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6/3 Godslaying for Amateurs

JWaldman Jun 6th, 2019 (edited) 80 Never
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  1. Rumors had spread.
  2.  
  3. Rumors of a giant creature stalking the night, attacking those that wandered a little too deep within the plains. Taking advantage of the newfound jungle within these realms, a certain hunter had begun to pick off Dawn's forces, one, by one.
  4.  
  5. Most non-magi failed to take certain routes, these days. Many claimed that the murderer was nothing more than a scantily clad woman, others, made the claim that it took the form of a ferrous panther-like beast.
  6.  
  7. Many had tried to hunt this creature, and many had failed.
  8.  
  9. ...perhaps those responsible for it's presence can turn the huntress into prey.
  10.  
  11.  Rumors. They've reached even Sienna's ears.
  12.  
  13. Commoners speaking of a murderer who roamed the plains. A woman. At first, the Nagual believed it to be one of the Thornberrys' own. But as the rumors continued, some spoke of it different. A panther, shrouded by the night and the moon's faint glow.
  14.  
  15. A huntress.
  16.  
  17. Needless to say, it piqued the curiosity of a certain Necromancer in Dawn. Along with a plethora of skeletons (and perhaps some allies from the city), she set out to look for the cause of these rumors!
  18. (Sienna Kykessy)
  19. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  20. Initially, Freya was skeptical on even going on this hunt; she'd heard the rumors, of course, but she had no idea what she was honestly hunting for. Jessi had only said they were hunting 'Ixchel' which to be fair; that could mean a lot of things.
  21.  
  22. But, she'd been on worse adventures. She'd fought dragons, a big cat wouldn't be much trouble for the Oscuri at all.
  23. (Freya Vishkar)
  24. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  25.  
  26.  Ser Artaghh would puff away intently at his corncob pipe as he followed close behind Warden Ultovex, allowing his former knight to lead the way forth on this grand hunt of hunters. Black blade drawn from the leather rungs that dotted his backplate, the commander would grip the worn handle tightly as he trudged along with each heavy crunch of his dark sabatons.
  27.  
  28. He wasn't quite sure why he was here, but he was always ready for a good hunt. The deadlier the better.
  29. (Artaghh)
  30. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  31.  
  32.  Arkgvunde had taken a weird route today, going from the general Crafthold region - Rest in pieces - Across the coast of the plains to reach Dawn's outskirts. There, the Demon met up with Freya, Jessi, Artaghh and co.
  33.  
  34. It's kinda hard to tell why Ark continued to be here, to assist in one particular Dawnite mission and ignore the others when they'd gone on to 'retire' in some backwater village. Maybe it just really liked fighting alongside their old friends...
  35.  
  36. ...or wanted Ixchel's power to itself.
  37.  
  38. Any signs of the spiritual panther were up for grabs, and Ark brought up part of the rear flank as a healer and general support. The rumors on the plains were going to be persecuted to the utmost.
  39.  
  40. Something's thematically appropriate about the god of hunting being hunted in turn by their own flesh and blood.
  41. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  42. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  43.  
  44.  It was as simple as she knew. She was aware of what was doing the hunting. It was the tactic she would expect from a savage hunter, pick off the weaker to draw out the strong.
  45.  
  46. Even others went out to hunt it, which was foolish and likely all died or didn't find anything for their efforts. Some of their original hunting party, and more of Dawn's best to replace the fallen hunt the beast.
  47.  
  48. They set out to the jungle forming on the once near empty plains, was this also perhaps the work of the Panther? To create a more advantageous environment to itself, or it's servant.
  49.  
  50. Luckily for her, this was her environment also.
  51.  
  52. She would do her best to trail the huntress, just as her ancestors trailed the Panther themselves long ago.
  53.  
  54. "We need to find a trail of some sort.. a sign."
  55.  
  56. She said it knowing likely the huntress was already watching.
  57. (Jessi Ultovex)
  58. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  59.  Still injured from last nights battle something only minor the vampire was seeking blood from something anyway- that was all he needed for something like this.
  60.  
  61.  
  62. The voices in his head - the loud echoing left by sound magic still caused his face to frown now and then as they continued on their journey.
  63. (Salvas Voss)
  64. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  65.  
  66.  Salvas licks freyas neck.
  67. (Salvas Voss)
  68. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  69.  
  70. Freya Vishkar says, "Do not."
  71.  Salvas shutters
  72. (Salvas Voss)
  73. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  74.  
  75.  
  76.  
  77. Long before your group reaches the treeline, you can see a pair of crimson eyes lurking within the jungle. Those with keen eyes could see a trail of smoke roughly three hundred meters away from massive, glowing orbs. You hear a screech, as the beast takes off, rushing deeper into the overgrowth in vegetation.
  78.  
  79. You now have a choice. Chase after the panther, or investigate what may be another group of hunters?
  80.  
  81. She meets those eyes, her own amber hues filled with the purest hate and malice. She flees.. as she should before the ones who would slay them. The smoke in the air... others...?
  82.  
  83. It was these moments that brought out the younger savage version of herself, the feeling of the hunt. Hunting boar with her sister and father as a child. Her sister and father. She growls.
  84.  
  85. Eyes seeming to glow from within she stares at the smoke,
  86.  
  87. "Should we check on the possible interlopers? Or go for our prey directly?"
  88.  
  89. There was a chaotic energy radiating from her stemming from many old emotions.
  90.  
  91.  
  92. (Jessi Ultovex)
  93. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  94.  Ser Artaghh would scan the distant treeline as they approached with his remaining eye, humming lightly to himself as he maintained a firm grip upon his blade in spite of the humidity. The hunter's red eyes gave the bald paladin as sense of primal anxiety, as if he were but a mouse scrambling aimlessly into the den of a lion.
  95.  
  96. The commander would steel his nerves as he took a steady puff from his corn cob pipe, his eye focused intently forward as he kept all of his senses at the ready, prepared for an ambush at any time in any place.
  97.  
  98. This was the hunter's territory after all.
  99.  
  100. "Pursuin' it in'ta tha' dense'a a fores'? Jus' askin' fer it'a stalk us while we ge' los'. If tha's ano'er camp'a hunters, coul' use'm as bait."
  101. (Artaghh)
  102. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  103.  The glow of the bloody red eyes captivates the Necromancer's attention. A lone, scarlet-red tentacle twitches at the mere sight-- no, the feeling of such magic. Magic it was imbued with.
  104.  
  105. It was hers. It had to be.
  106.  
  107. Fists tighten, and the skeletons near Sienna tighten their own grip upon their weapons, preparing for what's next. Was the Avatar going to appear once more today? Would Sienna face it for the second time? Would it keep its promise? She will make it kneel for her. The Nagual will force it to submit to her whims.
  108.  
  109. "I care for her. Not for some dumb people who hold no care for their lives," Rich, coming from a person who was hunting the very same goddess. "If we go after them, we do it quickly."
  110. (Sienna Kykessy)
  111. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  112.  
  113. "I think we should go after the panther... he said." slowly he would turn to Sienna red eyes flickering. "You have a thing for panthers don't you.."
  114.  
  115.  
  116. The vampire would turn to his side and lean up against a tall stone wall. "However I could use a bite to eat - if we do go after he hunters... We could use the smell of their blood for bait" He would agree with artagh on that one.
  117. (Salvas Voss)
  118. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  119.  Jessi Ultovex says, "I suppose the hunters it is."
  120.  
  121.  {NARRATION} Unlike tracking down and trailing the panther, locating a bunch of hunters attempting to 'smoke' the Avatar out is fairly easy. There are no traps to be seen during your short voyage into the woodlands, and as you approach...
  122.  
  123. You discover roughly thirty or so hunters, all following a single individual with an almost dreadful presence about him. Upon his back likes a cloak with black wings, with an odd arcanium staff in hand.
  124.  
  125. The rest are what many would consider to be fodder, adorning little more than dark robes and torches.
  126.  
  127. "Here for the beast?" The one you could assume to be the leader pipes up.
  128.  
  129. "There is no need! This time, it won't get away, isn't that right men!" Several of them grumble in response, almost as if they were lethargic and exhausted from prior hunts.
  130.  
  131.  
  132.  The fools, such a large group... the Panther would always be able to evade them. She could smell them from a ways off even if they weren't blundering through the jungle.
  133.  
  134. Her eyes settle on the obvious leader, the energy rolling from him. She wants to snarl but refrains. For now at least. She looks to the cloak, then back to meet his gaze well aware of the presence rolling from him.
  135.  
  136. He seemed too eager to dissuade them from her hunt.
  137.  
  138. She speaks, her voice sounding more than a bit like a snarl,
  139.  
  140. "Who are you? Where do you hail from? And why in the name of Azrael do you seek my prey. We are the reason it is here after all. Take your leave after you answer my questions. Your men seem tired, and I'd hate to see you get in our way."
  141.  
  142. The second presence within her could be felt, an intense scent of ozone filling the air. The panther knew where they were anyway.
  143. (Jessi Ultovex)
  144. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  145. Arkgvunde honestly didn't have a piece to say.
  146.  
  147. ...Everyone else kinda already did the talking part for the Demon. If anything, they're just there to act imposing and operate as the categorical support where few others would.
  148.  
  149. Now that we mention 'support', Ark looked around. Is Chaaca here?
  150.  
  151. The Ark pulsed in the midst of their Occult and Nature-based powers, currently using Drain Life on the environment to accelerate the natural healing of nearby sapient creatures. An eye for an eye-- And the jungle wilted to their touch.
  152. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  153. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  154.  Once Freya catches sight of the group of hunters, she steps up front and flashes her Paladin's badge to all of them.
  155.  
  156. "Freya Vishkar; Paladin. We'll take it from here boys."
  157.  
  158.  
  159. (Freya Vishkar)
  160. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  161.  Ser Artaghh would glance about the hunter's camp as they arrived through the thick brush upon the trail of the smoke, puffing away at his own corncob pipe as he released a cloud of minty gray puff to join the rising fire. Making a steady count of the occupants of the camp as the commander steadily reinforced the grip on his black blade's handle, the knight would nod to himself as gauged about thirty.
  162.  
  163. Who brought thirty people on a hunting party?
  164.  
  165. Bad hunters, Ser Artaghh assumed. If their makeshift band of magi could find this encampment with the barest effort, the avatar of Ixchel must be able to see it from miles away. If the exhaustion of the camp was any tell, clearly this had done no favors for the ensemble's success in their hunting endeavors.
  166.  
  167. "Tha's a nice cloak. It do anythin' fancy?"
  168. (Artaghh)
  169. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  170.  "Actually I would rather... The vampire shut his mouth and placed ahood over his face - looking back at the men salvas would just keep his mouth shut before getting the group in trouble.
  171.  
  172.  
  173. He crossed his arms and followed close to the one who would kill ixchel her self - watching her movements closely- waiting for an act that was truly brought through true impulse.
  174.  
  175.  
  176. Whispers however went to the group. "We could use them.. for now."
  177. (Salvas Voss)
  178. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  179. Thirty or so of them. There were undoubtedly not enough of them to hunt Ixchel.
  180.  
  181. They were fools. Sienna doubted if they were even worthy sacrifices to lure the goddess out... But they'll have to do. There weren't a lot of options. And waiting for another group to arrive? No, she was too impatient for that.
  182.  
  183. Unlike the rest of the group, she was not one to pretend to be polite.
  184.  
  185. "Kneel. Kiss the ground you walk upon and beg for mercy. I can offer you a quick ending if you do so. You are not worthy of raising your weapons against her," The Necromancer speaks, tone remaining neutral. "Kneel." She repeats.
  186.  
  187. "You will be sacrificed. She will come for your blood. If you choose to fight... I will bring none of you back."
  188.  
  189. The skeletons beganto march, obeying their mistress.
  190. (Sienna Kykessy)
  191. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  192.  "Ohohoh! Who am I? Just another number, I'm afraid. Nothing in comparison to my lord, who is far greater than your little Azrael." The hooded figures begin to move like puppets on a string, taking their formation behind this figure.
  193.  
  194. Those watching may notice that they move painfully slow.
  195.  
  196. "Yes, yes, this cloak does many things. It rests on my back, and is a wonderful blanket."
  197.  
  198. His words become slow, and distorted, taking his time to let out a painfully long yawn. When his eyes fall upon you, it's as if gazing into a swirling abyss of depression and despair.
  199.  
  200. As if those eyes had only seen pain.
  201.  
  202. ...and that very feeling washes over you, as the sin of sloth taints the very realm with it's depravity.
  203.  
  204. "Afraid I won't be doing any kneeling, but once we cover the trees in your blood, I will be taking a long overdo nap. Mercy me, he's been working us to the bone lately..."
  205. (Thanatosin)
  206. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  207.  Lightning erupts around the Nagual, she had fought sins before, never Sloth. This would be intriguing indeed. The arcing electricity seemed to change colors, erupting as blue, into gold, into amber, into black as the corruption of her unlocked power took over.
  208.  
  209. No need to use the Spirit for this.
  210.  
  211. Her mind worked rapidly, even if the Sloth was rather slow. Black wings.. the insult to the Morninglord. He must serve another of the Fallen? Although whom? Why are they here for the Panther? Working them..? Working them for what?
  212.  
  213. Her blade was drawn, a weapon she had borne for nearly three decades now.
  214.  
  215. "I hope you enjoy being bait Sin. All of you should do nicely."
  216.  
  217. She feels the depravity, the depression, the pain. All things she was familiar with even if she was no sin. Ironically it would be the decades of depression, pain, and self-loathing that would aid her here.
  218.  
  219. She glances to her group as lightning begins to rain.
  220. (Jessi Ultovex)
  221. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  222.  To the one, lone tentacle... Join three more. Manifested by Sienna's magic, conjured by occultic water. They twitch and twirl in air much like the physical one, the one attached to the woman's armor.
  223.  
  224. The pace of the sloth's servants is noticed. Along with the fact that Sienna's own skeletons walked slower than intended. This forest belonged to Dawn, and the stench of corruption and depravity flowed within it naturally.
  225.  
  226. To the dance of tentacles join much, much smaller tendrils. They part from Sienna's body as a brief wince takes place. They're golden in color, glowing with her sin's magic. A clash of them both-- with the pride's relentless assault on the very thing that attempts to keep it down.
  227.  
  228. A sloth.
  229.  
  230. No matter the circumstances, fate brought them here together. But only one shall prevail.
  231.  
  232. "You will kneel."
  233.  
  234. A moment of pause,turned into almost half a minute of silent. The woman's lips stretch into a smirk as her eyes find the Sloth's own.
  235.  
  236. ".. And then you will rest."
  237. (Sienna Kykessy)
  238. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  239.  Ser Artaghh would give the cloaked man a nod as he covered his mouth and scratched at his eyes for sand, releasing a long yawn of pent up exhaustion as lowered his head for a few moments. The man's words rung true, that cloak looked incredibly comfortable, it would serve as a fine blanket in the depths of this dense jungle.
  240.  
  241. Why, with the humidity as it was, warm and surrounding in the air, the commander could almost just....fall asleep.
  242.  
  243. Slapping his face with a swift shake of his head as the bald paladin took a step back, the knight would ignite forth in fiery, rich blue shroud of mystic energy, the presence of sin magic leaving more than a bad taste in his mouth after Gluttony's endeavors. His musculature would bulge forth with condensed mana as veins spread across the increased mass of his frame, a simple nod the knight's only response to the cloak bearer as he raised his blade pointing forth before him.
  244.  
  245. So it began.
  246. (Artaghh)
  247. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  248.  Arkgvunde was the furthest away, the last to respond, and the last one to presumably tunnel vision on the sudden appearance of a Sloth Sin - But Ark is slowing down anyway. The range on that depravity was impressive for how rare it was.
  249.  
  250. ...Too bad the groups had conflicting answers to this and threw the extra bodies at Ixchel.
  251.  
  252. In a really twisted way, this was kind of like a hunt all on its own - Tracking Ixchel here, then finding the column of smoke coming from a camp, and walking directly into the lair of a monster...
  253.  
  254. It's like poetry.
  255.  
  256. Arkgvunde said nothing as the Demon's bark shattered in twain, spawning multiple smaller mirrored variations on the Ark. Occultism had already been at their beck and call, it was just a matter of being combat-ready and following the healing cues from Freya and Artaghh nearby.
  257. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  258. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  259.  
  260. [19:34] Honestly, Freya was about half-tabbed out while the guy was talking, but that's until he said 'little Azrael'. There are few words that shouldn't be said along with Azrael while Freya was in hearing distance, and 'Little' was a terrible choice of words.
  261.  
  262. Blazing hate burst up from the Lodestone in the chest of her armor, and the sin of Sloth's empty theats did not deter her immediate advance on this sluggish son of a bitch.
  263.  
  264. "You and your men will find an rest in an early grave. Die, Heretic.
  265. (Freya Vishkar)
  266. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  267.  "How cute- you think you're better than us- how funny you think Azrael is weak.." The vampire snarled while fully displaying his fangs at them. "Don't worry I will let you see if the angel of death will let you serve him again for a greater purpose, that is the problem with most people today - everyone walks around without a sense of purpose."
  268.  
  269.  
  270. "Sheep - worthless cattle unworthy of walking the earth without someone to lead you.. I will sink my blade and fangs into you- your blood will help me paint this place red- That is a promise I make to Azrael and the blood moon."
  271.  
  272. The vampire unsheathed his blade - and the skeleton warrior would also prepare for battle. "Fall tragically like the arrow."
  273. (Salvas Voss)
  274. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  275.  
  276.  
  277.  Arkgvunde, the oddball healer-conjurer of the group, kept firing off wave after wave of Occultism between their allies. The Demon's area control and general damage output combined with other spellcasters and swordsmen ended up overpowering Thanatosin over several minutes, beating back the group of 'hunters'.
  278.  
  279. Strangely enough, the Ark had dove in and poked at Thanatosin enough times with their spells to end up being the one to be in the best spot to perform a finishing move.
  280.  
  281. Life Drain's powers reached out to siphon away at Thanatosin, Nature's folly running rampant; The Darkness stole life-force away from the Sloth Sin and gave it to Arkgvunde's inner core. Many tiny, stinging bits of oaken bark covered Thanatosin and melted their very being away.
  282.  
  283. ... Then again, most of the group had already done something similarly damaging throughout the battle, so...
  284. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  285. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  286.  
  287.  {NARRATION} This victory was not gained without sacrifice.
  288.  
  289. Thoughout the battle, this sins very nature seeks to infect and inflict you. While the fellow sin seems to be immune to his blight, the others...
  290.  
  291. Aren't so lucky.
  292.  
  293. Every warrior, save for the sin of pride, manages to fall prey to his infection.
  294.  
  295.  ** Ixchel's Avatar has inflicted an injury upon Artaghh. ("Slow burn", "The flames of Thanatos creep upon your arm. While their is little physical pain, you suffer from boughts of depression, thinking over your regrets and failures, day in, and day out.", "Temporary", "Duration: Short (1 day)") **
  296.  
  297.  And the pride does prevail.
  298.  
  299. The combined forces of her own skeletons and a certain vampire's own fight furiously against the hooded companions of the sin. Hunters, they called themselves? What a joke. They wouldn't have managed to lure Ixchel out by themselves. Sienna doubted if the goddess would've actually given them a fight- but...
  300.  
  301. She was petty like that, wasn't she?
  302.  
  303. Who knew what went in the mind of a crazy panther.
  304.  
  305. The battle is slow, long, and... Slow. Yes. Extremely slow.
  306. It felt like turtles racing each other, the pace of snails competing each other. Even their feats of magic moved slower than normal- but Sienna?
  307.  
  308. Too stubborn to listen. Too stubborn to allow it to keep her down for too long.
  309.  
  310. Arkgvunde finishes the sloth sin, there's no doubt about it. The Kaor's occultic powers force the life of it to part from their owner's body, claiming them as its own-- but it looks like it isn't over just yet. Sienna storms in afterwards, a flash of red lightning masking her movements...
  311.  
  312. And then.
  313. She arrives.
  314.  
  315. Those bloody red tentacles extend ahead of their owner's body, and with a single stabbing motion - they impale the dead hunter.
  316.  
  317. They erupt from his back. And a pool of his very life essence begins to pour in the center of the jungle, blossoming into a a dark rose. They act as puppet strings while inside the man's body, forcing him to submit to the pride's demand-
  318.  
  319. He kneels.
  320.  
  321. As a lifeless body, he kneels in front of her. And when the tendrils leave the body?
  322.  
  323. His head slams against the ground, kissing what's in front of Sienna.
  324.  
  325. "You should've listened."
  326.  
  327. (Sienna Kykessy)
  328. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  329. Ser Artaghh would engage against the grand melee of the hunting camp with vigor as the situation devolved into something he was far better at understanding. The song of steel rang in the air as the knight pressed forth against the hunters blade to blade, pressing forth with boundless energy to combat the sloth that had overtaken him.
  330.  
  331. Few things ever woke up the commander quite so well as a good fight.
  332.  
  333. Yet, as the camp of huntsmen slowly fell one by one, the taint of the sin wore down upon the paladin bit by bit, each swing of his blade growing heavier, the movement of his muscles aching as an overwhelming sense of sleepiness and demotivation came over the usually gungho swordsmen. The burns upon his arm ached as the scorch of sin melded with occultic scar tissue of the paladin, its taint spreading to his mind just as the dark whispers that had plagued him since the battle of Crafthold, since he’d first been burned.
  334.  
  335. A sense of weariness fell over the knight as he planted his greatsword into the ground suddenly to hold himself up, a bout of confusion and indistinct loss overtaking him. As the flames of Thanatos creeped upon his arm, the commander recalled with certainty that these were exactly the sort of pointless adventures he’d spent his whole career undertaking without any care for safety or danger.
  336.  
  337. Adventures he’d gone on with Chaaca...
  338.  
  339. (Artaghh)
  340. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  341. Arkgvunde already had an unprecedented amount and intensity of regrets throughout their life.
  342.  
  343. That said, Thanatos' third-degree-or-so magical burns on one of their legs' residual Depravity still brought up bad memories. Sure, it'd been the one to ultimately kill the Sloth, but for whatever reason...
  344.  
  345. It felt like a hollow victory.
  346.  
  347. There wasn't anything directly gained by most of Arkgvunde's adventures. The most it'd gotten was that strange, ritualistic trade from a blood pillar on their last venture.
  348.  
  349. The Nature Kaor staggered a bit because it's somehow managing to melt even more than before; Situational awareness is down.
  350. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  351. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  352. She knew there was some measure of safety in the pack even if they were all mere fodder. As her allies focused the sin, she threw herself into the rest. Blackened lightning raining from above and striking them from the sides. Holy mana rolled across the ground dealing significant damage as well.
  353.  
  354. It was while she was focused on this slaughter, the smell of burning flesh on the air... the smell of burning flesh.. she didn't feel the Sin's flames hit her but suddenly she was no longer here.
  355.  
  356. She saw the dirt floor of her old home.. in Gehenna.. her and her younger sister Alayne… strange names for Gehennan children, but their parents wanted them to stand out.
  357.  
  358. Her first display of magic... should have been mere sparks but no.. she had been blessed by Ixchel… too blessed. Lightning erupted... things got hazy... the smell of her parents flesh burning as they tried to stop her... she remembers colliding and breaking through the wall of their hut... tossed fromthe burning wreckage to land on the ground and fall unconscious... all that remained was ash and char. The scent of burnt flesh lingering on the air.
  359.  
  360. The Sin's magic forcing her tor relive that moment, even as her body fought from muscle memory and the Demon bringing him down. She had shed too many tears, none would fall. Anger rose with it.. with a palpable feel as it became rage.
  361.  
  362. "Now for the Panther."
  363.  
  364. She was back in the present, though the image of her eleven year old self lingered in the forefront of her mind.
  365. (Jessi Ultovex)
  366. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  367.  
  368.  {NARRATION} As the sin falls prey to the hunters, his staff rolls into a patch of grass, able to be claimed by whoever bothered to claim it....
  369.  Ixchel's Avatar says, "..."
  370.  
  371.  
  372.  The battle is more of attrition than it is of combat; the legion of puppeteer corpses verses the group of adventures. It seemed an impenetrable shield covered the sin, and it's fires scorched the remaining good arm on Freya.
  373.  
  374. That pain was not the searing of flesh, but the searing of will. The familiar slow burn of depression physically scrawled itself over her arm, forcing repressed memories and feelings finding themselves back in the front of her mind.
  375.  
  376. You let Albina die, you let Chroma and Chaaca and Gisei Die. They'll come for Kyla, and Kairi, and God-
  377.  
  378. Her prosthetic dug into the wound, bringing back a physical pain to block this mental lethargy.
  379.  
  380.  
  381. "We-keep moving."
  382. (Freya Vishkar)
  383. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  384.  
  385.  Artaghh says, "All yers Sienna, bunch'a swordsmen here anywho."
  386.  
  387.  The sin does not need any invitation, of course.
  388.  
  389. To claim the weapon of another sin? That was job made for her. She had always been greedy, ever since she took her first step in Dawn. She was bold enough to assume that the city is hers, including that house she was invited into.
  390.  
  391. This was no different, was it?
  392. (Sienna Kykessy)
  393. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  394.  It would seem that the vampire has fallen ill to yet another curse- How annoying the flames would just seem to keep going un-ending the vampire falls to a knee- his breathing becomes heavy- as he crawls on the ground to one of the fallen victims-..
  395.  
  396.  
  397. Crunch
  398.  
  399. The vampire maw would unhinge and chomp down on the victims shoulder- a tug and pull and eventually a bloody mess would be made as he begins to eat the victim - the sound of meat and bone being crushed by mere teeth could be heard and would be slightly annoying to most- salvas would continue to eat the being - taking in almost everything leaving only part of the torso and head, if one were to look at the victim they would only see one half of their body still left the other painted with the red paste that is known to be blood and gore. "More.." the vampire said as he crawled over to another victim he began to chew into another one of the hunters starting off with the head and unhingeing his jaw inhumanly to take a bite out of the hunters head removing the left side of his face.
  400.  
  401.  
  402. Needless to say the vampire was going on a feast- all annoying temptations of weakness being the sounds within his head - and the undying flame upon him.
  403.  
  404.  
  405. He would lose himself - for just the slight bit of power he used to have - unable to heal grievous injuries like the old times.. the vampire is forced only to regenerate moderate things.. All because of that dam lighthouse..
  406.  
  407. As he continued to eat into another victim hands fisting guts and intestines mouth moving to crunch on bone and flesh- the vampire thought about the specific ruling of the world currently.. Dawn stands at the top - but we lost so much and the world is against us once again.. there was no returning for the vampire - he had to give it all for all the fallen we have failed to retrieve......
  408.  
  409.  
  410. To others, this would seem disgusting the vampire completely covered in blood and feasting on beings that were slain.
  411.  
  412. (Salvas Voss)
  413. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  414. {NARRATION} As you venture forth into the woodlands, you can see that which you've been searching for...
  415.  
  416. Maybe.
  417.  
  418. Not far from the battle that had just taken place, you stumble upon a massive panther, with crimson and ebony fur. Those with a keen eye would perhaps notice that the markings are all wrong. Rather than stripes, it's fur appears to have crimson lightning bolts dancing upon it.
  419.  
  420. Within it's maw is something shiny, yet it's difficult to tell just what it may be, yet it's leg appears to be caught within a skillfully placed trap. How do you approach?
  421.  
  422. The true hunt was on once more, doing her best to discard the images in her mind. They find the panther.. but no.. it's not the one. Not the one they came for it may seem. Caught in a trap..? It couldn't be Ixchel.
  423.  
  424. She held no respect for the Hunt with the prey already captured. Even if it was her lifetime enemy, or at least a servant. No.
  425.  
  426. Distantly she carves runes into the trap with a thin bolt of lightning, forcing whatever was keeping it together to shatter.
  427.  
  428. "There is nothing to be gained in a hunt where the prey is already caught."
  429.  
  430. What came next she would deal with.
  431. (Jessi Ultovex)
  432. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  433.  Blood drips from each of the sin's red tentacles, and the golden tendrils wrap around Sienna's body. They kiss it with depravity, fueling her with madness of her occult magic - and the thrill of the hunt.
  434.  
  435. Ixchel. It's all she can think about. It's all she cares for.
  436.  
  437. The large panther reminds the Necromancer of a certain other one- the Avatar they came across during their trip to the spirit realm. .. But it wasn't precisely the same one, was it? The thing trapped between its teeth catches her attention, drawing that of her skeleton-servants too.
  438.  
  439. "I want it."
  440. (Sienna Kykessy)
  441. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  442.  
  443.  Ser Artaghh would for himself up from the ground with his great, black blade as he took a steadying breathe, doing his best to banish the dark malaise that taunted him as much as the light ache of the new burns that had scorched through his bandages, revealing the occultically burn marred skin of his arms in an unpleasant display.
  444.  
  445. As he followed closely behind Jessi, gripping the handle of his blade tight with both of his worn hands, the commander would try his best to whistle with light hearted cheer as they paced along, anything to raise his sunken morale, banish the thoughts of the ghosts that trailed behind them.
  446.  
  447. His one eye would squint as he saw the trapped beast, his focus immediately moving from the bound panther to scan the party's surroundings. Up in the trees, in the bushes, the dense foilage, their quarry could be hiding anywhere with intention to stalk and maim them.
  448.  
  449. This felt like a trap.
  450. (Artaghh)
  451. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  452. Salvas would stay in the back observing to see what would they do- while chewing on something within his mouth - the vampire would wipe his mouth a couple of times however he would not move any further without the others- ultimately he would wait for artaghh to make his move.
  453. (Salvas Voss)
  454. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  455.  
  456.  Freya continued to dig her prosthetic into the scorched arm; banishing away the lethargy and depression that ailed her. Small droplets of her own blood stained her armor, and she directed her gaze at the creature, only uttering,
  457.  
  458. "This is a trap."
  459. (Freya Vishkar)
  460. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  461.  Arkgvunde looked up to find the party was already facing down a panther further into the woodlands. It's still caught off-guard by all their recent wounds-- It can barely stop itself from melting--
  462.  
  463. But regardless, the Demon sought to try and decipher the magical output in the surrounding vicinity before bringing up the rear guard in a support role. An Avatar of Ixchel getting caught in a trap...
  464.  
  465. ...reeked of a test.
  466.  
  467. Arkgvunde vaguely recalled a tall tale about a man being cursed to be a monster until they found true love, as a punishment for going out of his way to refuse the kindness of other peoples.
  468.  
  469. This might be one of those times a tall tale isn't so unbelievable. Or, at least, something a little less cheesy...
  470. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  471. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  472.  
  473.  Arkgvunde is legally magically blind.
  474. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  475. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  476.  
  477.  {NARRATION} Arkgvunde can feel magic radiating from various places. From the pather, above them, bellow them, next to them, and behind them. It's difficult to pinpoint the source, though the demon would discover it soon enough.
  478.  
  479. Artaghh was wise to stay on the lookout, Salvas as well. Freya's claim? Is absolutely true, and Salvas could likely smell the bloodlust radiating from a rapid moving creature lurking in the shadows.
  480.  
  481. A flash of lilac light blinds the group temporarily, and those not focused on the creature before them have more time to react than the others.
  482.  
  483. The panther before them flees, as it's roll in this part of the hunt is over.
  484.  
  485. Everyone but Freya, roll. Salvas and Artaghh have modified rolls.
  486.  
  487.  
  488.  Arkgvunde continues to be legally magically blind.
  489. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  490. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  491.  
  492.  
  493.  
  494. Freya may save one of these people from injury.
  495.  {NARRATION} Freya can see the source of the blinding light just before it gets a hold of the party, managing to save the demon from a lot of misery.
  496.  
  497.  ** Ixchel's Avatar has inflicted an injury upon Artaghh. ("Lilac burn", "Lilac scars cover various parts of your body, as you fall prey to the lightning avatars trap. It provides your body with a constant thrumming sensation, as if a great deal of power lingers within every scar.", "Temporary", "Duration: Short (1 day)") **
  498.  {NARRATION} A brief flash of pain infects the trio who fall prey to the creatures might, as three bolts of lilac lightning crash directly into their bodies. Out of spite, the panther rushes through this small section of the forest, setting off every trap within it's wake.
  499.  
  500. Nets lurch upwards, arrows fly towards the party, and several objects akin to massive bear traps snap within the distance. As the light fades, and you regain your vision, you can see the fifteen foot tall beast rush towards a small clearing in the woods.
  501.  
  502. It's almost as if she were baiting you.
  503.  
  504.  "GET OUT OF THE WAY!"
  505.  
  506. She only has enough time to tackle the melting demon away from the panther as every trap is set off at once. What were they thinking? It's a god-damn hunting panther, of course it's going to set traps!
  507.  
  508. While she and Ark are fine, the rest of the party is looking rather worse for ware.
  509.  
  510. It's all falling ap-
  511.  
  512. She goes back to digging in her arm. Stupid, stupid!
  513. (Freya Vishkar)
  514. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  515.  Arkgvunde stuck close to Freya in the wake of the blast - Her presence managed to save the Demon. It's hard to imagine someone doing a 'Mr President' on Ark if their bodies have too much of a size difference, but maybe Freya is a champion of raw might.
  516.  
  517. "Thank you."
  518.  
  519. Arkgvunde barely had time to see the vermillion lightning streak off into the distance, to another portion of the forest clear of trees.
  520.  
  521. The Demon knew that, using the buddy system with Freya, they could pick off and disarm traps like this one by one...
  522.  
  523. ...but that would take too much time.
  524.  
  525. It prompted Ark to ask for an alternative.
  526.  
  527. "...Should we spark a controlled burn?"
  528. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  529. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  530.  The undead skeletons are Sienna's slaves. And their purpose is to do one thing- to follow her command.
  531.  
  532. In this case? It is to surround their mistress and throw themselves in the face of danger. When a net nears her? A skeleton cuts through it with a sword. When arrows are launched at her? A skeleton jumps to be hit by them.
  533.  
  534. Each and every one of the traps are met with one or more skeletons who attempt to stop it from reaching near Sienna herself, who also moves when she needs to.
  535.  
  536. And as soon as that ends and they're allowed to breathe?
  537.  
  538. Her hand moves, dagger of red electricity sent at some of the fallen hunters. They're shocked with her mana and magic- forcing a few of them to return to the realm of living, to replace the skeletons who were sacrificed for her.
  539.  
  540. A lax essence is also thrown towards Salvas.
  541. (Sienna Kykessy)
  542. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  543. The bolt struck her and even through the pain, the thrumming beneath her skin she smiled. Pain was her friend, one she had gone without for over a decade. Pain was what fed her, what made her who she was.
  544.  
  545. She tried to respect the hunt, but alas. Even the Panter was beyond that. Nothing but betrayal. Amber irises expanded to fill the entirety of her eyes. The Spirit's mana flooding her the air around her supercharging with lightning.
  546.  
  547. She watches the massive beast stroll through the traps, taunting.
  548.  
  549. She waits to make sure everyone was alive, then proceeds to take the same path the Panther took, enhanced beast-kin senses on the look for more fuckery. Floating through the air letting Sienna's Undead possibly trigger any remaining traps, but nonetheless a shield of holy magic prepared to form at a moments warning.
  550.  
  551. "We move forward."
  552.  
  553. Burning flesh. Screams.
  554. (Jessi Ultovex)
  555. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  556. Ser Artaghh's triumph from having successfully gauged the subterfuge of the trap is short lived, his reaction speed only a pittance of what it once was in his youth even if his perception remained. Lightning surged forth with a sharp flash of heat across the knight's black plate as the conductive metal caused him to be thoroughly electrocuted, the lilac bolt searing him as he fell to one knee with a grunt of pained exertion, planting his black blade into the soil as he took a steady, shaky breath.
  557.  
  558. He was getting old.
  559.  
  560. The thrum of energy in his most recent burns seemed to pit against the lingering sloth of the sin's occultic fires, two shades of torment prodding at the commander's mind and stamina alike as he forced himself back to his feet with a grimace of determination, wrapping his burn scarred palms firmly around the handle of his greatsword before gazing forth into the distant foilage.
  561.  
  562. No experienced hunter would leave such an obvious trail to pursue unless that was exactly what they wanted, and Ser Artaghh suspected that this was no different than another ruse of the deific panther.
  563.  
  564. "It wants us'ta pursue it, dunnae think it'll return if we wai' here an' camp. Too smart. We'll need'ta play its game if we wan' our quarry I figure."
  565.  
  566.  
  567. (Artaghh)
  568. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  569.  
  570.  Salvas would begin to laugh almost manically as he kneels again with his sword planted into the ground. "Aye fuck who would have thought that this would be how it e-" He was cut off when a stroke of luck - it would seem the person that he thought hated him.
  571.  
  572.  
  573. Has blessed him with something he had never used before... Salvas just stares at the pride sin for a while before looking down at the healing salve. "Thank you." He said quietly..
  574. (Salvas Voss)
  575. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  576.  Jessi activates one of the runes she had scribed onto her mythril arm, a slot for a potion near the base of her flesh injecting it into her bloodstream. Good to be a smith and scribe.
  577. (Jessi Ultovex)
  578. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  579.  
  580.  The sin of pride did not care for the vampire's words, or anyone else's for that matter. No. They were all here to hunt Ixchel. And the by the looks of it, the odds were indeed against them when it came to challenging a goddess.
  581.  
  582. If she needed to sacrifice something as cheap as a lax essence to see Ixchel's end, then so be it.
  583.  
  584. The Kaor's remark is met with a shrug. It seems like Sienna doesn't care for what they do next, as long as it is done. .. And that does indeed mean that she directs a couple of scarlet-red lightning spears at where the beast escaped to. She intended to light the area there on fire.
  585.  
  586. "Fire it is, then."
  587. (Sienna Kykessy)
  588. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  589.  Boom.
  590.  
  591. As Sienna's lightning crashes into the trail where Ixchel's avatar fled...an explosion lights up the nights sky, engulfing the woods in a glorious inferno. There may have been a trap, materials that could have been salvaged, or something that reacted to large amounts of mana rather poorly.
  592.  
  593. Whatever it was, Sienna managed to blow it up, nearly blowing up the crew as well.
  594.  
  595. Pieces of shrapnel made of mithril narrowly avoid the majority of the group, but as single piece of molten metal aims to crash directly into the sins stomach.
  596.  
  597. A torrent of flame snakes towards the vampire, threatening to treat him as the woodlands, momentarily bathing him in flame.
  598.  
  599. The other four, whos luck seems to have shined through, could possibly assist the other members of their party, allowing them to escape a great deal of misery.
  600. (Ixchel's Avatar)
  601. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  602.  
  603.  {NARRATION} Boom.
  604.  
  605. As Sienna's lightning crashes into the trail where Ixchel's avatar fled...an explosion lights up the nights sky, engulfing the woods in a glorious inferno. There may have been a trap, materials that could have been salvaged, or something that reacted to large amounts of mana rather poorly.
  606.  
  607. Whatever it was, Sienna managed to blow it up, nearly blowing up the crew as well.
  608.  
  609. Pieces of shrapnel made of mithril narrowly avoid the majority of the group, but as single piece of molten metal aims to crash directly into the sins stomach.
  610.  
  611. A torrent of flame snakes towards the vampire, threatening to treat him as the woodlands, momentarily bathing him in flame.
  612.  
  613. The other four, whos luck seems to have shined through, could possibly assist the other members of their party, allowing them to escape a great deal of misery.
  614.  
  615.  The party proceeded, flames being ignited in their path the hunt proceeding. Following their quarry. Sienna's lightning strikes mythril shrapnel exploding from a remaining trap.
  616.  
  617. Her shield proved to be useful, the metal deflected or burned away.
  618.  
  619. She would see the pillar attempt to engulf Salvas, she would turn to move forward to save him... phantom burns run along her skin from Kerafym's branding. Survival of the fittest mentality taking over... though not outright stopping her, it did make her too late to save the Vampire from his fate unless someone else was able.
  620.  
  621. She would see if all survived....
  622. (Jessi Ultovex)
  623. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  624.  
  625.  Freya stares in utter disbelief as Sienna just blows up part of the jungle. She brings her hand to the bridge of her nose and pinches hard. Not really noticing that Salvas had also gotten caught in the blast.
  626.  
  627. "What the fuck is this hunt even."
  628.  
  629. We're doomed.
  630.  
  631. No we aren't, head-voice. Shut up.
  632. (Freya Vishkar)
  633. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  634.  Arkgvunde's sheer Occult mass protected it from whatever debris of the newest traps came its way.
  635.  
  636. Well, that was the wrong idea.
  637.  
  638. Even though it would've been nice to force Ixchel to go back to the river crossing and force the deity to fight with a movement disadvantage... Ehh, it probably wasn't worth it.
  639.  
  640. The fire might've initially been Ark's half-hearted suggestion, but damn, the group just set off explosions and traps no matter what they did.
  641.  
  642. "I've got your back."
  643.  
  644. Arkgvunde trailed beside Freya and Artaghh.
  645. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  646. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  647.  Maybe it had something to do with that sword? The sloth's power still ran through it, perhaps even causing a minor effect on Sienna's body when she wasn't noticing.
  648.  
  649. Although she sees the incoming meteor of flaming metal– she is not fast enough to avoid it. A couple of skeletons leap into air in an attempt to stop it from crashing with their Necromancer - yet, they fail as well.
  650.  
  651. Although it's been reduced in size, the meteor gets to reach the Nagual and crash into her stomach, where it begins to cool as those golden tendrils begin to lash at it with their depravity, as if not accepting of something else upon the body of their host.
  652.  
  653. While normally you'd expect someone to stay on the ground for much longer after being hit with something of this sort...
  654.  
  655. Two of those bloody red tentacles impale the ground, allowing Sienna to remain standing. The pain is immense, but she survives.
  656.  
  657. ".. Do you think this can stop me? Do you, you wench?"
  658.  
  659. Although the panther wasn't here to listen to the woman's whispers, she speaks as if it was.
  660. (Sienna Kykessy)
  661. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  662.  Ser Artaghh would blink as an actual explosion went off in the distance, the prideful lightning of Sienna seeming to have actual BLOWN SOMETHING UP IN THE DISTANCE. Huffing from his rot scarred lungs intensely as he sprinted forth through the burning brush with heavy clanks of his nyeshk sabatons, the commander would barely have enough time to phase partway into the spirit realm before the shrapnel passed through his ethereal form with lethal intent!
  663.  
  664. Wow, that could have been painful!
  665.  
  666. The knight grip the handle of his greatsword tight as he pressed on through the foilage with grim determination, his burns aching his mind and body as he forced himself to focus on the task at hand. Fear was the mind killer, and any showing of weakness would be their last in the jaws of the deific hunter. The commander's head darted left and right as he scanned the fire swathed tree lines, the alight soil beneath his heavy footsteps, keeping aware of the predator that was lurking in their midst.
  667.  
  668. So this was what it was like to hunt gods.
  669. (Artaghh)
  670. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  671. Completely blown back into the group ( not for just going to the back you know not to die ) the vampire would land in some trees- the night sky lit in the dark from the flames bursting from his figure.
  672.  
  673. AAAAAAAAGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
  674.  
  675.  
  676.  
  677. The vampire cried out- until finally the scream stopped and he slowly walked out of the woods with rage guiding his movements.
  678.  
  679.  
  680. "You...You bitch.."
  681. (Salvas Voss)
  682. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  683.  As the creature circles around the clearing, waiting for the magi to approach, an explosion manages to through it off guard. It lurked, waiting to assault the first person to pick up that little goodie, only to watch as the forces of the occult and exorcism clash...
  684.  
  685. Providing the flames with a bit more oomph.
  686.  
  687. Crimson eyes look down to the arrow in it's leg, pondering on whether or not it should use this as a vantage point, or simply flee and hunt another day.
  688.  
  689. Brushing off the latter thought with a shrug of it's massive shoulders, before diving into the smoke. With it's eyes closed, it uses the sounds evoked by the magi's pain to locate them, lurking within this mana-fueled smog.
  690.  
  691. Ichor spills from it's maw as it's jaw unhinges, lurching at the closest magi without a second thought.
  692.  
  693. Keeping it's tongue pressed against a shimmering jewel containing the power of divinity. The only thing that may allow them to locate the creature just before it pierces the veil of smoke.
  694. (Ixchel's Avatar)
  695. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  696.  Now it was the true fight... the smog and smoke clouding vision.. clouding scents.. the sound of wood burning hiding sounds. She was more than all of that. The Spirit's full strength released her body encased in the Spirit's form.
  697.  
  698. The tri-horned golden lion roars, as she senses the Avatar about to lunge. Blackened lightning arcs out to meet it.
  699.  
  700. "YOU WILL KNOW MY PAIN BETRAYER!"
  701.  
  702. The sound rolling across the ground as a storm of lightning strikes from above.
  703. (Jessi Ultovex)
  704. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  705.  Arkgvunde, as before with the rare Sloth Sin, brought up part of one of the rear flanks.
  706.  
  707. The Demon appears to have relegated itself to a support role, and accepted that particular facet of their life - No matter how depressing it was.
  708.  
  709. It's doing its best to try and heal the party as they walk around in the forest fire, inhaling smoke and Mana and mythril and all that jazz was probably terrible for everyone's health. Occult waves surged outwards again, helping and hindering both the party and the Avatar lurking behind the grey veil.
  710.  
  711. Arkgvunde continues to melt, even as battle inevitably approached...
  712.  
  713. The Demon even spasmed off to one side, passive trauma from the previous depraved wound taking its toll.
  714. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  715. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  716.  The two upper tentacles twitch and writhe about as they move through the air. What cannot be seen, can be felt. And they intended to alert Sienna in the case something got near. The recently resurrected bodies of the hunters?
  717.  
  718. They begin to travel in the clearing as well, carrying their very own weapons from before.
  719.  
  720. There's nothing to see, nothing to hear– except for a single, piece of a glowing gem of some sorts. It draws Sienna's golden eyes to it, who can only assume it's there due to the panther... Who was also lurking somewhere.
  721.  
  722. She turns to face it, and the tendrils that were empowered by some of Ixchel's power thrash stronger - as if recognizing that magic.
  723.  
  724. "It is her. This is who we were looking for." There's not a doubt in the Necromancer's mind about it.
  725. (Sienna Kykessy)
  726. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  727. This is so stupid. You've probably scared it off you stupid id-
  728.  
  729. The massive panther lunges at the party, and Freya's inner voice of doubt goes dead-silent. Their prey was injured, an arrow in it's leg. Did that explosion manage to actually hurt the beast?
  730.  
  731. She smirked. Even though it was a giant panther, it did not stop her advance. She pulled a bright-red bubbling potion from her pack, and drank it down, quickly clipping on a re-breather.
  732.  
  733. Her vision goes red. The thrumming of the Lodestone in her chest flares out in extremity, and her wings manifest without even a second thought.
  734.  
  735. "RIP AND TEAR! YOU'RE HUGE, SO THAT MEANS YOU HAVE HUGE GUTS! RIP AND TEEEEEEEEEEEAR!
  736.  
  737. Depression could wait. Every axion of nerve in her body screamed at her to rip the pather's throat out with her teeth and present it's heart to her lover. Romantic.
  738. (Freya Vishkar)
  739. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  740.  Ser Artaghh would take a deep, steadying breath within the confines of his green woolen cloak as he scanned through the smog of mana with dread. With the noise, heat, and dense smoke in the air, the knight's common senses were at a deep disadvantage, made only all the more while difficult by his array of burns atop burns.
  741.  
  742. Shutting his eye to the godly quarry as the dense smoke coiled about his form, Ser Artaghh would reignited his pulsating shroud of mana as his muscles bulged out once more, gripping his blade tight as he tried to focus upon the only thing he could with such a cacophony of sensory distortion.
  743.  
  744. Reaching out with his spiritually attuned senses as a mystic, the commander would attempt to prepare to strike when the beast approached, maintaining complete silence as he shuttered his pained grunts and unsteady heartbeat, emptying himself of fear as he took on the aspect of ghosts.
  745. (Artaghh)
  746. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  747.  The vampire would return from where he was thrown from the blast - still on fire, his eyes starred at the beast infront of him - and in a instant his sword would fly to his hand.
  748.  
  749. He stood ready to defeat the beast.
  750. (Salvas Voss)
  751. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  752.  {NARRATION} The explosion and smoke clearing give those who aren't prepared to fight the Avatar of a god may use this as their chance to escape.
  753.  
  754. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  755.  {NARRATION} Where the patron deity, the huntress Ixchel may have moved with delicate strikes, swift and efficient...
  756.  
  757. This Avatar, this beast representing her might is anything but. It represents the ferocity of the hunt, the carnal pleasure evoked from putting your life on the line, and in combat, it shows.
  758.  
  759. Salvas, by the grace of Cain, manages to salvage some semblance of luck and avoid the Avatar's brutal flames, and arcs of lilac lightning. While he'd managed to push the beast back on more than one occasion, this ancient vampire proves that the naguals aren't the only hunters of the night.
  760.  
  761. Freya, the Oscuri, manages to fall prey to a brutal series of strikes. Through the blessings of Azrael, she narrowly dodges getting burned alive, living another day to embrace the glory of the morning lord.
  762.  
  763. Arkgvunde Vel'heim, the demon, proves it's might once again, facing off against this huntress. The sacrifice made to attain this victory is one that will cause great pain for now, and then; however, his injuries attained during this fight are not permanent in nature.
  764.  
  765. Jessi can feel the hunter steadily draining the woman of her mana, as if it were attempting to take something from her. Should either of the naguals have lost this bout, they likely would have been stripped of their blessings, forever. The injuries evoked from combat will be brutal, but she will live to see another day.
  766.  
  767. Sienna. Not only does she manage to avoid any fatal injuries, but this prideful woman gains the upper hand, managing to land the final blow. Perhaps, less she, Freya, or Salvas make a sacrifice for...
  768.  
  769. Artaghh. In the beasts final moments, it draws upon the small gift from it's patron. Divine, lilac, raging flames sweep across the jungle, consuming all within their path. Grass, trees, flora, and dirt fade into dust, threatening to force the aged man to embrace the very same fate.
  770. [23:22] Jessi Ultovex whispers something.
  771. [23:38] Roar, Writhe, RAGE!
  772.  
  773. She fought with the intensity of a warrior without any restraint. Her own mana so visible, so pure that it almost form armor atop armor. Rieka that burnt away the fire and lightning of this elemental.
  774.  
  775. Kill, KILL, KILL!
  776.  
  777. The curse of the sloth was corrupted by the potion; urging her to take this beast down and end it. To fight, to kill, and to win.
  778.  
  779. But a rouge swipe was determined to stop her attack, and claws finally found purchase between the armor of the Oscuri, sinking in her chest and forcing a cough of blood from her lips.
  780.  
  781. Don't give in, Freya!
  782. End this.
  783. Come on Freya!
  784.  
  785. Her rage was broken- and the voices of her ancestors and friends finally pulled through her addled mind. The avatar was near death- fighting like a cornered animal. With a final blast rocking everyone back, the group found themselves surrounding the dying pather…
  786.  
  787. ...with Artagh directly in the way of a massive blast.
  788.  
  789. In that moment, her eyes have never seen more clear. No action more fluid, no choice so determined. The whispers of despair told her of her failings- she failed to save her parents, her peers, and even her sister.
  790.  
  791. But this? This was someone she could save.
  792.  
  793. Jumping in front of the blast, she erected every last inch of Rieka into a barrier. One that could try and contain the energy of the blast. But she could feel it- it was the energy of a dying avatar. Enough to eradicate every last scape of the oscuri.
  794.  
  795. "TAKE CARE OF THEM! Kyla, Kairi… Even my son! Godfrey Vishkar!"
  796.  
  797. It was all she could say before the fires began tooverwhelm the shield. Contained, but not enough to save herself. Soon, they'd wash over her. A life, for another.
  798.  
  799. This is good, isn't it? I'll see you soon, Mom, Dad, Albina, Chaaca, Gisei, Neo, Everyone. Hell, even you, Chroma.
  800. (Freya Vishkar)
  801. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  802.  She is relentless. She lacks mercy. She. Is. Pride.
  803.  
  804. A younger Sienna might have looked back... A different Sienna would've considered the path of holy magic, enough to the point she'd have been able to heal others, and safe them from the cusp of death. This one, however, was a Necromancer through and through. They can be brought back.
  805.  
  806. The sin of pride flowed through the blood in her veins, fueling her with its magic throughout the entire fight. She doesn't even dare to look away- to see who's hurt, and who continues to stand during the final moments.
  807.  
  808. No. Her eyes are glued to that of the panther, glowing gold staring into vivid red.
  809.  
  810. It will die. It will fall to its knees. It will look at her, a traitor, and accept her as its superior. No amount of Ixchel's power can or will match that of Sienna, of her necromancy, or her pride.
  811.  
  812. No. Amount.
  813.  
  814. Hell's own storm is summoned to Dawn's forest. Its madenning ocean makes an appearance as well, in the shapes of rapidly spinning circles. Spears of lightning are thrown without a single care in the world- even if it dies, it needs to die again.
  815.  
  816. More, more, more.
  817.  
  818. Her hubris may have gotten someone killed- but who was it?
  819.  
  820. The combined efforts of the group brings the Avatar of Ixchel to its knees, but it is Sienna who will put an end to it. Masked by another jolt of that electricity, she appears in front of the panther next, staring it down.
  821.  
  822. "You... You are nothing compared to her, aren't you?" A question or simply stating a fact. Somehow, it sounded like both. "Yes... I can see it. She's saving her power, isn't she? Waiting for me. YES! That's it! She won't come alone, will she?!"
  823.  
  824. The woman's fists tighten.
  825.  
  826. The skeletons stand at her sides. Staring.
  827.  
  828. "I cannot bring a beast like you back, can I?"
  829.  
  830. The tentacles begin to writhe about once more, they twitch and spasm... Eager to meet some of their essence. Would it make them complete?
  831.  
  832. ".. Leave."
  833.  
  834. And then, they begin to stab. Once, twice, thrice. There seems to be no end to the motion of stabbing. She demanded more. She demanded of those tentacles to bring the beast upwards, to the very skies-- where they continue to stab.
  835.  
  836. And the skies will rain its ichor and blood. Dawn's forest, doused by Ixchel's magic...
  837.  
  838. Blessed.
  839. (Sienna Kykessy)
  840. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  841.  Arkgvunde traded wave after wave of spells with the beast, operating in tandem with the group. Even though Ixchel mildly burnt the Demon, it wasn't enough to stop it from making some good pushes during the battle.
  842.  
  843. One spell cycles over into the next...
  844.  
  845. He peeked around to see how everyone else was doing.
  846.  
  847. Aw, shit, here we go again.
  848.  
  849. A Vishkar was taking a hit meant for someone else. Like mother, like daughter, Freya tried to get in the way of the last series of blasts that was aimed at Artaghh during his last recovery period.
  850.  
  851. It was too far away for Ark to intervene appropriately.
  852.  
  853. The battlecry was heard, but for all intents and purposes, it fell on deaf ears.
  854.  
  855.  
  856.  
  857. Whatever the case may be, Arkgvunde had accomplished one of the things they originally set out to do in repeatedly fighting spirits of various pantheons over and over. All it was, was just a sliver of life-force that held Demons, Fae, and other creatures like them together. Life Drain reigned supreme, and Sienna made the proper killing blow.
  858. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  859. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  860.  Ser Artaghh fought a losing battle against the avatar of the god, his old wounds aching in tandem with the burning bang of sloth and lightning upon his charred flesh. The avatar was one of the greatest quarries the knight had yet faced, and their rending, burning claws tore at the commander's black armored frame with merciless force as his vigor was sapped bit by bit.
  861.  
  862. The longer the battle went, the weaker Artaghh grew as his strength dwindled, the smoke agitating his rot scarred lungs as he balanced his heavy bouts of coughing with avoiding incineration by an apex hunter. Yet, the knight of the Green Hill was long past his prime, not quite so sturdy as his young years as a strapping knight-errant. He felt his doom with each, steadily slower, progressively more delayed movement from his own body.
  863.  
  864. Slammed by concussive force and blistering flames, Artaghh would stumble one, twice, almost three times back and forth before finally collapsing to one knee, great sword planted in the ground by its sheer weight rather than any determined effort of the knight. He tried to move it, to rise from the ground and rejoin the fight.
  865.  
  866. But, he couldn't. He was so....tired.
  867.  
  868. Seeing the divine, violet fire boiling within the breast of the avatar’s death throes, Ser Artaghh would simply lower his head and shut his remaining with an exhausted smile, and wait for the end.
  869.  
  870. He’d missed them all so much...Fethi. Chroma. Chaaca. Alastor. Annie. Aspen. Even Zendrick, in his own foolish way. It was time to rejoin his friends once and for all, he only hoped that they saved a seat at the table upstairs for the bald paladin.
  871.  
  872. He wasn't much in standing condition at the moment.
  873.  
  874. Yet, the expected flames that were to burn Artaghh to ash never came, his opening only to see the flaring reika of Freya as she stood fearlessly before the flames of her own volition. Looked Azrael right in the eye and said she was ready.
  875.  
  876. Trying to raise a hand limply to stop the Oscuri, Artaghh would collapse upon the ground from his wounds, greatsword still sticking out of the ground as he began to hack up bloody tar from his lungs with a groan. He couldn't save her, the last of his students was dying for a bald, crippled old man.
  877.  
  878. All he could do was give her reassurance.
  879.  
  880. "Freya...I'm sorry. They'll...ne'er want for anythin'. You have my word. " The knight would not look away as she was taken by the flame, no, he would not disrespecter her sacrifice even for his peace of mind. If such an image must be scarred upon his psyche for the rest of his days, then that was only right.
  881.  
  882. "You are a true daughter of Azrael...my greates' student....an' I'm so very....very proud of ye'."
  883.  
  884.  
  885.  
  886. (Artaghh)
  887. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  888.  All those memories flowing through her mind... the hate.. the desire to slay the Avatar. Her own Spirit's form around her great blasts of lightning erupting from her maw. Even as far as lunging onto the larger feline claws and teeth bearing the might of her lightning.
  889.  
  890. They all fought to their limit's, all of them injured in some way.. even as they fought she could feel the Panther tugging on her.... her vison dampening.. becoming more human like...
  891.  
  892. If only it had succeeded.
  893.  
  894. A great wave of flame threatened to consume their commander, Freya shielding the peasant knight from his untimely demise instead killing herself... another one to fight for.
  895.  
  896. With renewed vigor they fought, to fight for their fallen. She waited for her moment... waited.. waited... waited.... Her rage clearing.. a larger goal in mind...
  897.  
  898. The Spirit's form flickered out around her, flying above the ground she begins rapidly scribing runes with her claws. On her skin, her mythril arm, the Nagual's newfound mastery of runescribing evident as blood runs from her.
  899.  
  900. All of this takes place as the Spirit is brought low, even as Sienna began to stab it, she had her own goal. Having dealt with life sapping, and mana sapping runes quite a few times she was more than prepared. As the Panther was pushed into the sky the Nagual ascended placing a hand on the beast.
  901.  
  902. The runes emit a bright glow near blinding. She was draining the mana from the Avatar. Her body ignited into flames, resonating within her.. within her blessing. A body alight with the mana of Ixchel as she pulls more... and more.. and more... the Avatar's presence would dwindle even further between Sienna's stabbing and her draining, even if she couldn't drain it all even if her mortal body could hold it.
  903.  
  904. Finally her body reached it's breaking point.. she lands on the ground on her knees. Body thrumming with the power of the Avatar... all she could bear to hold. The runes placed wouldn't allow the mana to be used, or allow it to destroy her. For the moment she was simply a vessel...
  905.  
  906. She stands, injured but at the same time radiating a carnal power... a mortal with the mana of three beings in her body.
  907.  
  908. She looks to the others... knowing who did not make it... her god child... she had failed her. The final thing Ixchel would take from her,
  909.  
  910. "You are already gone... though I will guarantee their safety as if they were my own... what I should have done for you.."
  911. (Jessi Ultovex)
  912. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  913.  {NARRATION} As the flames break her barrier, they manage to consume all that is Freya Vishkar. Superheated armor melts the first two layers of skin underneath, turning the third layer to a crisp. With no means to feel pain, all of her agony and suffering is brief; the pain is washed away in bath of divine flames.
  914.  
  915. Bringing her back to undeath wouldn't be impossible, but reviving this Oscuri will be no easy task.
  916.  
  917. Her sacrifice allows Artaghh to go on living, to fight the good fight another day.
  918.  
  919. May she rest in piece.
  920.  
  921. Goodnight, blessed child of Azrael.
  922.  
  923. Defeated, the titan falls to the combined might of this party. For a moment, the sin of pride gets what she desires. Weakened, it can feel it's mana drained from another source, glaring at the nagual. "You dare call me a traitor, when you hunt with those bound to the greatest traitor of all; the father of lies?" Eyes closed, the beast snarls.
  924.  
  925. There are many snide remarks it could make, refraining to converse any longer. It's more than aware that it's end is near. Once lifted into the skies, stabbed again, and again, it's vital fluids spurt across the woodlands. Ebony ichor sprays as it writhes and screeches in pain.
  926.  
  927. Crimson eyes fall upon Jessi, glaring it's her hand falls upon it's hide. "...you win." The avatar's mana is siphoned into the runes, forcing the mana of Ixchel into it's new vessel. In it's final moments, the creature seemingly shrinks, as it loses blood, guts, and mana.
  928.  
  929. It's head rolls to the side, and a shard of the spires falls from beneath it's tongue. As it continues to lose more, and more of itself, this avatar becomes little more than a pelt.
  930.  
  931. Two crimson eyes, and a hide containing the remnants of the beasts mana.
  932.  
  933.  The shard.
  934.  
  935. In truth, it was one of the only things Sienna cared for nowadays. She had a goal in mind- and it involved not just one of those, but two. The last of them was taken by Jessi...
  936.  
  937. And now? It was her time to claim one of these. She took down the beast, didn't she? It was rightfully hers. And if anyone dared to think otherwise.
  938.  
  939. Well.
  940.  
  941. Who knew what that meant.
  942.  
  943. The sword of the sloth sin she's taken earlier is thrown aside, the idea of it slowing the Nagual down further was not one they were keen of. Instead, two of her bloody red tentacles extend and wrap around the spire shard, collecting it as the prize they did desire.
  944. (Sienna Kykessy)
  945. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  946.  
  947. {Item} You picked up Right Crimson Eye. Dropped by Ixchel's Avatar. .
  948.  Fuck the items.. He wouldn't want anything like that no.. the body salvas would run and grab Freya's body - it was weird for the first time in a long time the vampire couldn't even speak.
  949.  
  950.  
  951. No... Just the body- he held onto it like a new born child.. it was time to go.. there was work to do..
  952.  
  953.  
  954. "I won't lose another one... I won't lose another one.."
  955. (Salvas Voss)
  956. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  957.  Arkgvunde stood above the wastes. The forest fire continued to rage in the background, damaging and dominating the place...
  958.  
  959. ... And Freya was dead. Probably soon to be Undead when the rest of the group went home.
  960.  
  961. It earned a weary, morose look from the Nature drake. His ties to Dawn were breaking even now. There was little to worry about on the Demon's end, being a very non-political entity--
  962.  
  963. So it picked up one of the eyes that the Avatar of Ixchel had dropped on death, and turned to everyone else, considering walking in one direction or the other.
  964. (Arkgvunde Vel'heim)
  965. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  966. Sirocco Vishkar whispers something.
  967.  The Nagual re-enters the square, her home. Freya's charred body being carried back home.
  968.  
  969. Even as she enters she is covered with bleeding cuts all over her body, trailing even onto her mythril arm. All glowing an intense white, they were obviously runes. Self-drawn.
  970.  
  971. Her body radiated the carnal power of the Avatar of Ixchel, alongside that of her own, and the great lightning Spirit's. A large hide on her back radiating the same carnal power, though somehow even more intense.
  972.  
  973. She calls to those in the square,
  974.  
  975. "The Avatar of Ixchel on Agartha is slain, it's remaining power claimed as my own. Freya was killed saving the Marshall's life. Though we have a body."
  976.  
  977. Even if Sienna landed the final blow, she was sated. She had done the impossible, she had avenged her betrayal.
  978. (Jessi Ultovex)
  979. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  980. "SHES NOT DEAD...shes not dead.. Holds on to Freya's charred body..
  981.  
  982. "we j-just need to … fix her.. we just need to ..patch her.. we just need to fix.. her.... that's all... that's all... shes not dead.. Azrael promised... He promised.."
  983.  
  984.  
  985. He continued to franticly hold onto Freya's body like some newborn child. "he promised.."
  986. (Salvas Voss)
  987. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  988.  
  989.  Sienna returns, too!
  990.  
  991. Parts and bits of her cloak and dress are burned, and even fragments of metal could be seen across her body... She uses the pair of the lower tentacles to support her stand, but the pace of her walk is the same as it always has been.
  992.  
  993. She allows Jessi to announce their return, lips parting once the older Nagual is finished. "Slain by me."
  994.  
  995. She corrects, before pocketing a certain shimmering crystal away.
  996. (Sienna Kykessy)
  997. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  998.  
  999.  Ser Artaghh said nothing as he entered the square, his skin stained by ash as fresh burns trailed up his arm, neck, and face. His remaining eye hung hollow, empty, the sense of loss clear as the commander aided his best in moving the body along to its present resting place.
  1000.  
  1001. Glancing briefly to his young son, he'd only ruffle the Oscuri's head and give them a brief side hug before pacing slowly to the lamp, taking a slowly, pained puff from his corn cob pipe as he blew minty smoke towards the distant, somber horizon.
  1002. (Artaghh)
  1003. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1004.  
  1005.  As the soldiers return from their expedition the tainted Sarradian scans them with mild interest. There was something wrong, bad news always gave a certain telling look either in the faces or the posture of the survivors.
  1006.  
  1007. Pre-emptively he shrouds himself in Null energies thereby dampening any emotional reaction. With heightened clarity in those smoking eyes, he begins to scan the crowd noting survivors.
  1008.  
  1009. Jessi. Alive. Artaghh. Alive. Salvas. Alive.
  1010.  
  1011. Jessi finishes the work for him at the moment his gaze falls upon the broken body of his niece carried by the Warden. She had perished in the fighting.
  1012.  
  1013. He speaks barely audible in a hushed whisper and begins to approach slowly, his rich baritone hollowed by the purified occult crackling around him. He had been charged to protect them.
  1014.  
  1015. His promise to Alastor had been kept, but his task failed.
  1016.  
  1017. His arm twists and stretches further than it should becoming narrow in the middle as he reaches out from a distance to touch his niece.
  1018. (Sirocco Vishkar)
  1019. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1020.  
  1021.  Sirocco Vishkar says, "Give her.. To me, Warden."
  1022. His father and the others had returned.
  1023.  
  1024. The boy had been standing about in the square without anything to do - when the crowds began to scatter about. He looks around, confused, before he finds the commotion. Artagh and the others had returned, which initially brings a smile to his face, but...
  1025.  
  1026. They're all worse for wear. Covered in ash, blood, burns, cuts, and more. And as he met their gazes he found a look he'd never seen from any of them. The somber look in his father's eyes, especially.
  1027.  
  1028. "Dad... you're back!"
  1029.  
  1030. Feth calls out to his father with a slightly lessened smile, though still there. He doesn't say anything else as his father approaches. He stands and allows for his father to ruffle his tufts and bring him in for half of an embrace. It causes his brow to raise some more, and then...
  1031.  
  1032. His attention is brought to Jessi. They stand in the middle of the square with an imposing aura about them. One of a proudconqueror, shown more as they begin to speak about them slaying the great Avatar of Ixchel and...
  1033.  
  1034. Freya's death saving his father, followed by the shouting of Salvas.
  1035.  
  1036. The shout of the vampire draws his attention over to them, where he sees a badly charred figure of a body within their arms. It was hard to make out the features of whomever was in the melted armor, but he can only assume it is as they say. His cousin.
  1037.  
  1038. "Freya... she... she died?"
  1039.  
  1040. He says, then looking to his father with a look of disbelief.
  1041. (Feth Vishkar)
  1042. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1043.  
  1044.  Ser Artaghh would simply give his son a hug, shaking his head as he continued to puff away at his corn cob pipe.
  1045. (Artaghh)
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