• Closed • Tarred And Feathered Principles

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Finnegan O'Connor
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Tarred And Feathered Principles

Tarred And Feathered Principles


Noth's Cave, Outside Etzos, Ashan 64th, arc 718

Hidden deep in the forest outside of Etzos rested a cave, home to the Prince of Eternal Mercies who, in Finn’s estimation, was neither a real prince nor merciful, or indeed eternal. The only eternal beings Finn knew were Immortals and the Prince had told him he’d been cursed by the Gods themselves to grow only one wing instead of two and he had become despised among his own kin. Noth was many things, but a Prince he was not. A burglar, an outcast, an up-jumped cutthroat, a half-winged plague swooping down like a vulture with greedy claws claiming gold and supplies for his own self-enrichment, those were the names given to the wanted soul. Rumours and whispers of the raids commited by Al’Angyryl were passed from mouth to ear throughout the city and some of the assaulted men were said to have joined the avian leader.

Finn hadn’t forgotten the flaming red eyes that could root fully grown men to the spot and make ‘em tremble until they found themselves in a puddle of their own making. Their first meeting had left him with a favorable impression of the Avian, but their second meeting had sowed doubt, and now with the rumours spreading throughout the city and the reward of ten-thousand golden nel promised to those who handed over the criminal to the authorities...

He had to meet the Prince alone.

The road into the forest was scarcely-trodden. Some stories spoke of troubled ghosts lingering there, other tales warned against vicious beasts stalking the overgrowth. The dirt road grew smaller as he came closer and closer to the cave. He didn’t remember the path too well and stopped on many occasions to check if he’d turned the right way. Just when he started to think he might’ve gotten hopelessly lost, he recognized a thick, dark patch of pines, just around the bend of the road, where the air was heavy and the shadows grew thick.

It was at twilight that he’d first met Noth, cold, afraid and hungry. He was none of those things now, even as the sun started to set in the West, bathing the forest in a final glimmer of gold. He was among friends here. The earth told many tales of roots and vines and all the little creatures that tickled it, crawled through it, moved atop of it. The air played with the leaves, making them dance in gentle breezes. Even as the earth told a story of a large man stomping rudely all over its domain, Finn was not afeared. Given Noth’s notoriety, it was to be expected that his cave was patrolled and so Finn calmly halted on the middle of the road, waiting for the patrol to greet him. They’re far out, he thought to himself as he watched shadows move between the tree trunks, carefully at first, trying to assess what had crossed their path this time, then more confidently as they realized it was just a boy.

Still, they were armed and on their guard. “Shoo!” one of them shouted, making a broad, dismissive gesture.

“I’m here for the Prince,” Finn answered in a steady voice.

The two men exchanged a glance between themselves before deciding the boy posed little threat to them. Rather peculiar for a child to be out alone in the wilds, so far from home and apparently unfazed by the sight of a mutated man carrying a large, spiked club.

“On what business,” the other one demanded. There were no mutations on him, but he was well armed, packed in thick leather armour and equipped with bow, arrows and a single-handed blade. His small, brown eyes betrayed suspicion.

“My own,” Finn replied to which the mutated man let out a bark of laughter, but his smaller companion remained unconvinced.

“That’s wot impostors say that is. You either have business with the Prince or ya don’t. Now,” his right hand moved toward the pommel of his blade. “I’ll ask again: wot’s your business with the Prince?”

This was already getting tricky. He had no doubt he could take the two men by surprise and let them taste the power of earth, and feel the pain of raw ether stabbing into them, but then there’d be more and surely Noth would not appreciate losing two men on such a wonderful afternoon. And what then? To attack the men guarding the cave was to consign himself to fleeing, lest he too was killed.

“I’m looking for a job.”

The scouts stepped out of the overgrowth and onto the road until they were only a few feet removed from him. “A job huh? Well, you don’t need to talk to the Prince for that. We can arrange it for you. What’s your name?”

“Look,” Finn said, growing agitated, “I already know Noth and I don’t think he’d like to hear you two kept me waiting…”

“I’d watch my mouth if I were you,” the stouter of the two bit back.

Finn rolled his eyes. “Fine. Fine. Do what you must then,” he nodded toward the burlap sack and rope tied to the mutant’s belt and stretched out his arms, exposing his wrists, in surrender. “I already know the way but if it makes you feel any less intimidated…”

Again the mutant laughed. Finn was starting to like him, but his grumpy companion was much less amused. A quick patting down revealed that Finn carried no weapons on him, and still the man’s suspicion was felt in the tightness of the knot he tied around Finn’s wrist before the burlap sack was pulled over his head. He was spun around a few times to further disorient him, then walked around. He suspected they were taking the long way around as the mutant whisper something to the sound of “is it really necessary?”

Ten bits later they finally stopped in an open space. Even if he hadn’t befriended the elements he would’ve known by the change in light and air. Voices surrounded him at all sides, most of them mere murmurs and there was a slight dip in the conversations as he entered their mids.

“I’ll fetch him,” the mutant said.

No sooner than the heavy footfalls of the large, mutated man had faded away did a bony hand land on his shoulder. A hot breath tickled his ear through the burlap sack. “You wouldn’t want to try anything funny,” the second guardsman whispered, “I got my eyes on you, youse understand?”

Finn said nothing.

"You're not skulkin' about for no reason, all by yer lonesome. You might fool that oaf, but you won't fool me, nor the Prince!"
Last edited by Finnegan O'Connor on Fri May 25, 2018 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1173
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Noth
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Ashan 20, 718

There was little doubt that what had once been merely a fledgling organization was now becoming far more renowned among the local populace. There had been a time not so long ago when it would have been nigh impossible for anyone to have even heard of Al’Angyryl, let alone to know what sort of operations they dealt with, and whilst it was true that many of the more specific details were still shielded behind a wall of confidentiality, gone were the trials when absolutely no knowledge whatsoever was known by the public. There was little that could be done to dissuade what little information was already out there, because it would require exterminating those persons who knew in the first place, and that was either impossible due to the number or in some cases because terminating the person would raise far more suspicions than it would hope to close. It was a frustration, nevertheless, albeit one that could be dealt with without much trouble.

The hybrid wasn’t sure why he had originally thought that they would remain hidden for much longer anyways. Their actions were very notably public in many regards, especially given the ones which had been committed the season prior. Beyond even those organizational activities, there had been his own personal incidents which had elicited the creation of a bounty of ten-thousand golden nels for his capture and arrest… and summary execution, he imagined. Really, when one considered it, it was not altogether so shocking that Al’Angyryl had been forced from the shadows given the circumstances surrounding it.

Precautions had been taken to ensure that the headquarters remained secure. Watchmen had been placed out into the woods to keep an eye out for any interlopers that passed within a certain radius of the cave, and assorted entrapments had been setup hither and thither in order to dissuade anyone whose curiosity got the better of them. The soldiers were far better equipped and trained now than they had ever been in the past, as well, and that was certainly a grand advantage over a majority of other criminal factions in the world. His Head of Security: a mutant who went by the name of Ears, had done quite well at dissuading and alerting him to any intruders in the territory as well. Upsettingly, Ears had been quite ill for the past few trials, and so the hybrid had been forced to allow another pair of persons to take over his responsibilities until he was better. The human of the pair was well-known for the sharp senses he had acquired after many arcs on the streets, and the mutant was known for being something of a bruiser. Together they had been doing quite well in terms of security, but secretly the hybrid couldn’t wait for Ears to fully recover from his illness.

The hybrid had just finished one of his many military treatises, and was promptly considering whether or not he wanted to bathe now or in the morning when the thundering steps of the mutant fellow combusted into hearing. The man slammed his meaty fist on the doorway; the door was a recently installed feature in the cave that had cost him something like thirty golden nels, but it was well worth it, and promptly slung the door wide open to greet the brooding Avriel. The report was quickly given by the out-of-breath hulk that there was a child who appeared to know him, and that he was seeking out job opportunities. A brief question-and-answer over his description made it evident who had come to visit, and the hybrid dismissed the mutant back to the watch whilst he ensured that all of his equipment was on him. It never paid to be too careful, he considered, glancing down at his anklets which hung over the metallic carapace he wore, and at the adamantite mace at his side.

It took only a few bits to reach the spot, and crimson eyes immediately locked onto the boy once the foliage had subsided enough that he was capable of viewing him without obstruction. He didn’t seem to be entirely so different than when he had left met him, though the hybrid supposed that was quite normal. Quite soon he’d probably hit a growth-spurt though, and then he’d have to face the unfortunate reality of staring the boy in the eyes instead of gazing down on him. The Avriel tsked lightly at the thought of age creeping up on them all, though the thought was quickly dismissed for more important matters.

“Finn, so pleasant to see you again.” He spoke, his voice welcoming if not somewhat blatantly suspicious. The Avriel approached to within touching distance, bending downwards ever-so-slightly so that he could speak to the child better. “You look like you’ve been in a rain-storm, Finn.” He commented, noting the wetness on the boy’s head. Strange, he didn’t believe that it had rained for nearly three trials, though he supposed the small orphan might have fallen into a puddle of some nature. “I’ve been told that you’re seeking me for a job, and that you’re being quite uncooperative about sharing information. Pray tell, how may I be of service… friend.”
word count: 907
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Credit to Pegasus


As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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Finnegan O'Connor
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Tarred And Feathered Principles

Tarred And Feathered Principles


Noth's Cave, Outside Etzos, Ashan 64th, arc 718

A rush of air greeted him as the burlap sack was pulled from his head, messing up his careless hairdo in the process. Thankfully the golden-orange glow of dusk wasn’t too harsh on his eyes, though it took a few blinks before he’d refamiliarized himself with his surroundings. The cave was as he remembered, though there hadn’t been a small army stationed around it last time he’d come there. A small smile played at his lips as he wondered what had happened to the goose but it soon faded as a familiar shadow emerged from the mouth of the cave.

It was impossible to prepare for the sight that was The Prince of Eternal Mercies. Eyes like fiery coals, feathers rustling like leaves on some ancient tree, armour of the finest make and the build of a strong man bathing in the aura of something far more beastly and primal. Finn wondered what had happened to the hermit bird he’d met so many seasons ago, seemingly content living a solitary live with his goose companion. For a moment he lamented the loss of the friend he’d made that night, for that Noth had seemed far kinder than the one that marched toward him now.

He had no reason to believe the cursed Avriel meant any harm, and still he couldn’t stop himself from holding his breath as the bird-man approached, his footstep heavy with the weight of his armour. Even Noth’s own men seemed at least a little frightened by the Avriel’s gloomy presence as their chatting quieted down until nothing but the wind dancing with the trees could be heard.

Finn’s eyes fell to the mace strapped to Noth’s side and swallowed. “Do you always carry that?” Despite having been called a ‘friend’ it was difficult to keep his voice completely steady under the Avriel’s intimidating gaze. It didn’t help that his hands hadn’t been untied yet since Noth hadn’t given the command to do so and the smaller of the two patrolling guards had been quite happy to leave the suspicious child bound. It wouldn’t take much effort to corrode the rope and free himself, but then he’d reveal that he came armed not with fists or daggers, but rather with the power of raw ether and four very dangerous friends. In some way he would’ve preferred if the burlap sack had been kept on too, then at least Noth wouldn’t have noticed the tell-tale sign of his Defiance.

“I came running,” he lied, thankful that the guards who had brought him to Noth had already been dismissed and would thus be unable to testify against his claim. “I’d like to-” he started, then closed his mouth again, letting his eyes dart across Noth’s men. There were quite a few and they seemed well-armed and well-fed. His anxiousness was only partly feigned as he dropped his voice to a low whisper. “I’d like to show you something.”

His next move caused some alarm as he sat down and reached for his boot. At least half of Noth’s men jumped up to save their leader from what was undoubtedly a dagger hidden in the boy’s boot. Finn chuckled and arched an eyebrow at them but otherwise remained unperturbed.

Out came a bare foot and stubby toes, not the most likely weapon by which the Avriel could be killed. Finn grabbed the boot with both hands, turned it upside down and gave it a little shake before a small, neatly folded letter came out, sealed with the mark of a familiar looking Turkey.

“I came to bring you that.”

Whether Noth elected to read the little note in front of his men or choose instead to read it in private remained to be seen, but he wouldn’t be able to decipher it either way for it was written in a language not even the most learned scholar would recognize. The script was Common, but the letters were strangely arranged and formed no sensible words.

“It’s from Turkey Company,” Finn said as he put his boot on again. He stood up and, with some effort, pulled the long-sleeved tunic he wore over his head, revealing the Turkey Company gambeson underneath. He trusted Noth’s men wouldn’t kill without their leader’s command, not even when insulted so. “I work for them,” he added bluntly. “Used to anyway. Thought you might wanted to know about their plans, since we’re friends and all.“ So far so good. The letter was forged but the seal was real. Being Gangui’s squire provided access to such tools, and he’d made good use of it. Similarly, there Turkey Company gambeson was equally authentic. Now came the hard part.

Finn knew the best lies were half-truths and so he started with a dose of truth. “Gangui made me his squire and sent me here with a mender called Iwan.” Now came the lie. “We were supposed to drop this off at a sleeper cell in the city,” he jutted his chin toward the note. “I believe their intention was to lure you into an ambush.” Another bit of truth there, though it wasn’t an imaginary sleeper cell that had been brooding on an ambush. “I can tell you where, when, how many, even teach you how to decode the note, all I ask in return is a job, if you can find any for me. Anything’s better than having to wash and dry Gangui’s stinking clothes...”
Last edited by Finnegan O'Connor on Fri May 25, 2018 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 976
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Noth
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Admittedly, it did seem somewhat worthless that the child would have a burlap sack placed upon his head during his transition from the outdoors to the headquarters of Al’Angyryl. Primarily, the issue was that Finn already knew exactly where the hybrid lived, and the fact that he had run into armed resistance on his trek towards the place seemed damning evidence enough to the Avriel that the operations of his criminal faction were clearly taking place within the confines of the cavernous underground. Nevertheless, he didn’t chastise the watchmen for taking precautions, and was in fact rather supportive of them when they made sense, and in the end, the procedure likely would do wonders for ensuring that Finn was unable to memorize the exact layout of the base, and it would help with the thematic motif of the operation as well, which was always a pleasantry.

The twilight hybrid regarded the child for a few moments, analyzing him as he always did, and wondering how he had changed since their last rendezvous. Surely, he was not as fearful as he had once been, when they had first met he had been convinced that the Avriel intended to devour him like some unnatural story-tale creature, and yet, the flickers of fear could still be found on the face of Finn. The child questioned him as he approached, wondering whether or not the weapon which lay strapped at his side was always present, and the Avriel decided to reward it with an answer and a nod.
“For those who defy me, yes.” A simple answer, but one which carried its own weight.

He had questioned Finn over why his hair had been so greasy and wet, and the answer that was given was that he had come running. That would have been an absolutely acceptable and believable answer if the boy exhibited any of the other traits of a tired sort. He had not arrived with heaving chest, nor did his face seem wet with the perspiration that seemed to drench across the top of his head. The reddish tint which commonly attributed itself to intense physical action was also absent from him, and these clues and the relatively predatory analysis of a creature which had spent so much of its life examining others for lies and vicious tells found itself… fascinated.

The Beast whispered sweet-nothings into his mind, pointing out the obvious to him, whilst keeping concealed anything that he would not have had access to anyways, and he found himself curiously wondering why the entity refused to peer into the mind of the boy and reveal all of his intentions to him. Surely, it was more than capable of doing such, and yet, it kept as much of its ethereal power concealed from his thoughts as it could.

Finn spoke of revealing something to him, and drooped down to remove something from his boot. There was a sudden tenseness about the place as a few of his soldiers went for the weapons they wore upon their hips, apparently intent on defending him from what they perceived to be an assassination attempt, albeit a poor one. The hybrid himself was somewhat paranoid in his endeavors, and whilst he didn’t expect Gangui to send a child to murder him, he did nevertheless unclench the ethereal hand which lay underneath his Null Gauntlet in preparation for snatching away a knife or dagger should it be hurtled towards him. All it would take was a single touch for a moment or two to turn an active child into a frothing and shaking spastic upon the floor where he could be punished for his indiscretions, after all.

Unsurprisingly, the item which was actually removed from the boot was not a knife, but instead what appeared to be a written letter. The hybrid read it to himself in the midst of the soldiers, unbothered by their presence, but simultaneously not bothering to reveal anything on the note until he had glimpsed the entirety of it, and could phrase whatever knowledge lay within into acceptable terminology for them. Thankfully, that wait was rather brief, because it took the hybrid a solid five trills to recognize that every single word written was absolute gibberish. He raised an eye towards Finn, allowing the letter to slip from his vision as he refocused on the child, awaiting an explanation.

The child took a rather blatant step, then, and removed the tunic which he had worn to their meeting. Underneath the origins of both the letter and his loyalties were revealed by an emblem which had immediately met with groans of frustration and perhaps even the gnash of a few teeth at the thought of the organization which had acted as a thorn in their sides for several seasons past. Nevertheless, none of them thought it wise to so clearly assail a child who was in conversation with the Avriel, especially given both their leader’s propensity towards violence and his general outlook on youth.

The hybrid nodded along as it was revealed that the letter was meant to be going to a sleeper cell hidden away in the city, and that the only reason that the boy had brought him the message was that they were friends. He nodded, and nodded, never ceasing in his seeming non-verbal acceptance of the letter, though all throughout his mind raced with thoughts and considerations. It seemed so illogical to conclude that the boy had come for the sole purpose of ‘helping a friend’, especially since he had been so wroth to do something similar in the past in their thieving ventures, and had required a fair amount of coaxing. It was equally unlikely that the current message being delivered was not the trap itself, and that by mentioning a prior trap he was attempting to encourage the Avriel to take a faulty step with the lives of himself and his men.

The murderous bird was a Master tactician, learned in a great many battle strategies and conniving considerations, and he would not fall so easily for what he perceived to be half-truths.

The Beast stirred from its rest, drawn forth by the thoughts of the Avriel, and slowly, a gauntleted hand extended itself to the child before resting upon his shoulder with a heavy clench, enough to prevent movement, but hopefully without pinching him too terribly.

“Finn, I appreciate this notion. I genuinely do enjoy the thought that you would come to me for the sole purposes of assisting me and acquiring a job for yourself. Yet, I have many questions… many unanswered interrogatives to be answered.” The Avriel lowered himself onto his metallic knee, the ethereal hand still placed upon the boy through the gauntlet.
“You will tell me everything you know, child. All of it. Every piece of information that you have ever learned of this company, you will tell to me now.”


The Beast empowered his message, reaching into the boy’s mind, encouraging him to speak, to let loose each secret that could possibly pertain to it, and… if he refused? Mental images of absolute annihilation were thrust into his childish skull, not simply of death, but of an absolute obliteration, an absence so complete and certain that there would be nothing to remember, nothing to mourn, and yes, even his sister would be torn away from the world and fed into that eternal fire along with everything he had ever known or sought to know.




word count: 1262
Image

Credit to Pegasus


As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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Finnegan O'Connor
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Tarred And Feathered Principles

Tarred And Feathered Principles


Noth's Cave, Outside Etzos, Ashan 64th, arc 718

Finn’s eyes returned to the violent mace at the Avriel’s side. How many had died with that ghastly hunk of metal lodged into their skull or chest? True, the Avriel had proven himself above cannibalism, but not above violence. On the contrary. Rumours of the great vulture ran wild in the underground and beyond and while many of the stories might be false, there was a common thread of merciless violence contained within them, enough to lend credit to the Avriel’s grave answer.

It was not quite too late to turn back, to find some excuse, to leave these woods unscathed and return to his sister’s home unharmed-

… and empty-handed. The nel on Noth’s head would last them several years in any foreign city of their liking. Besides, it would undoubtedly earn him the trust of Mr. Tagley who Fiona had said would undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on him, hindering any chance of escape from Etzos. With a wry smile he noted that he, ironically, needed to spin another web in order to free himself from the one that currently ensnared him.

To his relief Noth seemed to accept his story, even though he detected some hesitation still in those menacing red eyes. “I-” Finn started, but then closed his mouth as Noth lowered himself to his height in a slow, deliberate motion, shaking the ground as his knee impacted the forest soil. He remained convinced he’d outsmarted the Avriel until that heavy, gauntleted hand rested on his shoulder.

Gangui had done something similar on occasion, either in pride when he’d done well or in severe disappointment when he’d messed up. But this hand, Noth’s hand, wasn’t anything like those. It weighed far heavier and Finn knew that the claw could easily dig into his flesh and strip tendrils of meat right off his bones if Noth so desired.

The sheepish smile plastered on Finn’s face faltered when the hybrid’s voice lowered and turned venomous. There was something strange about his voice, as though it had been imbued by some ancient power, lending it strength, credence, and above all: authority. “Gangui’s main encampment is in Foster’s La-” He caught himself and frowned. “He host several dozen-” Again his voice faltered and his face was marred with struggle. “Several dozen-” he breathed again, yet his voice was quieter now and strained, as though he had to force the words out. “He hosts several dozen men and wo- wo- wome-”

He clasped his mouth with his hand and scowled at the Avriel, scanning the bird’s features for signs of a witchbrand. Clearly the hybrid was using some foul magic to make him speak! He wished he’d paid closer attention to what Zipper had tried to teach him, perhaps then he would’ve known how to snuff out Noth’s magic, just as she had done with his defiance.

It was far too late for that.

As soon as he stopped speaking, an image formed in his mind and his eyes glazed over as he saw Etzos, bathing in the heat of the hot cycle’s twin suns.

Something was awry. The sun was too bright, the air too quiet and he saw the people huddled together on the city squares, staring up at him with wide, ghostly eyes as they pleaded for mercy.

There would be none. The suns swelled to terrifying size and soon the sweltering heat turned to fire and the fire consumed all. The cries of the people were smothered in ash and smoke. The stench of burning flesh impregnated the baking, boiling air, and soon he tasted bitter smoke and sulfur in his mouth as the markets, the shops, the Orphanage, even the underground itself vanished before his very eyes. Not even Fiona’s humble abode was spared from the destruction. No sooner than the city had turned to ash, he found himself in a familiar graveyard. A white stone had been erected at Molly’s burial place and her name was hewn into the rock. He didn’t remember how he’d gotten there, but as he stood up from the bench he was seated on, he knew there was something terribly wrong. There were no flowers at the grave, no birds in the trees… nothing but dreadful silence looming over the tombs of forgotten souls. He approached her grave with trepidation, not quite sure if he was dead or dreaming, and as he neared he felt the ground tilt under his feet.

He quickened his pace, but to no avail. The very earth groaned, heaved and cracked, crumbling and falling around him into some pitless abyss below. Molly! he cried out in the privacy of his mind. His jog turned into a sprint, but it was too late. The white stone cracked and he barely caught a glimpse of Molly’s half-eaten corpse as she too fell into the all-consuming abyss.

“No!” his voice cracked as he cried out and swept Noth’s heavy hand from his shoulder. In the same motion his other hand shot up and almost instinctively a ravenous flame burst into existence. The fire roared, aided by a gust of wind and amid the flame was a crackle of energy. He’d never considered, never meant to combine his two magics into one, but as the ball of fire shot forward it was imbued with the destructive power of a crackling ether missile.

“Get away from me, MONSTER!” he shouted as he crawled away on the grease of his elbows, his eyes were red and swollen and whatever masks he’d worn were shattered, revealing the terrified, angry child underneath.
Last edited by Finnegan O'Connor on Fri May 25, 2018 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 987
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Noth
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Noth couldn’t remember whether he had been naïve as a child. He assumed that he had probably been as innocent and unknowing as all children, and yet, he could not remember a time when he was not aware of what had occurred to his blood family, or when he had been sheltered by the knowledge that he was a malformed creature and that he was not created equal to his winged brethren. He was certain that he had probably been at least somewhat more trusting of others when he had been a child, though there had been far less reason for anyone to attempt to slay him when he had been nothing more than a hybrid and not a Prince. Crimson eyes narrowed slightly as he wondered just what experiences had combined to forge the small boy before him. Had he suffered through a great deal, or had he only tasted the slightest trickles of agony in his shortened lifespan?

The hybrid was unsure of what manner of discipline and experience had been wrought into the form of the child, but he possessed a mental resistance which had not been sensed in the minds of adults and elders twice his age or more and with far more wisdom. The Beast needn’t have spoken of the resistance he was facing in the mind of the child, because it was evident in the way that he shackled his own mouth after every few exhalations, and how he was so obviously aware of what was occurring, even if he wasn’t entirely certain of the source. The panicky eyes that plastered themselves upon the face of the boy as he scoured about his form for any indication of his power reminded him briefly of how a rat searches so rapidly about an issue with its beady eyes, hoping that an obvious and apparent solution would present itself, and yet, there was none to be discovered by mortal eyes.

The image of profound annihilation had been intended to shock the child’s mind into releasing any inhibitions he had on the subject of Turkey Company, and yet, it seemed to have the opposite effect. Even as the boys eyes returned from their glazed over composition, he could feel the sudden tenseness rake through his muscles, and a moment later his gauntleted hand had been cast free from his shoulder, a yoke removed in excitable resistance. It seemed a small thing for Finn to have resisted him thus, and he recognized that even the mental fortitude he had derived from an unknown source would eventually crack and splinter under the presence of The Beast.

What he had not expected was for Finn to be capable of far more than simple mental resistance, but instead a more physical substitute as well. The reflexes of the murderous bird had been sharpened by the constant battle and the few experiences with hunters, assassins, and bounty hunters which had stricken in ambushes, and his gauntleted hand shot out in an instant, activating in mid-motion as it combined with the ethereal missile that had burst free from the clearly aggravated child. With a suckling snap the ethereal missile dissipated instantaneously into nothing, the ether withdrawing back in a heartbeat into the form of the young mage, dispelled from existence by the cosmic energy of the Null Gauntlet. The fiery remnants of the missile, however, did not suffer such an existential crisis, and merely a moment as the ethereal energy had been dispelled, there was a sudden flutter of painful heat which lashed against the chestpiece of the Avriel.

Heat and warmth swelled over the top of the metal, and whilst a good portion of the burning fire had been resisted merely by the presence of the metal, there was still enough of it to radiate into the cracks and crevices of the metallic carapace and singe at the feathers underneath. A smoldering smoke began to leak outwards from both the inside of the armor and the place of impact, arising into the air with the stench of ash sticking firmly to it. The Avriel could feel the warmth remaining within his flesh where it had managed to confine itself, as though it had burrowed deep into the meat of his chest and now leaked outwards from it in a slow and steady stream. Oh, it was not an agonizing suffering by any means, and he had faced far more deadly and painful experiences in his life, but it was certainly an unpleasant thing, and it was clear by the subtle wincing gasp which elicited forth from his mouth that the blow had pained him to some extent, likely more so because it had been unexpected.

Crimson eyes met their opposite, and a maddening chuckle of evident irritation and disgust rattled within the confines of the steel armet the Avriel wore, breaking the stillness with villainous anger. With a swiftness derived both from the genetic fierceness of his race and the wing-burst of velocity which he snapped into existence, Noth shot forward, a bolt of vicious and gleaming lightning, the smoke wafting behind him like the trail of some metallic meteor falling through atmosphere. A pair of gauntleted hands shot out, fully intent on grasping the child’s arms and pulling them outwards so that he would be unable to cast again, and, should he manage the grip, he would activate the Gauntlet once more in order to cast the boy into the paralytic shock that such an arcane device could warrant.



word count: 934
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Credit to Pegasus


As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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Finnegan O'Connor
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Tarred And Feathered Principles


Noth's Cave, Outside Etzos, Ashan 64th, arc 718

The ether dissipated around the gauntlet and Finn realized to his horror that the loud crackling of angry, buzzing ether ceased upon impacting the armament. The hoarse, primal cackling noise Noth made before he struck sent chills down his spine and the precious trill in which he might’ve launched a second attacked passed in idle shock. There was a flash of motion, the sound of swords being unsheathed, cries and shouts of anger, all to no avail. Noth was far closer and far faster than any of his loyal subordinates who leapt to their master’s aid. With a gasp Finn landed flat on his back as the full weight of the screeching Avriel smashed into him, and yet that was the least of his concerns.

As soon as the cold, stiff metal of the elaborate gauntlet contacted his exposed wrist he knew for certain that it was the root of Noth’s mysterious, newfound powers. An electrifying bolt of energy surged through his veins and if there’d been any air left in his lungs, he would’ve certainly cried out in agony. His limbs twitched, one leg shot up and kicked into the Avriel’s thick, heavy armour but sorted little effect in the end. There was a flash of fire on the palm of his hand but the hungry, licking tongues were pushed out of reach of the monster’s bristling feathers.

Gritting his teeth, Finn pushed back with all his might but before he could break free from the vulture’s oppressive claws, the full power of the gauntlet was unleashed upon him. The hollow of his back arched up in a flare of unprecedented shock and not a trill later his spine hit the coarse, hard soil again to the apparent amusement of the many bystanders. Hovering over him was the terrifying visage of a murderous creature, disfigured by the will of the Immortals, dejected by his own kin, a once kind host now revealing his true, hateful nature.

He could not look away.

The muscle in his neck had atrophied, the strength wanted from his limbs and his unblinking eyes betrayed the utmost desperation. A few more times his feet and knees found the thick of the Avriel’s armour, but their movement was wholly involuntary. A trace of frothing drool slipped out of his mouth as the paralytic shock overpowered the strength of his will. He desperately wished he could close his eyes to the menacing terror hovering over him who was surely preparing to carve his racing heart out and rip it from the confines of his chest, but he could not. He could not do anything but think and despair and curse the monster Noth a thousand times over in his head. The flames on the palm of his hand died, the wind that had billowed in protest surrendered and fled. There could be no victory against the power Noth wielded. The noises of the world were drowned out by the loud buzz of blood surging through his veins as he tried to think of a way out, a way to end this nightmare. His lips parted, but the only sound that escaped them was a half-choked gurgle that not even the wisest of scholars would ever be able to decipher.

He was at the Prince’s mercy.
Last edited by Finnegan O'Connor on Fri May 25, 2018 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 587
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Noth
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It was actually something of a seldom occurrence that the Null Gauntlet came into contact with any of the ethereal energy used by mages. Of course, Noth had been at least somewhat aware of its capabilities in regards to deflecting magical energies for some time, but the relative rarity of mages themselves, and especially the lack of ones employed by his opponents had meant that he had possessed little in the way of testing for the arcane contraption. The fact that he had been unable to dispel both the fireball and the energy bolt at the same time was something of a frustration, but at the very least the device had been capable of repelling what was clearly a more dangerous weapon, and he was quite certain it would be able to do it again against far mightier foes than an agitated child.

The Avriel had gone quick and ruthless from time spent in a variety of combative scenarios whether skirmishes with hostile forces or even large-scale battles which had been fought for the sake of recovering items and persons that the hybrid had never even remotely cared about, but been forced to assist in retrieving. These reflexes and the battle-ready state of his mind had made it quite simplistic to pounce upon the unsuspecting child and force away his hands, restraining them from being able to cast another bolt of energy or flame upon his flesh and further mar it. It was somewhat interesting that the mage was unable to simply hurl fire from other areas instead of solely from his own body, but he supposed that each of the ability trees in regards to ether had their own limitations, and Defiance; for he clearly recognized the hurling of fireballs as deriving from that school, must have been restrained in such a manner that the mages body was always the origin of their energy.

The struggle between them was quick and pathetic, a prowling feline playing with its miniscule mouse upon the floor before it would offer its demise, though, Noth had no intention of slaying the pitiful child. In fact, his heart swelled with a twang of agonizing grief as he stared down at the spastic and frothing form, the absolute weakness embodied within his involuntarily flailing limbs, the anger and hate and fear that swallowed up whatever expressions he was able to contrive before the spastic energies banished it all away into an irritating flicker of facial features. Oh, he had been most careful not to fry away the child’s nervous system with the gauntlet, an impossibility in reality, though he believed it possible should he retain his grip for too long.

No, the battle was over the instant that the gauntlet had activated in contact with Finn’s flesh, and as he rattled upon the floor like a turtle flipped upside down, the twilight hybrid summoned for his guardians to join him. Some of them had drawn blades, and where once they had seemed intent on assailing the boy, now they were somewhat more wary. They were well aware of their leader’s disposition towards the young and childish, though that image of mercy did not coalesce well with what they perceived to have been an assassination attempt. Nevertheless, not a one dared overstep their bounds out of fear and loyalty to their dark avian master.

“Bind him. Gag him. Cover his head and carry him into one of the prisoner holding cells in the caverns.” He commanded of the guards, and the child who still frothed and shook was quickly bound and tossed overtop the shoulder of the large mutant fellow who had spoken to him earlier, an evident tsk eliciting from his mouth at the sight.

Another approached, the one who had been cautious in the beginning: Noth would need to ensure that his caution was rewarded in the future, because it had been correct, and such intuitions could be trained into truly magnificent talents.
“Summon Carlos, the Defier and take him to the cell. He knows more of the arcane workings of that school than I.” Some would believe that his admittance of ignorance was in itself weakness, but the hybrid had long since learned that it was better to admit ignorance and use his resources than to allow his selfish honor to remain wholly intact and thus jeopardize his goals.

“Poor child.Such sufferings were not meant for ones such as you.” Mused the Avriel as he hastened his step, intending to follow them to the cavern and ensure that nothing went awry in the transportation.




word count: 775
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Credit to Pegasus


As a note: Noth is a Grandmaster in Intimidation. That means that he's at least as scary as the Count from Sesame Street. Beware.

"The tyrant confuses those he can't convince, corrupts those he can't confuse, and crushes those he can't corrupt." - Anonymous
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Finnegan O'Connor
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Tarred And Feathered Principles


Noth's Cave, Outside Etzos, Ashan 64th, arc 718

Rough hands pushed him upright, and held him propped up like a doll. Without the support the entirety of his inconsiderable weight would return to the dust with a dissapointing thud which, though amusing, would not serve any purpose. The only movement on Finn’s part was the irregular flaring of his nostrils, the trembling of his chin, the dazed blinking of his eyes, and that hurried, frightful pulse, visible through the skin just above his collarbone.

His face didn’t know whether to express fear, confusion, or disdain, and in the end settled on a strange, twitching mixture of all three while his limbs dangled uselessly at his side. Weapons were sheathed, arrows returned to their quivers and soon the men and women returned to their posts, save for the ones tasked with binding him. To his horror, he noted that the life still didn’t return to his arms as his wrist were being forcefully bound before his eyes. Judging by the grimace on one of the men’s faces, there was some force being applied to the rope around his ankles, yet all he sensed was a faint tugging. In a way he was thankful for the restraints as they stopped his arms and legs from flailing like an overturned beadle and by the time the thick ropes had been tied into strong knots, the involuntary movements seemed to subside. Yet he was still unable to will his frame into motion and as much as he intended to bite the hairy arm of the man that gagged him with a strip of retched cloth, he could neither move his jaw nor stretch his neck to reach forward and clamp down on the flesh. Whatever interest the display of his magic had gained soon melted and by the time he was thrown over the mutant’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes the majority of Noth’s subordinates had resumed their idle chatter. There simply wasn’t much excitement in seeing a lamb being bound and dragged of for slaughter, and there were many duties left to attend to and many more nels to waste on gambling amid the Avriel’s merry party.

To add insult to injury, the burlap sack, which had seemed so excessive at first, was pulled over his head again, denying him the pleasure of scowling at Noth as the paralytic effect of the gauntlet waned. In truth, he didn’t need to see to know that they passed into the cave, They hadn’t bothered to plug his ears and the ricocheting chorus of footsteps alongside the sudden cooling of the air was enough to tell him that they’d entered the cave. Among the shuffling of boots and the heavy footsteps of the strong mutant, Finn detected the metallic clatter of Noth’s talons, scraping and dragging over the rock floor with the utmost menace. His nostrils flared again at the realization that Noth was close, very close behind, his scarlet eyes no doubt roving over the captured prey that had now started to show signs of surprisingly fast recovery to the gauntlet’s effect.

By the time Finn had regained control over his limbs he had also concluded that he couldn’t hope to overpower the mutant, least of all in his current position. Besides, even if he could, there were far too many henchmen, not to mention the Prince himself who could simply arrest him again, or drive a cold blade through his heart. The sound of water but the lack of boots splashing down in it informed Finn that they’d passed over some kind of bridge inside the large cave. He recognized the voice of the water, flowing and snaking below him, yet unable to help out. It was after they took a sudden turn that Finn resorted to panicked wriggling again, for he very much recognized the foul scent of ammonia and the sound of dying, dragged-out voices begging from the dark. His stay at the prison underneath the Tower of Ministers hadn’t been pleasant, but he grew increasingly certain that it had been like a luxury inn when compared to whatever dark pit Noth kept his prisoners in. The air was stale and muggy and what little light penetrated the burlap sack dimmed even further. Then there was the all too familiar sound of a squeaking metal door followed by a deep groan from the mutant, and then a brief sensation of weightlessness before he was put down on cold, moist rock.

His eyes shot straight up at Noth as soon as the cursed sack was yet again removed from his head and snagged a few hairs with it. As much as he feared the Avriel he simply refused to bow down to the Avian’s will and he let the shitbird know as much with muffled and impolite noises through the gag. While the words were indistinguishable, the angry, bitter frown marring his forehead was clearly intelligible, as was the bulging of his arms as he attempted to free himself of his restraints. In truth, the latter was more of a performance. With enough time he could corrode the rope and free himself thusly, but at the moment it would be far better if Noth thought him utterly helpless until he’d formulated an escape plan. He’d already gone through the effort of committing the sounds and smells of the way they’d come to memory, though he couldn’t be too sure if doing so would be quite enough to find his way home. For the time being he kept testing the effectiveness of the gag, barely pausing in his continued barrage of wordless insults to take a breath and wholly oblivious to the presence of another mage, let alone the emaciated Black Guard who Noth had seen fit to imprison in the holding cell.
word count: 1012
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