Holding Storm's Edge: Let Loose The Worms of War

Beyond the city of Rharne lies the Stormlands, which is home to a number of farms, forests, fields, Lake Lovalus, and the River Zynyx. This subforum also includes the Stormwastes to the south.

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Mathias Blackwood
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Race: Human
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Holding Storm's Edge: Let Loose The Worms of War

Mathias Blackwood

Holding Storm's Edge: Let Loose The Worms of War
2 Ashan 720

Mathias and a small group of other volunteers had decided to go out into the Stormlands to try and bring back some of the beasts that had been plaguing them for so long. The research that had been done thus far had proven invaluable and if a little dangerous venture into the Stormlands was all it cost to learn more, Mathias would pay the price... at least that was what he told everyone. In reality Mathias had just grown tired of shooting at immobile targets and seeing some of the faces around Storm's Edge. There were more pleasant faces to be seen there for sure, but there was a madness that came with being trapping in one place for so long. Mathias agreed to join the group just so he could take a walk around.

Ashan's light certainly helped in a few regards. It made getting around a lot easier and it felt a lot warmer. Storm's Edge looked so different in the trialight than it had all of Cylus. Mathias thought back to that dark season and how terrifying it had been when the beasts struck at them in the moonlight. He thought of the rigid cold atop the watchtower, looking through the blackness for any sign of the beasts. The cold metal of the telescope pressed against his face while he watched and waited for the worst. Gennadiya was right, Ashan was a different thing entirely. Mathias did his best not to let his thoughts of the suns distract him from the task at hand. They were hunting. Better hunters than Mathias lead the group in search of some sign of the creatures while Mathias followed rather blindly but at the ready. He would be useful when the time came but for the moment he was just going with the others.

Eventually and unfortunately they'd all arrive at a patch of land with dozens of molten gopher hole looking openings across the ground. Even Mathias recognized that was a bad sign. He pulled an arrow from his quiver and nocked it while the group moved forward, wary of a surprise attack. Whispers began to spread through the group of hunters as friends confided their secrets in each other, but nobody spoke to Mathias. Ever the outcast. The pariah. Ever alone. He'd made this role for himself with the distance he put between him and other people... and it would save him in a few short bits.

It all happened quickly. There were maybe... a dozen of them? Thick worm-like beasts made of molten stone shot from the ground in various directions and at various places. But they attacked where the hunters were grouped up. Those who had been whispering their fears had them quickly confirmed. Mathias saw a worm burrow through a man's chest and slip out the other wise only to slither back into the ground. The woman beside him with a warhammer wailed in fury and fear and began smashing the ground around her with the hammer. One strike dug deeper into the ground and caused a little lava to spew out from where she'd swung. She hit it... and a moment later another leapt from the ground behind her and burned through the side of her leg.

Elsewhere in the clearing, the hunters who'd brought swords found themselves hacking and slashing away at the fireworms. Their sword's never really managing to kill the beasts but effectively swatting them away and buying time. Mathias thought fast and his only thought was run. He backed away. The worms hadn't come for him yet. They hadn't- and one leapt from the ground right in front of him, flying straight for his chest. Mathias- even with his arrow nocked, wasn't faster than the coming worm so rather than try to shoot it, Mathias fell onto the ground and the fireworm sailed over him.

It burrowed into the ground and Mathias knew it would be coming back so he pinched the arrow on the string tightly and ran his ether through it, bolstering the wood to make it stronger. Then he fired the arrow into the nearest tree, nocked another, bolstered it, and fired it a little higher. But then the worm had come around again. Mathias, still on the floor because he'd spent his precious time shooting, found himself crawling backwards on the floor in a panic as the worm came for him like a dolphin bouncing in and out of the water... only it was a worm of liquid rock bouncing in and out of the ground. It was fast, but Mathias was clever. He recognized the pattern quickly and pressed his hand to the ground, pushing his ether to form a pathway to where the fireworm was burrowing and then he bolstered the earth as well. There was a loud thud. The fireworm striking the surface of the floor and the floor not melting away immediately. It took the worm precious trills to get through the ground and by the time it had, Mathias was already to the tree he'd shot the arrows into.

A long time ago, a woman named Yeva had told Mathias they wouldn't be able to climb his arrows because they wouldn't support his weight. At the time he hadn't thought of a solution, but he'd spent much time since then figuring it out. That was why he bolstered the shafts of the arrows. Mathias pulled himself off the ground, using the two arrows like a ladder to reach the nearest branch he could comfortably sit on. In the tree, the worms of war could not reach Mathias... but he could reach them.

Mathias nocked another arrow and began taking aim at the worms who were still wreaking havoc among the other hunters. A worm emerged from the ground and was struck immediately with an arrow that bounced off. Damn. Round two. Mathias nocked another arrow and fired it into a worm leaping at the wounded hammer-clad woman. The arrow dug into the side of the stone-magma monster and threw it off course, causing it to miss the woman completely. A trill later she saw it and brought her hammer down, flattening the beast. He discovered that he couldn't quite kill them with the bow, but he could get them off the others... for a time.

There he sat in his tree having a good time shooting at moving targets that couldn't reach him when suddenly Mathias began to feel a little heat licking at his heels. Heat? What? Mathias looked down and saw the tree he was perched on had been set ablaze. A worm had burrowed through the trunk and started a small flame that was growing quickly now. Mathias shifted quickly but the fire had surprised him and it cost him his balance. His foot slipped as he tried to stand on the branch and he fell from the burning tree.

Mathias hit the ground with a thud and heard a loud snap. His eyes widened and his traced his body to see what had broken... it was an arrow. He fell on his quiver and it had broken some arrows. The moment that panic passed the pain of the fall set in. Mathias groaned and slowly stood up, the woman with the hammer and a hole in her leg smashed a fireworm emerging from the ground beside Mathias and shoved him. "Go! Retreat!" Mathias had no problem with that plan. He grabbed her arm to help her along and they both hobbled from the clearing as fast as they could. There were others running with them, but between the sound of his heart beating in his ears and the pain throbbing in his back, Mathias didn't know how many had made it out.

He didn't look back because he was fairly certain that would be when one of the worms got him. After a few bits of desperate hobbling, Mathias and the wounded woman with the hammer slowed to a more modest pace. The worms were long behind them now, tearing apart those who might have chosen to remain behind and fight them further. The fools. They'd killed more than enough of them already. "Lets agree not to tell anyone we ran?" Mathias proposed as they reached the gates of Storm's Edge. Healers were called for to come help the two.

"Deal." The woman said as she and Mathias separated. Another, more fit, guard took the woman off to the healers while Mathias waved off everyone who tried to help him. It didn't feel like anything was broken... then again Gennadiya was a healer. She was with the Order if he remembered correctly... and it would be an excuse to see her again. So Mathias let a few people help him get to the healers... to visit a friend. Just a friend.

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: 1542
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Race: Mortal Born
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Re: Holding Storm's Edge: Let Loose The Worms of War


Strength - Lifting Your Own Weight
Tactics - Getting Out of Fireworm Reach
Climbing - Easier with arrow-handles
Ranged x 3

Loot: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: Bruises from falling from a tree. Nothing’s broken, but Mathias will be in pain for a while. His back hurts especially badly. Hopefully, Gennadiya will be able to help!
Renown: 5. Mathias ran, but he still did something.
Magic XP: Yes, for Transmutation.
Skill Review: Mostly appropriate to level. Mathias climbed a little too well though, considering that he has Untrained Climbing.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: Your threads have the most interesting titles!

I understand why Mathias has grown tired of shooting at immobile targets. That would bore me as well!

The way you described them made the worms sound quite … unpleasant. The hunt was well-written and exciting. I liked the scene with the woman with the warhammer, for example.

Bolstering the arrows and climbing the tree so that the worms couldn’t reach Mathias was quite a clever idea. I wonder if his "A Carpenter At Heart" mutation helped him when it came to bolstering the arrows ...

I would probably have added “Discipline” to the list of skills used as Mathias tried to not let his thoughts distract him from the task at hand, for example.

Anyway, enjoy your rewards!

word count: 216





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Ring of Reversal
Ring of Immunity
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