

"There is no reason for us to help those outside our protection." The assistant called out one last time before the vessel finally set sail.

Zara moved to the helm of the ship and yelled back "You do not ask for the Sun's warm embrace Sylas. It simply does because it can."

She reached out and gripped a large glaive that had been brought for her before she leveled it at the ironclad, the Fearless.

"Alright, just a light stroll. Let's go find out how their day is going."


Dingo
 
Virspoke


Aderyn ran to the docks at a faster than usual speed, admittedly in an undignified manner as she slid on wet earth, dodged people and other obstacles, and waved her hands above her head trying to get people's attention.

"Get off the boat!" she yelled. "It's not safe! Get off the boat!"

She shouldered past a man limping his way up the dock, who grunted at her with a glare. He said, "What're ya screamin' 'bout? It ain't safe 'ere neither. Ship'll get us to the city fast."

She turned on him, eyeing him in disbelief. Truly, she could not fathom how the risk was worth it.

"The danger is in the water. How does surrounding yourself by it make any sense? Alliria isn't that far by land!"

"'N we gotta walk the 'ole way, lady. Along the water. That's where the road's at."

It wasn't that he had a bad point, necessarily... but he didn't understand the situation. Truthfully, neither did she but her visions had never made her more certain. She could still see them in her head; the pain, the destruction, and the sheer terror - never mind the actual literal monstrous presence hiding out there. Hiding somewhere.

Everywhere
.

"We can move inland off the road if we have to," she replied, though no longer to him. She raised her voice instead to try to reach those already onboard. "We can go to the Stone and get to Elbion, or Ixchel, or anywhere else away from the ocean! Please! Come with me! Away from the water!"



Arthur Wilde
 
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M A L A K A T H
Faye watched as the tsonye and rider fell from the sky and towards the earth, delivering blows to the terrain in heavy succession. Her dark green eyes found the other rider, who too rode a white dragon, but larger and not at all blind like Cathán.
"I am an independent. I was closer to this location than those on their way. A rider alerted me, and I believe your reinforcements are still to come." Her face turned grace, glancing to the side to where the creatures could be seen.

"What do we know so far?" This eclipse was out of the ordinary. She could have sworn on her flight here that she witnessed a Moon Dragon turn feral, hunting a wyld feathered dragon instead of feasting on the sheep in the vale. She commanded Cathán to keep flying, to not stop until they reached where they now stayed in the air. "How does your dragon fare? Any abnormalities?" She could not help but inquire, the healer in her needing answers to her suspicions.

Evirea Nymbos Jensen
 
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Virspoke

Arthur was snapped out of his trance by the sight of long, red hair in his peripherals. The woman who'd stepped onto the ship was one of the most beautiful he'd ever seen. Probably, of course, because she was older than him and concerned with his wellbeing.

She was shouting something. About how the water wasn't safe. When Arthur looked back out at the sea, he felt that pull once more. The trance. Something about the way the water moved, back and forth, pushing and pulling, slowly, slowly.

The woman's voice sounded again. Arthur snapped back to reality. He wouldn't be looking out at the ocean again.

"No," he said, "the lady's right." He stepped to her side, careful to keep his back to the water. "It's not safe out there." And then, to the woman, "Something's wrong."

She was older, probably had more experience in life. She would know he was serious. Arthur hoped his eyes were enough to convey his panic. He tried hard to keep it safely confined in his stomach. It would not travel any farther as long as he stayed with this woman. Something about her meant safety.

Aderyn Verchtegid

 
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Aboard the V.A.S Fearless

"A foolish remark, sailor. My benedictions to the Most Radiant have never ceased." Despite his words, the priest nodded in thanks to the axe-wielding sailor. He shuddered to think of his fate at the hands of these shelled monstrosities. Things on the deck were going as well as one could hope. Clearly this crew knew their business and yet these terrors seemed to laugh in the face of their brackish expertise.

Twin daggers slipped into the priest's hands as he spotted another shambling hulk. The Sunfather had granted Narcisco salvation in the form of the Fearless and her crew. It was only right that he repay the grace bestowed upon him. He let sibling steel fly, watching as blades found purchase. Even though they embedded deep into the hulk's collarbone, it cared not.

He stretched his right-hand outward, palm open. His intent was to channel holy energy into the daggers but the Syzygy had other ideas. Cisco saw an oddly dark energy form around the steel before dissipating entirely. Instead he darted forward, closing the distance to his foe with surprising speed. The priest wrenched both blades free and drove them into the hulk's neck. He dragged both blades to the side with a viciousness belied by his elegant features. Narcisco watched as the creature fell to the deck with its head barely hanging on.

This will not suffice, he thought as he looked to the twin blades. Looking around, he found the body of another sailor with a harpoon still in hand. He knelt down next to the corpse and offered a prayer. "May the Sunfather illuminate this poor soul's path." Narcisco retrieved the harpoon as well as a small hatchet normally used for cutting boarding ropes.

Effectively equipped, he set about the sacred work of keeping the horrors at bay.
 
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There was no end, it seemed, to the creatures of the deep. Even when Ivinon had unwittingly laid down his life to thin their ranks on the shore, causing even the surf itself to boil and hiss in protest and violation, steam cloaking the shoreline and confusing those without the keen eyesight of the elves, more still kept coming, their footsteps shuffling along the sand and thudding almost mockingly on the soil. Maybe to a human the approach of those taken by the deep would have been more stealthy, more unexpected, but to an Elf, those footsteps, especially so near to the shore, were loud indeed.

And it allowed them to escape back towards the woods. For if the deep were coming to them, then the forest must lie in the opposite direction.

But the fog and steam couldn't last forever, and even as Ignisa reached the trees and the forest, she wheeled her horse around to look at the beings that emerged from the mist that now blanketed the shore. Above and behind her, arrows whistled from overhead as the elves regrouped behind her, aiming with pinpoint accuracy at the shadows and figures emerging from the mist. Perhaps if magic was too dangerous right now to use, maybe then more conventional weapons would have to suffice. Every exposed area was targeted, from the head and throats, to even the shells that were stuck to the bodies that the Deep had reanimated.

Maybe if they got rid of the extra appendages the deep had attached to the bodies, then the hold that the deep had over these bodies would be broken.

Ignisa fingered the sword hanging at her waist gingerly. She and the other elves with her would fight hand-to-hand if they had to. But she would prefer if they did not have to. Something about the way that the dead moved told her that it would not be wise. Best to stick to the trees and the forest that were their home, where they could shoot down from the treetops.

And from the mist, emerged an elf-like figure. But this time, their eyes glowed a deep cerulean blue, eerily lit in the darkness of the sky without the moons. Ignisa raised a hand, ready to give the order to fire ...
 
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