Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead

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Mathias Blackwood
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Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead

Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:25 pm

Mathias Blackwood

Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead
3 Cylus 720



It was dark and cold outside, not unlike most nights in Cylus, only now it was both dark and cold in the waking world and in Mathias's dream world. He was running. He didn't know why he was running, but he was running. Beside him, on either side, walls of earth rose up to keep him hidden from the enemies on the other side of the vast field. Trenches. He was running through trenches but he didn't know the word for it. There were soldiers on either side of him armed with crossbows and about ten steps out of the trench there were ballistas set up every twenty feet... however few had been able to get to them and remain there for long enough to load the ballista without one of the enemies shooting them down. To leave the trench was to set into a wall of death. To peek out and fire was to risk being shot... but Mathias was running.

Why was he running? He still couldn't tell as everything else around him became clear. The world around him snapped into focus a little more now as the dream settled in. He was in a ruin that had once been Rharne. Trenches had been dug out for cover because most of the buildings and walls had been leveled. Soldiers and citizens with blurred faces patrolled the trenches. Some fired crossbows across the vast Dead-Man's Land in the middle between the trenches of Rharne and the Flameborn trenches. This was no dream, it was a nightmare- brought on by lingering fears of what they'd be facing in Rharne when the party finally arrived.

Mathias came to the end of the trenches where it lowered into an underground tunnel system and he charged down the steps. He was still in such a hurry... why? Mathias ran down a dark, poorly lit tunnel. He turned a corner and narrowly avoided a dozen volunteers fleeing up to the trenches with crossbows in hand. Mathias ran the way they'd come until finally he arrived at a large, glass door in the system of underground tunnels. For a reason that only made sense in the dream, Mathias kicked the door, shattering it, rather than opening it. As the door shattered, Mathias ran into the room. His room. He was in charge of this defense. This was his quarters... this was where his bow was... that's why he was running- to get to his bow. Mathias picked up the instrument with which he played the song of the dead and he went back out to the trenches.
Human Male

Transmutation Mage
Glowing Silver Hand Veins







“The archer is the true weapon; the bow is just a long piece of wood.”
~ Sebastien de Castell
Last edited by Mathias Blackwood on Tue Mar 31, 2020 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 480
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Re: Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead

Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:23 am

Image
Where the fuck have you dropped me this time, boy?!"

Kasoria hissed the words as he walked through the doorway and found himself in a city being mauled to death by fire and fang and madness. He should have guessed, from the crumbling stone arch and the distant sounds of slaughter from within. But he was too focused on the glare the Brand on Mathias provided him; too intent on his destination, and the one beyond that. For getting to the boy was only half the task. He had to get to where the boy's form in the real was, and that... that needed him awake.

One thing at a time.

"FUCK!"

Like staying alive.

Something that seemed formed entirely from claws and fire and black bones lunged at him from a mound of rubble. A clutch of ragged figures were swept aside by it, bisected or incinerated, mauled into bloody meat by its insane fury. Without thinking, without even knowing his body was moving, Kasoria backed up quickly, going for his gladius-

-quick movement attracting the creature yet again, driving it towards him as his steel split the fetid, smoky air and he thrust-

SHUNK

-impaling the monster through its gaping maw. Kasoria gaped, wide-eyed, agog and unthinking. This... what was this?! Some figment of a nightmare? A memory of a monster very real and waiting out there in some damned corner of the world? It couldn't truly exist... could it? But the cold, clinical side of his brain didn't ask those questions: it twisted the blade, widening the hole through what passed for brain and splitting cranial bone, before yanking it back out. The monster seemed to gurgle as it slumped down, ad Kasoria looked around...

Just one more little touch of madness in a fresco that covered a city. A city that seemed to bear no buildings full and inhabited any longer. Under a sky lit and crisscrossed by flaming ballistae bolts and gouged in a hundred places by trenches. In every ruin, every rubble-strewn clearing, monster and man seemed to fight and die. The trenches were thronged with men, yet all of them seemed an inch from raving, gibbering lunacy. Pushed too long and too far by armies of implacable monsters. Driven to destroy the beauty of their sacred home to save it , then merely to ensure they dragged as many of the beasts to hell with them instead.

He's here. Somewhere. Follow him.

Kasoria's eye twitched and the specter, the after-image of the Brand seemed to glow in his vision for a moment. Somewhere underground... and rising. He shouldered the pack he'd brought from the real world, making sure it was secure over both shoulders, and set off, filling his free hand with a dagger. It was his mortal form that stalked this nightmare, now. And fucked if he was dying in some brat's twisted version of Rharne. He shoved his way past a squad of men heading the way he'd come, and leaped into the trenches. Snaking through mud and darkness towards the source of the light.
word count: 531
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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Mathias Blackwood
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Re: Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead

Tue Mar 31, 2020 4:21 pm

Mathias Blackwood

Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead
3 Cylus 720


Kasoria wouldn't have to look far to find Mathias because just as Kasoria dropped into the cover that the trenches provided, Mathias emerged from the underground tunnel. Mathias locked eyes with the Raggedy Man and for a moment concern took his mind. That man was not one of his. That man did not belong in the trenches he was commanding. For a few trills all that separated Mathias from Kasoria was the narrow stretch of trench- not more than twenty feet... but then what looked like a large rock crashed down into the trench between them.

The rock flattened two men firing out of the trench and collapsed a good portion of the wall before blade-like arms and legs began to jut forth from the create. Then a small but bulbous head seemed to sprout from the rock which was beginning to glow red. the bulbous head had two black and beady eyes trained on Kasoria and a trill later it began rushing towards the superior killer- it's bladed legs moving it's large body like a spider through the trenches. As other soldiers in the trench stepped in front of it, it bisected, trisected, and impaled them-

-but it never stopped moving forward. The more observant Kasoria would see Mathias behind the beast firing arrows into it's back if the larger beast did not draw his full attention and by the time the beast reached Kasoria it would already be stumbling- Kas just had to finish it off.

"Karim!" Mathias shouted across the trenches to Kasoria. He remembered the man but he didn't know where from. The face was familiar, as was the name, but it felt out of place as well. "What are you doing in Rharne?" They weren't in Rharne, but Mathias didn't know that. This Mathias, the one trapped in his dream, believed that Storm's Edge had been lost and this was the world that loss had created.
Human Male

Transmutation Mage
Glowing Silver Hand Veins







“The archer is the true weapon; the bow is just a long piece of wood.”
~ Sebastien de Castell
[/quote]
word count: 370
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Re: Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead

Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:28 am

Image
"Boy?!"

Kasoria could barely hear his own voice above the din of battle, so he knew the kid had little hope. But this was not the real world, governed so strictly by such matters. As if he sensed him, or as if his dreams had a flair for the dramatic, the young face across the trench turned to him. For a moment, the world seemed to still, or at least quieten. Men and monsters still whirled and rushed and screeched and called, but there was a silent span between them, and Kasoria moved forwards-

BOOM

"FUCK ME!"

The Etzori was lucky: he was knocked staggering by the impact. The men in front of him? "Paste" would have been a generous description. But that horror paled when the projectile that had landed shifted, then shuddered... and started to stand up. Kasoria back away and shook the dust from his face as he watched. Burning red eyes glared at him from a head not much larger than his own, attached to a body the side of a wagon. Two thick back legs, two thinner front ones... and thick blades jutting from each of them. With a roar that seemed to come from the center of the rock-beast itself, rumbling into the air through fissures and rents instead of a working mouth, the creature started his way-

TWANG

Kasoria saw the boy raise the bow and fire in one movement, smooth and practiced. The creature twitched. It felt pain. It could be hurt. That, Kasoria knew, meant that it could die. The boy was not alone, and a clutch of other Rharnians were soon firing at the retreating back of the rock-beast, who seemed to have eyes only for Kasoria. Over and over they piled arrows into it, until it was weakened, but still closing, implacable, unstoppable-

No such thing.

Finally it swept one of its front legs at Kasoria and the Raggedy Man met it with his gladius-

It's rock. Don't try to match it head on, or slice through it. Parry. Redirect. Unbalance. Make an opening.

-sword gripped tight and trembling in his hand as he redirected the swipe up and away from him, leaving the monster's underside exposed-

SHUNK

-gladius' riposte slashing across its belly, which seemed to hew apart like it was made of gravel. The rock-beast roared and reared back as a gash long as Kasoria's arm opened where its stomach would be. Smoking, steaming lengths of granite intestines spewed and clunked out onto the ground. The Raggedy Man didn't waste time being impressed, or giving the thing a chance to strike back. His dagger was already moving-

-stabbing up and into the throat of the monster, blade buried up to the hilt. Ah, as he'd suspected. A head meant a neck, and a neck was a weak point. With his arms straining and muscles bulging he roared and jerked down as hard as he could, going to his knees as he did-

CRACK

-rock monster slamming down in front of him, legs flailing, trying to right itself-

THUNK

Kasoria didn't give it the chance. The gladius punched through one beady red eye and kept going until it poked out the back of the thing's head. Fantastical as it was, at least this nightmare Mathias held true to one important law of nature: shoving a length of steel through something's head, is generally gonna kill it. The rock-monster seemed to sigh, a sound like a distant avalanche, and then it was still.

"Karim!" He allowed the boy to pick him back up, blades still in his hand. The men that had helped them were already rushing on, not questioning Kasoria's lack of uniform, of orders, of unit. Then again, given how close to fucking hell this place looked, what would have been the point? Kasoria kept focusing on the boy instead, scowling as the archer briefly patted him down. "What are you doing in Rharne?"

"What am... 'ere, c'mere," he said with a grunt, sheathing his dagger for a moment and gripping the boy's arm. "Aye... see now?"

Well, he fucking did. There was that explosion of color again. Playing off walls and rocks and dirt and trenches and corpses and monsters and sky and back again. An endless procession of colors and tastes and sights and smells that all mingled and swapped with each other. Thus was what it felt when a dreaming mind awoke, but not in the waking. Mathias blinked a few times and Kasoria didn't let go until he was satisfied. Eventually the boy stammered out his name again... only there was more understanding behind it.

"Aye. Tolja I'd come back. Now-"

With the same calm efficiency as he'd killed the monster and packed his bag, Kasoria smacked Mathias on the forehead with the flat of his sword. Hard.

"Why in the fuck can't you jus' 'ave an' ord'nery dream, you mad cunt?!"
word count: 847
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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Re: Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead

Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:55 pm

Mathias Blackwood

Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead
3 Cylus 720


There was a small fear rising in Mathias as arrow after arrow sunk into the creature and it kept advancing on Kasoria. Other archers had noticed it as well and there arrows began to make the beast look like an oversized hedgehog with bladed spider legs... not a pleasant sight to say the least but the sight they were all inflicted with regardless. While Kasoria finished the beast that had reached him, Mathias peered over the edge of the trench towards the wasteland beyond. A small like of orange rose in the distance and began to grow as it came nearer. "They're advancing from the trench!" Mathias shouted to the other dream warriors around him. He quickly pulled five arrows from his quiver, holding them between the fingers of his right hand as he nocked the first one and took aim at the encroaching flame.

The five arrows flew from his bow one by one within the span of maybe four trills and they flew much farther than any natural arrow would across the gap of waste between the flameborn and Mathias's trenches. Bit of orange seemed to fall in the distance as the arrows reached them but the mass of flame kept coming. By then the beast had been killed and Mathias had gone to lend aid to Kasoria though- recognizing the warrior as far more useful than those around him. He helped Kasoria up, dusted him off a little, and then Kasoria grabbed his arm.

An unnatural chill spread up Mathias's spine as the truth of their world came into focus. He didn't even notice the colors flying out across the landscape at his awakening, he only saw Kasoria. Mathias's eyes lowered down to the brand on his hand and then back to Kasoria for a moment before a loud explosion rocked the wasteland above them. Mathias flinched and pulled his arm from Kasoria's grip. "A fuck... your back." Mathias mumbled before looking up over the trench. His eyes widened at what seemed to be a large ball of fire rolling across the field towards them and then looked back at Kasoria. "This way." Mathias instructed, turning towards the tunnel under the trenches that he'd come up out of to meet Kasoria... or Karim.

Yet before Mathias could lead him, Kasoria gave the lad a sharp wack on the forehead with his sword. "Ow, ass." Mathias insulted Kasoria as he rubbed his forehead, trying not to forget about the encroaching ball of flames. "Hey! I just dream the dreams, you are the one who chose to drop in tonight!" Mathias shouted back to Kasoria as he moved for the tunnel. It was a rare night that Mathias had a peaceful dream and on those nights he did, he slept very well. Odds are that if Kasoria had waited one more trial for Mathias to have actually reached Storm's Edge, the dream might have been worse. The closer he got, the worse his anxiety about their impending doom became.
Human Male

Transmutation Mage
Glowing Silver Hand Veins







“The archer is the true weapon; the bow is just a long piece of wood.”
~ Sebastien de Castell
word count: 547
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Re: Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead

Tue Apr 07, 2020 12:36 am

Image
Whatever witty rejoinder Kasoria had planned, he never got a chance to speak it. Mainly because it looked like the sun was rising... and yet when he turned his head, it was anything but.

"Wh... What in the f-"

It was a tide of fire. An inferno with arms and legs and weapons and naked fury. It was an infantry charge covered in pitch and set alight and incaring all the while, living solely for vengeance and slaughter. They loped and ran and scuttled and limped and yes, yes they could die. Catapults blasted holes in the ranks; ballista bolts carved gouges through them; arrows downed monster after monster but still they came on. In such numbers and fury that the night was banished and the beleaguered human defenders were bathed in light.

The boy's shout broke him out of it. He turned tail and ran, not feeling an ounce of shame. Not when that onslaught of impossibility smashed into the Rharnian trenches and the screaming started behind him.

"Y'know what?" He panted as he caught up with the boy, a hundred yards down. Only now might Mathias notice that his "friend" from a dream ago was burdened by more than just weapons this time. Now he had a pack over one shoulder and a bag under his other armpit. Like a man equipped for a journey. "I dun even wanna know what the fuckin' plot a' dis shite is. S'your mind, s'your biz-niss, but now-"

"Flee! Save yourselves!" The voice seemed to be so lonely, and yet everywhere at one. It was misery given a single voice to every mind. Kasoria knew it came from above, hundreds of feet away, yet he heard the despair rattle through his mind as if Mathias has spoken to him. "The lines have broken! The Knights have broken! All is lost!"

At once, the city groaned. Kasoria knew well that sound. He'd heard men make that noise when they realized that scarlet pouring out of them could not be quenched, nor that sharp thing buried in their throats negotiated with. It was the moan of a man knowing mortality. Inescapable, implacable, inevitable. Kasoria gawped around him as the mood shifted on a fucking nel. Gone was the grim resolve and resigned fanaticism. Now all these stalwarts were fleeing, running, weeping, eager only to escape and survive and-

Good. Perfect opportunity.

"A'right, boy," Kasoria said, an edge that could shave a bear's beard in his voice. "Gimme yer hand. We're fuckin' offski, ye ken?"

Mathias apparently did not, and Kasoria was in no mood to argue. Especially since he was noticing, once again, that it was getting brighter down there...

"Yer hand! Now!"

Mathias jerked his hand out and Kasoria grabbed it. Fuck's sake, he wished he'd asked Llyr about this. If it was his dreaming self he wouldn't mind so much, but that was not the case this night. The being speaking in Mathias' dream was Kasoria entire. Body, Spark, and soul. He flicked a glance over his shoulder. The way that they had come was burning. And the fire was roaring. Literally.

"Fuck... shite... a'right... ah... close yer eyes. Do it!"

Once that was done, Kasoria pressed his other hand to the black, wet wall. He could feel the living, bleeding heat of the monsters behind him. Carving their way through the panicked garrison like a wolf pack through a blind hen house. He forced his senses to quieten. Ground his teeth and closed his eyes... felt the texture of the wall... how it was like a blank canvas... now the surface of a pond...

And as he thought it, he felt the hard stone ripples... part... shimmer... as if that pond was upright and right next to him. But it was not his own Dreamscape nor the Veil that was beyond it. He could feel the Brand on Mathias burning on his sleeping palm, as the boy shuffled and writhed in his nightmare. He inhaled... and despite the horror around him, he smiled. He could smell midnight. There was no smell like it. Cold and quiet and still, if you knew where to stand.

Here we go.

Something vast and furious roared behind the two as Kasoria grabbed Mathias by the shoulder and hurled them both sideways through the wall that was no longer a wall and-

-Mathias would feel the shock of water soaking every inch of him, blasting him awake on his bedroll in the cold Rharnian air, sweating and confused but not soaking-

"'ere, who're you?!"

As the tiny camp started to awaken, they would notice they had a new arrival. Right next to Mathias, on his knees and dry heaving like a drunk with nothing left in his guts to purge, was Kasoria. After a few moments, the Raggedy Man's coughing became a wheezing, worrying laugh. The way it went up and down and choked and hissed until finally he turned his head and regarded Mathias through his curtain of black hair.

"First time I done dat," he said, voice worn and tired. "Godany fuckin' groag about?"
word count: 872
"This is the life we choose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see Heaven."
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Re: Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead

Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:23 pm

Mathias Blackwood

Preparing for War: The Crossing of The Dead
3 Cylus 720


It didn't take much to prompt the young archer into action amidst the encroaching wall of death and fire. Mathias turned and was through the trenches, down the tunnel, and stopping to see if Kasoria was following and thank the Immortal's he was. Mathias was not astute enough to notice Kasoria's baggage in the dream. His mind was captured by the fire and the screams echoing down the tunnel. While he knew this to be a dream now, he had believed every figure to be a patriot, a warrior fighting to protect Rharne... and now he could hear them burning. He could hear their screams echoing as they were reduced to mounds of dead, charred flesh. Kasoria, who wasn't burning, didn't seem to command as much of Mathias's focus as the rest. Not that it would matter.

A few trills later Kasoira tried to shake Mathias from his daze with a simple command but it seemed as if Mathias hadn't heard anything. His eyes were locked on the far end of the tunnel they stood in- watching for the small glow he knew would be coming around that bend any moment. Then Kasoria repeated his demand more fervently. My hand? Mathias held out his unbranded hand for a trill before remembering what Kasoria wanted and switching his outstretched hand. When Kasoria gripped it, Mathias saw the orange tint at the end of the hall.

"Fuck... shite... a'right... ah... close yer eyes. Do it!"

Mathias's eyes widened, unfortunately, when he saw a man- wreathed entirely in flames, turn the corner of the hallway and begin lumbering towards them. "Fire." Mathias mumbled. Then he realized what Kasoria had said and obeyed, clenching his eyes shut while the dreamwalker worked his magic. The burning man charged towards them and just as Mathias began to feel the heat radiating from the flames, a cold splash of water washed over him.

Mathias sat up in his bed, gasping for air as he looked at the world around him. He was still in his camp with the other volunteers. They were still going to Storm's Edge. They were still alive.... and Mathias was more or less dry. The mage noticed Kasoria retching beside his bedroll and stood up slowly. "It worked." Mathias remarked. Another volunteer questioned who Kasoria was and Mathias turned to them. "He's help, now go get him something to drink."
Human Male

Transmutation Mage
Glowing Silver Hand Veins







“The archer is the true weapon; the bow is just a long piece of wood.”
~ Sebastien de Castell
[/quote]
word count: 448
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