Forest Armor - GemstoneIV
- Forest Armor - debuted at Briarmoon Cove
- Blinding sunlight spears through the forest canopy, and the lone, gnomish hunter stoops as he squints against the brightness. One hand is pressed to his abdomen, and blood runs freely through his fingers, staining his armor and the ground before him. He takes one step, then another, before collapsing and rolling onto his back. As his face is revealed, the ashen quality of his skin and the listlessness in his eyes betray the gravity of his wounds, which are plentiful. Despite the dire situation, his countenance is calm, perhaps resigned, as he gazes up into the treetops.
- The notes of your song penetrate the silver imflass coracia, and you feel a subtle resonance echo through your hands and upward along your arms. When the vibrations sink into your body, a hollow pain buries itself in your gut.
- Throughout the remainder of the day, the hunter stirs not from the spot upon which he fell; his bed of crimson and auburn autumn leaves and the dirt beneath them stained and muddied with the profusion of his blood loss. Twilight fell some time ago, and the night and the cold grows deeper with every moment, as do the shadows within the trees. Somewhere behind those benign shades are growls that are anything but, and even in his condition, he dimly recognizes the sounds of wolves gathering. Through half-lidded eyes, he stares at the bright fullness of the moons and awaits his fate.
- As you sing, a strange chill seeps into the air around you, though your cheeks burn hot as if fevered. Distantly, you hear a faint growl.
- Furred snouts and ears begin to peek from the darkened recesses of the forest as the pack of wolves closes in on their wounded prey, called by the coppery twang of blood that hangs heavy in the chilled air. Seen distantly now, the hunter seems not to care, perhaps more dead now than alive as he tastes the last of his life's breaths. As the first wolf dares close enough to nip at his leg, a rustling in the brush pulls the creature's attention away from its meal. Like a flash of golden radiance, a tawny-hued doe dashes abruptly from the cover of the brush, followed by a pair of large-horned stags. Confusion stirs within the hunter's breast, but he doesn't have the strength to wonder if this is more than a vision of a dimming mind.
- As you continue to sing, you feel your limbs growing heavy and your voice getting weaker. You breath hitches as your eyes flutter and grow distant.
- The hollow sound of antlers against teeth and fangs fills the isolated wood, echoing deep into the forested reaches. As one by one, the stags fight off the wolves, the tawny doe stands sentinel over the hunter until at last the fray subsides. With peace restored and the stags on guard, the doe nudges the side of the hunter's face with her nose. There is barely a response, a fluttering of his eyes as they struggle to focus, but little more. The doe shifts her weight, almost as if to walk away, but instead, she begins to paw at the ruddied dirt surrounding the gnome. Digging up clumps of mud and leaves, she deposits the muck on the rend in the hunter's armor, before bowing her head to spread it into his wound with gentle strokes of her nose. She lies down carefully next to the hunter, lending her warmth to him as she rests her head atop his chest. As the doe's eyes drift closed, a faint emerald glow begins to seep from beneath the smattering of mud, though the hunter seems barely to notice.
- The continuation of your song finds your vision growing ever more foggy, and you find yourself gazing off into the distance as you are wracked with shivers.
- Loudly calling, the cries of birds rings through the forest trees, and the gnome's eyes flutter weakly. Sparks of light strew pinpoint stars across the blackness held by his closed eyelids, and he tries once again to open them. Sunlight, pale and yellow, greets him as he looks up at the canopy of trees, the golden shafts falling through leaves and limbs to reach the forest floor. His eyes feel heavy and grainy as if he had been sleeping for an age, and his muscles ache with the sort of pain that reminds a body that it yet lived. This thought is mildly surprising to him, and he searches with his hands across his abdomen for the wound that had just the night before threatened to be his end. He finds only caked mud and leaves, and a vague tenderness to the flesh beneath the armor.
- All at once, images from the previous night flash through his mind, pieces and parts distorted like the image cast by a shattered mirror. The wolves, the stags, the doe. Had they been real, he wonders. Carefully sitting, then standing, he trudges on weak legs as he examines the ground. Hoof prints, paw prints - it had been real. The hunter heaves a heavy breath and lays a mud-smeared hand across his heart as he grows silent in a brief moment of thanks to the one responsible for his recovery. An emerald glow pulses beneath his hand, accompanied by a warmth that so distracts him that he fails to see the doe at the wood's edge turn and disappear into the depths of the forest.
- As you utter the last notes of your song, color returns slowly to your once pallid skin, and you take a deep breath of profound relief.
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