No Time for Arguing! Head for the Showdown! (2Gen, Invite)

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Besyanteo
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Unread postby Besyanteo » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:12 pm

Zea might be surprised... or, there was equal likelihood that she wouldn't be really, to find Michael walking in front of her. He still had a gaping hole in his chest, though it had stopped bleeding. No one else saw him; his body remained on the ground.

Hurry, Zea. That man in the bushes isn't doing well...

Normally, circumstance dictated that Zea ought to reap him here... but he suddenly disappeared in a flash of blue light. His soul had gone somewhere else, and it was not the after life.

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:36 pm

Zea kept carving through her opponent, completely unaware of anything but whether he was still moving. Another downward swing, and another, and another. She didn't stop until the tip of her scythe lodged itself in the dirt beneath the shredded pulp of his torso. He deserved it. Keeping her from her father.

She stood away from her opponent with a streak of his blood spattered up her neck and the side of her face. Somewhere in the frenzy he'd driven his blade deep into the muscle of her shoulder, and she'd torn it open further as she'd continued heedless of her injury. Her head swung slowly to the side like a predator scanning for prey. Zeke's death would probably mean her own, but that couldn't be prevented if it was to happen. She was rushing toward one fate or another, but she'd get there of her own free will.

Running through leaves and branches that reached back to deal her sharp blows, Zea passed something in the trees. Something... something alive? Man-shaped. It didn't attack her and she passed it by. Following the urgency of her familiar--something so foreign she could still hardly fathom it--she found two men lying in the leaves. Violet eyes opened wide as she checked to see how long he had. She saw enough.

Not today, she thought, her eyes stinging with tears of relief. Not today. But that doesn't say anything for me, does it? All it means is that I won't fail.

The man Zeke had shot groaned, likely aware of another presence nearby. He feebly attempted to shift away from her, but Zea reached out and grabbed the cold skin of his neck in one hand. "Give me the strength I need," she whispered. "Strengthen my body to match my resolve. I will do this." Her victim began to shiver as she began to draw deeply on the life force holding his spirit to his body. He didn't have long. She could see it, and she was the reason.

His death hit her like a cold rush of air after the sweet intoxicating heat of his life flowing into her. Most of her wounds had closed, but Zea tried not to enjoy the cessation of pain. That wouldn't last long, and it was best not to think about it.

She crouched in the leaves next to Zeke and pulled him over onto his side. Her mother had taught her to do it for drunks, but it worked well enough for anyone who seemed likely to be ill before waking. She didn't know what would happen when he woke up. For all she knew she wouldn't be there.

Zea lay down in the bloodied leaves, sparing herself the inevitable collapse. Reaching out with one hand, she laid it on Zeke's arm. It was the second time in her life she'd ever touched her father. With her eyes closed she whispered the most earnest prayer she'd given in years, asking for the first thing she'd ever wanted this badly.

"Lord Reshtaha, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead..." Her fingers clenched the fabric of his coat in her fist. Energy was stretching out between them, and she knew her prayer would be answered.

"Let my father's pain pass to me, that I may bear it instead."

Her body stretched out full length before curling into the fetal position. Her fingers still gripping her father's coat, Zea felt her injuries slowly--agonizingly slowly--reopening, and she screamed. The knife wound from her last enemy. The arrow wound that had begun this fight. Minor scrapes from rushing through the woods. Then there were others, others she didn't recognize. A bruise on her neck. Deep, aching stab wound in her other shoulder. Blood.

Her body was shaking, and the arm stretched out to Zeke was turning an ashen grey from the tips of her fingers up to her elbow. Her fingernails were tainted black. She couldn't take much more of this, but perhaps it would be enough. Breaking the connection between them, Zea dropped her arm and closed her eyes, harsh grating breaths passing from her lungs. Still curled up tightly on the ground, she began to cough, a rough and ugly noise that brought blood to her lips.

In spite of the pain, all she could tell herself was, It's going to work. I know that he won't die. He can't.

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Kelne
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Unread postby Kelne » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:51 pm

A bolt of fire took the last archer in the face, toppling him over. And with that, quiet descended onto the battlefield. Cerene pushed herself shakily to her feet. Those arrows were still in place, but as long as she didn't jostle them, she could function. Right now, others needed her help.

Her steps took her in the direction of Michael and Solis. As she got a clearer view, those steps quickened. Judging from that gaping chest wound, it was - already too late. Blood oozed from the wound rather than flowing, and though his skin as still warm to the touch, there was no pulse to be found.

Fire gathered in her hands as the urge came upon her to turn that terrible power which was her heritage loose. To burn away this broken shell and remake it anew. To beat down the doors of life and death and pull back a fled soul. But she lacked the control, and that same fire would consume her.

Power to restore the dead. To bring life to a desert. To reignite the fires of a dying star. To give life to a new generation. It would be centuries yet before she mastered it, and some uses... Some uses would only be at the cost of her life.

The flames died away as she reached out to close Michael's eyes, a whispered prayer on her lips. Then she stood. It was the living who needed her now. Solis was unwounded, but looked wrung out. For all her flashiness, he'd been throwing around more power than she had. He might be weak for a while, but he should recover.

Goren seemed fine, and in any case, her abilities would be useless on him. That left Zea and the unknown gunman. Bereft of the rage which earlier suffused her, she nevertheless turned her steps in the direction she'd seen Zea dash off in.

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KingOfDoma
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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:49 am

Looking around, Goren saw that the battle was won. Finally relaxing, he headed back to the road, and attempted to drop his captive on the ground. An extra pang of pain shot through him as he attempted to do so, and he looked down at his chest to investigate.

He knew something was wrong when the priest was shot in the shoulder. The arrowhead had stuck in his chest when it struck. Thank goodness for him he didn't really need that lung. Bracing himself, he pulled the arrow from his bicep, but not from the priest's shoulder. He felt the pain would brace him for the coming message.

By now, the priest had awoken, synapses all over his upper body flaring with pain. Unable to speak, he could only stare into Goren's face as he leaned down to his level. The zombie spoke calmly, slowly, as if telling someone their last words.

What he said was this:

"I hope this has taught you an important lesson. We were nothing but travellers to a distant land, and you laid in wait, looking for 'evil' to destroy, devour. We fought, you lost, and now... I'm going to let you live. I'm going to let you go back to your little village and tell them 'a zombie spared my miserable, unworthy existence.' And those people will look at you, and if your goddess really is as holy and wonderful as you say, she will let them realize that people like YOU are the real monsters."

He dragged the mage to his feet. "Now get lost. We'll be long gone before you're even home, if you make it that far." Goren almost released him, and then paused. "And since I don't want you getting there very fast..."

Goren raised his axe, flat-side down, and brought it down on the mage's foot, breaking three of his toes. There was an unformed scream of pain, and then silence. Goren then guessed at the general direction of Varrock, and shoved him that way, watching the man hobble away on what was most likely his last walk.

And with that, Goren plopped down on the ground, spent of energy. Finally noticing the arrow in his own shoulder, he reached over and snapped it, sending painful vibrations through his right side. Wincing, he then pulled the remnant out through the back of his shoulder, leaving an oozing bloody hole on both sides. He'd be alright. He just needed to drain something and he'd be just fine. He just... needed a quick... nap...

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Archmage
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Unread postby Archmage » Sun Aug 26, 2007 5:37 pm

Zeke gasped and coughed as he inhaled sharply, his lungs trying to make up for how shallow his breathing had been during his unconsciousness. His eyes snapped open. Clearly, someone had healed him; he still felt absolutely terrible, but he didn't seem likely to die from blood loss anytime in the immediate future. The wound near his neck had closed completely, barely leaving even a trace of scar tissue.

It was then that his eyes focused sufficiently for him to make out the identify of the crumpled figure lying on the ground before him. It wasn't the man he had shot. No, the man he had shot was farther away from that. Choking and retching next to him was his only known living descendant. Clearly, she had been the one who healed him.

"Stupid girl!" hissed Zeke softly. "What do you think you're doing, trying to sacrifice yourself to save your old man?" He slowly rose to kneel beside her. She was in bad shape, and it was obvious that she was going to need healing as well. Perhaps she just didn't think there would be time for someone else to save him and decided to do it herself, damning the consequences. "You're too young to get yourself killed trying to save somebody else's ass. Shit, I'm starting to think I'm too old for this myself."

He was trying to remain calm, professional. Even if this was his daughter, screaming wouldn't save her. She needed help, and there wasn't anything he could do for her himself.

"Hey!" he called out, hoping to get the attention of someone in the group who was skilled in white magic. "Over here, now! Miss Mazuo is fuckin' wounded, and she's going to die if somebody doesn't do something quickly!"

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Kelne
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Unread postby Kelne » Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:42 pm

That would be Cerene's cue to arrive on the scene. A quick glance confirmed that although Zea's wounds were serious, she wasn't dead yet. Nor was she going to die today. Well, not unless something vicious leaped on her before nightfall, anyway...

Healing flame washed across Zea's body, which could be an unnerving sight for those not used to it. Flesh reknit, bruises faded, and, in general, Zea's injuries were repaired. Cerene kept at it until she was as close to good as new as she was going to get.

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:55 pm

Zea heard Cerene's footsteps behind her, and even as the pain began to disappear, the flickering warmth of Cerene's magic chased the chill of the nasty case of shadow poisoning Zea had given herself. She pushed herself up on her arms, gave one more deep cough to clear her lungs and spit blood onto the leaves. Sitting back on her heels, she pushed hair away from her face that was wet and bloody.

"Cerene," she said down to the leaves. "I swear Cerene. You're the only person here with any sense." She sat back on her heels and rubbed her hands over her forearms as the chill began to come back. She'd never used that spell to quite this extent. Ever.

The last time she'd used it had also been the first time. Until then it had only been a matter of theory. When she was sixteen, several months before coming to the surface, her mother had come home with a deep laceration along her back. That had been years ago. She wasn't as careful then, and she hadn't known what would happen. Her mother had been furious, and once she was warm enough to move after spending a while in front of the fire... her mother had screamed for half an hour.

Zea glanced over to her father, and couldn't quite puzzle out what was running through his mind. "...did... did you call me Miss Mazuo?" She reached out and pulled herself up to lean on the narrow trunk of a tree and folded her arms to keep in body heat. She spoke slowly to keep her teeth from chattering. "Did you really just do that?"

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Nakibe
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Unread postby Nakibe » Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:47 am

C'mon, Solis. Get up. Zea needs you right away Solis desperately tried to get himself to moving once more. But the energy was a while in coming to him. My friends are in trouble. I've gotta get up from here. C'mon. C'MON... It was agonizingly slow going, but he finally got himself to his feet. He looked around at the devastation.... why did these Ishtarites have to DO this? He had thought for a long time that they were more upstanding. More sane. Memories of the Rivans came around the time he stumbled over... something. Something small and furry and... much colder than he remembered it. A rising sense of failure and panic overcame Solis as he realized it was Michael's body. And after all he'd done, all he'd given, it still wasn't enough to save the young man...

"Over here, now! Miss Mazuo is fuckin' wounded, and she's going to die if somebody doesn't do something quickly!"

Zea. That thought snapped him out of his mourning. There was still work to do. Now wasn't the time to wallow in grief, not yet. And so Solis slowly made his way towards Zea, hoping that he hadn't screwed this up too...

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Archmage
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Unread postby Archmage » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:17 am

"I sure did, young lady!"

Zeke was completely unsure what he should do next. He had never disciplined his child before, and the idea of even having a child to discipline was still somewhat weird. He wasn't even entirely sure that she deserved to be disciplined at this point; perhaps she had done something that by the standards applied to the parent-child relationship were actually admirable. It was entirely possible that none of the normal rules of human interaction applied when a father was dealing with his daughter, but if so, no one had ever bothered to tell Zeke. He would do the best he could with the information that he had.

"Just seemed like the right thing to do, to be polite...I guess we're technically familiar enough that I ought to call you by your first name, though. Zea." The mercenary shook his head briefly and stared down his child appraisingly. "I got your note. Clearly wasn't intended for me, but I got it anyway. James must've left it sitting out on the table. He wasn't there, incidentally. Maybe he came looking for you? Didn't see him on the way up, though. Glad I was following you, but I'm not really sure I was that much help. I almost got you killed. Great way to make your father feel like he's helping, almost die trying to save him when he creates more trouble than he's worth."

The Valthi nodded sternly at Cerene. "Thanks for the help. Without you, Zea might've succeeded in her attempt at foolish self-sacrifice."

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:35 am

"Well I didn't care if you felt useful. I cared that you--"

I'm arguing with my father. Her mouth snapped shut as the shock of this very simple fact sank in. More precisely, I'm being scolded.

"Look. I wasn't going to die unless it was my time, in which case there wouldn't have been anything to do about it." She took a deep breath and pushed off of the tree she was leaning on. Standing here in the woods arguing was not going to solve anything. Zea didn't even know what she needed to solve. This situation was completely out of control and she had no idea where to begin pulling it back together.

Start at the beginning, maybe. "I'm glad you're here, don't get me wrong. I haven't seen you in over a year, which I guess is nobody's fault really. You're busy killing people and I'm busy doing their paperwork. Ships in the dark. But..." Her odd rambling speech dragged to a halt as she started heading off slowly through the trees back toward the road. "I am sorry you found an empty house. I left kind of suddenly and I don't imagine James would be there right now, either."

Good, she thought. He can go back to the castle or find his own place to live. Meet some nice surface girl who won't have to worry about what she's capable of. "If I'd known you were coming I... might have waited." Hearing Solis coming toward them, Zea turned to the others with her index finger raised to claim a moment for one last word. "Oh, and Zeke. Please... don't tell anyone I can do that. It's... not something I like to do a whole lot."

Zeke. ...Dad? What should I call him? This is so confusing.

There wasn't time for them to answer before Solis came within sight of them and Zea waved tiredly to the man. He looked so worried and she had a sneaking suspicion she might be the reason. "Solis! You okay?"

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Kelne
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Unread postby Kelne » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:08 am

Cerene shook her head, "If that's what healing people does to you Zea, you might want to think about carrying around some potions." For once, there wasn't any humour dancing in her eyes as she said it. Too many people had died here today for that.

There was something else she needed to take care of too. Those arrows weren't going to magically disappear. At least they were just hunting arrows, rather than the nasty barbed things people used for war. They could be removed relatively easily.

The act of pulling out the first arrow proved the 'relative' part of that. Cerene hissed in pain as she tore it free, legs trembling. But blessed relief followed as she channeled healing magics into the wound. One down, one to go.

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Nakibe
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Unread postby Nakibe » Thu Aug 30, 2007 11:39 am

Solis expected to come upon Zea in serious trouble. Perhaps she was seriously injured, or something. She certainly wasn't expecting to come upon her and ZEKE of all people apparently having a chat. "Yeah... Yeah, I'm okay." he replied just a bit distractedly. "But... you're alright, right?" Part of him was wondering why Zeke was here NOW of all times. If only he'd have been here sooner maybe we could've saved Michael... he thought. Then he stopped himself. That was an unworthy thought, blaming Zeke for things he didn't have control over. "And... um... Hey there, Mister Mazuo. It's been a while since I've seen you about..."

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Archmage
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Unread postby Archmage » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:45 am

"Same to you, Mister Darylshield," replied Zeke with a smirk. "It has been a while, hasn't it? You seem to be doing pretty well. Meanwhile, I think I'm getting too old for this shit."

The Valthi was dressed in clothing more appropriate for woodland travel than usual. Instead of his typical black leather and silver accents, he had adopted a military-looking olive green tunic and pants held up by brown suspenders, a gun holster hanging on both sides of his chest, one of which still held an undrawn weapon. He flicked open some sort of clasp on his weapon, turned it nose toward the sky, and dumped out the empty casings from the chamber into his hand before depositing them in a small pack fastened on his thigh and exchanging the spent shells for fresh ammunition.

"You think I'm going to let my only blood daughter run off to the Netherworld without giving me a chance to say goodbye? Not a fuckin' chance! And besides, I've never gotten to meet the rest of your mother's side of the family. So I'm going with you on this little vacation, y'hear? And that way we can all come back together. I'm sure that boy you're spending so much time with'll miss you if you don't come back soon, y'know?"

Zeke wiped his knife off on a nearby bush and shoved it into its boot sheath. "Why're you on this trip, anyway? Miss your other relatives?"

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:17 pm

The young necromancer's mind went blank as Zeke openly and casually laid out their relationship. The last time she'd seen him, he had still seemed a little dazed by the idea of having a child, and here he was taking an interest in her life. Accepting her as his daughter without doubt or hesitation, like it was nothing. Like they were normal. She wasn't likely to forget the sound of those words for a while.

Having him along would be unexpected, but Zea only needed a moment's deliberation to decide she was grateful for it. It might be her last chance to get to know a man she'd heard about all her life. Stories about Zeke and the sort of man he was had made a strong impact on a little girl growing up without her father, and now came the real test. She'd heard about what sort of mercenary he was and--disturbingly enough--what sort of lover he was, but Zea had no way to judge what kind of father Zeke Mazuo would be.

"I'm sure that boy you're spending so much time with'll miss you if you don't come back soon, y'know?"

Zea closed her eyes briefly and tried to think of an answer that wasn't bitter, spiteful, or whiny. It wasn't James' fault after all. He hadn't done anything wrong. "You might be surprised," she said simply. Her fingers dug into the bark of the tree she was using for support as she walked, and when they reached the treeline she replied to her father, "I would love it if you woul..." Her voice trailed off as she reached the edge of the road to find two of her allies lying in the dirt, not waiting impatiently for her return as she'd expected.

There was really no telling with Goren whether he was still inhabiting the body he owned, not at this distance. Michael, though. Michael had been alive before, laughing and enthusiastic about the trip. Bickering with Goren, and eventually standing up for him with the rest. Her steps faltered as she gazed out over the road. Fur matted with blood. Eyes closed but not unconscious anymore. Dead. Empty. "Michael," she whispered. "...the hand of death no matter where I run." She took a deep breath, sighed, and started forward again, the others forgotten for the moment as she mused quietly to herself. "But if I knew, I'd either be abandoning him to his fate or leading him right to it. What other choice was there?"

Wait. I saw him! That must have been him, she thought. What could he have possibly wanted? Is something wrong?

There wasn't time to wrangle with fate. She had other responsibilies now. She called back over her shoulder to the others. "I'll see to the dead." There was so much to be done. The archers could dig their own graves, but there was so much work to be done for all these casualties. Funeral rites, pacification of lingering spirits... for all of them. "But I might need help."

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Nakibe
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Unread postby Nakibe » Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:34 am

"Yeah... you should... probably help Michael too." It was even harder to say than Solis imagined. Painful to realize that he'd done all he could and it STILL wasn't enough. I could've given more, perhaps if I gave more.... he thought. But... what good would killing yourself trying to save another accomplish? It was a thought instilled into him by Damian, and realizing this, his mind calmed. Damian had sacrificed for him in the past, and knowing that only caused him grief. Even if Damian had meant well... even if he was trying to help more than just himself... a selfish part of Solis still wished that he'd had the good sense to not take foolish risks. To stay ALIVE, regardless of other things.

And how could he consider what he was contemplating as any better than that? He couldn't. But... perhaps hope wasn't lost. "I..if we could get him to a priest... But... where would one be around here?" The obvious choice was Varrock, he thought. But it was pretty obvious to anyone now that that wasn't even an option. Not now.

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:33 am

"Solis," Zea said softly. "Just leave him be." She knelt down next to Michael and did her best to compose him so that he didn't look quite as much like someone who'd died in agony in the middle of a battle. Combat was combat, but now it was time for Zea to go to work, and that meant remaining professional.

Zea sat back on her heels and took a moment to figure out how she was supposed to get all of this done, do it right, and finish it efficiently. When she'd laid out something approaching an efficient plan, she pushed on her knee to stand and tell the others. "I need your help. This shouldn't take me an incredibly long time. The most trouble I'll have is with the time it will take to either dig graves for all of these people, or build a pyre to burn them. I'm leaning toward graves because they attract less attention."

Zea smirked in a moment of characteristic morbid humor. "Thankfully, at least I can be sure they're Ishtarites so I won't have to sit and puzzle that out based on personal effects. I can get enough energy from the bodies of a few to animate a couple of them so that they can help us. Zeke," she said, pointing to her undead ally lying nearby on the ground. "I won't have the time or the energy to see to Goren if I'm animating all the others and taking care of everyone. My mother told me that you can cast shadow magic, and if that's true it'd help me out a lot if you could just go cast something on Goren."

"As for the rest of you... I can't ask you to stand around and dig holes after a battle, so don't feel obligated to do it unless you want to. The situation is taken care of, so you've got every right to sit and rest. If any of you want to say anything for Michael once the time comes, perhaps you should take a moment to consider what that will be."

Zea walked several paces over to one of the fallen archers and laid her hands on the dead man's shoulders. With a deep breath, she reached down inside the body's remaining residue of shadow energy left by the split between body and spirit. It raced through her veins, replenishing the reserves she'd need for the rest of her casting. She did the same with another archer. They would be impossible to animate now, but that made them the lucky ones.

Continuing doggedly in her duties, Zea knelt beside another archer. There were so many to bury. This might make it easier. She leaned down and whispered into the dead man's ear, "After the damage you've caused today, I call you to stand and rectify what you've done. Show some respect," she said as the corpse dragged itself to its feet. "...and start digging at the side of the road." The zombie shambled over to the grass at the roadside and began digging with his bare hands. Zea watched to ensure that he made rapid headway, and turned to another archer. "After wronging my friends, you owe us your service. Stand and go dig me another grave near your friend." Another zombie rose, and began to dig next to his new companion in servitude.

Zea remained sitting on the ground and sighed. The two zombies should be able to lessen the amount of time it took to arrange for burial. She didn't care much about the Ishtarites. She knew that the important part of their deaths was not their departure from their bodies, and whether they'd have wanted to be animated after death or not was none of her concern. Her concern was Michael.

While it was certainly true that Michael had no need of his body at this point, and while it was certainly true that he'd never expressly told her not to animate him after his death, Zea knew that it would have distressed her allies. The whole reasoning behind proper burial rituals was to ease the suffering of the living, and for their sake she would do as Michael's culture dictated rather than acting on her own desire for convenience.

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Unread postby Archmage » Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:04 pm

Zeke turned to face his daughter and threw up a sharp salute, bringing his feet together at attention. "Yes, ma'am," he said with a slight grin.

It was the nature of fathers to drive their daughters crazy. Or so he thought.

There was something odd about being asked to use his magic to heal someone. Zeke knew that it was theoretically possible, but he couldn't remember a time when he actually needed to do it, mostly because he spent very little time around undead, and the demons he knew could generally take care of themselves. It took an extreme circumstance to drive him into the medic role, not because he didn't like helping people, but because he had never been particularly good at it. Most of the time he had spent with the military had revolved around stealth infiltration and assassination, not bandaging the wounded. Not that there would be any need to bandage Goren, mused Zeke. All he needed to do was supply the zombie with raw energy and his wounds would regenerate, or so he assumed.

A lot of Valthi have never even heard of undead, noted the mercenary whimsically. I wonder what a field medic would do in this situation.

Goren looked terrible. Beyond being undead, that is. Zombies rarely appeared healthy, but this one appeared to be exceptionally ill, if such a thing was possible. Zeke knelt down next to the wounded creature, trying to figure out exactly how badly he had been "wounded," though his notions of "wounds" were interfering with his diagnosis somewhat. For all he knew, Goren normally oozed blood out of his ears whenever he was lying down. He could trust Zea's judgment here; if anyone knew when a zombie was in need of medical attention, it was his daughter.

Zeke stepped back a bit to cast his spell. He really didn't want to touch his patient.

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KingOfDoma
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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:34 pm

Goren breathed in, sharply, and rolled onto his back, eyes wide. Those attuned to the astral, and really, anyone with a sharp enough eye, could watch the shadow energy get sucked into Goren's stone, and slowly be shunted back into his body. His skin, which was the sallow blue and veiny variety that his people were known for, slowly but steadily walked back to the pale but passable skin tone his comrades had seen on him since he joined them.

Pushing himself onto his hands and knees, he looked around, assessing the situation. No living archers... good. No Michael... weird. That... new guy standing over him... that begged investigation.

"Was that you with the shadow spell? Thanks, nice to meet ya, Goren Felson," he said, extending a hand, which could be used to help him off the ground or shake. "Where'd the kid go?"

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Unread postby Archmage » Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:02 pm

Zeke hesitated momentarily, then shook Goren's hand. His daughter was a big necrophile, after all. He couldn't be squeamish around zombies, not if he was going to have her respect. There was no reason to be worried about the walking dead when she was involved, even if Goren wasn't her creation. He figured that if anyone could keep the undead in line it was his priestess of death daughter.

It occurred to Zeke briefly that necrophile carried connotations he hadn't intended, and he was glad that he hadn't said such out loud.

"You're asking me about kids? I'm not sure how old you are, but you're all kids to me. Which one?"

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:28 am

Goren broke the shake, laid down flat on the ground, and flicked his body into a standing position. The manouevre was meant only slightly to impress, but far more to test out how well he'd healed. From what he could tell, arms, legs, chest, his whole body was better. That was one damn good shadow spell.

He sized up Zeke. He seemed like a formidable fellow, competent... looking... a bit like... Zea? Huh. Must be her dad or something. Made sense, him coming to her rescue, or somesuch. It was actually kind of sweet. Daddy coming to Daughter's rescue... like something out of a fey tale.

But that was just conjecture. There was a chance this guy was just a guy. And that was fine with him too.

"The fuzzy one," was his simple reply. "And I'm PROBABLY older than you, 'sonny'... kid's name was Michael. He..."

Goren suprised himself with the emotion this idea brought about in him. Who would have thought the little bastard would get under his skin so quick?

"... he get cut down?"

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Unread postby Kai » Thu Sep 06, 2007 5:25 pm

Zea rose from her crouching position next to the grave one of the archers had been digging for Michael. The two had moved on by now to dig more for their fellows, and while doing her best to compose the young garoujin's corpse she'd been in Goren's line of sight. She stood and nodded to Goren.

"Yes," she said simply, opening her palm and letting Goren's eyes follow the motion down to the body lying at her feet. "Yes, he did." Goren got no further explanation as Zea turned away from him to continue tending her ally. Ordinarily she didn't go to so much trouble with casualties of battle, but Michael was an acquaintance of hers. So was his father. His family would want to know that things had been done properly, and that was her responsibility alone.

One of the archers ambled away from a finished grave to trudge through the woods. Bring a big rock. That's all he understood. Big rock. Big... hard flat thing in the ground. At least it saved Zea the effort. She pulled a handful of rosemary from her supply of spell components (or cooking ingredients depending on what they were and what was for dinner), and crushed it between her palms, rubbing them together until the needles were ground down into a rough pile of crumbled plant matter. Setting that aside on a flat span of clear dirt, she reached under Michael's shoulders and knees, pushing up from the ground and lifting his body to carry him over to what she'd intended to be the resting place for his remains.

She frowned down into the grave at him. This was unfortunate but if she was destined to be part of the agent of her friend's death, perhaps that meant that she was here to see that things were managed properly. Kneeling down again, she struck flint to steel to start a low smoky smolder in the little pile of rosemary.

The air filled with the clean scent of the herb, and mixed with the natural green scent of the leaves of the woods things started to feel a little less oppressive. "Rosemary," she explained. "It's for remembrance, but more importantly for friendship and loyalty." She sat back on her heels while she waited for her zombie archer to return with the stone she needed. "It was his time to die today, but he died well." She sighed, resigned to delivering something approaching a sermon here in the dirt next to the road where her friend had been killed. "He died fighting alongside his friends. He died for loyalty."

"He died for us."

She stood. "It's not something a man does lightly, nor is it something to be forgotten lightly." She pointed down to the trail of smoke curling up from the rosemary toward the sky. "So it deserves to be remembered. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go track down one of my assistants."

Without another word, she followed her zombie into the trees to see what it had found. The others were left by the road with the scent of rosemary and the sounds of one remaining zombie, digging graves for his own fallen allies.

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Unread postby Kelne » Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:24 pm

Ow, that was painful. Still, at least neither of these wounds was going to leave a scar. Cerene resisted the temptation to rub at the faint remnants of that vicious cut across her chest. That one had been altogether too close for her liking. She didn't have much to contribute to the effort. The zombies seemed to have things in hand, and she wasn't the first person anyone would turn to for hard physical labour in any case.

Cerene had never been good at dealing with death. Intellectually, she knew that she'd have to become used to it as the centuries went by and old age claimed people all around her. But she was still young, and so were most of her friends. Death was a distant spectre that could be ignored, for the most part. Except that, every so often, it wasn't.

Try as she might, she couldn't be philosophical about Michael's death. It was all very well for Zea to say it was his time, but it shouldn't have been. Michael should have had a long, full life ahead of him. Would have done, if Cerene had just cut down that fanatic rather than attempting to warn him by incinerating his bow.

But second-guessing herself would only compound her misery. There was nothing she could do now to change things, nor did she want to become the type who simply dealt out death because it was easier than acting with mercy.

No, the only thing she could do was to let Michael go. Learn what she could from the situation, and move on. Today she'd learned that you couldn't afford to take any trek casually. No matter how secure you might feel, you should always have someone out scouting for trouble. It was a lesson she intended to take to heart.

"Rest in peace, Michael," she said quietly.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:14 am

"Oh. Shit."




"Ah, shit," Goren cursed, shaking his hand. The log he was splitting had ricocheted back at him, striking him in his right palm with large splinters. The pain was intense, but not serious. It was exactly why he hadn't heard her approach.

Her quiet, simple "Hi" caught him completely off guard, causing him to jump a foot off the ground. He turned to see a cute, twenty-something girl, blonde, simply attired. She seemed nice. She seemed familiar, too, but from where he couldn't pinpoint. Ah well. She still had to go.

Rubbing his hand off on his shirt, as if that'd do something, he said, "Can I help you, miss? If you're looking for the road, you're WAY off, let me tell you..."

"Oh, um..." She was playing coy. Goren already didn't like it. "I wasn't looking for the road. I was looking for you."

Goren looked hard at her. She seemed completely oblivious to the danger she was in. Looked like he had to educate her. But only as much as she needed. "Look, little lady, um... " Wait. "Wait. How did you find me? Why do you even WANT to find me?"

She smiled. "Well, your cologne's really distinctive, so that really helped. But mostly it was because I wanted my purse back so bad." Goren's jaw dropped. NOW he remembered where he saw her. It was an easy pick, almost like she'd wanted him to take it, but to think she'd...

"It's in the house. I haven't gone through it yet. I assume for it's safe return, you're willing to keep mum on who took it in the first place?"

"Mmm, maybe." Coyness again. "I was thinking... maybe..."

"No. You're not getting a schoolgirl crush on the mysterious woodsman. You are, in fact, leaving as soon as I get your property. Which reminds me." Goren left the statement at that as he headed into his house, making sure to close the door sharply behind him, which thankfully prevented the girl from entering his house.

As he searched in his pile of purses, bags, and sacks, he wondered to himself: How do these silly girls keep finding him, and why do they keep thinking that he's some wounded bird that just needs saving? It was ridiculous, every time it happened. And it had happened a few times too many. Oh well. It meant that he was going to have to be drastic fast, just like with the last one.

She tapped at the window. "I just want to get to know you! Who you are, what you..."

He burst out of the door, purse in hand, cutting off her line of speech. "Here ya go. Full purse, safe and sound. You'll be leaving now." She tried to protest, but he interjected. "Look. I don't like making connections. Does nothing but cause pain for all persons involved. I know, I know, it's way more complicated than that, but I'll make it simple." The girl's purse was back in her right hand, and that same hand was clasped by the Feratus Stone. Her once smiling face turned to pained shock. She tried to pull away, but he would not let her.

"Get this through your head, lil lady... YOU DON'T WANT ME."




"Oh. Shit. ... shit." Goren breathed in sharply, and put both his palms in his eyes, rubbing them hard. "... fuckin' shame. Let's say a few words and move on..."

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Unread postby Nakibe » Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:01 am

For a quickly done roadside funeral, it was a nice service. A proper one, Solis' mind replied. But then, anything less proper wouldn't be Zea. Thinking this didn't help Solis' mind from berating him about how he could have saved the young man. How he SHOULD have done better for a friend, even if it wasn't HIS friend per-se. I didn't even know much about him. About his family, or why he even came along. Part of him thought he had become strong, at least strong enough to protect those he knew and cared about. That part of him thought that this trip would be fun. A vacation even. How foolish of me. How childish.

Even as the zombies of those foolish Ishtarites finished the last of the graves that needed to be dug, Solis made himself a silent promise that he wouldn't fail his friends again. He'd make sure of that one way or another.

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Unread postby Kai » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:51 am

Goren was fortunate that Zea was off on an errand when he requested a perfunctory funeral for her friend. Not only was this someone she knew, but to give him less than he deserved would have been a scar on her professional pride. No ally of a priestess of death got a half-assed funeral. Period.

Zea emerged from the treeline first, and there was a loud dragging, crunching noise from behind her as the zombie she'd followed emerged awkwardly dragging a large flat rock. Zea's sharp violet eyes scanned her allies as if to ensure that they were taking this situation as seriously as she herself was. Apparently satisfied with what she found, she called her current zombie servant to her side. "Put the dirt back in the hole," she told it. The mindless corpse obeyed without hesitation, and as the dirt sifted in over her friend's body she inclined her head respectfully. "I'll see that your family is told," she whispered.

There were a few minutes of relative quiet while the zombie filled the grave back in. It scraped with its fingers to fill the rest of the hole with dirt and grass torn from the surface of the ground around it. Then it dragged the rock on top of the grave. Originally intended to keep necromancers from defiling the body (the irony of which was not lost on Zea), the flat stone had simply become a long-standing tradition for Michael's people.

When the zombie was done with its work, Zea put her hand to the zombie's chest and sucked the animating energy back out of him. The creature's mouth opened wide as its jaw fell slack and the skin over its face withered and dried, finally succumbing to the corruption of Zea's magic. It quite literally fell to pieces in the long grass at the edge of the woods.

In retrospect maybe I didn't need to do that in front of Goren. Might creep him out.

She stretched and cracked her fingers, slightly refreshed after having regained some of her arcane energy. There was one more thing she could do, and this was more to act as a marker for Michael's family than anything else. In her experience, grieving family members often felt a need to visit the site of their loved one's remains.

There were many flat rocks in the world, and surely there was more than one along this road. There needed to be something else to mark this one as special. Zea pressed a few seeds into the soil and spread her fingers across them. Driving her will down into the tiny seeds, she called their potential, tightly coiled and packed inside them, out into the soil and the air. As tiny hairlike roots turned into stronger bases, thin reaching stems came stretching and bending up into the air from between her fingers.

Pointed buds appeared at the ends as Zea's eyes closed and she frowned down toward the ground in concentration. A bead of sweat rolled down from her scalp, past her cheek, and down the line of her jaw. "Come on, guys. There's some sun out here for you," she whispered. Almost on cue the long, pointed buds split open. Broad, thin and crinkled leaves like vivid red paper unfolded from one or two of the buds, leaving the others still closed. Zea let out a long, relieved breath.

That's it. At least they'll be able to find the grave now.

Zea stood and didn't speak for several seconds, recovering her energy. The day had brought a lot of stresses and demands, and in its way had been as bad as the day before. "I'll send word to his father at the next town that isn't Varrock unless one of you has a better way to get the word along. If not... take a moment if you need it. I'll understand; we're in no hurry."

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Unread postby Kelne » Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:54 pm

Cerene nodded, "I'll go up and take a look around," she said quietly, "Make sure there aren't any more surprises waiting for us."

So saying, she shifted her form to that of a rather large bird in a burst of flame and took flight, gaining altitude quickly and setting out to circle the general vicinity.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:14 pm

Ew.

Goren watched slightly uncomfortably as Zea sapped the life from her pet animated corpse. He wasn't expecting it to wither like that.

Godsdammit, he thought to himself. Does EVERYTHING have to remind me of my mortality today?

It wasn't that he didn't TRUST Zea. In fact, she was one of the few people he knew would do the best thing in his interest. But that was the thing. How long would it be when "the best thing for him" was draining the lifeforce from his chest and leaving him a dried husk? It was like HE was a pet animated corpse too... and he had no idea if his "owner" would see fit to put him down someday.

He decided to climb up the tree he had used for his earlier ambush. A thick branch, still wet with the water it had absorbed from the ground, was broken from the tree, growing dry against the power of his Feratus stone. He dropped to the ground again, and began to whittle, a lazy pastime of his that he enjoyed, but had never really gotten good at.

"As soon as the phoenix gets back, I'm ready to go," Goren asserted to Zea. "Just wanna get back on the road..."

Especially after all this ridiculousness...

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Unread postby Archmage » Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:54 pm

Watching his daughter at work had been an interesting experience for Zeke. She'd seen him at work, or at least the aftermath, he'd guessed. After all, her job was to escort the souls of the dead to the afterlife, and Zeke was responsible for more than his fair share of deaths. Surely his daughter had presided over at least one of them, likely even before she knew he was her father, depending on how long she'd been doing it. Today, his daughter's group had seen more than its fair share of death, and while Zeke had not known Michael personally, the fact that he was now gone clearly had an impact on his travelling companions. Zea had gone to great lengths to make certain that he had a proper burial, and, Zeke assumed, his daughter knew better than anyone else how to perform a proper burial. It was difficult to say what kind of funeral Michael would have wanted, he not having time to compose any sort of last will and testament, but Zeke knew that somehow his daughter probably got it right.

The mercenary was quiet throughout the ceremony and afterward. He didn't like people talking out of turn when he was trying to work either.

Now the phoenix girl had gone off to scout. A wise decision, considering the fact that the group had just been ambushed. The zombie that had addressed him earlier seemed bothered by something. Zeke shrugged inwardly. It obviously wasn't the death that was bothering Goren; no, given his reaction to the notion of a funeral ceremony, Goren probably didn't care at all. It was the kind of reaction Zeke would've expected, now that he was thinking about it. The undead were not wont to be wrapped up in mourning. Either way, it was none of his concern.

Zeke finally had a chance to speak to his daughter again. This time, he resolved himself to do less scolding. It had been largely pointless last time anyway.

"Zea," he started, not entirely sure where he was going with this, "since you don't seem to mind my accompanying you to the Netherworld, I'll come along and provide the lot of you with a little backup. Free of charge, obviously. I can't take money from my family." He smirked a little. "I hope I can help out more next time. I fucked that one up pretty badly. Covered myself in scratches when I dove into those brambles. Then I let that guy get one-up on me. FUckin' stupid."

He paused for a moment, expression inscrutible. "You saved my ass, Zea, but it almost cost you yours. I don't want to put you in that position again."

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Unread postby Kai » Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:02 am

Zea was silent for a moment after her father spoke. It seemed somehow out of place to be acting as any sort of spiritual counsel to her father, even though he hadn't deliberately taken any sort of authoritative role in her life. She still thought of him that way, and had no idea how or when she should articulate those things to him.

"Zeke..." She shook her head and gave him a little smile, as reassuring as she could make it despite how exhausted she was. "You didn't fuck anything up. You were here, and that's more important to me no matter how it might have turned out. If it had been my time to go, I'd have gone. Nothing could have saved me, and it wouldn't have mattered what precisely it was. I knew that going in."

On the flip side it meant that since it hadn't been Zeke's time, nothing and no one would have been able to kill him. She chose not to share this assumption with him, knowing that if he knew that he wouldn't understand why she had healed him anyway, why she'd risked herself. He'd have come all this way only to finally decide she was crazy.

How could she explain to him what this had meant to her? He'd been here, right here, when she needed him. Considering their history it was still somewhat surreal just having her father nearby, let alone having him nearby risking himself solely for her benefit. He'd been here for her and she'd had a chance to show him some glimpse of what he meant to her, to his family. She didn't understand her own feelings well enough to speak them, but she hoped that after today he understood a little better. That was worth everything; it justified every injury and spray of blood lost in the dirt, every bruise and apology, and every fallen warrior--friend or foe.

It was odd counseling her father about death, largely because they were discussing a hypothetical death: hers. She felt a tiny itch in the back of her mind reminding her that it was disloyal and even blasphemous to be so pleased that one human was so invested in her fate, that her father wanted badly for her to continue living. Lately that little irritation had been coming more frequently, but she shoved it back. She didn't want it punishing her now. Not now, not today.

"So try not to worry so much about when the servant of death is going to die. The one in charge of that has been looking out for me ever since I was little, and I know that if it were to happen, it'd be because it's the best thing for me. For now..." She looked around at her other friends and then back to her father. "Looks like he's decided it's best for me to stay here with you." Zea pulled a waterskin from one of Azriel's saddlebags and took down at least a third of the contents, stopping only when she couldn't put off the need to breathe.

"Oh, and Zeke. It'd be great when we get back home if we could, um... not tell Mom that I did that." She put the waterskin back and muttered bitterly, "Probably take my lab equipment away for a month."

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Unread postby Archmage » Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:17 pm

"Yeah, right, right," replied Zeke. What the hell was his daughter thinking? Sure, the first thing he would do was rat on her to her mother. There was something weird about being involved in a conspiracy with his daughter against her mother, but then, Zea's mother had conspired for years to not let Zeke know he had a daughter in the first place. He figured that Quinn had done far worse, though he knew that ultimately her purpose in doing it was that she figured it was doing him a favor. She was probably right. Zeke sincerely doubted that he would've made a very good parent; coming into the game at this stage he had the opportunity to be more of a friend than an authority figure, and he was a hell of a lot more comfortable in that role.

"Anyway," he continued, "if you tell me not to worry about you dying, I won't let you know I'm worried about you dying. Can't tell a man not to worry about his daughter's death, y'know? Even if some god says it's your time, no matter how you feel about it, it'd still..." Still what? Make him sad? He didn't even have a daughter this time a year ago. Did he have a right to get all choked up if she suddenly died, when he'd never really been more than a vague shadow to her to begin with?

"...bug me. It'd bug me. I bet that's blasphemy or something. Death worshippers are big on the idea that it's a necessary thing and you've gotta respect it. Maybe even celebrate it, sorta. I'm no death worshipper, though. I'd be a really shitty follower of Reshtaha unless you get bonus points for delivering mortals straight into his hands." The mercenary pointed his index finger like a gun, squinting one eye and pantomiming taking a shot. "And I kinda doubt y'do. Sorry about not being all gung-ho when it comes to your faith and everything, but I wasn't raised to be religious. Be a hell of a thing to pull a full-scale conversion now. Besides," he joked, "how many old men are in a rush to convert to the worship of death?"

The Valthi waved a hand as if to shake off any possible theological retort. He wasn't sure he wanted to get into a debate about the merits of faith with his priestess daughter when the closest thing Zeke ever did to worship was buy drinks for priests of Kazeros.

"You got any extra water in that thing? Getting knifed makes a guy thirsty as all hell."

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Unread postby Kai » Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:30 am

Zea listened with amusement to her father's somewhat-awkward attempt to reconcile his daughter's faith with the fact that he couldn't identify with it even a little. In his irreverent and haphazard way... he was trying.

She handed the waterskin over to him with a private little smile, intended only for herself. Zeke couldn't really have known what kind of mood she'd been in before he arrived, but at least he was giving her something to take her mind off of--

Off of what? Failure?

That mildly sobering thought took the edge off her mirth and she simply took the waterskin back from him when he was done. "So guys," she said to the others. "I say we move on."

The next couple of hours were quiet enough, though Zea was too tired by the time dinner came around to conjure anything that would liven up their rations.

"Sorry guys. Tomorrow should be a little better. If I get a chance to rest up a bit I'll be in a better position to bring us something better than trail rations."

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:53 am

The words "You don't see ME complaining" almost begged to be released from Goren's lips. But he had learned long ago not to bring eating issues up with the living. He'd look like an asshole every time. And to boot, he was useless as a hunter as well. His smell always warned animals away, even at bow distance.

Ironic, he thought. I was raised to life by a chef, and now I'm absolutely useless in the arena of sustenance... go figure. I don't even think someone could eat me...

All he could manage today was a quick, "Enjoy your meals, folks," as he went for a walk. Might as well scout around the area... and if some high-and-mighty Ishtarlovers decided to attack again, well... at least no one else would die because of him...

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Unread postby Kelne » Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:41 pm

Cerene had spent the rest of the day aloft, keeping an eye out for danger. She landed a short distance from the campsite, so as not to buffet anybody with the backwash from her wings, before reverting to elven form and joining the others.

"Looks like everything's quiet," she said, "That priest was still persevering the last I saw of him. I figure if he keeps at it, he'll reach civilisation sometime tomorrow, so I'll keep an eye on our backtrail to make sure we know if he rustles up any more trouble."

Cerene didn't really think it was likely. They'd have too much of a lead by then, and the people who'd probably been most willing to follow the cause had already died for it. Still, keeping an eye out was only prudent. It was always possible that a party on chocobos could catch up with them.

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Unread postby Kai » Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:40 am

Dinner was relatively uneventful and fairly boring. Zea was quiet out of respect for the moods of the others, but found herself rapidly coming to terms with the day's losses. These things happened, and while it was hard not be jaded, it still wouldn't exactly be easy on the others if they thought she was treating Michael's death like it was nothing.

Before she slept, she slipped more belladonna in her tea. Tonight she needed to rest. Even if they were attacked, there was little she could do without a decent chance to recover her strength. She stayed out by the fire as long as she could, but eventually she said her goodnights and curled up in her tent to give herself over again to sleep. John didn't join her immediately, and she suspected that her familiar was surreptitiously inspecting her father. She knew John was deeply curious about the man. After all, who knew better than John how important Zea's father was to her?

She felt the dream taking her even before she was fully asleep, but the whole point of the belladonna was that come hell or high water, Zea would sleep. The dream wasn't always in order, and she knew it so well now that it didn't even have to be. The path blazed by fear through her mind was so well-trodden that one step along it was enough.

There was so much Zea had to do. There were so many things Zea had to be prepared to do even if they never came to pass. It was her duty to be ready. To be unquestioningly faithful and do her part no matter what it took. That's what it meant to Zea to swear herself to the service of a higher power. It meant that she acted, and what was left for her after that?

Some things, though. They were too much to ask. Even if she passed the test, even if she did what she was commanded to do and proved her obedience... she still failed. Zea's body curled into a tight, defensive position as her dream self did what it always did, throwing her weapon to the ground, snapping off the necklace bearing the mark of her god with hands still warm and slick with blood. Sobbing into the paving stones next to the meaningless relics of a faith defended too far. Every time.

The air went black, the darkness thick and impenetrable around her. She heard footsteps and looked up to see a flame burning in the dark. It was a single white candle, the kind she saw regularly on altars to any god from the most minor to the Great Mother herself. The footsteps came closer, and there was a brief intake of air before the candle was snuffed out.

She blinked in the sudden darkness, and when she reached up to wipe away her tears, she found that the blood was gone and her face was dry. Just as she reflexively began to look down, she heard paces again, and a foot turning on the floor. There was another quick breath from the unseen figure as it blew on the candle, and the wick flared into life again. A small figure turned away from the candle and vanished. All that was left was Zea and the light of the candle. Like a vine twisting down from the flame, a thin blue trail of light crept down the body of the candle, spiralling down its length to disappear under its base.

After that... it was quiet. No nightmares. Nothing. It was like that single vision cleared out all the ugliness and doubt that had been festering and twisting itself in knots every time Zea managed to force herself into the drugged sleep that was her only rest.

When morning came, her familiar was nowhere to be found, but Zea was too preoccupied with the sudden and bizarre reprieve from the hellish routine that had plagued her nights recently. She mulled over the question as she sipped a cup of peppermint tea after breakfast.

What did it mean?

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Unread postby Nakibe » Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:51 pm

Solis would've expected to have a long night of trying and failing to slep, what with Michael's death weighting heavily on his mind and soul. It was his fault for not being strong enough, his fault for not being smarter, wiser, stronger. So it was with some surprise that he opened his eyes... and awoke to a world covered in darkness, feeling like he had something to do, some pressing obligation yet again. But wait, what was it again? He was sure he could almost hear it... the word that defined the journey he was taking to... wherever it was...

DEATH....


An ominous word, to be sure, but he didn't feel it that way. It, like life, was his job... his duty, his responsibility to take care of... Wait, my responsibility?
he thought idly. Something about that didn't feel right either... In any case, it was HIS job, and he was prepared to see it through, whatever the cost, whatever it demanded of him... but this... this was a bit much. Was this really what he had to do, what fate demanded of him? .... and then a light. A glimmer of hope in the dark, snuffed out almost as soon as it was seen. All my fault, again. It was me. I should have... The flame was back again... but this time, it was... different. And yet not. The same light, but pulsing a faint blue, a familiar hue both filled him with a vague anger and yet... comfort. Something he should know about this....

The realization that it was a dream was not surprising.. and yet... there was something about it that felt odd.... It felt IMPORTANT somehow, but he couldn't say why. At least it wasn't frightening after the start. For a moment, he felt himself in a more normal formless darkness only held behind his eyelids, the weight of the dream-thoughts momentarily keeping him from sleep. Somehow he should remember this for the morning, he felt, and he started to think up something he could use to perhaps "contain" the memory...

... and then Solis fell back to a dreamless sleep, mind already drifting into familiar territories

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KingOfDoma
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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:35 am

Goren had taken up residence in another tree for the watch that night. He didn't know why he liked trees so much. Maybe he had a fey grandmother or something, who knew. All he knew was, when he was in a tree, he could survey his world, like a ruler in his ivory tower. It was the only time in his time on the planet when he felt ... important.

As he watched his companions sleep, he watched at they swayed and twitched. Zea in particular seemed to be having quite an interesting dream. Like she was... in distress? Who knew. And Solis was no better...

Dreams... it had been a while. Goren could still remember his last one like it was yesterday. He had been at home, reading a book, when all of a sudden he was being dragged somewhere by a gnome. At the time, this seemed perfectly normal, and he had asked the gnome where he was being taken. The little fellow only pointed out the door, where instead of a street, there was a large, deep hole, as if someone had inverted a volcano. Goren had shrugged, and continued reading as the gnome slung him down the hole, till gravity took its course and dragged him down into the blackness. Then there was something about dragons... who were eating bananas. The endings of his dreams were always slightly vague.

He waited for morning, and went to greet Zea, taking a bite of an apple as he approached. He then did a spit take, wondering why on gaera he would do such a thing. He hadn't... eaten anything in ages. At the moment, he just ... felt like it was the thing to do. Sitting beside her, he did the proper thing, and drained the little fruit's life force. "So," he wondered to her.

"Tell me all about those crazy dreams, little lady."

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Besyanteo
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Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:41 am

Zea sat with her tea and Goren with his unanswered question,alone in their wakefulness at this hour of the morning. The light was still pink in the sky, and dew still beaded the grasses and leaves. It was serene, still but for the light breeze, and silent but for the soft sounds of their companions sleeping...

And then came a clicking sound. The sound was easy to recognize: Someone's boot heels clicked on stone, and they were slowly coming closer.

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Archmage
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Unread postby Archmage » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:14 pm

If Zeke dreamt, he had no recollection of it. Even if he had remembered, it was unlikely that he would dwell upon the visions of his subconscious. Right now he was more focused on his daughter's unusual behavior. Then again, was it really unusual? How could he know? He hadn't spent enough time around her to formulate an opinion one way or the other. But he could tell when people were unsettled, and something was bothering her.

He was about to try to strike up a conversation, perhaps by asking her for a cup of tea, when he heard the footsteps. His gun was in his hand in seconds.

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KingOfDoma
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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:52 am

Goren was not paying attention to a click behind him. All he saw was Zeke's approach, and his subsequent drawing of his weapon. He blinked, and freaked out a little, moving down a bit from Zea out of instinct. "Whoa, Zeke," he said. "Did you not get your coffee?... or..."

Ah, there was that lamp, finally flickering to life above his head. He had some foresight, thanks to the day before, and had brought his stone with him. Flexing the chain around his fingers, he bent his head over backwards, and to everyone's relief, it was at a normal human angle. Who could that be...?

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Besyanteo
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Unread postby Besyanteo » Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:25 am

Given the dramatic and unfortunate events of the previous morning, one could hardly fault those gathered for their reactions to the approaching sound. It could very easily be the herald of some group of fanatics, bent on further punishing the group for daring to be on a walk in the countryside. However, as the sound came closer it became more and more evident that it could only be a single person; Even if others all wore leather or cloth shoes with no soles, there would be some tell tale sign of them in the stillness of the morning. They hadn't long to ponder on nature of the person approaching before the fellow produced himself:

Walking towards them, rounding the side of a particularly thick Oak, came a somewhat familiar figure: Michael, now plus a thin layer of dust and dirt, a sort of dazed look, and thin blue spiral along the length of his right arm, where no fur now grows and with a metallic sheen, running from wrist up to his shoulder and disappearing under his now dirtied vest.

He paused, seeing those present, and after an awkward moment spoke:

"I had... the strangest dream..."

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