The Syzygy The Syzygy: Rise of the Abyssal

For Syzygy event threads
The Delta

Sand shifted, made malleable by water. But there was no joy in her victory, only pain, one made greater as she watched a stranger sink their teeth into the large creature’s flesh. The ashes in the vial about her neck shifted, like bristling with disgust, defying gravity.

“ No, no, no! “ She roared out, unable to watch, her forehead pressing against the sand. It felt cool like the underground, a kiss of the grave, making her realize she was burning. The snakes within kept biting, twisting and folding over each other, caught in a battle of all against all.

Exhausted, she fell on her back and stared at the great darkness above, feeling infinitely small. A blade of grass, a grain of sand, the pain all consuming like it would never end. Perhaps it never would, unless—

In a blink, something dawned. She needed to cut them out, release what so longed to be free. Hand shaking, she reached for her knife and brought it over her stomach. It’d be a great shame about her dress, but— She could get new ones, mend the hole.

Maybe make a little embroidery there, for memory. At least the knife was sharp, so the cut would not be frayed at the edges.

She grit her teeth and brought the blade down, straight for the pain. To her surprise there was no blood, just a rush of movement— a wriggling? Something was screaming and it wasn’t her. So she stabbed again.
 
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Aboard the V.A.S. Relentless

Down came the ax. On sailed the ship. Howl did the winds, to speed the Relentless along. Forward. The only way out was through.

So through the Abysall’s head went the ax. Snagged on the rubbery skin. Gripped by a flesh that turned to iron vice, then gave. Parted as clean as a fisher’s knife through a trout’s gut when the blade came to find the proper slip.

There was a crunch. Something like bone that thrummed through the Anirian steel. But the weapon came out the other end. Gore clung in the notch, as trophy snagged betwixt horrid beak.

The Abyssal lay in ruin at Ivan’s feat. A heap of rubbery mess. Second handle to the black water blade fell to the deck.

Turn, and crunch went the silver crab. But its dart of a mouth spat out. Stung the flesh. Its sharp pronged legs twitched and thrashed as the last of its life sloshed across the deck. Its parting gift, a spidery web of dark veins, that spread from where blood welled on Ivan’s hand.

The only way out was through.

The guardsman headed the call, as Lorain and those sailors made fast the Relentless. Its hull, battered, splintered, still held on as the great eye loomed larger and larger before them.

“The only way out!” one guardsman cried out. His axe cleaved through one of the Abyssal, a spear stuck him through the neck.

“Is through!” another cried hot on the heels as he lunged forward, mad as a rat with nowhere to run. The spear, still stuck in the last Anirian, still gripped by stubborn human hands, held tight the weapon as a cutlass sliced free tentacles.

The last Abyssal gazes wide against the ragged score of guardsmen. Where there was once a Dozen sons and daughters of Vel Anir, only a tattered handful remain. Glass eyed stares as the dead and reanimated lay about them.

The wind howls. The sea sprays. The great eye of the titanic kraken stares wide at all aboard the ship.

The only way out is through. The winds whisper to all who would hear it. The distance closes, and closes. The Relentless aims to ram through the great beast’s eye.


Aboard the V.A.S. Fearless

Below Deck, at the Hull Breach


Sunfire blooms across the Priest’s weapon. Its heat is near blinding to those eyes not used to such candescence. The gelatinous thing upon the floor writhes and gathers itself up. Undulates away, swifter than anything so slimy has the right to be.

What was once a gathered body of ooze, spirals and writhes in upon itself. Clinging to the hull walls. An arm snaps out, sticks to the ceiling, and the mass swings itself forward. All tendrils and lash. It goes for Yelva. The Anirian snarls, and winds her ax back with both hands, swings from low to high.

The thing splits in two and falls to the sides of the party there gathered. Sailors shout, and watch the masses with wide eye. One of them bounces forward with tendrils that whip snap about wrists. In a blink, the half-thing slips up the arm and spreads its horrid membrane across the man’s face. It pulses as he screams. Glugs to try and go down his throat.

Desperately he tries to rip it off.

“Burn it off him, Pretty-boy!” Yelva shouts with horror, hand tight about her axe.

The other half, lost in the shadows, gathers upon itself and crawls up along the walls. Slimes its way across the ceiling.

The sound of water splashing onto the floor in a gush. Something hard knocks heavy against the wood. A thing like bone and plate sits folded upon itself before the great beak.
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Another gush of water. Another strange boney shape. Barnacled and covered in spines.

The first one unfolds. Rises as tall as those gathered round. Its three black eyes seem to take in the scene before it. One arm ends in a horrid crusher, the other, clawed and leggy. Black water spills from the seams of its organic plating. It raises its claw-like appendage, which opens like a toothed maw. A black fluid oozes there betwixt the two halves.

It snaps shut.

A black jet of water streams out from the long clamp. A black thread, as thin as silk, slices clean through one sailor unlucky enough to get caught. Cuts through the wooden wall behind him. He falls. A narrow line from which blood oozes fast dashed across his flesh.


Top Deck


“Keep them off the water line, sailors!” Lindis hollers over the churn of chaos.

Steady hands and disciplined bodies slowly beat back the flames.


With wrath, Lindis takes an ax to tentacles anchoring onto the railing. The writhe and shrivel and fall back into the sea as the Fearless cuts forward through the water. She glances over and seas the ugly thing still stuck to the hull of her ship. She grunts.

The forest of tentacles rises before them, and ships of Cortos fire their ballista off into the horizon.

Some bolts strike true. Splinters upon the monster’s flesh. It thrashes, and ships starboard ring their bells, turn away from the falling arm.

The great appendage breaks across the surface of the sea. Sets waves to swell the waters.

“Turn to Starboard!” Lindis calls as she fights herself up.

The command is echoed in report, but the ship turns slow. Slower than she should.

Lindis grunts. Grabs a rope, ties it fast about her waist, and is quicker than a fiddler crab’s as she works the knots. “Oy!” she calls out to the horned man with six eyes and four arms. “You, big ugly fucker!” she throws her line to him. “Secure my line!” without another word, she takes her harpoon, and hops over the railing. The slack of her line runs fast.

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Death roils all around.

Those men and women of House Vexion stand as they can against the horrors. But mortal flesh has its limits. Those brought by the sea, borne of the brine, fight with tireless abandon.

One falls to the blade of a Vexion guard captain. Ser Belkian. Rips his hammer out from the dead creature’s skull, blood run down his own brow. His helmet lost in the crash.

A hedge mage manifests a gale of wind that blows down a score of foes. The guardsman push into the gaps. Slip blades through armor, half sword to better guide the blade, turn the weapon to smash with hilt and pommel like hammer blows.

But they did not see those things that rose from the wakes. Scuttlers and barnacles, washed onto the mud and made for the corpses. The Barnacles burrowed through bone. Spread their tendrils through flesh. Made the dead walk again

1707810596103.png“Retreat!” Ser Belkian called out. “By ranks, guard the retreat, and give aid to the villagers!” the elven officer cried out. Though it pained him. He would do what he could to save those he could.

The Brineborne before Aderyn sees his skull split through. The sharp tool in the wrathful witch’s hands. Black ooze spills out from its fresh wound. Like blood. Like water. They slump, lifeless to the ground with a hard wet smack.

Other horrors skitter and scuttle about. One zigs and zags toward the witch, a silvery thing with too many legs and snapping claws. Larger and uglier than any cat you’ve ever seen.

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The hulk of greyed flesh that barreled toward Arthur catches a spear in the knee. A shout and a growl from throat. Bone fails with pops, and ligaments rip apart with snaps. The Brineborne falls to the ground.

The red haired villager looks around, wide eyed. Finds Arthur, a harpoon still in her hand.

“You alright?” she asks, looks back to the clam-headed mass that works itself back up with some effort. Its helm, a bronze clam-mouthed thing, points its strange mouth back in Arthur’s direction. Sali pushes the youth back with one hand, and her feet follow fast. “Run!” she warns, but something shuffles toward her from the flank.

Slow and shambling. It looks like the old man who had spoken to Arthur on the ship.


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A symphony of gnashes and moans. Growls and screeches as the Madonna tries to whip itself about. Its many tendrils writhe and squirm as bits and pieces of her flesh are taken. Bit by bloody bit.

Her mouth, there amidst the churn of agony, opens wide and splays its countless teeth with a horrid scream. A thing that comes from down in its core. A thing that sets all to quiver and shock. The air itself turns electric.

Cynefin, so engorged with her, sees not but white in his eyes. Head full to explode. Stars burn bright in the back of the mind. The more you take. The more you give. The more you become one.

Insides squirm. Shift. Become more. New. Something swells deep down in the pit of your being. At the roots of your spine. It wants out.

Again. A cry that pierces out. A cry that comes from the Madonna’s throat as all her arms go rigid, as all her limbs thrash out. They buck at cynfin. Smack and scrape and try to tear him off.

The spear glints silver in the darkling night. Its head unveiled from the cloak of rippling sea.


For Cynefin: The Filthy, Hungry Child

A single word sinks into your mind.

"Hold."



For Ronja: The Witch Who Howls, Cries, and Shakes


The energy on the wind boils inside of you. Your body, your magicks, wind and whip about like countless strands of spider’s silk that anchor you to the horrible dance upon the shore.

Your knife cuts through the fabric.

Inside. A new life.


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On and on the silver mountain crawls. Onto the shore. The creatures, scuttle and plod, climb into the things head willingly.

The General brings his black dragon down onto the beach. It lands with a heavy thud, and he looks out to the gargantuan thing that goes on making its terrible way. Spewing its black cloud.

“Valimir!” He called out. “Ready for a rescue!” he cried. His dragon, still untouched by the billowing storm, watched as Nymbos discharged a bolt of breath towards their enemy.

Nothing. He laughed.

The other rider of the support squadron made to try and assist the rampaging blue. Their own Earendel looked half ready to snack at the blue’s neck as the blue thrashed about and snapped at anything that got too close. Its eyes still covered in the black tar of the smoke screen.

The beach nearly empty of the little creatures and their strange mounts, all hidden away, or retreated back into the silver thing, the mountain came to stop with a horrid whine. Smoke still billowed about its flanks. But through it all, one could still see its strange maw.

It seemed to glow. Ever open as the little creatures ran into it.
 
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A short lull in the fight saw him examining his own hand. Dark veins sprang forth, from where that damned crab had bit him, in an unnatural web pattern. He remained unconcerned. Poisonous or no, it would be something any old healer should be able to fix easily.

"Well, except Perrine Urahil." - He thought. Useless as she was, the Proctor would, as likely as not, end up getting him killed over a minor wound.

His attention returned to the battle. The ship moved full-sail ahead, the wind carrying straight through to their destination.

The only way out is through, it seemed to say, as though it sought to grant them their blessing in this - most auspicious - of undertakings.

A stir grabbed his attention, and his gaze turned to that last remaining Abyssal on deck. He looked around at the very few countrymen that still stood with him.

- "Fall back!" - He ordered the few remaining Anirians that still remained with him. - "To the stern castle, fall back!" -

The kraken approached, their eerily-smooth sailing taking them right into the jaws the beast. The few last men remaining scattered throughout the main deck offered him a puzzled look.

- "Protect the helmsman." - He replied, without need of question, nor remark. - "Keep this ship steady!" - He tightened his grip on his axe.

- "Close ranks, grab a harpoon and shoot anything that comes onto our ship!" - He bellowed once again, before muttering to himself:

- "I'll deal with that last one." -

His weapon locked, and his stance tense, Ivan then charged at the Abyssal.


Dingo Edward Lorain
 
M A L A K A T H

"I'm never eating fish again," Jensen muttered to his dragon as they watched the scuttling crabs retreat back into the maw of what looked like the underside of a bloated, decaying whale. The tsonye dragon snorted a plume of smoke in agreement and shifted on the black sands. What had happened to the blue dragon had unnerved Valthor and whilst he had been full of courage to take on the crustations, the thing before them that could blind a dragon and disjoint their bonds was a whole different beast. Jensen was loathe to make his companion do anything he didn't want to, especially when he tended to share the sentiment, but leaving was not an option. That thing couldn't be allowed to exist.

"Perhaps if we set up a perimeter General?" Jensen nudged the green next to the much larger black dragon. He pointed towards the smoke and made a circling motion. "We could keep enough of a distance not to touch it, but if enough dragons flew fast enough around the smoke it might keep it contained and skyborne leaving the thing more open to attack."
 
Aboard V.A.S. Fearless

On instinct he turned to the Captain’s loud call, what with the rather literal nature of the moniker. He just about managed to snatch the end of the rope from the air afore it hit him square in the face, steps already fast approaching.

“ Yes, Captain. “ He responded, voice elevated despite the fact she was hardly listening, already harpoon in hand and going for the railing.

Well— Fuck.


On the floor, the line was escaping rapidly like a watersnake to the depths. There was no time to make it around the mast and Gods knew what she even planned to do, possibly needing all the slack she could get.

His eyes picked out a sturdy, yet unbroken part of the railing. Around it, he looped the end thrice, two hands keeping enough slack for a secure knot. Halfway into the task the rope became taut in a wild jerk, but the weight attached to it wasn’t anywhere near enough to pull him overboard, as per the Captain’s clever prediction. Why else—

Huffing a curse, he finished tying and turned, glaring across the deck at the ongoing fight. On the floor next to him, someone was dying, in their hand yet a sword. So he pried it out for himself, against the feeblest of resistance.

“ Sorry, mate. “

But also, not really.




Cliffsnotes:
- we just doing as the captain commands -- LIFELINE = SECURED.
 
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M A L A K A T H

“Valimir!” He called out. “Ready for a rescue!” he cried.

Faye turned round to heed the call, looking between the General and the other medics that began setting up their gear.
To the medics, Faye handed them her supply of Ransa tears. It was hard to keep their own supplies in stock on the Wall, but Faye had her own means of obtaining them. Without another thought, she smiled grimly. "Pray we do not need use of these." The tears held healing properties, potent levels of it when not diluted or mixed into a salve.
On her person, Faye kept two vials. One was for herself, and the other for Cathán should they ever run into trouble. Valimir pivoted round, returning to her awaiting blind dragon who grew overwhelmed without his bonded rider's link top use her eyes to see. Faye soothed him with her voice before mounting up to the saddle, hands and voice guiding her dragon to obey her commands and get closer to the General.

"The riders I can help, but Cathán is too small to carry the weight of a single dragon. Unless you wish for me to begin treatment out there, I'm going to need assistance on the retrieval." Faye lifted a dark brow. She was not one to practice formalities, but the woman could not turn away at the idea of helping those in need.

And right now, they had a moment clear to help those that flew too close to the suffocating clouds from the anomaly.

Evirea Nymbos Jensen
 
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The Delta

Growling, all muscles taut against the ache within, she reached with both hands and dug into the tear at her middle. Beneath the scream and thrash of the ocean behemoth, the great struggle looming in the periphery of her attention, was but a slick twisting like that of eels.

It didn’t feel like eels, something sharp and solid in the midst. She yanked and something came loose, was released out along with a pressure. The movement of the thing in her hands became rapid as the firelight hit it, like lightning had been injected straight into the many tendrils. In a startled shriek she tossed the mass away as it begun clutching her wrists, ends of tentacles burning her skin, trying to bury a grip in.

There was a clatter, like a clam shooting open or crustacean turning inside out, followed by a call. The most hideous sound she had ever heard.

Breath held in her chest she swallowed the will to cry and wail, hands rubbing together in a feeble attempt to rid them of the sting. Blinking rapidly against the water in her eyes, she keeled hear head to take a good hard look at what yet shambled on the sand.
 

Cortosi Coast​

So, Edward had not expected his words to light a fire like it did. He supposed that the winds were helping him in that regard, but even so, the Dreadlords and Anirian sailors seemed a little battle crazy to him. They were insane...Ed could not help a small smile tug at his lips as the energy of the crew also drove him forward.

The gargantuan eye now loomed before, he could not see the reflection of himself or the boat, but instead, the eye felt like it was staring into his very soul and it made his knees weak. His instincts told him to run, to hide from this natural predator whose goal in life was that Edward Lorain would meet his end.

He wanted to buckle, but the wind at his back and the shouts of the crew kept him upright like strings being held by the maddest of puppeteers. At this moment he knew, it was not only the Kraken's eye upon them but all the eyes of the world were unknowingly watching this battle.

Ed gripped the wheel so tightly that he could feel his hands bleed from splinters, as he gritted his teeth in defiance.

"Brace!" He yelled as the ship flew above the waves towards its ultimate destination.

Dingo Ivan Skender
 
Zara descends into the ship just in time to see the armored creature from the abyss. She bares her teeth at it as her opponent is set in her mind. She hefts the axe into her right hand as she stomps forward. The chaos around her was largely ignored.

Without any words or challenges, as she doubted such a monstrosity would care for her words, she charged the creature making an overhand swing as her free fist swiftly followed behind aimed for the thing's abdomen.

In the narrow confines below deck, some might be worried about using to much strength and damaging the ship even further. That was not Zara. The simplest way to stop the destruction of the ship was to kill this thing, and that meant using her full power to pulverize this thing.

A furious roar echoed within the ship asserting her dominance.

Dingo
 
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Virspoke


The Brineborne that had attempted to kill Aderyn instead received the broken spar thrust up through its skull, splitting bone and flesh alike. It died with a final breath of ocean, rotting fish, and blood, speckling Aderyn's face with some droplets of its vital fluids.

Her heart was still racing, and her eyes darted around to see what was next as her enhanced strength left her at least for the moment. There were just so many of them, she had to run just like everyone else. She spotted some kind of silvery ... crab? Whatever it was, it was the size of a dog with myriad legs and claws that looked like they could rip her leg off if it got to her.

She turned to run as it scuttled toward her, slower than her only by virtue of its inability to charge directly at her. She leapt from the pier onto the beach, her ankles screaming at her to stop risking their wellbeing, and scrambled forward, scooping up a handful of sand as she did so. Her thumb rubbed anxiously on the worrystone, the well into her Fury beginning to open again, but instead of that, she tapped into something she had never done before.

There was in her a deep reservoir of Avarice, always being poured into by merchants and others who expected payments she could never afford or who simply wanted what she had against her will. She always negotiated, always talked them down and away from their intent on enriching themselves - it was a skill like any other as far as she had ever considered. But in so doing, she pulled their greed out of them, absorbing it and pushing it down having never felt a need for nor understood its use.

With the scuttling nightmare nearing as she sought to catch up with the others to the line of soldiers that already looked as though it would break, she threw the sand into the thing's face. At the same instant, the Avarice conjured long crystalline darts sharper than her makeshift club could have ever been. They released alongside and within the sand, the spikes seeking crab shell and flesh.

Dingo
 
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Virspoke

The pain Arthur was expecting never came. His face was shoved into the shoulder of the child he'd picked up as though their roles were reversed. When he looked up, he saw the creature fallen to the ground and the dull, red locks of a woman whose lips moved to talk to him. He could barely hear her voice. He definitely couldn't make out what she was saying. Arthur's ears were ringing. There hadn't been an explosion, but in all the stress his body was overloaded. Arthur simply nodded his head and rose from the ground. He hiked the child up in his arms, pressing them against his chest.

He looked back at the creature, watching as it stood. The spear was stuck in its leg, right above the knee, but it moved as though it wasn't affected in the slightest by its wound. It might as well not be a wound at all. Arthur groaned, his head hot and pounding. He regretted ever coming here. He wondered why it even mattered so much that he chase after a story at all. If he ever got home, he vowed never to see the outside of the Allirian Inner City walls ever again.

Then, he looked closer. He recognized the face under the shell, rotting and green. Yes. He'd just spoken to that man.

The thrumming in his head returned. His heartbeat strummed against his skull. The water was calling to him again. Arthur still had Aderyn's bag, but couldn't reach into it to find the crystal she'd given him before to calm his nerves.

No. He'd just have to keep running. He'd have to keep running and not look back at the sea.
 
The Delta

The sudden onslaught of pain had been too great. And for what felt like an eternity, Farren blacked out. She floated in a place where she was detached from self and kin. There was no sound, there was no magic, and there was almost no light. None besides a pinprick of white light that lay, what she directionally assumed was, far below her.

But like a frayed string being forced through the eye of a needle, Farren could feel her conscience being relentlessly tugged towards it and had no strength to fight this force of nature. Inwardly, she fell. Spiraling so fast towards a pinpoint of light that some part of her was afraid she would be impaled from sheer velocity. Instead, Farren hit that light and screamed as it consumed her in a split second of blinding agony.

Farren had collapsed at some point, but startled awake when that scream carried through her vision and came out a harsh strangled cry from her lupine maw. Memories of the night flitted back. Friendship found at the edge of a campfire and a strange marine monster she could not fathom. Whining deeply in concern, limbs shook and ached as she attempted to stand on all four legs. A strange sound from behind her pulled her attention to the crumpled form of the orc woman she had just met. The scent of fear and pain accompanied the salty tang of tears.

The wolf stepped forward, but a strangely familiar weight on her head made her freeze.
No. It can't be. But how? For giving an experimental shake of her head, she confirmed the weight of antlers growing from her skull. The same she sported when Farren took the form of a mighty elk. Yet here, two of her shapes had merged. Predator and prey. This had never happened before, it should have been impossible. And yet, Farren could feel and see her body with her own two eyes. This reality was true and these antlers were real. The only explanation she could think of was the eclipse. It had messed with her magic and trapped her in her wolf body. So why not also should the other parts of her shapeshifting go haywire as well?
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She had little time to continue brooding over these new changes when a cry tore from Ronja and she tossed something from her body. An indescribable tentacular blob landing in the sand. Coated in slime and undulating perversely.

Even from only feet away, Farren could feel the wrongness in its form. It felt parasitic and hungry. A crime against nature herself.

Finding new strength in her outrage, Farren lunged forward with a snarl. Great ivory teeth snapping like daggers, tearing into this foreign creature. Ripping with tooth and claw, she ignored the taste of brine that flooded her mouth and burned her tongue. Gagging through blackened blood that was alien to her. Pieces lay scattered around her. And only when each of them stopped moving was the wolf satisfied.

Her sides heaved as blood dripped from her snout and her gray eyes bore challengingly into the sea.


Ronja
 
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THE DELTA:

Hold.

He held.

Grasping with his fingers and lips and teeth. It was excruciating, holding back and holding on at the same time. On the precipice of yearning and distancing, Cynefin felt it then. Something else in him, something that was not him, something that was not her. Deep in his gut, back in the swirl of obscure monism, something cut through his noetic state.

The pain came back, a scream of agony ringing in between his ears. His blood, his kin, struggling away from an inhumane monster. A hand went to hold his lower gut, pressing reassuringly against the pale skin.

Feel my warmth. Feel my power. I will protect you. He promised. But it needed more, more than what Cynefin could provide. He breathed the Madonna of the Sea deep into his lungs, tangy salt and tannic brine. He couldn’t hold on, unfortunately, the little ones needed him.

The reborn was too slow, and with a whimper, he felt the string of oneness snap. Another painful kiss, all bruised lips and teeth, made to devour and claim. He’d protect his kin from these monsters, all he needed was a little more.

Ronja Farren Lóthlindor