Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Quill, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. World (open)

    The Frozen Land (open)

    In the idyllic Elysia, the Northern gods ruled here. Now in the Frozen Land of Pégulis the earth is covered in a bone-chilling glacier and the wind blows ice and snow so bitterly cold that every rattling breath feels like shattered glass pressing into the lungs. The only colors here are white and gray – the sky is always overcast, the igloos in which sentientkind huddle for warmth empty of furniture or decoration, besides sleeping bundles made hypothermic through special spells. Yet these rare resources are falling apart, the magic fades, and there are precious few who know how to enchant them; and every night, another person grows chilly and deathly silent forever. Still there are those who hang on to the hope that the curses on the ice, clouds and stone might be lifted … but the bitter, paralyzing anathemas can only be satisfied with the awakening of an ancient god, known to the histories in different times and regions as Libras, Libretas, Liber and Literos. Many legends surround him, but all that is certain is that he was mortally wounded in a decisive divine battle and fled the known world to recover. He has not been heard or seen of since, and some Pégulians despair of ever finding him, if even they believe he ever really existed.



    The easternmost Pégulian city, Taevak is located in a bitter-cold evergreen forest behind the mountain range separating Kausteira from Pégulis. In the ancient days, before the Cataclysm, Pégulis was a flourishing forest and grassland with a pleasantly cool mountain range in the north and seven proud cities, each with their own representative animal, but all have fallen except for Taevak and Ald. Its symbol is the Bear, and its inhabitants have always been fierce wintry hunters; many Forest Kin there have bloodlines more ancient than anywhere else in the world. It is built of stones from the nearby mountains.


    Barval is the newest Pégulian city, erected by the Blue President herself. In the old tradition, Pahkné also gave it an animal symbol: the Osprey, same as her aenigma Murkahal. The homes are a cleverly constructed array of largely natural and partially man-made tunnels and cave systems inside the mountain that can be kept toasty and safe even as blizzards and predators roam outside. The diet consists largely of seafood, especially during winter, as there is very little vegetation available, but in the summers the temperature can drop to a pleasant coolness and all sorts of small game can be hunted, especially migratory birds and herbivorous herds.

    Originally a death trap for travelers who sought to cross the mountains but got lost, Pahkné used her magic and survival skills to protect wanderers who would otherwise have been lost, attracting them to warmth and food with the pulsing violet light glowing from her staff, which, being magical, could shine purely through snow and sleet. Soon she had enough citizens to make a real city, and after securely founding Barval, she claimed meager border territory to the south and repopulated Taevak and Ald.

    Besides plenty of Zmaragdosi who know about Ald and a handful of nomads familiar with Taevak, Barval and the Pégulian nation have remained secret. In return for shelter at Barval, travelers must become citizens if they want to have the freedom to stay as long as they like and be taught the secret tunnel and subterranean passages that can lead them to Zmaragdos or Kausteira safely. If they should refuse, they are expelled from the city and left to fend for themselves in the arctic wild. So far that has happened rarely and no reports of any survivors on such occasions have reached the public ear. All citizens must swear never to divulge the secret of Pégulis, and everyone knows that you should never break an oath to a sorcerer, especially a powerful and clever one…. On maps the frigid northern mountains are simply labeled "uncharted territory", and Pahkné intends to keep it that way … until revealing herself will be convenient.


    The westernmost Pégulian city, Ald is perhaps the oldest city in Sunnepheia. Even when, after the Cataclysm, Zmaragdosi citizens moved very far northwards and claimed the cold city of Quelt and others near it, Ald was left well alone: the Forest Kin of Zmaragdos have never forgotten that a terrible event of obscure but peerlessly horrific nature occurred there, and in their superstition avoid it as much as possible. The government is aware that some people live there, but they are dismissed as ignorant travelers seeking temporary shelter. Few Zmaragdosi have ever overcome the hostility of their elders to discover that Ald is a restored, bustling city, Pégulis's largest and most successful, full of trade and even libraries.

    Still, its history is dark. Its symbol is the Cedar Tree, and indeed, in Elysian times it was the capital city of the land that now is called Pégulis. The city was once built around the oldest, largest, most magnificent tree in the world, but its name has been lost to time. As the Pégulians know, it was made of and exuded a powerful magic, though what that magic was for is forgotten. In any case, it came about one way or another that some mighty deity (or deities) struck it down with fire, poison or lightning, or perhaps a holy combination of them all; and its destruction left a scorched crater where once the heart of the western jungle had been.

    Fire From Heaven


    Theme Song (open)


    The Blue President held out her staff so that the lavender orb at its top throbbed with a surge of fresh power, pulsating in a steady beat like a primeval drumbeat. With her free right hand hovering above the ailing man's tremoring chest, she murmured underneath her breath and shut her eyes tight. Gradually his erratic breathing slowed to match the slow, languorous rhythm of the orb in the staff. Pahkné's aenigma fixated the dazed man with a piercing dusk gaze. Put your hand on your heart, he ordered, and, shakily, the man did so. Now beat, the osprey cawed, to the thrum of the healthy heart.

    The man patted his chest, shakily and unsteadily at first, then closer and closer to the pulse of the dusky orb, until finally, for many heartbeats, it matched perfectly. The glow died down abruptly and Pahkné's hand fell to her side. She looked up from beneath the fall of long black tresses and smiled beneficently at the steadily breathing man, keeping careful accord between hand and heart. A sheen of sweat glittered across her forehead. Murkahal looked up sharply beside her. Someone's coming, he said.

    "What is it?" she asked as a comrade walked in. "I would like a moment of peace with this man."

    The woman's flinty eyes darkened. "It is urgent, comrade."

    Pahkné's mien tensed. She raised herself from her position kneeling at the ailing man's bedside and reached out an arm for Murkahal to alight upon, his silver sheen glimmering quietly as he ruffled his grey feathers."Lead me," she said, and left the long stone cavern, dotted with four other such beds, without looking back.

    "It's the Comrade of the Skies," the beady-eyed woman was saying, her pale brown hair swishing as a faint, freezing breeze passed. "There's something … he felt that you should see." A line between her brows and the tightness of her lips, the way the eyes widened slightly and the fingers shifted, and Pahkné saw unmistakably how nervous the woman was. Anvasha was not one for unease or drama, so the expression concerned her. Though, what could the Comrade of the Skies really have found that was so disturbing? The real danger lay in the cracking, melting, splitting, gaping ice beneath.

    They made their way through the intricate tunnel system. Both knew the way by heart, though there was little to guide them but the pulsing lavender light of Pahkné's staff and a few precious flickering torches and oil lamps attached to the walls, to indicate crossing points. All at once the ground grew rockier, the path became steeper and the temperature plummeted abruptly. The toasty heat of subterranean Barval, enabled by magics of a rebel empire long dead, suffused the belly of the mountains still, but were fraying and unravelling at the edges. Pahkné and other Pégulian sorcerers did the best they possibly could to restore and uphold the spells, but they could not stop the natural erosion of time. Here, at the edge of the cold ward, a deep, unearthly chill began sinking into Pahkné's bones.

    Outside the noon air was so crisp and brittle it might be cut with a dagger. A raucous wind howled as it buffeted the ice cliffs. And Pahkné had to squint and flinch when the impossible shining brilliance of the frosty landscape outside reflected the sun's full white glare in her eyes. Even Murkahal shifted uncomfortably, his silver sheen coruscating like snow crystals where it caught the light. Their plain clothing whipped in the screaming gale and Pahkné shivered uncontrollably – and then they dipped back into shadow and darkness and warmth, the welcoming mouth of another tunnel looming wide.

    It was the topmost room of the settlement, and the snaking, unsteady path the comrades took wound in circles upwards until they arrived at their goal: the Observatory. Snow crunched beneath Pahkné's boots, and she drew her cloak tighter around herself as the cold ward ebbed once again. The open tower gazed up at a chalky sky, thick with heavy clouds, though the wind had died down to a whisper at this height. Behind the President, Anvasha greeted the Comrade of the Skies with an upheld fist and a solemn gaze.

    "Comrade Kaol," Pahkné greeted him, somewhat apprehensively. "I heard it was urgent."

    "Comrade Pahkné. I would not ask you here without due reason," Kaol said sincerely. "Please … turn around." A small black bat peered out through his long fair hair from the cup between neck and shoulder, its startling indigo eyes fixed on a distant point in the sky over Pahkné's shoulder.

    She turned and gasped. "What is it?" And then: "No. No, it cannot be…"

    Kaol nodded darkly. "…A dragon."


    May all those who name themselves
    comrades of the free nation of Pégulis
    who are able of body and sharp of mind
    answer the call to protect the nation's heart
    and rid Barval of a fiery pestilence:
    Dragons fly above
    and their iron bellies shall be filled
    with our swords!

  2. The Norsigul was a name given by local Avians to the narrow, sweeping stretch of land north of Lake Kaikias. Hemmed between the sea and the oft-frozen lake, it stood as perhaps the coldest place in all Sunnapheia, battered by wind and ice storm. In the summer, if one could call it that, the thawing of the lake meant that most travel was river-born and the Norsigul was avoided altogether. It was for this very reason that some of the most proficient Avian tribes existed on the Norsigul stretch, far from where other races might venture. And it was also for this very reason that Medwick's archaeological team had chosen the Norsigul as the place to search for the fabled Shard of Libras.

    For only somewhere this remote, this inhospitable, this unforgiving... could have hidden the footsteps of a god.

    And only Medwick, of all northerners, had been consistently described with the same three adjectives.

    The sage's life currently rested in the hands of two Avians who had flown to the summit of the Wuldun Cliff, a great wall of ice that formed the east face of Mount Dereskai. In a wooden harness dangling from the two ropes they had lowered, Medwick chipped away at the ice with his hand-pick, shedding the layers that time had deposited since the Cataclysm. In his off-hand, a bracelet of gems was clutched, their edges giving off a faint heat which he used, now and then, to clean off the excavation area. Medwick often theorised that the only reason for his promotion to Chief Archaelogist was the fact that he was among the few northerners who could enchant these thermic crystals. A larger version of those gemstones currently nestled against his back, in the folds of his clothes, keeping hypothermia at bay. And several more, hundreds of feet below, marked like lamps the perimeter of the expedition camp.

    He wondered how many of his assistants were watching him. Half praying for him to find something... the other half hoping the ropes would snap.

    Medwick gave a tug on the secondary cord, sending a signal up to the two Avians at the top of the cliff. After a moment, the order was understood and the cradle lifted a few feet, taking the sage to the next area of interest.

    The Shards of Libras represented, for Medwick, the most intriguing and feasible archaeological find in post-Cataclysm history. The legend went that the Lost God Libras did battle in the heavens with foes unknown, and with each clash shards of molten metal broke from his blade and fell to the world below. In the construction of Barval City they had uncovered certain tiny seams of a metal - a metal that could not have formed without proper bedrock - that seemed resilient to the freeze-thaw weathering and glacial pressure of the environment. Medwick's commission was to find more of this ore... an ore which could one day revolutionize the techniques of insulation and construction in Pegulis.

    It would certainly spare him from enchanting all those damn thermic crystals for people.

    The Wuldun Cliff of Mount Dereskai had great promise. Intial Avian scouting had shown discolouration in the ice wall, and a water test in the lower valleys had proven metal deposits. If estimates were correct, there was a seam perhaps a mile-wide running straight through the east face. It would be a career-defining discovery, and Medwick would be able to personally mitigate the religious hysteria that such a find would provoke. There was nothing worse than some religious nut ascribing sacred value to the things he dug up. Frankly, it was insulting.

    His knee was aching. The cold always brought out the worst. Spying a natural ledge where he could rest, he gave another tug on the secondary cord. Seconds passed, his cradle swaying in the ice wind that howled along the cliff face. Then the seconds turned to minutes. He gave another tug, sharper this time, and squinted up to the cloud-smotherered peak. There was no response. Perhaps the Avians had fallen asleep... or more likely had gone off chasing snow rabbits. They made no secret of their disdain for land-dwelling races, and Medwick had had more than a few problems with them on this expedition. The Avians refused to carry ration packs, insisted on taking the high ground wherever they went, didn't eat chicken and had to sleep upwind from the huskies.

    And now... it seemed... they had bored of manning the climbing ropes. Cursing, Medwick stowed his tools and twisted in his cradle to flatten himself to the cliff face. The ledge was a few feet above. He would climb up the hard way then check the cord... maybe even yell up at the Avians if it wouldn't cause an avalanche. Grunting, the archaeologist worked out the handholds then hauled his weight off the cradle. He climbed a few feet, the wind howling in his hairs, then got both hands on the lip of the ledge. His legs swung out, his red marker sash trailing, and he dangled from the overhang, working up the strength to haul himself to safety.

    Then something landed on his hand.

    Medwick looked up at Carval.

    Carval settled his talons and stared back.

    Medwick blinked.

    Carval preened its feathers and stared back.

    "Can I help you?" the dangling archaeologist said at last, through the muff of his coat hood.

    The crow blinked. Then, at length, answered in a quiet, tiresome murmur. "He wanted to see you."


    Something landed on his other hand.

    Medwick looked across at the snow white owl.

    The owl stared back.

    There was silence. Medwick dangled from the ledge, looking through his goggles at the two birds, wind and ice howling around him. "Well... this is nice..."

    "Draaaagons!" the Owl hissed, its voice hoarse and cracked with age. No doubt the messenger aenigma of one of the Elders. "Theeey cooome to Barval, with fiiire and suuuuffering..."

    Medwick scowled. "I suppose that's why my Avians vanished."

    "A caaaall to aaaall of the arcane haaaand. Huuuurry!" The owl squawked and then spread its wings, almost startling Medwick's grip as it set off into the air and continued onwards in its errand.

    "Perfect!" the sage muttered, "Recalled in the middle of a dig to fight winged lizards!"

    "The mountain will still be here," Carval stated.

    Medwick glared at his aenigma. "Make yourself useful, you! Return to camp and tell Shardis I'm coming down. We'll need the huskies readied."

    Without another word, his crow alighted and circled, like some dark angel, to the foothills below. And as he departed Medwick reached across to snag the top-rope. He would have to climb back down by himself and get someone else to retrieve the gear. Locking his Fell-Fiber gloves around the rope he began abseiling, each swing punctuated by a muttered curse.

    "How do they expect any kind of progress when our defences are in the Dark Ages and uhrr mghrr rhrr nurghr."
  3. "Oh for the love of *%$#@" Shardis dangled from the crack in the stone and ice by one set of claws while looking and swearing at her other hand. "I broke another nail! This just isn't my day, Garth?!" She paused there tail twitching, feet dangling. "GARTH!!!" A growl came from deep in her chest as her temper began to rise. Why was she cursed with the most laziest, annoying, self centered....

    "You rang oh mighty one?" came a quiet purring male voice beside her.

    Shar turned her head quickly to the right but no one was there, then to the left, still no one. A chuckle could be heard a few feet out from the rock surface directly behind her and she paused, took a deep controlled breath, head hanging down and counted to five then said slowly. "If it's not too much trouble, could you scout above me for a hand hold or two? The rope broke and I really don't want to fall to my death today."

    There was the sound of lazy (to her thinking) flapping wings then a moment later the voice was back. "To your left and up some there is a ledge of sorts that should suit you oh great one. Reach for it...that's it! Little farther, little mooooore..."

    "Dammit Garthon! I don't have arms fifty feet long! Where's the %&*$ ledge??!! Oh, there it is." With a mighty heave Shar surged up onto the small ledge and took a deep breath, sat back and relaxed some what.
    The Snow Leopard Fellion pulled out a piece of jerk from her pack and ripped off a bite and began sucking on it. She mused over her reason for being on another cliff face, no rope, all alone...again. It always seemed to end up this way with Galain. Him off in the lead somewhere and her left behind at camp or whatever. This was different though, his crow was out of sight, that was unusual. He hadn't checked in with her at the designated time, that was down right unheard of, he always checked in, even when he didn't need to. Now it was getting towards dusk, she was worried.
    He's a human and can't take the cold for over-long.
    Shar half smiled as she could hear him now, saying that she was worse than a milk nurse, fussing over him so. A frown came over her and she drew a quick sip off the canteen at her side and stood up. Just then she heard some flapping in the air out from the ledge and just above her, it wasn't Garth, the wings were too small and feathered not leathery like his. It had to be, it was, Carval.

    "Tell your lord that I am very angry with him! Where is he?? He should be back at base by now. Is he hurt?" A worried look overcame her face as many different visions of the man with a bum knee fell off the mountain in a tangled heap of broken limbs and torn garments came to mind at that moment.
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  4. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings></xml><![endif]--> Eilene rose from the freezing waters like a ghost. Her pale skin and blank white eyes certainly did make her look like a phantom, and it often earned her uneasy glances from those she encountered.

    Behind her she dragged a net filled to the brim with writhing, silver scaled fish. Each one was rather large, and a precious source of protein rich meat. The haul was heavy, and it took considerable effort to drag it from the water onto the rocky outcrop. It winded her more than she would like to admit. Eilene could feel the poison sapping her strength.

    As a cold wind whipped past, chilling her soaked dress and seeming to go right through her; her thoughts turned to the warm tunnels of Barval. Eilene was used to cold, as she lived nearly her whole life in a place where the sun’s rays never ventured. It occurred to her that most people could not survive a swim in the frigid ocean here, that their bodies would shut down and they would drown. Eilene could handle that, but the cold air was different than cold water. She felt as if her body could adjust to the cold damp, but when she felt she finally adjusted to the air a cold breeze would hit her and freeze her again. She was eager to go inside.

    Just as she was about to begin the task of dragging her catch to the tunnels; she felt another presence approaching. It took her just a moment to pinpoint the direction. She could hear footsteps crunching and displacing snow, the approaching person’s center of gravity and the way he was putting weight on his feet let her know that this was a male, shorter than herself by nearly a head. Though there was no way she could sense the weasel aenigma that walked beside him. She turned to meet him, waiting for him to tell her what he had prepared. Unfortunately, she was in a foul mood. Her bodies lack of strength today a reminder of her predicament. She tried to hide it though. He seemed to be approaching with a purpose.

    “I’ve come to deliver a summons from Pahkne.”

    Eilene did not show her surprise. She couldn’t imagine what Pahkne could want with her. She wondered if the Blue President took the time to pen it by her own hand, or if she had others to do those things for her.

    The boy, who seemed to be waiting for Eilene to say something,finally went on to read the summons.

    “May all those who name themselves comrades of the free nation of Pégulis who are able of body and sharp of mind answer the call to protect the nation's heart and rid Barval of a fiery pestilence: Dragons fly above and their iron bellies shall be filled with our swords!”

    As the apparent messenger boy nearly finished reading the summons, Phaedrus climbed out of the water in a wave of red tentacles to stand beside her lopose. She arrived just in time to hear the bit about dragons.

    Up until this point, Eilenes only real contribution to Barval was the fish she brought in. She was excellent at the job of course, but sometimes she felt as if she wasn’t quiet earning her keep. This was her chance, but she was afraid of risking death for some misplaced sense of honor and neglecting her real purpose. She wanted to find a way to be cured, and return to her family.

    “I must get ready,” she said simply, and walked off with Phaedrus in tow. She left the net full of fish, expecting the young man to have enough energy to bring it along. They weren’t very far, after all. She had only gone as far as the gulf’s opening, where the gulf met the sea and a bounty of prey could be found.

    “You will risk your life fighting dragons, before you even begin seeking your cure? Pahkne has others healthier, who can fight.” Phaedrus’ voice was the perfect mix of bewilderment and criticism. Eilene had no rebuttal, she knew her aenigma was often right.

  5. The crow stared at Shardis from a cranny further up. It moved its head this way and that, observing her with each eye.

    There was a hollowness in Carval's stare - an emptiness that each time made you wonder, if just for a moment, whether he was an aenigma at all or just some well-trained pet. It was as if all that was estoeric and unnerving in Galain Medwick had been drawn, vortex-like, into this sinister bird.

    It was a good minute before the crow responded, as if rising from a trance and remembering its purpose. "He's coming down. The sleds need readying."

    And that was all the message he disclosed. With a flap of dark wings the crow departed, folding into the ice mist as quickly as it had come.

    * * * * * *​

    "Pack it up! Pack it all up! The expedition is ruined. The course of science and enlightenment bleeds again on the altar of antiquity!"

    The workers at base camp heard him coming before they saw him. Sliding down the top-rope on his Fell-Fur gloves, Medwick dropped out of the gloom with a scowl on his face and an Orc sherpa moved quickly to secure the rope and help him down.

    The archaeologist didn't miss a beat and continued ranting as he got his footing. "Dragons! Of all in the things in this accursed world, it had be beasts as old as the bones we dig up! There's your proof of gods! There's your religion! Conspiracies of fossils!"

    Heads turned as he moved between the other dig sites, waving his arms. And some of the huskies which had been reined to the sleds began howling, as if sharing the man's pain.

    Most of the fifty or so expedition workers at base camp had already downed tools, while others were sitting around cooking pots or dozing in tents. Some of them had heard the news and were already layering up for the journey ahead.

    Some of them might even have been glad to be going back to civilisation.

    Medwick was gesticulating at a penguin, which was waddling beside him as he strode. "Wester's team will go north to Gernage and await me there. Take the Avians too. And the equipment from Orlen's team needs to be dry stored. The rest will return to Barval with me. Understand?"

    The penguin squawked and waddled off to report to its master.

    "Shardis!" Medwick yelled across the camp as other people came out of tents around him. "Shardis, where are you?!"

    And short distance off, Carval the Crow landed on one of the sleds and exchanged stares with a husky.

  6. On the way back down Shar ran afoul of a crevice and lost her footing for a moment and fell backwards and down on a largish ledge with a cave that had been hidden behind a large chunk of ice. In so doing she had inadvertently awoken its rather large inhabitant, a bear. Not just any bear but a male werepolarbear. An extremely rare and ...huge beast with a very bad temper.


    "Oh #$%@, this really isn't my day!" Shardis leaped back just as it threw a round house swipe at her with one massive paw. "Woah! OK, time to leave."

    She leaped head first through the opening of the cave to the tune of a deafening roar. Tucking her head to her chest she half rolled half fell down the icy cliff. The cat-girl then flipped open and grabbed an outcrop of rock coming to a swinging sloppy stop then leaping to another ledge while looking back up where she had come from. The bear came charging out of the cave straight towards her dragging snow, rocks and debris along with it in a small avalanche.

    "$*&^!" Half running half flying down the mountain at an unbelievable clip she came across Garth staring at himself in an icy pool. The vain fool. She thought to herself. "GARTH!" He looked up lazily and his eyes widened to see his lopos charging down the side of a mountain with a rather large bear closing the gap between them. "GARTH, FIND ME A PATH DOWN... HURRY!"

    Taking flight rapidly Garthon dove down ahead of Shardis and screamed, "Go left! Now right! Jump!..." And so it went all the way to camp.

    "RUNNN! BEAR, BIG, RUNNNN!!!" Shar screamed as she raced though the camp at full tilt, the bear only moments behind her as it and its personal avalanche came roaring to a stop in the center of the camp. It stood on its hind legs waving its paws and snarled, a good 15 to 20 feet of angry werepolarbear looking for something to rip to shreds.

    Everyone was running left and right screaming. The dogs were ether barking or whining as they tried to get away or hide under the sleds. Garth and several of the flying aenigmae were circling the bear's head trying to distract it long enough for the people in the camp to get out of the direct path and become, hopefully, more organized.

  7. "Whose aenigma is that?" Medwick yelled above the tumult of scattering sherpas. "I want him fired!"

    A tent, complete with poles, canvas and guy ropes, came hurtling in arc towards the sage, and he threw himself to one side as it crashed. The fact that the werebeast was hurling projectiles, along with the general sense of panic, was enough to convince Medwick that this was no fat man's aenigma. As Avians circled overhead they were aided by the more collected of the workers, who came with their aenigmas - yapping wolves, flailing penguins, gulls that swooped and pecked, even a howling monkey or two. It served to encircle the bear with all manner of distraction.

    "Drive it off! Give it room to retreat!" He was yelling orders as he got up, his every desperation watched unflinchingly by his crow. Then he paused with a frown as Shardis went running past. Narrowing his eyes, Medwick turned and dashed in the other direction.

    "Shardis, I'll have you flea-dipped for this!" Such was the shout that followed her as the sage ran the other way. He dived headfirst into his tent, rooted through his travel pack, then clambered out the other side half-covered in blankets and ration packs. His sheath was in his hand, and from it he drew his falchion, the jewelled hilt glinting in the evening light.

    The bear was rampaging through the camp, felling tents and throwing sherpas with great sweeps of its claw. Luckily the main part of its aggression was focussed on the inpervious aenigmas who hassled it, but a couple of Avians had been brought down with bleeding leg wounds. As others saw to the injured Medwick ran amongst them and towards the fight. His knee was giving him hell, but he was good for a short sprint.

    "Stand clear!" he yelled, causing a parting in the circle of fighters, many of whom knew what was coming and gave all the greater ground. In mid-step, Medwick ran his thumb over the most prominent gem in the hilt of his blade, then brought it in a savage rap against his own chest. There was a pulse of magic, silvery blue against the snow, before he slammed bodily into the charging bear.

    Their two energies reacted and they were thrown apart, the sage landing in a puff of snow, and the bear crashing down on its belly, dazed by the collision with Medwick's magic barrier.

    Whether this was enough to incapacitate or intimidate the beast remained to be seen.
  8. "...you flea-dipped for this!" Was all she heard as she ran, but it was enough. Shar turned her head and yelled "Sorry!"

    Feet first, she slid into her own tent grabbing up her blade, her belt and pack of daggers. It only took moments for her to settle the items on her person in their familiar places, belt on hip, special pack to left of main pack she already had on, set and ready to go!
    The felleon ran on all fours, always faster than only hind legs, out of the tent and back at the action in what use to be the center of the camp. The bear was flat out on the ground, dazed or dead she couldn't tell, and Galain was laying on the ground. Her heart skipped a beat, if he's dead...she refused to think further. A fierce growl erupted from her lips as she ran the short distance to the bear. It raised its head and shook it then growled deep in its chest. The monstrous animal attempted to get up as Shar slammed into it, blade flying in the left hand and claws extended in the right. It was like mounting a very large horse, Shardis rapped her legs around its back and dug in her hind claws as she hacked away at the bears head and neck. Emitting a mortal scream of anger and pain, the beast flailed left and right trying to rid itself of the deadly pest on its back.
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  9. The puff of snow settled and Medwick sat up, white powder falling from every crevice of his face. He looked up into the shadow of the reeling bear. Shardis was on its back, stabbing and clawing as the creature flailed. "Get down from there!" he snapped, but his words were lost to the roars of the bear and the yapping of the other aenigmas around him.

    "Fine! Then keep him like that! Gorris! Tan!" The archaeologist clambered to his feet and called his two beastmasters, an Orc and Felleon much larger than the other sherpas. The first tossed an end of rope to Medwick and he ran to pass it to the second. With the hemp stretched out in front of the thrashing bear, Medwick thumbed another gemstone on his blade-hilt, eyes fluttering as he summoned the magic. A sheen of blue formed around his hand and as he touched the taut rope the energy transfered, binding and strengthening the hemp. He ran back along the rope with his hand on it, enchanting the line and calling to others to help. Three more sherpas figured the plan and gripped the rope.

    "As one! Forward!"

    Medwick and the sherpas sprinted in unison, bringing the taut rope against the bear's abdomen as it reeled with Shardis. It staggered backwards, pulled by the collective force and harried by airborne aenigmas that buzzed around its head. It's footing slid, its vision was blinded, its weight tipped back.

    And then it crashed down...

    ...at the edge of the ice lake bordering the camp.

    "Wait - no!"

    The bear landed on its back with a mighty thump, and as its head and shoulders slammed down it cracked the ice and plunged Shardis into the freezing water. It ended with its head beneath the ice and Shardis beneath the surface.

    "Salis! Merdon! Get her out!" Two Unguis sherpas took running leaps into the lake, diving quickly to find Shardis, while the rest of the camp encircled the half-drowned bear and began driving pikes into its body. Medwick himself was clambering onto the beast's chest. He twisted his falchion in both hands and drove it down between the ribs of his foe, grunting and scowling with the effort.
  10. Shar gasped in air and coughed out water. Spitting and shaking herself clear of the bloody ice water dripping into her eyes she turned and thanked Merdon on her left arm and then Salis to her right, her two favorite Unguis sherpas, for dragging her out of the water. Actually she had never really noticed them till now but since they had just saved her life, she supposed the new status was deserved. Just then Gar came flapping leisurely over to her from where he had been harassing the bear with the other aenigmas.

    "The beast is dead oh gre..." He was cut off by her raised index finger with the claw extended.

    "Don't...*cough, gasp, sneeze* ..don't you dare 'oh great one' me ever again!" Shardis wiped her face with her hand, better to see him with clear eyes. "You, You..miserable excuse for a soul-mate! Where were you when I was drowning at the depth of this lake??! Off having fun harassing a dying bear I assume." The last word was emphasized by yet another sneeze. Finally someone brought her a towel and she thanked them as she took it and wiped her face free of the stinging water.

    She sighed as she turned to see the others from the camp as they were skinning and divvying up the meat before her eyes. Her waking-dreams of laying on a luxurious bear rug the size of a room vanished along with the taste of it's still beating heart in her mouth. She licked her lips and flipped her ears, setting the chains and 'do-dads', as her mother had called them, ringing. She walked up to the man clearly in charge as he was still yelling, like always, at the people buzzing around the carcass. She stood beside him rubbing her head and clearing her ears with the towel.

    "OK, call it even? Isn't like I wanted to bring it here."

  11. PART II
    Dragon's Bane


    Soundtrack (open)


    The Blue President glared fiercely at the vicious beast curling around a distant frosty spire. Even from the distance she could feel its chilling icy eyes staring back, fixated on the intricate tunnel system: the perfect nesting place. The dozens of spacious, warm caverns could safely house a dragon clutch, and Pahkné could not imagine many such places in the barren northlands. She had thought the dragons had all gone extinct post-Cataclysm, but it seemed that some had yet managed to survive. She thought of its thick, shining silver plates, reflecting the scorching white sun so brightly it practically blinded her when the ferocious beast launched into the sky. Then she turned around to face her people, and her chin rose in grim satisfaction. Mages with various glowing objects and murmured incantations, rogues with sharp daggers and glinting eyes, archers with rippling arms, spearthrowers tipping their projectiles in obsidian: the bane of all dragons, the only stone capable of slicing cleanly and easily through the dragon's powerful silver plates. At least, according to the ancient scrolls she'd dug up. She prayed silently that they had served her well.

    "This dragon will attack us at any moment!" she cried, her voice carrying across the ice. Even in the stillness of the peak of noon, the air crackled with cold. "It seeks our home as its lair. If we fail to protect our home, we will be driven defenseless into the vast wastelands surrounding us. This is our last stand." She cast a hasty look at the dragon once more. "The monster could have burnt us all to ashes unawares long ago, but it has waited this long! See its weary wings, its saggy skin! See its swollen belly! This beast is about to bear more of its fiery spawn!" A roar of indignation rippled through the crowd, to Pahkné's great satisfaction. "This means that she is feeble! Her body feeds the parasites that would live to expunge us, and her mind is slave to protective instincts. Comrades, she is weak, physically and mentally alike! Our mission is simple – beckon her with food, preserve the protective shields, and target her greatest vulnerability – her stomach. Comrades, it is time! It is time to stand and fight in the name of Pégulis!"

    Cheers echoed through the biting blue sky and with a flourish Pahkné and a select class of powerful mages, with a chant and a slight of the hand, snuffed out the shield around the enormous whale carcass draped across the ice, close to the mouth of the ocean where it had been hunted. The dragon moved uncertainly, muscles bunched and posture prowling like a snow leopard observing an unsuspecting hare. The mother dragon expected a trap, but the humans seemed so far away, and besides, so puny. Pahkné had no powers to aid in this venture, so she relied on the vast assortment of Barval spellcasters attuned to the winds, who might bend it to their favor: the weapons would fly longer and harder, a jet of fire would be cooled and scattered … provided the attack went as planned.

    Killing a dragon was no easy matter, even with the booby trap they'd set in place designed to paralyze the mother in a vulnerable position. Even very young ones had been known, according to lore, to last two days and nights. Pahkné's eyes narrowed on the distant argent speck. She was counting on the mother dragon's lack of the virility and power of youth, hoping it would make this exhausted, cumbersome beast relatively easy picking. There was only one way to find out, and she hoped for no nasty surprises.

    Battle I: Mother Ice Dragon

    Female Ancient Ice

    High susceptibility to any obsidian weapons
    Interference of wind-controlling mages
    Physically and mentally exhausted
    Caught in a vulnerable position, movement restricted
    Natural armor, though there are many defense penalties, good resistance to common iron
    Very high basic attacks without many penalties

    Female Felleon

    Weakness to fire
    Naturally thick, protective fur (racial)
    Agile with ninja reflexes

    Male Human

    Nearsighted; far away from target
    Only moderate swordsmanship; has few attack spells; focus on protective magic
    Among shield-casting mages; almost out of enemy's range but has distance penalty
    A good climber; has excellent balance

    Female Aquarial

    High susceptibility to fire (racial)
    Tires quickly due to poison
    May slip into a hateful rage and attack allies
    Keenly developed senses besides blindness (compensation)

    Wind Mages
    Elemental Magic

    Low endurance
    Dependent on weather
    Favorable position; on fringes of enemy range
    High defense

    Archers & Spearthrowers
    Obsidian Projectiles

    Potentially in range of dragon's sweeping tail (coated in dragonsteel)
    High susceptibility to dragonsteel
    Interference of wind-controlling mages
    Potential high protection from fire- and physical-attack-proofed shields
    Relative to dragon, excellent chance of dodging attacks (very agile)

    Shield-Casting Mages
    Protective Magic

    High susceptibility to fire
    Relative to Enemy, very low endurance as they are constantly channeling large amounts of energy into a lot of shields simultaneously
    Favorably positioned; almost out of Enemy's range

    COMBAT LOG (open)

    This is where all turns and dice rolls will be recorded!


    Shield Mages

    1 - Raised Shields (2 rolled; 3 needed)

    Wind Mages

    1 - Currents Not Manipulated (3 rolled; 2 needed)

    Archers & Spearthrowers

    1 - Missiles Launched (4 rolled; 4 needed)

  12. <img src=http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l81/Asmodeus1845/Stories/i2a52.jpg width=20% align="right" style="padding:10px">When magic fails, the discharge is sickening. It is the feel of the stomach lurching, of a sudden drop, or the blood running cold. Medwick felt the nausea grip as the Wind Mages on the slopes behind him lost control of their spell. Someone had made a mistake, and like a wrong note played in an orchestra the error rippled. As a magic user he felt this succinctly. And though the Archers and Spearthrowers now crossing the ice would not be as sensitive, they would feel an equal share of chaos as their projectiles flew wide of the mark. Blizzard winds and shifts in air pressure. It would turn the battle against them soon enough.

    "Stupid!" the sage muttered, pulling tight his armour straps, checking his gemstones, "It won't use its fire-breath - it's too weak." He squinted into the distance, his poor longsight making blurs and pinpricks of the dragon. Yet he saw the glint of its tail sure enough. In its state the beast would likely use the tail as its primary weapon, all several tons of dragonsteel swinging into those archers. They were too close. The weather was not in their favour.

    "Shield Mages!" Medwick shouted above the icy wind. "Phalanx Strike!"

    Though months had passed since he served as sergeant to these soldiers, they knew the traditional tactics well enough. Medwick's strategies came straight from the textbook. Shifting their rank and file, the Shield Mages advanced into spearhead formation, the weaker users holding fast while the stronger went forward. They began channeling as soon as they moved, eldritch bolts jumping from one body to the next. And as the phalanx formed Medwick dashed ahead, his bad knee screaming for mercy but given none. The charge built as it passed through the alpha mages, raising walls of mana vapour to his left and right.

    But it was only for an instant. Medwick surged to the head of the phalanx and shackled the choral power in both arms. Now the sole focus of the Shield Magic, he crashed down onto his knees and brought his sword down in a slam. The gemstone hilt threw the magic deep into the ice. Like a glacial crack it tore across the plain and past the right flank of the Spearthrowers. The energy was crimson as it broke into a wave, slicing scythe-like to one side of the dragon and flinging back its tail with a hurricane force.

    It would do no damage, but gods willing it would stop the creature from swinging its tail at the archers.

    Trait used: Shield Magic (4)

    Dice rolled: 4 (giving the order, running to the phalanx head, shackling the power, directing it at the dragon)

    Successes rolled: 1

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  13. The cold seeped through her and settled at her very bone, piercing through her thick clothing causing Kana to shiver as she walked along the tunnels. When her father had moved them both to Avarath she had hated the burning sun and the sand that was everywhere, the warm air the dried up your throat in an instant. She had missed the forests of Zmaragdos, the lush flora and the absence of sand but she had adapted and now several years later Kana had gotten used to the dry desert and didn’t feel the sun burning as much any longer. But now she knew there was something worse than being moved in the hottest place on earth.

    The freezing weather in the north was worse than anything Kana had ever felt before and she hated it, after having lived in the scorching Kausteira this wintry landscape was unbearable. Looking around her in wonder at the tunnels winding beneath the unforgiving surface, the air was warmer down her, not warm perhaps but at least not freezing cold. She had been so lucky to have been found, wandering aimlessly through the snow storm, the flakes had felt like sharp needles on her exposed skin, not unlike the worst sand storms in Kausteira although cold instead of hot.

    Raeus hadn’t felt any of that though he’d tried his best to comfort her at times but it was really nothing he could do and yet his life too depended on escaping the storm. As the storm gathered strength she had seen a purple light, faint and far away but it was something else than the endless white. Almost feeling her joints stiffen in the unbelievable cold Kana had set her sights on the light hoping it was man-made and not some kind of cold induced hallucination, all while cursing the fact that she couldn’t use magic, if she had been able to then perhaps she could have produced some warmth to help her.

    It had shown to be a man-made light, a woman who turned out to be the President of Pegulis, creator of Barval. Kana, and in extension Raeus, had no problem swearing to keep the city and it’s location a secret and to not harm anyone inside it if only it meant safety. Having been guided through the maze of underground tunnels into the city Kana started to gain some feeling back, the warmth grew stronger when they left the outskirts. Although the only reason she went down into the tunnels freely was to get out of the cold, but Raeus nuzzled her neck softly lending her some courage.
    “Why did I get this ridiculous idea to start the search in the north?” She muttered between her teeth, still regretting that she had not searched in Edel first, at least there it was warm. “Hmm, if I remember correctly you said it couldn’t possibly be as bad as you had read and it was closer than Edel,” Raeus said with a smug grin, as much of a grin as a gryphon could show. Kana only snorted in response, after this she wouldn’t underestimate anything from now on.

    Walking around Barval, both to keep her mind of the enclosed space and because she was curious about the underground city Kana came across a notice, a call of aid to defeat a dragon. Could she never get a moments peace to learn about the poison, Kana sighed inwardly but also her curiosity sparked and she made her way to where she guessed the dragon was, judging by the commotion.

    “Kana,” Raeus said softly in her ear. “Do you really want to fight?” He was right of course, Kana wasn’t too fond of fighting, just like her aenigmae, but she had read about dragons and never imagined that she would ever see one. “But Raeus, it’s a dragon,” she said, grey eyes sparkling. “I’ve never seen one in real life before.” The small gryphon looked as disapproving as one possibly could, his amber eyes narrowed. “Well I don’t like it," he muttered. Kana smiled askew and stroke him on the head, she knew he was worried over her and she also knew that if he just got interested Raeus would also be amazed by the dragon, after all the books she had read could never give her a real experience.

    Glad to be out of the tunnels and into the fresh, albeit freezing air Kana smiled feeling her constant stress from being underground slowly vanish. Then her stormy eyes found the enormous dragon, it was a magnificent sight, the swollen belly told of unborn dragons and the mother dragon also looked weary and tired. Raeus also peeked out and stared at the large beast, his amber eyes betrayed his curiosity that had awoken. But according to the note the dragon was a serious danger, possibly it sought a nest even and that would doom many people here to death and also hinder Kana’s own tries to learn more about the poison.

    The gryphon aenigmae shook his head slightly,
    “no Kana, it’s too big let’s wait it out.” Her common sense was speaking through Raeus, and she knew very well that this could be a stupid idea but you didn’t know until you tried, right. “Come on Raeus, this will hinder us more if the dragon wins, besides look how many else who are fighting,” Kana rested her hand on the spear for a moment before stuffing it back into a pocket. “That’s my point,” Raeus muttered, wanting nothing more for his lopos to regain her senses and stay behind until the battle was won. “Fine,” Kana sighed in defeat, for now at least, she did realise that she was more of a short range fighter and getting too close to the dragon was probably suicide. Staring and awe at the mages casting spells and spear throwers ready to let loose on the dragon, it was almost unreal and when compared to the large beast the people looked so incredibly small.
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  14. [​IMG]

    The dragon crept closer to the carcass, its great nostrils widening and its claws flexing as the raw scent of salty meat penetrated the crisp air. Slowly it lumbered towards the dead whale, its eyes ever flitting towards the dark mass of people on the distant hill. The dragon had never known arrows, and did not realize she had wandered into range. At last the delicious aroma of the waiting meal drove her close enough to bite. Licking her reptilian snout in anticipation, the dragon bowed its head to crack through flesh and bone–

    SNAP! The dragon screeched shrilly as great cords erupted from the ground, snaking around her agile neck and ensnaring her wings, bending and folding them painfully. She beat them frantically out of instinct, and bellowed in fear and pain as she felt a piece of the membrane rip. Ferociously she attacked the cords with her teeth, thick green seaweed woven tight and thickened by solid ice. Cracking noises echoed through the air as she freed one foreleg and swiped roaring at a volley of arrows that fell harmlessly aside.

    Its brittle cyan eyes fixed on the accursed anthill, the dragon fumed at the blind audacity of these fools. Its great tail swept to one side, gathering staggering force as it escalated to cast an ominous shadow on the sentient multitude as it blocked out the sun. With a thundering crack the cords binding it were torn asunder and with whistling speed the tail swung in a deadly arc towards its victims. A flash of crimson light momentarily blinded the ice dragon and it stumbled in confusion as its tail was paralyzed mid-air, red magic bleeding through the snow-white scales.

    She yearned to erupt in molten rock, but found herself too weak. She flailed but the binds across her back and wings held and the tail stayed immobile. She narrowed her eyes as her nostrils smoked in fury and flexed her silver claws. She was not dead yet, and her next attack would crush them instantly.

    Trap Sprung: 4 rolled, 4 needed

    Cords Not Snapped: 5 rolled, 3 needed

    Arrows Deflected: 1 rolled, 2 needed

    Tail Snapped Cords: 2 rolled, 2 needed

    Tail Paralyzed: 1 rolled, 3 needed

  15. Shar's ears twitched again, in normal circumstances you could hear the trinkets dangling from them ringing sweetly. These were anything but normal ones.

    "PULL THOSE LINES TIGHTER!!! GET SOME MORE STAKES!" She growled as she turned to one of the sherpas behind her and the young boy almost keeled over in fright at the sight of her fangs. "Sorry," Shardis quipped, " Go help those fools, we're going to loose the fight if we can't keep these lines tight." She shrugged her head in the direction of the ones reeling about trying to keep their balance and the ropes tight while the dragon struggled to free itself.

    Shar called for a relief as her arms were shaking badly. It took 3 decent sized men to fill her spot, she hadn't taken a break since the start but she needed to speak to the leader of the line mages. There were only three of them but they were the difference between lines unravling and breaking or holding under the severe stresses being put on them by the dragon. She was getting worried about those wings, there had to be a way...

    "Karstan!" He didn't hear her right away but as she neared him in the fast clip that was her jog his head turned her way and his eyes focused on her somewhat.

    "What it iz tho wizh mine Zh..." he began but Shar waved off the formalities and said,

    "No time for polite chat Mage, we can dance later. How is the hold on the wings section doing? They seem to be having a hard time of it over there." The flurries had started again and it was getting hard to see the people holding the lines in the distance,

    '%$@# ​why cant we get a break!'
    The fellion thought to herself. She was right at home in this weather but she knew this was not the case for most of the persons here.

    "It'z hollding for now, but Shardis of the Felllion, it willl hold not much llonger, I am afraid of." The red haired human mage shook his head somewhat sadly and a few strands of premature gray fell loose from a clasp at the back of his neck. Shar could swear it hadn't been there before. He was from down south, she figured. 'weird talkers', Shar could barely understand the heavy accent.

    She sighed and nodded quickly and sneered at the thought of lines snapping. They wouldn't need to worry about dragons fire burning them if they were cut in two by these lines when they gave way. The ground shook as the dragon mother stomped again in fury. Just then there was a scream not to far off and without thinking about it Shar dropped to all fours and leaped forward with incredible speed to where she had heard the scream and found a man down with a medic beside him and the helpers for the line being held beginning to gather about.

    "GET THE SLACK OUT OF THAT LINE!!! GET BACK TO IT, NO GAWKING HERE, what happened?!" The last query was aimed at the people and then the medic while he waved his hands over the moaning man, chanting a pain relief spell.

    "Mam! I was witness as I was bringing water 'round to folk who wan' a drink." The young dark haired female bent to one knee with head down.

    Shardis swiveled her head around a bit to see who was talking. Then she rolled her eyes and sighed, "Good Gods Praise Us, get up woman! I am not royalty to be coddled so! Just tell me what happened, and be quick about it, please." She haistly added the 'please' at the end. It was days like this that reminded her why she didn't care much for the company of others, especially strangers.

    Timidly the girl licked her chapped lips and spoke, still afraid to look up, "When the great beast shook the earth a blast of snow and ice went up all around us and a large piece struck Jaimy in the chest, he had been first-man on the rope Mam an as such, he was closest."

    Shar looked to the medic who nodded gravely and then she bent down an picked up the limp form of the man. She carefully moved him away to an area set aside for just this sort of emergency. He moaned slightly as she placed him down on the fur lined cot next to the table filled with instruments, bottles of liquids and other assorted medical paraphernalia. With that, she withdrew quickly and quietly so they could go to work.
  16. <img src=http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l81/Asmodeus1845/Stories/i2a52.jpg width=20% align="right" style="padding:10px">A cheer went up from the Shield Mages as the tail-strike was deflected. And all at once the phalanx moved again into a line, each man straining down the slope for a better look at the trap-snared dragon.

    But Medwick was sure to keep them disciplined. "Two things can happen now!" he shouted above the whistle of the storm. "Its wings will get loose. Or its fire will be summoned."

    He peered above the shoulders of the men below him. The dragon was a blur in his vision - a thrashing mess of colours. But he could see the green lines of the enchanted seaweed criss-crossing its form. Shardis was out there somewhere, keeping the linesmen in check. Everything hinged now on the spearmen getting close enough to pierce its throat and belly. And for that it needed to remain grounded.

    The sergeant weighed the options quickly, heart pounding in time with the ache in his knee. Then he decided. Better to fight fire with magic than with gusts of wind. His head snapped the left. "Runner!"

    The phalanx convulsed, and a squire of the mages came sprinting to his side. "Get to the President," he told the boy. "Tell her to keep the Wind Mages focused on its wings. The Shield Mages will block its fire." With a shoulder-slap he sent the messenger off up the slopes, then returned to his troops.

    "Summoning Circle Four. Move!"

    The formation shifted again, the weaker casters moving concentrically inside the lines of the stronger. It would maximize the barrier spell they were about to throw.

    "Target the quarter-right, above the spearthrowers."

    Magic leapt through the bodies of the mages, fanning out towards the alphas at the circle's edge. And with Medwick among them they threw it, like a fan of blue-green energy, to block the air against the dragon's breath.

    Trait used: Soldiering (3)

    Dice rolled: 4 (runner's orders, formation order, magic channeling, targeting)

    Successes rolled: 3

  17. Amazed at the dragon’s sheer size and frightening, odd beauty Kana for a moment forgot what she was doing here, captivated by the large animal’s tries to free herself from the net and the tiny humans trying to keep her down. The struggle stretching out before her was captivating and a part of her did feel sorry for the dragon, she probably just wanted a place for her young and now she was attacked because she chose the wrong place, on the other hand Kana had no interest in becoming dragon food.

    Looking across the myriad of people trying to secure the dragon Kana finally spotted the person who she was searching for, the President. Kana had last seen her when she was found in the storm and later the woman had left for duties unknown to Kana, but that person should be the one to ask about the poison she figured.
    “Raeus, there she is.” Her aenigmae followed her gaze and nodded slightly, his claws gripped her shoulder and despite him being only partly solidified she could feel his claws as he leaned forward. “Okay, but finding her don’t matter Kana, she’s kinda busy at the moment as you see.”

    Raeus was right, the President was busy leading her people against the dragon, bothering her now was probably not the best and seeing as time wasn’t something she really had to waste Kana made her way closer to the fight.
    “Well then, we better help.” Raeus protested at her plan, preferring to stay in the sidelines until the beast was felled, although this was what Kana felt as well she hadn’t the patience to wait for that to happen.

    The closer she got Kana stared up as the dragon towered in front of her and she still wasn’t close to it, something this big was simply fascinating and she would rather examine it and learn more than fight. Quickly she scanned across the different roles people had divided into, spear throwers could work as she had a spear if not for the fact that she had terrible aim whether it was a spear or an arrow she used. Healing and casting spells demanded magic so Kana set her sights on those who tried to keep the dragon down with the net.

    Running up to a guy that seemed to be tiring rapidly from the strain Kana shifted her bag so it wasn’t in the way.
    “Here, let me take over for awhile,” she said and took a firm grip on the rope prepared for the pull. “It’s strong, keep a good grip,” the guy said as he let go and backed off a bit rolling his shoulders to ease his muscles.

    The pull when Kana held the rope on her own almost skinned her hands before she tightened her grip sufficiently, the dragons was much stronger than she had expected, recently she seemed to have a habit of doing that. Leaning back she dug her feet into the ice and snow, for any foothold she could to be able to stand her ground, quickly she found the strain on her muscles. Raeus cured up in her hood to wait, having nothing much to do and apparently he was pouting over her choice as he didn’t offer any form of supporting words.

    Traits used: Stamina, 3
    Dice rolled: 2 (Running up, keeping hold off the rope)
    Successes: 2

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  18. [​IMG]

    The ethereal touch of her aenigma Phaedrus snaking up Eirene's arm reassured her as she left the tunnels, blindly charging into the battle. Hissing in her ear the murmuring voice of the octopus directed her limber feet. This way. That. Duck. She heard the terrible metallic shriek of the dragon like a storm in pain. She heard the twang and droning buzz of hundreds of projectiles. She heard the ringing thwack of stone against metal. As she came close to the monstrous threat, her sensitive senses were overwhelmed by the energy escaping in rapid gasps from the thrashing dragon, the straining ropes, the screaming masses. "I can help steady the ropes!" she screamed, her voice raw with fear. An answering call and Phaedrus's warm murmurs guided her into the sweaty hands of a woman. "I can't anymore," she gasped, and led Eirene's hands to the hard ropes. Instantly the dragon made a jerky movement and Eirene ground her teeth as a shiver of pain trembled through her straining muscles. Her fingers scraped against the rough ice but she held her footing and heard the calls of encouragement from her companions.

    The woman urging her on beside her suddenly stilled and her breath caught. Eirene ground her heels into the ice. "Phaedrus," she gasped. "What is happening?" The octopus's dark voice was in awe. The mages. They've hurtled a branch of blue-green fire at the dragon. To halt its breath. But– Beside her Eirene heard the woman scream, and suddenly there was a horrific emptiness and she was gone, her running footsteps crunching through the ice. "Phaedrus!" Eirene cried anxiously. It's missed. Phaedrus's voice was deadly quiet. It's missed.

    Eyes watering with desperation, Eirene hugged the rope to her as the sounds of desertion echoed around her. There was a moment of unbearable silence as the dragon inhaled. And then–

    Eirene shook as the world around her exploded in thunder and roaring flame. The tremor of the dragon's ferocious attack sent her knees shaking and her body breaking out in a sweat as she felt her hair blown back in a scorching hot wave of booming air. It's over, she thought hopelessly, thinking of the multitude of warriors on the raised ground behind her. She slumped against the bindings against which the dragon still strained and steeled herself for the smell of burning men.


    The President communicated telepathically with Murkahal from a distance. As he surveyed the scene with his hawk's eyes his words informed her on the activities of every pocket of soldiers she had placed to confront the terrible dragon. When the mages managed to paralyze the dragon's tail, the relief shivering through her made her realize how much this battle mattered. This was more than a fight for survival – it was the fight for the pride of a nation. It was a fight for her power.

    After that it was clear which move the dragon would choose next. The chanting, flickering lights and flowing hand motions from the cluster of mages told her they were preparing another spell as the wind mages concentrated on building enough support to aid them, but this attack was too dangerous to depend on one spell. They would need a last resort.

    She left the good vantage point she had chosen and hurried away from the dragon towards the tunnels of Barval. No matter what, the death of the President could not be afforded. This part of the battle would be directed at distance. Mustering her power, she stared deeply at the men and women struggling with the ropes ensnaring the dragon's wings. Her orders to Murkahal would have to be carried out almost instantly or there would be no time. The mages tensed to release their spell and Murkahal dove down to follow her gaze.

    Momentarily he flitted, shimmering and fierce of voice, past the ears of a woman with long brown hair, a gryphon aenigma nestled in the folds of a hood framing a determined face. This is an order from your President: On my command, release the ropes! He banked sharply, the demand whistling past the ears of another fierce warrior of Barval. Yet more were told the Blue President's order as the osprey flew down the line.

    Then there was a moment of intense fear as the blue-green fire of the mages danced across the sky like a thrashing aurora borealis falling from the sky. The dragon's eyes widened in apprehension and flinched as the spell hurtled towards her – but she need not have feared. Missing its mark by a hair, the powerful spell writhed and crashed against a wall of ice behind the dragon. Splinters of ice broke free and the dragon roared thunderously as molten rock spewed out in a terrible gout of flame aimed directly at the mages.


    With a ripple the ropes ensnaring the dragon's wings fell slack, then fell. Even as the fire twisted coruscating out of the dragon's open maw, with a shriek of victory it raised its powerful wings and snapped them down again like two fallen stars burning holes into the surface of the earth. Billowing air blew her backwards even this far away – and the stream of fire blew apart in the sudden rush of wind that scattered it in all directions, mere figments of it plaguing its unfortunate – but living – targets.

    Her people lived – but the dragon's wings were free. They would have to end this battle fast or never.

    Message Transmitted in Time: 2 rolled, 4 needed

    Wings Released: 3 rolled, 3 needed

    Fireball Scattered: 1 rolled, 3 needed

  19. [​IMG]

    "Oh #%$*&" Shar hung on for dear life as the wings were let loose and the sails billowed open with a mighty snap.

    Now, one might wonder what the Snow Leopard Fellion had been holding on to... IF they didn't know her better. Medwick would know, having had to deal with her impetuous ways, her need to DO something worth the effort. The very few people who had been close to her all of her life...AND the people who saw her drop her line and leap onto the nearest wing before it unfurled. Sword clenched in her teeth and nails fully extended.

    Her ears went flat against her head as she made her profile as thin as possible, spread out, arms and legs wide, even her tail hugged the now fully extended wing. There was the slight sound of ripping and the feel of it too. Shar's ears perked up as she looked at her hand, nails sunk through the leathery flesh of the wing. A smallish slit had appeared around each nail. The sneering snarl she wore would have even scared Him...well, she thought so at least. If she could just make profit off of those slits before SHE turned her head. Perhaps Shardis could get away with her plan before the dragon had a chance to react or Medwick found out. She remembered his threat to skin her alive the last time she did such a spur of the moment act, her ears flattened and the snarl went away as she swallowed rapidly.

    The point of this fiasco, you see, was to keep the dragon grounded. If, IF she became airborne, they were all dead. Sick, tired, laid heavy with eggs, whatever may be. This dragon would devastate them all, the land, people and animals alike. Now, not one to think things though properly, Shar had jumped before she could change her mind, not that she would have.

    The felleon took hold of the sword and slowly at first to gauge the thickness and strength she drove the tip of her blade into one of the holes she had made with her nails. Amazed at the ease of which it slid in and through, she quickly pulled it down with one hand still holding a firm grip on the wing sail with the other hand and nails.

    Just then her nose was filled with the stench of fire, smoke and... burning things. Her eyes went wide and her heart sped up. If Shardis could sweat, she would have been drenched at this point in the sweat of fear that humans reeked of. Putting the blade back in her mouth, carefully she began to clime up the sail. At first the assent was easy, well, as easy as it can be. Going up a fully grown dragon's extended wing sail as it slowly thrashed about to get air under it, she had to hurry... before it took flight.

    Redoubling her efforts and digging in with the claws, headless of if it would draw the dragon's attention now. She went with all speed up as far as she could. The skin here closer to the wing bone was much tougher and Shar couldn't get her nails in easily now. She gouged a small hole in the sail and drove the blade in almost to its base and taking a deep breath, released it slowly while saying a quick prayer to the Goddess of the Foolhardy, she let go her hold with feet and hands and put all her weight onto the blade.

    Like as out of a dream, or night mare, really. Several things happened at once. First the blade didn't move. It ran into bone or more like, a long slim piece of cartilage, Shar swore under her breath and jostled the sword a bit till it sliced its way free. She turned her head to the top of the hill where Medwick and the other mages had been ensconced. The wing had lifted high enough for her to see them. There on the edge was... Medwick, screaming at the top of his lungs, or she imagined he was, she couldn't hear the voice, but his fist was raised at her and his face had a funny purple hue as he shook all over while a near by sherpa had grabbed his arm to hold him back.

    'Oh great, he saw me, I'll loose my skin for this for sure now.' She thought just as she realized that it was getting rather warm. Turning her head back towards the sail she looked up now at the top bone and redoubled her efforts to move the blade free of any and all cartilage and get it to rip down the length of the wing.

    As said before, like out of a night mare, a giant dragon's head was appearing above the wing bone and now swiveling down and around towards her. She was only half way down the width of the sail now. Shar realized she was too far up to fall without pain or even death, also she was sure, even though the sail was ripping easily and faster now, she wouldn't accomplish her goal without dealing with that incoming head.
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  20. <img src=http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l81/Asmodeus1845/Stories/i2a52.jpg width=20% align="right" style="padding:10px">"... AND YOUR MOTHER WILL THANK ME FOR DOING IT!" The long tirade from Medwick came to an end. A Sherpa pulled him back as a spurt of flame struck like a hailstone on the hillside. Lowering his fist, the scholar turned from the sight of Shardis clinging to the dragon's wing and faced his hesitant mages. They were pale from their failure to quell the beast's breath weapon. If it hadn't been for the President's quick-thinking the ground forces would have been cinders now.

    "Elders! Keep its head from turning! Quarter right, shoulder block!"

    The greater part of the phalanx dropped back, while the more powerful advanced. Old casters clasped hands together, closed eyes, or gripped the foci of staffs and amulets. And Medwick moved with them. He rapped his sword against his breastplate and passed the charge along the line. It was a smaller shield, more precise than the others, and targeted specifically. He shared the burden of focusing with other mages of his level. The mana formed as a cloud before them, like misted breath but for the blue. And then they launched it from the hillside.

    The cloud swirled and stretch, funneling like an arrow towards the lifting dragon. It travelled over the heads of the archers and spearthrowers, between the broken and flailing cords, past the flutter of aenigmas and ice shards, till it blossomed explosively above the dragon's shoulder, between the twisting head and the place where Shardis clung.

    Gods willing, it would block the dragon from savaging her... and keep the beast in its panic.

    Trait used: Shield Magic (4)

    Dice rolled: 3 (giving the order, focusing the mana, targeting the air in front of Shardis)

    Successes rolled: 2

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