Rebirth and Return [All are welcome!]

The time is at hand!

Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?

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Kasoria
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Re: Rebirth and Return [All are welcome!]

Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:50 am

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It wasn't chaos. That's just the absence of order. A farm run by committee rather than dictate is, technically, chaos. Chaos can be beautiful, in its unbound, multifaceted creativity, and utterly shorn of violence. The Emea was chaos; it was the pooling of all raw sentient emotions and dreams and sensations... and though there were rules, they were the same bindings as gravity was to the living world. Not ordering the chaos, merely containing it.

a girl went tripping falling begging down spewing black and red and gutted even as she stabbed up into

Kasoria had seen chaos, and he had seen this. Far, far more often, he had seen this.

shrieking woman saws through a throat before three spears skewer her and she's still cutting still slicing still screaming

This wasn't chaos. This was horror. This was slaughter. This was violence and wrath and hatred and all things that needed sentient minds to and hands and wills to bring into. Every mind now was an engine for massacre; every pair of hands a means to add to.. to...

ripped apart as they fled by monsters abominations freaks traitors magic crackling and blackening flesh and arrows and axes and still fighting roaring bleeding

This was raw, unrestrained, annihilation. A battle underneath a sunless day, where eve the heavens hid their eyes and let mutants and cultists and free men and monsters (not all on opposing sides, either) paint those yellow sands red wherever you cared to look. Where innocents were slaughtered, butchered, hewn and hacked and even devoured as they fled. Brave men dragged down and bellowing their oaths of hatred and loyalty and worship and damnation. This was terror and judgement and horror in its most savage, final form, and this-

one arm a stump crawling back searching for his arm sword shadow over him bleeding eyed cultist raising sword and screaming praise


-until his head is struck from his shoulders, strike smooth but cut ragged. The one-armed Blackjack gapes up in horror as head falls back and body falls forward... then his jaw fully drops when he sees-

This is something Kasoria knows very well.

"Geddup!" He kicked a sword over. Any sword. There's plenty around. "Geddup an' FIGHT!"

There's no time for more inspiration than that. A blink later the blood-splattered little monster is dashing off, a blur of black and silver and red-

-gladius chopping through the torso of one Web Guard before his own sword could fall, karambit hacking open the man's throat even as his chest yawned open, wet and ripe and scarlet. Another came in from the right and Kasoria's swinging arm angled up, incercepting the mace-

-by getting under the swing, karambit carving open the man's arm lengthways from wrist to elbow. The Web Guard shrieked as his uniform turned crimson and the snarling Raggedy Manjammed the gladius through his throat, quick and savage as a silver tongue, bounding on, and repeat, and again-

Kasoria let the momentum of his strikes propel him around: not allowing his body to stop, always moving and unable to be pinned down. The Web Guard weren't breaking anymore. This was the core of them, anywhere from a few score to a few hundred of diehard fanatics who did not care that their country, their city, their people, their species had been manipulated from arcs ago by the creature they now served. Manipulated and almost destroyed. They did not care, as traitors throughout history cared not for the atrocities their selfishness bred.

Then again, a fair few weren't even from Etzos, like the-

Thing that was snipping and slicing its way through a cluster of Etzori, shrieking in outrage and a guttural tongue Kasoria did not recognize. Torso extended in a truly disgusting manner, a pair of forearm-sized pincers lashed out over and over, clack-clacking hard enough to break bones and sever limbs as the sword and hatchet she... no, it wielded hacked at the Etzori.

Not Tower Guard, either. Not Blackjack. Not resistance or gangers or anything else. Kasoria scanned them for a half-heartbeat and knew them for what they were.

Folk. People. Citizens. Shoving their woman and children to the back and planting their bodies before the monsters, until they were dead or dying and the women stepped up to finish the job. Fear dripping from their features. Mingled and warring with rage and a sheer, ageless desire to protect kin and home.

Kasoria blinked. He remembered Rhakros. Smoky streets and impossible caverns. Simple mortals, not touched by magic or marks or destiny or even greatness. Hurling themselves as terrors that would send anyone else running. He remembered how militia had brought down Lisirra's monstrosities with nothing but spears and maces. He remembered how they'd died in droves and willingly, for the protection of their people, for the vengeance of the dead.

He remembered how it steeled him, to see his people fight so. Like it did right now.

His Sparks growled and hissed in protest as he sent a fresh command to his Abrogation, new layers of Replicative armor, sprouting into existence around him. However Oberan was doing... whatever it was, he could feel it bouying up his endurance, his speed, reflexes, muscles... and that included his Spark. But of them all, that would run dry fast, and his parasitic "siblings" knew that even better than him.

Not yet. Just a bit longer. Until it's done.

Kasoria swore, until he died, he heard voices in that moment. Speaking atop each other, distinct but distant, like your own name shouted across a canyon.

Until the end.

Kasoria grinned and charged the monster killing his people, bellowing as he did-

"Oi?! See me 'ere, you cunt!"

-as Sintra's Exalted turned to him with a snap of malformed vertebrae, drooling venom and hatred-

Make it convincing.

Kasoria reared back with his gladius, roaring as he aimed a huge, overhand blow at the four-armed monster, which-

Of course.

-throw up its own hatchet and sword to block him, pincers already punching out, opened wide, eager to snip this irritating heretic in two and bring his head to its Mistress-

Sucker.

Kasoria ground his teeth as a pair of superhuman blows slammed into his barriers-

-and the Backlash energy broke one of those pincers clean in half, denting the other one, agony of the redirected energy making the Exalted rear back for a brief second in agony-

Pincers destroyed or useless. Mundane weapons still held high and blocking his feint.

Both of them. Whereas Kasoria still had-

SHUNK

-the karambit that punched into the monster's groin, and the Raggedy Man rose from a crouch to his full height, bringing the weapon with it-

-drinking in every moment, every ounce of disbelieving horror as the Exalted felt and then saw itself torn upun vertically, from its cunny to his throat-

-then saw all those very essential, very mortal organs spill out from a body it hard willingly deformed for the glory of Sintra. Its arms went limp. Its pincers dropped. But its stinger still twitched-

-until Kasoria lashed out with a straight left, breaking her nose, slamming her head back-

SHICK

-leaving her open for the fonal, chopping, horizontal blow that took her head off.

"Get the bairns the fuck off outta it," he bit out in ragged breaths to the clutch of Etzori, looking at him in awe and horror. "Rest a' yuhs, gotta stay an'... an'..."

A shadow loomed over him. Completely. Totally. Impossible. Because nothing was so large in the Arena that he hadn't already... seen...?

Kasoria turned around, and saw a spider the side of a small cottage glaring down at him.

"... fuck."

He didn't even try to stand his ground. He just fucking ran.

Which was all well and good, because with an eardrum-shattering roar, the spider came after him a moment later. Ground shaking and bouncing under his feet, the Raggedy Man fled, brging his way through the battlefield, taking every dram of speed Oberan's Thrill could lend him. Behind him he could hear Sintra loyalists and brave Etzori getting mulched by indifferent arachnid legs, focused solely on him until-

-one armored leg swept out and took his legs from under him like in mid-run. With a curse he went flying forwards and as he landed on his back he saw jaws like plowing shears come down at him-

-rolled to his side, sand where he'd been impaled two feet deep, hideous, multi-eyed head coming out and glaring at him with intelligence both its own and belonging to its master. Rearing up anc clacking those awful, glistening mandibles together as it sprang forwards-

-Kasoria still scooting as fast as he could, until he realized there was sand under his feet and he sent a pulse of Transmutation into it-

-wall of sand rising up in the path of the huge spider, hardening a moment later, and its bought him a whole three seconds to get back to his feet before-

-the sheer bulk of the monstrosity smashed through it, unimpressed and impatient, but for a moment unknowing of where he was, lost in the cloud of dust-

Kasoria's eyes snapped to a pair of brawling figures. Both bareheaded now, bleeding freely, so torn and battered that he could barely tell who was friend or foe-

Fuck it.

He didn't have time to ask. He grabbed the nearest one by the back of the shirt, hearing a curious "uh?" as he grabbed him by the belt at the small of his back with his other hand, yanking him round to face the monster-

"N-Nooo!"

-before throwing him in the path of those lunging jaws.

A meal was a meal, to a hungry beast, or a vindictive one. From mere feet away, Kasoria watched those jaws chew and crunch and pullp and impale, all at once. A feeding frenzy that natural spiders would have been incapable of. But it was the wrong prey, and now it was blinded by hunger and the sweet tang of meat being gorged upon, and three of its' eyes swiveled to him too late-

This better fucking work.

-lunging towards it, gladius held almost like a spear, thrusting out around the dead shoulder of the man speared onto its jaws-

-and the giant spider screeched as the gladius turned two of those eyes to bleeding, spewing, reeking ruin. Buried into the skull of the thing deep enough that when it reared back in pain, the sword stuck fast-

-and Kasoria held on with a curse at himself above all others-

-letting the upward momentum toss him high, high up-

-and onto the back of the monster.

The moment he slammed onto the glossy abdomen of, Kasoria jammed his Traitor's Claw deep into its skin. It barely anchored him. The monster bucked right away, but he ground his teeth, spitting curses, fumbling for his other dagger... and then slammed that into another spot. Now anchored with both hands, Kasoria bore the nauseating ride as the giant spider rampaged around the Arena, bowling over fighters, demolishing pillars or just banging into them, eyes spewing out steaming fluid and rage at being unable to strike the bastard on its back-

"Fuck!"

But he wasn't alone. The huge Familiar was now covered in other spiders, some hand-sized, some tiny. All of them in thrall to Sintra, and not happy with the stowaway on their gigantic cousin. He felt venom crackle into him with a sick sting, Replicative fields finally waning. Instantly his vision started to swim, but with a growl he beat it back. He'd not die from a minnow's nip when he had a shark on his blade. He rose as shakily as he could, peering around the top of the spider's head, until he saw-

-Flaxo, and the Tower Guard, stalwart and implacable in its way. They'd formed a phalanx in front of it, shield down, spears leveled, and Kort was shouting himself hoarse with demands for bravery, for excellence, for courage as strong as the warhammer he held-

Shit. This'll work even less.

"Kort?!" Kasoria would always treasure the look of shock on the taciturn champion's face, as he saw the fucking Raggedy Man riding the giant. "Toss me the hammer!" Confusion. Shock. Surely he;d misheard. "No questions, jus' fuckin' do it!"

Kort did. Because the moment called for it. Because the times were as crazy as the plans and thus the risl were downright insane. He didn't question, just gave a silent prayer to the Fates and hurled the heavy-headed weapoin up-

-as Kasoria let go his hand weapons, just as the spider came to a halt-

Time stopped. There was no order in the chaos, but there was this stolen stillness. Beling unmoored from ground and gravity seemed to make it so. The Tower Guard gaped at the sight of the slight, bleeding, bearded man springing from the monster's back. Leaping into the air, hands outstretched for the hammer-

-fingers wrapping around it and the instant they did, a pulse of blue-white Transmutation energy went into the weapon. Commands rushed from Kasoria's brain to his Spark and then through his grip fast as thought. Transmuting the weight of ancient stones into the weapon. Doubling, tripling, exponentially increasing its weight even as he spun in mid-air-

-spider finally spotting him, lunging as the bastard human fell in front of it, jaws outstretched-

Too slow.

Kasoria slammed the warhammer into the skull of the spider, now weighing as much as a half-cartload of quarry stone. The head of the weapon pulped chitin and destroyed fleshy eyes and quivering jaws like a sword would paper. It kept going until the whole head was smashed away, weapon continuing down to rip out the bottom jaw of the beast-

CLANG

-then bury itself into the ground as Kasoria landed-

"Fuck!"

-badly, rolling and staggering away all at once. Coming to a stop in the great gout of dust as the headless spider collapsed, sending up a fog bank of confusion all around them. People vanished. Fighting continued. All the more desperate now, blind and insane and fuck, what about Sintra?! Kasoria cursed his own lack of vision and hauled himself upright. That was the only fight that mattered. Pausing only to loot an ax from some dead hand - again, friend or foe, living or dead, it didn't much matter to him - he started walking through the morass. He could see someone finally, something kneeling down and-

What the hells is that red stuff on the-

“This is my Zone of Truth! And the Truth of this circle is that all who enter are the enemy! You will stay out, or you will regret it!”

Kasoria took a step forwards, so Oberan could see him for who he was. A dirty and bastardly as ever, only now coated in as much spider guts as he was viscera and blood. Bearing an ax fit for a barbarian warlord, and working a set of... sadly familiar brass knuckles onto his left hand. The Raggedy Man spat blood and looked past the Mortalborn.

To the stage. Where Sintra raged in fury and dismay even as she held the leader of the city hostage.

"We need t'move, boy. Shite ends wiv' her, or it fuckin' don't."
word count: 2605

Appearance

  • Habitually dressed in boots, breeches, tunic, and cloak.
  • Long hair down to the shoulders, usually swept back or in a rough ponytail
  • Prefers a trimmed beard and mustache

Mutations

  • Star-shaped scar on each palm.
  • Air around him seems to thicken and become more turbulent the closer a person gets to him.
  • Pitch black eyes, from tear ducts to the pupils.
  • Arms from shoulder to palms appear as if heavy chains are wrapped around them.
  • Wisps of black smoke constantly drifts around his body, forming the rough outline of a cloak. The more agitated he becomes, the thicker the layers get.
    Note: the torch-motif medallion Kasoria wears negates the visible effects of this mutation.
  • Roughly circular pattern across breastbone, constantly transforming, and resettling
  • Sunken, closed eyes in the back of hands; they open when stared at
  • Skin takes on the tone and quality of whatever material he's just Transmuted
Ulric
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Re: Rebirth and Return [All are welcome!]

Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:25 am

Image Image Image

1 Cylus 721 | Ulric
There never seemed to be a shortage of very large spiders around whenever battle with Sintra began. During the war, fighting the Plague Queen, the spiders had been on their side but now that they were not the creatures seemed a little more intimidating- at least until Ulric remembered he could produce enough tendrils to rip off the spider's legs. Sintra ripped Parhn off his feet with one of her large pincers eventually but in the heat of a battle it was hard to notice the larger beats. Ulric kept some focus on Sintra out of self preservation but he could only devote so much attention to the woman he was not actually fighting. Unlike Kasoria, he was not a master with his sword and the constant use of his tendrils was strangely more difficult now that he was alive again. People ran at him, tendrils pushed them back, and some slipped through to briefly lock swords before Ulric would use another tendril to pull them off balance and cut them down.

The battle carried on and Ulric lost track of Oberan in the chaos, finding it nearly impossible to see past the slaughter in front of him. Web Guard fighting Blackguards and Etzori, those who clearly were not fighters being murdered, horrible displays of savagery born of hate and dedication to Sintra. A blade flashed in front of his face, narrowly missing his nose and drawing his attention to a Sintra loyalist who'd closed in on his left. Ulric stumbled backwards, swinging the sword he'd taken in a wide arc to sweep his opponents incoming thrust to the left. Ulric dropped his shoulder a little and brought the blade around, swiping it across the chest of the attacking man with a beard and no hair. It cut into his leather armor and skin, causing him to recoil, but the blade didn't dig deep enough to kill.

For just a moment, Ulric's focus broke. I was hard to manage what essentially felt like ten different limbs. He had to control and swing his arms while also avoiding the eight tendrils reaching out from his body to deflect other enemies. When his strike didn't kill, he put his focus into the one enemy with a beard and no hair. The man in leather charged forward again as Ulric's old tendrils dissipated and Ulric took a mid guard. His sword came in, Ulric parried it upwards and pushed forward, slicing across the bald man's abdomen again and this time cutting deep enough that the bald man went down. Ulric drove his blade through the fallen man's back to make the death a little faster and the mercy cost him. His blade got stuck and a man with an axe was charging at him.

Ulric didn't fumble with the sword, he let go of the blade and moved on a backpedal as the axeman came for him and then he got a funny idea. Ulric reach out and manifest and invisible tendril between his hand and the axe, ripping it out of his enemy's hand and drawing it into his own before realizing he had no idea how to use one. How did you guard with an axe? Well... he knew how to attack. Ulric surged forward, raised the axe high into the air, and cleaved it down into the collarbone of the warrior formerly known as 'axeman.' Then he let it go, dropping the body with the blade before conjuring a tendril to his discarded sword and tearing it out of the body. The tendrils were stronger than his muscles... perhaps they could crush better too.

A sword in one hand again, Ulric looked for the next fools to come after him. A man in an armor Ulric actually liked the look of charged (it was dark with a sort of silver web-like pattern) and Ulric reached out with his free hand manifesting a tendril that wrapped around the man's throat and head before constricting quickly and as hard as it could. He couldn't tell if the noise was a crack or a pop but it was disgusting. He didn't look to see the damage done but the man in the nice armor was not seen again. Ulric's attention was drawn to the shouting Oberan and his circle of blood, not wanting to approach and draw any of the mortalborn's seemingly confused attention. Kasoria was not so apprehensive but when was he ever? Ulric had to weigh his options, so he did- giving a look around in the brief moments of calm amidst the slaughter to assess what was going on.

word count: 790
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Neronin
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Re: Rebirth and Return [All are welcome!]

Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:18 am

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A thunderous clap as the air rent itself apart and a tear of wild energy opened in the empty space of the wide road just inside the Eastern Gate of Etzos. Another eldritch rip as the energy tore itself into a bigger Gateway. The light of it illuminated the roadway in dancing reds and oranges.

Through that tear walked more than two score figures cloaked, cowled, and silent. Behind them another stepped onto the cobbled stones for the first time in recent memory. He glanced around and frowned as two more figures followed behind. Both were two heads taller than any other, and in better light would seem to be more than men. Horrors of stitched flesh and ill shaped visage. They stopped on either side of him and their eyes were green embers boring into the living around them. They held claymores in cold, lifeless hands.

The portal closed behind these last three figures with another momentous thunderclap. The street was lit by the thousand little light sources of the city and Neronin could see the other necromancers looking at him. They were not his, but he commanded them. He let his pale gaze drift amongst them. Some breathed heavily, some were flushed with excitement, some looked relaxed as only practiced killers could be, but even those had quickened pulse. He could see it in their necks, imagined the blood coursing through them. Only he was completely still, no blood to flow, no warmth to sweat. He and his huge lumbering bodyguards. Their necessity was a convenience. His body was sturdy, but his self was not even present. Not really. Not even he knew that secret.

Neronin glanced back to where the portal had been. He couldn’t know.

“The Lady of the Spiders.” He said, turning back to the necromancers. He said it harsh and disdainful, his words the crack of a cruel lash. “You know his plan. Fear no bug nor divine pretender. Kill all who stand with Sintra, or I’ll have your soul before she does.” He said with a slight rictus grin. He felt the sparks tugging at his expression, showing a gleam of hunger that caressed the edge of inhuman.

They set out and he knew that even as they walked other gates were opening and more arcane allies poured in to take back the city. Neronin was not one to conform to nationalism, but any who opposed the rule of the divine were worthy of alliance. The enemy they faced was amongst the most deadly kind. He felt the fear in him, but it did not course through his veins or throb in his heart. His entire vessel was still. The physical form was not what it had once been. He put that fact aside, safer for his sanity.

They reached the end of the long street and saw groups of Web Guards running at them from either side. No more than a dozen but they were only the first. So it had begun.

“Take the north, I will take these!” He yelled with cold certainty. Even as he stepped to face them, he heard the thrum of two crossbows firing. One bolt slid into the head of the young apprentice necromancer next to him even as he tried to summon his will for a casting. The other thudded into Neronin’s own chest with a wet muted sound. He looked down at it.

He didn’t like that at all. It was hard enough to grasp at the tenuous strands holding his mind to humanity, let alone with his vessel, his body, full of arrows. He hastily pulled it out and cast it aside before raising a hand and unleashing a violent torrent of necrotic energy upon them. The five or so Web Guards he faced all staggered, most fell to their knees gasping. Two unbelievably stalwart warriors remained standing and went to draw their swords. But the giants were upon them. Even as the necrotic spell eroded their flesh the giants made light work of these lesser, smaller men.

When they were finished and they trotted back to him, their wells already doing their work to slowly repair the damage, the street was once again silent. The other necromancers all stood around or worked to raise the dead guards.

“Go and get it done!” He yelled at them, then he and his two massive bodyguards stepped through a crackling green portal and disappeared.

Neronin stepped out elsewhere, deep in the city. He stood atop a high roof overlooking the various stages and rings of the Crescent Arena. Below he could see chaos and, in the center, a massive and monstrous form, a hellish combination of spider and scorpion. He could see few standing who seemed to oppose her. They were undoubtedly also allies of his. On the other side of the house he could see burning, scuttling things moving on the streets, setting fires. Spiders of flame and claw. They poured through the city and set about with their destructive business.

The two massive hulking figures on either side of him raised their swords to the ready. They had been tasked with protecting his vessel at all costs.

Neronin raised his arms and and loosed his grip on the reins that held back his necrotic spark. The thing was like a vast sea within his mind, now that sea poured out of him and he could barely keep his mind tethered to the vessel as it suddenly exploded out over the city. He saw so many new limbs for his body, so many new pieces to the puzzle. He connected each when his will brushed them. They stood and pulled free sword and spear. They clambered up on mangled legs or else crawled forward with bloodied hands.

He gave each of his new pieces the same directives. Douse the fires, kill those loyal to Sintra, kill the spiders. They rose and set about their work. Neronin claimed the many victims of the blades and magic of Kas, Oberon, and Ulric as well.

Neronin rushed back to himself with a mumbled “I am.” He sat down hard onto the roof and knew this control would mean he could not cast again this trial. He hoped they could make the the best of it.

All around Etzos the dead were rising.
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Re: Rebirth and Return [All are welcome!]

Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:39 am

Rebirth and Return

The tides of strategy and morale, the ability to adopt a plan based on unexpected developments, were once again in flux. Sintra had lifted Parhn high in her claw, out of reach of those who might come up with some means of rescuing him from her grasp. Domains aside, she would relish crushing him in her claws for his defiance, if not outright snapping him in half, on a purely personal level, not out of any alignment with her spheres of influence.

This one claw aloft did allow a few more strokes to scrape her armor. At first she swung the claw holding the High Marshall as an instrument of parrying, laughing at the looks of indecisive hesitance on most of the soldier's faces to strike, for fear of injuring Parhn. But that cursed Flaxxo fellow had clearly recognized that she was by far the bigger threat to Parhn and had driven a spear into the gap of her claw, heedless of Parhn's proximity, and almost pried the man free. She scoffed at his insistence that using him this way showed that they could hurt her and to ignore any concerns of injuring him..

She shambled to the edge of the stage upon her multiple legs as a realization of yet another part of Parhn's plan struck her as having been ill-considered. With a sneer, she brought him close, "So, brave marshall, you set fire to millions of my children, but did not consider that I now control the flaming ruin you have created. I shall have them burn your city to the stony ground."

She wished to lavish a much longer gloat upon him, but the fires were devouring the smaller ones almost instantly, and many of those with fist or cat-sized bodies would surely be incinerated by the time they could reach anything significantly flammable. There simply wasn't time to wax eloquent while still maintaining the necessary level of massively compartmentalized concentration for the conflagration she now envisioned.

Plus which, there was still the curious assault of some magic that sought to ignite her own essence along with the lesser flesh of her children. It took little effort to hold that at bay, but it was still effort. It was noticed by everyone involved in this particular theater of conflict that when she disregarded it entirely, the air around her would shimmer and portions of her armor would show a sudden color of increasing heat.

It clearly annoyed her to have this relentless distraction to deal with when so many other things could be accomplished if she could give full attention to them. And it usually heralded a renewed assault by the elite tower guard, hoping to capitalize on her divided focus.

But time was on her side as far as that went. She could easily perceive the steady reduction of magic empowerment possessed by the armor they wore. Soon her claws would not just send them staggering back because of the softened kinetic impact. Soon, flesh would be rupture and bones would snap within crushed travesties of what they wore so bravely now. Then courage would be truly tested.

Fires were starting to ignite here and there now. Screams took on the sound of panic more than fury now. The bodies of fighters themselves, as well as non-combatants trying to flee the melee now became targets of these mobile fire-starters. The screams bursting from these victims brought desperate efforts from many to free them from the ghastly grip of the burning arachnids.

Parhn had taken what steps he could to counter this. Many Defiers in the ranks of the guard and the army were doing their best to tell the elementals of flame to abandon the flesh of anything with less than eight legs and only consume the skittering monsters. others gave instruction to water, air and earth sources to drown, starve and smother what they could of their elemental rivals.

But it was smooth going, and not all the elements were so easily persuaded to counter their fellows with the needed expediency. Many died, fused with the scarred, smoldering remains of Sintra's incinerated children. Even the most hardened veterans found it a demoralizing sight.

But many were also saved with little more than burnt patches of clothing. And what saved them came to be yet another turn of unexpected tide. For it became a suddenly frequent sight for the savior of some living citizen to be something almost as horrific to look upon as the giant, flaming spider that assaulted them.

Screams, first of horror and the plummeting of morale, changed swiftly to cries of renewed hope, as hundreds, if not thousands of necromantic thralls now entered the fray. There was no hesitancy on their part to grab hold of the flaming body of some arachnid already attaching itself to some screaming victim, and tearing it off to battle with it, tooth and nail.

These new combatants felt no pain from the fire, nor held any concern about their survival. They fought with reckless abandon, both against the spiders and against the two-legged minions of Sintra.

There was some initial tragedy at the outset of this phase, as many of those who still wore Sintra's gear, but had realized their error and now fought against her, came under attack by these new "troops", who saw only that they wore Web Guard armor. It did not take long for the general consensus to be reached and shared that doffing that gear would serve to counter this problem.

It was relatively amusing to see how anti-Sintra combatants now tried to avoid that otherwise perfectly good armor laying about like one of Lisirra's plagues. Those still in Sintra's sway were occasionally hard-pressed now to hold off what thralls came after them. But so many of the risen dead were busy neutralizing the threats of fire that the Web Guard troops were still holding their own all too well.

Still, it was not all going Her way, and fighters on both sides could see it.

A new malicious resolve warped her face as she once again brought Parhn close to her many eyes. "Well well...You seem to having more success than I first gave you credit for. Perhaps you'd like a better view!"

The whole tone of her last sentence grew in aggressive tones as she spoke, the last word being shouted with a grunt of effort as she had swung the claw holding him back behind her and then swung it forward, intending to hurl him high into the air. The Sovereign Ward armor would have little saving effect on a body falling from the sky.
word count: 1127
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Oberan
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Posts: 684
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:32 pm
Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Part-time God
Renown: +247
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Re: Rebirth and Return [All are welcome!]

Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:54 am



Everyone who enters the circle became an enemy, so Oberan decided. Uttering a warning to those who’d step inside unawares, unknowingly placing a target upon themselves. A measure to prevent fighting allies. Made it easy for the enemy to avoid him too, but that didn’t matter. As long as it stopped him from accidentally turning on his comrades. And, stupid as the measure might be, it provided Oberan with some peace of mind. Keep his cool. Stop the flood of panic from muddying his thoughts. Eliminate the self-inflicted paralysis born from the onset of acute face-blindness.

Yes, it meant he stood inside a circle like an idiot, barking at those who came too close like some kind of zealous guard dog trapped behind a fence. Yes, it meant Sintra still managed to keep him out of play. But that all didn’t matter. Many skillful combatants and reliable soldiers battled within the crescent arena. One Oberan more or less might weigh down the scales in Etzos’s favor, true, however he would not impact the total mass by all that much.

A cloud of dust and sand bloomed as a giant spider collapsed. Like a wave the airborne sand rolled out from the epicenter, obscuring vision and filling mouths. Oberan pulled his scarf over the lower half of his face, covering his airways. A silhouette approached, stopping at the edge of the circle. Oberan shouted his warning, and was promptly ignored.

Don’t hesitate.

Big ax, short person. Man or woman, he couldn’t tell. Young or old, he could not distinguish. Bloody and dirty like everyone else. Sliding brass knuckles over his fingers. An non-verbal challenge.

I’m not being taken seriously, am I?

Deliberately waving away the threat Oberan’d promised, casually arming themselves. They’d seen the circle, they’d heard the warning. And yet, they’d stepped inside.

Maybe it’s not one of Sintra’s—

Why did he even bother drawing that stupid circle? Why bother shouting warnings at people who came close? Just to stand down and do nothing when someone ignored it? To give in to indecision?

Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Don’t doubt.

The figure turned away for a moment, glancing at the stage where Sintra still remained. Oberan charged. Didn’t hear the words addressed to him, or perhaps choosing not to. Came flying toward the edge of the circle, Thrill still burning furiously in his veins. Quick as a flash, suddenly up close and personal. Launching a barrage of strikes, some blocked, some redirected, some striking their intended target with more force than expected. Oberan pressed hard, not holding back, not giving up ground. Only going forward, pushing his opponent back. Unflinching when struck by counterattacks, unhindered by the damage, not even feeling the pain.

Three rapid feints. One high, then a strike from below, easily blocked. But it didn’t have the strength behind it his other punches had. Straight for the face again, swatted away. But it left their chest wide open. Oberan planted a foot there, sending the silhouette stumbling back for a couple paces, over the line of blood. Out of the circle. Oberan retreated to the middle.

“Stay out of the damn circle.”

He glared with clouded eyes, seeing and unseeing. Focused and unfocused. Staring directly at whoever he’d just tangled with, though without recognition. And then he whipped around, spotting movement in his peripheral. An individual with a shambling gait, leg broken at the shin, yet still walking. Covered in blood and sand and grievous injuries. Oberan couldn’t tell if they wore armor or not, but they carried no weapons.

Civilian, or Web Guard? They were moving away from the exit, but that did not have to mean anything. A horde of burning spiders was wreaking havoc there.

“You there! If you enter my circle, you are the enemy. Stay out!”

They did not care. Shambling forth like some walking corpse, continuing their path without course correction to avoid the area Oberan had designated. Immediately, Oberan rushed up and attacked, pummeling head and torso, and kicking at the broken leg. There was little resistance in the ribcage, bones that stopped his blows. No cracking, no breaking. Only give. And the person barely even reacted, taking a moment to look at Oberan before resuming its way.

Oberan backed off, confused, and unleased his Domain instead to sap and syphon and drain—but nothing came. No Thrill to speak of. Empty. Impossible! No living creature was without Thrill. If they were capable of excitement, of flight or fight reactions, if they had sympathetic nerves, they should be affected by his Mortalborn ability. But this one wasn’t. Why?

“What the fuck are you?”

They didn’t answer, but took a step forward and exited the circle. He followed with his eyes, tracing their path to the stage where Sintra was still toying with the Guards there. In one pincer someone struggled and fought to not be crushed. She swung them back and forth like a ragdoll, probably enjoying every moment of it.

And then she chuckled them high into the sky, speeding up like an arrow loosed from a great bow. A flailing, screaming arrow that probably happened to be someone important to the Etzori side. Flaxxo? Pahrn? Maybe Kasoria?

The unfortunate soul reached the apex of their parabolic arc, ascend slowing rapidly, until they seemed to hang in the air. Suspended, weightless, unaffected by gravity for just a moment. And then the world pulled them back down, accelerating them as much as possible.

And there was nothing Oberan could do about it.

word count: 953
Just because I shouldn't doesn't mean I won't.


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