The Syzygy The Syzygy: Rise of the Abyssal

For Syzygy event threads
The Delta

Convulsions pushed and squeezed, gripping him in places that felt good, sometimes it felt wrong. Sensual and yet familiar, like a hug from a lover or inside the womb of his mother. His mother? Funny, he knew he had one but what she looked like, what she sounded like… nothing could come to mind.

His skin began to burn, a bitter, metallic liquid beginning to coat the walls of fat. A larger convulsion, moist sounds erupting, and Cynefin was pushed through slick, rubbery canals until he was washed out in bile and salt, drenched in liquid dark as night and surrounded by lumps and gristle.

He gasped for water, for the comfort of water. He heaved, thin little strings of yellow spit sticking to his dry, cracked lips. His eyes closed, his heart pounding against his ribs. A crash to the side of him, knocked over to the other side, rolling onto his back and looking up at something he felt no mortal should ever witness.

Air flooded his lungs and Cynefin could breathe once more. With his chest no longer burning hot and dry, he could sit up, try to get to his feet. He had to get away from the beauty and vileness of the unknown. Where he was, who he was— it didn’t matter. He only cared about where he was going and it was going to be very far away from here.
 
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Virspoke


The young man who came up to Aderyn and seemed to actually be listening was in distress, that much Aderyn could tell. She shouted again for people to disembark quickly, to head back to the village so they could all march away from the sea together, before focusing specifically on the man.

"I know it, this is all wrong. Everything about it," she said, before the reality of the look on his face actually sank in. "Wait, you mean you? What are you feeling?"

She took from a pouch on her belt a small piece of raw amethyst held in a thin wire cage and grabbed his hand with hers, pressing the white and violet crystal into his palm and closing his fingers around it. Her grip was stronger than some might have otherwise guessed from her appearance. This was a stone for peace and cleansing, and her belief in its effects tapped into her Charity, pulling out a steady stream of it to fuel the empathic magic that began to pour from her into the young man.

"Hold this and breathe, let it in and purify your mind and body."

The effect on her was lesser than it might have otherwise been, her desire to help irrespective of her own safety and interests already peaking the amount of charity she was capable of feeling. The only place to go from there was being willing to die for someone, for this young man. But by the time the spell was in place, she would have.

The empathy was like a wave of calming influence washing over Arthur, seeking to heal what injuries he might have had and attempting to flush out the malign.

Arthur Wilde
 
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MALAKATH

Evirea returned Jensen’s more casual salute with her own, though hers was swift. She nodded toward the new rider. Her brow furrowed at the sight of the other white dragon’s milky-white eyes, but her face was obscured under her helmet.

“Those creatures below are bringing carrion to that one offshore,” she answered the newcomer. She pointed at the crustaceans on their tireless march and then at the foreboding silver-shelled creature on the horizon. “More emerge from it. My dragon’s magic is unpredictable right now, but he’s uninjured.”

The rider’s shoulders tensed as it began its march toward the shore, bringing along with it a deathly black cloud. The din of the horn chilled her blood. Taivas tossed his head again, sky-blue eyes wide, fins stood taut in alarm.

“The other rider, Jensen, is trying to keep the small ones from reaching the large one offshore,” Evirea continued, her words hurried, “We—Taivas and I—are going to try to search for a weak point on that large creature so that we can kill it.”

Her own white dragon twisted around and winged toward the mountain that dwarfed him. He didn’t cross into the dark cloud that clung to it, but with a tap of her fingers, the dragon slammed his wings. A gust of wind shot toward the cloud, to see if he could push it back toward the mountain, but its power was diminished.
***
Jensen Faye Valimir
 
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Aboard the V.A.S. Fearless

Fast and through the waves, the Fearless cut on, sails full with the wind as it keeled its prow to round about. Its battered hull groaned against the force of the shifting seas, while scuttlers and barnacles all jumped and gnashed at sailors.

A man’s calf torn open by swiping claw, fell to the deck, where a silvery louse screeched and lept at the man.

A shout. A swipe. Low swing struck the chitinous carapace with a thwunk that set the thing to scuttling its legs as it arced across blue. Yelva helped the sailor up with a sure arm, and grinned.

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“You aren’t too bad with those blades, pretty boy!”
A grunt, as her body twist and her arms let loop another crack of the axe’s head through a hardened shell.

1706446927098.png“Get the Dreadlords on the line! Ready a salvo!” Captain Luck called out.

“Readying Salvo, Captain!” one voice called.

“Readying Salvo!” came the distant voice of another man. Strained and through grit teeth.

Streaks of shimmering silver sped quick through the surf. “Silverfish! In the water!”

“Let loose!”

“Letting loose!”
cried the first Dreadlord.

A glyph appeared above their head, electric and purple. An arc of power danced about the magical geometry that manifested in the space above them.

A bolt of lightning spat out. Flashed into the water. Steam gout out in a hiss and plume, and struck the silverfish, a thing shaped like a giant spear head with ribbons tailed behind it.

The second dreadlord willed his power into his core. Straight backed, with fingers flexed into claws, he tried to shape the energies. Felt the strange pull of the moons. The twist of the lines of his strength. The bend that turned to break. Snap.

An electric explosion flashed out from where the dreadlord stood. The energy let loose split the foremast up its trunk. Set the sails of the ship on fire. The dreadlord who suffered the rebound made no sound as his form flailed and stumbled, wreathed in smoke and fire.

“Fire!”

One of the silverfish struck onto the side of the Fearless’ hull.



Aboard the V.A.S. Relentless

The sea before the ship swelled and swelled. And like a great serpentine beast, an arm of the titan rose from the black. Its limb large enough stir the wave that washed out from its wake.

1706447016729.pngThe old greybeard looks to Edward. “Life lines! Tie yourself down!” he calls, grabbing a hooked rope from the rail, that turns to loop and knot about his waist.

Spray from the massive arm crashes across the deck. Men and women are washed away, as others hang on for dear life as the whole shift tilts and turns.

A crash of white and a briney surge that feels like all the sea comes slam against the vessel that fights on to keep itself together.

The relentless breaks through the swell in one piece. Its hull slams hard onto the back slope of the wave. The terrible arm comes down again to smash a nameless ship whose scorpion bolts, and mage fire assailed the great beast.

Morbid luck.

A scream cries out from below deck. A sailor breaks into the stairwell, scrambled up the first couple steps before a deep blade runs him through.

A blade held by a hand that is no hand. The blade itself, a shape of black water, that shimmers and ripples beneath the strange light of the darkening sky.

A form, wriggling and wet, works itself close to the dying sailor. Rips free its sword as the tendrils about what looks to be its mouth writhe and feel the air. What seems to be its head turns, and looks up the stairs. Its lone colorless eye, abyssal.



For Those Elves Who Fight From the Forest.

Arrows plunk into flesh. Rip through tendons and shatter bone. But the risen continue to walk forward. Those without legs, drag themselves across the sand and soil Their heads lull as they go on.

Some arrows smack hard against the shell of barnacles. Others still plant themselves into the mass that grows out from beneath the barnacle's horrid shell. There, there is a screech. A whine. And arms rooted in flesh and bone retreat under the safety of the shell.

1706447144099.pngBut the green eyed elf looks to her kin. An emptiness in her eyes. “Stars and moons greet you, my kin,” the gloom-touched elf speaks in a tone, as calm as the waves that lap gentle across the shores. “Is it not a joyous day?” she says with a feint smile. “A day for change, a day for the new, as the sun is reborn, and the sister moons twine about its candescence, to let their own splendor usher in, light unseen before,” she shows her hands, splayed open, in welcome and peace.

Those creatures that are risen. Corpses made to walk again. Scuttlers come from the deep. Louse and plodding things with glowing arms. Do not pass the line she draws.

A strange pressure pulses about the air. It pulls the minds toward the sea. It beckons them to join the drink.



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Virspoke

The more the empath speaks, the more the spell that binds the people is broken. As the youth joins her in warning the villagers, so too does Sali.

Some of the men in Lord Vexion’s retinue seem to doubt, as they stare from the deck of the Sea Horse, hands on the railing. And those still aboard the smaller vessels look weary. Their eyes make it clear. All they want is to be gone from this place. By land, or by sea.

Be it a trick of the fog, or the water, the knell of the bells is hard to place. But there in the curtain of mist comes a dark form. A hulk, with glowing red eyes.

Clang-a-clang-clang. The bells grow louder. Clang-a-clang-clang. Louder. Clang-a-clang-clang.

“A ship! A ship through the fog!” some voice calls out.

The hulk comes clear. Mage-lamps hang off its prow. Red, to cut through the grey. Red that paints the figurehead. A winged woman, with sword in hand, hoisted forward. The A.G.S. Victoria, breaking through the surf.

“Its coming in too fast!”

Clang-a-clang-clang.

“It’s going to run aground!”

Clang-a-clang-clang.

“It’s heading straight for the Seahorse!”

Quick as they could. Men ran from the ship. Hurried shouts. Panic. As the sea lapped gentle upon the shore.

A sound like thunder as prow cracked through hull, and planks and ribs came asunder.The old Seahorse lay wasted. Guardsmen, hedgemages, villagers lay mangled and dead in scores, as others hurried to help, and others till ran faster from the calamity.

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Amidst the rubble, amidst the screen of swirling dust and smoke. The mage-lamps glowed red. And a figure stood tall upon the bowsprit of the Victoria. A horrible helm upon their head, like some creature of the deep. A sword in his hand.

Clang-a-clang-clang. Came the call for salvation.

And from the Victoria, came the Brineborne. Men and women clad in ancient armor, covered in the mottled greens and yellows of rotted seaweed, and kelp grown stone. Cruel tools in their hands.

How the drowned man grinned as he watched.



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The Delta

Without memory, the freshborn being ran. Ran. Ran. Feet slapping against the sand and the rocks.

And something there ran with them. Just behind them. The wet grains slapped and kissed s shaped tracks, as the near distant flame roared and crackled and others gathered there about each other.

The hill that remembered to move. The beauty wrapped within an enigma, lashed the thing that might have been its head left, then right. Its many toothed maw worked its walls of serrated maulers and incisors, there at the center of the tangles and twists of its many tendril arms that flowed like hair about its shoulders.

Like a thing in panic. Deciding what to do. It trembled. It shook. It spat out a horrid shriek, blood spattered and biled, that ripped at the psyche of all around it. Twisted the insides of the magic touched, and brought the mind to boil with the pressure of all who could not understand it.

But one could understand it. The one born anew. The one who had eaten of its new mother’s flesh.


For Cynefin: They who were born anew
They could make sense of the agony. Feel the crushing weight of its pain. Its confusion and rage. In that way that music moved the soul.

The newborn would feel a pulse. Nearer to them. A ripple, like a gentle wave come across the surface of their thoughts. Almost calming.

1706446649787.png“You, understand us,”

They would hear inside their head

“You can feel her pain,” came another pulse of thought. A ripple of color beside them, and the pale being with their spear “You must help me end it,”


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M A L A K A T H

BOOM!

And the earth trembled. Shook. As the emerald dragon made its presence known, and threw its great weight around. Snapping jaws and swinging tail crushed and crunched scores of the scuttling creatures.

Carapaces split in two. Viscera spilled and gibleted. Big eyes atop stocks left to stare blankly at the sky as the last of their nerves flared and their mouths worked the plated jaws. Strange little gurgles for last words.

Whatever these things were. They seemed too scared to fight the great dragon. Like crabs made after a rock had been turned, they hurried away, as fast as their little legs could take them, tried to find some place to hide away from the danger.

Those that rode the large striding beasts, seemed to try and hide behind their bulk as the long legged creatures plod across the sand. Their glowing tentacles still reached out to pluck bits of dead things.

Some even picked up chunks of scuttlers.

But the silver mountain kept on with its advance. Its segmented form moving with an almost mechanical consistency as the black cloud went on, washing out of its sides. Like a sandstorm, the inky swirl billowed and grew, twist about the mountain, as if it were the eye to a strange storm.

Some of the scuttlers stood tall. Flared their little claws against the great beast. Waved them with menace and dared to swipe and pinch at the thing that stomped and killed them.

Those farther away from the impact, just kept on with their work.

In the air, a rogue plume of the smoke screen buffets the pair of dragons and their riders. It is a viscous substance, like oil. It makes it harder to breathe, and harder to see. There is a horrid stench and taste to it. But worse of all, you can feel it dampen the bond between dragon and rider.
 

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"It looks like there is a fire, Zara. We should hold back."

"And miss out on my fun? Absolutely not. Archers fire on those creatures trying to climb on their ship...Try not to hit the sailors."

Zara smiled at the captain's worried expression, but nevertheless, the ship continued to move closer to the Fearless. The waves were beginning to rock the ship back and forth, but Zara stood proudly at the front. Her large smile displayed her white teeth as she hungrily thought of the upcoming battle.

Then she saw it, a silverfish had tried to climb up her own hull as they grew closer. Wasting no time, Zara gleefully ran over and swung down her large glaive, slicing the creature in two before it fell back into the murky depths beneath.

"We are nearing the ship, we will be able to tie off some ropes soon."

Zara ignored the captain as she was no close enough to get a good look at the people on the ship. Many of them Dreadlords, but all of them were deep in the middle of a battle for their lives. How could she miss out on that?

Taking a few steps back for a running start, Zara vaulted from her ship's deck and onto the deck of the Fearless. There was no need for a greeting. Her greeting was kicking one of the creatures so hard that it sailed over the railing and back into the sea.

"I was worried that you all would have it handled by the time I made it."

Dingo Narcisco Del Sol
 
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M A L A K A T H

"Again, Thor."

The Tsonye didn't need telling twice. The dragon seemed more disconcerted by the scuttling monsters and the tentacle beasts they rode than he was. He alternated between slamming his clubbed tail into another section of the sand dunes where a particularly big cluster of the creatures hid, and opening his maw to let loose a jet of red hot flame. It seemed an almost hopeless task. For however many died more marched on unheeding or tried to scuttle quicker to the seas and bypass them altogether. Repeatedly Vaelthor launched himself skywards only to crash down a bit further down the beach and disturb another pocket of the creatures.

"This is hopeless," Jensen muttered to himself as he loosed a crossbow bolt towards one of the tentacled creatures that was hurling a whale towards the sea. He followed the trajectory of their path back towards the mountain drawing near. Perhaps if they struck at the leader, the foot soldiers would fall.

Faye Valimir Evirea Nymbos
 
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Virspoke

Arthur took the crystal in his hand, wary. He wasn't familiar with magic, hadn't grown up around it, didn't know anyone closely that used it. He took the crystal anyway. The woman seemed kind enough and Arthur was too full of bristling anxiety to not attempt to settle down with more forceful means.

As he took a deep breath in, he felt a deep clam wash over him. The tightness in his chest loosened and fell through his ribcage. Suddenly, his shoulders didn't feel so heavy. The thick air around him wasn't tinged with so much fog and the call of the ocean behind him was a distant whisper as hushed as the crash of the waves on the shore. He opened his eyes and looked at the woman now that he was in better control of his own mind. Now that he wasn't tempted toward self-destruction.

"I don't know what's happening," he admitted, "I have a bad feeling. About the water." He almost turned around to look at it for emphasis, but remember his promise to himself not to.

He followed the woman off the ship, determined to put as much distance between him and Virspoke as soon as possible. He'd gotten what he came for: a story. He could twist it into fiction easily. Make a ghost story out of it, even.

Virspoke had other ideas. The yelling, the clambering, the panic. A ship was going to run aground. It did. And from it poured the creatures of the depth. That's the only way Arthur could describe it. Quickly, he pulled from his pouch his knife, the only weapon he'd packed and the only one he owned. He wasn't a fighter, but he had experience with large crowds of monsters in humanoid form. His only chance was to run

Aderyn Verchtegid

 
Ivan followed suit as he heard the whiskered sailor, and tied himself down with a lifeline. That was - as it turned out - very much for the better, for when the creature, or better, its shockwaves, hit the ship, they were almost enough to wash him overboard as so many of his comrades were. Though he soon realised that even as the tidal swell receded, they were still not safe.

As the Relentless finally found some sort of stability over the raging seas, he heard some sort of commotion from below-deck. Thinking it to be the nameless beasts that had been gnawing through the hull, he rushed to the stairs only to arrive just in time to see one of his sailors being pierced by some sort of dark, watery blade.

And that was when he saw it, his ice-grey gaze locking unflinchingly with the single eye of the creature as it stared at him from downstairs.

Without a second thought - indeed, almost as if by instinct - Ivan crashed his heavy axe into an oil-lamp that had been knocked over during their earlier tribulations. The burning oil was caught, and stuck, to the double heads of his weapon, so that the blades of the axe - quite literally - caught on fire.

He then lunged down the stairs, swinging his flaming axe from bottom to top, aimed straight at the creature's tentacular jaw.

Dingo Edward Lorain
 
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Cortosi Coast


Edward nodded at the old man's suggestion. Good to see someone on this boat was an actual sailor, and not just a soldier. Ed hastily tied the rope around his waist before focusing back on the wheel.

"I need some help here! Please!"

To anyone else, Edward looked like he had finally cracked under the pressure, but he only cared if one person heard him. The winds had been silent since the creatures had arrived, but he could feel them there, just out of reach. It was like they were being held back, but he needed them right now.

Edward was trying his hardest to turn the ship so that it could attempt to weather the surge by slicing the wave and riding it. If the surge managed to hit them in the side then this ship was going to flip like a baby turtle getting messed with by a sadistic small child.

It looked like they were going to come up short as the surge was close to slamming right into their side. Ed leaned with all his weight before he felt it. A wall of wind slammed into the ship and turned the vessel just in time. Edward was still knocked off his feet, the rope keeping him grounded, but knocking the wind right out of him.

That did not matter at all. All that mattered was the ship had been pushed back, creating distance between the island-sized monster, but it had not flipped and a surprising number of the crew had survived.

Edward was completely fine with staying at the wheel where he considered it all safe, but the old man had made his way towards the stairs to attempt to assist Ivan.

"No, you old fool."

Edward sprung over the rail leading to the deck, landing on top of the man knocked him to the ground just as a tentacle from the stairs tried to impale the man.

Ivan Skender Dingo
 
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The Delta

Farren liked odd people. Her people were gifted orators and they held stories to be a sacred thing. Sacred in the meaning that each person had a unique story to tell and with it, new ways for her people to see the world from their shadowed life beneath the Eldyr tree.

And Farren found this person of many colors to be just that— odd.
" Have you come to fetch me from my Death? "

A bemused whine followed the tilt of her lupine head. Cryptic words that fit the dangerous tang of sea salt in the air. The magic of the night feeling hindered, even angry. Like it was growing frantic. Desperate. As if it had nowhere to go. Or was even being kept from something.

Farren did not know a better way to describe it, but she could feel how murky the pool of Loch had become inside her. The water slipping from her cupped fingers, more elusive than any dream. It was all so ineffable and frustrating. And the Dusker struggled to stay her snarl— she felt trapped.

If she could only ask someone what the fuck was happening.

But this orc hadn't run from her. Hadn't tried scaring her off like some wild animal. Had even bowed to her. As friendly as a greeting as she had received these lonely and troubling last few days on the coast.

Stepping farther into the warmth of the fire, Farren gave a cautiously hopeful wag of her tail. Perhaps this person knew a bit of magic, even information, that was foreign to her that could help. In the meantime, the wolf did not mind helping the orc escape death. That had been Farren's goal after all when arriving to the Delta and its fleeing people.

A familiar crackling shot of dread suddenly rippled down Farren's pelt, her hackles rising in great black spikes along her spine. A sharp growl ripped from between the bright ivories of her fangs. They were on full display as Farren stepped purposefully in front of Ronja on the other side of the fire, her flashing grey eyes trained towards the water and the abomination she could feel birthed from its brackish depths.

It seemed Death had come to fetch her due after all.

Ronja
 
Virspoke


Aderyn ushered the young man off the ship alongside several others who either seemed willing to trust her, or were in such a trance that they were suggestible enough to listen if only for a moment. The majority, though were either ignoring her or were too enraptured to react.

"Stay here," she told them, looking firmly at the younger man. He was smart, at least enough to know better than to try to help her, and hopefully enough to know not to run off on his own. With whatever was happening here, being alone was the last thing she thought anyone should do.

She was preparing to go back and try again when she heard the cries of another ship barreling toward them, and she stood transfixed as the newcomer collided with the Seahorse, driving itself dangerously close and splintering everything in its path.

When the Brineborne showed themselves, she instinctively shifted to put herself between them and those she was trying to save.

"Run," she said calmly, though inside she was anything but. The blood roared in her ears and her heart pumped harder than it had in a long time. Her legs wanted to move but she forced herself to stand firm.

She held her bag back toward Arthur, turning just enough to see him at the edge of her vision. "Take this and run, I'll follow. Keep people together."

Then she yelled at no one in particular, "Inland, go!"

Her eyes darted around looking for something - anything - to use as a weapon. There was a wooden spar not far from her, shattered but still thick and firm. She bent down to pick it up and hefted it in one hand. The other hand felt around her belt for her shard of polished bloodstone with a groove worn into the middle perfect for her thumb. She rubbed at it desperately with a clear intent, opening the tap into her Fury.

Arthur Wilde Dingo
 
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M A L A K A T H

Faye set her jaw and looked over her shoulder, searching the dark skies for movement. That thunder would not be far behind now, as any dragon could outpace her own.

She turned her head to where Evirea and Taivas went, dark green eyes watching until she could no longer see clearly. Rider and dragon were not made for combat, but wounds and healing were her specialty.

Minutes passed, Faye shooting arrows down at the creatures below as Araelor continued to instruct his Tsonye to make the sands shudder. Yet the creatures outnumbered the count of arrows she had.

At long last, relief soared above. Dragons, with riders armed to the teeth. Colossal giants to smaller but strong wings, out came the squadrons that were en route.

"Rider!" Called someone from a Black dragon, wishing to speak with Valimir. She urged her dragon to move, to level themselves with the General. "Thank you for the assistance! You can head the medic team and set up triage."

Not many knew Faye Valimir by sight, but seeing a smaller white dragon with clouded eyes? It gave her identity away faster then her telling him her identification. Valimir and her famed white dragon, the very same that saved her life with his healing magic.

Evirea Nymbos Jensen
 
The Village of Virspoke


From the brackish they came. In lurching steps, in fever pitched to the roar of the surf, the creatures surged onto the shoals. Depraved things, their heads amalgams of the deep transmogrified into mortal frame.

Shock and revulsion found Isander in equal measure.

The flames within him writhed, spluttered, faltered. He could not call upon them. Could not form the incantation, conjure to mind the glyphs that favored his spear. Absent the guiding dawn of his magick, he forced a stilling breath. He still had his pledge.

So emboldened, he rallied.

Driving a foot forward, and another, he leveled his spear. A snarl tore from the pale of his lips, wordless to match the tenor that marched from the Victoria.

Solemnity lit his brow. He made his stand. Met the deep's charge with the tip of his spear. He pressed it, a controlled, probing point at the nearest thing's chest; was rebuffed by the turn of a blade; again. He sunk his foot into the murk, boot squelching as he found purchase. Another thrust met filmy flesh, elicited a shuddering gasp.

One down.
 
The Delta

The response was in the tilting of a head and a little sound, a wag of a tail, drops of seawater aglimmer like stars on the being’s midnight coat as it made closer. Gently, not in a manner belongst to one that’d have her meet the fate of the moons and the sun. For this she gave a smile, if making sure not to bare too much teeth — lest the divinity judge her for undue excitement and disproportionate glee.

A shriek split the atmosphere, tearing half-formed words and whatever respite clear out of her mind. The resonance of it, of the entire air it felt like, reached within the flesh and she felt her insides twist, like they’d turned to a huddle of snakes. And of a sudden, they were biting, at her, at one another, clasped together in a serpentine struggle.

Her eyes welled up and the sand swallowed her knees as she fell into it, arms clasped around her ribs. A pained breath echoed in the chamber of her mouth, turning to a growl like in mimickry to that of the wolf. But it was much more feeble, none so vigorous.

In the ground, was a tremor. It willed some sense back into her, the sharp attention of a viper.

“ Someone is fleeing. “ She whispered, stare searching the shore and pointing out a runner with her knife. Had she been able to shout for them to stop, she would’ve. Instead, her stare fell on the great figure, the one that had claimed the beach under a reign of terror, knew no respect towards the thread that held all together. Her seams were coming undone, fraying.

" We should be fleeing. "

Biting her teeth together, fire aglisten in her glare, she stabbed her knife into the sand before her. On either side of it she sunk one hand, tendons taut as they closed to fists. The vipers within lurched and the will for vengeance flared in her chest, brighter. Exhale turned to a low rumble as she felt for the water betwixt the grains, the shifting of the earth.

From the waves and the coastside gust, she asked for it to rush and sink the ground from beneath whom had screamed and caused her pain.

Farren Lóthlindor Cynefin



Cliffsnotes
- Ronja attempts to cast a spell to sink the sand from beneath the big creature's feet
- Nothing otherwise of note, other than remarking on Cynefin's presence from afar
 
Frantic gold eyes, unsullied by grime and muck, widened as a voice rang in the inner depths of their mind. Watery and hazy at first, but soon echoing in loud, redundant waves. He turned his head, the voice clear no matter which way he turned, unable to decipher where it came from. He stopped fleeing, recognizing the tang of the arcane, but once again, unable to know where it came from. His instincts kept telling him to keep running, far away.

But the voice told him to help. To put Her out of the misery she was in. His delicate jaw became parallel to the slant of his shoulder as he looked back to her. Beautiful, and sinking. So against his instincts, Cynefin turned and went back to her, not as himself, as he once was, but now reborn: the child belonging to the Madonna of the Sea.

“I’ll end it,” he said aloud, not sure who he was speaking to, whether it was the voice in his head or a voice elsewhere, a voice from the heavens or a voice from the sea. He could feel the blood and fat still sticky in his mouth, and with his tongue he traced over the sharp points of his teeth. He swallowed back his fear, the bile and bitterness, and knew to end it, it couldn’t be with violence. It would need to be kindness.

As long as she kept sinking— which Cynefin had no idea why she was, nor did he care about the why— he’d be able to end the cycle of misery, he was certain of it. Even if he had to climb up on her to deliver her mercy.

Farren Lóthlindor Ronja
 
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Aboard the V.A.S. Relentless

There before the Anirian, the Abyssal seems to shift. Its whole body moves in a fluid motion, without bones to impede its liquid strength. Its mass gathers, swells, and surges.

The black water blade bites into the ax with a hiss, steam clouds about the flame wreathed weapon, as the amorphous sword undulates and breaks about the thick piece of steel. Beads and bodies of it follow through with the motion, but they’ve no edge. The strike blunt across Ivan’s shoulder. Hard and heavy as lumps of iron.

A pale arm comes clean off of the creature, and falls down the wooden steps with wet smacks. The handle of black water blade, still gripped in the writhing tentacle, bounces and knocks against the bottom step.

What is left of the Abyssal’s arm whips into a coil as they press themself to the walls of the stairwell, whole shape almost flat before it bounds past the brave Anirian, shorter for a moment, as what it uses for legs snake and writhe along the deck. Pulling with one set, pushing with the other.

In another one of its hands, comes a second handle. It thrums, and the black water sprayed about, and trailed across Ivan, streams toward contraption. It levels the shimmering blade, newly formed, and aims to strike out.

A loud grunt comes from the side, and an axehead whirrs in a silver arc. The blow lands shallow, black blood sprays across the deck. A pulse ripples out from the Abyssal, like a wave, it crashes against the minds of those around it.

The old sailor cries in agony, drops the ax in his hands with a clang and a clatter and grips at his skull. A long arm snaps out, and the black blade runs through the old sailor.

An opportunity to attack presents itself.


From the helm, you see it crest about the mass of the horrid island. The kraken’s eye. It almost seems large enough to sail right into. The beast’s head, scale crusted and carapaced, seems alive with all manner of seaborn pests.

From other companionways you see more of the strange squid beings emerge. A score of three rally the scuttlers and barnacle things as dead men stand and fight against the dwindling crewmembers.

Disciplined, the surviving Anirian sailors reformed rank, stabbed with spears, and hacked with axes. Yet a squid-being appears, as if from thin air, downs a sailor with a spear thrust and drags them screaming back below deck.

With one of its masts shattered, its hull breached, you feel the old sea bird doing all it can to hold together. Something shifts. Some of the arms latched onto the railings slip away, and you feel as if a burden comes free of the ship. Its hull cuts a little cleaner through the water, though it drags toward the portside.

A silver glimmer catches your eye. A shape like a spear, drifts down into the dark drink. There, through all the roil and churn of the waves so close to the colossal beast, you see what seems like a silver mountain, down in the dark of the abyss.

Then, you feel the winds caress your cheek. Fill the sails.


Aboard the V.A.S. Fearless

Arrow fire rained down on those creatures that stowed aboard the Fearless. The crunch of axe heads, and the thrust of spears.

“Put those fires out, damn it!” Captain Luck cried out, as she tried to rip her blade from between the plate of one creature. The shell had pinched on. Stubborn as a vice.

Another silver plated thing scuttled and scurried across the deck. Caught Lindis’ eye. She growled as she tried to pull the blade free once more.

Till a blur of golden plate and cool earth came to stand before her. A little screech from the creature as it was punt away.

Lindis grinned. “I have a feeling this shitstorm is just getting started, Princess Soltanis,”

The bright bells of Cortosi ships rang out across the sea. Seeing the First Daughter of the Sun Throne sail forward, privateers rallied in her wake.

Lindis almost laughed.

“Captain!” came a call from up in the crow’s nest. “The Relentless! It's, It’s at the beast's eye!”

“Those crazy bastards,”
she clicked her teeth. “Alright, Fearless!” she cried out. “We have a fucking sea monster to piss off!”

A shout of pride over the din.

“Captain! Something, something’s coming through the hull!”

“Rat piss,”
the captain said, looking at the Princess, to the fire. “Yelva! Get below deck!”

Yelva grinned. “Aye, aye, captain!” clapped the pretty-boy by the shoulder, and motioned for him to follow as she adjust her axe.

Bellow deck, what looked like a man sized beak plugs a large breach in the hull wall. Sailors stare at it puzzled until it opens, and an amorphous shape is spat out onto the floor.

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Like pill bugs from a fresh cracked log, the Brineborne poured out from the Wreckage of the Sea Horse. No reason to their violence, save the mad clattering of the bells.

The village folk ran. As fast as their legs would carry them, and those guardsmen who had come with the councilman formed what rank they could. Shields raised, they crashed against one wave of the raiders. Warhammers and poleaxes crunched into armor. Splintering and cracking in horrid cacophony.

All bathed in the red glow of the mage lamp eyes of the hulk. All shrouded by the cosmic darkness that shaded the sky, and let the stars bear witness to all that played out.

One helmed figure bulled toward Aderyn, wicked club in hand, their sizable bulk lurched forward. Swung, heavy and clumsy swings that would shatter bone.

Faster movers gave chase to the villagers. Like sharks after minnows. A spear to the calf of one young man saw him fall to the mud. His child cried out for him, but the mother grabbed up their son and hurried on. He turned, mud covered and furious, he clenched his hands into fists. The butt of the spear knocked across his head, and he was dragged back toward the Victoria.

A hedge mage tried to weave a spell, and saw his breath turned to ice in his lungs. He fell to the wet, grasping at his frostbitten throat.

Things, many legged with snapping jaw, rise from the surf. How they shine beneath the moons and the stars. Claws-a-clatter. Jaws-a-chatter.

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Writhe did the snakes of magic tween the witch’s gut. Pain flared with each twist. Each turn. Teeth between skull clamped so tight they felt to burst. Crack and shatter.

Yet the waves heed thy request. Surge from the surf and turn the sand to quick about the great Madonna of the Sea.

How she whips about, her long braids of flesh thrash at the air. Thrash at any that would come near. And her form sinks into the sand.

The being there with the Child of the Madonna, cloaked by the waves and their shifting mirrors, follows after. Spear still held in their strong hand.


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Scores of the creatures die with each thrash of tail and snap of jaw. With more dragons on the wind, death is dealt all with greater expedience.

Those creatures still alive, those who come to see the great beasts destroy their kind, flee. Run back to the great silver mountain that is at the eye of a swirling cloud of foul ink. It seems to eat the carcasses of the dead whales and sea serpents, the little scuttlers and glowing striderpods. Taking them into its great maw.

Of those riders that give chase, some are buffeted by the black storm. Their dragons roar and snap, and fall to the earth with a thunderous crash. It's brilliant blue scales stained with a viscous mask.

Its rider, a young lieutenant, lays dazed in the sand as the great beast snarls and snaps. Helfyre licking about its maw . Frustrated, it lets out a torrent of green flame that leaves a scar of glass in the sand.

To approach the crawling mountain by sky seems an impossibility, but from the earth, the Tsonye and its rider see that the vortex of smoke has a gap near its head, where the creatures all seem to flee into, across the sand.
 

Cortosi Coast​

Edward cursed as he watched the old sailors fall right in front of him. He had not been quick enough. Maybe, if he had some of the winds he could have...no maybe if he wasn't a coward, maybe if he had not hesitated then he could have saved this man.

What was the point of it though? He could not fight that monster, he would surely die in the same sad way as the old man. A soft breeze caressed his face and lightly flicked at his hair. It drove him to look up, and there he saw it.

It was a chance, a chance that the winds told him he must seize. It was a chance also directly driving him back into the maw of that gigantic creature and likely ending with him getting killed.

He whispered to himself and the winds, "Ok, but I'd appreciate any help."

Edward forced himself to his feet and back to the helm. He could feel the winds trying their best as they pushed the sails and the ship forward. Ed was turning the ship back toward the creature, right towards the silver mountain beneath the waves.

Ignore the Dreadlords, letting them continue to do what they did best, Edward shouted above the waves.

"All sailors, hands on full speed! The only way out is through!"

Ivan Skender Dingo
 
Virspoke

Aderyn tossed him her bag and told him to run so Arthur did so. He was in no position to make decisions for himself. He'd never been any good at that anyway. He slung the bag over his shoulder, not at all interested with what was inside it, though he wondered if anymore of those calming crystals found their home their. He wouldn't mind another one of those now that his heart had caught up with his brain, the two of them pulsing irritably.

He turned around. He ran, sometimes ushering the people next to him to focus more inland and not to the outskirts of the city. The faster you ran in the opposite direction of the brineborne, the faster you could get away from them. Besides, people were fighting. The brineborne would be distracted.

Arthur could hear the screeches and flailing of falling bodies. There was a little girl, maybe six years of age, before him. She was alone, crying for her parents, and frozen stiff.

"Come on!"
Arthur shouted at her, stopping for a moment to lift her up. This was the most courageous he'd ever been.

The girl clung to his shoulders, one of her tiny hands wrapped around Aderyn's bag. As he ran, as the adrenaline helped fix his brain into a momentary focus, Arthur noticed one of the brineborne fix its eyes on him and the little girl. He saw it run straight at him.

Aderyn Verchtegid

 
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He clenched his head in his hand, squinting in pain, as the Abyssal let out its seemingly telepathic attack, the pain - and its surprise - too much for the young Anirian to bear.

As the attack abated however, and he managed to come to grips with the receding pain, his eyes came to rest on the Abyssal's exposed flank, its watery blade caught by the old sailor's dying breath.

He didn't need to think twice.

With a swift dash, he hopped over those last few steps that still stood between him and the main deck, and then nimbly closed the remaining distance between himself and the creature. It was then, as the tentacular head came within his striking range, that he swung his axe downwards with as much power as he could, aiming the blade downwards, right at the Abyssal's skull.

As his attack played out, he shifted position momentarily, so as to dodge an attack by a silver crab that had snuck up on him, and that was when he saw it: the eye of the Beast. Impossibly huge; unnaturally so.

A voice rang out in the air, and he recognized it as the strange Cortosi that had stowed away during the initial impact. Perhaps because of the cacophony of other sounds surrounding him, or perhaps because his mind was still very much transfixed by both the beast on-deck, and the one offshore that it took him a while to assimilate the words.
The only way out is through!​

Now, that was more like it.

- "Forward, Guardsmen!" - He bellowed, as he parried the silver crab, echoing Edward's call. - "Shield the crew, and send these beasts back to the Sea!" -

The task at hand was enormous; a gargantuan - not say suicidal - effort, but it mattered not. If they wanted to survive this, then they had to see this through.

It was time to bring the fight to the Kraken.

Dingo Edward Lorain
 
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Cortosi Coast​

A wild grin split onto Zara's face as she had only just begun to notice the ships coming to their aid. This was what the Cortosi were truly made of. The brave and proud men and women of the sun and sea. They just needed someone to lead the way, and she would be that person.

A wild holler of excitement rose from his lips as she was finally beginning to feel the thrill and excitement that was battle.

One of the creatures slipped over the railings only to quickly be dispatched by Zara's glaive. Turning, she watched Yelva and the priest descend below deck. She moved to follow, not wanting to miss any of the fun action.

She rested her glaive on the floor, picking up a shorter axe that would be more easily used below deck.

"Let's show them what happens when they make an enemy of the sun."

Her muscles seemed to expand an unnatural amount as she stepped onto the stairs.

Dingo
 
Virspoke


Aderyn only spared another glance as Arthur took her bag and urged others to take flight. She stepped backward carefully, creating and maintaining as much distance as she could from the sea demons swarming over and around the ship, making their swift ways to the beach and the villagers, many of whom had no idea what to do.

In truth, neither did she. Not beyond getting away from the sea, in any case. None of that mattered at the moment, though. What did matter was making her own way to safety while staying between Arthur and whatever came at him and his group. There were so many of them, though.

She focused on what was in front of her, though, ponderously bearing down on her. It was an ugly thing, its size easily dwarfing her, though their clubs seemed to be of similar size and heft. Her muscles were taut and straining under her skin as the Fury flowed through her, making her grind her teeth as a rage she so rarely ever felt took over. Her vision went red and time seemed to slow down as she ducked and backed off from several of the swings aimed at her, sure that no matter her tolerance for pain nothing could allow a sack of pulverized bone to live much less escape.

Hoping finally for a good opening, Aderyn screamed, the grating utterance emanating from a place so deep inside of her that it had surely never seen the light of day before. She met the Brineborne's club with her own, the shock of the collision splintering the makeshift weapon further but her fingers unfailingly grasped around it. The spar, still long enough for good use, and now with a jagged tip aimed at the thing's throat slid in toward the creature and she put all of the force she could - much more than her body would have seemed capable of holding - into driving it up at the soft, unarmored flesh under its jaw.

Arthur Wilde Dingo
 
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Narcisco drove his harpoon into the chitinous conch of another crustacean creature. Satisfaction was ever short-lived as another scuttled onto the deck. He worked in harmony with the axe-wielding sailor. Their work was anything but 'pretty' and yet the Sunfather's weave wove among them. Where other vessels had been overrun, the Fearless stood true to her name. The designation of this ship could only be seen as divine providence considering current circumstances. Priestly pride welled inside Cisco, punctuated by ever more fervent strikes.

Another shambling hulk encroached this sanctified space, and Narcisco did not hesitate. The tool was not as unyielding as the man as wooden shaft splintered. He made ready to strike again but his preparations were unnecessary. A blur of motion and suddenly his foe was over the railing, no longer of concern.

He turned and found his gaze upon a most towering and familiar visage. "I greet the Unflinching Flame of Cortos. May the Throne be ever bright." Hand placed across his chest, Cisco proffered a respectful bow to the princess.

Any further propriety would have to wait as the hull shook violently. He replaced broken harpoon with the cutlass of another fallen. Narcisco followed, not knowing what manner of abomination awaited them in the lower decks. His curiosity was short-lived and he intended the same for the horror that had been spat upon the bottom deck. The Sunfather's heat ran through the priest's arm and into blade at hand.

Fiery steel lanced towards the amorphous oddity in the hopes of killing it with a preemptive strike.



Dingo Zara Soltanis
 
MALAKATH

Taivas twisted away from the mountain with a hiss as the smoke marred his white scales. His rider gasped for air in the miasma, nearly doubled over in a coughing fit as the noxious smoke burned her nostrils and her throat. Yet even as Taivas retreated away from the black cloud and the burning pain subsided, Evirea knit her brow and prodded the mental bond, feeling it weaken further. The psychic command she tried to issue to Taivas seemingly fizzled out before it could reach him, the dragon showing no sign of reacting to what Evirea tried to tell him. She scowled.

The flight of dragons that followed did little to ease her, as some among their number fell to earth from the smoke alone, seemingly unable to do anything against the armored monster that marched along the shore. She spotted the familiar tsonye dragon, his rider apparently having decided that thinning out their numbers was a fruitless endeavor.

Evirea pressed a palm down onto Taivas’ hide, and the dragon descended. With their psychic link hanging on by a tether, flying high seemed a danger. Her eyes followed the fleeing crustaceans as they retreated into the silver mountain’s head. That voice that called to her rang in her mind again.

“Fire.”

Bolts of electricity arced and danced in her dragon’s maw as he gathered power. A flash of white light. A ball of lightning shot from the dragon’s mouth toward the gap, but under the interference of the dual eclipse, it faded to nothing in the blink of an eye. Evirea cursed under her breath.

Jensen, Faye Valimir
 
She crashed as she thrashed, flailing as she failed. Earth in her mouth where water should be. Pieces of her inside of him. Pieces of her where they shouldn’t be. Love on his lips, lust on his teeth. Deep and dark and dangerous, indomitable like the sea.

What came from Cynefin, he wasn’t sure. A surge of instinct, a surge of power, a surge of otherness that bonded him with the Madonna. He didn’t care that he went to her dirty, a part of him knowing that she’d forgive him for being covered in filth.

A strong tendril of agony crashed into him, but Cynefin wasn’t dissuaded. He knew that fear could overcome sense, that pain could trick the mind. He moved forward, rushing like the waves on the shore, allowing this invisible current mind them together like the waters and moons.

When he came to her, close to her, unaffected by the pain like one was unaffected by the winds once in the eye of the storm, he leaned towards her. Selfless and greedy, lying and honest. He kissed her skin with red, thin lips. He would ease her pain, he loved her after all, his mother. She had frightened him, but she was frightened, too. He’d soothe her as she would have soothed him.

He remembered the confining warmth that didn’t allow him to move. The taste of her, the greasy fat coated over his skin and mouth and tongue. The Amnesiac bit into her, teeth hooking onto the gray flesh, and tasted the burst of salt and metal, brine and rust, and perhaps, something else. Something deeper and darker, something more dangerous.

Cynefin’s kiss wouldn’t stop, disgusting and delicious as it was, he demanded more of her, all of her. After all, what selfish child didn’t demand to drink from their mother until there was nothing left? If he demanded it from the world, he most surely demanded it from her.
 
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Aboard the V.A.S. Fearless

On any other day, he would not have been found aboard an Anirian ship without considering it a stroke of bad luck. Taking how he’d ended up on one now, fished out from the water as whatever devilry therein dragged many another vessel to the abyss, the word lamentable was as far as he’d allow himself go.

Any port in a storm. Him and his fellows, or what little was left of them, had been allowed to remain above deck at least. No charity there, as a fight had broken out in quick succession, what with all manner of creature climbing aboard. Like the dead, changed and come back to take revenge on the living.

Having lost his sword in the wreck and murk of the sea, he had naught to fight with but his claws and the will to survive. So far, they’d been awfully sufficient.

Cartilage cracked as he closed his grip around it, lifting someone or something off the floor by the neck. In a snarl, he hauled the thing overboard, a lifeless ragdoll disappearing to the crash of the sea. It appeared almost boiling, with whatever had made to pummeling the sides of the ship. To keep one’s footing in the rock and toss was nothing short of a feat.

Whom he had learned to be Captain Lindis Luck was barking commands over the din, pointing out the yet roaring fire aboard. With his own captain probably dead or worse, he hadn’t but to fall into file. Half out of habit.

“ Yes, Captain! “ He responded in tune to a couple others, with whom he took to the task. One of them must’ve worked on the ship to begin with, wasting no time in finding them buckets to do it with. Saltwater splashed as they hauled, at least one keeping attackers at bay at any which moment.



Cliffsnotes:
- freshly rescued to the V.A.S. Fearless, Jens takes on putting out the fire aboard