The Darkest Shadow Can Be Found

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The Darkest Shadow Can Be Found

Postby Aegis » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:30 pm

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The first fire defier was struck in the shoulder by the first of Kura's flurry of arrows. And while it wasn't a kill shot, it broke his control over the raging inferno in the middle of the arena. The others peppered the nearby Flames, killing three outright, and injuring two more. The second and third volleys struck the second Defier dead, an arrow jutting from each eye, and several of his nearby compatriots. And the control of the blaze was now haphazard and beginning to lose all semblance of control.

The two lesser fire Defiers were straining heavily now to try and maintain the spiraling blaze, but it was now growing wider, large swaths of flame lashing out into the balcony's setting a few unlucky Elements ablaze. "Shi--!" Fwoomp. One of the mages disappeared, Consumed completely by the flames. The Flame Mask stepped away from Vega with a sizable chunk of his hand missing, feeling the flames screaming for fuel. The commander dug down deep, ignoring the pain in his hand, and took control of the flames. He was not to be stopped, not when they were so close, not with the perfect bait to draw out the Pure Flame.

Many of the approaching Wind Elements were mowed down as they scrambled up the stairs to Kura and Sephira's vantage point, the screams of the injured echoing up the hall, and the dead making the steps slick and impeding traffic with their cumbersome corpses. They truly were lambs being led to the wolf for slaughter. But the Elements weren't completely helpless either. The volley aimed at the final defier fell upon readied forces, having already seen many of their brethren cut down. A few fell in the protection of their mage, but he was able to maintain his concentration and keep the flames churning. They died proud, having protected their gifted one.

Until he too slumped down to his knees, an arrow in the temple that none had noticed until it was too late. Kura had dealt massive blows to the forces all around, but she paid a terrible cost for it. Double vision was a particularly troublesome beast, particularly for one who'd not practiced her abilities enough, nor had experienced such an effect enough to discipline herself against it. And for an archer, accuracy was everything. And the Mask of Earth, with his calm demeanor, crossed arms, and nonchalant stance, despite the close proximity of the wild flames, saw the disorientation in her movements. He did not know the cause, but he assumed her magic was like his, in that too much put a drain on the body.

And his Earth Guardian was doing as it was instructed. Chasing the woman. Corralling her. He watched as she dodge away from it, watching as each step fell. He saw her readying arrows and holding them, likely for a better target. Smart. She was intelligent, precise in her target selections, but she'd failed herself in a way the Earth Mask did not. She'd failed in her body. Her steps were heavy. Her chest was heaving under the strain of her actions. Her reactions were slowed. She was more than capable of mind and skill, but in a weak form, what was the point? A small stone shot from the ground next to the Earth Mask.

A loud crack resounded as it the stone crashed through the upper limb of her longbow, just above the grip. The light tension of a readied bow, and the speed at which the stone struck, caused the splintered upper end to whip past Kura's face, carving a deep gash from cheek to ear as it went. The Masked Earth continued to watch the tactician, not willing to let his guard down, recalling his Guardian back. She was the biggest threat to everything in here, and he'd just disabled her with a minimal amount of effort. She was weak. It was a shame she'd have to die. She'd make a great general. But the weak can never be in power.

And where the Masked Earth was calm and collected, the death of all of the wind had unhinged the Wind Mask. But his eyes weren't on the archer, no. He flew upon a small tornado up to the balcony where Sephira and the six earth Elements were, eyes enraged. Wind had the least number of mages, and now he was the only one remaining. And this... this... unknown woman had killed two that he'd personally initiated! With a howl of rage, surrounded by his Wind Armor, he sent gusts at her entourage. Several arms came up to protect their eyes as he did, but that was expected. He churned the air, and forced it through the nostrils and mouths of the six men, forcing the air down into their lungs. Hands tried to block the power, mouths tried to close, but the force was too strong. Lungs were filled. Then strained. Then stretched. Then punctured against ribs.

As the Masked Wind felt the pressure within them release, he let go of the power, and the earths fell to the ground, and to a man, gurgled up bubbles of blood as they drowned on their own life force, all of them looking at Sephira, wondering why they'd helped her only to die. One even tried to reach out past Sephira, to grasp at the unreachable. He was the toughest of them all, and uttered three words through sputtered crimson splashes, "My little sister..," before he gave up the ghost.

Masked Wind floated there before Sephira, the stairs at her back, her allies dead, Kura off on her own mission, and the rest of the Earths in the next balcony staring in rage. With a smirking chuckle, he punched out toward the woman, nowhere near enough to land a physical blow, but the winds followed his attack, and they struck Sephira in the gut heavily, flinging her upward into the arch way, striking her back against the keystone before letting her drop upon the corpses of the Wind Elements that Kura had slain.

Mask floated over to her, standing over her, a hand open above her, a ball of tightly condensed air swirling less than half a meter from her. The winds were so strong and forceful and tight, they ripped the closest strands of Sephira's hair from her head, tumbling them about before depositing them outside the sphere. This ability was pure, not to be tainted by something so mundane as hair. The man raised his hand above Sephira in preparation for shoving this balled up tornado straight into that pretty little face of hers, erasing it forever.

And in that moment, a sharp canine squeal of pain was heard. Phelan had been quite the busy pup. And his efforts did not go unnoticed. His phasing in and out most certainly sucked much of the blaze away. This shrunk the inferno down considerably, to the point that Maxine could safely cross the arena if so desired. As Phelan lunged once more for the Masked Flame, a fiery limb was stabbed through his shoulder, as the Flame's Guardian presented itself once more. The guardian had a roughly humanoid form, mimicking its master, and made sure to keep itself between wolf and master, stabbing outward with its blazing limbs.

Maxine could see the muscular back of the Masked Earth, staring down Kura from her vantage point. Beyond them, she could see a woman thrown against an archway, though her face was too far off to recognize her. To Max's right and above were the Earth Elements, all stood up now, drawing weapons, screaming at the Masked Wind in his armor ready to strike a final blow. To the left of the Masked Earth, the inferno blazed. The inferno from which a woman's scream was shattering any reality of safety anyone foolish enough to have felt. Max had the vantage to see every chaotic event unfolding, had the choice of who to help, if any. And it seemed every opponent was too preoccupied to notice her.

And the twins did not need Max's orders to stick with Lavana. After all, the child of Raskalarn had promised them much, and they very much intended to get their hearts' shared desires. One of them helped Lavana upright, no words necessary. They all knew the fight was not done. The other began looting the bodies they'd left, fetching several weapons, predominately daggers and swords. She returned to the pair, and offered them to Lavana first, and then her sister.

Armed with twin scimitars, the first sister led the way out next to Max, catching the Rusalka's eyes, nodding her head backwards, as the second sister carried the injured Lavana out with them. The first smirked and shrugged. They never spoke, but the smirk was more than enough to show that they'd not left Lavana's side as per Max's orders. The second sister stepped away from Lavana, tossing twin daggers end over end in her hand, waiting for orders from their new commander. Two twins, one naked, one clothed, a woman in a bag, and a woman that looked like a drowned goat holding a bone dagger while her companions held steel stood there before the blaze in the arena. The cavalry had arrived.

But too late for one of the group.

The screams faded into nothingness.

Before the screams had disappeared, Vega could feel her skin burning, before going cold. Her nostrils assaulted by the stench of her burning hair and scorched fat. She had felt the little fat upon her body boil and bubble. Most people burned alive died from the inhalation of smoke, but this magical fire produced very little of that. Vega felt the saliva in her mouth evaporate, her eyes burst and pop, internal organs rupture as their contents expanded in the heat. Until she felt nothing at all.

And then her eyes opened. She was standing. Sort of. All around her was a haze, scales of grey all about. She could see bright white dancing all about, but the edges of it were blurred, and impossible to make out. There were sounds all around her. They seemed distant, eerily similar to when someone screams underwater. Should Vega look at herself, she would see that everything was still there. Hands, legs, feet, really large nose, all there. But every bit of her was silvery, solid yet not, glistening. And in her chest, a warm light glowed.

In the hazy distance, Vega could see a pair of women beginning to approach. Unlike the rest of Vega's surroundings, she could see these two quite clearly. And they seemed to be arguing, pointing at her as they came closer. Soon their voices could be heard.

"She's a wicked one! She is selfish, so selfish! Even when helping others, it is to feel less alone!"

"You're wrong! Her whole life has been to bring change to others, in so many forms!"

"Sister, you are growing blind in your age. This is Vega we're talking about. She is little more than a beast, only recently tamed by that fellow with the horrible hat."

"And you grow senile, Sister. She is no beast, but an avatar of passion and freedom. Her heart is too big for her own chest, and spills out violently, but beautifully."

"She spoke of our pink parts!"

"And you would condemn her for such a slight? Come now, keep your head right. No need to be illogical. You're better than this."

"Yes, you're right Sis-- What?"

The pair stopped, spitting distance from Vega, staring at her.

"Who dares interrupt our Judgment?"

A warm glow permeated Vega and the surrounding area, but no sound was heard.

"You shouldn't. She's gone. She must be Judged. Just as you will be one day."

The glow turned hot.

"You're just an..!"

And for two straight bits, every person in the arena knew that Vega was dead, and yet the chaos continued to reign among each other personal battles.











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Then with a gasp for air, Vega, true Vega would find her eyes opened. Her body still burned beyond recognition, and yet, she could feel flames permeating into her. Flames that did not burn. Flames that melted the injuries down, and remolded her. The black, cracked skin was changed back into the pale glow that was truly her. Small pyres shot from her head like snake, and hair grew back out. Her organs and muscles became whole and strong, and soon, she was back, and whole.

Flames, separate from those conjured by the Element Cultists, swirled around her, protecting her from them as she finished mending. Her broken legs were not fixed, as these flames only undid the damage by those corrupted blazes. The swirling flames, deep red with just a twinge of purple mixed in stood hovered over Vega, and stared directly at the Masked Flame.

The man screamed in ecstasy, "The Pure Flame has come for us!"

He dropped to his knees, "Please, take this woman as your avatar. Show us your strength, let us be your humble minions, Pure One."

With a fwoosh, every flame instantly dissipated in the arena, revealing the whole and mostly healthy Vega, the Masked Flame, and Phelan and the Guardian locked in battle, giving no quarter. And there was a simple flame, like one might expect on a torch, though no source could be seen, hovering there over Vega. It gave off waves of warmth, and Vega could feel annoyance from this creature being called by such weak, feeble beings. Mortals were so... fragile, so alien to a being as the Induk of Faldrass Volcano.

It did not appreciate sacrifices in its name. Fire took what it desired. It did not need to be given something as worthless as this woman. Or any woman. It did not care for those that wished to use its own strength. Fire does not share strength. But most of all, it did not care for being awoken. And so, it did not claim Vega as an avatar, nor did it give into the Masked Flames' wishes. Instead it shifted forms. It stretched and elongated, and formed a bow made of pure flames. And it put itself in Vega's hands.

She could feel the solid flames, yet knew they were not. She could feel their intense heat, yet was not burned. And she just 'knew' that if she drew the string, an arrow would appear. The Flames wanted a weapon, they got one. And it was in Vega's hands.



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 ! Aegis wrote:
Well that was a fun post :D

5 questions each if so desired (though really I'm in a generous mood so tbh just fire away to your heart's content)
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The Darkest Shadow Can Be Found

Postby Vega » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:16 am

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When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.
~Tecumseh

Other things happened, other people acted and around her the world changed, but Vega heard none of it, saw none of it and cared for none of it. She bit his hand, snarling and feral and furious; determined that she would not give in, she would not lose. The truth of it was, Vega didn't want to die, she really didn't want to - but she was fuelled not by anger as it might seem, but by passion and pride. And if it was a choice between die fighting or live broken? That was no choice at all. So, she spat out the flesh she had bitten from his hand and she fought with everything she had to fight.

And fight she did. Every trill, every movement, despite her broken leg and shattered knee, despite the pain which wracked her entire body, she fought. Yet, despite it all, she was consumed.

What surprised her as the flames devoured her flesh was that she was cold. It was so very cold as she died and her screams sounded so far away. Everything that they had done, it ended here and Vega experienced a moment of peaceful clarity; she saw her life in that moment and all the opportunities she had wasted, all the things she had not done, but she knew that she had always, always made the best decision she could with what she had. Her regrets were for her father, for Arlo. Those who would grieve for her. No parent should ever have to grieve a child, Vega firmly believed and he had lost his wife that Vega might live. And Arlo. When she thought of what she and Arlo were still to do, the places they would see and the adventures they would have, Vega felt angry as she realised that she was so cold her eyes were melting.

Because more than anything, she wanted to live the life that she and Arlo would live together. This was so pointless, so meaningless. To die here, this trial, it seemed to have no reason or rhyme to it and as she realised that she felt nothing physical any more, her last thoughts were regretful of what could have been, the future denied to her and the boy in the tree who had grown into the man she loved.

Then, she opened her eyes and the world was grey and misty. This was what being dead felt like, Vega thought. It was alright - certainly better than being in the middle of burning to death. But somehow, she'd thought that when she died, she'd have some sort of feeling of peace or contentment. And yet, all she felt was worry about Arlo. When he found her, like she was all burnt and crispy, it would break his heart and Vega didn't want to do that. Maybe, she thought, he wouldn't recognise her specifically. Maybe they wouldn't let people in here to see the bodies, her body. That would be better, for him.

Tilting her head curiously to the side, Vega realised that there were two women approaching. Recognising who they were by the conversation they had, she looked at them and listened. "You know, everyone seems to have an opinion about me just lately," she said, her expression calm and as close to serene as Vega ever got. "An' that's ok, while you guys are chattin' about me, you're givin' someone else a break. But you know, I would jus' say that you're judgin' me based on your opinions. I'm not going to lie, an' you'd know if I did, so if you're in disagreement over who an' what I am, I'll happily talk it through with you." It seemed to her, in that moment, that the twins had grown so used to arguments between them that the arguing was more weighted than the actual judging. "I'd like to go back, please, though, if I could. I mean, I know you hear it a lot, but I love 'im an' you're right. He's changed me. Not tamed me, changed me. An' I've changed him too," She smiled at them both. "I try an' do the right thing, be a good person, but you know that. This isn't where it ends for me an' him, I'm sure of it." Looking at the two of them, Vega realised that she was sure. She was sure of who she was and who he was and, most importantly, who they were together. "I've had a great time so far, thanks. I'll keep doin' my best, an' makin' mistakes no doubt. But I learn every time I do, an' bottom line? It's time I went back to him now."

But then, apparently someone interrupted the judgement and Vega looked down as a glow started to pour out from her. "Well, knickers, how's that happenin'? I''m not doin' it - what is it?" She asked, because she didn't know and didn't like it. It must be powerful, very powerful indeed to stop the judgement by this pair and Vega hoped that she got some kind of answer, before she.....

.... gulped in air and knew, without a doubt that she was alive as she felt the pain in her legs attacking her entire body. Knee on one leg, thigh on the other and Vega had never thought she'd see the trial where pain was quite so welcome. Because it meant that she was alive, alive and here and she hadn't died, or stayed dead or whatever it was. The flame-guy was there and he fell to his knees in some sort of ecstasy about this pure flame rubbish and Vega struggled to sit up. "Don't grumble at me," she said to the flames, "I didn't call you." And in response, it turned into a bow and it was in her hands. "Thanks."

Without hesitation, Vega drew the arrows which she knew would appear and she took quick aim and fired. She didn't speak, she didn't gloat, she took no joy from doing it. But she shot, first the Fire Mask. Then the Guardian. Then, the Earth Mask. If any of the others were left, and depending on the time she had, she would continue. But those two first. As she did it, she prayed. "Xiur, this bloody well hurts, an' I'm sorry to bother you, but if you can, ask the sisters not to judge them too harshly. Everyone's got reasons why they do what they do. An' make sure Arlo's alright, would you? He's gonna be worryin', you know?"

For all that she thought, all that she prayed, for all that she regretted having to do it, Vega didn't stop killing those who needed it until they were all dead. And the very moment that they were, the woman with the shattered legs who had just burned to death in front of them and been, apparently, reborn from the flames, spoke.

"Alrigh', I dunno about any of you girls, but I'm bored witless of this place. We need to leave." The huntress frowned and swept her gaze around the room. The floors, the ceiling and the walls. "There's doors there, or somethin'. Definitely." She pointed to where the walls looked less even, where there was the tiniest crack of light. "They've covered it with earth, or somethin'. We need to try there first." If she could just move, that would be fine and she cursed under her breath."Will someone splint my legs?"

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The Darkest Shadow Can Be Found

Postby Max » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:37 pm

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The next room was one of pure insanity, and considering the trials she'd just been through, that was saying something. The anguished screams of a woman burning were jarring down to a core even as cold and hard as Max's. Wind whipped and the earth itself rose to evil occasion against the women the Rusalka naturally assumed to be her present allies. She stood there for a couple trills before she noticed the canine phasing in and out of existence, somehow seeming to pull the flames down with each cycle in and out of manifestation.

When it seemed she could cross the threshold into the next fray, she found her attention briefly drawn to one of the twins as she arrived alongside her. At first she'd half a mind to berate the sister for not heeding her wishes. Instead her eyes followed the woman's head gesture until she spied the second sister loyally helping an injured Lavana forward. Max internally scowled. Her friend was in no shape to remain in harm's way. However, if a chance to make a quick escape arose, it would do the Imperial no good to be far off in the previous room. Her dark eyes glossed over her two well-armed allies. She pressed her lips into a line but offered the twins a nod of approval. Now was the time to fight again.

"Keep her in your sight," Maxine willed the second twin that had been looking after the Mortal Born with a firm gaze. "And you." She briefly looked upon Lavana with a more imploring expression. "Don't go all heroic on me again. I mean it." She finally turned to her side to eye the fierce set of scimitars in the first twin's hands, her tone darkening with malicious intent. "With me!"

There were two robust targets in the Rusalka's sights as she stormed into the arena. High and above a terrible whirlwind swirled at Masked Wind's hands above a woman who had been cast among the dead. Her chest tightened in the slightest. The distance was too great and Max was no rupturer. She hadn't the time or ability to arrive upstairs to intervene on the stranger's behalf before it was too late. Her attention glued to the nearby back of an Element of impressive stature instead. The Earth Mask was perhaps the least bothered combatant in the room. With his back to the Rusalka, he harassed a dark-haired woman whose wild movements seemed almost inhuman.

Max and her scimitar-wielding ally were upon him shortly after a a stray stone caused the bow to wound its own master. The less tired twin caught the Earth Mask's interest first as she approached his flank with swords raised. The recalled Earth Guardian ventured out again to fracture the very ground the threat walked up, forcing the first twin to veer off course or plunge to her death. Now the Earth Guardian seemed so preoccupied between its focus on Kura and this new threat, Masked Earth failed to foresee Maxine's arrive before she was quite literally on his back.

She jumped upon him, left hand covering his eyes and bending back his head while the right plunged the bone dagger into the base of his throat. Beneath his cowardly mask his eyes went wide and his magical presence waned. Blood filled his throat, pooling into his lungs that battled desperately for air instead of his own life fluid. He claws at his throat as he dropped to his knees but Max's grip upon him was unyielding. The only reprieve she granted him was a speedier death after a few trills. She twisted the dagger hilt and then forced it free of his flesh, the large movement flinging blood outward in one big arc. She planted a foot into his back to send his gurgling body down upon the dirt.

Maxine stumbled back from her kill. Her chest rose and fell rapidly, the exhaustion of her battles visibly catching up to her. How many more could she rightly win? Her red-stained fingers wrapped tightly around the bone dagger. A single nod of acknowledgement was offered to the dark-haired warrior she'd aided. Her heart's pounding had echoed so fiercely in her own ears that she almost didn't realize the arena was no longer filled with a burning woman's cries. That one she had no hope of helping. Her sights traveled to the higher level to discover whether or not the woman she'd spied earlier had perished beneath the wind defier, too. The fiery arrows unleashed out of no where had her turning in place.

The red-head?!

Maxine recognized the tough woman from their brief meeting at O'Rourke's the season before. She'd no doubt now that the screams had belonged to her, and yet here she was: miraculously unburnt with a strange torchlight above her head, and slaying cultists with some sort of unearthly bow one-by-one. The idiosyncratic nature of the sight froze Max in place for a brief time until she heard the woman speak. She scooped up a discarded spear, planting the weapon into the earth and using her foot to snap off the spearhead. The bone dagger was swapped for her line of rope as she carefully neared Vega. Crouched beside the woman, she eyed her legs with a nervous exhale.

"I'm no healer," Max disclaimed with an apologetic expression. "So...sorry in advance. Try not to shoot me." She placed the length of the broken short spear against the outside of one of the woman's legs. With her rope she managed to secure it in place though it was not perfect by any means. The belt around her waist served no purpose since her sword had been stolen, and thus she took it off to use as a new binding for the second splint. "Anyone see another spear shaft or something we could use?" she called out to anyone not still locked in battle.

If Vega was right, the crack of light in one of the walls signaled an exit. Perhaps they weren't doomed to the same graveyard as their kidnappers after all. That dangerous sensation of hope filled her again. There still existed the possibility that a door was locked or wouldn't budge, that after all their efforts they'd remain trapped. The very idea should've made her panic. Instead she knew she had one last ace in the hole: Merces. He'd find her. He wouldn't let this rouse by the corrupt Elements bury her. He wouldn't. Merces would come for her. She believed it with her whole being.


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The Darkest Shadow Can Be Found

Postby Sephira » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:29 am

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“My little sister...”

The words struck Sephira like a hammer as the Masked Wind rounded on the Earth turncoats she had convinced to protect the captive women. It was over within a trill, blood leaking from mouths and noses as the Defier burst their lungs with only the use of intense air pressure. The carnage and gore surrounding her brought the taste of bile to the back of her throat. The mage had never experienced brutality like this first hand. The Defier that likely killed her master had simply resorted to the destructive force of fire to deal with Elias, but the Masked Wind Element possessed a ruthlessness the young woman had never seen before.

The mage stumbled back, realizing that the Masked Wind had turned his attention to her. All of her training on defeating a Defiance mage vacated her mind in an instant; she froze in realizing that she may soon share the fate of the men lying at her feet.

Sephira was given no further time to consider her options, in her moment of indecision the enemy mage had sent a dense blast of air at her. She felt her feet leave the ground and half a trill later her back ignited with sublime agony as she careened into the arch behind her. The woman collapsed into the pile of arrow flecked Wind Element corpses. Her vision swam with pain; she barely managed to look up at the Wind Mask as he prepared to wipe her off the face of Idalos. Fear and dread boiled in her chest, she felt so helpless, she didn’t have the presence of mind to Blink away in that moment, at least not of her own volition.

Suddenly a curious sensation took root in her very core; it was familiar but no less strange. It was her spark; it trembled like a bird that had been lashed to the ground, never to fly again. The Rupturer had of late been noting her spark’s tendency to act without her choosing, like earlier in the loft with the teamsters , when her spark had thrown her into a Blink when she had been too racked with fear and emotion to act. Granted she had been thrown at speed into a wall; perhaps she would have managed to escape the gas if it had not been for her spark's intervention. Her master had once explained that the Spark awakened from time to time and wrought changes on the mage; a mutation that altered the very nature of the mage. Perhaps her spark’s new awareness of her emotions and it’s propensity to act accordingly was one of these.

Sephira felt her hair being ripped away, strand by strand from her head by the cyclone of wind that the Wind Mask held before her. It was getting harder and harder to breathe as the roaring wind grew stronger. The mage gasped at nothingness, her death hung before her.

Without warning she felt a strange shiver of energy ripple from her spark and Sephira sensed a Blink portal opening of its own accord from beneath her limp body. The mage felt her stomach lurch up into her chest as she tumbled through empty air before landing face first on a stone floor.

Pain peppered her skin, along with streaks of dust and filth. Hopefully her coat wasn’t ruined...

The woman lay there for a split trill, trying vainly to cobble her strength back together. Wind shifted unnaturally around her, so she was not far from her original location.

Sephira hissed painfully through clenched teeth. She could nearly hear the voice of her late master berating her. The young mage had fallen and injured herself so many times during her training with him. Elias had always rubbed her nose in every stumble and crash. His memory lay before her like an open book, the sound of his grumbling voice and his well-intentioned insults rising to the roiling surface of her mind.


“Get up girl.”


Sephira flinched, unsure if she had concocted the sound of her master’s voice in her mind or if she was simply hallucinating; regardless of the source, it was what she needed in that moment.

Dust swirled around her as the wind intensified and Sephira crawled to her feet. She was situated behind one of the columns holding up the archways around the stone amphitheater. Sephira pressed her back against the column, her focus slowly returning as the cloud around her mind dissipated. Long slow breaths helped block out the ache in her back, she didn’t have the luxury of time to spend nursing her wounds, she had to survive.

Tangled tendrils of rage slowly wound their way through her, those men had died...had been killed mercilessly for aiding her. She would not allow them to die in vain. Her rupturing spark seemed to crackle with a wrath that mirrored her own.

Her memories of her time training with Keim’an came flowing back to her, along with her time of meeting Mercedes. Both were Defiers,; Keim’an had given her a taste of the different elements and with Mercedes she had seen how a guardian worked. Likely a Defier as powerful as the Wind Mask possessed some sort of air guardian. A guardian was reactionary, based on if the mage sensed danger. This Air-centric Deifer would likely use his magic to pin her down like the mage she had put down earlier. If she was pinned for long enough then he could carry out his earlier execution.

Keim’an’s words echoed in her mind. “Your magic gives you the advantage when it comes to speed, but I can burn you to a crisp if you stop for even a trill. Improvise...try to impress me.”

Sephira’s advantage was speed, and the Defier’s was power. She would need to push that advantage to succeed.

A distraction of some sort would be necessary, to redirect his attention away from her. Then she would need to use every trick in her book to outwit and out maneuver him.

“I know you are here little Element!” bellowed the Wind Mask, his voice coming from only a few meters away.

The Rupturer immediately reacted and reached out to a pocked of ether behind a column several meters to the right that she could clearly see. The Blink portal opened with a thrumming boom, and she dashed through it. Ether swirled around her as her spark relished in the act of magic. Sephira had used the sound of a portal opening to distract Keim’an once before during their sparring match; perhaps there was an easier way to utilize this tactic to throw the Wind Mask off his game.

She had only a few trills to act, the mage peaked around the corner of her column. The chained women were huddled together within the confines of the balcony and the Wind Mask was swiveling his head around to hunt for where she had gone. Sephira focused on a space several paces behind the Defier; ether pooled behind him at her touch. She didn’t need a portal, she just needed sound. The mage focused on compressing space just enough to cause a distortion that would caused the air to reverberate with the deep booming sound of a portal. The air began writhing and vibrating with a roaring sound that triggered the Air Mask to turn on his heel at the unconcealed noise.

Her opening to strike blossomed before her.

Gripping her saber Sephira whipped her free hand before her in a savage maneuver that tore open a Blink portal; the scarlet gash in reality splitting the area in front of her. The mage dove through, her mind fixated on her destination along with her following Blinks. Her master had taught her the value of chaining Blinks to disorient and out run an enemy, and Mercedes had shown her that triggering a Defier’s guardian was not all that difficult. She had triggered his flame guardian with nothing more than a close proximity blink. Hopefully, intentionally triggering this Defier's guardian would begin leeching away at the Wind Mask’s reserves of ether as well. The woman would need to wear him down a bit before she had the remotest chance of stopping him.

Sephira burst back into existence just above and behind the right shoulder of the Deifer, her exit portal seeming to shake the balcony with its deafening boom. Unlike fear causing her spark to Blink her away, Anger seemed to cause her portals to become louder to the point of nearly being deafening.

The shock of her appearance had the expected effect, as a cyclone of wind whipped into existence around her opponent, his guardian activating at the first sign of danger, but Sephira had been hoping for this. Buffeting waves of wind tore toward her but she extended her free hand to cast gleaming skysteps beneath her feet. Stumbling for a moment in the gale, the mage then bolted through the air as fast as she could; her feet thundering across the scarlet sky steps that held her some six feet off the ground; Air Mask’s guardian following her with concentrated blasts of air. Sephira curved her path around his left and outwards before leaping from the magical crafted steps and ripping open another Blink portal. She fell a few feet before disappearing through the portal in a flash.

Sephira burst from the second portal in another flare of crimson radiance, her witchbrand set alight to cast a red glow over her eyes. The effect of the guardian was dissipating. Her second opening had revealed itself.

This portal’s destination was set much lower that before and sent her skidding around the ground with the momentum she had gained from the earlier leap. Sephira swept past the Defier with her saber out, slicing horizontally as she passed him. The woman felt the blade make contact, cutting deep into his side. Sadly her luck seemed to have run out as a wall of steely air slammed into her, sending Sephira tumbling toward the chained women. Her body toppled end over end, the imprisoned women screaming as she came to a stop just before reaching them. Sephira’s left hand was bloodied along with her face, a short gash decorating her right cheekbone.

Wind Mask stalked toward them, his hand clasping his wounded side where a red stain welled up, discoloring his clothing. Another battering ram of wind slammed into Sephira and the women, she raised her arm over her face to give herself a tiny pocket of air to breathe from. Whimpers and cries peppered the space behind her, the captives crawling away from the mage as far as their chains would allow. Were they afraid of her or the Air Mask? Perhaps to them, any mage was something to be terrified of.

The Defier’s expression was cold, his eyes narrowed in rage at this Element who seemed to be begging for death. Sephira had trills, perhaps less as the Wind Mask approached, a wrath like no other clinging to his eyes. Wind howled at them, pinning the mage and the women down. Exhaustion was wearing on Sephira; she had never chained together so many techniques in the past and certainly not in real fight. She was in serious danger of overstepping. The only mercy was that at least blinking and skystepping were fairly cheap when it came to etheric cost. The Element could case a handful more of each, but then she would likely be all out of cards to play.

Sephira took a breath, she had to end this; for the sake of the women behind her and for the men who had died protecting them.

There was a sister somewhere who would be missing her brother after tonight.


Sephira focused on pooling ether beneath her, weakening the bonds that wove together reality, the silken energy flowing through her grasp before she ignited it with a single pure focused thought. The Blink portal ripped open beneath her and she shot through in a blur of scarlet.
The punishing wind vanished and she emerged some four feet above the Deifer. The portal ripped open and she tumbled through, landing on hastily cast sky steps.

Sephira felt her vision begin to blur around the edges; she was beginning to overstep.

The mage’s spark seemed to seize in her chest, but she didn’t have time to think about the repercussions she would face afterwards. Skysteps alighted under her feet like stepping stones leading across a tumultuous river. A hardened blast of air tore past her, catching her brunette locks and sending them upwards as she bolted through the air above her opponent. She would need enough momentum for what came next.
Again the Defier’s guardian awoke as her maneuver set off his spark’s warning bells. A swirling column of air shot up around him and Sephira fled back, her free hand gesturing frantically to cast the skysteps as she suddenly had to alter her course. The second use of the guardian seemed to weaken the Wind Mask, his posture slumping as ether was consumed by the involuntary magic.

As the column of air began to die down the mage took her chance and tore open a Blink portal with a wave of her hand. The exit portal ripped open just in front of the Wind Mask, nearly at the height of his head. Sephira leapt through the Blink, her momentum carrying her through the air, her bloodied saber was reared back with both hands gripping the hilt so tightly that her knuckles were a papery white. Snapping the blade downwards in a heavy diagonal slice the sword lanced down across the side of the Defier’s neck. Blood splashed across the stone floor and Sephira crashed to the ground beside her enemy in a tangle of limbs; her ankle going sideways as she landed. Pain flared in her leg, the familiar sensation of a badly twisted ankle hitting her senses. It was certainty not the first time she had injured herself from exiting a portal. Sephira's vision swam and she was plagued with motion sickness. Her body lay there trembling as the symptoms of overstepping racked her into submission.

Wind Mask lay next to the mage, gurgling faintly as the light left his eyes.

Sephira lay there, her body limp while waves of nausea washed over her; panting as she struggled to gather her breath. The woman watched with half lidded eyes as bright fiery arrows glided past her field of vision, impacting the remaining enemy cultists. She had been rather unaware of what was going on around her; the focus demanded by her magic had absorbed her attention fully. The flames had seemed to have died down and the lessening sense of impending doom brought a welcome relief to the mage.

The question was, what now?



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The Darkest Shadow Can Be Found

Postby Lavana Tharn » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:16 pm

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Lavana had been given some options and she knew exactly what she wanted the spear left behind by the water elementalist that Max had dispatched.

She could already hear Qit complaining. Lavana didnt care if Qit would throw a fit about it not being a walking stick, but shed fancy it's support and the twins handed out other goodies small blades and swords she would take a few daggers rip some cloth and make a make shift belt to slide them in.

She was posh, so posh!

The imperial princess was dressed to kill in her potatoe sack dress with murder knives adorning her belt.

The twins hoisted her up and she was ready to go, as support. Max demanded her not to be a hero, and her facial expression really did seem like she implored her not to do it. Lavana was a crazy bitch she wasn't going to listen to reason on this she knew that voice it was Vega and whatever was happening was truly horrible, she was also driven Raskalarn inspired her and she had to do what needed to be done to get her mother to acknowledge her she knew her mother was watching.

There was a massacre at hand and the mortal born felt in her element.

Lavana was ready to fuck shit up with Max, as she was about to deal with the earth mask. But clearly Lavana was a little late her injury was making her a slow mover. By the time she got there Max had already ripped the bone dagger from his throat, but that was fine no matter shed ascend the stair case to glorious victory and match wit and steel with the air mask as Max had taken her eyes off her. The Rusalka was preoccupied and Lavana was quick to take advantage as she motioned to the scimitar wielding twin as she slunk off heading up them.

The stairs felt like they took forever, each step painful. But her amber eyes locked on a familiar face, it was Kura. The mortal born still bled from her left side but the imperial owl would have some serious splaining to do if she let Raskalarns daughter bite the big one. Could already see moma bear spanking her with the flat of her broad sword. "Oh my, chewing with your mouth open? Kura where are your manners! All politics and no etiquette, I see ." She gestured at the blood on her face from only gods knew what. "Want one, or is tooth and claw your thing?" Lavana offered a dagger from her make shift bandolier.

So further up the stairs she went with her twins in tow, thinking about putting a hurt on that wind mask. It was a slow walk, but Lavana managed as she struggled a bit.

Damnit foiled again as she looked at Sephira and had managed to dispatch the mask on her own. Ole noodly armed mage put a decent hurt on herself as well by the looks of it, luckily shed defend her against the soldiers. Lavana liked the wizard, despite being envious of her cloak. "By the way your friends suck!"

There were earth element soldiers still upstairs as she steadied her bearings by using the spear as a support tool, it was about all she could do. Shed move with her allies and work from behind. Lavana had a little skill in this but needed to remain stationary in its application as she pulled a dagger free shed feel the weight and adjust and would throw it letting it spiral from her hand and twirl in the air at her target. Her hit was a miss as the handle of her dagger bumped a soldiers chest and the twins scimitar was quick to cut him down in his moment of confusion, as she used the tactic to throw her daggers to harass rather then kill relying on the twins tenacity to support them in there endeavor of delivering death by flurries of steel.

Moving her way towards the surviving captives with one knife left shed start cutting bindings breaking them free. Quickly sending them out to support the twins where needed some to the front others to the stairs so they would not be flanked as they ferociously kept the front line, every tassel shed cut shed send them out "Pick a weapon up, and fight like your life depends on it"as she was quick to bark orders like a battle field commander. They had a choice, to die on there feet on there terms rather then miserably on there knees. She expected the fallen to have useable weapons.

Waving the twins back shed set them on Sephira. "Both of you, help her move and keep her guarded" she might have been a noodly arm mage weenie but she was strong of spirit, she admired that about the portal wizard. And even if the company she kept was less then palatable shed do her best to get her out of this alive.I don't know if I said this already, but really your friends suck!"

No man gets left behind, even if her comrade was actually a woman.

Spear in hand she looked down the balcony and saw a flame mask, he was in a furious battle with that dog. She put the spear in her main hand and took a few steps back, and proceeded to do the spear chuck shuffle as she used acrobatic footwork to skip a few paces before lobbing it down from the high ground down at her target, shed learned from the savage this little dance and throw technique that proved effective at throwing pole arms.

But she spoke to soon as her shoulder broke out in pain from the body movement, it was a throw unfortunately that would have made Qit lose her damn mind as it spiraled off course spearing the ground with force a few feet away making the flame mask look up towards the balcony to see Lavana flipping him off from the edge as she looked down at him at what she believed a comfortable distance of safety.

No...Fucks...Given...

She may have missed but she might have bought enough time for someone to do something about him as the battle raged on upstairs.

What Max didn't know, wouldn't hurt the mortal born although Lavana half expected her to whoop her ass for this stunt on a later day. But her back was turned, and she would not allow her to be caught off guard.

Regardless Lavana couldn't help but smile smugly like the bitch she was, as she watched from up above. Vega had been wrong about Max as she tended to her broken leg. Never did forget that conversation that got her swept out in the cold either. An' ninety nine times out of an 'undred, they'd drop you like a hooker drops her bloomers." Looked like Max came through as the one percent, Lavana was determined to live just to see the look on Vegas face.
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The Darkest Shadow Can Be Found

Postby Kura Wolfsdotter » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:21 pm

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The Earth Mask was becoming a problem, she should have targeted him first. Unfortunately, her mistake was costly and between the strain from dodging and the drain from the repeated use of Multi-Shot, she was too tired to keep dodging forever. One of the stones thrown by the earth guardian broke through her bow, causing the splintered upper part to fly back, giving her a deep cut on her face. The loosed Multi-Shot arrow did it's work, sailing merrily into a wall without any concern for her desire to eliminate threats. Kura, as it happened, was close to the stairs when her evasion failed and she stumbled backwards...right down the stairs.

Fortunately, they were not straight stairs and she rolled into a wall about six feet down, but it hurt like a bitch. Between her wounds and that tumble, she was hurting bad, but she tried to get to her feet regardless. However, the battle had drained her more than she cared to admit and she fell back to her knees, breathing hard. So, in recognition of her limits, she paused for a moment to breath, looking up when she heard a familiar voice. "Well, you know, sometimes you're in a hurry." she said, grinning through the pain at the other Mortalborn. "Lovely regalia, Lavana." she said, shaking her head. "Ah, hell, since you're here, I'd best get back to work. You're mum would just be so disappointed if I let you die." she said, standing up and shaking her head. Her vision was doubled still, but she could fight. "Nah, the fangs are good emergency weapon, but not my first choice. Bastards broke my bow though, so I'll gladly take a dagger." she said, taking the offered weapon before letting out a laugh. "You should meet my little sister. Tooth and claw actually are her weapons." she said, bending over double with more pained laugh before she shook herself and stood up.

"Come then. Let's show these craven black hearts how the daughters of the Empire deal with scum." she said, her eyes starting to glow. She had an idea. It wouldn't be effective, but it would be intimidating and unnerving. She kept pace with the Lavana and her new bodyguard, go figure the daughter of the Empress already had personal followers, ready for a fight. However, the mage that had been chained up with them had already dispatched the Wind leader, and when she looked over the balcony, the Earth leader that had broken her bow was also dead. "You and yours killed the Water leader, yeah?" she asked, Lavana. When the response came, she nodded. "Good." Then Rahmet spoke up, alerting her to a bow one of the two dead Wind mages had carried. Looking where her familiar indicated, and using his guidance to help find things easier through her double vision, she picked up the bow. It was a short bow, not at all to her liking, but it was a bow none the less, and she aimed it out over the balcony at the Fire leader.

Lavana's spear throw missed, and Kura grinned reassuringly. "It's all right. I've a friend who hit an ally trying that." she said as she put one of her empowered arrows to the string. They were too long, too heavy for the bow, this wouldn't work if she didn't cheat. So cheat she did, taking a deep breath and triggering Deadeye, removing the range limitation on her arrow. Then a thought occurred to her and she grimaced. The fire guardian would intercept the arrows, but if she could hit at two places at once...this was going to be draining. Using Rahmet's help to get her aim pointed more in the right place, Kura loosed the first Multi-Shot Deadeye arrow straight at the Fire leader, and before it had even come close to hitting, she had one of her last two Multi-shot arrows empowered with Deadeye and ready to go.

This one though, this one was aimed up and she let fly, not having the time to correct her aim as much. As she expected, the flame guardian moved to intercept the first arrows, burning them away before they landed. But the second set came down from on high, and between the first volley and Phelan, the guardian was spread too thin. Still, it was a near thing. She had actually missed her aim and if the longer shot hadn't given the arrows time to spread out, she'd have missed him entirely, even with Multi-Shot. But one of the additional arrows came juuust close enough to the mark, hitting the Fire Leader in the chest and penetrating his lung. It wasn't an immediate kill shot, but he was now very distracted by the blood he was now drowning in. If he was medically competent and focused enough, he might be able to cauterize the wound and prevent any more blood from filling his lung, but he was certainly not fighting any more.

Which was fortunate, because the survivors from her first set were coming up the stairs as Lavana rallied the prisoners into position to defend themselves. In her state, she had missed Lavana engaging the earth soldiers and rolled her eyes. "They were the only ones _not_ attacking us, you know." she said, drily as she put the last Multi-shot arrow to the string. Then a black aura started to gather around her and she threw her head back and screamed as it burst out into the shape of a massive black owl, filling the balcony. The scream though, it shouldn't, couldn't, have come out of any human mouth, or indeed any single creatures mouth. Contained in that scream was the screech of every owl, from barn owl, to screech owl, to brown owl, to snowy owl, to even the mighty enormowl. All those voices, all those sounds of hunting predators, all coming from one throat.

When the scream died down, she looked at the masked soldiers, her golden eyes glowing. "Any masked soldier who wishes to surrender will not be slain this night! Any who throw down their arms will be guaranteed a just and fair trial! As a member of the Ruling Council of Scalvoris, I give you my word that this will be so! But any who wish to fight will be slain! Your leaders have fallen, your Pure Flame has chosen a prisoner over you, and the prisoners you thought could do you no harm have mastered this day! Yield, and you will be shown mercy! Fight, and you will die! Your choice!" she said, her voice ringing with authority and backed by that uncanny chorus of owl voices.

Really, though, she sincerely hoped the soldiers surrendered. If they didn't, she'd have to fire on them, and using that last arrow would put her completely unconscious. As it was, if anyone hit her, she'd collapse to her knees. Still, Phelan had returned, bruised, burned, pissed off, and snarling as fiercely as she had ever heard him, and he had reported Vega's revival and empowerment. In truth, she wanted to take at least one of these cultists alive, she wanted to know why they had wanted to summon a damned Induk of all things.
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The Darkest Shadow Can Be Found

Postby Aegis » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:51 pm

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Underestimating an enemy rarely turned out well for anyone. Earth Mask had underestimated these women, these 'sacrifices' as Wind and Flame referred to them. And for the second time in his life, he'd had a blade plunged into his throat. And his body fell to the ground, with an extra kick given by Max. But he didn't strike the ground, rather, he fell into it. It was time for a retreat. He pulled some stone to patch the hole in his throat, and momentarily filled his lungs with soil to absorb the blood therein, before vomiting it all out. He'd live. That was good. This plan had failed, that was... well not the end of the world to be honest. He had become stronger through these methods, that was what truly mattered.

He floated through the ground, unseen, waiting before he finally left, able to hear the woman who'd cut his throat call for a spear. He'd happily oblige. He reached out, wincing in pain, into the element, his vision swimming. He was pushing his luck, but he couldn't let her just get away unscathed. His pride refused it. And so, a spear shot from the ground, up through the bottom of Max's foot, carving a thick hole through the flesh and muscle, breaking and forcing bones out of its way. It was thin enough to wrap one's hand about, and came to a point, a bit of Max's flesh hanging from it, dripping her blood off it.

He swore. He'd missed, having hoped to skewer her through the groin, kill her. Head throbbing, that was all he had left. And the man 'swam' away through the earth and stone, escaping into the night.

The Wind Mask laid there, still, truly dead, unlike his more clever Earth compatriot. Sephira had conquered her foe, and her Spark had cheered at having been fed. But it was not truly sated. It ripped open a momentary portal in the ceiling, and nothing came or went through it. But the ripping open, the booming sound of it, shook the stone. This greatly pleased her Spark. It also caused fractures to spread through the ceiling, and spirals of dust began to fall down from it. The ceiling sagged, and those who saw it, screamed in start, but it held, for now. But not for long.

And the Rupturer could see that Lavana and the twins had arrived, heavily armed, Lavana bleeding from her stabbing earlier. And the trio had immediately engaged with the Earth Elements that were about to lay down their arms for Sephira, for she'd gotten revenge for their fallen brethren. And as the twins cut down the first of the Earths, the rest responded to fight for their own survival, completely against helping these women who were just as impossible to trust as their former leaders. The tentative trust that had been forming in a crisis was shattered thanks to Lavana and her followers.

And so they fought, pushing the twins back, drove them into Sephira, pressing forward with their slightly higher numbers and coordinated teamwork, all while Lavana continued to go around freeing the remaining, surviving captives. The Earth Elements would cut down these oathbreakers, and escape, this entire plan foiled. And they didn't even pay much mind as Councilor Kura stepped in, sending arrow after arrow raining down on to the Fire Mask.

One arrow struck true, shuddering him forward, but not toppling him over. Vega could see the look of shock on his face, unable to comprehend the extreme failure that was all around him. His comrades had failed him. His troops had failed him. His guardian had failed him. His element had failed him. He'd failed himself. And the thought of failure was the last thing to pass through his mind, an instant before the flaming arrow from Vega's bow followed suit, burning a hole straight through his eye socket. He was dead before he hit the ground.

And that was followed by the haunting screech of a thousand owls. It shook all of the surviving captives to their core. The steadfast Earth Elements were momentarily slowed, holding a defensive position, but maintaining their hard trained discipline. They heard Councilor Kura's words, but thanks to Lavana and the twins efforts at having struck down their brethren, despite the shifting of attitudes, they paid it no heed. None of these women could be trusted, except for perhaps the rupturer that had found revenge for them. Their leaders had failed them. Their captors would no doubt fail them as well.

Attacking those who'd stood down, who were not fighting, was too much to forgive for the troops. They doubled down, preparing to fight until those three that cut down their brethren were no more. But Kura's thousand owl shriek had another effect. It caused just enough of a vibration to further slip the stones that were strained from Sephira's overeager Spark's portal. And so the swirls of dust spiraling down became steady streams of grit and sand. And then the first stone fell, right between the Earth Elements and the women in the balcony.

The Earths wasted no time, seizing the opportunity to escape, sure that the falling ceiling would crush the women left behind, fulfilling their revenge and absolving them of any crime, for the dead never gave witness. As far as the outside world would be concerned, the seven men that were now in a tactical retreat were never here. And as members of the Earth Troops, they'd been responsible for the construction and sealing of this crumbling chamber. They knew the other ways out.

Which left the main entrance and exit for Vega and crew, one that was partially sealed by stone with a single crack of light coming through. Heavy chunks of stone were falling all around. The fight for supremacy was over, and the women had won the day. But the fight for their lives had begun. It wouldn't be long until they were nothing more than unidentifiable corpses covered in rubble beneath an obscure warehouse used for everyday trade. Gone, forgotten.

Vega, legs shattered, enemies dead, was granted a moment of self satisfied warmth before the Induk of Faldrass Volcano left this place of stone, to return to its home of fire with little more than a fading out of existence. She and Max were closest to the sealed exit, both injured, Max still held in place by the spiteful Earth Mask's parting attack. Lavana had manage to free the remaining survivors, but was above the arena, in the balconies, as the ceiling rained destruction downward. Sephira, the twins, and Kura, also up in the balconies, were just as far away, and while not as severely injured, were exhausted, their magic, one Spark Given, one Divine, had put their senses in whack.

Reaching the sealed door, while chunk after chunk of the ceiling rained down, would be a monumental feat for any of the women, let alone all of them. But being sealed, it seemed that so was their fate. They had fought hard, saved themselves from the Elements. As the ceiling roared and cracked and fell, their journey was coming to an end. They almost made it, came so close, only to be stopped by a haphazardly constructed wall.

 ! Aegis wrote:
Your next reply will be in this thread here where we combine the men and women together.



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The Darkest Shadow Can Be Found

Postby Aegis » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:22 am

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Your Thread Review is Here!

Whew! That was a doozy of a review! Now, keep in mind that these are not all the rewards. Others will be given out after the follow up thread, assuming you all aren't well... dead. So, enjoy these while you can! This was tooooons of fun, and I look forward to the next one getting going. Cliffhanger much?









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