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

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Kelne
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Unread postby Kelne » Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:02 am

Cerene, naturally, had contributed to lighting the fire and, later, to the spooky stories. Fireplace tales were, after all, traditional on camping trips, and she had the legends of several worlds to draw on.

Tonight's story featured a cabin in the woods, and a lurking horror, making its presence known at night. Three days from civilisation, walking out during the day was no option. The cabin itself was safe, but had no supplies to last the siege. One man made a desperate run for help. His body was found, torn and shredded, outside the cabin the following morning.

Days went by, and supplies dwindled still further. Desperation among the remaining three mounted...

Weeks later, a search party arrived at the cabin, only to find two bodies in the cabin. Both some time dead, and bearing tooth marks. Not of some wild beast, though. These were made by human teeth.

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KingOfDoma
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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:02 pm

Goren, smirking, remarked, "Oh, so THAT'S why my place always had those red stains on the floorboards!"

It was THEN that his brain interjected with the fact that he was probably supposed to sustain the mood of the moment. It then decided to compensate by saying, "... well, hold on. Let me tell my OWN story..."

He told a tale of a simple guard in the Doman army, who pined for a girl who worked in the kitchens of the castle. One day, on his rounds, he was passing her by in the commisary, he slipped, fell, and broke his neck against the side of the drawers.

Supposedly, he awoke sometime later, in a cottage away from the city, and the girl greeted him. She told him her cooking skills were simply a byproduct of her true passion: necromancy. She had gotten her hands on his body to revive him, and make him hers forever. But he did not hear her words...

All he could hear was a voice screaming out at him to taste the flesh within her skull...

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:30 pm

After dinner Zea made herself a cup of tea and pulled a pinch of belladonna from her supply of ritual components and steeped it in the hot water. Come hell or high water, she needed to sleep tonight. No more of this exhaustion and anxiety.

Zea's friends would have to forgive her for not indulging in the telling of ghost stories. While she didn't have the best ideas of what normal people were frightened of, she had a notion that any story she told wasn't going to thrill her friends in quite the way they were looking for. Anything that had ever truly frightened her was too dark and too personal to share, and would probably just result in an awkward silence instead of the tense anticipation of more excitement.

During Cerene's story Zea had slipped into her tent for the night, hoping to take advantage of their relative isolation to get some badly-needed sleep. It certainly hadn't helped Zea's mood that she hadn't slept properly in two days, but that wasn't the direct cause of her turmoil.

No... no, that would be the nightmares.

She lay curled on her side, the muffled sounds of the evening camp sifting into her tent. Her eyes stared dull and unfocused at the fabric of her tent wall. It was an appropriate time for tears, wasn't it? She'd been holding them in all afternoon, waiting for a moment of solitude, of privacy. A moment where she didn't need to hide anything from anybody. Now that she had it... she just felt numb, drained. She didn't have the energy to move or think or weep. She just lay there.

Maybe it would be better after all to simply sleep. Today was irretrievable and unredeemable. There was nothing left to be done but give up on today and hope that tomorrow would be fractionally better, that perhaps day by day she would stop feeling so raw and isolated.

They say heartbreak is like a stomachache, she thought. That you forget it as soon as it stops hurting.

She felt icy fingers on the back of her neck through her shirt and closed her eyes. At least John was here. If she had no one else by her side, at least she could assure herself that she'd never truly have to be alone. Eventually Zea started to feel the helpless sinking sensation that brought welcome darkness and quiet. Zea fell asleep to the sensation of those incorporeal fingers stroking the feverishly hot skin of her cheek, and couldn't help but notice for the hundredth time how much colder John's hands were than James'.

They came, as they'd come for over a week. She'd begun to trust them since they always came just when her resolve was closest to the breaking point, just when she needed a reminder. The nightmares. Her body shuddered once briefly, but it was too late to wake.

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Nakibe
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Unread postby Nakibe » Thu Aug 16, 2007 12:59 pm

Rather than listen to the other travellers try their best to give his heart fits through storytelling, Solis opted to perhaps try to get some sleep early. Unfortunately his mind was a roil of thoughts from the trip. Could they make it the way that they were going? How much trouble would this trip bring? And why did Zea seem so insistent on leaving James behind? It was a set of enigmas that did not wish to be solved, at least not yet. Finally, the storm of thoughts quieted down in order to allow Solis to sleep.

Quiet, unfortunately, was a relative term. A vague dream about tall metal-and-glass buildings and his "Big Brother" saying something he couldn't quite remember later came to him... but flowed into something more odd. A sense of duty hung over him, a responsibility he wasn't sure he could handle... but his dream self could. The fact that it scared him only seemed to make him more determined, more adamant about it... and suddenly HE was the one holding the scythe... Somehow, this felt wrong to Solis. He was asleep... wasn't he? This was his dream... or was it? As he found himself wondering, a presence seemed to hover over him in his dream self. At first he couldn't make out what it was saying... and suddenly, as if yelling in his ear... "Do you MIND?!?"

"GAAAAAAH". That presence.... it was still powerful in his mind even as he sat up yelling into the night. It filled him with a sensation that was both alien... and somehow familiar. All Solis knew was that he hated it. The way it felt and seemed. That.... and his headache had returned.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:10 pm

Michael had endured the silliness of the ghost stories. He didn't think the others bad storytellers, but such things had simply never quite done it for him. Unfortunately, most things that did give him a scare were also either more real or very annoying.

When story time ended, he went to his blanket and stripped from the waist up to sleep for the night. He'd been having a lovely dream about a orange haired woman in the market back home, flirting and laughing... And then suddenly she was screaming. In a man's voice. That wasn't...

"GAAH!"

... right at all. He sat bolt upright as Solis cried out.

"Buh! Wheh ah... What?"

He looked around for some sign they were being attacked! ... Ok, none. So why was Solis freaking out? ... It occured to him that there was a perfectly logical alternative. An annoying one.

"... Bad dreams?"

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Kelne
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Unread postby Kelne » Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:28 am

Having taken Goren at his word that he'd take care of the watches, being woken by a yell wasn't something that Cerene was expecting. She went from fast asleep to wide awake in...

Actually, she still wasn't wide awake. She was distinctly muzzy, even if she was sitting bolt upright in her sleeping bag. Since no further yells were forthcoming, Cerene took a few moments to get her bearings.

Yes, still in camp. Not, as her dream would have her believe, on the beach. There was Goren on watch over there. And the centre of attention was - it took her brain a few seconds to dredge up the name - Solis.

Funny. He hadn't seemed the excitable type. Then again, bad dreams could cut right through your defenses, eliciting visceral reactions. If it was indeed just a dream.

Her father had always told her that dreams were tricky things, even without outside influences. All the things that never quite reached the conscious mind percolated away and came together in dreams.

For now, Cerene remained sitting. Michael seemed to be handling it, but she wouldn't be getting back to sleep for a little while.

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Unread postby Nakibe » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:06 pm

Solis groaned and rubbed his head, hoping he hadn't woken anyone. The presence of Michael a minute later proved that that wasn't the case. "Um... no..... yeah.... maybe..." Even Solis would have admitted that it wasn't much of a coherent reply, but his mind wasn't exactly working the way he'd like it to either. "Damn headache... Um. Sorry for waking you, I guess. Just..." He sighed, and went back to rubbing his temples.

It was almost as if the journey was already stacked against him, if he was getting crazy nightmare image things now. He mentally berated himself for adding to the stress of the trip, however accidental that may have been. "I... I guess I should try working on meditation instead of sleep for a bit." Something about that whole bit WAS curious, though. Even now, as it was fading from memory, Solis was beginning to think that maybe, just MAYBE that WASN'T his dream. But... what was it about? Did it have any meaning at all? Maybe it was worth trying to stay up a little longer to figure out the answers....

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:47 pm

Goren was sitting in a tree, "eating" an apple. Even though his post was a bit remote, a simple leap would land him dead centre in the camp, able to alert anyone to danger.

Half the night, he was wondering if he should bother.

I mean, he didn't harbor any real ill will for any of them... least of all Zea, and most of all that fuzzy brat... but why should he care? They were just mortals, the living, those separate from him. He should...

... what? Go find a coven of zombies and eat brains till someone decapitated him?

Goren groaned to himself. There was something he had not admitted about himself for years. He hated his unlife. He was nothing but a scavenger, a thief, a parasite on society's backside. His unlife was DESIGNED to make him as such. He... he resolved then. He WOULD break this cycle, this cycle of theft and survival.

But how was still a mystery...

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:04 am

Michael raised a brow at Solis' explanation, but shrugged and lay back down. Bad dreams happened to everyone at different times, no use getting upset over it. Still, that bubbly redhead probably wouldn't return when he began to dream again. Bother. Such is life.

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:06 am

After some grumbling and some muttering, the night passed. Solis wasn't disturbed by any more nightmares, but Michael wasn't treated to any more dreams about cheerful females. Goren saw a raccoon peeking from beneath a stand of ferns, and watching it forage was about the most interesting sight the waning evening had to offer him.

In the morning, Zea finally emerged from her tent looking much better rested than the day before if not significantly more cheerful. As the distance grew between them and Doma, the chaos and conflicting priorities in Zea's mind began to quiet down into a more sedate sense of resignation. There wasn't any use mourning this choice now. It had been made. There was no going back. Even if she changed her mind, James wouldn't want anything to do with her. She'd destroyed her place here, and there was nowhere for her to go but home.

As they set out on their way, Zea put less of a distance between herself and her friends. She walked next to her horse instead of riding him at a slow walk. It didn't matter if she was down on the ground, accessible to the others. They meant well, and it wasn't their fault they didn't understand. Her life and theirs were destined to be very different and until their paths truly diverged, it wouldn't hurt to try and enjoy this one last trip across the surface with the people who'd known her there.

As they continued on the road, they came across an older gentleman standing in the center of the road. He was dressed in long white robes and bore an amulet with the sign of Ishtar on it. Even though the party was taking a wider route to avoid the city, this close to Varrock a cleric of Ishtar would not be an unusual sight. Zea, walking at the front, was keenly conscious of the necklace slipped under the neckline of her shirt, a smooth silver medallion on a silver chain with the image of a scythe inlaid in gold. Something felt wrong. Zea felt like she was standing with the opposition, and she knew that wasn't right. She just... couldn't shake the feeling.

"Afternoon," he told the group with a sharp glance toward Goren. "Been travelling long?"

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:14 am

Michael looked the man over. Well, they were bound to run into a few Ishtarian priests, right? They were friendly enough folk, too. Might as well try to nip this in the bud early, before someone with more bias got them all into trouble. Zea was a sweet girl, but yesterday could hardly be ignored. ... It was odd, though. This man had been standing here. As though he'd been waiting for someone to come along.

... Oh hell. He was an evangelist. This really WOULD get interesting.

"Not really, we just left the capitol. What has you out on this fine day?"

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:39 pm

"Ah, well," the priest began. "I go where the will of the Mother leads me. You know how it is," he said with a nod to Zea. She slowly nodded back. He shouldn't have known who she was, not unless he'd come here with a purpose. "You see, everyone alive has a purpose, and everyone with a higher purpose must dedicate the work of their hands to that purpose." His eyes flicked over to Goren again.

I don't like this, Zea thought. I don't like that he knows who I am, I don't like the way he's looking at Goren, I don't like his preachy demeanor. He's too righteous today. Something's up.

"What's on your mind, Father?" Zea asked him.

"Well, you see, miss..." Zea noted he didn't refer to her with any formal title. She decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it was because of her age. That at least wasn't an insult to her affiliation. "My purpose is to make the world a place where people can live in peace and harmony with one another. A place where the sanctity of life is protected for all men and women. That doesn't put us so at odds does it?"

Zea sighed. "Of course not. Can we... can we help you with something?"

"Yes," he said. Some distance behind him was the sound of a boot in the dirt, and after an eerie disembodied creak of wood, an arrow hit the dirt near Azrael's front hooves. The horse reared up and Zea had to take a hasty step back to avoid being kicked. By the time she looked up, her gaze found a man standing up the road who'd previously been either concealed or invisible. He laid another arrow against the string and pulled back, waiting.

"We're not the only ones who've come, but please," the priest continued. "If you come with us without bloodshed there will be no need for any living thing here to be harmed."

((OOC: People should feel free to take control of this situation/potential-combat however they wish. Only thing I ask is that we not treat these guys as mooks. Let's have a suitably-epic battle if possible.))

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KingOfDoma
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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:55 pm

Son of a bitch... thought Goren. Stupid Ishies... I knew even getting CLOSE to Varrock was a bad idea... OK. Won't be able to rely on these guys to protect me, given the circumstances, so... better think of something on my own.

"OK, OK, we get it," he said, walking to the fore of the group. "We all know what you're getting at. It's me. I'm not 'alive' by your incredibly narrow standards. Doesn't matter that I don't hurt anybody, or go on rampages, or do anything other than leave a rotted tree around every now and again, does it? I'm a 'blight to the sight of Mother Ishtar' or whatever the hell you want to justify it with. Well, fine. Let these folks go and you can have me all to yourself."

He smirked. "You picked a good day to catch me. I resolved last night to stop running away from my problems. The only trouble is I also resolved to face them head on. So don't expect an easy catch. And don't expect to have absolutely nothing die while you're trying to take me. Hope that makes things cancel out."

Having thought ahead for a change, he pulled his axe from the top of his things and dropped the bag. Looking back to his party, he said, "Well? You going to go or what?"

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:31 pm

Oh. Well, shit. Not an evangelist. ... Ah well. He didn't want to listen to the mother Ishtar stuff much anyway. Luckily, there was some legal precedent to go on here. This was Doma, by the gods, and Varrock was as much a part of it as any other city within it's borders. Being the son of the man who was the right hand of the head of the law in Doma had it's perks. One of them in Michael's case, was more than a passing familiarity with the law. This man was very sure of himself... with any luck, he would be much less sure in a moment. Very much less sure.

"Stop. If you take him, you'll be in violation of the Sentience act of Mother's Year 1231. The minute he was granted abstract thought, he gained the same legal rights as any other living, intelligent being in Doma. You'd be tried for conspiracy, kidnapping, and certainly murder if you destroy this man. You specifically would be executed, and anyone working with you would serve a minimum sentence of fifteen years in prison for collaborating with you. You can't kill us all to hide what happens here today, either. My father is a high ranking official in the Doman Royal Guard. You can bet I'll be missed, and I will implicate you the second I'm discovered dead by scry, and I will implicate everyone here with the flawless memory that the dead possess."

Technically, he was exaggerating on... several points. But the basics of it were true. Everyone here was fucked in the event of the death of Michael and his friends. ... Of course, the real point was still try to avoid things going that far. He made a good show of getting hard looks at the faces of everyone here.

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Unread postby Nakibe » Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:39 pm

Solis sighed. He was hoping that he wouldn't have to have anything to do with this sort of situation. It was almost TOO predictable, too aggravating... almost TOO mundane to a man whose mind occasionally traveled the paths of Fate itself. He stepped forwards with the best impression of Your Dad Is Not Pleased that he could manage, and looked the apparent Ishtarite in the eyes. "Now. Aside from that, I wonder why you're even here assailing poor travellers of ANY sort on the road at all? Does not Ishtar preach of peace and respect for all forms of life, no matter where you find it? Please. All we wish is to pass in peace, nothing more. Surely you can understand that."

"I'm just hoping that we can settle this without violence of any sort.", and Solis' frown deepened if it ever could. It was rare to see him THIS angered by anything at all, but THIS... somehow THIS felt too wrong to let pass. It didn't take much awareness to notice the air around him going inexplicably brighter, as if perhaps he himself was emitting light. "Please. Do not follow this path."

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Kelne
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Unread postby Kelne » Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:37 am

Anyone who knew Cerene at all would know that she had a slight anger management problem. Being accosted in the road by religious types, particularly given her recent experiences, was the sort of thing guarranteed to set her off.

Unlike Solis, Cerene went in for a rather visible display of power. Fire wrapped itself around her, sending out a wash of heat. Adding to the display was a set of translucent, fiery wings which spread abruptly from her back.

"I expect this sort of twisting of religious scripture from Rivan Dragoons," she snarled, "Not from a supposedly devout priest of Ishtar in Doma of all places."

It shouldn't take much intelligence for the priest and whatever rabble he'd put together to realise they'd taken on rather more than they could chew. Angry or not, Cerene would much rather they scurried off with their tails between their legs than have to drive them off.

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Kai
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Unread postby Kai » Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:56 am

"I will try to ignore that slight on Doman priests as compared to our Rivan brethren." The older man replied testily. Apparently outnumbered rather badly, he steeled himself and lifted his chin proudly. "Get yourself under control, miss," he told Cerene as his bowman turned his aim on the phoenix. "We are not the only two here. We are merely giving you a chance to help us wipe out an abomination."

Zea herself had told Goren more than once that she'd never create anything like him, and even if she had she'd have destroyed him. From a necromancer's point of view, creatures like Goren were precisely the reason undead servants were better left non-sentient. However, she knew what this priest meant, and it had nothing to do with any real knowledge of the natural order, of the grey span between life and death. In that light, the word 'abomination' went a bit far. The necromancer stepped forward to stand next to Goren. "He's right," she said, jerking her head toward Michael. "Even if you kill us, I know that I at least can still make a nuisance of myself after I die." I don't think he's going to win here, Zea thought. He doesn't have much time left.

The priest turned to address Solis, one righteous theologian to another. "Ishtar preaches respect for life, which is why we haven't simply killed you and destroyed the monster you guard. My restraint has nothing to do with the law, and neither does my resolve. I follow a higher law, and will not stand to be prevented from a duty I know is just and right."

"Watch your tongue, Father," Zea said quietly. "If you invoke the right of a cleric to recognize only the law of his god, you're treading on dangerous ground." With an irritated sneer he turned to the girl standing calmly before him. Perhaps he'd never faced an opponent as deep in their own faith as he himself was. Perhaps he thought he was the only fanatic on the road today. "You're not the only one who can play that game, and if you disapprove," she continued, "You can complain to my boss."

Pulling energy through the astral to solidify and snake around her fingertips, Zea whispered to herself, "Lord of Death, place into my hands the weapon of my faith, the instrument of balance by which I deliver my enemies into your hands."

As the scythe that was Zea's chosen weapon materialized between the span of her hands, an arrow flew toward the party that did not come from the bowman still aiming at Cerene. It was a difficult shot, past Goren and in front of Cerene, Michael, and Solis. Zea flinched at the last second, but it wasn't enough to pull her out of the arrow's path and with a sick splitting noise it cracked into her chest just below her collarbone.

Another bowman stood off to the right of the party, some distance from the road. He was standing perfectly still in the waist-high grass after his shot. They were surrounded, or might well be. Blood ran from the wound down between Zea's fingers. The bowman standing next to the priest released his arrow, his aim still locked solidly onto Cerene.

((OOC: Like I said guys. Feel free to take control of this combat. I can be the GM if you want, but I'd rather you guys go ahead and do as you like. Standard "these are not mooks" request applies.))

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:55 pm

It was fair to say that the Priest's utter dismissal of what Michael had told him was annoying, but that really didn't make him angry. It was frustrating to watch them call Goren an abomination over and over. There were fouler things that roamed around his home town freely, equally protected by that act until such time as they chose to do something stupid, and violent. What did make him angry is when that second archer put an arrow into Zea. It also meant that he and his party had all just forfeited their right to life.

There wasn't any time to draw his knife from his pack. It would be asking someone to shoot him while he sat still and more or less painted a bullseye on his face. He let that fall aside entirely, and...

Flinched. Now there was another arrow in mid flight, heading for Cerene. He'd been about to turn on the archer behind them, and show him what he'd been learning recently. But Michael was very inexperienced at combat where lives were actually in danger... This being the first time in his life that he'd engaged in anything like it. His hesitation appeared to others as a clumsy, jerking step towards the archer behind them, followed by an even clumsier strong-arm push to knock Cerene to one side before the arrow found it's mark. The problem with that, of course, is now Michael was in the way. Or, rather, his arm was. His face convulsed as the arrow entered and passed through his fore arm, and his hand lit on fire. He then stumbled further, and hit the ground in a heap; It's hard to control your legs when your hand is on fire, and he was already half stumbling to start with. This was obviously going to be a really, really shitty day.

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Unread postby Nakibe » Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:13 pm

So much for hope. Solis' eyes went wide as he saw the arrow fly towards Zea, and then, the chaotic pace of battle begins again. Solis unfortunately for the other side did indeed have half of a spell ready in his mind before the first arrow was loosed. He'd already marked the position of the first bowman, so it wouldn't surprise anyone that knew him when the storm started brewing from above...

"From the heavens a small seed, to bring to life in this hour of need, of pain and strife a future flashing in the dark to shock our world, to make its spark burn bright! GIGRA!"
Several lightning bolts came down from the heavens to strike the battlefield, one of which struck the bowman next to the priest. The others seemed almost random in their placement, meant more to scare the others that surrounded them than to actually damage them... yet.

Rather than celebrate his minor victory, Solis' hands started towards the odd pack of cards that the older man kept with him at all times, though it was anyone's guess what use playing Poker might be in a time of such crisis...

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Unread postby Kelne » Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:49 pm

Being unceremoniously shoved aside was a new experience for Cerene. Still, it beat being stuck by an arrow. Wings and fire blinked out of existence as she flung out her hands to catch herself.

Having saved herself from an undignified faceplant (not that the save left her in a particularly dignified position), her first order of business was to deal with the first archer. A bolt of fire shot from her outstretched hand, incinerating the man's bow and causing him to yelp in pain as the flames inevitably encompassed his hand.

By now, the arrows were flying in earnest, and Cerene rolled quickly sideways, bringing the next archer into her sights. If she had to deal with them all one at a time, she would. Hopefully, given a bit of encouragement, they'd break and run, but as long as that blasted priest was up and around, it probably wasn't going to happen.

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Unread postby Archmage » Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:28 pm

He almost had the perfect shot.

The girl had already taken an arrow to the torso, though the extent of the damage was difficult to gauge from behind. The furry fellow had opted to use his precious little time to shove his ally out of the way, dropping the flaming woman to the ground. That was all it took to extinguish her fire? She had radiated all that smoke and fury and a little shove extinguished her power?

Of course, the phoenix was back on her feet as quickly as she had gone down, and a well-placed bolt of fire had disarmed one of his comrades. Damn. No matter. Their mission could succeed without him. These heretics would be punished, surely, for sheltering an affront to life in their midst. That fuzzball had spouted something inane in legalese about the rights of sentient creatures or whatever. It was difficult to avoid breaking out in laughter at the suggestion that zombies had any rights at all. Maybe it was on the Doman lawbooks, but it certainly wasn't in the books that mattered. Ishtar's law supercedes Doma's.

And now he was lining up to fire at the young man with the deck of cards. He was waiting to shoot until he was sure it was worth giving away his position; the spot in the bushes behind the group had proven to be a most excellent place to avoid detection before the ambush commenced. If he missed, there was a very real danger that the magician would spin around and drop a lightning bolt on his position, and standing underneath a tree would do him no favors.

That was when he heard someone whisper in his ear.

"Checkmate."

Something cold and metallic pressed against the back of his neck, and he dared not move his bow another inch. Should he turn around, at least, so that he could face his attacker before dying? Who could possibly have ambushed him? The entire group that the priest wanted to ambush was right there, surrounded!

The whispers in his ear continued. "You made a mistake. Too busy looking at what was in front of you with that tunnel vision. Your allies already started the ambush. You should've taken your shot then, because you won't have time to aim leisurely now. The battle's already started. You're too late, sniper. Finished. Missed your chance to shine."

He wouldn't turn around. He wouldn't. Maybe if he was quick enough, he could take the shot before this new adversary killed him. He raised his bow--

--and a thundering bang resounded in his ears. It was the last sound the bowman would ever hear.

"Y'learned your lesson a little too late," remarked the blue-haired man standing over the archer's fallen body disdainfully. "Least you tried. Gotta respect that." A wisp of smoke trailed out of the killer's pistol. Surely the noise of the gunshot had given away his position. He'd planned it this way, at least, unlike the poor fellow at his feet.

Sure enough, an arrow zinged toward him, and Zeke Mazuo narrowly avoided impalement as he dropped to his knees, causing the arrow to impact the tree beside him and shatter into pieces. A splinter of wood bounced harmlessly off his shoulder as he dropped from kneeling to prone and rolled through the underbrush to get into position for his next shot.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:30 pm

Goren heard no shot.

He might have, were he anything but focused on his quarry. He was just making sure the quarry was not focused on HIM.

Once the violence had broken out, Goren vanished from immediate view. Anyone who had their eyes trained on him would have lost track of him before realizing he was even gone. He knew he had but seconds to put himself into position, and he used them to the best of his advantage.

One thing he learned while he was a logger was how to climb trees. By now, he could assess handholds and guesstimate an estimated time of clamoring within seconds. And just his luck, there was a beautiful tree, with a sturdy, hanging bow, directly above the priest.

He bounded up the tree in seconds, taking a moment to find cover in its leaves. Prepping himself for attack, he readied his axe, putting his right on the bottom of the handle, and his left, palm down, near the head of it, so that even if he was taken out in midair, he still might have enough momentum to make a killing blow.

He spied the metallic green chain, looping around his middle two fingers and wrist. He almost regretted not using the stone in this occasion, but the last time a holy individual was touched by it, he was endowed with incredible human qualities... and a week-long migraine. It would have to wait for another day.

Seconds had passed. The priest was still unsure of Goren's position. With a silent leap, he extricated himself from the foliage, dropping down on Ishtar's servant like a falcon diving for its prey...

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Unread postby Kai » Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:29 pm

Zea's hand gripped the arrow's shaft, and momentarily she considered yanking it out. It would have gotten it out of the way, but it might have made the injury worse and definitely would have hurt.

Her eyes followed Goren as he fell out of the sky but she started violently at the crack of gunfire behind her. She'd processed enough gunshot victims to know what it meant, and the fact that her work was the source of that familiarity was a solid indication of how serious it was.

As Zea turned away, Goren came crashing down with his axe onto the priest at the head of the expedition. The force of the impact sent the older man skidding away from Goren across the dirt road. Blood quickly stained the fabric of his robes, flowing down from the injury. Then he did something Goren immediately recognized. He traced a symbol in the air in front of him, touched his forehead reverently, and then laid a hand on his injury. Goren had just enough time to regret his proximity to the priest before a wash of holy energy flowed out to encompass them both. The priest's wound closed, leaving only torn fabric and blood in its wake, but Goren would likely not be so fortunate.

Meanwhile, the archer behind the priest dragged himself to his feet after being hit by a bolt of lightning. Disarmed of his bow by Cerene, he pulled a dagger from his boot and hurled it toward Zea. The archer in the field seemed to have decided that Solis was their most pressing enemy, and fired his bow toward him.

Zea saw none of this. She saw a tall man with dark blue hair appear and then disappear. She'd only laid eyes upon the man once, and couldn't quite allow herself to believe that he was here now. She didn't have time to consider it as a corpse fell with a heavy thud as he crushed the undergrowth beneath him. Bolting toward the fallen archer, Zea ducked as the other archer's flying blade whizzed by behind her neck. She dropped to her knees next to the body. Her momentum was so strong that her knees scraped across the dirt for several inches as she skidded to a stop. Curled up on the ground, Zea looked to all observers who knew nothing about her like a frightened girl cowering in the dirt.

With the fingertips of one hand pressed to her forehead, forcing herself to concentrate, Zea prayed for permission to do something her god granted her regularly. She reached out with her other hand to lay her palm on the archer her father had shot.

"Lord of endings and transformations,
A daughter of the faith calls out in her need."


The body began to fill with the slow and heavy flow of energy pulled through Zea's aura from a plane that seemed built upon death itself. Death was what she wanted now, death for her enemies, at the hands of one of their own.

"Let these heretics fall and beg for your blessing
Under the weight of your curse."


The corpse pushed itself up on its arms, rising to a standing position from where it had lain in the grass and low growth by the road. Without the structural support of a spinal cord--thanks to Zeke's bullet--the dead man's head lolled stupidly to one side.

As she so often did, Zea gave a simple command. "Kill the archers."

The dead man lurched forward into the field after the archer that had been flanking the party, the one who'd shot his new master. Zea smiled when she saw the expression of horror on the Ishtarites' faces. Wounded, bleeding, and crouched in the dirt, Zea still knew well that they were the only ones here with anything to fear. Such fragile faith they had, when the time for bold talk was done.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:25 pm

Michael got up, is arm now only figuratively on fire with pain. He was, quite understandably, growing more agitated by the second. He happened to get up just in time to see the good priest heal himself, and drench Goren in energy the was going to make Michael's own injuries look like a paper cut and a rug burn. So, Ignoring the arrows that were aimed at his back as charged forward, he couldn't resist sayying something spiteful...

"Hey father! SMILE!"

.. Just before delivering a running kick to the man's jaw. Teeth flew from the old man's mouth and his jaw broke, which was going to make it exceedingly difficult to do any more casting.

"ISHTAR'S WATCHING!"

He was less cocky a minute later, of course. Recall, he did have a pair of arrows aimed at his back... One of those missed cleanly, the aim ruined when he broke into a run. The other, however, entered his right shoulder. Michael now had a matching set on that side! And while the good father could only emit muffled grunts of pain, Michael was free to howl in pain as things just continued to get worse and worse.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:10 pm

"Oh shi-"

In an instant, pain was coursing through Goren's form. The energy in his body was meant to counteract darkness and damage. Unfortunately, he WAS darkness and damage. Brought to his knees, Goren grimaced... then smirked. The priest was good.

But the kid was better. Goren almost winced when he saw the priest get his teeth rearranged. He appreciated Michael's moxie, but if he was trying to keep the guy from casting, that wasn't the way to do it.

As soon as the pain was bearable, Goren lifted his weapon, and ran at the disabled mage, aiming the sharp edge at his upper portion of his casting arm. And hell, if the guy was ambidextrous, he could take at least ONE more of those shots... right?

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Unread postby Nakibe » Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:32 pm

Running towards Zea as he drew a card from his collection of tarot foci, he managed to trip himself up, just slightly over a rock or something like that. It was when he heard the "whoosh" of an arrow whizzing by his ear that he alternately blessed and cursed his luck. It was never quite clear which way it would turn, but at least THIS time things were moving in his favor. Rushing over to Zea's side, he says "Hold still for a moment. This'll probably hurt", and then concentrates power into the Lovers card he holds, hand practically glowing with the energies he focused into it.

Grabbing the arrow in Zea, he chants "Card of Lovers, I beseech thee to return to what we had before. This form we loved shall surely be lost unless all is made new again." It spoke of some level of experience that Solis managed to match the pace of the healing energies with the speed at which he drew the arrow from Zea. Unfortunately, that probably didn't help much with the pain thing, and those archers seemed to be getting more accurate by the second. At least those zombies should keep them busy for a minute. he thought as his hand went back to his card case for his next spell....

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Unread postby Kelne » Thu Aug 23, 2007 6:39 am

Cerene was getting very tired of seeing her friends get shot in the back. These people had been given ample opportunity to run, but they weren't taking the hint. Well, enough was enough. They could run, or they could burn.

Naturally, the bastards were too spread out for a good fireball to do away with them, but there were other options. A dramatic gesture conjured a wall of flame into being on the right flank, and another set it into motion.

The first archer in its path, whether due to stubbornness, fanaticism, or sheer foolishness, stood his ground, sending an arrow at her. Unfortunately for him, the shot was a poor one, no doubt owing to its hurried nature and the distraction of the oncoming wall of flame. Cerene didn't even have to dodge, letting the arrow sail past to her left.

There was no time for a second shot. The man shrieked as the flame washed over him, dropping to the ground and writhing. Assuming he could put the fire out, he'd probably survive his burns, but it had to be painful.

The wall of flame swept onwards, moving in a counter-clockwise direction around the perimeter of the ambush zone. The remaining archers in its path had a few options. They could try to keep ahead of the wall, although that would soon bring them into contact with the gunman and the zombie. They could try to shoot the caster, in the hopes that this would disrupt her control. Or they could back off, taking them out of the wall's path, but also at least temporarily removing themselves from the engagement.

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Unread postby Kai » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:36 am

Zea heard Solis join her over past the edge of the road, and anyone else who'd grabbed the arrow shaft in her chest would have been rewarded with a fist in the jaw, but she forced herself to trust him just as he dragged the sharpened metal through her flesh. "GNNGGHHFUCK!" she growled. She shook her head rapidly, trying to clear away the haze of pain to manage her new servant.

Watching the wall of fire sweep over the flanking archer, it occurred to Zea that it was possible he would survive the incident if he thought quickly enough. Unacceptable. She fixed her eyes on the space where the man had fallen and with no will to follow but Zea's, her zombie shambled over to attack the man while he tried to put out the fires over his body. Zea could see that he didn't have long to live, and noted with dull amusement that if he were destined to die, she'd been destined to kill him when his comrade had been killed by her father, who'd also been destined to be here.

Just an agent of fate, she thought. The zombie stood upright again, turning to face the archer standing behind the priest. Certainly when Zea's allies had finished off the bleeding and defeated priest they would move on to the archer, and it was a good thing. Before Cerene had conjured her wall of fire, the once-disarmed archer had pulled a crossbow from his back to fire on Michael.

Backing away from the fallen priest to avoid the wall of fire rapidly encroaching on him, the archer waited for the wall to pass. Pulling herself off the ground by Solis' side, Zea pointed her finger toward the priest's archer, singling him out. Another archer sprang from the grass in front of the wall, fleeing to join the other. He brought his crossbow up and levelled it on the girl.

Zea and the two archers broke eye contact as a thick mass of flame passed between them. She took a long step to the right to ensure he couldn't just fire blindly on her, and called on a different side of her power to punish these insolent heretics. The wall passed and Zea's pointed finger closed back into a fist as the very vegetation and landscape the archers had been using for cover turned against them, ripping up out of the dirt and coiling around their legs and waists. One gave a cry of surprise and the archer lost his aim on Zea in the confusion. Zea smirked as she watched them struggling to pull themselves free of their twisting and knotted bonds. It should be much easier for Goren and Michael to finish these two now.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Thu Aug 23, 2007 6:04 pm

Michael could, of course, see the archer in front of him pulling his crossbow out. This might look bad to most folk, by Michael knew a thing or two about Crossbows. For one thing, they took longer than a bow to load or reload between shots. Of course, they were still accurate enough, and took almost no effort to fire. So he'd just have to get the man before that. With the Priest distracted by his ruined face, and a zombie who just tore him brand new gaping hole in his arm, Michael felt confident to run over and handle things.

He still had one good arm left. He could have gone around kicking all day, but each time he did it would make him vulnerable to anyone who was at all observant. However, a good punch wouldn't slow the man much. Neither would his basic Garoujin claws. Luckily, he didn't need to rely wholly on either. With a quick exertion of will, his left hand became alight with unadultered astral energy, focused and formed into 3 inch long stabbing knives at the end of his own natural claws. Rather than attack the archer himself, who was now all but ready to fire, and at point blank range with Michael, he raked his searing claws over the cross bow itself, ruining the string and letting it's tension loose before the mechanism was released. He got a bad cut on his left forearm for his trouble, but his opponent suffered the same from the other string. Michael had been expecting this. His enemy had not. He quickly back handed the man, the dull sides of his claws burning shallow troughs in his face. This had never been intended to kill him, but rather to hurt like hell and hopefully break his resolve, now that he was out of weapons. It just wasn't in Michael to kill yet. That might not be the case soon.

The man sprawled on the ground, holding his face with one hand... and the other quickly pulled a knife from a hiding place in one of his boots. Michael saw the flash of the blade and attempted to move, but it was a bit late. He had been caught off guard, and yelped in shock and pain as he received a brand spanking new knife wound in his side. He was still angry... but his vision was blurring now, and it was getting hard to think. The knife twisted, and he couldn't hold back anymore. He could be mistaken, but this felt more and more like dying. He grabbed the man's wrist with the tips of his fingers, and twisted, almost oblivious to the scream it elicited. The man pulled back a stump, the hand and dagger it still held falling slowly out of Michael's side. Then he brought his claws down on the man's head... and cursed. The man was still screaming, something about the mother and retribution... which meant that his spell had fizzled already. His legs buckled, and he fell to his knees involuntarily. This didn't look very good. Not at all.

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Unread postby Nakibe » Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:37 pm

Solis looked back and saw Michael down on the ground with one of the two archers, and realized that the young Garoujin was probably in SERIOUS trouble... but with a man still left trying his best to put arrows in the whole lot of them, it was best to take that one out first. Raising a hand, and summoning up enough energy to bring the old spell together, he realized just how much things had changed since he first needed to use it. At one point it took all he had to summon up even a small spark, and he still had a need for an incantation for this too...

But these were idle thoughts as the space between the man and his Ishtarite target was filled with a rush of electrical energy. With the air smelling of ozone and a small hint of charred flesh, he lowered his hand. I was hoping they'd run. WHY DIDN'T YOU IDIOTS RUN?!? Instead, Solis was now running. Running to protect another, younger man from the knife-wielding fanatic that was determined to end his existence. The man turned, still yelling, sending a wild punch towards Solis' head as he ran in to help. His hand went left, Solis went right, and ended up with a fist to the stomach for his trouble.

Solis stood his ground, fists up and feet planted in a stance that he'd learned almost 20 years ago. He hoped that he wasn't THAT rusty anymore, but now he supposed that, for better or worse, he'd find out.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:52 pm

Goren smiled over his prey. Bloodied, beaten, all the priest could really do was just stare at his conqueror, eyes wide with fear. Goren hefted his axe. It would all be over so quickly...

Then he saw his comrades, still engaged in combat with the other assailants. It hadn't hit him till that moment... they'd stuck up for him. All of them. That hadn't happened to him before, ever, even when he was alive. His smile quickly flashed from one of predatory delight to genuine happiness. In that second, he resolved to repay the debt, help out his allies.

And suprisingly enough, it involved NOT killing someone.

Walking over to the Ishtarian, he kicked him hard in his injured arm, forcing him onto his back. He raised his axe, squaring it with the priest's neck, and brought it down... into the dirt next to him. The blade of the hatchet pressed into the priest's neck, threatening to draw blood. Goren then put his foot down on the neck of the blade, holding it back with his hand, so that even if his next words fell on the deaf ears of the keen-eyed, the mage would die, painfully.

"HEY! ASSHOLES!" he cried out. "I got your holy buddy right where I want him, and where your precious GODDESS doesn't! If you want him to live, you'll throw down your weapons and get the hell out of here NOW! You have FIVE SECONDS!"

Goren looked into the still-terrified face of the priest, and smiled once again. It then turned to a hate-filled grimace. "ONE!"

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Unread postby Kai » Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:49 pm

There was a tense moment as the man facing Michael and Solis exchanged a look with his enemies in the sudden stillness. He didn't look to the priest. He didn't waver in his stance. He was merely still.

Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked.

Another dog answered.

Zea watched from a short distance away as one knife-fighter looked down at his fallen comrade. He was surrounded by enemies. Their priest had fallen. They were at the mercy of blasphemers and patrons of the undead. What could he do but surrender? He flinched, pulled his stance inward a bit, and while he couldn't step back far because of the plants still gripping his feet, he deliberately relaxed his stance and lowered his blade.

"What are you going to do," he began. "What's he supposed to do?" The archer jerked his head toward his bloodied leader. "He can't heal himself, not like this. You made certain of that."

Zea took a few steps closer, a deep frown pulling her dark blue brows together. Michael was hurt, and badly. This wasn't acceptable. She wasn't even particularly attached to the boy, but he'd come with her and he was under her protection as well. Did she have enough obligation to him to heal him? Or could Solis do it?

For a moment she wondered where her father was, what he was doing. She couldn't fight off the urge to prove to him that she didn't need his help, that she didn't need him babysitting her. But that's ridiculous! The hell kind of anxiety is THAT? Of course I can take care of myself. I've done it for eighteen years without him. Just the same... the nagging wish to prove that she was competent and capable on her own simply because her father was there... it was a hard desire to eradicate.

Zea was in no mood to negotiate with these people, and if she had her way it wouldn't even be under consideration. They had no respect for any beliefs but their own. They looked down on her, they insulted her companions and brought their self-righteous narrow imbalanced views down on her friends. For novelty's sake Zea looked at the surrendering archer in front of Solis and Michael. She reached out the force of her will, the will to know for herself how long this man was fated to walk the land.

Not long, she noticed. Maybe this situation isn't over after all.

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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Thu Aug 23, 2007 9:13 pm

Goren didn't even make it to three.

Smirking, he said, "Good start, boys. Good start." He then efficiently leaned down and pulled up the mage from his feet, keeping the axe near his neck. Goren still didn't feel safe. You could raise a weapon as easily as you could lower it, and he KNEW these guys were still getting ideas.

"Alright, now, if you guys have good memories, you'll remember that I said you were supposed to drop your weapons and LEAVE. I still SEE you. That means THIS son of a bitch is still gonna DIE! So BEAT IT, NOW!"

Goren had never felt this powerful before. Everyone was listening to him, watching his every move... it felt good. And to have a pompous, self-righteous windbag at his mercy made him feel even better. It was a good day to be Goren Felson...

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Unread postby Nakibe » Thu Aug 23, 2007 9:50 pm

Now with the way clear, Solis dashed towards Michael, desperately hoping he had enough in him to complete the healing process. The Lovers card glowed, but the glow was not quite as strong as before when he helped Zea. The cards themselves almost seemed to have a mind of their own when he was casting these spells, so ehe wasn't sure whether this was a good or bad sign for the healing.

These thoughts were all shoved aside as he poured his magical energies through the card and into the wounded Garoujin. The flesh seemed to be re-knitting around his knife wound, but slowly. Too slowly. I need something else, like one of those magical lenses or... He laughed nervously as he realized the solution. He had an easily-channeled "more" right here to work with, and although he'd tire himself out physically for a bit, he figured the ends would be worth those means by a great deal. Once again, Solis channeled... something... into the inner light and soothing calm that he managed to exude on occasion, and this time felt a calm behind it... as if he should just slip awa...

He had to stop himself from falling into that trap, as tempting as it was. Right NOW he had business to take care of. Right NOW Michael needed his help, his powers. And he would use them to that end for as long as they were needed. He cast the spell, and unlike his earlier spell, there was a sudden flare of light to match his own. THIS time, Michael's wounds began to rapidly heal themselves, and Solis had to quickly remove those arrows before they became embedded in his flesh. This was probably going to hurt. Lots. But Solis thought that Michael should be able to survive it...

Solis only realized he had taken a little TOO much when he found himself staring up at the nice blue sky. Part of him, the part that was always ready with a snide remark, told him Yeah, making yourself dead weight REALLY helped Zea out.

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Unread postby Kelne » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:57 pm

The wall of flame vanished, leaving a trail of burning shrubbery in its wake. Cerene wanted very much to run and check on the wounded, but she didn't dare turn her back on the ambushers just yet. Things could still fall apart, even now.

She cast an appraising eye over the group, "You'll live," she said heartlessly. They'd brought it on themselves, after all. Quite frankly, they were lucky so many of the party had held back. There could easily have been more dead bodies lying about.

"However," she continued, "If anyone insists on healing, I can provide it. Under the condition that you swear never again to take up arms in the name of Ishtar, or incite others to do so."

Temper or not, Cerene had never been a killer, and was strongly inclined towards mercy. Regardless of whether anybody took her up on her offer though, they were going to have to wait their turns.

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Unread postby Archmage » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:59 pm

The dead guy's plan is decent, mused Zeke. But it's not gonna fly. These guys are desperate religious nutjobs. They know they've already lost. They're gonna go out with a bang.

On the positive side, Zeke had no problem whatsoever with bangs, so long as he was the one causing them.

He had slipped away from the main battle, narrowly avoiding a few arrows that had been blindly fired into the bushes that he had chosen to use for cover. Rolling through those bushes had ultimately provided him with the opportunity he needed to get away from danger, but it was a regrettable decision on his part nonetheless. While his daughter's friends had suffered far worse wounds than he had, scrambling around on the ground in the midst of a bunch of thorny brambles had left the mercenary covered in nasty scrapes. He was bleeding, though not badly, from an entire collection of relatively shallow cuts. Briefly, the Valthi hoped that he hadn't severely misjudged his surroundings and failed to note that the plants in question were poisonous. He was an urban combatant, not a druid, and doubted he would've known the difference on sight even if he had taken the time to look. Somehow, this knowledge failed to comfort him.

Snap!

Fuck, thought Zeke, I didn't see that branch th--

The bowman before him whirled around, dropping his bow to the ground and pulling a knife in one smooth motion. He had perhaps misjudged just how close Zeke had managed to get before the sound of cracking wood had given away his position--the knife hand swung out too far, and the fanatic's elbow connected with Zeke's neck instead. The force of the blow was still sufficient to knock the Valthi off-balance; clearly, that strike had meant to plunge a short blade into its target very deeply. The firearm in Zeke's right hand went off harmlessly as he pulled the trigger out of reflex, burying a bullet into the earth.

A vision flashed briefly in Zeke's mind of a conversation he had with someone some time ago. He was standing in a training hall at the Doman castle, lecturing a young man with viciously-pointed teal hair about the art of martial combat.

You have two hands, kid, he'd said. Don't be an idiot and only use one of them. If you're gonna be conservative, at least use your off-hand for a light shield. The young man nodded. He was following the mercenary's logic so far. But if you're gonna fight like I think you are, and you're the reckless type whose motto is 'kill em' before they kill you, he'd continued, better put a weapon on that off-hand. Better yet, don't have an off-hand. Keeps em' guessing.

Zeke was the type of teacher who followed his own advice, and surely enough, his left hand grasped the handle of a wide-bladed knife with a barbed tip. His body twisted to the right from the force of his opponent's strike, and letting his gun hand fall limply to the side, he swung up toward the bowman in retaliation, using the momentum of his shifting body to his advantage.

It was not a solid blow. Too high, thought Zeke as the barbed edge of the knife scraped flesh off his enemy's forehead. It was a nasty wound, but not a lethal one. The oozing red streak across his enemy's face would not deter him from finishing what he had started. Now there was something in Zeke's left eye, obscuring his vision. Oh, he realized. That's my blood. Fucking brambles.

His opponent's knife found flesh, jabbed downward behind the outer edge of the mercenary's collarbone with a forceful thrust. Artery's that way, man, mused Zeke. Just missed it by half an inch. Your loss. Searing pain forced the Valthi's eyes to squeeze shut for a moment before he gritted his teeth and raised his right arm. The gun came back up to chest level. Fuck. So what if he missed the artery. Gonna lose a lot of blood. Doing it already. Have to pull the trigger before I pass out.

The pistol went off, and this time the shell buried itself in flesh. The fanatic's jaw slackened as he put his hand to his abdomen in disbelief, dropping his knife to the dirt. Wetness greeted his fingers as he fell, collapsing first onto his knees, then face to the ground. He had apparently not intended to part with so many body fluids in the service of Ishtar.

Well, I fucked this one up, thought Zeke as he joined his adversary on the forest floor.

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Unread postby Besyanteo » Thu Aug 23, 2007 11:29 pm

Things were starting to get dark... Michael had never been unconscious before, and he was able to hope through a haze of creeping darkness that he'd wake up later to be able to describe how creepy it was...

... Except now things were getting bright again. His eyes refocused after a painfully long moment, so he could see Solis healing him. Well, that certainly explained things. He was just about to thank him... when Solis grabbed one of the arrows.

"What are you- ARRRRRRHG!"

Well, that was unpleasant. Still, the wounds healed up nicely! He reigned in the urge to punch his rescuer in the teeth, what with owing him his life and all. He brushed off and stood up once Solis had done similarly with the second arrow.

"Thanks for that, Sol-"

And then there was gunfire. And all hell broke loose again. This day was becoming just a little more dramatic than the young garoujin thought he could handle. After the first gunshot, the tentative cease fire evaporated like a water drop on a hot skillet. One of the bowmen in the brush pulled out a crossbow, and took aim at Cerene. Zea's Zombie returned to making quick work of the one lying burnt half to death on the ground. The bowman entangled in the brush... well, he was still entangled, but that didn't stop him from attempting to aim another shot at Zea, if it did stop him from doing it remotely quickly. Another three arrows flew out from the brush, from locations where the companions were fairly certain they hadn't been flying before. One of these was meant for Cerene's side, another for Goren's face, and the last for Solis' back. Michael's attacker had found his knife again, and removed it from his severed hand.

Michael was looking for the source of the gunshots, and by the time he realized what was about to happen, it was far too late. In recompense for the man's severed hand, the severely injured man had put the dagger between his ribs this time. Cruelly enough, it was not in his heart: It was 3 inches to the right, piercing his lung. He felt the air woosh out of his body, and he doubled over making a pathetic, quiet sound of pain. The knife was pulled back out... and Michael caught the man's good wrist in mid swing. He managed to rasp out:

"I can use two hands now... jerk..."

The man smiled, and was undoubtedly about to return fire, when Michael's claws sparked back into astral life. He had time to cry out before his throat was completely torn away. Then Michael and the man sank down together.

Way... too... dramatic...

He coughed up some blood, and lay down. He felt kind of sleepy.

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Kelne
EXTERMINATE!!!!
 
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Unread postby Kelne » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:24 am

The crack of gunshots shattered the fragile truce. Once more hands scrabbled to fix arrows to bowstrings. Unfortunately, physical reflexes were no match for a swift and certain exertion of willpower.

"Give it up, you =fucking morons!=" Cerene shrieked, resorting to elven profanity as she hurled a fireball at the pair entangled in the vines. The blast tossed them apart, vines disintegrating in flames about them. Neither made a sound, though whether due to unconsciousness or death was impossible to tell.

As one of the few people standing, this made Cerene the centre of attention. One arrow took her in the shoulder, spinning her around. A second embedded itself in her side, leaving her sprawled on the ground. There was pain, but there was also anger, a white-hot rage fuelled by despair that this wouldn't just end.

Zea had never gotten around to countermanding the zombie's orders, which probably would have caused trouble even had Zeke's clash not set things off again. Its first victim was the archer burned by the wall of flame, who never stood a chance as it savaged him. Driven onwards by its orders, it made next for Cerene's latest pair of victims, who would no doubt soon be removed from this mortal coil.

Of the original ten bowmen, three now remained standing, all of whom were readying themselves to let fly another flight of arrows into whatever target presented itself.

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Kai
Fighting the Iron Law of Oligarchy Since 2006
 
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Unread postby Kai » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:39 am

Two shots. He's fighting again. John, find him! As you wish.

An arrow whistled past her shoulder, and Zea started back to reality. Cerene looked to be facing off with a couple of archers, and it was unfortunate that Michael and Solis couldn't help her too much. Zea could at least get the one no one else was taking. It might keep him off of Cerene's back while she torched the remaining combatants.

It seemed appropriate to call on life to hasten death and even if it hadn't done some good last time, the perverse irony would have been enough to entice Zea to try this again. Burying her will deep in the soil at the base of her enemy's feet, Zea drove the plant matter around him to betray him, teaching it her anger and her desire to destroy these men. Soil flew away from the vines and branches as they ripped up from the ground once again to pin down her opponent. At least he wouldn't be able to shoot her for a while until he got himself free.

Her eyes moved to her allies, more than one of whom had hit the dirt in this fight. Technically she could have done something for Michael, and Solis could have used a hand. Goren would be the easiest of her allies to--

Zea! Alarm in his voice. What could possibly cause-- I found him. You need to come.

Some have said that before being hit by lightning every hair stood up on their bodies and the world came together in a single splitting flash of clarity. There was a moment of perfect stillness when Zea realized what might be happening.

When she'd seen him briefly before, she hadn't had time to decide whether she wanted to know how long he had, whether he would die today. Zea had no idea what was going to happen to her father, but it didn't matter. If it wasn't his time, nothing here could kill him. If it was... then it was Zea's time, too. She would not fail him while she lived and breathed.

With her familiar to guide her, Zea turned toward the man she'd just entangled. Silently she thanked Reshtaha for the stroke of luck. The archer looked up from his desperate effort to hack away at the vines with his bootknife to find a resolute young lady with a very large scythe bearing down on him. Zea didn't have time to raise her weapon before he dealt her a long cut along her forearm.

He swiped out at her again with the knife, and she caught the blade on the staff of her scythe.

"Blasphemers!" he spat. "Murdering heretics!"

Over the straining of their locked weapons Zea whispered, "I'm not murdering anyone." She brought the scythe straight down, letting her enemy's blade scrape down the handle. Eventually the knife caught against the blade of the scythe and didn't have the force behind it to counter her momentum. The blade crashed down into his shoulder.

Zea didn't lie. Another person in her position could easily and without hesitation claim self-defense in this conflict. However, Zea was no one but Zea.

"I'm evangelizing."

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KingOfDoma
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Unread postby KingOfDoma » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:44 am

Well, it was a good plan, Goren thought. Too bad I'm dealing with a bunch of twitchy psychopaths.

... and some Ishtarians.


Tired of standing around and being a target, the zombie flipped around the head of the axe, and struck the priest in the nose, pushing him into an already nagging unconciousness. Hefting his body in front of his own, Goren's eyes locked with that of one last archer, who had just retensed his body and readied it to fight again.

There was only one way to deal with it.

Raising his axe, Goren could not help but yell as he charged down on the man, being sure to hold his captive at a level that would not interfere with run. Startled, the archer strung an arrow quickly, and let the bolt fly, nicking the priest's left ear. Another was strung before the arrow struck home, and hit the priest in the right shoulder. Nothing could stop the dead man now.

Mere moments before Goren's arrival, a third arrow was strung, and this time, flew through Goren's uncovered right shoulder, and remained. But by now, Goren was too full of adrenaline and focus to notice, at least until after he did what he did next. Entering melee range, the zombie brought his axe down, shattering the skull and spreading the matter within on the ground.

He chuckled, looking at his brains-covered axe, and resisted the urge to lick it.

It could wait till later...

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