• Mature • Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Like it says on the tin

Once the epitome of advancement and wonderment, this ancient city has suffered an apocalyptic catastrophe and now drowns deeper into destruction as schemes and further disasters threaten to tear it asunder. Hope has long since left the land... but some have refused to surrender their place in the sun
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Fridgar
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Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:48 am

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38th of Ashan 719

Fridgar descended lower and lower toward the ground with their wings spread wide, gliding along with the stray gusts of wind. The further they descended, the more potent the scent they had been tracking became. It was the dead of night, and both Zarik and Fridgar were enveloped in complete darkness with little to guide them but the glow of the blood light plants on the street below. They were gliding above Lair, the lawless district of Quacia, with Fridgar in their Sohr Khal form and Zarik was riding upon their back.

They had spent the trial with Zarik, and they'd saved him from shackles in a dark dungeon, then traveled to his home in search of a source of his father's scent. The person that had imprisoned Zarik had apparently done so as a favor for his father, so when they found his scent, they thought they were traveling to Lair to confront him. Fridgar had expected to find a fight when they found him, but a discussion between them and Zarik revealed that the Biqaj actually wanted to apologize for his behavior, which they thought was ridiculous.

Now though, they were descending into Lair in the dead of night with perfect night vision... Well, almost perfect. Fridgar's mutation made everything further than ten feet from them blurry, so it was difficult to judge how far away the ground was. "I mean it, Zarik... Hold on tight." They warned again, for this could very well be one of their worst landings yet. The sound of the air shifted around them, and the blur of the glowing bloodlights came closer, and closer... Zarik would see clearly as Fridgar soared just an inch or two over the roof of a building and knocked off some tiles with the end of their tail. The Sohr Khal hissed, then spread their wings and turned sharply to the left and glided along the face of a building and flew down the street.

Gravity pulled on Zarik from the left, and unless he held on as tight as he could, a plummet of twenty feet awaited him.

A tilt of their wings slowed them a little and they eased into a more proper, upright position. A sudden jerk and a thud, followed by a sprint came from the Sohr Khal as they took in the last of the momentum, then they slowed to a halt and breathed raggedly. "That was intense... Are you okay?" They asked as they turned their head around to look at Zarik, then lowered to lay on their stomach so that he could climb off them. Once they were both safely on the ground, Fridgar began to transform and returned to their original Lotharren shape. There, they began to draw each piece of their war outfit from their domain bag and adorned each individual piece. Once the skull of their headdress was placed over their blindfold, they drew both their war axes from the same domain bag and rolled their shoulders.

This part of Lair was quiet, only a few people had seen the display, and they quickly moved on from the sight of the weapon-wielding mages.

Fridgar looked to Zarik then through their blindfolded eyes, which appeared as rag-covered eye sockets through their mask. "We landed a little way away, but he's close. We hope you're ready," they spoke as they began to walk toward the source of the smell and trailed up the cobbled street with their bare feet. Their rune of touch still crackled with power on their cheek, and they idly felt through the stone and air for vibrations that signaled a threat to their being. No such threat came however, and before long, they were stood before a large complex with a rough barn-sized building baring the front door. Fridgar dropped to one knee and pressed their palm to the floor. Inside, they could feel the movement and weight of three different people. Zalazar's scent led directly into that very building.

"We're here," they said as they stood and looked to Zarik. "I don't know what kind of company your father keeps, but there are three people on the other side of this door. Somehow, I don't think they're going to just let us walk in and ask to see your dad but we can try if you'd like..." There was no harm in asking, right? Even if they did attack, Fridgar was more than confident that they could overcome them.

Last edited by Fridgar on Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 763
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"Who needa politics when you can eat the politics."
-Nightshade Eld 02/02/19
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Zarik
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Re: Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:57 pm

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Their descent went fast, and it went with a force that had the young mage duck his head and tightly grip the feathers of the Sohr Khal. He used his whole body, his legs squeezed, and he nestled his face into the plumage. Air whipped his white-blond hair about. He peeked and Fridgar knocked a roof apart on accident. Zarik made a quiet noise of surprise, then tried to hold on even tighter though it seemed impossible to do so. His lean body nearly hid in the pale feathers.

A pull to the left and his body started to slip. He desperately grabbed, then climbed some to keep on the avian mount’s back instead of sliding away and down to the stone-encrusted ground.

His heart raced. He felt the danger of the moment in its entirety, but when they finally jerked and thudded into a sprinting halt, Zarik let go instead of clinging on. The blond slid down the length of the Sohr Khal’s back while Fridgar lowered to his stomach, then hopped off and skipped a short distance away. He barely even felt the slight jump's landing with his Boneturner Legs.

Zarik laughed. It was a true and sincere expression. One hand on his hip and the other to fix his hair, he turned to watch the Protean transform from avian to the... familiar… war outfit. Was it familiar? It felt so. He didn’t think much of it, simply that his eyes flashed gold when he watched the axes drawn, then he looked away. It lasted mere trills, then his eyes became violet as they had been the moment after they landed.

He grinned. “That was… amazing! Y-you were like,” he outstretched his arms, spun on one leg in a circle. “Whooosh, and then,” he slapped his hands together to simulate the crash into the roof, “Bam! And then- then- We’ve got to do that again!”

The blond recovered from his adrenaline-fueled excitement, cleared his throat, and blushed. He lowered his voice as he remembered where they’d landed and why.

“S-sorry, yeah, I’m okay. Let’s go,” he whispered and followed after Fridgar while they followed the scent’s trail. As they walked, Zarik asked, “A-are you okay? Did you hurt yourself when landing?”

He watched as Fridgar knelt and pressed a hand to the stone floor in front of what looked to be a Lair warehouse complex. Zarik fixed his trenchcoat, tightened the belt, and realized he should’ve brought his dagger with… he’d been lax about taking weapons along with him while in the city. He'd gotten too used to relying on the thrall, Devin, for protection. He nodded as Fridgar informed him this was the place where Zalazar’s scent led.

“Three people?” he asked, confused. Zarik rubbed his face, then said, “My father doesn’t… he doesn’t keep company. I… I can’t imagine what… or who…” After a bit of thought, he nodded and said, “Let’s try.”

Zarik went to the door of the front building. He hesitated, then knocked.

The stone door slid open, heavy but swift, as if the person on the other side had been waiting exactly for such a thing. A scrawny and ugly human peered at them past matted strands of ginger hair. Zarik nearly took a step back. The awful stench of rotten fish hit his senses and he covered his mouth and nose with a hand. He said, “E-excuse me, I’m looking for my fath-”

“Yuh. Com’in,” the stranger gestured him inside. Zarik glanced at Fridgar.

The interior felt both vast yet cramped somehow. Gruesome things hung from the dark stone walls, and iron chains curtained most of the room into sections. He saw a couple other people who stood near a door. One held a crossbow at the ready. The other seemed more casual, sharpening a sword with a whetstone. They were chatting with one another, though one of the men paused when he saw Zarik. He slammed his fist into the guarded door with a repetitive knock.

“Uh-uh,” said the ginger at the front door. He started to shut it on Fridgar, not letting the Protean enter as well. “Just the kid.”

“Wa-Wait,” Zarik turned around. The irises of his eyes had turned red. He looked to Fridgar, held up a hand to stay any potential violence, then said, “He follows. Otherwise I’m leaving.”

“Leave then,” responded the strange simply. He shrugged. “Do it quick, boy.”

“Is my father even here?” He wondered if the scent trail had led them astray.

“Not quick enough.” And whether the Protean had entered the building or not, the ginger human slammed the front door shut. A heavy stone bar fell to barricade it from an easy open. He drew a blade from his belt, though it wasn’t a dagger, it fit to his knuckles and curved along them slide a crescent moon of razor-sharp steel.

Zarik said, “Don’t. I’m warning you. I only wish to speak with my father.”

The three guards laughed. Such a warning from a frail young biqaj as fair as Zarik was… didn’t strike fear in the bitter hearts of Chrien devotees. The Protean had been intimidating, yes, but for the moment he was on the other side of the stone door. They knew the warehouse complex’s layout better. All they had to do was collect the son of Zalazar and then slip away through the hidden side door. They hadn't been informed of a Becomer who'd be able to track scents, only of a necromancer noble who was unlikely to step foot into the filthy sector that was Lair. Fridgar didn't fit that description, and the front door guard assumed he was probably just a thrall of some sort.

“Whatdya think you’re gonna do?” asked the archer who held a ready bolt aimed at Zarik’s head. "One move..."

And then the stone door gave way as Fridgar followed.

word count: 1019
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Re: Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Tue Apr 16, 2019 6:38 pm

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Zarik hadn't fallen off, he wasn't even shaken or afraid by their shoddy landing. In fact, he was ecstatic, excited by the thrill of the danger. The Sohr Khal simply looked upon him while he vigorously and vividly expressed just how much he'd enjoyed it, and even asked to try again, then began to transform. They recognized that Zarik was happy, of course they did. Who wouldn't with a display like that, but they felt nothing in return to the joy they had caused. There was no pride, no contagious glee, nothing. The best they could do was pretend to feel those things, and when their transformation ended, Fridgar also smiled with their sharp teeth bared. "We don't know about that, it could have been a lot worse," they said as they pulled their skull mask on over their head, then closed the gap between themselves and the boy, then guided him toward the source of the scent. "We're glad you're okay... We normally have much better landings than that."

Did you hurt yourself when landing?, he asked, to which Fridgar laughed a hollow snicker. "It's been a long time since we've felt any real pain, we'll be fine," they said vaguely, then proceded to the door. After they'd gathered a feel for what was beyond the door, Zarik seemed unsure. His father wasn't the type to keep company or friends, so whoever was in there were neither their friends nor family. They were hired hands, thugs more than likely. That didn't seem to intimidate Zarik though, and he knocked regardless. Fridgar, at this point, would have killed them without a second thought and been done with it, whether they were innocent or not.

They stood at his side when the male opened the door, and fridgar scrunched their nose at the scent of fish, similar to that of Zalazar's torture room. Fridgar blew through their nose to dispell the smell, then focused only on Zalazar's scent. They couldn't see the man, but they could feel him and his stout, stocky build. They could smell the grime of his skin and his hair, matted with sea water. The Lothar clenched both their axes tightly, but let the rest of their body appear loose and at ease. They activated three sheets to the wind, and their reflexes increased dramatically. If there was to be a fight, they were ready for it. Zarik asked for his father and was cut off mid-sentence by the man with a low born, rough accent, who told him to enter.

Zarik looked at them a glance, then walked into the building. When Fridgar followed, the stout man began to close the door, and Fridgar pressed against the surface with the tip of their ax to stay the man's push. Just the kid, he said with foul breath. Fridgar said nothing, and waited in silence while the Biqaj protested. He threatened the thugs with leaving, as though he had a choice, and before any further action could be made, the Protean was locked out, and the man barricaded the door, which they felt. Fridgar pressed the handle of their ax with their palm against the door as if they'd reacted late, but merely felt with their sixth sense and amplified vibration senses. There were a variety of sounds indoors, lots of laughing, arguing, the lot of it.

Fridgar stopped and thought. They could save Zarik again, quite easily in fact, or they could leave him to his fate and return to Alistair one husband down? They stayed there for a few trills in thought, and they considered how likely this possessive father of his was to let him go... The odds of Zarik returning to Alistair to tell him of how Fridgar had abandoned him, the odds that Alistair might find him and the same would be discovered. They didn't like the odds. Perhaps if Fridgar had somehow met with Zalazar in advance to arrange this better it would have been plausible. But there was too much at risk now, they had to save Zarik. Fridgar sighed, then lowered their axes to the floor.

An open palm pressed to the door and Fridgar lined themselves up. Their right arm pulled all the way back, then like a tensed coil, they unleashed and slammed their fist full pelt into the door. A massive shockwave boomed from the impact and the sound of thunder rolled across all of Lair that night in wake of the mighty strike. From indoors, the entire building shook, and rivulets of dust and stone ran from the ceiling. The chains and hooks all swung and bounced from the force of the impact and any or all the windows shattered and covered the ground with razor-sharp broken glass. Most notably, the door had shattered into a dozen or so fragments, and the barricade bar had snapped in half, but it was still standing. The Protean then cast adapt and took the Solghannon's scales in place of their skin. Panels of their flesh flipped in sequence like shutters, and white scales were revealed beneath. Hard, thick, armored scales.

The Protean kneeled and collected their axes, then kicked the door with half their effort and all their body weight. The structure collapsed and crumbled on itself, and the shape of the massive Lotharro was left in its wake. A crossbow bolt flew their way and Fridgar could feel it coming, despite being blindfolded. They had little time to react, but it didn't matter. They let the bolt hit them, and it pinged from their broad, armored chest without so much as a scratch on their scales. The stout man from earlier came at them with his knife, and in a swift and precise motion, they severed his arm with the hungry whistle of their ax. The ginger fell to his knees, then screamed in horror as Fridgar fell to one knee, and spoke softly to him. "He's not a kid," they said before they lopped his head off with their only clean ax. His body hit the floor with a resounding thud and a spurt of blood.

Another bolt flew their way, and this one hit them square in the forehead. The arrow pierced their skull mask all the way and the point pressed to their scales but went to further. They looked to the source of the bolt while the arrow protruded from their head, then snarled, baring their vicious and sharp teeth. The third thug came at them with a greatsword after they'd taken not much more than three steps into the building. They only felt him as he entered a range of just ten feet, however. Despite being blind, the Lothar swerved to the right as the man struck at him with a heavy, overhead swing and the blade hit the ground, Fridgar turned to face him, where he was open and nearly dove for the kill before another bolt whizzed past their face. "Die already!" The swordsman yelled as he swung his mighty blade from the ground and to the right, aimed to strike Fridgar's side. They stepped backward to grow the gap as the heavy blade came hurtling toward them, and felt as it swung past them, then dove at him with their ax raised and slammed the blade into his face swiftly. They cut an enormous crevice into the man's head, then pressed their foot to his body and kicked him to the ground while they held on to their weapon.

Just as they expected, a fourth bolt came their way, but they were ready. Using the flat of their ax, they deflected the ranged strike to the ground, then charged with both their weapons ready for the source. The man quite literally screamed as the skull masked Lothar descended upon him, and in one swift swing of their blade, they had cut his throat open and hacked through the majority of his neck, but not quite all the way. The man gurgled and sputtered from the gash in his neck, then fell to the floor and dropped his crossbow. Fridgar stood there with spatters of blood painting their pale skin, and looked to the direction of Zarik's heartbeat while the crossbow wielder on the floor died. A stomp of their foot caved in his head, and the ranger was no more. "Are you unharmed?" Fridgar asked as they kneeled at the iron door, then drew a runic trap upon the floor. They used a chained rune of both weakness and numbing to set the trap and tied the trigger mentally, then dilated the trap as far as they could with a push, and filled half the room.

"Step back," they said as they backed away from the door. "We expect reinforcements, and if not... Cover your ears." Fridgar rook a deep breath, then released it in a powerful roar while they echoed the Lurker's voice. A terrible and vicious blood-curdling roar boomed from the Lothar, one so powerful and intense that the very building itself shook with the force of the reverberating sound. If Zarik had ever encountered such a monstrosity in Ne'haer, he would certainly recognize it's roar. The aim was to lure whoever else was in the building to their umbral trap, the enormous fifty-foot circle that laid dormant and grey on the ground.

word count: 1589
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"Who needa politics when you can eat the politics."
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Zarik
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Re: Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:32 pm

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The stone surroundings rumbled from a shockwave. Zarik stumbled from the vibrations. He wasn’t the only one who struggled with the unexpected impact of the Protean’s fist to the stone door. The Chrien devotees stumbled as well. Instinctively, Zarik raised a hand when he saw movement as the ranger accidentally fired the readied crossbow. The iron bolt drove directly through his bandaged and burned palm, but it stopped with the sharp tip an inch from his eye. He stared at it for a moment, his eyes glowed red with the hue of primal danger, then pain flooded through his arm.

Zarik lowered his hand with a delayed shout. Silver blood welled around the hole. His fingers spasmed. He cradled his wrist, and hurriedly moved away as destruction rained down into the building from shattered windows, dust and stone crumbling. The blond hissed, using his breath to steady himself and keep conscious. Agony rose in his nerves as his hand realized a foreign object had forced itself through his flesh and bone.

He fell between a few rows of chains, bumped into a couple iron hooks that tugged at his Quacian-styled trenchcoat, and he retreated to the shadows along the far wall. Zarik attempted to meld into the darkness, but his silver blood left a splattered trail of his path that almost shimmered in the illumination of the bloodlights and torches set near the iron sidedoor.

Fridgar entered after him, kicking down what remained of the barricaded door. The grimy Lair men went to fight against the aggressive intruder. While the Protean drew blood and brought death, Zarik moved farther away. He stumbled past some swinging chains and fell to press his back against a wall. His hand felt like it was on fire, a sweat rising to his skin. He grimaced. He cradled it still, trying not to jostle the bolt that remained lodged through the palm.

If he’d heard what Fridgar had told the greasy ginger, he might’ve smiled… but Zarik was too concerned with his injury and the remaining men. Even if he had a dagger, he couldn’t fight like this. His vision blurred around the edges. Blood kept gushing around the hole. He pressed to try and stop it, but it only made things worse as it welled faster and spread over his fingers. The biqaj swore.

Screams echoed as Fridgar took care of the ranger. Zarik’s heartbeat was rapid, his adrenaline coursing through him in shocked response to his injury. He managed to stay on his feet, however, even if he leaned against the wall. Past the swaying chains, and their corresponding shadows in the dim crimson glow of the bloodlights, he stared at the pale scaly armored Protean. Fridgar moved to draw a runic trap on the floor.

“N-no,” he answered honestly to the question of whether he was unharmed. Zarik walked around the hooked chains and he started to approach the other man. “I… I…” He didn’t know what to say, in the slightest. Zarik felt speechless.

He listened when told to step back. Zarik moved far away from Fridgar and the remaining side door. Zarik whimpered when told to cover his ears. He could with one, but his other hand was useless to attempt to do so. He pressed his pointed ear against a raised shoulder and then covered the other ear with his hand to try though.

The roar felt as if it sunk directly through his body and reverberated his insides. He briefly shut his eyes, in a reactive wince. He kept back, however. And when he opened his eyes again, he glanced toward the broken-in front door. A familiar figure had joined them: Devin. The Revenant had finally caught up.

Zarik ran over to join the thrall, to stand behind him, in the case that Fridgar would become busy because he heard voices beyond the door. He had no idea that his father had collected such a… following in his short time in Lair or… Zarik felt a sick feeling in his stomach, unrelated to his injured hand or the Lurker’s roar. He blinked, and kept sharp breaths in and out, to avoid fainting from the stressful overwhelm he felt.


-


Perhaps it’d been an ordinary night in the old, abandoned slaver warehouses of Quacia’s Lair. It was an area where few people went anymore, even the dwellers who wheeled and dealed in the fairly lawless sector. Here laid the things that truly frightened people, where necromancers snuck to for their darkest supplies. Through-out this area, there were the practices of not-so-innocent Immortal worshippers who desired to continue their practices from under the Theocratum’s wrothful eye.

Zalazar had been going to such a place in the breaks when, unbeknownst to Zarik, his son had been busy with business in the parlors of Gleam. A well-kept secret, for this wasn’t Zalazar’s first time in Quacia. He’d lived in the stone city before, prior to his son being born, and he’d come back upon his son’s request with the knowledge that he would find old allies again – people who understood the way he thought about things and others who desperately desired to gain the attentions of their shared worshipped deity: Chrien.

The complex, of three warehouses and an assortment of other buildings linked with winding stone corridors, served as their space of worship and it had for arcs. In Zalazar’s time of need, in the grief of losing his only son to a Rynmerian noble of all things, his fellow worshippers supported him – in the twisted way that the Quacian cult of Chrien did, through encouraging his bitterness and hatred to fester; to express it in all ways but most of all through violence, death, and the thing that Zalazar’s talens excelled in: torture.

So when many of the devotees, in midst of their various worshipping practices, heard the Lurker’s roar; they grinned with the possibility of drawing enough violence that the Immortal might finally deign to recognize them.

The iron door flung open to reveal a pair of scrawny women. One held a flail in hand, though neither of them crossed the threshold. Their gazes flickered in survey, then one ran away to inform the others while the other stayed.

It was only when the woman was joined by a handful of other men and women that she finally crossed over. A hooded figure held out a hand, and it was clear from the motion that his attention had set on the fresh corpses already in the room: a necromancer aimed to use them for his purposes. Around the mage, the mundane-natured warriors spread in chaotic formation. They weren’t an organized group, but a motley assortment of several caustic individuals who all wanted to be marked by an Immortal who hated their kind.

Just as they gathered, unaware of the umbral trap gray and dormant underneath, a portion of stone in the wall slid to the side. A hidden side door, one much closer to where Zarik was. But the few who came through it, in fierce ambush, weren’t met only by the Protean. For the first thug who approached made the mistake to swing a sword at the nearby wounded biqaj.

The steel came to a clashing halt against the razor-sharp edges of Devin’s blades. The Revenant kicked out, then cut down the assailant in sprays of red blood, before the undead assassin moved to the next and then the next.


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Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:13 pm

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In all their focus, Fridgar hadn't paid attention to Zarik's position, nor his wellbeing. Their entire state of mind was devoted to one task, and that was perceiving the world around them without vision and destroying their enemies. So when they failed to perceive Zarik nearby, it was still only their second priority and didn't worry about it too much. In this state of mind, they flowed like the river from one strike to the next without pause or consideration. It was a meditative technique, where they operated without a clouded mind, and so seamlessly shifted from one objective to the next. Kill the ginger, kill the swordsman, kill the ranger, set the trap, lure them out, and finally, check on Zarik.

Apparently, he wasn't unharmed, so he was harmed? "Stay behind us," they said in their own voice and not the Lurker's. "If you can, put pressure on the wound or try to clot it with something," and that was the best they could do for now. With their bare, armored feet, they kicked away some shard of broken glass an pressed the sole of their foot to the ground. The runes all along their armored legs reverberated with the vibrations of people's footsteps and even told them of Devin's timely arrival. What it didn't tell them was how badly wounded Zarik was, but he was in good hands now. Fridgar stayed there with their feet planted firmly on the ground and stood upright with a slouch, their skull mask pointed toward the floor.

And then the iron door opened, and there was a small gathering beyond, though not as much as Fridgar would have hoped for... Then one person in the door fled, and Fridgar tilted their head. Had they seen the trap? Surely not, not in this lighting. Fridgar hummed to themselves while they waited and felt around the complex with their feet... Then they felt them return with a much more impressive group, and they filled the room. They cared not for how the bodies of the people they had slain began to rise as husks, nor for their spread out unorderly approach. They simply thought, and all the lines of their trap flared aglow in a deep crimson, which seeped darkness so thick that it blackened the floor with its aura. At once, all the men and women fell to their knees, then their fronts as their nerves became inoperable, and their muscles weakened to the pull of the world.

Four chaotic crimson arms ruptured from their back and crackled and fizzled with immense power at the activation of their trap, and their spark unleashed its full wroth. The glow of the trap disappeared, and the victims were left in their three trial debilitation. Behind them, a hidden door opened and a group of men rushed Zarik, only to be cut down one after the other. The two husks ran at them, and Fridgar turned to the swordsman's corpse, the one with a caved-in face. With a snarl, they lashed out with their axes and cut away both his arms, just as the ranger closed in behind them. At once, their four etheric arms seized all four of his limbs and pulled in separate directions while suspending him off the ground. Meanwhile, Fridgar weaved around the disarmed husk and lopped through the back of his neck with their left ax. The husk caught in their arms split into four pieces as the full wrath of their etheric arms pulled in all separate directions, and the husk was left missing both their legs and one arm with a head that dangled by a thread.

It still gurgled and sputtered in a vicious snarl, so it still lived in some way. With the husk, Fridgar began to viciously beat one of the floored cultists. The etheric arm slowed naught at her screams, nor the crunch of her bones, nor even when the strength of the beating left her torso a puddle of blood, mulch and shattered bone that plastered a broken floor. The husk's head had flung off in the frantic beating, and it was no more. So, Fridgar threw it to the far end of the room with such force that it spattered rather impressively against the wall and cracked the stone of the warehouse wall. "Zarik," Fridgar said aloud and looked over their shoulder at the boy when the men had stopped coming. "We're going to show you the faces of each and every person here, one at a time. You just tell us if it is or isn't your father." of course, if they were a woman, they were obviously not the man they were looking for. So, Fridgar approached the first male scent, and pulled his head off the ground by his hair, and held him for Zarik to see.

If Zarik confirmed him to be a stranger or not his father, their ax would cut his throat open and sever his head. Then they would toss his head to one corner, and they moved on to the next male scent. If by chance, they took a woman by mistake, they would sever her head without question and move on. They came to the necromancer last, and peeled away his hood then took his hair and beheld him to Zarik, their ax waited at his throat.

word count: 906
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"Who needa politics when you can eat the politics."
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Zarik
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Re: Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:37 pm

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Ragged breath, sweat-soaked skin, spasmed hand; Zarik wasn’t faring well with his injury. As the deadly fight spun around him – Fridgar pulling apart an undead husk and Devin cutting down those who came in from the side – he tried to figure out how to care for the iron bolt stuck through his hand. The blood had slowed, but his previous attempts to dislodge and press had opened the hole around the bolt. The arrow’s tip was sharp and four-pronged, having created an x-mark shape for the hole where the wound didn’t seal but continued to bleed. The end of the bolt wasn’t smooth and round either, it had thin rows of spikes so he couldn’t merely pull it out.

The soles of his boots grew wet. Blood pooled, spilt by Devin, and seeped through the leather soles. He heard screaming, he heard even some cries in the chaotic mix of zealot-like fighters, but most of all, he heard the crunch of bones – the snapping of tendons – the sound of flesh being rent apart in ways that it never was meant to.

Zarik fell to his knees. The blood soaked through the long hem of his trenchcoat. He curled forward and cradled his injured hand, in confusion as to how everything had changed so quickly and what had gone wrong. What had he done wrong? He only wanted to talk with his father, but what was this? Why was his father with these people who were so hostile? Zarik tried to wiggle out the bolt in his hand, but it only made things worse. He stopped, his entire forearm becoming tense with pain.

Ether gathered in the bloodied palm. Could he corrode it? He tried to focus, but his on-fire nerves distracted him. While the corrosion started to dissolve the iron, it also leaked to the open wound around the bolt. Zarik shouted with pain, then whimpered. He stopped what he was doing as quickly as he could. What had been a torn hole caused by the bolt, now had become a dissolved wreck by the ether. He couldn’t finely control the corrosion into the arrow enough without having the magic spread into his own flesh. Tears rolled down his flushed cheeks.

He gulped for oxygen, dizzy, and ducked when a head flew past him. It crashed into the wall, splattering and he felt a handful of brains land against the side of his face. The gray matter dripped from his blond hair. Quiet resounded afterward, except for the cursing and crying of those people still trapped by Fridgar’s umbral rune.

The Protean spoke to him, then, and started to present the captured people to check if Zarik’s father was among them. Zarik got himself to his feet. He looked, first, at the long trail of bodies that Devin had left behind. The Revenant stood, near the open frame of the hidden door, with blades dripping crimson and silver.

He stepped closer, to get a clearer view in the red and orange illumination of the warehouse room. Zarik peered at the man that Fridgar held by the hair. He shook his head, “That is not my father.”

And then, Fridgar severed the stranger’s head in a spurt of blood. Zarik gasped. He winced, holding his injured hand close to his chest. He watched as the women were killed immediately. Zarik started to feel sick. His stomach turned over, but there was nothing in it to throw up. Instead, he gagged on a dry heave. He admitted that none of the men were his father – and they came to the necromancer, and finally, Zarik said, “I- I… I can’t do this, Fridgar. Why… I…” He struggled, his mind faded from all the pain, and loss of blood. “It’s not him. None of these people are my father! Why are you making me do this? Don’t you know his scent already?! Couldn’t you… why are you…”

Zarik looked to the pile of heads that Fridgar seemed to be collecting. He closed his eyes, then returned to his knees. He coughed violently, attempted to hold back the dry heaves, and shivered. “We have to find him.”

He focused himself on the reason why they’d come at all. Zarik shook his head. With his free hand, he unbelted his trenchcoat, then reached under his sweater to grab at his torn undershirt. He ripped another swath of fabric from the top, then wrapped it around the bolt in his hand to stabilize it. Feverish, he walked forward in an approach to the violent Protean, his eyes flashed gold before returning to the glow of primal red, and he said, “Hunt him down, Fridgar. Do not kill him, even if he attacks.”

word count: 804
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Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:44 pm

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Why are you making me do this? Don’t you know his scent already?! Couldn’t you… Fridgar stopped while they held the necromancer by his hair and visibly thought. That was true, why were they doing this? They had to think of a reason and fast... "Well... We didn't want to accidentally kill your father, and we can't exactly leave witnesses either." Yes, of course. It was because these men knew nothing of Fridgar's existence that they managed to get this far. The less people that knew of their existence, the better. With that, Fridgar pushed the man's head forward and pulled their ax back. In that one motion, they cut through the entirety of his neck. His body hit the floor and Fridgar was left holding his severed head. With a low exhale, they straightened up and threw the head to the pile.

They collected their other ax, then stowed them both at their hips. They hadn't even counted how many people they had killed this trial, but the death toll was rising. The Protean walked toward Zarik and knelt before him. They peeled back their headdress and removed their blindfold, then looked down upon him with their deep crimson rings, and empty black pools. At once, they saw the wound, the arrow in his hand. They pulled back their lips to bare their sharp teeth in a false grimace and hissed as they sucked in. "Don't touch that, it will just make the bleeding worse. If you leave it, your skin will inflame, swell, and lock up around it. It'll be a bitch to pull out later, but you'll stop bleeding as much. Even if you think you can pull it out now, don't. That's the only thing that's clotting your wound, so you'll just start bleeding even more."

The Lothar reached out and gently held the small Biqaj's shoulder and brushed him with their thumb. Zarik gave his commands, and Fridgar nodded empathically. "You just sit tight, and don't play with it. We'll have your dad in no time." They lifted their blindfold to their eyes and pulled the straps on the back tighter. Once the fabric was squeezing their thick skin, they pulled their headdress back on which still had the bolt embedded in its forehead, then stood and drew their axes. Carelessly, they walked toward the iron door and crunched broken glass beneath their armored feet with every step. They walked over the bodies and kicked them carelessly if they got in their way, then disappeared into the dark of the room beyond.

Every press of their feet lit up the world and made the world light up around them in their blindness. Their heavy footfalls reverberated through the walls, floors, and doorframes subtly and warned them of where and where not to tread. In their flow state, they hate forgotten that they knew Zalazar's scent and didn't think to check the people in the room for the man. At least it worked out in the end, but then they had to waste energy on emotive comforting for Zarik. Soon they came to another iron door, which they slammed with the sole of their foot with such force that the bolts that held it snapped, and it fell to the floor with a loud slam. Inside, there was a single paced heartbeat, the scent of a female. Fridgar ducked their head, then entered the doorway and blocked the only exit for the room. They lifted their ax toward the direction of their fast beating heart and pointed.

"You," they said with a low, gruff voice. "Where is Zalazar?"

word count: 621
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"Who needa politics when you can eat the politics."
-Nightshade Eld 02/02/19
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Zarik
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Re: Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:43 pm

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Why couldn’t they leave witnesses? Zarik didn’t know, but he wasn’t in any state to argue. He’d only shouted at the other man in his overwhelm of seeing so much fresh death before him in direct reaction to his words that none of the men were the man they’d come for. If he’d thought Fridgar to be anything but a kind, trust-worthy man – as the compulsions in his mind continued to assure him was the case – then he might have questioned whether his father was at the warehouse or not. Whether he should leave now, instead of… whatever it was that the Protean sought. But he did not think this way, instead he only felt pain, sorrow, and confusion.

Zarik cried then. As Fridgar came over, examined his wound, his shoulders quivered in barely restrained sobs. He didn’t want all those people to die. He hadn’t wanted anyone to die. He’d only wanted to speak with his father, to apologize, and to avoid more death by doing so. Instead, he’d brought far greater numbers of death – the opposite of his intention by seeking Zalazar out. The gruesome pile of heads mocked him. He felt sorrow for the people, they hadn’t even gotten the chance to fight for their lives… taken out by the Protean, and the Revenant, so swiftly and brutally.

He lowered his gaze to the floor, unable to see much through the tears as the salt-water blurred his vision. His eyes had turned a blue-gray hue as if filled to the brim with his sorrow. He tried to swallow the saliva that gathered at his lips, but found it difficult, as the pain in his hand had started to throb and spike with burning sensations from the mixed wound of the crossbow bolt and the accidental corrosion of his own internal flesh caused by his Transmutation magic.

The Lothar gently touched his shoulder, in an attempt to comfort him. Zarik struggled with this. He tried to stop crying, his inhales sharp and causing him to cough, then hiccup instead. As Fridgar told him to sit tight, he barely had the mind to respond. He looked up as the Lothar stood. As he blurrily watched the looming, mutated Revealed mage head toward the door, he called out in a shout, “Don’t kill anyone else, please, Fridgar!”

And the Lotharro disappeared from his view, past the door. Zarik breathed in and out, enduring the pain in his hand, as he stood. Though the other man had told him to sit tight… he refused. With a glance toward Devin, who followed at his heels with blades still drawn, after a couple bits, he followed after the Protean.

-

The iron door snapped from the stone frame, then crashed to the floor. Nalasi nearly dropped her dagger, and when she saw the beastly Lotharro who entered – certain that it had to be the source of the Lurker’s roar – she promptly dropped the blade and raised her hands in a surrender gesture.

The biqaj woman said, “Za-zalazar? Who!? I don’t know anyone by that name!”

Beside her on a table was an open box with an assortment of items in it. She glanced at the Protean, then moved closer to the table.

word count: 556
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Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:27 pm

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Fridgar said nothing as Zarik called out to them, and pleaded them not to kill anyone else. How would he know if they did? He wouldn't. Zarik was weak, something of a wimp. That hand injury would keep him where he was, and he wouldn't investigate the back rooms. Even if he did, they could easily say that the cultists were the ones that had done it, provided they didn't start ripping off limbs. Or, they could perhaps say that they had attacked them first, as Zarik seemed to care deeply for them this trial, for reasons they didn't fully understand. Whether it was the ring or not they didn't care. Zarik was vulnerable to them now, both for direct threats and manipulations from the shadows.

So, when Fridgar kicked the door down, and the girl failed to give them a good answer, Fridgar tilted their head at her She was inching toward something, but they wouldn't give her the chance to grab it. At once, in a flurry of power, two of their etheric arms shot out and extended from their back. At once, they snared her neck and arm, then lifted her off the floor and pinned her to the wall. Fridgar smiled softly, then walked forward her. The etheric grip around her neck simply held her weight by her jaw, it didn't squeeze or strangle her, but she was entirely at their mercy. They knew not whether she was pretending not to know or not, but they gave no one the benefit of the doubt. No risks.

"Zalazar Ki’enaq," Fridgar said again as they closed in toward the pinned female with both their axes primed and live. "A psychotic male Biqaj that ordered the capture of his son, Zarik Venora." Fridgar stopped their advance just a foot from her, then gripped her free arm with one of their other etheric arms and pinned her to the wall. "That boy is under our protection, and we've come to inform him so." The last remaining straight of crackling energy loomed over their shoulder, and the jagged appendage snapped its claw-like head at her threateningly. "Zarik is here to see him, and we know he is here." The arm around her throat tightened its grip hard enough to cut off her airways, but no harder, and they watched while she struggled for breath and kicked her legs in a desperate attempt to escape. Then, the pressure eased.

"If the next words out of your mouth aren't where he is, then we invite you to see what happens~," they said with a pursed smile, barely visible from beneath the white skull mask. They felt over the ground with their bare feet and searched the complex for movement while they interrogated the woman. Perhaps they could find him themselves?

word count: 478
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"Who needa politics when you can eat the politics."
-Nightshade Eld 02/02/19
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Zarik
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Re: Special delivery: Thesonyourekindameanto

Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:49 pm

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Nalasi’s slender body slammed against the wall, held by the crimson etheric arms. She gasped, and her biqaj eyes flashed gold. As she listened to the intimidating creature, pale and large, she cursed her inability to have kept the smokebomb on her person. Not that… she realized as she listened while glancing at the axes… it would have done much good against such a mage.

Beneath the ground, certain vibrations suggested the movement of two people in approach to the door - Zarik and Devin - and farther still, beyond a hidden stone door in an unmarked location of the warehouse corridor - the stairwell that led to the place where faint steps and bodies in slow motion could be felt.

“Okay, okay!” She stammered through the loss of her breath. She winced and then admitted, “Yes, yes, I know. He wanted to meet Zarik in their house in the Gleam. He-he knows you… you helped him earlier.” For Nalasi had been watching the Ki’enaq household for some time, assigned by Zalazar. And she’d been helping the older Biqaj for a long time now in his endeavors, long before Zarik had even left the house for the snobbish nobleman. Nalasi, if she weren’t so vulnerable, might’ve spat on the beastly mage who she assumed would kill her anyway. Her gaze flickered over Fridgar, however, as she saw a familiar person at the door.

-

Zarik had followed. He knew that the Protean likely could tell, but maybe not. In the daze of his pain, he didn’t much care. The blood loss had caused him to become skittish in the path of his logic and the churn of his emotions. In his mind’s eye, the image of the piled beheaded people seared like a fiery brand on his soul. Thin drips of brain-matter still leaked from his bangs and over his cheek from the splattered husk that Fridgar had thrown into a wall.

He reached a busted-in door, then looked past the frame to see Fridgar with a girl… a girl he immediately recognized. It was the biqaj who’d attacked him at the start of the season, on a rain-soaked night, and nearly took his life with her dagger. He stared and wondered if he might be hallucinating. He held his injured, but wrapped hand close. The black fabric of his torn shirt had become saturated in his silver blood.

At his side, Devin stood patiently and ready to move. Zarik spoke and though the pitch of his voice cracked, his words were said as a direct command to the much more powerful and stronger mage.

“Let her down, Lothar.” The irises of his eyes pulsated in golden hues. “I will speak with her. I… we didn’t come here to kill or threaten anyone. It is unnecessary.”

word count: 475
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