OPEN SIGNUPS Flight of the Brightsmile

Mglo

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As long as the plot's good I'm in. That says nothing useful though... so I'll say: sci-fi, fantasy, I'm curious enough about horror to add it, aaaand action? yeah, ok, sure, action!
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Battles had sprung into action before Entei had even heard the orc's pointed cry. But for a gentleman such as he, the thought of brutish hand to hand combat forced a sigh through his chapped lips as he looked away towards escape. It was then he caught sight of the shiny geometrical face of the Captain of the Brightsmile. A glimpse at best. The Captain had an arachnid to face and Entei, though he couldn't help but marvel at the possible fungus, much preferred facing the orc. With a wince, Entei gripped a fallen stalactite for a sharp turn that mildly stretched the distance between he and his foe. It would have given him more time to calculate if it hadn't been for the something brushing his leg. He might now look like the man who cleaned his chimneys at home, but good breeding held him poised though he felt his heart jump up to his throat.

The orc too paused his pursuit for a moment as the panther warrior approached Entei. Meanwhile Entei only managed a polite bow towards the panther since his sudden view of the nine year old swords- uh girl had been quite the brief shock. The Brightsmile truly had been full of surprises. A piñata of the sky.

"I believe it would be a swifter battle were it fought by someone el-" he'd begun to no avail. Black tail commanded the order and Entei was not about to refuse one who possessed such claws. Society had not survived the crash it would seem. "Well," Entei told himself as he looked down at the corkscrew in his hand and then at the orc who licked its lips in a way they accentuated its permanent smirk. "Definitely not worth a spore," Entei whispered as he yet again attempted to smooth back his hair and straightened his clothes as best he could.

While the orc strutted forth, weapon above its head at the ready, Entei walked forth trying not to limp. "Excuse me sir uh Orc of the Zangheri Mountain, you see I-"

"I TAKE YOURRR HEADD!"

Entei's heart sank. Distraction would not work. The orc was upon him, weapon swinging for his neck, but the last minute thunk of Entei's golden watch against the orc's forehead had been enough to thwart his aim. Post swing, Entei hurried to keep the orc's arm down pausing briefly to park the corkscrew in the orc's eye-socket knowing it would take both arms to fight one orc arm down. As it turned out, it had been harder than he thought. Without regard to Entei, the orc reached with both hands to its face, "AAAAHHHGHRR MY EYE!"

"So sorry, let me hold this for you," Entei took the crooked sword-like weapon from the orc, "deepest apologies, eyes take forever to re-grow! But a whole head is just impossib-"

With an enraged tackle the single-eyed orc landed on Entei, choking him for a few seconds before noticing he'd impaled himself on his own weapon. With great effort Entei pushed the body aside, completely grossed out by the dark blood on his scorched robes. He looked to the panther, the tiger lady, the dead man, thought of the others he had glimpsed earlier and then looked at the nine year old child. It was clear why they had survived thus far. "Excuse me!," he called out.

And then the corkscrew fell on his lap, eyeball hanging from it and all. The orc had not been lethally injured after all.
 

Dvyniai

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Ah, perhaps the drunkard was smarter than he thought.

“Then the deal is complete, Azazel Croft,” Vess said with an amused smirk. While he would have liked to receive more from their deal, they didn’t really have time to renegotiate. His eyes flashed gold once more, and stayed that way, as they shook hands.

Besides his glowing eyes, there wasn’t anything else that was remarkably magical about the exchange. There was no transformation, no whoosh or explosion of glitter. Zazzy probably didn’t even feel any different. In his experience, most were disappointed, expecting more grandeur from making a deal with a fairy, but Zazzy probably didn’t fully realize what this was. And if he did, he didn’t seem the type that would have cared about dramatic displays of magic anyways.

All the same, it worked, and it worked well. Or at least, it would. Not that Zazzy seemed all that keen on actually testing it.

With the deal completed, Vess stumbled back a couple of steps and sank into a crouch to watch the ensuing battle with his still-glowing eyes. As most things were with this bunch, it grew incredibly chaotic. And not in the normal-battle sort of way.

A large cat had burst out of a sack and was tearing orcs apart. A man they previously thought was dead appeared out of nowhere and joined them. There was a new cat-lady in the fray. And the young girl was doing exactly what he had told her not to - listening to the sword. At least she seemed to be doing well. He had lost sight of Caelcrust, but he had no doubt that the pseudo-Captain was doing something equally as strange.

He was snapped out of his observations by the orc storming towards him. “Shit,” he mumbled, scrambling back on his ass. Another orc had Zazzy dangling by the ankle. His grand protector. At least Zazzy was able to throw that rock shard, but ended up getting crushed by the orc holding him hostage. “Shit,” Vess mumbled again. “Shit, shit, shit.”

He stared at the crowbar between them, then glanced up just in time to meet the beady eyes of the orc, who seemed torn between reaching for the crowbar and continuing to attack Zazzy. Before he could finish that decision, Vess surged to his feet, nearly falling on his face when he tripped on the dead orc in front of him. He grabbed the crowbar just in time, the orc’s fingers grazing the other end, letting go of Zazzy with one hand in an attempt to snatch it.

Knowing he wouldn’t be able to put much strength behind it, he took aim and swung, embedding the crowbar in the orc’s eye. It let out a surprisingly high-pitched shriek, hands flying to it’s face and sitting up. Vess kicked the crowbar, sending it deeper and the orc flopping off of Zazzy. Although his attack had been a success, in the process, Vess lost his balance and ended up falling on top of Zazzy himself, with a soft ‘oof’.

“Perhaps do me a favor, and actually put the magic I am lending you to use,” Vess grumbled breathlessly as he rolled off of Zazzy. He looked up and saw yet another orc charging their way. “Koberax!” it roared, holding it’s sword over it’s head. It only seemed enraged, rather than rightly terrified, seeing it’s fallen brethren around Zazzy and Vess. “KOBERAX!”

Meanwhile, the orc that Vess had hit with the crowbar wasn’t actually dead. It pushed itself into a seated position, yanking at the crowbar embedded in it’s face. “Koberax,” it gurgled.

Vess was getting really tired of that word. At least their motley crew seemed to be getting the upper hand. For the most part, the orcs were falling like flies. Especially with that cat and the cat-lady going on their rampage.

He flopped onto his back and patted Zazzy’s shoulder. “I’m just - I’m just gonna lie here a minute.”
 
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littlekreen

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Nixies tilted his cephalothroax as the strange person crawled underneath him. Not a good conversationalist but Nixies would take anyone over orcs continuously yelling as they threw bodies on his head in a lava tube too hot and smooth to climb.

A frustrated voice came from the small speaker on a stick pointed backward at Caelcrust, "Yeah Yeah, I'm Nixies and their trash heap for months! I thought they were some huge creature called Koberax! Matriarch-damned, the lot of them!"

A warbling trill Nixies climbed down to the stone as tentacles probed at his shoulders and head but seemed to recall that he wasn't food. Instead of sensing the trembling of orcs on the stone and heat from behind, they raced forward to Orcs furiously hacking with axes as the pile enveloped them. Threaded fuzzy hyphae of the central pile pulled away a curtain to show the pile of used-up charnel. As violet fungus degloved the orc's body the tentacles tossed sopping parts inside. Even chunks of themselves cut off by the orcs thrown into the central pile as they dismantled from outside in. A few old bones ejected from the opposite face as the colony made room for new food. The screaming of Koberax continued in anger through to gurgling as the fungus stripped more of their bodies.

Nixies' talking stick called out to Caelcrust gesturing to the top of the colony pile with the talking stick as he took the top of the other, "Goad the fungus boat in a direction, hold on, or get off and keep up! I told them to hunt!"
 

Asmodeus

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Never in all of history had orcs procrastinated so much as this.

Ordinarily savage berserkers prone to blood frenzies, this sudden rash of ponderous, gloating trepidation could only be blamed on the chamber... which now looked like this:

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Yes, the lava-to-lavee ratio had shifted significantly during the over-extended fight scene. Now the murder-honey was steadily flooding the chamber and leaving people stranded on islands. The orcs, perhaps thinking this a blessing of the volcano god Koberax (a noun, not a conjunction), seemed perfectly content to swagger around in here, and take their sweet Caucasian time with the survivors.

But not so for our intrepid heroes, and their intrepid CAPTAIN.


"RUUUUUUUUN!" Caelcrust ejaculated, in a very discreet way, by flashing the word above his head in golden serif. Then he got up and skittered past Nixies's's's murder-mush, making a beeline for the tunnel which the orcs had first appeared from. It was from here that they had dragged the kitty-sacks, and to here that Caelcrust sought the sweet, sweet freedom of a non-incinerated orc encampment.

He had lost count of which orc was dead, or slightly-dead, or not-as-dead-as-first-thought. He therefore made it 90% of the cavern's length before another contrivance occurred.

A greeeeeeeat laaaaaava riiiiiiver had formed at the end of the chamber... the ramp to the escape tunnel just beyond its far bank. To a rules-lawyer it would appear to be at least twenty feet wide. Caelcrust skidded to a halt at its bubbling edge and looked up and down the river, then to the ramp, then back to his various companions.

"Logic puzzle!" He waved his sleeves at everyone. "LOGIC PUZZLE!"

Anyone who looked his way would see him turning back to form various golden lines over the river - lines that measured distance and angles, temperature and velocity equations. His mathematical panic board wibbled in the heat haze.

"All flying characters, please make yourself known to the captain."
 
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Boo Girlie BoomBoom

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Fantasy of all kinds★★!! Here's a list: modern/urban, magic and swords, otherworldly/fish out of water, faeries and unicorns, sometimes dark, sometimes superhero-ish, sometimes mixed with sci-fi. The Boo Girlie's always down for weird, wild or whimsical! Yayuh!! :3 Oh! And Sky Pirates too~~!!


~The Panther/Jet~

<~~<⭐>~~>​



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The battle between a desperate and vicious near 300lb orc versus a snarling and slashing 500lb panther should have been quite the spectacle. But sadly no, it was over as soon as it started. Even if the orc struck the Panther, the wound would heal just as fast as she took the damage. The orc on the other hand, was not so fortunate. Every slash, every bite hurt even more than the last, turning it into nothing more than a near 300lb fleshy chew toy. From off the rocky ground it peeled itself. There it stood now, breathing hard through its mouth, the sneer on its face not as effective without its bone-jawed armour, without half its face and without both of its tusks present.

One last raise of its weapon was as futile as it knew it would be; the Panther roared and not only took away the weapon from it but most of its arm in a bloody and sickening, bone-crunching fashion. It spun once and fell to one knee. And yet once more it stood. A trembling breath it took, then that sneer returned once more, but its eyes were level, calm if not defiant.

"Etrandiar..." it pressed the tip of its clawed thumb of its remaining arm to its chest and lifted its chin proudly. Then it pointed with its forefinger to the lava. "...for Koberax... Etrandiar give..."

The golden eyes of the gigantic furred predator lost its glow momentarily. She nodded slowly and Etrandiar, just as slowly, nodded in return. This one had more honour and grace than its leader. The Panther turned away from the orc allowing it to die on its own terms.

"KOBERAAAAaaaaa--"

>>Hey! Next time, rip out its vocal cords first, Panti! I am soooooo sick and tired of hearing that name...<<

The Panther rolled her eyes and yowled softly as she made her way to her little striped kitten .

<~⭐~>​

A sound not too dissimilar to that of a needle abrubtly scratching off a record sounded off in her head. Miss Bundles had gone and grown up aleady! Joy and pride washed over the Panther as she rushed over and rubbed her face and neck against Bundles as a mother cat would continually groom and bunt with her kitten. But the cuddling and proud moment of motherhood was shortlived as they both noted that the male with the corkscrew was having a little bit of an issue with fighting its orcish opponent.

But the tide seemed to turn and from neath the huge body of the remaining orc emerged the dapper gent. And if the orc was not yet dead, by the time the Panther and Miss Bundles got through with it, it would be. In fact, the Panther would have definitely given the kill to her striped darling to see just what she could do; she did miss her evolution from strange two-legged kitten into full blown killing feline fury afterall. Don't they just grow up so fast...?! But now to the matter of they being on the wrong end of the rising lava vs. lavee ratio...

The Panther surveyed the area quickly and determined that both she and Bundles could easily leap the divde. But that would mean that only the both of them could escape down the tunnel. The dapper gent with the corkscrew unerringly became a quick ally via jumping into the fray with the great cats versus the orcs. Though unnecessary, the act was well received by the Panther. The annoying humanistic voice within would say different but right now it was not in charge of their body so the voice's concern was moot. The dapper gent at least deserved to have a chance to cross with them.

Yet again, the golden glow of her eyes dulled as she glanced over at the little girl with sword that was much, much too big for her. A heartfelt sigh the Panther let out. The sweet girl just had to accompany them. And yes, so too did her two daddies: the skull-faced one and the frilly pretty-boy. She needed her parents with her afterall. And even though it seemed as if the daddies were having a bit of a lover's squabble, they seemed like a decent enough pair to raise such a sweet girl and teach her how to survive and fight properly. And well, the daddies could sort it out, kiss and make up just as soon as they all got the hell out of here.

Golden glowing eyes scanned about once more. Vertical pupils dilated wide as a solution came to fruition in her feline head. Huge, near unbreakable claws slashed away at the ground. She stamped down twice upon the the word she etched into the stone.

R O P E

Then her tail pointed to their side of the divide and then at the striped Miss Bundles. To the opposite side she pointed and then pointed at herself. Between the both of them, they should be strong enough to bear the weight of the others **as long as they crossed one at a time.

Once more she stamped down on the word and her tail made a twirling motion as she pointed at the multitude of fungus blobs. She hoped that someone here was good enough to quickly braid together the purple squeaky things. That and hopefully they were not allergic to the fungus as well.

<~~<⭐>~~>​
 
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Zarko Straadi

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Eolanthe's heart lept into her throat--there was an orc to each side of her now, and if they both attacked her at once...

In accordance with an unfamiliar instinct, she lunged at the teetering Krognorr to slam him as hard as she could with her shoulder. His knees buckled, and as he lost consciousness, his hulking form toppled into Bleeding Armpit like an especially ugly, orc-shaped tree.

Taking advantage of their momentary tangle, she ran around Armpit's shield-side. A quick glance behind her: The third orc had taken her sudden move away from him as panicked flight, and decided she was a nuisance that could be dealt with later. He ran to join his fellows in battle with the two men, who were somewhat awkwardly yet quite effectively dispatching their attackers...him included.

Armpit managed to draw back and throw off his fallen comrade before Eolanthe could get in position to attack him from behind. Snarling, he whirled to face her.

Behind him, a blurry ashen-gray form with hints of silver shimmer peeled away from Krognorr's body and tried to drift toward the heart of the orcs' sacrificial chamber, where lava pooled and pulsed like a giant orange-lit heartbeat.

But the sword in Eolanthe's hand swung of its own volition to point at the orc's spirit, its tip quivering like a dowsing rod. As if pulled by a string, Krognorr's soul was drawn unerringly toward the gleaming blade. He clawed helplessly at the air, but was yanked through his compatriot to swirl around and into the sword, which grew warmer, almost uncomfortably hot, yet somehow gleeful as it fed.

Eolanthe had no time to contemplate this worrisome development, for the other orc had raised his blade and was coming at her, aiming to cleave her in half from top to bottom. Again that unexpected instinct, stronger this time. Eolanthe grabbed the hilt with both hands (for it had now shaped itself to form a two-handed grip) and swung the sword in a sweeping arc from right to left, while she stepped from left to right. A clash of steel that rattled her arms and then her whole body, but the orc's sword was slapped aside to strike the ground at her feet. She shifted to convert her sword's motion to a diagonal slash at the elboy joint of the orc's armor, but he twisted his torso to interpose his shield, then lunged at her with it, sending her sprawling.

Somehow, Eolanthe kept hold of her sword and scrambled to her feet, shaking her head to clear away the stars. She regretted that instantly, as the cavern seemed to swerve around her like a ship on high seas. Instead of charging her however, Armpit was staring off to his side with an expression of awe. "...Koooberrrraaaaaax..." he whispered worshipfully.

I'm getting dreadfully tired of hearing that word, Eolanthe thought. Which was unfortunate, as it would have otherwise remained a rather fine word.

"RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNN!" That was the voice of...PRIVATE? PETTY OFFICER?...Caelcrust (Eolanthe really would have to learn what the lowest possible rank on an airship was--although, without an airship and being entirely responsible for that circumstance, perhaps he should have no rank at all), and of course he was advising cowardice just when her sword was advising courage and will.

Yet, the air was growing more sulfurous, hot and humid by the second. When Eolanthe risked a glance to see what had captured the orc's rapture, she saw the rising, spreading lava. With a sigh, she decided Caelcrust was...right, and she really ought to follow him this time. She raised her sword in front of her face then swept it down, giving the orc a jaunty salute, then ran after the others.

Yet, instead of making a most timely escape, she skidded to a stop, trapped with the others as their path was blocked by lava. To her relief, all of the men from the Brightsmile had made it thus far, along with the two panthers. Then her eyes found the newest member of their party--a gigantic SPIDER!

Under better circumstances, Eolanthe would have been sorely tempted to run to it and throw her arms around one of its thick, furry jointed legs. But under the current circumstances, Caelcrust was yelling "LOGIC PUZZLE!" and projecting images that looked rather like her older brother Terrence's homework above his head. Eolanthe looked around with quick, birdlike movements. No stalagmites or stalactites that could be knocked down to form a bridge, no way around.

Two beautiful panthers, one adorable giant spider, three men, one alien, and one especially perspicacious young girl. Well, there was the mass of violet-colored...things?...but perspicacity or not, Eolanthe did not know what they were or what their capabilities might be. A calculation of numbers of potential mounts and riders in need of same was interrupted by a harsh scraping as the black panther carved 'ROPE' into the rock of the cavern floor.

She pointed with her tail at the churning violet mass. Upon closer examination, it appeared to consist of strange fungal fruiting bodies joined together by a skein of mycelial fibers. But would it be strong enough...and given that it seemed to have something resembling a mind of its own, willing? And would there be time to try to fashion it into a rope?

Instead of making the attempt (for who knew if the fungus, if fungus it was, was poisonous or not?), Eolanthe turned to the spider. "Are you a jumping spider?" she asked. "And can you make silk?"
 

AshenAngel

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Azazel 'Zazzy' Croft


Azazel grunts as Vess flops on top of him. “I am trying my best, alright? Forgive me for not exactly trusting magic from my personal assassin to prevent a decapitation.” He shoves himself back up to his feet, and reclaims his weapon from the orc that was unwillingly holding onto it with a vicious kick to the orc’s head and a swift twist of the crowbar. He gives the bastard one more whack to the head for good measure and a bit of stress relief before turning his white eyed glare to their remaining attacker.

He charges in and swings for the orc’s knee and dislocates it with the blow. He didn’t feel the bite of a greatsword against him or anything, and a smirk crossed his face at he met the confounded orc’s gaze before punching him in the face hard enough to send him reeling backwards - “when did that lava get there?” Volcanic rocks floated around Azazel as he watched the screaming orc combust and die.

Zazzy shakes his head and scrambles back to Vess, pebbles falling in his wake. “Minute’s up. We gotta move, now.” He hefts up the blond and in all practical sense carries him to where the group was gathering. Seeing the way blocked with more lava, he felt his pounding heart sink a bit. What happens when you can’t hold up your end of the bargain in a magic deal?

The kid’s words catch him, though. “Isn’t spider silk one of the strongest cords in the world?” He asks. He might not be smart when it came to a lot of things, but he did have an interest in spiders when he was little and that was one of the few things that stuck in his mind.​
 

littlekreen

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One thing spiders were not made for, was speed. As the lava inched closer the fungus started to slow and burn. Nixies tried to keep up, abandoning the fungus piles as they stopped but the lava poured closer and closer. His talking stick dropped as he shed weight it screeched somewhere in the distance as the temperature started to heat and the insectoid lungs started to fail. The dense boiling liquid started to turn the blood in his legs to steam in a not so slow cooking from inside. A silent wet white scream as steam poured out of lungs rupturing from the heat. As it pours across his body it quivers from hearts failing from the sudden flash cook of steam pouring through his veins as life left him.
 

Mglo

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As long as the plot's good I'm in. That says nothing useful though... so I'll say: sci-fi, fantasy, I'm curious enough about horror to add it, aaaand action? yeah, ok, sure, action!
Reactively, Entei crawled to his knees, reached for and pulled on the sword still impaled in the orc, and gave it a swifter end. More blood showered him and soon Entei stood, a dark figure in the glowing red of the sudden lava river that blocked their escape. He looked to Caelcrust's lines trying to solve a puzzle he didn't yet know all the pieces to. He reached for the orc's corpse and dragged it with him until he reached the gathered group.

No one moved to touch the fungus, no one seemed to be capable of flight, and Entei knew not how to weave nor could he grow wings functionally made to fly. There was also no time. The cry of death by lava soon proved them that.

Entei dropped the orc's corpse on top of the others laying around near the edge of the lava river. "There's enough organic matter here, but I've never used orc before and as such cannot predict the outcome, it might also not last or fail all together," he said though kept to himself how unwilling he was to be so wasteful. Alas, that was a remnant of his old self, the one who had always thrived. Survival now was what gave him the impulse to pull one of his spores - the size of a grape now - out and stick it well into the open belly of the orc he'd slain. Entei pressed his hands over it and ordered it to grow. Mycelium poked out unnaturally as the orc corpses rapidly decomposed bellow it. Entei's eyes were closed with concentration. Had he been watching, what developed from the Mycelium might have startled him off the process. The hideous mushroomesque thing continued to grow, sprouting like a misshapen tree.

Once Entei could order it no more he pulled back to see if what he made could be of use, but instead he gagged and puked. To think the magic he had developed and used mostly towards exploratory cuisine would create something as inedible as this!
 

Asmodeus

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Like in that one science fiction story, everyone was dying and only mushrooms could save the day.

Caelcrust dismissed his virtual whiteboard of golden symbols and turned to look down at Eolanthe. She had been mid-sentence with the spider when said spider decided to melt into a puddle of goo. One sympathized. Talking to the girl made Caelcrust entertain similar thoughts.

He grabbed Eolanthe by the SCRUFF and hoisted her away from the encroaching lava. "Everyone on the bridge. But be warned: one bungle on the fungal and you'll pungle with your mungles!"

He then shoved past Zazzy, almost knocking Vess into the lava as he climbed onto the mushroom-like protrusion. He dragged Eolanthe with him, her legs and sword gouging through the rapidly-caramelizing mushroom. Zazzy followed next, muttering some kind of thanks to Entei, who was deep in concentration while conjuring this feat of mushromancy.

The four A-listers were halfway across the mound when the surviving orcs (all three, six or thirteen of them) came running at Entei in a mostly-Caucasian way. The magic-mushroom-man had his eyes closed, so had no concept of the several multiethnic cleavers about to strike his throat.

But no such cleavers were cleft unto the cleaving. The orcs were suddenly bowled away by a great Cattus Ex Machina. Jet and U'saanvi slammed into the greenskin phalanx and drove them back with snarls and swipes. They were battling now at the very edge of the lava, each collision spilling an orc into the disintegrating, molten ground. Blood and lava sprayed around the cat-predators, and through it all Entei kept his concentration.

But they were soon to be lavees. U'saanvi understood this best of all. Glimpsing Entei's face, seeing how it wavered and sweated, she made her decision. "RrrrrrrrrrrUN!" she purred to her newfound mother, before turning and sinking her fangs into the shoulder of the nearest orc, wrestling him back towards the molten precipice.

Jet could only hesitate for a moment. A moment in which all the heartache and fury of a brief goodbye was translated by a single growl. Then the werepanther turned, barreled between Entei's legs, and scooped him onto her back as he passed out. The spell was disrupted, and the mushroom mound disintegrated. Caelcrust, Eolanthe, Zazzy and Vess had just made it to the other side when the mycelial matter collapsed into the lava. They turned and watched, as the bridge gave out, a half-second before Jet launched into the air...

...and landed on the other side of the river.

"Why couldn't you do that?" Caelcrust asked Eolanthe with a shake. Not acknowledging whatever pitiful excuse the girl had, the CAPTAIN turned along with Zazzy and Jet. The three carried their conscious/semi-conscious/unconscious passengers away as lava and heat haze erased the sight of U'saanvi holding off the last of the orcs.

They ran uphill, ascending the ramp that led to the higher tunnel from which the orcs had emerged. Below them lava flooded the sacrificial chamber and began the slow task of rising to the next point of overflow.

More chasms and lava swales awaited them, and they navigated each as they gained ground on the molten flow. It seemed the orcs had constructed many defenses in the caverns underneath the volcano, and while they would buy some time during an eruption, these defenses could perhaps never truly rival the effectiveness of cat-sacrifice.

"Eh?" grunted Jet, flicking her ears at Caelcrust as they ran.

"...THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CAT-SACRIFICE," Caelcrust repeated. "I'm curious if it would have worked. Are volcanoes afraid of cats?"

Jet perhaps had a clever, devastating answer to that. But before her dialogue could be fully hijacked, Zazzy skidded to a halt at the top of the next rise. He deposited Vess with a whump, and Caelcrust did the same with Eolanthe upon catching up. Then Jet did the same with Entei. Three whumps. MWAH HA HA.

Having thusly whumped, they looked ahead, down from the ledge on which Zazzy had stopped. A grand sight awaited them.

Caelcrust squinted his single eye, then looked to the others. "Does anyone have an Orc Disguise?"

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Asmodeus

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MEANWHILE, IN A MORE PROMISING SCENE...

The double-posting was outrageous. Two orcs - yes, count them, TWO - posted to the cell where Old Man Crask was currently spitting out teeth.

They didn't know he was Old, of course, and teeth-spitting was not a natural part of Crask's biology. Instead, he was being genetically modified by the fists of his orc jailers. They were strong proponents of the scientific method.

"What is hot dog?" roared Brarzur the Despoiler while slamming his knuckles into Crask's face. "WHAT IS HOT DOG?"

Brarzur looked like this. His twin brother had just been killed by Entei.

39fcy94.jpg

Behind him, Govrak the Ruthless leaned against the cell bars while using Crask's cane to scratch his buttcrack. "Best do what Brarzur say," he told Crask. "Govrak cannot stop him when he like this."

Govrak looked like this. He had actually been duplicated by a Glenphargan Doppelganger earlier that morning who was using his likeness to infiltrate an orc patrol and reach the next stage of celestial enlightenment. But then Jet had pushed the doppelganger into some lava.

HpHAwEF.jpg

Brarzur picked Crask up by the lapels of his fancy clothes, and shook him a few times. "Tell secrets of your wretched god, Hot Dog! What are his powers? What plots have him against Mighty Koberax?"

Govrak snapped to attention, clenching his buttcheeks against the cane while drumming his fists on his chest. "KOBERAAA---!"

Brarzur immediately dropped Crask and turned to his fellow jailer, bringing a green finger to his lips. "Sssssssh! You'll start a Koberax-Off!"

Govrak calmed himself, removed the cane from his crack, and pointed it at Crask. "Should not hurt him. Chief say he needed. For ship."

Both orcs narrowed their Caucasian eyes, glancing to one another, then to Crask, then to the other cells in the prison shack. It was the kind of sinister thing that orcs do when they know they've just mentioned a plot point. When nothing more came of the foreshadowing, Brarzur shrugged. "Wolfy dog-face furry Hot Dog cultist no need teeth to pilot ship."

Govrak sucked on the cane, thoughtfully. "Brarzur not know that. Could be teeth-based navigational helm."

Brarzur scowled, then looked at the ground. "Hangar orcs no tell Prison orcs anything."

The two jailers commiserated while standing in a pool of Crask's blood, underneath a wooden ceiling that would definitely not collapse on them when Caelcrust messed up his descent of the cliff face directly behind the prison shack.
 

AshenAngel

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Azazel 'Zazzy' Croft


In a shocking turn of events, it was Azazel who needed a minute as they reached the orc village’s scenic overlook. His arms were shaking just before he dropped Vess with an unceremonious whump. “Sorry.” He rasps out before moving a few paces away from the group and throwing up a black tar like substance, all the not-dying and looming sobriety ahead catching up to him and taking its toll.

After taking his minute, which really was closer to three, he wiped off his face on a part of his sleeve that was slightly less crusted with dried blood and whatever the hell else they’d rolled around in. Little pebbles floated around him as his thoughts drifted, and fell when he shook his head and snapped back into focus.

He frowns at their captain’s question. Disguises would be the safest option, but they had the kid who was too small, the big fucking cat, Vess who really didn’t have the orc build to back up a disguise, the KO’ed guy that was somehow still alive, and of course the captain that had the subtlety of car alarm going off outside a window at 10pm with his floating glowy emote. And then there was Zazzy’s own issues. “I’ve only got the one mask and it doesn’t like getting covered up…. Annnnd he’s going anyways. Great.”

Zazzy crouches down by the edge of the cliff, looking over the village to try and gauge how busy certain pathways are compared to others. “Keeping to the edges and circling around might be our best bet. Least risk of running into another fight, anyways.” He says to the remaining group. “Caelcrust will be our decoy.”
 

Mglo

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Entei's forced acquaintance with the cave floor forced his eyes open. Tired though he was, he sat up to look at the group of survivors and heard only the bit about keeping to the edges with Caelcrust being a decoy. It seemed awfully rude for the Captain of the Brightsmile to be given that role, but Entei supposed the group had become more familiarized with the captain's capabilities since the ship's rough landing. Therefore, skeleton man was to be trusted in this matter.

He readied himself by standing and found his legs stronger than he expected after that insult of a fungus he'd been forced to grow. It was also a struggle to smooth back his hair as it tangled with the orc blood that had bathed him before. Though he'd fought only one orc, his appearance made it seem like he'd single handedly waged war. "It would be nice to not have to face another fight so soon," he agreed as he neared the edge of the cliff. He marveled at the sight not because he found it impressive, but because it looked like just the kind of adventure his wife would have sought. Yet here he was instead.

With a tug to his scorched and bloodied sleeves he gave a slight bow to the group, "I am Entei. Honored to join your group of fine warriors," he eyed the big cat and the sword child specifically, "let us make haste, lest we waste the Captain's efforts."
 

Asmodeus

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Oh yes...

Caelcrust paused while climbing down the cliff, and called up to Entei. "How did you survive?"

Entei looked down at him. Caelcrust continued while clinging to the rockface like an overly-critical koala. "We all saw a bar shelf fall on you. Are you immune to bar shelves?"

The CAPTAIN conjured a golden arrow above his head, and stretched it out, using it to indicate the various handholds for the others to loyally follow.

He then called up again. "And then the ship crashed, despite the best contingencies of the Captain, and due to the actions of unsanctioned elder cultists and erroneous time travelers." He stared at Zazzy, to make sure he heard that part.

Then he looked back at Entei. "Then the ship was melted by a pyroclastic flow. Your survival is highly improbable."

He descended another few feet, his progress slow since his indescribable feet kept getting snagged on his robe. Then he took another break, and looked back up.

"Why is no one else climbing? You're supposed to be monkey-based."

He narrowed his eye at Jet.

"Yes... monkey-based."
 
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Asmodeus

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39fcy94.jpg
HpHAwEF.jpg

Brarzur and Govrak looked to each other nervously - that special kind of Caucasian nervousness (you know the kind). Then they stared at their prisoner, who was no longer moving. Well - that wasn't entirely true. His blood was moving; all over the floor by gravity's audacious delights.

Brarzur coughed. "Him dead?"

Govrak coughed too, while sucking on Crask's cane. "Perhaps not as punch-resistant as orcs."

Brarzur dabbed his foot in the blood. "Chief will be angry-boi. Needed wolfy dog-face furry Hot Dog cultist to pilot ship."

Govrak decided that was far too much foreshadowing, so instead took a calculated risk. "Me poke with doggy stick."

Brarzur scowled as he watched his fellow jailer probe Crask's ear and nose with his cane. "Not work. Stick-poke is like little orc-punch. Will make Hot Dog cultist MORE unconscious."

Govrak snarled, "Stick-poke is opposite of orc-punch! Will heal."

"Not healing stick."

"Got my spit on it. Spit heals."

"Spit has disease in!"

"Me swallow spit all time! Me fine."

"That orc spit. Dog-face need dog spit!"

"Got no dog spit. Me orc!"

Brarzur pointed at Crask. "HIM FULL OF DOG SPIT."

Govrak's eyes widened. "Oh yes. Will heal himself with own spit. Is compatible." He promptly flipped Crask onto his back and started forcing his own tongue down his throat. With enough self-lubrication, the old man would rise like a phoenix from a medical waste incinerator.
 

Zarko Straadi

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Lava overwhelmed the poor spider before it could answer Eolanthe's question, much less jump or provide any silken cord. Its only reply was a high-pitched chord of outgassing steam from its spiracles, a pipe-organ of arthropod agony.

She did not even have a chance to offer a proper shriek of horror before Caelcrust collared her and lifted her off her feet, thankfully away from the spider-consuming lava.

"Everyone on the bridge. But be warned: one bungle on the fungal and you'll pungle with your mungles!" he said, once again demonstrating what seemed to be his primary talent: a gift for producing entertaining words. There was no time yet for reflection on this matter, for life became a blur of sulfurous fumes, charging orcs, and pouncing panther predators coming to save the adventurers in the nick of time.

"Why couldn't you do that?" the airship-less, and therefore unemployed alien asked, shaking her. Eolanthe gave him a cross look.

"What, be a giant panther?!" she said, hoping that perhaps a bit of elementary logic and sensibility might get through to him. However, being held in his grip and with all too much surging lava about, now was not the best time to antagonize Caelcrust. She hardly needed to worry, as he paid her no mind anyway.

Their flight was far from pleasant or comfortable (the flight of the Brightsmile had at least offered some of both qualities, until somebody decided to wreck it in a volcanic eruption), but at least it was fast, and away from the deadly magma. Finally, it ended when Eolanthe was unceremoniously dropped on a ledge overlooking a subterranean orc...village, or perhaps city. Mist and shadow prevented a view of its entirety.

"Does anyone have an Orc Disguise?" Caelcrust asked. Still rattled from the spider's death, and from being shaken and nearly strangled by his use of her neck as carrying-handle, Eolanthe did not have a snappy answer. Fortunately, Zazzy delivered:

"Caelcrust will be our decoy," he said, after offering what seemed to be a sensible plan. Eolanthe gave a laugh that was somewhere between genuine mirth and nervous breakdown.

She climbed unsteadily to her feet, relieved that she had managed to keep hold of the sword through the scruff-carrying and whump-dropping she had just experienced. She shook her head to drive off thoughts and images of the spider's death, and the orc deaths she had participated in rather more directly.

A fellow whump-victim awakened from apparent unconsciousness. He might have looked like an elegant gentleman, were his clothes not bloodstained, charred, and torn as if he had just emerged from the Apocalypse. I suppose I do not look much better, she thought, deciding to refrain from confirming that hypothesis. Postpone the gross-out until there was at least a possibility of restoring cleanliness and proper appearance for a young lady.

"I am Entei. Honored to join your group of fine warriors," the man said, singling out Eolanthe and one of the panthers with his eyes. Eolanthe blinked in surprise; adults never offered her such genuine respect. "Let us make haste, lest we waste the Captain's efforts." He looked vaguely familiar... He must have been aboard the Brightsmile, though his current condition and the cavern's insufficient lighting were not conducive to recognition.

"It is a pleasure to meet you good sir, I am Eolanthe Andreadys," she said, giving him a one-handed curtsy. Her sword, unfortunately, had not come with a scabbard and baldric or belt, so she had no convenient way of putting it up when not in use. Which was presently presenting a challenge, as monkey-based clambering was about to factor in her near future.

After a moment's consideration, she pinched the blade in her fingers, careful to avoid the edge, and raised the weapon up so she could slide the point between her dress and slip under the back of her collar, then lower it until the collar held the hilt up. She would not be able to bend over very far in this state, and drawing the sword again would surely be as delicate and awkward an operation as "sheathing" it had been, but at least her hands were now free.

That left her to face the daunting prospect of climbing down the cliff. She gulped, then clenched her teeth against offering any expressions of fear or worry. I mustn't be a frightened useless child! she thought. Despite her best efforts, Eolanthe froze in place.
 

Mglo

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Entei replied to Eloanthe's curtsy with a well mannered bow. Her manners and speech showed the kind of good breeding Entei was ashamed to admit surprised him given the current company and the events since he joined it. But he stopped himself from further judgements as he was finding his own persona increasingly changed. And it had all begun with a bar shelf.

As if on queue, Captain Caelcrust asked the question Entei least hoped to speak the answer to. The mention of the bar shelf flashed the memory back into his mind. The way he'd been helplessly buried under several shelves, booze, and peanuts would indeed have killed him if not for his carefully crafted collection of spores and seeds. Entei wished he could explain how swift of mind and action he had been to set the plan in motion which cleverly utilized his areas of strength by growing a vast web of fungus, roots, and plants that networked between metal, glass, and shelves to craft an adaptive cocoon. A mass of branching, thread-like hyphae, spreading out to shift the core like a shelled gastropod glacially making its way to freedom. In reality, it had been the booze mixture that had watered the contents of his creations combined with his sheer panic and pain that spilled forth his magic in a cry for help. The adaptive cocoon had been more of an amateur salad, nutritious though it was, which also conveniently cushioned the crash.

"My survival was rather complicated," Entei mumbled as he stepped over the cliff to begin the climb down. But Caelcrust would not relent. "I uh, used up all my inventory. The spore I used to help cross the lava river was a haphazardly created thing I grew after the ship melted." Entei took a few more steps down before he added, "after the crash, I was not exactly in the ship when the pyroclastic flow streamed through." He had not lied, just muddled some truths...

"Actually, it was all very accidental," he finally confessed when excuses failed him and integrity won out. A bit. "I imagine your group also had some degree of luck during your survival?" Entei looked back up to the rest as he ended his words in a question. By the looks of some, perhaps they had not needed the luck. It was then he saw the child, Eloanthe, unmoving near the ledge. Entei turned to look down at Caelcrust and said, "does the child have other specialties besides the sword fight? I'm not sure it's proper to let such a young one stand guard up there while we climb."
 

Nue

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It seemed as if all hope was lost...
...initially


Old Man Crask
0.5 Rests since the last incident
oldman.png
It starts a tale short and sweet like any other: A fine day of refreshments and a sauna at the front of the ship, beating out the best that he could of his feathers. Then, with a volcano here and some orcs there. He found himself quickly surrounded by those cabbage-loving beefcakes. He gave them a thrashing, oh ho he did give them a right thorough thrashing, it took a whole seven-hundred and thirty-four orcs to finally subdue him in, throwing hands even while he was still captured. The story went something like this:


A small tangent of orcs surrounded this weird and confused animal creature that constantly shouted and yelled while beating the absolute crap out of this boulder with his cane, which was doing oddly well for its years.

"Ha! Take THAT you blasted bean! You clearly do not understand the brawn and brains of a creature such as I, the GRRREAT and Gratuitous Captain Crask! Yah!"

Needless to say, the rock was absolutely no match to him.

The Orcs just kinda, sat there, dumbfounded at this man's senile behavior, until he started hunching over, out of breath, wheezing out a bit in exhaustion.

"Wow! You certainly are a tough one; I'll spare you this time, you fought well! But don't catch me crossing paths with ME ever again!"

He then turned around towards the orcs, triumphant at his recent victory, and completely unaware of the situation around him.

"Ahh! I take it you are here for my reception?"

It turns out, they were not.

AND SO! The brave and bodacious hero Crask found himself locked in a prison, granted the ability to only survive through his charming wit and skill (It was because he started rambling about his days as a hotdog-loving airship captain while he was being led back), he found himself not only a way to survive boldly behind enemy lines. But also hold a meeting with the orc tribe's supposed leader: Brarzur the Despoiler. A very menacing name indeed. But Crask was simply a cut above. Smart. Cunning. Hotdog-oriented. And more than anything, Crask was a top negotiator, as clearly shown here in the following negotiations with this so-called 'Brazur the Despoiler' and his partner "Govrak the Ruthless", who sought to only add to the annoyance by using his cane as a butt-scratcher. A BUTT SCRATCHER!?!? The nerve!
Yes, the negotiations. Here's how it went:


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"What is hot dog?" roared Brarzur the Despoiler while slamming his knuckles into Crask's face. "WHAT IS HOT DOG?"​

Crask was beaten down by some big smelly orc, clearly not the reception he wanted. He caught wind of the hot dog incident. and it seemed like every time Crask was gonna retort a neat response, the orc punched him again, feeling dizzy and spitting out teeth, so he started to wait a bit, and pass the time by counting the teeth that flew out. Four...five...six...I am thankful to have false teeth! Bet they never saw that one coming...HA!
That other orc really wasn't lying; you really can't stop him once he's like this. So Crask stayed put and kept tight-lipped as the orc tried to pry them open. When he finally thought he caught a nice break from the beating, he felt firm hands take ahold of his sides to hoist him high up in the air, shaking his head until all screws were loose.

When asked what he thought was a question about hot dogs. He tried to go out on a tangent about what a hot dog is, but instead, all he did was sputter and gurgle out blood. That's not normal! I hope you pay me the proper funds for my generous blood donation! I'd hate to be side-swiped!

He couldn't even picture the other orc at this point as his vision got so blurry and his senses started to fail. But thankfully, he could still hear. He heard about their 'Mighty Koberax' which may have been their leader all along. He heard about how they needed him to pilot a ship, and the last thing he heard was the two of them complaining one last thing before he slipped off into the netherworld...
"Hangar orcs no tell Prison orcs anything."​
And so, that was it: After a perfect negotiation that resulted in the weakening of the orcish defenses, Crask would make the brave and valiant sacrifice of dying in a prison cell so that his friends may easily breach through their defenses and saved the day. But as for Crask, the story is over; he lies dying on the floor, blood everywhere, and the Orcs are still no closer to being defeated. As stated in the beginning,

It seemed as if all hope was lost...
...initially


But Crask was not ready to put down the cane just yet! He barely even got time to have the spotlight, to put his fame and fortune into this unknown strange world, and, most importantly. He needs to fulfill his quest: To find the GREATEST HOTDOG IN THE MULTIVERSE!!! And is he one to throw all that away because of some brave and noble sacrifice to weaken the orcish defense and help his friends? OF COURSE NOT!!!

And so, through the sheer willpower and awesomeness within, Crask arose again, determined, to save the day, and live to tell the tale.

Here's how it happened:

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It was as if he just got out of a coma. A really, odd coma. He felt something enter his mouth, and his eyes widened to see that it was none other than his savior and assistant chief receptionist, Grovrak the Ruthless! It was as if the saliva was the equivalent of kicking an alarm clock to make it start beeping again. Something deep inside Crask just *clicked* and he started to awaken with immediate vigor and the excitement of a schoolchild on a field trip! Crask seemed way too excited in his response:

"GREAT GRANNIGANS YOU'VE DONE IT! YOU'VE BROUGHT ME BACK!" He chirped, feeling unaffected from the prior beatings despite how he is still bleeding and missing a few...'teeth'. He shook the orc in a childlike excitement for a bit before letting go of him. "You mentioned an airship yes? I am to lead your airship to a great and MIGHTY victory for you MIGHTY KOBERAX!?!? Then take me to this airship at once! And I MEAN IT! There will be NO LOLIGAGGING!" He puffed up his chest and rested his arm on his heart to give them a symbol of respect, as he proceeded/attempted to march out to this mysterious 'hangar orcs' just as the prison started to shake.
"WITH HASTE BRAVE MEN! TAKE ME TO YOUR HANGAR ORCS! FOR IT IS US WHO HOLDS THE GREAT NEWS! AND FOR THE MIGHTY KOBERAX I WILL LEAD YOUR SHIP TO VICTORY!!!"
 
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Asmodeus

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That was too much. Far too much.

Caelcrust narrowed his single eye at Entei as he defended the deplorable Eolanthe child. There must be something about sharing the first letter of your name with someone. It breeds conspiracy. In that very moment, Caelcrust swore he would never ally himself with another airship captain whose name began with 'C'.

KABOOM! went a volcano, the next continent over. This was unrelated to the story.

"She's NOT on guard!" Caelcrust snapped before pointing to Jet, Zazzy and Vesk, who were standing on the ledge and staring at the town, as if perhaps its orcish majesty had overwhelmed them. "THEY'RE on guard."

He then looked back at Entei, who was clambering down the cliff beside him. "Now let me react to your words and actions in chronological order, as is the custom. However, I shall do it in reverse..."

The captain took a breath, then started as if in the middle of a scene. "There was no luck involved in our escape! None at all. It was a skillful utilization of clonal crumple zones and magno-enturblement field dynamics. We survived because of science."

PHWATOOOOOM! went a rather flatulent rhinoceros in the next valley. This was unrelated to the story.

Caelcrust took a second breath then began a second reaction scene, like one suffering a schizophrenic break. "So you attribute your survival to mushrooms? Why does everyone do that these days?"

He stopped, and cleared his throat. Entei was left with the profound sense that this dialogue was highly unnatural. Offensive, almost. Perhaps he would reflect on that, a few posts from now.

AAAAAAAAGH! screamed a chimpanzee on the next mountain over. This was the same chimpanzee from before, but again the moment was unrelated, despite occurring twice.

"Anyway," said Caelcrust as he continued stepping on his robe and bumping his head during the descent, "To keep you on your toes I'll now circle back to your second-to-last comment. The child has no other marketable skills. In fact, we should sell her to the nearest sl--"

JAHBLAAAAAAM! went a catapult. A related catapult, highly relevant to current events. Jet, Zazzy and Vess were forcibly erased by a great explosion of fire, dust, and flying rock shards. They had been clobbered by an orc catapult, fired by a pair of cheeky artillerists on a nearby rooftop.

AAAAAAGH! went Eolanthe, who was only slightly more relevant than the chimpanzee to current events. She was flung off the ledge by the force of the explosion. Entei reached for her, and in the process slipped and fell, plummeting towards the town below.

Caelcrust did not reach for her, but was unrewarded for such discretion. The girl collided with him, and they both dropped.




Meanwhile on the Green Mile...

Govrak panicked as Crask came alive with eccentric babblings. Behind him, Brarzur pointed and roared over the sound of Crask's foreshadowing. "It zany to the max! Kill it!"

Govrak held Crask at arm's length in a chokehold, and roared while preparing to impale him with his own poop-stained cane. "Kobera...!"

GAGABLAGHArAAAAAHM! went the ceiling.... of a tavern on the west coast where a guild of potato merchants had gathered for their annual blood ritual. Incidentally, the ceiling of the orc prison where Crask was also made the same noise, and collapsed in a similar fashion.

Entei and his entourage (enteirage?) of wooden rafters, roof tiles, head-spikes and thatching crashed down on top of Brarzur, killing him instantly (Brarzrur that is, although you never know...) Then Caelcrust and Eolanthe, with their posse of scaffolding, paving slabs and clay bricks crashed down on top of Govrak, killing him also instantly (Govrak that is, because anything else would be too much to hope for).

Crask was left dangling in the dust cloud, still in the chokehold of Govrak, whose two Caucasian arms were all that remained protruding from the pile of rubble.

Curiously, Caelcrust's golden symbols joined him a few seconds later, gliding into the dusty prison cell with a perfectly rendered map of how a team of organized adventurers might traverse a cliff side. One had to give credit where credit was due: it would have been a remarkable bonding experience.
 
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Absyinthe

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Flight of the Brightsmile - Ashval Corvus

Interesting Circumstances

Ashval was preening his feathers as he sat sunken onto the floor in the Orc Prison's cell. His love for mysterious artifacts led him astray this time. While searching for firestone of unknown power, he stumbled upon this cult of Orcs that worship the volcanoes of the land. They didn't take him too kindly for snooping around, yet they had never seen a creature quite like him, a tall bipedal raven man that kept himself alive by showing Orcs shadow parlor tricks. They still imprisoned him, but he didn't get as many beatings as his companion in the other cell. They particularly favored that one, and Ashval was thankful his shadow magic was enough to entertain the Orcs for several moments.

It had been a day like any other in the cell when suddenly the whole roof had collapsed in on itself. It seems as though the two orcs badgering his neighbor succumbed to the falling debris. It was unusual for such happenings as Ashval thought the Orc architecture was impenetrable. It seems that several people were the cause of this cave-in, and he knew that they were his ticket out of here. He ruffled his feathers and bounded up from the floor, surveying the wreckage and flapping his wings, trying to get rid of the stiffness. He couldn't see much in the cloud of dust and decided his best bet was to call out to the others.
"Hullo? What's happening? Can ye' get me out of 'ere?" He screeched with a shrill voice. The collapsed roof of the prison had caused the door to become jammed, and he would need help if he's to escape.