• Closed • Urban Warfare.

A horror show in the making unfolds before our very eyes.

2nd of Vhalar 716

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2nd of Vhalar, 716.

Cole's first three runs of the day had gone smoothly. Together with the rest of his group and the charges, they'd always stuck to the widest streets, the longest stretches, making bee-lines between their destinations and the temporary hub. Keeping to the narrow alleyways and dark corners had always worked against humanoid guards in his arcs as a smuggler of illegal goods, but the shadow-monsters seemed almost omnipresent as they struck from nowhere and disappeared again just as quickly. The more open ground to move around in, the better, the group had discovered quickly; using this method, so far they'd only suffered a small handful of injuries and enough deaths to count on the fingers of one hand. A feat that he knew few groups similar to his own could boast. Still, he was nervous. Today, now, moreso than ever. "Come on, keep talking. Something, anything, just let us know what's going on." He didn't like it when the four others in his group got quiet... it either meant something bad was happening, or it'd already happened.

Natthe, a toned young woman who'd worked as a blacksmiths apprentice before the invasion closed down the shop and portions of the city with it, spoke up. "Big fat load o' nothing, that's what. Can we hurry up? Yer making me nervous tip-toeing." There was some rustling next to his ear as she rolled both shoulders and tightened her grip on her hatchet. "Doubt they've even got ears," she muttered. Arrogance was growing in her, speaking out in the middle of a run. She knew full-well that they couldn't speed up, not when the young mother they were escorting for the afternoon still had a baby clutched to her breast. Cole wasn't going to let it get to her head, lest she be the downfall for the rest of the group and jeapordize everything they'd worked for.

"Listen," he said, "you and I--"

"LEFT!" came a scream, interrupting their conversation and turning all of the battle-hardened warriors in the direction of the call, bows and various salvaged weapons drawn while their charge dropped down to her knees, shielded away as she'd been told. There was nothing there, though. Not even a corridor, just empty wall with dusty letters that could have once been a store sign written over the brickwork. "It was here!" Some snorting came from Natthe, but before any of them could dismiss the false alarm, Rhode yelled from the back, "BEHIND!"

Cole only got a glimpse. A flash of darkness skittering over them all, like a low-flying bird. Then it was gone, except it wasn't, because yet another shout came, and another. Around and around it flitted from one corner to the next, single-handedly surrounding the group of five. Their yelling had disturbed the baby, who started screaming and crying, no matter how much its tearful mother tried to calm it down. "Get down!" Cole yelled. "Ring! And SHUT THAT KID UP!" He could barely hear himself think between the screaming kid just inches from his ears and the blood rushing through his body as he struggled to follow the faster-than-eye leaps of the shadow-creature."Where is it? Where'd it go?!"

A warm liquid splashed over his shoulder and back, followed by gurgling. He turned, just in time to see Rhode topple forwards with several lacerations that ran straight through his farmers boy clothes and the flesh beneath. He'd never even heard its footsteps. The boy convulsed and twitched on the floor, clutching his chest, but no time could be spared for the dead. "Swing if you see it!" The other two weren't talking, weren't even answering. He couldn't afford to look their way, turning attention away for just a bit was a death sentence. "Guys, speak up." Still nothing, apart from the wailing child and its softly crying mother. "... Guys?"

He turned. Kael was gone, thrown a few metres back and up against the nearby wall in a bloody heap. Lykos was bent over backwards, arms spread out and spine bending in an unnatural fashion. Natthe's lifeless eyes stared straight at him. And looming at heights the likes of which he'd never seen before, the creature responsible stood. He raised his mace, intending to slam it straight into the creature's chest, but it took a step back - a step, like it knew anything about actual fighting - and a hand that looked like it was made of daggers slashed straight through his chest, ripping away strips of flesh. Then again. Again. It tore and tore like a true predator consuming its meal, until Cole staggered backwards and toppled over the cobblestones, rasping for breath. In his last moments, contemplating regret in his life choices, he noticed the baby had stopped crying. Its mothers voice, however, had grown to anguished screaming.
***
"He should have arrived by now." In the wake of the first responses to the shadow-attacks on the city, refuge points had set themselves up across the city, boasting protection and security for citizens. Staying at home was all good and well, but at least in groups, everyone could arrange night shifts. One such place was now The Sphinx's Armaments. Thakrid, being a veteran, was obviously the best equipped to deal with the situation, and had a good deal of generosity towards civilians in their time of need. The store front was cleared of weapons and all benches pushed away to the sides, barricading the windows and providing a slim gap for the door to partially open. Further back, in the storage room and the forging space, sat several small families huddling around the low-burning forge for warmth. Aklor didn't care about them, though. He was busy pacing the store front anxiously, waiting for his son to return with the latest arrival. It wasn't easy, running through the city to make it to one of these safe zones; especially those with children, disabilities or other troubles. Thank the Immortals for generous souls like Cole who volunteered at the drop of a hat to escort them through the city and protect them from shadow attacks.

Thakrid clapped a heavy hand on Aklor's shoulder. "He'll make it back, you know he will. Running yourself ragged ain't gonna do you any favours." The old smith smiled. "Go down the back. Talk, comfort. He and all the others should be coming in shortly for their last run, and then we'll close up for the night. I'll take first watch." Several runs over the course of the day were coming to a close as the suns set, the last few arrivals appearing just before everyone would start tucking into their meals.

"Yeah. Yeah, you're right." They'd all gone through a lot, but the city had shown it was ready to fight back. Volunteers were rising, people were turning, fighting back on behalf of their lives, their family and friends, their city. It'd come as a shock to the city and nobody could know what hell was being wracked on the other cities around the world or whether it was entirely localized, but as the fights wore on, skin became hardened. They would all make it through. And so would Cole. "Hah, maybe after all this has blown over, he'll get a damn decent job, eh?" he laughed.
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It was hard to ignore the cries and general distress that was happening to the people beneath the trees. hardly a trill went by that a scream didn’t whistle through the branches. Every Tunawa knew that there was horrible things happening to the people of the city but Niv didn’t see any of them doing anything about it. They wished to remain hidden and wait for this catastrophe to just disappear.

“It’s not our place to get involved.” A Tunawa male replied dismissively to Niv’s urgent plea. Another crash came from the nearby buildings flowed by some haunting alien cries.
“How can you say that?” Niv spat back with disgust “We can’t just let them get destroyed!” She let out a huff of frustration before adding “What would Ymiden think about your cowardice” Niv’s eyes shot daggers at the other Tunawa.
“And how exactly do you expect us to help? did that even enter your silly little head?” The male’s face contorted in anger as he shot back viciously.
“Anything would be better than nothing!” Niv shouted before storming off down the the large branch and jumping onto the next tree. There was truth in the male Tunawa’s words, But Niv was far to stubborn to ever acknowledge it. She was already on her way to her home to find her weapon and summon her mount.

With her sling staff in hand she looked to the sky and unleashed a series of squawks into the trees. A slight rustle was heard followed by the white cockatoo Patcha soaring down from the sky and landing next to Niv. The Tunawa hunched over, fluttered her arms about and squared out her battle plan to the bird. Patcha’s head tilted in confusion at Niv’s sudden anger but none the less lowered to let Niv onto its back.

They soared through the sky towards the cities calamity while Niv howled and shrieked to attract the monsters away from the populace.




Art credit to Yoshitaka Amano
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It was an odd sort of chaos that had consumed the city. That was to say, it was surreal, monsters not of flesh but shadow had laid siege to the city. If there had been a distance she could have run, or a place she could have fled to, perhaps she would have, but Symbri could not run, nor could she hide, when one's own shadow becomes their nemesis, then running stops being a possibility.

She had been running with a group of other townsfolk, fleeing further into the city searching out shelter, right? Where she was now, was not where she had been, but then again, time like shadows had become abstract to her, Staring down a huking Shadow Symbri found herself staring down a great shadowy beast before her, a child behind her, and a beast before her, only armed with a torch Symbri stood her ground, so afraid that fear had lost it's grip on her. Yes, she had been running away, but then a child had fallen, and the people in their panic let the little one fall behind to be lost to the shadows, and... something in her... something had forced her to stay, something in her, a desire to protect would not allow her to run anymore.

But that was all it had done for her, it had let her stand her ground, to fight back, she needed to summon a new sort of courage.

"I-I'm not afraid of you B-beast! Back off now, O-or I'll be forced to slay you!"

Holding the torch out menacingly Symbri warded off the darkness with light, the flickering flame bolstered her spirit and anchored her courage, if she could hold onto it, she could hold onto the bluff of courage, at least long enough for the child behind her to flee, fighting such a beast was a horrifying possibility, it's form shifted and outlines melded with the darkness making it near impossible to discern it's form or where it might lash out from. Knees bent and slow breaths came from the girl she was more poised to flee than to battle, but she could not flee if it put another life in danger, thus her will spit between her compassion and her fear forced her to stand in limbo on the battlefield. To afraid to fight, but too stubborn to flee.
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There was no way to know it without comparing the shadow-monsters and their patterns to that of the rest of the region, or performing some other form of incredibly close analysis physically impossible in the middle of an invasion, let alone a scale such as this - but these monsters, the ones scattered along the outer-most regions of the eastern side of Ne'haer, were different. They moved, they advanced through the city in a fashion completely unlike the random, chaotic appearances of the other shadow-monsters that practically appeared wherever they pleased, or followed some other unseen pattern known only to themselves and the most insightful, likely mad individuals that watched them. In one space they converged into a single shadowy mass, and then spread out again in waves, like a rising tide. On and on they went, moving from point to point, a cohesive mass of shadow-creatures working in an unseen sequence, like flocking birds. As if guided by instinct, or cognizance, or intelligence. It was impossible to tell if there was even any pattern to these points that it converged. There was something happening there, though, in these masses of darkness where all shadows melted into one mass. The feeling, the sensation one got even close to these dark spheres of influence made even the most seasoned veteran's bones vibrate. These Convergences.

In the chaos, another one was forming.

The shadow before Symbri, somewhat humanoid but stretched abnormally tall, with gangly thin limbs and a bulbous head that swayed on a spindly neck like it might topple off at any moment, didn't seem at all fazed by the flickering torch she waved with her false bravado. Although black, misty and very much appearing like shadows from the ground and walls, their similarities with actual shadows disappeared there. Real shadows could not grab a man and tear him limb from limb like a hungry dog tearing into a freshly-caught rabbit. Real shadows could not stand tall in the face of light and fire and fight back, swinging its arms in an almost beastial manner with an eerie chorus of low, warbling wailing noises. It called her bluff, with no measure of self-preservation - willingly burning itself on the flames and carrying on with little sign of injury. If she'd held a sword, it likely would have impaled itself. It made no difference. Even if it fell, its shadow-like remains would reform somewhere else to begin the torture anew. Even if it stopped, more would come to take its place. Those that stood in the way were just stones in a river... a momentary distraction, quickly overwhelmed and eroded away under an unending rush.

Only, even as the shadow-creature showed no signs of slowing to Symbri's valiant defense, its body started losing form. The haze of its outline grew, subtracting from the solid core, making the creature lose more and more definition, until there was nothing but a faint smear in the air where it had once been, and a trail that wound through the streets, back to the 'heart' of these monsters, a heart they all shared. The next Convergence was forming. Even from the sky it was visible; a black blister in the middle of the street, nearly a storey tall and casting a black haze over the nearby buildings.

For Niv, flying high in the sky on the back of her bird, it was even easier to see what was happening - all over the district, the shadows' masses were drawing together, knitting themselves together into a ball of pure black. As the shadows dispersed, the trails they left behind looked like black veins wound all over the city, sapping its life and feeding it into the tumor at its core. Even the air around it felt stale, with a lack of wind, or noise.

In theory, it was simple. Soon, the Convergence would split yet again, sending out yet more unstoppable waves of shadow-creatures even deeper into the city, causing untold terrors to countless citizens. If they could find a way to stop, to kill the Convergence, while it was still massed together though... perhaps, just perhaps they could put yet another dent in the invading monsterous forces threatening the city. There was no telling what could emerge from this mass of shadows, or what was gathering inside even now... but they weren't facing it alone.

***

For Aklor, bits turned into breaks. Worry turned into fear, despair... and, as the next Convergence formed, anger. The attacks had taken so many. Mothers, fathers, lovers, children. Those that remained, cowered in fear in the bottom of a smithshop, huddled around a burning forge for warmth while those outside were butchered and their houses torn to shreds. There were only two things that they could do... lie down and wait for it all to pass, or stand up and push back. Cole had never lay down. Even in the attacks he'd vowed to continue helping others, he'd thrown himself into the firing line, like so many others still fighting, still dying protecting the city and its people. For Aklor, to do anything less would sully his son's name. Apparently, many others agreed.

Soon, a crowd of some thirty volunteers marched from The Sphinx's Armaments, lined with armour and weapons provided by Thakrid, who stood beside the old thief at the head of the party. Their rallying cries as they marched through the streets echoed down the streets, drawing others to their cause - preparing for an all-out assault on the Convergence, to end the shadow-creatures once and for all.
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“HAOOOOOOooooOO!” Niv howled as she flew over a shadow beast ready to attack a young man and a small child. Niv hurled a rock with her sling down at the creature, landing a lucky but ineffective hit on it. Patcha also staked his claim with a defiant projectile of his own, leaving droppings on the creature face.
“Take dat yews!” Niv proclaimed as she fumbled with another rock from her pouch. She dropped the rock in the process with a mild curse in her native tongue. It made no difference however, as her little distraction was enough to allow for the man to scoop up the child and flee.
The creature seemed weakened by their frivolous onslaught, as it began to fade and loose its form. Niv was surprised but happy that she was able to contribute more than she ever thought possible.

She noticed a dark trail spending out from under the beast and signalled Patcha to ascend to get a better idea of where it was going. The trail moved fast but from her vantage point she could see a few streams of shadow all flowing into one growing lake of darkness. Ignoring the voices in her head that told her to stay as far away from the growing void as possible, Niv urged Patcha to fly towards it. It was undoubtably the source of the problem and needed to be attacked directly if there was ever going to be hope of victory.


Niv flew over a large crowd of marching towns folk who seemed ready to make a stand against the creatures. They wore metal clothes and carried a variety of weapons as they charged onward. She soared over to the one in the lead and directed Patcha to fly into the mans periphery.
“Greetings friend” Niv called out to catch the mans attention amongst the clatter. “You men after deh shadow beasts?” Niv enquired but already had a strong hunch that they were.
“Dey maek eh big shadow orb, yew destroy no?” The sentence she wanted to say didn’t come out right and was likely ignored amongst all the goings on. The tunawa wished she had a firmer grasp of the common tongue but her broken words were the only way she knew how to communicate the the locals.
“I fly wit yews.” Niv blurted out as clear as she could before ascending a bit more, hovering a few feet above the crowd.



Art credit to Yoshitaka Amano
Last edited by Niv on Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:36 pm, edited 4 times in total. word count: 420
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Without sound or warning the encroaching darkness crept back into itself Symbri grimaced looking to the child behind her she waved the child on silently ushering her to get home quickly. then swallowing hard Symbri looked on to where the shadows were receding too. Following the darkness Symbri marveled at how the shadows bent unnaturally, towards some great dark cloud like an evil blot in the sky.

Taking off Symbri ran through the streets illuminating alleys and shadows as she went keeping her eyes open for the beasts that could be lurking, As she moved the lack of monsters didn't reassure her, it hastened her pace and edged her nerves, if the creatures were banding together or receding then their must be a reason, and whatever that reason could be, could not be a good one for the city. When Symbri cleared another alley and corner she came face to face with a small rallied group of citizens, well armed citizens at that.

Making her way into the smiths shop that they were organizing in Symbri frowned. She'd fought the monsters once already and while she didn't value herself a hero or leader by any cry, she at least knew her way around a scrap.

"You're gonna need a lot of torches...."

Offering her council without being asked for it Symbri grimaced. She had a feeling that even among these weary citizens hidden behind helmets and pikes. She felt convicted to help them if she could.

"i've uh fight these beasts a bit already, they might not do the job entirely... but uhm.... for every man with a spear, you need a man with a torch. Against theses monsters... a torch does you just as well.. I'll... I'll take the front.... These monsters don't scare me... just like us they can die. so.. I'm not afraid. I can use a polearm if you've got a spare, but I fight well light in my feet... Oh and.. I'm Symbri, I hope we can repel these monsters together.... and Survive while we're at it."

Puffing out her chest Symbri thumped her fist against her breast and tried to appear imposing, she didn't know a thing about being a leader but she'd learned something yesterday. When the meek charge into battle, courage becomes infectious, and if she could give these men courage, then that would be their greatest tool against the monsters.
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Although the soldiers of the crowd shouted, jeered and slammed their spears and halberds onto the ground in unison like the chant of a percussionist, over their heads hung a heavy atmosphere - weariness, despair, in some cases a complete lack of hope. Some had lost their families, friends and other loved ones. Some hadn't found sleep in trials, perhaps since the first attacks had begun. Of course, nobody tried to let it show on the outside. They hid their frowns behind the mis-matched pieces of armour they'd loaned from the blacksmith and yelled with mock-pride. Perhaps this overzealous chanting was what revealed their true desperation, though. Like a tissue-thin covering, splattered with bright paint to distract the average passer-by, but only ended up drawing their attention to it even more.

None personified it more than Aklor. He stood at the head of the pack, burying his fear under waves of passion and hatred. He roared and chanted. Although most turned their heads and seemed to barely acknowledge Symbri with anything more than a nod or a weak smile, it was Aklor who clapped a hand around her shoulders and pulled her back towards the Armaments before they set off. "Torches? Hmm. We can get some of the leftover debris and use that as makeshift torches. We'll gather more as we go along." He took her advice to heart with a sharp nod. "Here. Come up to the head with me, take these if you don't have anything at hand." He grabbed a halberd, almost fresh-forged barring some scrape-marks on the handle, and tossed it her way. Some stiff leather pieces for her shoulders, arms and legs hanging in a tangled mess from one of the pegs was thrown at her as well. There was no telling how well it'd match against the monsters, but he could guarantee it'd at least be better than normal clothes. "Toss those over yourself and keep them tight."

As they marched, Aklor and his band grabbed the thickest splinters of wood from the debris scattered over the street and lit the tips on fire, holding them high in the air to illuminate the path ahead, as well as the surrounding streets. Although most of the shadow-creatures had disappeared by now into the growing mass, a few still lingered, poking here and there into the flanks, occasionally spilling blood before their ethereal bodies were punctured by a mass of spears, swords, axes and other scattered weapons. Occasionally, another chorus of bolstering yells would rise up as another survivor joined their ranks, immediately dragged into the throng and equipped with whatever leftovers they still had hanging about.

Niv's high-pitched little warble of a voice turned Aklor's head from his latest rallying speech. "Yes!" Despite her accent, the odd child-like pronounciation and the quiet volume, the man still smiled grimly with understanding and nodded as the little Tunawa joined into their group, followed by more yells. They didn't have any toothpicks on hand to light and hand over to the tiny plant-person and judging by her body she wouldn't do all too well around fire in the first place - nor could they offer tiny weapons - but together they used what they were given. At this point, it was all they could manage.

A few more blocks, a few more random encounters and the Convergence appeared over the streets before them. The group picked up speed, from a slow march to a light jog, holding their spears out in lines before them like rams to impale any more monsters that had the ignorance to bother charging. The giant globulous mass had swelled to nearly two storeys in height, on par with the buildings that surrounded it with an apex topping even that. It seemed solid enough... but as they continued, a low growl shook the foundations of the nearby buildings, and most men to the core. "Halt! Stoooop!" With several feet between them and the wall of shadow, the group ground to a halt as strange noises continued to pour from the Convergence - not several at the same time, as one would suspect from what was supposed to be the culmination of all the shadow-creatures of this region poured together... but a single voice, roaring and thrashing, making the whole ball wobble and swell like an egg before it cracks. "Spears up!" Shakily a few responded, most enraptured by the sight until Aklor repeated himself, louder and clearer than before.

The Convergence wobbled again. It stiffened. Sagged. Dragged itself together, taller and thinner than before... and then collapsed inwards. A low hissing, like a deflating balloon, echoed down the streets as fumes rose into the sky and the Convergence splattered across the ground in visible droplets, like a foul-smelling slurry. Had it died? It smelled dead, but surely not.

After a tense bit of silence and confusion, a scream rung out from the back of the group. By the time everyone else had turned around, the screaming had already stopped. In its place lay a man who'd apparently attempted, and of course failed, to swallow his own halberd.

Still holding the last foot or so of wooden handle currently not shoved down the gurgling man's throat stood The Beast. Tall and gangly, pure dark apart from glowing eyes and a sickly smile, it stood between the group, the city itself, and total destruction. If there was ever a better time to prove their mettle, their devotion and their sheer force of will, it was now; because either they'd walk out victorious, or not at all.
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“Jere..” Niv whispered sheepishly in her native tongue as the city folk lit their torches.
The Great Consumer, The Defiler, The killing light.
Niv and her people had many names for the only thing other than time to kill a Tunawa. How it worked or what it wanted weren’t known, only that the fire destroyed everything it touched. Some how the Cun’ahee of this city were able to use the untameable fire as a tool, most likely through some kind of magic. It was beyond Niv’s understanding and she wasn’t going to mettle with the Cun’ahee’s plans, but she still scolded in disapproval at the lit torches. If she wasn’t so determined to help, The tunawa would have easily steered her bird as far away from that lot of them. Instead Niv only distanced herself from the group, as even the tiny streams of smoke made her shudder as they drifted past her.

In the name of curtesy, Niv stayed in sight of the group and aided them when she could. The pebbles she utilized weren’t nearly as effective as the sharp spears the taller warriors used. Out of the three pebbles she launched at the beasts only one had even come close to landing a hit after her first initial shot. She needed to reload just as they came to the hulking black mass of shadow. Patcha made his descent towards a small gathering of pebbles on the road, after Niv squawked and lightly tugged on his reins. The group had already began attacking the convergence with their spears while Niv scrambled to collect as many pebbles as her tiny pouch could carry. The tunawa climbed back onto her bird friends back and headed back into the sky just in time for the massive cluster seemed to deflate.

“Oh” Niv muttered in astonishment as the formidable monster appeared to be defeated before she could contribute. She was about to fly over and see if everyone was okay when a scream drew her attention. With her unique Physiology, Niv didn’t grasp the weight of the situation before her. Niv raised a brow at the sight of a silly man celebrating his victory by making a snack out of his weapon. Her perception of the situation only changed after she glanced at the Cun’ahee’s horrified expressions.The red had started gushing out of his mouth and that was never a good sign. There was also the matter of the sudden appearance of a shadow beast who was holding the spear, making it clear as day that the fight wasn’t over.

Feeling anger bubbling up inside her tiny frame, Niv urged her mount to soar even closer to the new beast. Instead of grabbing her pebbles however, Niv let out a flurry of shrieks and squaks that swarmed around the creatures head. The intention behind this was to distract the beast long enough for the warriors to finish it off.


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Vhalar, 716
Marching forward was one thing, in fact it was even going well, the shadows fell back against the combined might of the phalanx, as they hacked and stabbed their way forward block by block, the tunawa calling out the shadows whenever they appeared and the conjoined efforts of the militia bringing them down, when cornered, even humans can summon the courage to fight back and resist the slaughter of their kind. Jogging forward they finally met the mass of shadows, forming together to create something... something terrible.

Together the militia stood paused by awe and fear, together they stood, but in their hearts they were all afraid. Shakily the militia raised their spears and halberds to face the monstrosity, but without conviction, they were not ready to stand against the monster, then the silence was broken by a gurgling scream, a man gored through the head by the haft of his own weapon fell.

Perhaps it was at that moment that Symbri realized her own folly, she'd wanted to help she'd thought herself capable of coming out of this alive, but that was the wrong way to go about this all, that was exactly what everyone else was thinking, and for that reason nobody wanted to step forward, nobody here, wanted to die. If that's what it takes, the small girl thought to herself, then so be it, nobody wants to die, so, I'll claim death for myself, and victory though it, smiling grimly, the girl looked at the beast and what it had already done to the man, Looks like I'm already dead.

In her belly is started a low growl as she pushed her way through her brothers in arms, their fear stricken faces glancing to her as the feral sound she made alerted them to her presence. Making it to the front a maniacal grimace plastered across her face the sound bubble up through her throat and escaped her mouth rending the air before her, the bassist howl she could muster looking at the beast Symbri silenced the fear in her heart crushing with adrenaline and force of will before she launched her halberd at it, she'd didn't know much about the weapon but throwing it seemed like the only useful thing to do with it to free up the rest of her body for artful maneuvers. she wasn't sure if a poorly throne halberd would effect the beast all that much, but between the tunawa and the fearful masses Symbri had little time to waste, her throat hurt but her Morale was high.

"ONWARD DAMMIT OOONWARD"

Running toward the monster Symbri hoped to draw it's Ire, lightly armored and unarmed the damage she could do was perhaps small, but her ability to keep the beast occupied was high, and if it sought to ignore her, she'd make it regret such a decision. She needed fire, and lots of it, or something else big to defeat the creature of the militia couldn't she was not alone, and that made her strong, the beast would have to prioritize, and when it did, the time to strike would arrive.
word count: 533
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Squirrel
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As the militia raised their weapons, The Beast released its grip around the halberd, letting its victim topple forwards onto the ground with a last gargling choke and a death rattle. Just like the group spread out before it, however, The Beast didn't move. It didn't even flinch. Not because it was frightened, oh no, far from it; that wide, toothy smile was still etched across its face, as though it'd been permanently afixed there. It was more like the creature was playing a game of chicken, waiting for someone to make the first move before it retaliated. Rather a childish thing to do, for such a creature of massive size and speed, though with the corpse lying at its feet, nobody had the time to notice such a minute detail.

As Symbri approached, it watched, waiting. Biding. It goaded up until Symbri was right in front of it before swinging at her with the back of one hand in a half-hearted slap and side-stepped around her in a graceful turn. For such a large and gangly creature, it moved fast. Then again, with a lack of bones or any internal structure, it moved with an almost alien grace and flexibility, dispatching spears, halberds and swords as they came with wide swings of its arms. The Beast's fingers and arms, while appearing sharp and covered in needle-like strands, didn't have any inherent cutting ability in them as the creature tore through the ranks of the crowd - but they still had enough power to stun and knock the air from the men and women in their haphazard scraps of armour, sending them tumbling to the ground as they charged behind Symbri, to be trampled underneath the mob.

By virtue of its sheer size and speed, The Beast held an indominable advantage over the untrained men and women... even Thakrid, a trained soldier barely past his prime, could not fell it, although in a show of deft swordplay he managed to rip a gash through its torso, leaving it staggering for a moment with a gush of black sludge, before a savage backhand knocked the sword from his hand and sent the smith reeling. However, as Niv divebombed and fluttered about in its face, blinding it no matter how it turned its head, a lone soldier broke through the ranks, stepped over a sword-wielding woman knocked to her knees by a powerful blow, and impaled the creature's stomach with his spear, tearing through with a loud roar until the metal spearhead pushed out its back with a spew of black goo.

The Beast shook its head furiously, clawing at Niv and Patcha with the long claw-like mandibles hanging from either side of its head, while making another blind swing for Symbri. It would not have these nosy, lousy, useless little creatures interrupting! Yet as it focused on the two, a halberd raked diagonally down its chest, from one shoulder to the opposite hip, releasing another heavens-splitting shriek.
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