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The Haven (RP)

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The twin suns baked Kolm through his thick dark trench coat.  He wasted no time in peeling it off, shooing it back through the portal whence they came, leaving him in a v-neck cap-sleeved shirt and pants.  The lands that he heralded from were predominately ice and frigid.  The warmer climates were both unfamiliar and unwelcome to him.

Fair skin growing pink from the sun, Kolm listened to the discussion among his comrades, debating on whether to charge straight in or gather further information.

"I think we should just try to find this dragon," Kolm suggested.  "As Galla mentioned, we don't want to burn our bridges, and if these folks aren't the most friendly it may be in our best interests to just move on.  Besides, our provisions are limited.  If we can't rely on aid from the residents here we may find ourselves in a complicated situation unless we move swiftly.

Meanwhile, Rhiannon gagged as she watched Hogarth's eyes distend from their sockets for surveillance.  Though she had seen it before, she would never be able to get used to it.

"I think we need to find out as much as she can."  She shook her braid free of her armor.  "Dragons aren't anything to mess with, and it will really help us if we go in knowing what to expect."

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- Winona and the Spectacled Man -

The man with glasses had to admit that he was surprised by Ceres.  Her tenacity was incredible, and her focus on the task of keeping him from being free from this makeshift prison was equally admirable.  Nevertheless, he grew tired of this tetrahedral shell, and he pulled out a telescoping spear from his robes that grew to a full seven-foot size, his aim on killing Ceres to end his custody.  The tip of the spear glowed an unnatural hue of blue.

"You've got spunk, false paladin, I will admit that, and your powers are worthy of study.  Together we will see if your goddess' protection will save you from my enthrallment."

With a sneering expression, he readied the spear with his left hand and thrust it forward with great range and swiftness, aiming to pierce the centre of Ceres' chest.  Simultaneously, he cocked his foot on the ground to form a stone wall behind her.  If she did not dodge sideways or attempt to deflect the blow, her death may almost certainly come swift, but Winona did not let him get his way so easily.  With gravity magic still under her thumb, she forged a gravity well behind him that would tug on him, especially his spear, from behind.  His spear went up further than anticipated, towards the neck, so the worst course of action would have been to stay in the same spot.

"Get him, Ceres!  Strike him now!" Winona cheered from the other side, her weak hand hanging limply to her side while her other attempted to grab the sword she put back on her hip.  Her eyes closed, her mind fought for control, and she started to lead up to a focused attack, mumbling something arcane under her breath.  Great forces of gravity magic began to channel into her sword in tangible waves, and the air around her, even through the shield, grew stiff and hard to breathe.

- Hogarth, Uzumeashy, and Pang, the scalded forests near the dragon quest -

Poll:
Tumula Village:  III (Iseult, Jerod, Rhiannon)
Dragon:  I (Kolm)
Undecided:  I (Galla)

Uzumeashy nodded, soaking in all of the information that the others have provided.  They all made valid points, and while there were excellent ideas on taking on the dragon immediately the ones thinking about the village outvoted them.

"Then we will go seek out the locals," she spoke up, gladdened that some sort of accord came up.  Likely they will know what kind of dragon this beast is ahead of time, and we will be better armed with knowledge on how to bring it down, slay it if need be.  If I would hazard a guess, though, it might be a drought dragon."

"A drought dragon?" asked Pang, digging into the fur on top of his head to soothe an itch.  "That's an odd adjective to assign to a dragon.  I thought they only had colour designations."

"This one is special," continued Uzu.  "We had them on my planet, feasting off of the water of the air and causing rapid evaporation.  They like drier locations, but I don't know how to kill them.  Maybe someone of my planet would, or someone here if these are more common than just one, but let's see what the village says."

"Then I will scout ahead and see what lies between us and the village," Hogarth replied, his good eye open and the others closed.  Then, with a showy flair for the dramatic, he continued with an "Everyone, move out!"

The village was not too far down the road, but it appeared very visible for a while.  As they grew a little closer, some may realise that the huts and walls were larger than the average-sized creature would build for themselves, and as they grew even closer they can definitely see that the people they housed were significantly taller than the average joe, standing at about 4 meters tall (13 feet).  Their faces were anything but comely, their bodies were muscular yet seemingly poorly nourished, and, if gauging from how reactive the sentry was to blow his dual horns, neither their intelligence nor their adroitness were sacrificed for their excessive gigantism like with hill giants of some worlds.

The horns thrummed with loud tones over the distance, and one of the giants at the gate came out with a club taller than even Pang.

"State your business!" he barked over to the group, gazing at each of them with a lingering set of red-and-blue-streaked eyes as if he were sizing them up or worse.

((If anyone wants to explain anything to the giant, feel free.  If not, I will tack on a second post and help move the story on.))

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- Iseult Mylis - Near Tumula Village -

"This is interesting. Chromatic and Metallic dragons are common on my world. We also had what was once called a Great Drake, ancient dragons the size of a mountain, but they disappeared after The Cataclysm," Iseult said while looking at Uzumeashy, "I suppose the climate on this region is perfect for this drought dragon. In any case, we should move carefully. We do not have knowledge of the terrain, there could be traps."

Iseult took her time walking carefully and looking around for any signs of traps on their way to the village. Thankfully there were none.

Once the village was a little closer she noticed that the huts and walls were larger, meaning bigger creatures than all of them. Iseult's ears twitched slightly after one of the creatures blew its dual horns, and no more than a few seconds later one of the giants at the gate came out, and it had a club taller than any of them. It, he, if the voice was to be believed, wanted to know what they were doing so close to their village. Iseult was used to a world of deceit and lies, part of what she used to do to help her rulers, but this time she felt honesty would be the better choice.

"Greetings! We mean you no harm. We have been requested to find and fight a creature known as a Drought Dragon to obtain its gallbladder to help make a cure for the person who made this request," Iseult said with no hesitation on her voice, "We learned about you and your village, and we thought that the best course of action was to find out any information in regards to this dragon. It is not wise to go to fight the dragon without first knowing anything about it, and we were wondering if you or anyone from your village would have any information that could help us fight this creature."

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Ceres, having no shield or sword, still dashed towards the enemy, side stepping the spear and grabbing hold of its shaft as she ran towards the Thin Man moving to tackle him to the ground. “If magic wont solve this, then maybe strength will!”  She began to force the barrier to close in on the two of them. 

 

Galla moved forwards “we are with the Haven.... just looking for some information.” She crosses her arms as she watches the giant

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It pleased Rhiannon that the group was going to listen to the voice of reason and proceed in seeking knowledge on how to combat the dragon as opposed to battling the dragon outright.  She jabbed the butt of her spear into the dry cracked ground and started to move on toward the front of the party, yet behind Hogarth who chose a head start.

Thankfully the village was not far, as Kolm was already starting to feel fatigued from the torrid environment.  His throat was parched and mouth dry, and he felt that his magic couldn’t have been farther out of reach.  Water and ice fueled his energy, and there were not particular stores of such anywhere that he’d seen.  Would he be rendered relatively useless against this dragon?  He certainly hoped not.

The giant loomed overhead at a sheer thirteen feet, their voices loud, unpleasant, and unfriendly as they demanded to hear the party’s business.  Rhiannon looked at them sheepishly, cheeks flushed, both struck numb with fear and uncertain of how to best phrase their business.  Thankfully she did not have to do the talking, as Iseult did it for her.  The woman was much better with words than she could ever be.

It surprised her, however, when Kolm spoke out from behind them, especially since he likely was among the smallest and least-intimidating there.  His voice was clear and unwavering, obviously not concerned about the giant eating them for supper.  “We also would be grateful for any provisions that may aid us on our journey into the dragon’s lair,” he said.  “Since we are helping your kind with a problem that you have endured, I think setting us out with what we need should be something you could accommodate."

 

Edited by Mystics Apprentice

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- The Dragon Quest, at the parched Rakshasa village -

The giant glared down at the little bugs below him, his eyes of mixed blood vessel colours filled with what seemed like uncertainty.  For one, these weaklings seemed more prey than predator, and yet they said that they were from The Haven, a select group of hunters from beyond the form of this world.  His club was still held above his shoulder, and he huffed a cloud of noxious air from his pig-like, upturned nose as he studied them a bit longer.  His expression gave way to a sideways grin as he straightened his back, his posture no longer seemed threatening even if his appearance was very much so.  He had taloned feet like that of an eagle, and his hands too seemed much like a hybrid between a lion's and sloth's, with long claws and thick, callous skin on his meaty palms.

"Your claim be as Haven hunters, hnh?" he answered, wedging the club into a leather belt around his fur tunic.  "I talk with chief.  He will see, make sure what you say true."

His chuckle was disconcerting as he ventured back into the village and turned behind the wall surrounding the village, but Hogarth dismissed the tiny laugh with a wide smile.

"My, what a friendly guy!  If he is as friendly as he seems, the chief must be especially nice!"

"Friendly in that he wants something from us," Pang retorted with a shake of his head.

"Come again?"

"I've had dealings with the Rakshasa before," Pang continued, folding his arms.  "They are skilled warriors, illusionists, and mages.  One I met had a penchant for eating humans, elves, and beast folk like myself, and most have resorted to eating themselves or others at least once in their lives.  With that said, be on your guard."

Hogarth shuddered beneath his robes even in the heat of the day and pulled the hood he had on his clothes over his head.  What is it with giants and eating people, he wondered?  Fairy tales should stick to being fairy tales, in his opinion.

Not soon afterward, a new and elderly face came around a corner, as well as three others of uniform breadth of arms and cranial muscles behind him.  They stood on the side as if duty-bound, each with an Iron Age weapon unique to the owner, and the first and older face looked at the group with scanning, impartial eyes before nodding and turning around.

"Can proceed inside.  There we speak about dragon.  We welcome you as own, but please come in," the man spoke in broken Common, ushering them inside and bowing as he travelled to the left-hand side of the gate.

A clever man or woman would notice that the eyes of this older giant too was both blue and red.  Perhaps this is a genetic trait for these people, like their burly and muscular body structure, but the knowledge can be considered worrisome to all in the know.

- Winona and the Thin Man, with Ceres in a sacred grove -

The spear head slipped by Ceres without meeting its mark, a combined effort of Winona's pulling the entire spear back and Ceres' graceful dodge and afterwards ensnarement of the shaft of the weapon.  It should be known, then, that the flying tackle came to the Thin Man as just as much of a surprise, and he fell to the ground beneath Ceres, scrambling to get out from beneath her.  Behind Ceres, the earthen wall crumbled under the restrictive force of the Shield barrier further encasing them.

Winona, not finding a good angle to launch her attack, continued garnering power.  The force behind her gravity blade will be stronger for it, and she deemed it a necessity to not just kill him, but eradicate him.

"Get off of me, madwoman," the Spectacled Man yelped from underneath her shoulder armour, his perfectly filed teeth gnashing as he snarled.  His hands fumbled across the ground, trying to have his palms properly placed to perform earth magic.  "Get off of me and die properly so I may claim you!"

His hands finally reached the ground, and a diagonally formed pillar of earth attempted to kick Ceres' off of the man with a sizable amount of force.  If he were able to be freed, he would sink into the ground, liquefying it so that he could move freely beneath it.  If he could remember his bearings properly, he would escape the tetrahedral shell of Shield energy containing him and pop outside of it by several feet, gasping for air.

((I will leave the choice to you as to whether Ceres' being kicked off happens or not, and if the man escapes her grapple.))

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Seeing the pillar come flying at her, Ceres gripped the man tightly by the collar pulling him with her as she was thrown back. She was pretty sure she just got one of her arms broken. It hurt. But she knew it wouldn’t  hurt as much as this man getting away

The barrier broke as she lost focus, something else on her mind. After regaining her bearings she reeled back her arm, her fist clenched tightly in her gauntlet. Her eyes sharp and enraged. “For the Haven and those you have wronged” the gauntlet glowed and she swung at his face with an empowered smite.

 

 

——————

 

Galla stepped back so she was behind Kolm and the others realizing this was a bad spot for her to be, so close to the giant that could crush her.

Edited by HeartOfFerria

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- Iseult Mylis - Near Tumula Village -

Iseult watched as the rakshasa turned around and walked back into the village to talk to his chief, or so he said. Iseult had her daggers ready, just in case something wrong happened. One of the group, Pang, said that the rakshasa liked to eat humans, elves and beast folk, which was not that surprising, not the she hadn't seen other creatures like that, and still, it was better to be cautious.

"They are skilled, and they also are taller than any of us here," she said while watching the rakshasa walk away, "that and this is their territory, that gives them an advantage against us. Best be careful while we are dealing with them."

The Dark Elf remained silent for the remaining of the time it took a new group of rakshasa to return to them. There was an elderly looking one, and three others that looked like guardians for the elderly rakshasa, obviously the chief. Apparently they were allowed to go inside to talk about the dragon, it was also interesting that the creature spoke in broken common, that and his eyes, both of them a different colour. Iseult wondered if this means something else, but was unable to come up with an answer.

She would wait until the rest of the group began to walk into the village before following them, always paying attention to her surroundings just in case the rakshasas attempted a surprise attack.

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{Jerod: Near Tumula Village}

Jerod opted for silence as the group of hunters headed for the village, focusing on  the area around them for trouble. He listened to the discussion on the dragon they were after. It was not a variant he was familiar with. He had been pretty sure he would need Lexa's help when facing the creature, now it seemed certain. He had hoped for a little more time to get to know these people before introducing them to Lexa, but the Call had its own timetable. And it still might come to pass that the Lady of Light would not be needed this time. Fate's dice were still rolling.

The appearance of the rakshasa caused a subtle change of grip from Jerod on his cane. He liked to assume the best about people, but he had walked the winding path the Call led him down for too long to not take precautions. Especially when Pang lent his knowledge of the creatures to the rest of the party.

"Let's hope they've already breakfasted." He said, breaking his silence with a little smile.

The arrival of the elder gave Jerod a feeling of...something. He wasn't quite sure what. That was the problem with the Call. It seemed to delight in being vague at times. You just had to play its game.

"Thank you for your hospitality, kind one." Jerod said politely, removing his glasses. 

He carefully folded them and placed them in a jacket pocket.

"We have much to discuss."

Now carrying his cane rather than using it to walk with, Jerod strode towards where the elder rakshasa indicated. He paused briefly to turn to his not comrades and wink a sightless eye at them. He would give these people a chance to be helpful and be helped, but he was more than ready if they lived up to their reputation.

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- Winona and The Spectacled Man, Endgame -

The man snarled loudly as he was carried along with Ceres by his own weapon meant purely for her, coming to a tumble nearby.  His head was still spinning when the lady paladin thrust an empowered fist into his face, knocking loose a few of his beautified teeth and splitting his lip.  Even then, he smiled, aiming what could be a decisive blow to beneath her jaw in an attempt to render her unconscious.

 Regardless of whether the strike hit or not, Winona was prepared.  The barrier had dropped, and she surged forward and inverted the gravity on herself, leaping high into the air before normalizing the effect of gravity and dropping downward.  Her legs almost caved in on her, but in the end she stood, sword pointing its malign blade downward and free from any danger of hitting Ceres.

"Surrender and give up your answers, and my friend and I will spare your life.  We won't be very tolerant of the issues you have given us, however."

The Spectacled Man grinned and spat out blood to the side.

"And why exactly would I do that?"

"Because," was all Winona answered before pressing the tip of her sword into the man's shoulder, drawing blood from the wound and a wince from the man.

That was not all, however, as the flesh and bone cut shrank inwards and around the sword, crippling his arm in nasty effect.  He howled in rage as he closed his eyes in pain, and his nostrils flared as he dared to breathe through his nose rather than his mouth.  When he did open his eyes again, he was definitely furious.

"Ready to talk now?  You broke my arm, and maybe my companion's.  Ceres, care to make it two for two?"

The male mage reached frantically for the ground, not finding himself at a good angle to do so.

"You wouldn't dare!" he spat in disquiet.

- Pang, Hogie, and Uzume, near/in Tumula Village -

The Rakshasa kept a constant eye on the hunters within their sights, as if wary for any trouble, before following the group from behind.  Pang appeared equally wary, if not more so, and kept a constant eye on the three behind them all as he plodded along on padded feet.  He also took to note, perhaps finally, that there were not one but two newcomers, the elusive Iseult and the very new Jerod, who seemingly was blind, if appearances were not deceiving from the hazy eyes behind dark glasses.  This impressed him.  It was not often that someone invited to the Haven was visually impaired, not since Harold Ironfang with his glassy gaze in his left eye, never able to be fully healed from before coming to their residence and line of work.

Hogarth was panicked, wringing his hands as he kept a stern look forward, his mind resting almost entirely on his "eyes in the sky" which kept track of the movements of the giants behind him.  Something filled him with unease.  Uzumeashy merely kept her eyes to herself, with the exception of her gaze turning towards the giants' monstrous feet.  She wondered if they were getting closer by choice or by accident.

As the Haven party and the three giants from behind entered the gate of the village, the Rakshasa looked up at the village elder and, at the request hidden within his nod, they decided to pounce upon the group uniformly, drawing their weapons and aiming smashing downward cuts at those who trailed in back.  Moments before this, Hogarth shouted, "Ambush!  These guys tricked us!"

The village elder smiled and drew a decently sized walking stick, more than prepared for the possibility of bringing food onto the table for himself, as well as maybe his immediate family.  He could not wait to have a plate of human meat once all of this was said and done, and neither could the other three within the locale.

((I am extremely tired at the moment, and I apologise if this does not make much sense.  I wanted to get this up and out there so that I don't have to do it tomorrow.))

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Ceres was struck and fell off the mage. Having a broken arm and being exaughsted didn’t  make getting up any easier but she did just that, slowly getting on her knees. Luckily  Winona was on the ball and already had the man under her blade. “Yeah.... i think breaking those arms wouldn’t  be a bad idea....” she formed a barrier beneath the man cutting him off from the earth he craved to touch so much. “He dared question my goddesses decision in making me a conduit afterall... divine judgement seem only fitting” she slowly caught her breath. Holding  focus on the barrier. 

——————

 

Galla swiftly moved to the middle of the group upon seeing the ambush. “Well isn’t  this great! We look for information on a dragon and instead I get new corpses to help us fight the beast instead.” She tapped the ground and two giant skeletal serpents rose from it. She then snapped her fingers as she got to her feet and they ingnited with flame. “Giants make for excellent protectors so try to keep their bones intact. It takes more mana to Keep the skeletons from falling apart if they are already broken.” 

 

The flaming skull flew upwards turning towards the Rhakshasa with a staff and loosed a large fireball towards it.

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-  Iseult Mylis - Tumula Village -

This whole situation felt strange, like there was danger lurking somewhere, hidden from their gaze. Iseult's hands, currently hidden from view inside her mistly cloak, had been holding a spell just in case of an ambush. These man-eating creatures could not be trusted, not yet. It was as if Iseult's sixth sense was telling her that the elder was lying, that the whole group of creatures were just taking them further into their own territory. And then it happened. At the moment Hogarth shouted "Ambush", three different Iseults turned around and released their spells.

"Prepare yourselves for a fight!" Iseult shouted as her cloak disappeared, "Keep calm and don't panic, unless you want to perish here."

From the hands of the three Iseults three different ice barriers formed in front of them, she knew that with the heat the ice shields wouldn't be as resistant, but she was sure that they could, at least, hold for a few blows. While she was waiting for the impact on her shields she also began to chant another spell, a lightning one, into the shields to make them hold an electric current. She hoped that when the rakshasas made contact with her electrified shields, then they would be both stopped and get electrocuted and, possibly, they would be stunned for a few more extra seconds to give the others a chance to retaliate.

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Kolm snickered at Hogarth's suggestion.  "You call that friendly?  I would hate to see one of them be hostile, if that is so."

Pang further went on to explain how the Rakshasa normally handled guests, which did lead to suggest that this one's reception was surprisingly positive.  Kolm shot Galla a glance over his shoulder as he noticed her shrink behind him, and he nearly wanted to sidestep behind Pang when the apparent chief stepped out with his bodyguards.  They were tall and menacing, but Kolm continued to stand his ground.  No good would come from showing the Rakshasas fear.

Rhiannon gave a small bow to the leader when entrance was granted.  "We thank you, good chief!  We promise to respect your territory."

Too friendly and subservient, Kolm thought with a frown, watching as both Jerod and Rhiannon seemed inclined to pay so much respect to the Rakshasa leader.  He felt that placing the Rakshasas too high on a pedestal was a dangerous idea.  Respect can be reciprocated when both parties had something desirous and to fear, though if the stage were set that they were but servants . . . that could get messy quickly, in his opinion.

Both followed the group as they were lead into the village, Rhiannon marveling at the unique structure of the village.  They hadn't trudged along long, however, when Hogarth's warning rang in their ears, calling attention to both dragoon and cold mage, Kolm readying his weapon long before Rhiannon did hers.

"Hold it, what is this?!" she demanded, holding her spear firmly but not raising it against the Rakshasas.  "We trusted you for a discussion!  Do you not wish to rid your lands of this dragon once and for all?"

Meanwhile, Kolm did not even attempt a diplomatic approach.  He'd smelled a rat when first even discussing the giant village, and such an action was not particularly of surprise to him.  He uttered an incantation and moved his left hand in a rotational pattern, the air dropping in temperature rapidly around them.  A cold gust would surround the chieftain of the Rakshasas, which would hopefully cause it to grow cold and, potentially, weaken.  He did not think of the possibility of lessening Galla's fireball attack, though hopefully it would remain unaffected.

(I apologize; it shouldn't have taken me this long to post.)

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- Winona and the Spectacled Man in a Gravigan Copse -

When the Thin Man was lifted heavenward by a thin sheet of Shield, his eyes momentarily dropped all sort of sensation of success.  Without his earth magic and a lost arm, his pool of resources rapidly shrank, and he felt for the first time now that he may lose.  However, this was but a battle, and not the war.  The sly smile encroached his lips once again.

"Your goddess did make a failed decision in you, false paladin, and you, Gravity Artisan, don't know who you are dealing with."

"And who am I dealing with?  Tell me," she interrogated, pressing the tip of the gravity-infused blade onto his other arm.  He could feel the shift, crunch, and groan of the gravity magic pouring into the flesh and bone of his upper arm, and he yelped under the pain, but the pain only bolstered up his the swelling grin.

"I'll give you this one tidbit," he answered, laughing in spite of himself.  "I'm a studious one.  I experiment on people a little more than other specimens, finding out just what makes them tick.  Your little Aquafolk friend?  I learned much, even beyond anatomy, from her.  Control, puppetry . . . so much, and the paladin, and you, Winona, will be my coveted next prizes."

Winona held a mixed bag of emotions which only seemed to greaten by his gaze -- rage, terror, repugnance, odium -- and the culmination of it all brought her sword hand high and horizontal over the man's throat.  With one movement, she changed the gravity magic within the blade into gravity itself, and the weapon acted as the fastest guillotine as it went earthward.  The man's head toppled elsewhere, and his body convulsed before falling limp.

"Your experiments are no more.  We've shut off your funding."  She gathered her sword, which was deeply set into the ground and returned to normal gravity, and spat down upon his neck.  "Let's go back, Ceres."

 

- The Dragon Quest, inside the Rakshasa Village -

All three Rakshasa smashed their weapons hard against the ice shields, not realising that the electricity running through them was there in the end.  Two had iron-tipped weapons, and were paralysed temporarily from the electric current running into them.  The cold from Kolm's environmental spell aided in creating a slower recovery.

The third (for simplicity's sake, let's call him Rak 3) with the wooden bo staff snarled and wound up for a stronger attack, unaffected by the electric current.  Galla's flaming skull served as a proper distraction and caused the giant with the staff to twirl the staff and block it entirely with a summoned gust of wind.

One of the two other Rakshasa (Rak 1) carrying a spear recuperated faster than his brother, using umbrakinesis to create a moving shadow similar to himself and thrusting at one of the skeletal serpents' neck bones in an effort to break one of the encircling threats.

The other of the two Rakshasa (Rak 2) recovered slowly, bringing his greatsword fifteen feet in length above his head and aiming for Kolm and Galla.  The ice barrier would not survive a second blow from this and would be cloven enough to hit Kolm and Galla unless protected by something else.

Meanwhile, the elder (Rak Boss) mumbled something under his breath and raised a hand towards the sky, eyes closed and face showing that he was deep in concentration.  Fire magic curled overhead into an enlarging sphere ten feet (three metres) in diameter, and was brought down towards the group.  Pang and Hogarth looked up at the same time and watched in dread.

"Pang, charge me!" Hogarth pleaded, mumbling something as well.

Pang could not refuse to lend his helping hand and pumped supercharge magic into Hogarth, allowing the man to use a more powerful Shield magic to shove the fire magic away and not break into shards.  It left the shield at the brink of destruction, but it was enough.

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Ceres looked down at the now very much defeated man. Her mind lingered upon his words. “mistake....” much to her own chagrin this had set a seed of doubt in her mind. Something that would most likely tear her apart in the future. “Uh...yeah. Lets go...” she holds onto her arm. Slowly pushing healing magic into it as they walked.

 

 

Galla watched as one of her bone serpents was destroyed and their defenses were toppling. “We can protect ourselves all we want... we need a way to strike back... Kolm Im sorry about this ahead of time.” She exclaimed as she grabbed his arm. “Rise! Burn! Maim! And Crush the Enemies before me O’ King of Skeletons! Ravage the world before me with your might!” Kolm would feel a small bit of energy leave his body as Galla herself would collapse on to the floor, magic rushing out of her body. Around the barrier a familiar and giant ribcage formed, adding another layer of defense to the entire party. Its arms were wide spread and its eyes engulfed in flame. The king of skeletons was summoned. It let out a hollow roar before reaching out with its elongated arms to grab the Rakshasa Caster it was slow but could probably crush the Rakshasa if it could just grab him. Unlike the bone serpent that slithered around it, the king was not enveloped in flame, meaning its bones were not brittle from the magic. 

Edited by HeartOfFerria

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-  Iseult Mylis - Tumula Village -


The magic combination had worked on two of the three rakshasa and Iseult was proud of that, now the rest of the group would have a better chance to react to the situation. The giant creature with the bo staff snarled but a flaming skull was enough to distract him from giving the shields another hit. She saw as another one (No. 1) recuperated faster and used some form of shadow manipulation to create a a clone of himself, then attacking another of the skeletal serpends. The last rakshasa finally recovered and he was ready to attack once more with his greatsword.

"This won't do. The shield will not hold against another attack," Iseult thought to herself, "perhaps another electric attack will be enough for now."

The Dark Elf and her two clones vanished along with the remains of the ice shields, only to reappear around the rakshasa with the greatsword. Two of them at each of his sides and one behind it, making a triangular formation, all three of them reached their hands out, fingers spread while both index and thumbs were touching.

"Lord of Storms, asnwer my call. Unleash thy fury unto mine enemy!"

The three of them pointed towards the sky just as three different thunderbolts struck their hands, only for them to quickly point towards the rakshasa with the greatsword and unleash the devastating power of lightning into the creature. Two of them pointed directly towards the rakshasa, the remaining one would point towards the greatsword, the weapon was made of metal and it would serve as the perfect lightning rod, hopefully stunning the creature once more, make it drop the weapon, or simply killing it on the spot. Any result was fine for the Dark Elf.

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Confusion knit Kolm's brow as Galla reached for his arm.  Normally the necromancer hated being near others, much less actually making contact for them.

"What are you doing?" he blurted, but all became clear with Galla's latest summon.  He felt the aftereffects of his magic being consumed, a rushing sense that made his fingers tingle.  The result had a greater impact on Galla, however, who collapsed to the ground and did not get up.  "Oh, for the love of–!"

With an exasperated sigh, Kolm scooped Galla up, deftly moving her toward the sidelines of the war zone before things got even messier.  He rubbed his palms together, extending them before the woman as an unearthly green light began to emit from his hands.  His face contorted in concentration, while his aqua-blue eyes fixated on the unconscious necromancer.  Something about this image reminded him all too much of his dream that he had prior, and he certainly was not going to let her die as she had then.

Please, please wake, he thought numbly, glancing toward the skeleton king and wondering how long he would hold up without its master.

Meanwhile, Rhiannon charged Rak 1, spear extended and aiming for the Rakshasa's own spear.  Great force would shake and potentially shatter the Rakshasa's spear upon impact, utilizing her shatter weapon ability.  She would then bring the butt end of her spear up to strike the rakshasa in the chin before leaping a few feet away from her target, if successful.

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{Jerod: The Tumula Village}

Jerod has a sad little smile when the rakshasa made their move. It was always a disappointment when anyone gave into their base natures. Jerod dances out of the way of their first strikes, moving away from the others to divide the attention of their opponents’. While the others moved to attack, Jerod hung back to study the raks, getting a feel for how they moved and acted. Finding weakness and opportunity.

“There we go.” He said with a smile as Galla’s summon formed.

Springing into action, the Blind Sage pulled the sword from his cane in a flash. Closing on the Elder Rak, he sliced at the legs, looking to sever tendons in the legs. If everything worked out, the elder Rak would fall forward into the King of Skeletons’ attack.

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- Winona, with Ceres after the battle in the grove -

With both of them wounded, maybe even crippled for the moment, Winona considered their options.  It would not be a coward's possibility to teleport back to the Haven and be fully healed in the transition process, but for some reason she felt a certain desire to keep the pain, to plod on and experience the sensation until the quest was officially complete.  Perhaps it was because it deadened certain thoughts . . . or augmented others, but in the end she could not tolerate the thought of putting someone else close to her in the same constant pain as herself, or perhaps worse.  Ceres seemed plagued by gloomy thoughts, and Winona thought she knew the reason.

"Actually, let's get directly back to the Haven and complete the quest later," she brought to voice, concern melding with her words.  "We need a respite after that.  And Ceres?  Don't let him get you down.  He was only saying that to trigger us to do . . . something, maybe instill his words before he died as a last resort.  We cannot let him get his way, no matter what.  Even in death he must not be successful."

They were strong words which seemed ill befitting to how she really felt, but in saying them she felt a little braver.  She only hoped Ceres would take her advice.  She would hate to lose a rival this way . . . no, a friend, definitely a friend.  Without her, things might have been very different, perhaps far worse.  Not only would she have died, but she may have been used as a puppet.  The thought sickened her.

 

- Rakshasa fight, with Hogarth, Pang, and everyone else -

The Rakshasa elder was entirely caught off-guard by the dissolution of the magic via Hogarth's Shield barrier and the onslaught of both Jerod and Galla.  The slice towards his tendons struck true and stung viciously, causing the giant to collapse forward onto his knees, and the giant would easily grab him if so.  Two things happened, however.  One was that the illusion wrapped around the elder collapsed and revealed the gate guard from before, his eyes still as strikingly blue and red as he fought against the King of Skeletons with his brawny arms snaring the summon's bony ones.  The second was that his body glowed with an aura, a self-enhancement spell without a vocal incantation that strengthened his skin like iron.  This defensive magic slowed down his movements, but it would render him harder to crush and harder to slice, and could potentially lead to his freedom if he could overpower the King of Skeleton's bony grasp.

Rak 1 grinned toothily as he saw another spear-wielding warrior charge forward, exhaling through his nose with a resonating snort.  He matched her spear for spear and was quick to realise that his weapon was sorely outmatched.  A loud snap followed Rhiannon's sundering strike, and he was left with little more than a stick.  His defense poor, the upward strike with Rhiannon's butt end of the spear landed true and struck him in the jaw, but he was not going to let her get away with that.

"Ulliuchkhuloch, umbelicukhuloch," he murmured in their native tongue (which roughly can be translated to "Light, hear my call, darkness, aid me").  A pool of light formed in the palm of his hand, and he lashed out at her with the leftovers of his spear.  He aimed to knock her down with his quick strike, the real goal being pinning her down with the cast shadow behind her.  A small number of shadowy tendrils two feet long at the most would try to tug at her and pull her down, at least until the light stops.

Rak 2, in the process of bringing up his greatsword, was surprised by three Iseults surrounding him and having lightning strike their hands.  Nothing could stop the limelight, however, from being brought to him, and he was promptly turned into a lightning rod before collapsing, severely electrically burned, if not dead.  He was in no condition to keep going, that was for certain.

Rak 3 watched as things went from bad to worse for their little group.  The surprise attack failed, and they were overwhelmed with quantity and quality.  Luckily he seemed to have a good head on his shoulders and held his weapon high in one hand before tossing it aside ((this is after all of my other actions)).

"I surrender.  Chuloch, Mishki, do the same!  Wraloa kigh bacht!"

If any survive besides him, they would attempt to back down if not attacked.  Perhaps some restraint is in order for everyone's next moves.

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Ceres nodded “Ill keep that in mind” she shifted awkwardly, the paladin wasn’t  used to people reading her emotions. As if she forgot she had them for a moment. She “we don’t  have to return to Haven. Give me just a moment more and i can patch you up. It would be strange for us to return so soon”

———————

With Galla unconscious the King continued to be relentless towards its now ironclad target. Raging when it did seemingly no damage. As a response it move to lift the Rakshasa and simply throw him as far and as hard as it could.

 

the skeletal serpent moved to ensnare the weakened giant. Its body of flame magically damaging  the foe. Along with the sheer shape of its body

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The sickening crack of the Rakshasa's spear caused Rhiannon to smile in a satisfied manner, only to be caught off-guard when he wasted no time in retaliating moments after her victory.  Before she could react the dragoon was knocked off her feet, being pinned down to the dry parched earth as she struggled to break free.

"Let . . . me . . . go!" she growled, tearing one arm free and working on the other.  After a fair amount of squirming and cursing the young woman finally broke free, readying her spear to toss at Rakshasa 1 when a surrender was declared.  Rhiannon still held her spear high, though she didn't strike as she had once intended.

"Oh, really?" she mocked.  "And how do we know for sure that you will keep your word this time, hmm?  After tricking us to come here only to ambush us I can't help but assume that this is another ruse.  Why should we believe you now?"

Meanwhile, Kolm was still working on stabilizing Galla, though it seemed that the necromancer would not wake.  He held her limp form in his arms, glancing over toward the commotion with the others.  Perhaps with luck this would be resolved quickly.

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-  Iseult Mylis - Tumula Village -


Iseult's attack had been a succesful one, if the rakshasa on the ground was any indication. It would be a mistake to assume it was dead, unconscious, perhaps, but she was not going to get close to make sure, that could prove to be a mistake if the rakshasa was just trying to trick her into a false sense of security. Instead she turned around and noticed that the "elder" rakshasa was gone, replaced by what looked to be the same creature who was guarding the gate and now was fighting some kind of necromantic summon.

This was a strange scenario. One one hand, Iseult have been taught to destroy any necromancer, the Pale Mistress, the Goddess of Death, had no love for those who messed with the balance between life and death no matter the form. This would have to be a thought for a later time, though, as the fight was still not over. The two clones that the Dark Elf had created became mist and quickly floated back into the original, who was the one who casted the lightning spell into the creature's sword.

"Heed my call, Spirit Lord of Ice, unleash thy freezing breath upon mine enemy!"

Iseult reached both hands forwards, keeping the tips of all her fingers touching each other to form a small tunnel between her hands from which she could see the rakshasa trying to get rid of the skeleton summon. The creature was glowing with some strange aura, but since he was busy struggling with the skeleton then he wouldn't be able to notice that ice would begin to feeze him from his feet and go up, this was Iseult's attempt to make him move even slower that he was moving at the moment. She knew, of course, that ice would be a little more ineffective in the current weather, but she was going to try her best to slow down the rakshasa. Her attack was cut short when the voice of one of the creatures said that their companions should surrender.

"While I do agree that we are not sure that these creatures will to as they say, we must also take into consideration that we currently have the advantage here," Iseult said to Rhiannon as she kept her eyes on the enemy, "I say that we give them a second chance, one of our group is in no condition to fight, yet the rest of us can still take care of the rakshasas if they decide to betray our trust once more."

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- Winona Kissinger, with Ceres, walking back to town to complete the quest and collect their earnings -

Winona could only nod sadly at Ceres, continuing to walk along the path she blazed which meandered off of the road.  It was the best course of action on her planet.  Muggers and highwaymen aplenty took to the streets and winding roads, looking for easy marks.  It shamed Winona to think that her people were as misanthropic and self-serving as they were, but that was the way of the world now.  She did not have to follow it if she chose differently, but maybe, just maybe, she can make a difference once she is free from serving The Haven . . . if she ever gets free.

It was not an easy yoke to bear for the spirited Winona, but competition brought out the best of Winona.  By making everything a game, a challenge, or a goal, she surmounted obstacles she never would have achieved if she just paced herself.  However, this man could have been the death of her.  Strength of spirit aside, he would easily have killed her if Ceres were not around.  She hated herself for that.

Weaving through trees for a mile and a half was tiring over the mutable terrain and took a fair amount of time.  They had to jump over a thin lava stream on the way, too, but in the end they arrived at their destination without hassle.  The town of Adamant was bleak, its buildings composed of strong bedrock held tightly together by mortar and supported by pillars and piles driven into the very earth itself.  A few souls still migrated through the streets on this late night, and one of them looked hungrily at their ornate weapons and Ceres' armour before walking on.

"This place is money-starved," she whispered to Ceres.  "Our coins will be welcomed here, but do not make a show of philanthropy.  There is a shop of general goods in town, and a bone charm shop which provides services even The Haven does not have, augmenting powers such as ours for a heavy but acceptable price.  The inn where we have to go is over there"--she pointed to a well-lit building with wooden frames built on the outside to attract customers--"but we can explore if you so wish.  Remember my warning, though."

 

- Tumula Village, the aftermath of the fight -

The shadow manipulator (Rak 1) watched as the shadow behind Rhiannon dissolved into nothing, all magic exhausted from the light ball within his hand before he could close the gap and spear Rhiannon with his broken weapon.  The all-halt surprised him from Rak 3, however, and both stood down.

The guard impersonating the village elder (Rak Boss) struggled under the creeping cold and the pressure of the Skeleton King, showing signs of weariness.  The mighty Rakshasa were amazing hunters, but this one seemed to hold more of a magical gift than a physical one.  Feeling himself lifted from the ground, his hands strove to cling to something else, and he was thrown a sizable distance, collapsing stiffly on the ground and letting out a groan before attempting to get up.

"Ylack bracht!  Hold!  Listen to what Nogar has to say!" came a throaty call from in front of one of the tented hovels, this newcomer looking exactly like the guard was impersonating, except in the eyes which were the whitest they can be.  He was the true village elder.  "Chuloch!  What is the meaning of this?  You became me and lured these people into danger.  I heard it all from someone concerned, and it seems they had every reason to be concerned.  Look at your state!  Now back down!"

Chuloch, the guard, looked angrily downward.  He definitely was in rough shape and clutching his rib cage for the most part, a few bones broken from where he fell.

"We are sorry for the trouble provided you," continued the elder, advancing towards the group with a knobbly cane.  "You came here seeking answers regarding the dragon, yes?"

Within the main group, Hogarth leaned the wrong way and whispered with all eyes closed, "Pang, what's happening?"  Pang cracked a grin at the bushy-haired man and replied, "Our saving grace appeared."

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The dragoon shot Iseult a critical glance.  She seldom knew the elf, but she was well respected within the Haven.  Often the two would embark on missions that didn't seem to involve one another.  Regardless, Iseult spoke words of wisdom, and Rhiannon eventually lowered her spear to take them in.

It was a good thing that she had, especially when the true village leader came to the forefront.  She hung her head slightly, ashamed that she was so hesitant to place her trust in them, and most especially her allies.  From behind her Kolm lifted Galla if she permitted it, arm under her knees and another supporting her neck, head resting against his chest.

"Yes, we need information about this dragon's lair and the dragon itself," Kolm voiced, gaze hard upon the true chief.  "But not here.  We need to get her in a more comfortable location, one out of these blasted suns if that is an option."  Sweat rolled down his cheek as he said this.  Such weather was truly not ideal for a cold mage such as himself.

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The skeleton seemed ravenous but slowly held back, as if reading the air around itself. Galla groaned on the ground reassuring that she was ok. The serpent moved to keep the other protected. Both summons untrustworthy of the enemies around them.

 

Ceres looked to Winona. “I think I personally am fine in terms of inventory... so consider me your body guard until we return to haven. I go where you go” she smiled her sword arm still seemed broken. Her magic wasn’t  pouring into the would too fast as it could cause a defect in the body.such as the bone reforming incorrectly.

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