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  1. FateGuard
    Night Seven: The Hounds of Aborhen


    Episode Theme (open)

    Evil is a killing breeze. It takes one crack in the window pane, one breach in the wall, one door left ajar, and the warmth of life is stolen.

    It was a man who let evil in that night, as all men do in mortal frailty. He was a forager, one of few sanctioned to leave the city in the daily logging guild convoys. No more than fifty men, these parties seized the hours of high noon to cross from the west gate to Aborhen Forest, there to fell as many trees and snare as much game to feed the fires and bellies of Gothenheim. For one hundred years it had been so, a daily ritual passed from father to son. The rules were many-fold. One priest for every ten men. Wagons blessed and foreheads given warding marks. Each man paired with another to watch him as they travelled, as they rested, as they pissed and defecated. Those who wandered off, who fell ill, or showed any signs of taint were to be separated from the convoy and left behind.

    But this particular man - this forager - was not left behind. This man was given leniency. He was out of sight for five seconds, no more; chasing his dog which had slipped its leash in the forest. A great stag, dealt a mortal wound by a trapper's arrow, had been brought down behind a copse of trees, and the forager had rushed to claim it with his retriever dog. The hound had slipped loose, vanished behind the copse, then been found a moment later with the prey.

    Precautions were taken, of course. The man was examined by a priest. The stag was anointed, wrapped in silks, bled and taken to the royal butchery, every step of its preparation monitored by the devout.

    But no one checked the dog.

    It came back that night with the forager, scratching at thorns in its hind legs. And when night fell it tore its master's throat out and spread its seed amongst the alley strays.

    One moment out of sight. One creature overlooked.

    Evil is a killing breeze.

    * * * * *​

    Corben had the wind knocked from him. He fell in the alley and the house door that struck him swung further open, yielding to the weight of the beast. His sword spilled from his hand. His ankle was seized. The jaws of the hound closed around his foot and only his boot leather kept the skin from breaking.

    At last he saw the threat up close. A hunting dog, viciously warped to the size of its wolf kin, fur replaced by a bed of serpents. A chimera monstrosity. Choral hisses heralded the snakes' assault - a dozen heads striking to bite his skin.

    He yelled out, shuffled backwards, reached for his sword, and drove his other foot at the monster's head. But that too became tangled. Pin-prick agony was delivered by the serpentine hide. The hound began to maul him and twist his half-swallowed foot.

    The night was rife with shadows. In the hovel where the hound had charged from, an old man twitched in death throes. At the alley's end women and children fled while lamplighters yelled alarm. And overhead, most troubling of all, the shadow of more hounds crossing the rooftops in predatory bounds. The monster had spread its darkness to a dozen strays, maybe more. The loudest sounds in the streets were the squeals of horses being savaged. The pack was hungry.

    Corben's hand found his sword hilt. He lurched up and swung the blade with a trail of embers. It struck the hound's jaw, lopping through snakes and tearing its cheek. It yelped, released its hold, then took to motion. Corben rolled clear, and was left with saliva on his boots and the stink of charred fur.

    "THIS WAY!"

    He called to any who could hear him. The other FateGuard were following the trails of bloodshed, stalking the rooftops, answering the screams. They would have to contain these beasts before they reached the inner wards.

    The marshal put his weight on his sword and hauled to his feet. The hound had fled into the alleys. He wiped sweat from his brow and looked around for his fellow FateGuard.

    He hoped King Ganthor was enjoying the venison.
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  2. Bruce heard the Marshal's call and jogged towards him. Sweat forming on his brow. His breathing heavy. He had just gotten back into duty, and he was afraid it was far too early; the wound on the right side of his torso, although healed to near perfection, still bugged him so -- not to mention his armour was near as heavy as a mountain and felt like one had been placed on his shoulders, which really didn't help in alleviating his pain. Despite all of this however, he was a FateGuard, and he had a responsibility to the people to keep them safe from whatever atrocious beasts made their way into the city, and he would do his best fulfill that responsibility until he was deemed unable to serve, or dead.

    "I'm here, sir," he would have said, as he arrived to the building adjacent to the alleyway, if a giant serpent-like dog hadn't pounced on his giant shield, it's hind legs extending causing it's head to go above the shield, trying to snap at him as he pushed it back, all the while it's serpentine body struck him from around the protective metallic rectangle, smacking against his gauntlets.

    With a rather profane curse directed at the hell-spawned creature, Bruce rammed it back enough to stun it for a split second which allowed him to kick it in the snout and follow through with a warhammer to it's head, which gave a wonderful and resounding crunch. "Bloody hell," he cursed again turning to face Corben. "You called, sir?"
  3. Across the way from where Corben was battling Derek swung his sword at two abominations created by the carelessness of the latest party to go beyond the walls. Despite the panic and urgency hanging in the air this felt almost routine to him now. The beasts of the wall's creation were not like some of the most recent enemies of the FateGuard. They weren't traitors that were well-versed in FateGuard tactics nor were they they Wounded Hand who always seemed one step ahead no matter what night watch did. The monsters were simple by comparison. Far more predictable though no less prone to having some surprise twist to them but they all tended to have one thing in common: their aggressive nature. For Derek, who was inherently aggressive himself, this meant his battles often came down to how well the enemies set before him could get beyond his armor. Unlike the dragons they had faced not long ago these spontaneously created aberrations lacked that talent. Instead because of the weight of the adamantite armor he wore he lacked the ability to keep up and should one try escape he would be powerless to stop it.

    Derek brought Alondite to bear against one of his opponents whom Derek had already wounded prior to the intervention of the second beast. The snakes that had grown from it's back had been severed already and was little more than a rabid dog at this point. The beast was agile enough to evade the swing and began to circle around. As Derek watched the second chimera charged him the canine teeth attempted to clamp down on his arm only to gnaw futilely at the vambrace of the Regalia. The snake heads also found themselves unable to pierce the hardened leather in the small openings of Derek's plate. The Lieutenant wildly swung the arm the beast clamped to into a nearby lamppost and smashed the chimera's head against it several times before the monster went slack-jawed and lifelessly slid off. The first chimera charged Derek's back only for him to turn around and grab the creature by the head with both hands and pulled downward. His strength fortified by Alondite there was a sickening crunch of flesh and bone on metal as Derek's knee guard crushed the monster's head in a single blow.

    Hearing Corben's call Derek hurried across the way to regroup. There were far too many wet recruits out tonight for him to stray too far. Two white lights in the shadows indicated that his eyes were darting back and forth across the battlefield, "Where are the others? We can't afford to let any of these things get away if they reproduce like the host did!"
    #3 Delnoir, Mar 13, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  4. The next street over Alwyn cursed as his second shot missed a retreating hound. His balance on the rooftop was shaky. He was used to solid flat footing underneath his boots for these kinds of shots, not the slanted and awkward roofs that protected the homes of Gothenhiem residents. Still any vantage point above ground level was better than none for the short scrawny youth, and he had been lucky to find a carpenters ladder propped up against a wall. Not so luckily he had to bound across several rooftops and jump across surprise alleyways in the darkness.

    Quietly he fumbled for another arrow under his dark cloak and focused on a hound running in the street below. With a practiced motion Alwyn pulled back on the bowstring and relaxed. For a moment, everything else was blocked out and muffled, the screams of citizens below, the howls and snarls of other beasts, the dancing shadows cast by the amber lights, his own panic and fear that had been bottled away in the back of his mind and in the beating of his heart. Without even thinking he released the bowstring. His reward was the soft sound of the arrow sinking deep into the flesh of the hound as it tumbled to a writhing and whining stop. A second arrow later and it shuddered still in the street.

    Hearing Corben’s call Alwyn hurried along the rooftop, his eyes searched the darkness for a way down instead of being focused on the rooftops around him. He sensed rather than saw the movement of the shadow as it leapt from the rooftop across from him and lunged at his neck. Alwyn twisted and brought up his arm in a desperate attempt to shield himself from his attacker, no time to aim the bow or draw his sword. The hound barreled into him, the momentum and weight of the beast combined with his small frame carried both in a tangled mess over the edge and into the street below.

    Alwyn cried out painfully as he landed in the street, the monstrosity now on top of him and latched firmly to his forearm. He could feel the teeth as it attempted to maul his arm through the leather and thick cloth that he wore. There was no way to draw his sword, all of his strength bent on keeping the horror away from his neck and face. The panic and fear inside him bubbled to the surface as he struggled with the monster, his punches on the muzzle of the beast with his free hand seemingly useless, the snakes from the hound’s body snapping out inches away from the exposed flesh of his face.

    He screamed.
  5. High on the slanted roofs, Althera lay flat against her stomach against the rafters, with her legs aching with protest and her bow biting into the skin of her throat. She had better work to do than worry about if she was comfortable or not, and she was damn well certain that she could get out quickly if need be. Her mission was simple, and likely the most important one she has ever been granted with. She was on reconnaissance; to learn everything she could of these new beats. How did they fight? Do they stalk their prey, or were they blood crazed beasts with an untamed craving for human blood? Did they sprout out from the ground or raise from their ashes like a Phoenix?

    She wasn't getting very far, the only thing they weren't doing is coming back. Which was good, she hoped.

    Althera's fury boiled silently within herself, cursing everything she could for not being able to get in on the action and potentially saving tens of lives. She began to rise, checking her quiver to make sure none of the arrows fell out during her motion, but a shadow moved in the corner of her vision and she froze like ice, stuck in a pose which would have been hilarious if not the peril of the moment. Just above her, one of the hounds was silently crawling on the very top of the roof, perfectly silent. The snakes which should have been hissing ferociously were as quiet as death itself, completely focused on a figure some distance to her left. It's silence was completely shocking, considered its sibling were going berserk in the streets.

    Well that was different.

    Though her shock was quickly replaced with despair. The very creature the beast was stalking was one of her fellow FateGuard, who was clearly trying to find a way down from off the roof.


    Her eyes began flicking back and forth, desperately trying to find someway the warn the unsuspecting FateGuard without having herself torn to shreds in the process. It wasn't going good. The hound began to move forward, surprisingly quick and even more so silent. She saw her chance.

    Slowly, she worked how bow from around her neck, the flesh stinging red with irritant from having the string dig into them for so long. She reached back now, cursing herself for not putting her arrows on her front, and easy reach. By the time she found them and had an arrow ready the beast had already hopped onto a closer building and was inching closer still.

    She took a deep breath, sucking in as much as she could without audibly gasping. It was going to be difficult, she hadn't taken her amulet with her because it made too much noise. The angle of the roof was bad, and she could barely see the thing, almost like it turned transparent when stalking its prey.

    She hoped it didn't.

    The hound leaped once more, and came to a quick stop at the edge of the building right above Alwyn's left, she had a shot! She quickly notched the arrow, pulling back on the string an instant after it came home, and began to focus only on the hound, just as Corben had taught her. The noise around her, the flashing of steel and the rush of bleed blurred into unrecognizable patterns. It was perfect, and she was about to release. But she made a dire mistake.

    Her boot slipped.

    She squeaked out a started chirp of a yell, and had to quickly place her arrow hand against the roof to keep her from falling into the chaos below. She realized instantly what she just did, and in complete horror watched the scene before her.

    The arrow flew toward its target, but it wouldn't hit. Not like that. The arrow burrowed itself just below the hounds left hind leg, which instantly shot down onto Alwyn, all methods of stealth completely forgotten. She panicked.

    Althera quickly dug for another arrow, not even checking to see if it was notched properly when she lined it up. She drew back, forgetting completely about focusing in on her target and let loose the arrow.

    She heard a sickening thud, and then the scream of a man, and everything stopped.

    Everything just froze, no movement, no sound. Just the image of Alwyn lying dead under the savage beast, the purple feather of her arrow protruding from his chest, playing over and over in her mind.

    She screamed, her years as a singer carrying her voice forward without interference, likely diverting her home-sweet-home safety spot into a buzzing ground of death. "ALWYN!"

    Unaware to Althera, her panicked assault proved true, and the arrow lodged itself deep into the hound's corrupted heart, killing it in an instant
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  6. Refia followed a trail of blood to find one of the beasts tearing apart a chunk of meat in the streets. The sight made her stomach churn, but she managed to push the feeling away. This was her first real mission on the Watch, and she wasn't about to let a little gore get in the way of the mission. As she approached, the snake heads turned and hissed at her, alerting the beast. As it turned to face her, she drew her sword and stepped into a familiar combat stance.

    The beast was still hungry, and it had found a new meal. Refia sidestepped its initial lunge, wary of the reaching snakes. She sliced at the serpents, cutting one nearly in half, but the beast only grew angrier. As it lunged again, she stepped back slightly and stabbed it in the eye, but it didn't slow down. It pushed forward, snakes biting at her arm while the hound tried to grab her thigh with its razor teeth. She blocked the snakes with her left arm, letting them bite her armored forearm, crouching back as she did. With a skillful thrust, she drove the blade upwards into the monster's head, and with a pitiful yelp, it collapsed. As she stood up to clean her blade, she caught sight of two more of the beasts in a nearby alley, staring at her. The sound of Corben's call distracted her for a moment, signalling for the creatures to attack. Her first reaction was to run straight in the opposite direction, towards Corben, the beasts right on her trail.
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  7. The FateGuard were in the same area, but scattered. The archers took the rooftops where they did they're best work while Corben and the other fighters were mucking it down on the streets and alleyways, doing their best to eliminate the threats on the ground. The damned beasts where everywhere, and cunning to boot. The chimera-like beasts had power, numbers, and the cover of night. It seemed like it was going to be a long night for the FateGuard.

    Eos faced down one of the creatures, her sword at the ready. Eos was pacing in front of the dog as it did the same, seeming to size her up. In an instant, the dog made it's move. It made a huge leap, higher than she's ever seen a dog do, aiming to maul her torso. It happened so fast, Eos almost hadn't had time to sidestep out of the way. As the dog just barely missed, she spun on her toes, trying to mount a counterattack. In a rush, she did not land a clean hit. Instead, her rapier merely pierced the hind leg missing it's neck, the original target. The dog only became angrier, making a wild bite at her. It managed to latch onto her armguard, but it was tougher than in looked and didn't allow the bite to break skin. Fortunately for Eos, she held the rapier in her free hand and had a clear shot at the dog.

    Raising her hand, she drove the point of the sword into the beasts head. She felt the pressure on her arm loosen as the sword burrowed into the dog's brain. The dog had died before the serpents had a chance to bite at her arm. She shook the beast off her arm and it slumped to the ground, life less. She delivered an additional kick to the dog's head, just to be sure. Eos knew that the dog wouldn't be getting up soon, but before she could contemplate her actions, she heard the yelling of the FateGuard. One had been of horror while the other was Corben's, getting the attention of the FateGuard. In a split second decision, she quickly spun on her heels and sprinted down the alleyway. Corben would just have to wait.

    As she rounded the corner, she arrived to see Alwyn pinned by another of those demonic spawns. She proceeded to make a hasty charge at the dog, only to feel an arrow whiz past her face and into the heart of the dog, narrowly. The dog went limp and Eos went to help the fallen archer. She threw the corpse off his body and offered a hand.

    "Come on Alwyn. Can't be lying down on the job." After helping the archer up, she turned to Alwyn's real savior up on the rooftops. "Calm down, He's fine."
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  8. "T-thanks..." Alwyn murmured.

    He stood shakily on his feet, rattled and sore from the experienced that he had just had. Quietly he glanced between the purple fletching on the arrows embedded on the hound and the figure on the rooftop. Only one archer had such arrows. Weakly he smiled upwards at the figure and waved his thanks with his left arm, his right one kept close to his side. He'd have to thank her in person at some point.

    "Calm down, He's fine."

    The archer chanced a glance at his arm in the lamp light. It felt raw, and looked mangled and bloodied, Alwyn was unsure if it was his own blood or from the beast. Upon a closer look he could see that the hound had shredded the cloth and torn into the leather underneath but no flesh was visible. With a slow and deliberate motion he pulled it away from his side and flexed his fingers. He exhaled softly, it hurt, but it moved and the arm was not broken. He would have to check it later and treat it properly, but for now they still had work to do. Quickly he did a pat down for the rest of his gear, his quiver of arrows at his belt was intact, the arming sword still locked firmly in the scabbard, and his bow...

    While a new wave of panic rushed over him Alwyn spun in place, his eyes scoured the cobblestones and shadows of the street.

    It was a short search that ended at his feet, the bow had been beneath his body. Gingerly he knelt and picked it up with his right hand, it seemed fine. He drew the bowstring back for a moment with his left hand. He relaxed and turned to Eos, leaving the bow held loosely in his right hand.

    "I uhm, heard Corben call for aid when I was up there," Alwyn painfully gestured toward the shadowy rooftop from where he had been knocked off.

    "I think he’s the next street over. We sh... should go to him, the others will be there."
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  9. Janus was a scholar, not a warrior; most of his skills were directed to more academic pursuits like research or engineering instead of pursuits like fighting or defending one's self or even running without stumbling frequently. And so, when his first evening with the FateGuard came, he found himself in a situation quite sticky with impending bleed, as the Guard (which included him) rushed to defend Gothenheim from the night's beasties, a ferocious pack of Chimera-like "hellhounds". And like I said, Janus was not especially good at running without frequently stumbling; right before the guard reached its quarry, Janus slipped and fell flat on his butt, becoming left behind by the Guard in the process.

    The Guard did not notice this at first, however, as their attentions were more directed on the beasties than on themselves. But Janus wasn't exactly the Guard's suckling babe: he was not completely defenseless. For even though he was no masterful fighter, once again he was a masterful scholar; and masterful scholars, especially ones who're focused on magical studies, have plenty of special tricks that can be as or even more powerful than brute force. After standing himself up and finding that he was behind, his right hand drew from his belt his blade, and his left hand drew from one of his frock's pockets a little pendant he had enchanted just for that kind of occasion: a "beast-weard".

    And so, as a small splinter from the beasts' pack came upon Janus, he found no difficulty in escaping harm. All he had to do was point the beast-weard at the creatures, and the creatures dared not attack him. Janus then stood up and continued on his course to his colleagues, and soon found himself standing beside the Guard's Marshall, Corben, as he (Corben) called for the rest of the Guard.
  10. Althera knew her eyes were widened to black orbs by the time she had slid down the roof and onto the neighboring one, quickly jogging the small distance to join the group of FateGuard. The first thing she did was nearly barrel into Alwyn, sputtering unintelligible apologies and worry. Then little voice in her head named 'Conscious' told her otherwise, "You thought so. But it didn't happen, get a grip on yourself." She couldn't help but laugh, which probably made her look insane.

    Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.
    "Definitely crazy."

    She went over to kneel over the dead beast to try to dislodge the arrow, which came out with a gruesome suck that made her gag shortly after. "If introductions are over... We should probably get back to Corben and the rest." She sounded irritated, even though she really wasn't.
    She slid the bow around her throat, the familiar sting of it digging into her flesh a surprisingly welcome feeling. She moved forward as if she was going to set off but then paused for a second, fixing her setup. She positioned her quiver to that it lay against her chest, and made sure that nothing would fall out in the process of actually getting to Corben's call.

    Taking an uneasy glance around, she set off at a decently quick pace, gracefully leaping over gaps between buildings, and quickly scaling up them if there was no alternative. She passed a few hounds along the way, and was able to nick a few that presented an opportunity, but she did her best to avoid risks, trying to estimate how far she was from Corben by then.

    Althera saw a glint out from the side of her eye, and was greeted by what was clearly Bruce's hammer, crushing the head of a hound to mush. And then he turned to someone who she couldn't see, who she painted as Corben in her head after Bruce spoke. "You called, sir?"
    She turned sharply, skidding down the roof she originally intended to continue right over. She landed in a crouch, ready to spring if necessary.
    It wasn't.

    She took a reassuring breath, and placed herself about half a meter to Bruce's left. She knew she should probably be looking directly at Corben, like in training. But then again her mind was elsewhere, and her eyes everywhere else, searching the shadows for any unwanted surprises.
  11. Corben hobbled on a bruised ankle, using Bruce for support. Derek and Janus had also arrived to guard their flanks. The four men turned in unison at the sound of Refia tearing down the alley with a pack of hounds on her tail.

    "Back..." Corben's throat was blood dry. He swallowed and found his voice. "FALL BACK!"

    Refia shot past them and Corben shoved Janus ahead, the Marshall and Mage using the infantrymen for cover. With reeling backsteps the FateGuard spilled into a town square and the blows of Derek and Bruce found their marks. The dogs crashed against them like waves and were turned to gore. Only one beast slipped around their legs and went straight for Janus, then was stopped mid-pounce as Corben brought his sword down. The blade punched between its shoulderblades and exited the sternum, pinning beast to cobblestone in a hail of embers.

    Behind them Refia skidded to a halt as reinforcements came from the opposite alleyway. Althera, Eos and an injured Alwyn. In seconds the two FateGuard groups were one, and the rooftops and alleys seethed with menace.

    From the fallen hounds, the snake-hides shed and broke into a dozen vipers which shot away like water. Back into the shadows, through the cracks of houses, along the guttering of eaves and pavement. In mere moments there were howls again and the din of snarling breaths returning. No stray in Gothenheim was safe from possession this night.

    And with a hivemind intent, they sensed their rival pack. They sensed the FateGuard and knew them as their enemy.

    "Form up! Back to back! Derek - north; Bruce - east; Eos - west!"

    They readied weapons and closed in circle, facing the cardinal points of the town square. In their middle was Janus - his placement no coincidence. The Marshal watched the south and yelled to the sage as the charge of hounds came closer. "Janus! We need to bind the snakes!"

    Then the horde was upon them, shooting from the four alleyways that fed the square.

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  12. Althera lost all direction in the madness. One moment it seemed like everything was going fine, and then the next a wave of gnawing teeth and fangs just came from all directions. "By the..." She watched in horror as the once dead corpses of the hounds were now writhing, but not by the hounds their selves, but the snakes that hung limp were dropping off and coming to life before her eyes. Her breath shuttered, betraying her fear.

    Althera tried to place herself more closer to the middle, because if she was caught outside of the circle she would be torn to shreds. "If I live, someone had better start kicking me around with a sword!" It was part sarcasm, part truth. It seems like one could always find a trace of humor in the face of death.
    She crouched down when she got as far in as she could, unlacing both her bow and her quiver and took a quick estimate.

    About thirty different patterns of purple and black fletchings stared back at her, which didn't add any hope to the situation because by the looks of it, more than twenty creatures were hurtling toward them, not to mention anything dwelling on the roofs.
    As if reading her mind, she caught the glint of the moons reflection dead above her, greeted by the snarling face of a hound.
    She swore it grinned at her.

    Althera quickly stood, 'switching herself off' like the Mages had taught her, allowing Haewadeay to take the rein. She was glad that the demon actually had her interests in mind, or else she would have probably shot one of her fellow Fateguard already. She hoped.
    The hound leaped, but its attempt was cut short as Althera's arrow lodged itself into its open mouth, skidding across the ground when it hit, twitching.

    That's how Althera proceeded, arrows whizzing between the Fateguard, and into the creatures further on, taking an extra round for those on the roofs.
    She only hoped that Janus would be able to bind the snakes in time.
    And if she survived this, she would have to find something suitable to name Haewadeay's bow, she was getting a little tired of calling it that.
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  13. From the north alleyway Derek watched the rapid approach of his enemies. Even when the vipers broke off from the creatures his eyes did not leave his targets. The FateGuard had to trust in one another and was confident that Janus would do his job leaving the snakes a moot point. Only moments before his attackers reached did Derek finally let out a challenging roar at the beasts and Alondite left its sheathe. Now out of view of the general public Derek had no reason to hold back his sword's full power and it's glow illuminated the space around his allies as the blade cleaved the first chimera clean in two. Bringing his elbow back over his shoulder he impaled the next. Putting his foot to the corpses jaw he pulled Alondite loose just in time to regain his footing and punched the third chimera with his free hand.

    The beast, now very much dead, went rolling several meters into a fourth. With a brief reprieve Derek swung at the snakes trying to squirm free of the freshly made corpses and quickly checked behind him to make sure everyone else was okay. Every so often the whizzing noise of an arrow streaked past his helmet as Althera provided supporting fire. Turning to face a second wave the thought of the recruits went through his head ever so briefly.

    "I'll be damned if I let anyone die here tonight!"
    #13 Delnoir, Mar 17, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
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  14. The yowls and torturous moaning of the city filled the night and was cause for utmost fear to take any who heard them. A hunt had begun, but not like anything normal, this was a man hunt and the hounds were set loose by the forces that be. Arias had been in the midst of finishing a game to sharpen his mind when it all had started. It was his time to prepare before the official watch begun but it was fate bound not to happen this night. He always played against himself at least once before going on patrol it kept the boys mind clear and placed him in a persona of tactical brilliance.

    "Knight takes Bishop. set up for a two turn Check with probability of three possible moves."

    His heart began to race as he did what he could to remain calm and finish it up, he would be no good to the Fateguard jarred, as his combat prowess still had not met the level it needed to be. He had to finish the game before he left that table or he would remain stuck in the game, unfinished and an army left without a commander, the bane to any force.

    "Bishop takes Rook set up to intercept Queen when she interferes with Knight."

    It played in his head like this, always stepping ahead of himself as he tried his best to at least stalemate himself, Honestly that would mean it was a win for him, as losing meant one side of him won while the other failed; which in turn meant he was not in sync. The Stalemate was coming, soon the Queen would intercept as he predicted it would be taken but by doing so It would place the position of the rook open and the King would be taken one move prior, the only reason it would be a stale mate and not a loss was because Arias would have it where the enemy king was pinned and would have to keep moving to avoid check with but a Single move of a pawn.

    That was good enough right? he could already predict the end, so he could end it now right? He wished it so but his mind still toiled with probabilities and of course the chance of another piece moving to provide more opportunity in late game, he almost wished he could allow himself to throw the game to run to his friends aid, but doing so was the equivalent of throwing away the life of one of his Fellow Fateguard. They would be alright he just had to move thi...

    The song of the pack run louder than ever now, as a Unison howl of rage took the air, and Arias finally let his mind slip, he made the last few moves knowing he had bypassed options and threw back his seat. he didn't even know what they faced this night, but it was clearly a canine of sorts, he would have to see it, and go from their, but doing so did not seem it would be an easy task.

    As fast as his greaves and boots could carry him onward, Arias moved through the city spotting out a few stragglers from the shadows, he drew his weapon and then surveyed the area. In combat he would be outmatched most likely, the feral means they used to kill would take him, but this was their city, their battleground and territory ruled over brute combat. Arias took to one of the side alleys, never straying from his path but cutting corners so to speak. The Hounds followed quickly and were right on him, no way he would outrun them in even this medium style armor, he needed an angle to oppose them.

    It was lucky that even while his conscious liked to shut down at Moments his inner self always knew why it did things, and he had found himself luckily near a butchers shop, closed up and sealed he knew it had to be the best option, and a worthy test of a formulating plan that taunted him. Arias diverted to the side quickly and slammed his shoulder full force into the door right at the point where it locked busting it out of its hinge and falling forward. he wasn't graceful but managed to tumble back onto his feet. Meat hung from hooks dead and lifeless but when the hounds followed Arias took point in a hiding place. he wasn't too far from where he'd heard Corben shout last, not in proximity, but their were two things that arias might be able to figure out from this. Were these hounds like normal hounds when it came to bloody meat and the overwhelming taste of it, if so they had a huge weakness at a great loss to the city. it was a heavy weighed option of course. The second thing this would tell him, was how they detected things, was it through eyes, sound, or was it through smell, the worst case scenario they detected life period, but at least lodged in his current cabinet with Sword handy their was a Small space that He would be able to stab them through when they assault him. he was in Position Now a set of two pawns one reeling in another pawn as the second pawn waited to take the kill, and soon after the Knight would move back to the King to report his findings and hopefully work with the rest of the pieces on the board to end this swiftly... If not then he would probably regret not finishing that game for the rest of his life.

    +Post The other half once I have a response as to how they act involving my experiment.+
  15. Thump. Slish.

    Thump. Slush.

    Footsteps echoed off wooden walls, moist with the sea breeze. Metal met cobblestone, slick with the ocean spray and blood.

    Thump. Slosh. The leathery soles belonged to a flesh golem, stitched from bones and dried muscles. The metal belonged to the gigantic kite shield and sword - no, slab of sharpened iron - it carried. The wet mountain behind it was a pile of dog corpses, each tied around the neck with the ends of a rope that were held in the fist that grasped the shield.

    The pile of dogs it dragged behind, their necks bound by a strange looking rope and ending in one of its fists, tumbled and slid among the uneven road. It seemed irritated as it encountered yet another dog-snake corpse on the street, pausing, its white-hot eyes staring down. The FateGuard were doing their job, but slaying the monsters alone would not do the job. It knelt by the corpse, pulling another strand of rope from the Gordian knot in its fist. As it edged the rope towards the dog, the writhing snakes around it began to act peculiarly. Drawn towards the open end of the rope, they stiffly extended, magnetically drawn, and ... petrified themselves, drying out and twisting so much into the rope that the two became indistinguishable. The other ends of the rope, still bound into the dog, turned it into something like a spool of thread, out of which a cobweb of chaotic strands extended into the loom in its hand.

    Thump. Bloosh.

    It stepped through the crashed doorway into the Butcher's shop, beheading one of the dog-snakes with a swing of its cleaver. It could not go any further, for the dog pile was already too wide to pass the entrance.

    "Come." Its voice echoed through the store. "We join the others."

    Howls, snarls, metal, and flesh sounded nearby. It was unclear whether man or animal made those sounds.
    #15 unanun, Mar 18, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  16. Hundreds of snakes slithered out of the hound-corpses' hides, swiftly swimming down the mucked-up ground of the empty alleys towards the FateGuard formation, with all of them, vipers: snakes that were always true and truly venomous in their bite. Janus, upon seeing the little reptiles, shook in terror and, by accident, dropped his hound-weard. With this little stumble, one of the beasts found an avenue to pounce at him; with that beast's bound, Janus found an avenue to show his physical mettle (or rather, lack of it).

    For as the beast flew through the air towards Janus, Janus, in a moment of pure survival instinct, grappled the hell-hound. Locked in a terrible combat's embrace, the two wrestled for their lives, with the beast, with its greater skills and larger muscle, continually gaining the advantage. But with each advantage, providence (or serendipity) smiled on Janus, as if intent on keeping him alive: when the beast was about to bite into Janus's neck, the beast stepped on a sharp stone; when the beast was about to claw at Janus's face, the beast found itself slipping on the alley's muck; when the beast was about to crush Janus's testicles, the beast found itself itching rather irresistibly on one fur-patch; and so on, until at last the gods seemed tired of the battle, and released the two. After what seemed to both Janus and the beast to be a long two hours (but were, in actuality, a mere two minutes), the two combatants lost interest in each other, and the beast allowed Janus to kick itself out of the match. Janus, exhausted, recovered his breath for another two minutes, then, in a moment of fortune's ever-annoying sense of balance, screamed in pain: one of the vipers had promptly bitten him on the ankle.

    "Oh, the snakes. Damn, I forgot."
  17. Alwyn was nearly terrified beyond rational thought. The initial idea had been that they were supposed to be hunting a small pack of corrupted hounds. What they were against was no longer a small pack and they were no longer hunting either. This was now a fight for survival.

    Despite the speed in which the FateGuard dispatched the beasts more showed up on the fringes of the square and from the rooftops, surrounding them. With his smaller stature Alwyn positioned himself towards the center of the group, ducking around Althera and the others as needed. Rapidly he’d switch directions, his shots precise and deadly with few misses that were quickly resolved. His targets were mostly those that had gotten past the others or threatened to overwhelm a fellow FateGuard member with sheer numbers. He worked at a feverish pace to keep the odds balanced in their favor.

    In rapid succession Alwyn fired off two arrows at a hound that had flanked Eos and allowed himself a small smile of relief when both arrows found their mark and the hound dropped. With a glance down at the quiver on his belt that smile was crushed.

    The battered leather quiver was quickly running out of arrows. If this fight lasted much longer he’d be forced to use his sword. Then he’d be near useless and a liability, barely able to defend himself let alone others. Alwyn’s skills with a sword were legendary in the simple fact that he had no natural talent for a blade, no matter how the FateGuard trainers had tried to teach him.

    With the smallest of whimpers Alwyn notched one of the few arrows he had left and aimed, suppressing the spreading ache from his arm and the fear that danced around in his head.
  18. Pausing a moment for breath, Refia examined her surroundings, looking for a defensive position. There wasn't time to prepare though, as the pack of hounds fell upon the guard. As soon as she saw them coming, she was up, sword at the ready. The alleys were well-defended by the others, but still the wolves jumped over and around, trying to get inside the circle.

    She didn't let them stay long.

    As soon as they landed, those that weren't taken out by Alwyn's arrows fell to a quick strike from her own blade. She fought without hesitation, heedless of the snakes' venom and the hounds teeth and claws. The fear of what would happen if one of the FateGuard faltered, of becoming a monster like the hounds, drove her on, even as the battle began to wear her down.
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  19. He could hear them stalking around the tables and tromping about the building, Luckily only two had followed him. he could tell it was only two because of the sequence of their steps, the pattern resembled the difference between paws the weight that met the creaky wooden floor boards it was a simple gift to sort out small details like that, but his test was still proving useless thus far, the hounds had not made an advance on either foreground, he would need to coax this on a bit more it seemed.

    Then just as he cupped a hand to his mouth to attempt at drawing them in by sound; and testing their reaction time, a much larder clunk hit the floorboards, iron on wood he knew the sound well from training dummies, but the voice that called, the almost distorted voice he recognized it. "Tahan" he whispered under his breath and lunged from his hiding spot just in time for one of the hounds to spot him. Luckily Arias still had his sword in hand and a free hand to which he grasped a large Knife and flung it outward cleaving the creature to the ground bewildered as blood poured from its split maw, Arias growled out as he place his foot on the head of the creature and then lunged in to stab his blade right through the brain of the thing.

    As quickly as it had come it was gone and now a cluster of slithering serpents climbed from the hole and shot throughout the store, it was pure instinct he side stepped to avoid one of them that came for him. Tahan was not about to enter, he could see that which left him with the final one, but he would use the man as best he could in this situation, it was like having a gargoyle that stood behind you protecting your blind spots, a rook to the back of the Knight who could maneuver around, while the rook stood strong. Arias nodded at Tahan. " i had originally intended to handle this differently but you're right... At the end of his sentence one of the creatures, the remaining within the store shot forward launching in to pounce at him, but Arias had learned some things from his sessions, and with a movement to the side he dropped to one knee and just as the creature was just about to collide with Tahan's mighty armor; Arias flung his sword hand up and cleaved the creature in half with a strong roar of victory. he wasn't exactly sure which fate would have been worse, his execution of the creature or it colliding with the Armored titan that was Tahan...

    'Alright we can go now I have to wonder how the others are faring." he shot through the door along with Tahan and started back towards where the center of the area was, where he had last heard Corben shout. he hadn't accomplished anything but so far just cutting them down was working,he had strong doubts it was the key to their victory but for now he had to do what he could to help the others, and having slain two by himself it left him a lot more confident in his swordsmanship. Ahead not too far from them he could see the Marshal facing off against one of the creatures. Derek was here as well, and some of the newest, perhaps that was what drove him forward in such a hurry, the idea of new Fateguard having to witness what he had on his first mission, he wasn't about to allow that.

    Hounds were placed between he and Tahan, and their Marshal and allies, a thin layer of them in consideration to the army the others faced but they had to hurry and get to them. Arias prepared his blade dodging as one of the hounds lunged at him and in response catching a half ass swipe on its throat that wounded it but didn't kill it. Tahan was handling his own well but Arias was starting to get a tad overwhelmed when they started to come in twos to threes, he wasn't going to die here however. "Corben We are here!" he shouted to the Marshall letting him and the others know that reinforcements had arrived. Then just as it always naturally came to him he scanned the new battlefield for a vantage point and way to seize their victory.
  20. Tahan followed the young initiate through the twists and turns, always towards the sounds of fighting. As he pulled the burden behind him, the latest dog he had fused to his bundle began to change. The snakes kept peeling off the body, adding to the rope until there was only a noose around the neck. Thus the secret behind the neatly bound corpses emerged. He kept adding bodies to the bundle, until the added weight proved cumbersome. Stabbing the shield into the ground, he fumbled with the knot of rope in his hand until one strand fell loose, leaving the dog pile behind to be cleaned up later. Similar pyres dotted the streets behind them, and some were already being set on fire by acolytes of the Church. Wispy, oily smoke drifted into the night across Gothenheim, merging with the black night.

    He paused as they reached the square, eyes swiveling in the skull-mask's sockets. In the chaos of the fight, he did not see a way to safely lend his aid to them.

    The dog-snakes between them and Corben's group were somewhat numerous. He attempted an intimidating gesture, slamming the blade of his cleaver into the shield. It made a terrific din, ringing around the square, but it did not do much good. The chimeras had already morphed far beyond their animal instincts, and loud noises or intimidating gestures would not faze them.

    One of the dogs leaped at him, but a brief scuffle saw it fall to the ground with a crushed chest, the snakes already joining a new rope strand trailing from his shield fist.
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