The Blood Cartel: Gahron's Glade

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Diana, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. See OOC: HERE
    GM/Merrick: Asmodeus
    Princess Helena: Diana
    Dahlia/Noel: Tegan
    Saffron: Ocha
    Ando: Grumpy
    Ale: Porg
    Dalibor: Ric



    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Garonheim Forest, as old as the world itself, covering the valley between the cruel north and the forgotten south. For centuries it has watched the city-kingdoms rise and fall and given shelter to travellers. But only now, as the Orcs flee to the ice wastes and the elder magics fade, does the forest feel the shadow of man's dominion. And this night... those worlds will collide... and the fate of all shall hang in the balance... <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Bastard trees!&quot; Merrick cursed as he swung his blade, cutting an overhanging branch that he had not the energy to duck beneath. As it fell he pushed on into the forest, glaring for the tracks of the Prince. For all his cursing, the captain could not deny the rush of excitement at getting out of Vonheldus. This was like one of the adventures from his war days and it made him feel young again. Merrick had left his horse tethered at the forest's edge, for it would be of no use to him in here. And the beast was slow too. The Prince must have been hours ahead of him by now. What the hell was that runt doing out here? <span class="time">-05:34 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Dahlia ] <span class="time">-05:34 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Princess Helena has tip-toed away right under the noses of castle guards, curious snoopers, and all of the rest. Waiting under the tree for her beloved like she does on every seventh night.] <span class="time">-05:34 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Prince Conway, slipped around the tree, catching Helena in his arms. "My lady." He smiled, placing his lips to hers as the evening sun came in shafts between the canopy. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Ioana Milanka Saffron is but riding a little known path.] <span class="time">-05:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> A soft sound of surprise, followed by a giggle. Helena smiled at the man she had grown very fond of seeing in secret. &quot;You are late. The sun has almost set and I would have been here in the dark all alone.&quot; <span class="time">-05:39 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Ando is fleeing through the trees away from back-stabbing \'comrades\' of his/] <span class="time">-05:39 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Ale hid behind an assortment of thorny bushes, where the hell was Dalibor? And why did the bounty have to be on a woman!? things were already complicated and it had only been a few hours since he\'d heard about this job.] <span class="time">-05:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"You're never alone," Conway answered, pushing her softly against the great tree that dominated the clearing. It was drooping with blossoms of scarlet and crimson, almost glowing in the evening light. They had chosen it long ago as their secret place... their special place. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Once again, the deal had gone south. It would have been a good cut, decent pay, had his friends decided to play nicely. Sadly, they had not, and Ando was left fleeing through the trees to avoid them killing him to contain their treacherous nature. <span class="time">-05:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia was scared out of her wits. It had been years since she set foot outside of Vonheldus, and she did not know her way through the forest. Her horse had spooked and fled back to its original master long ago, but she was glad to be rid of the churlish creature and she was no rider. &quot;Ah!&quot; Dahlia swallowed a shriek when the hem of her dress snagged on a thorny branch. She should have stayed on the path, but she was afraid her prince's pursuers would spot her there. <span class="time">-05:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale tightened up and sucked in a sharp, silent breathe as there was a squeak and the bush moved. It appeared someone had just caught their clothes on the bush he was behind and suddenly he was regretting this hiding place. This was getting very complicated, too complicated, not nearly enough money had been offered for something this complicated. He'd keep that in mind when they went to claim it. <span class="time">-05:44 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;Six days a week I am alone and wishing I could be right here.&quot; she murmured, reaching up to tug gently on his sleeve. Her smile faded to a thoughtful look. &quot;The King is growing curious... do you think we should tell them?&quot; <span class="time">-05:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> He had come to a hasty walk by now, confident that his pursuers were far behind him. Through the trees, however, he heard a scream eminate, and began to stalk towards it, crossbow at the ready. Ando was taking no chances... <span class="time">-05:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> If the youngest Saffron had thought about this, it was not the quickest way to where she was going, but it was so beautiful out here and she would be there long before morning, which was all that mattered. Ioana should have left earlier in the day, had she, she'd have plenty of light at this leg of her journey, but she had been reluctant to go and had waited til the last minute to leave. The snorting of her horse made the young woman more alert. &quot;Who's there?&quot; <span class="time">-05:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5333; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> (color) <span class="time">-05:47 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"Your father is old and paranoid," Conway answered. "But harmless. Like my own parents, he comes from a generation used to war and distrust. It falls to us now, Helena, to show them a new path." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Horse hooves, Merrick thought, turning westward and creeping through the trees. His blade was out and he could already see the breath of the horse, misting in the evening air. Was it the Prince? <span class="time">-05:48 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> After a few embarrassing seconds, Dahlia was able to rip her clothes free of the snags. She had left in such a hurry that she had not thought to change from her flowing servant's garb, only to steal a blunt herb knife from the kitchens and the game warden's fastest stallion. Around her she could hear the noises of the forest closing in, making her want to bolt in terror, flee back to the safety of the stone walls, but she swallowed the feeling and righted herself. <span class="time">-05:49 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Tilting her head to the side and giving a coy, teasing smile, Helena reached a hand up to flick at his hair. &quot;There is nothing I want more than to change the world with you.&quot; <span class="time">-05:51 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando followed the figure who had screamed, taking note of her expensive dress that she had just managed to pull free of the bramble of the forest. She looked out of place, lost even. He was not sure what she was doing here in the middle of a forest. A scout for his pursuers. maybe? Time would tell. Moving just ahead of the girl, he stepped out from behind a tree and into her line of sight, levelling his loaded corssbow at her. &quot;Please don't move, my dear,&quot; he said with a charismatic smile on his face, &quot;It would be a shame to shoot something so pretty.&quot; <span class="time">-05:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5333; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> She reigned in her horse so that it was going at a very slow walk, she looked around this way and that. Robbers? Possibly. If it was darker she'd have to stand her ground, but there was still enough light to be a rabbit if she wished. <span class="time">-05:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> There was another tearing of cloth and Ale relaxed a little, hoping the other person, whoever they were had gone. He ricked a glance at the direction of the noise, and fortunately there was enough foliage in the way to obstruct any view of him. Now what was he going to do? He wouldn't, nay couldn't make a move until the big dolt turned up, but there was the matter of harming a woman, let alone killing her.. an alternate plan might be in order.. &quot;Please don't move my dear&quot; Ale swore mentally, before realising the words were not aimed at him. Another person!? and he was threatening a woman by the sounds of it. Well that couldn't stand! but blowing his cover was not a priority right now so he tried to get a view through the leaves of the bushes. <span class="time">-05:54 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"Remember our first meeting?" Conway whispered as he placed kisses on Helena's neck. "You told me the story about the Elves... how they give their hearts to one another, for all eternity? I was a brute back then. Untamed." He lifted his eyes to her again, pulling away one of the hanging blossoms of the Gahron Tree that hung between them. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Another shriek escaped her lips and Dahlia made to bolt away like the coward she was, but she caught herself before she did something to earn an arrow in the back.&quot;Oh no! I can't be robbed and murdered, now! I'm on a quest!&quot; She practically howled in frustration. Clearly, stealth was not something she was accustomed to. <span class="time">-05:56 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;A 'quest', you say?&quot; Ando asked, somewhat confused. He had taken the girl to be one of his pursuers accomplices. &quot;What quest would that be?&quot; He lowered his crossbow slightly. <span class="time">-05:58 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale let out a small sigh, then tightened up when he realised the noise he was making. It appeared this man wasn't likely to shoot, and with a bit of luck this little charade would keep any attention from his side of the bush. <span class="time">-06:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena laughed! &quot;I wouldn't call you untamed, my prince.&quot; She remembered that very day they met. Her walk through the forest looking for a villagers sheep that had wandered away. Passing by the Gahron Tree and nearly stumbling over the man that sat beneath it. Helena found every excuse she could to return and see him again. &quot;Will you give your heart to me, Conway?&quot; <span class="time">-06:01 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia nodded, then remembered she wasn't supposed to be moving, and went rigid again. &quot;Yes, you see, I'm looking for...&quot; Dahlia tried not to look around or play with her hair, a sure sign that she was lying. &quot;I'm looking for my horse!&quot; Dahlia mentally congratulated herself. &quot;I have nothing, I'm trying to get as far away from Vonheldus as I can.&quot; Dahlia looked down, her cheeks flushing from the next part of her lie. &quot;I can't work the brothels anymore.&quot; <span class="time">-06:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick emerged from the undergrowth, his blade catching the evening light as it came into a high guard. Saffron's horse reeled, startled at the man, but the rider brought it under control, backing away a little from the Captain. &quot;Halt, in the name of Vonheldus.&quot; <span class="time">-06:04 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale peered through the bush, something wasn't right, he knew every whore in Vonheldus, and a good number of them intimately, and none of them sounded like this girl, or not that he remembered. <span class="time">-06:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"My heart was always yours, Helena." Conway ran his hand through her hair again. "We were born to heal this land." He moved in for another kiss and his lips were like softest water. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando stared for a moment, unsure of what to make of this. The girl didn't look like she was lying to him; she seemed genuine. Shrugging, Ando lowered the weapon. &quot;Very well then, allow me to apologise for my crassness. I assumed you were an accomplise of my pursuers.&quot; He stepped forwards and held out a hand to shake, smiling. &quot;My name is Ando Reyer, at your service.&quot; <span class="time">-06:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Helena closed her eyes, lost for a moment in her lover's kiss. His hand moved through her hair and she sighed, opening her eyes to take him in, to map the contours of his face, his eyes, his smile. But when the shadow came over them, her eyes widened fully. She looked past him, at the thing that was rising from the earth. And she screamed. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> <a href='http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2011/118/c/7/amazon_huntress_by_photorip-d3f226c.jpg' target='_blank'>http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2011/118/c/7/amazon_huntress_by_photorip-d3f226c.jpg</a> <span class="time">-06:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Von'eld's?&quot; she replied in surprise, looking at the man on the ground. He had the look of a military man at least. &quot;What 'm I to be stopped for,&quot; she questioned him. &quot;I surely 'm not on private lands.&quot; <span class="time">-06:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> (Steals picture!) <span class="time">-06:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The snake lunged forward as Conway spun, its head slamming the man into the tree and Helena fell to one side. The rest of its coils unfolded from the soil, shedding dust and roots, and showing scale of pure and terrifying black. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"Aaagh! Helena!" <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;A strange hour for a woman to be riding alone,&quot; Merrick said as he lowered his sword slightly. &quot;Tell me, traveller, have you seen another rider here? A man wi...&quot; Merrick froze as he heard the hiss and the painful scream that echoed through the forest. <span class="time">-06:09 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;Conway!&quot; Screaming his name, she was scooting backwards on the ground to get away. Her hands circling around a small stone. As she rose to her feet in a scramble, she chucked it at the beast's head! <span class="time">-06:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale recognised the name, a real small fry, a bounty had been posted for his head but the price hadn't been high enough for Ale to show any interest. However the man was a criminal and that could be useful later. Suddenly a scream rang out an Ale tensed again. Way too complicated. <span class="time">-06:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> She frowned, she heard the sounds too. She turned pale and looked at the soldier on the ground, oh she hated herself for what she was going to say. &quot;It's quicker by horse!&quot; For whoever was in trouble, she hoped it was not too late. <span class="time">-06:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> A scream rang out through the forest. Ando's head snapped around as he attempted to trace the source. &quot;Did you hear that?&quot; <span class="time">-06:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The snake had reared to devour the Prince, but as the rock struck it turned, amber eyes fixing on the Princess. With another hiss it snapped at her, it's massive tail encircling the tree and trapping in her in a fatal ring. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia's features smoothed in relief. &quot;Thank you, good sir, Ando.&quot; She definitely sounded like someone who grew up cramped amongst other human beings. Maybe she even knew how write her own name. &quot;I'm Dahlia,&quot; before she could take the man's hand in her own, a scream pierced through the forest. Her prince! &quot;Forgive me, I must fly!&quot; Dahlia called this over her shoulder to the man, already bolting into the direction of the scream. <span class="time">-06:12 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Dalibor enters.] <span class="time">-06:13 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick gave it no second thought. Taking Saffron's outstretched hand, he vaulted upon onto the horse and in moments they were spurring through the trees, Saffron guiding her mount towards the screams. His blade was at the ready, his heart thumping. <span class="time">-06:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> 'I must fly'? Fancy talk, that. Still, Ando was intruiged by the strange girl. &quot;Wait a minute!&quot; he called, charging after her. The scream sounded serious; he didn't want the girl running off on her own. He had a reputation to maintain, after all. <span class="time">-06:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor padded up behind Ale, surprisingly silent considering his size. &quot;Sorry I took so long. Told you that rabbit smelled funny. What'd I miss?&quot; <span class="time">-06:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena screamed again, just barely having missed being snapped at by the snake's massive jowels. Trapped between the tree and it's coils, she's was frantically trying to reach out for her love! &quot;Conway...! &quot; <span class="time">-06:16 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> The fading light could not hide what was before them. She muttered a curse under her breath, the words inaudable but the sentiments were clear. Seeing the large snake made her more regretful, and yet her eyes darted from the snake to see if there were still people. Two? Hopefully that was the orginal number. <span class="time">-06:16 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale breathed in sharply, Dalibor always caught him by surprise and that was something a man his size should not be able to do. He stood and turned to face the hulking man. &quot;Complications are what happened, complications.&quot; However there have been screams and some people have run in that direction. I have a bad feeling someone might steal our target. Also about that...&quot; <span class="time">-06:18 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> They had emerged into a clearing, serene and beautiful... or at least it would have been were it not for the terror laid at its heart. Merrick saw the wall-like tail of the snake, completely encircling the Gahron Tree. The monster's head was rearing up and down, striking at something inside its coils. .... And that something was screaming. .... Sliding from the horse as Saffron slowed, the Captain readied his blade and fumbled, desperately, for a plan. <span class="time">-06:19 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia stumbled through the briars and the brambles as fast as she was able, only partially aware of Ando close behind. When finally the branches did part into the glade, Dahlia froze in terror at the sight of the serpent, its fangs poised for her love and his. &quot;Prince Conway!&quot; Her words were muffled by her own hands, afraid that her terror might distract Conway from fighting the beast. <span class="time">-06:20 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;'ey, long as his contact dies, we get paid. Never said we had to off 'im ourselves. What's got yer shorts in a bunch?&quot; <span class="time">-06:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Multi'le targets?&quot; the merchant asked, her voice sounding a octive higher then she was sure was normal. She did not want to attack that thing, but she was on a horse, and thus she would be able to manuver faster. She would also be a bigger target. Advantage and disadvantage. <span class="time">-06:22 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;No really, wait a--&quot; Ando called as he burst through the thicket behind Dahlia. The next words that came from his mouth were &quot;Oh bollocks...&quot; as his eyes fell upon the snake looming over the Prince. <span class="time">-06:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The Snake lunged again, it's mansized fangs barely missing Helena. It's head was between her and Conway now. She could not hear the Prince - only hear him, gasping in pain as he lay upon the ground. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>*see <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale was jittery and jogged up and down gently. &quot;Well..&quot; He looked behind him, to where everyone appeared to have gone off to. &quot;come on, I wanna make sure we see what happens.&quot; he said, darting around the bush, quickly turning to look at his partner and motioning him to follow. &quot;Look.. ok I'll be straight with you, the person we're supposed to kill is a woman!&quot; He continued as they made their way towards the events unfolding. &quot;And killin' a woman don't sit pretty with me!&quot; So.. I'm thinking a kidnappin' she sure as hell looks rich, so I'm thinking we can get a pretty penny for her, if we make sure she don't die!&quot; <span class="time">-06:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;That... wouldn't happen to be a friend of yours?&quot; Ando asked Dahlia, pointing to Conway. The young man looked familiar... <span class="time">-06:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia turned on Ando. &quot;We have to help him!&quot; <span class="time">-06:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;...And her, I guess!&quot; <span class="time">-06:27 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Job is, kill the contact, Gull. If the contact's a woman, it sucks t' be her. You know how it works,&quot; Dalibor growled as he padded alongside Ale. &quot;If it means that much to ya, though, we can give 'er a chance t' make us a better offer.&quot; <span class="time">-06:27 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando sighed. &quot;Knew you might say something like that...&quot; Bringing up the crossbow, he levelled it at the snake and fired. <span class="time">-06:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Yaaaagh!&quot; Merrick screamed to expel his fear, his terror at charging into the shadow of such an unnatural creature. With both hands on his Orc blade he sprinted across the clearing and plunged his sword between the scales of the Snake's tail. The beast twitched and its head came away from Helena, peering over its folds to hiss at Merrick. <span class="time">-06:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Be ready to run, Dahlia!&quot; he hissed, reloading as fast as he could. <span class="time">-06:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Ando's crossbow bolt struck the side of its jaw and it rounded on Ando and Dahlia, amber eyes narrowing. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> The color drained from Dahlia's face. &quot;I think you just made it angrier...&quot; <span class="time">-06:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>It shot forward, fangs extended to devour them both in a single gulp. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Ooph!&quot; Merrick was barged aside as the coils of the snake shifted, its tail uncurling slightly as it rounded on Ando. <span class="time">-06:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> The moment the snake's head moved, she rushed forward to her beloved's side. &quot;Shh.. it's all right..!&quot; Helena pulled his knife from his belt. If he could not defend them, she would do her best to try! &quot;...someone else is here..! HELP! PLEASE!&quot; <span class="time">-06:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia was never a good fighter, but years of having to hide herself in the servant's quarters from 'unsavory company' had made her an expert at running. <span class="time">-06:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;OH GODS!&quot; Ando howled, flinging himself to the side and tugging on the sheathe of his blade... <span class="time">-06:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Yeah shall we do that then?&quot; Ale often found himself thinking of Dalibor as stupid, and was constantly reminded that the case was quite the opposite. He also never seemed to remember how ruthless the larger man was, and also.. he gulped a little, how much bigger than Ale he was. &quot;Bloody hell&quot; He gasped as he saw the cause of the commotion, a giant snake. &quot;Come on partner. fancy a fight?&quot; he said, grinning at Dalibor and drawing his crossbow. <span class="time">-06:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"Helena... it's...I feel..." Conway gripped her hand, his eyes fluttering open and closed. His face was contorted in pain. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia crashed into the brush a few feet away from where the serpent's jaws struck. <span class="time">-06:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Hearing more than seeing the bolt, Saffron glanced back and saw two figures. More help, good. With a frown, the woman clapped her hands together then seperated them, now holding a fancy looking blade that was as sharp as if freshly from the whet stone. Without another pause, she charged to part of the flank of the coiled snake to give it yet another target. With percision she swung her blade. <span class="time">-06:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The Snake demolished the trees around Dahlia, tearing each one from the soil by its roots. Then finally it found her, opening wide its jaws... before rearing again as Saffron cut into its side. The snake recoiled itself, fixing amber eyes on the rider and the ripe, juicy horse... <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Sounds like...a...&quot; Dalibor trailed off before Ale's comment brought him back to the here-and-now. He returned a grin and strapped on his bladed cestii. &quot;Let's CRACK SOME HEADS!&quot; he roared, charging forward for a running leap onto the serpent's head. <span class="time">-06:34 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;Help is here... we'll be safe.&quot; Helena's voice was much calmer than she actually felt. Fear griped her, even as she tried to remain a solid and brave figure for the man she loved. He looked so pale! Her hand brushed against his cheek. &quot;You will be all right. I'm with you!&quot; <span class="time">-06:35 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> The snake swept past him, moving after Dahlia. Stunned for a moment, Ando finally got his sword free. &quot;I... I SAY. STAND AND FIGHT, COWARD!&quot; roared as dangerously as he could after the snake, pursuing it and hacking into it's tail. <span class="time">-06:35 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Coulda let me shoot first&quot; Ale remarked, darting to the side and taking a shot into a part of the creature Dalibor was not obscuring, and hitting his back to the tree to reload a bolt. <span class="time">-06:35 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Ya want me, doncha?&quot; Saffron might have wanted to play the waiting game a bit longer with the snake, but her horse wasn't going to wait for the snake to lunge and the merchant found her horse galloping away from the center of the chaos to the trees. Damnation! <span class="time">-06:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Dalibor was snatched away on a rollercoaster ride as he clung to the neck of the massive snake. It was chasing Saffron, meandering through the trees and around the clear, dropping hot goblets of drool as it salivated. It was too starved to notice the attacks of Ale and Ando. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> As branches and bark fell around her, Dahlia closed her eyes and readied herself for death...Only death did not come. She opened one eye, then the other. The serpent was pursuing another woman on horseback. Slowly, Dahlia rose to her feet, her eyes locked on her prince and his lover. <span class="time">-06:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando landed a heavy swing upon the snake's tail, but his opponent did not seem to even notice. &quot;MOST UNSPORTING!&quot; he snapped, looking over to Dahlia. &quot;Are you alright?&quot; <span class="time">-06:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> As the snake recoiled, Merrick rose and drove his blade into its tail, using the leverage to roll himself over the beast and into the middle of its coils. &quot;My liege!&quot; he yelled, making a dash for Conway and Helena, before the tail suddenly whipped up and caught him in the back. The captain was sent stumbling against the tree. <span class="time">-06:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;HahaHAAAA!&quot; Dalibor's laugh posessed that particular quality typically displayed only by adrenaline junkies and psychopaths as he clung for dear life with his legs and one arm, punching the thing repeatedly in the side of the head with the other. <span class="time">-06:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> He was still not quite sure how he'd cme from fleeing thugs to battling giant snakes; Ando figured he would come to terms with that later. <span class="time">-06:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> A sword was useless at the moment, and she needed both hands on the reigns, she twisted her sword hand in the air, and the sword reverted back to it's place on her wrist as though it was an orniment. She spat out greenery, having hit more then one tree branch in the wild ride. Saffron tried to recall any geographic features that could help her, like a river or cliff. <span class="time">-06:39 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The snake seemed to be getting faster. It's head jolted forwards, throwing Dalibor head first into Saffron. The two were knocked clear of the horse, which was snapped up in the snake's jaws, the fangs tearing through flesh. The two were propelled into the trees, even as they were demolished by the snake and the mauled horse in its mouth. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Once again, Ando's shout jerked Dahlia from her reverie. &quot;Yes, but my prince is not!&quot; For the third time that day, Dahlia tore off blindly toward her prince, dodging the debris flung by the snake's thrashing. <span class="time">-06:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;...Prince?&quot; Ando asked, sounding genuinely perplexed. He had not heard of any bandit-princes in these parts. Still, he followed the girl as she moved through the debris towards the couple. &quot;Might I ask WHAT THE BLAZES IS GOING ON?!&quot; <span class="time">-06:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;I paid good money for that horse!&quot; It wasn't her first concern by any means, but she didn't want to dwell on how close her mortality was staring her in the face. She hurt something awful, and who was this man and gods and ancestors was that monster coming back. <span class="time">-06:43 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Stepping out from behind the tree Ale took a second to take in the scene. That thing was huge, and crossbow bolts weren't going to do much. holstering his crossbow he drew his sabre and made his way behind trees and bushes to get closer to the prince and this woman they were supposed to kill. He rounded a tee noticed what looked like a royal knight of Vonheldus and ducked hurredly back behind the tree. Far. too. complicated. <span class="time">-06:43 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The snake halted from a moment, tipping back its head to swallow the horse. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> The snake's head was a good distance from them now, Helena tried frettfully to pull Conway to a sitting position and urge him to his feet. &quot;Hurry! Please move... we must flee but it returns!&quot; <span class="time">-06:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> He grunted and pushed himself upright, stumbling a bit from the rather impressive blow to the head, then turned and charged forward again, this time aiming to slice the thing's throat with the back of the bladed gauntlet. <span class="time">-06:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Away!&quot; snapped Merrick, pushing Helena aside as he grabbed the Prince. Pulling his master closer, Merrick glared into the man's eyes. &quot;My liege? Are you hurt?&quot; <span class="time">-06:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Ando did not mean to press that button.] <span class="time">-06:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> <font size=1 face=verdana>[<font color=red>Ando</font> was timed out by force!]</font> <span class="time">-06:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick scowled as Dahlia tried to get hold of the Prince as well. His hand lashed out, backhanding the woman away and sending her sprawling next to Helena. &quot;Get back, damn you!&quot; He held the Prince in his arms, trying to check the man for wounds. <span class="time">-06:48 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Now's not really the time, good sir Ando!&quot; Dahlia shouted to him, before reaching the royal lovers and Merrick. &quot;Prince Conway!&quot; She shrieked uselessly. <span class="time">-06:48 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena did not take kindly to being pushed back, but was aware there was no way she could carry Conway if needed. Still, she hovered close, not wanting to leave his side. ...Just out of Merrick's swinging reach! &quot;He was slammed in to the tree, he will not answer me now!&quot; <span class="time">-06:49 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Rubbing the back of her neck, Saffron watched as the man took the fall and then went back after the snake. Did he have a plan, or was he brave but stupid? Getting up on her feet, the merchant made sure she'd be able to dodge whatever came next. <span class="time">-06:49 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> As he approached, Ando's eyes fell upon what looked to be a member of the Vonheldus Watch. His eyes narrowed and his heart skipped a beat; this way far more than he wanted to deal with. The man backhanded Dahlia away from the man on the floor; Ando should at that point probably stood up for the woman, but he was too taken aback by the situation. &quot;Is he... what... who...&quot; <span class="time">-06:50 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> (Switch mine and Asmo's posts!) <span class="time">-06:50 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale winced a little as he heard a slap and a shout. that knight sounded damned unsporting. but he was hardly going to reveal himself to him over a slap to a lady who may or may not be a whore. He glanced in Dalibor's direction. Man seemed to be doing fine. <span class="time">-06:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The snake swerved, Dalibor's blade catching the underside of its jaw and spraying out dark, inky blood. The beast squealed and spat out the half-digested horse, which fell down on top of Dalibor. He was lost beneath a heap of intestines and half-digested bones. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia landed ungracefully next to the princess, clutching her sore cheek. It had not been the first time her foolish actions had warranted such discipline from the prince's bodyguard. She risked a curious, silent glance at the princess, watching the way she watched the prince writhe in agony. The smell of blood was heavy in the air. <span class="time">-06:55 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia bit down on her lip, hard enough to draw blood, and closed her eyes. <span class="time">-06:56 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>It moved again, slithering past Dalibor and Saffron, back into the clear, its speed increasing with every second. Rearing high over the branches of the Gahron Tree, it plunged towards Conway and Helena, jaws wide and dripping poisonous drool. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;SHIT!&quot; Merrick cried as he pulled Conway to one side, falling with the man over the roots of the tree. <span class="time">-06:56 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> The merchant covered her mouth, a way to save herself from the reaction that was trying to take over her. The snake passed her and taking a big gulp of air, she raced to the remains of her horse. &quot;Sir, you there?&quot; <span class="time">-06:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena went diving in the opposite direction to avoid teeth and jowels. Landing hard on the ground several feet away with a startled shriek! <span class="time">-06:58 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale swore loudly as the tree rumbled against his back. He rounded the tree and thrust his sabre as hard as he could into the side of the snake, hoping that perhaps the creature's momentum would turn the stab into a huge gash. <span class="time">-06:58 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> After a few moments, during which it can only be assumed that Dalibor was recovering from yet another blow to the head, the pile of viscera began shifting. A hand emerged, giving a somewhat shaky thumbs-up. <span class="time">-06:58 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Staggering over to the guard and the man he held, Ando checked the wounded figure. &quot;It is quite possible he has been poisoned,&quot; he informed the guard, &quot;that snake looks poisonous. Can you move this man?&quot; <span class="time">-06:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> She was alone, now. No one would see. <span class="time">-07:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Not gonna t'ink 'bout this, not gonna t'ink about this,&quot; Saffron repeated over and over like a mantra as she stepped on a piece of flesh and grabbed the man's hand in both of hers to help pull him out. <span class="time">-07:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The Snake squealed again, coming down over the tree, snapping some of its branches. One of them struck Ale on the shoulder and as he fell the coils of the snake came around him. He was entangled with the beast, pinned against the tree <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Help me!&quot; Merrick yelled, scrambling to his feet and getting one arm of the Prince. With Ando's help they pulled him away from the thrashing snake, getting clear of the tree. <span class="time">-07:02 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale tried to swear but he found there wasn't enough breathe in him to produce the sound. Who would have thought such a complicated night would have such a simple end to it? <span class="time">-07:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> On the opposite side, Helena was dazed and confused. Stumbling to her feet and fearfully trying to see where the Prince and his Man went. All she could see now was the coils of the snake wrapped around the tree and blocking her way! <span class="time">-07:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Helping the guard drag the man away from the snake, Ando yelled over to the girl he had followed into this bedlam, &quot;DAHLIA! GET CLEAR OF THE SNAKE!!&quot; <span class="time">-07:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The snake right itself, its head swinging around and fixing on Dahlia. It began uncoiling again, its scaled flanks pushing Ale further against the tree as it moved. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia released a breath and drew the blunt the herb knife from her bodice. The back of the serpent's head was facing her. This was her chance to help her prince... Or avenge him. Clamoring to her feet, the servant girl ran for the snake, prayed, jumped-- <span class="time">-07:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The Snake reeled as the woman landed hard against its face, her arms gripping around its eyes and her feet dangling in and out of its mouth. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor winced at the help - he was pretty much one giant bruise at this point - but managed to get himself out from under the remains of the horse. He nodded his thanks, then set himself for yet another charge. &quot;I am shankin' crazy,&quot; he muttered to himself, right before he started another run up to hopefully get to where he could start taking swings at the top of its head. <span class="time">-07:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;WHAT IN THE NAME OF THE GODS ARE YOU DOING, GIRL?!!&quot; <span class="time">-07:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> It was both the bravest thing and the dumbest thing she had ever done. Dahlia shrieked her face off. <span class="time">-07:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Kicking her legs and stabbing wildly. <span class="time">-07:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The snake reeled and reeled, coming away from the tree, trying to shake her off. As it uncoiled Ale fell down face-first, the crushing weight relieved. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>It was backing right into Dalibor's path <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena could see nothing of her prince, but she COULD see someone that needed aid! Once Ale was released, she rushed to his side, grabbing his arm to help pull him away to saftey! <span class="time">-07:09 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale gasped loudly and managed to get a face-full of mud, he pushed himself up swearing and stumbled over to his sabre, which had found it's way into a coil of weeds. <span class="time">-07:09 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron thought for a moment of fleeing. She could make the main road in a few hours, and be far away from the snake and all this craziness. She had no idea why she started running after the man in the direction of the snake, other then adrenilin caused stupidity! <span class="time">-07:09 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick flattened himself against the Prince as the tail of the Snake swept inches above their heads. <span class="time">-07:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando ducked at the last second as the tail of the serpent swept overhead. Snarling, he threw himself at the back of the beast, slicing into it with his sword. <span class="time">-07:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor, arguably insane as he was, opted for a questionable yet hopefully effective tactic as he landed just behind the Snake's head. Namely, he used the blades on the back of one gauntlet to anchor him as he began punching the snake on the top of the head with a forward rake-backhand combination over and over again. <span class="time">-07:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Ando was pulled along on the monster's tail, his sword wedged between the shimmering black scales. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;OH GOOD LORDS THIS IS NOT WHAT I INTENDED!!&quot; Ando howled as he was dragged along by the tail of the snake, holding on for dear life as he pulled a knife and flailed at the monster with his free arm. <span class="time">-07:13 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Dahlia's blade pierced the creature's left eye, the amber turning to scarlet as it bled. With a squeal the snake yanked its head upwards and flung her over the back of its skull. This time, it was no half-digested horse that fell on Dalibor, but something much more attractive. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;BY THE SWEET GLOWING ORBS OF SHELESHA! SOMEONE SLAY THIS BEAST!&quot; Dahlia screamed over the commotion, she had dug her knife into the serpent's flesh to used it to help her hang on for dear life as the serpent thrashed. She was still hanging on as Dalibor made his attack. <span class="time">-07:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> (Gaaah! Switch ours again) <span class="time">-07:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;I'M <i>TRYING</i> WOMAN!&quot; Ando roared as he stabbed at the snake again... <span class="time">-07:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale swore and sheathed his sabre, before yanking out his crossbow and taking a shot at the beast's already bloody eye. making sure to run behind some trees as he did so. <span class="time">-07:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Retriving her scimitar once more, went to the left, it's eye possibly gone, though did someone besides the man fall this time. No matter. The merchant slashed at the blind side of the snake, trying to get to an artery or windpipe or something this time. <span class="time">-07:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>With a final hiss the one-eyed snake shot forwards, a speed unlike anything natural. The force of the acceleration flung Ando away, and his sword came loose one of the scales was prised away with it, falling with him onto the clearing floor. Dust and debris filled as the snake crashed away into the trees, plunging into the undergrowth. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dahlia impacted Dalibor, sending them both tumbling - again - as her momentum caused the blade anchoring him to rip out of the snake's flesh. He grabbed her in a bear hug, taking the brunt of the damage as they hit the ground bouncing. <span class="time">-07:16 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale panted loudly and then, realising the battle was over, dived into a bush, with a bit of luck noone would notice his absence. <span class="time">-07:17 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Trees toppled in the distance and birds scattered from the trees. The snake was gone. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;OH BAAAAAAAAAAAAALLS!&quot; Ando yelled before he hit the ground with a thud, rolling to try and dissipate most of the impact. He lay there for a second, breathing heavily. <span class="time">-07:17 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena was shielding her face and head from the debris as it fell. But the moment it turned silent - at least from the snake - she was looking franctically for the prince. &quot;...Conway!&quot; <span class="time">-07:18 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick lifted his head from Conway's chest, looking up and blinking at the destruction in the clearing. Then he heard Helena shout. &quot;He's here,&quot; the captain muttered, laying the prince down and checking his injuries. <span class="time">-07:18 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Pulling himself to his knees uncertainly, Ando noticed the scale lying in the dirt before him. He picked it up and stuffed it into his coat before looking up. &quot;Dahlia?&quot; he called, wondering if the girl he had followed was still alive. <span class="time">-07:20 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> She rushed across the clearing, having to crawl over broken branches and upturned bushes before she dropped to her knees near Conway. &quot;Is he all right? He looks so pale...&quot; Helena nearly choked on a sob. <span class="time">-07:20 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"No.. he's.. I..." Conway's eyes were half-closed, his skin turning deathly pale as he shuddered. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Looking around several times, the young woman kept a hold of her weapon, leery that the fight might not truly be over. She walked in the direction of where the others were, the guard, the sick man and his lady. &quot;Hell's king was that?&quot; Not that she was sure anyone knew, their attention on the sick man. <span class="time">-07:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Ando paused a moment, his hand still holding the scale in his coat pocket. He pulled it out again, frowning at the symbol he had glimpsed. Something had been carved into the scale. Some kind of writing. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>It was Orcish. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;What the...&quot; Ando muttered as he climbed to his feet finally, analysing the scale closer. &quot;Anyone read... Orcish, I think?&quot; he called. <span class="time">-07:22 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Uuugh...&quot; Dahlia opened her eyes to see Dalibor beneath her in the dirt. She was straddling the man who had taken the fall for her. &quot;My prince!&quot; Dahlia shot up, accidently driving her elbow into his ribs as she did so, and jogged toward her master and his bodyguard, keeping out of slapping distance this time. <span class="time">-07:22 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;We must get him to healers as quickly as possible. To my home, there are no better healers than in Leitania.&quot; Helena suggested quickly, her voice shaking with concern. <span class="time">-07:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Orcish?&quot; the merchant turned and looked at the man like he was insane. He could have been, but the look on his face was perplexed. She walked over to him. &quot;Why, what do ya have?&quot; Orcs, wasn't that part of their past over? <span class="time">-07:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;AUGH!&quot; Dahlia managed to elbow him right in a cracked rib, he was pretty sure. He was much slower getting up this time - though, frankly, with all the abuse he'd taken he should've by all rights not gotten up at all. He propped himself up against a tree, gasping. <span class="time">-07:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The writing on the scale was simple. A name. Rudnart. Clearly the monster had been given a name. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Yes, Orcish.&quot; The woman who approached was one of the people who had helped fight off the snake; Ando decided she was trustworthy enough to show the scale to, and revealed what he had found to her. &quot;It came from the beast we fought off.&quot; <span class="time">-07:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Psssst&quot; There was a voice from behind the tree Dalibor rested against. &quot;I'm not sure anyone noticed me so I might be able to stay hidden. What do you think? there's a lot of people about so a kidnapping is gonna be hard, as is an assassination.&quot; <span class="time">-07:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick pulled apart the Prince's shirt, the white now stained with dirt. Peeling the material away, he saw the wound on the Prince's shoulder. A deep gash, the edges of which had already discoloured the flesh. He could see the veins running from the wound turning black, stark against the paling skin. <span class="time">-07:27 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> A soft hiss escaped the woman's lips. &quot;It's name? What sort of dark magic is this? Perhaps we should burn it!&quot; Ioana might have been holding a bespelled sword, but she understood what it did. This, this was sinister magics of a different degree! <span class="time">-07:27 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;I think this job's a wash,&quot; he grumbled back, pushing himself off the tree. &quot;Might as well offer our services.&quot; <span class="time">-07:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"I see... nigh... ma.." Conway passed out, shuddering in Merrick's arms. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;You know&quot; Ale sagged a little, partly with disappointment and partly with relief. &quot;I think that's the most intelligent thing you've ever said.&quot; He continued, stepping out fromt he tree, and walking ver to see the rst of the group, trying to look as composed as possible. &quot;Me and my friend here just so happen to be mercenaries for hire, and it looks like it's your lucky day, as we're not currently on a job!&quot; He said to the group at large. <span class="time">-07:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;That thing had a NAME?&quot; Ando cried, incredulously, &quot;Orcs truly are insane.&quot; He looked at the woman a moment, then stretched his hand to offer a handshake. &quot;Ando Reyer. That was some good sword-play back there.&quot; He might once have added 'for a woman', but his years as a bandit had taught him that women were just as dangerous with a blade. <span class="time">-07:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena gasped. The wound was so discolored there was no way it was a simple or natural wound. Poison or magic, at this rate she could be watching her beloved die! &quot;Conway!&quot; She choked, turning to Merrick with a pleading look. &quot;Please. My healers can do something..! I'm sure they can!&quot; <span class="time">-07:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;There has to be some herbs around here to hold off an infection!&quot; Dahlia prattled in panic, though no one was really listening to her. Like a dutiful servant, she scuttled to the edge of the glade that had not been savaged by the serpent, searching amongst the wild plants that grew for any healing herbs she recognized. <span class="time">-07:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> <font size=1 face=verdana>[<font color=red>Dalibor</font> was timed out by force!]</font> <span class="time">-07:32 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;He in any shape t'be moved?&quot; the big man rumbled, walking toward the group alingside Ale. <span class="time">-07:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Aye,&quot; she said in agreement about the insanity of orcs. She took the man, Ando's hand and shook it. &quot;Saffron,&quot; she started with her family name when doing business, it was habit now. &quot;Ioana Milanka Saffron, and thank you. That was,&quot; she paused and smirked, &quot;not fun.&quot; She then looked back at the others surrounding the sick man. &quot;Wonder what to do now though.&quot; <span class="time">-07:35 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick glanced at the sorry remains of Saffron's horse. Their only mount was gone and there was no sign of the horses the prince and princess had arrived on. This was bad. He glared at Helena, looking her up and down. She had the fair complexion and high cheekbones of a Leitanian. &quot;I would rather kill this man than take him to your city.&quot; <span class="time">-07:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;It certainly was not.&quot; Ando muttered, staring after the devestation the snake had left. &quot;Let us check on the others, perhaps?&quot; he offered as a suggestion, moving over to the others. He stared down at the wounded man's injuries. &quot;Those wounds are poisoned, there's no doubt. He needs healing, the best kind there is. And soon, before he succumbs.&quot; <span class="time">-07:37 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;He could be <i>dying</i>..! We cannot just sit here and let him waste away!&quot; Helena was furious, tears streaking down her face. Every moment they sat here, they were wasting time. Huffing, she moved forward to try and pull Conrad up. She would take him herself, somehow...! Anything to save him! <span class="time">-07:37 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick stood suddenly, leaving Helena struggling with her lover. He eyed each of the strangers who had gathered in the clearing, gesturing to them with his sword. &quot;Listen to me, all of you. This man is Prince Conway of the house of Vonheldus. His life hangs in the balance. Help me return him to his city and I will see you receive a King's reward.&quot; <span class="time">-07:39 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;...a <i>PRINCE</i>?&quot; Ando practically choked. What the hell was a prince doing out in the middle of nowhere? <span class="time">-07:40 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> A few moments later, Dahlia came hurrying back, her arms overflowing with every conceivable kind of antiseptic and antitoxin herb she could find. She had gathered them in such a hurry, many of them had been ripped up at the root. She dropped her bundle next to the prince and began hastily shredding the leaves with her hands, so that she could press their healing juices into his wounds. <span class="time">-07:40 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale's face lit up, and he grinned &quot;Yes sir good knight sir!&quot; He turned to Dalibor and gave the smirk that signalled he was putting on a show for the 'customers' &quot;Dalibor my good friend would you be so kind as to assist this poor man?&quot; <span class="time">-07:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> As Dahlia worked, she silently prayed, hoping that they would hold off the poison long enough to get him to a healer. <span class="time">-07:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> That stopped Saffron in her tracks. The prince? She helped rescue a prince? Oh her mother would be proud, well assuming he lived out this night, but... &quot;Von'eld's is a long ways by foot. Even with a mount, we would take a while.&quot; <span class="time">-07:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;Vonheldus does not have the healers for these sorts of wounds!&quot; she shouted! &quot;...by the order of Princess Helena Angelique di Celeny of Leitania, I ORDER you to take him to my home so he can be properly looked after..!&quot; <span class="time">-07:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor grunted and walked forward, hauling the unconscious man up into a shoulder-carry, being careful not to cut him with the blades on his gauntlets. &quot;Decide where we're taking him quickly. I'm not exactly in top shape.&quot; <span class="time">-07:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando watched Dahlia as she charged back out of the undergrowth, pressing plants against the wounds of the prince. He sighed sympathetically. &quot;I fear that won't help much, my dear.&quot; <span class="time">-07:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> That name...Dalibor... Dahlia's eyes narrowed as she worked, a new fear settling in her stomach. <span class="time">-07:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> He glanced up to the guard of the prince. &quot;You have my sword if you require it, my friend.&quot; He nodded to Helena. &quot;The girl talks sense, however; Leitania has the healers that can save the prince.&quot; <span class="time">-07:43 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick's eyes widened. He spun and fixed his gaze on Helena. &quot;Princess... Helena?&quot; His hand came out, grabbing the woman, the sword at her throat. He pushed her back till she stumbled amongst the roots. &quot;YOU LURED HIM HERE, DIDN'T YOU! LIETANIAN BITCH!&quot; <span class="time">-07:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Princess? Leitania? Wait were they together? Oh this was getting sticky indeed. They had not only healers, but those scholars that would want to see Ando's snake scale. &quot;Leitania be closer too,&quot; she added softly. She did not want to be in a debate, but it was the plain truth of the matter. <span class="time">-07:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena gave a startled cry, her eyes wide with surprise and fear. &quot;N-no..! I would never!&quot; She froze, giving Merrick another pleading look. &quot;I <i>love</i> him...!&quot; <span class="time">-07:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando's head snapped round when the 'princess' phrase registered with him. &quot;Wait, WHAT?&quot; By this point Merrick's sword was out and levelled at the girl. Ando pulled his own weapon free and pointed it at the grizzled-looking guard. &quot;For shame, man! Don't point your weapon at her!&quot; <span class="time">-07:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale's head was hurting, this was very complicated and he was int he middle of it. he walked up to Merrick and held his hands up &quot;Let the lady go sir. I don't think she's responsible. You too Ando&quot; Fights were no use, they only prolonged the amount of time between him and money. <span class="time">-07:48 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Love. Was that really the word she used. Merrick paused, stooped over the girl, his sword to her throat, even as Ando's crossbow was levelled at his head. &quot;What....?&quot; he said to the Princess. <span class="time">-07:48 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Idiots! Did men always have to think with their swords? At least the mercenary saw when it was time to use a blade and when not too. Of course he was likely a businessman first and a fighter second. If the guard from Vonheldus didn't stop reacting and start being a man of stratagy this was going to get worse before it got better. <span class="time">-07:50 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Swords and weapons aimed in every direction, but her eyes were only on Merrick. Tears still streaming, she struggled to explain as quickly as she could. &quot;I <i>love</i> him. We meet here every seventh night in secret..! Please. Let me take him to Leitania...!&quot; <span class="time">-07:50 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando kept the crossbow aimed on the man's throat, ready to put a bolt through it at the slightest movement. &quot;She is not lying, friend. Lower your weapon and I'll do the same.&quot; <span class="time">-07:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Considering her father's agents hired us to kill 'Conway's contact in the Lietani heirarchy...' I'm going to go out on a limb and say 'no.' Now hurry up and decide where we're taking him. He's heavy and I just had a horse drop on me.&quot; <span class="time">-07:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Sir Merrick! Please! She speaks the truth!&quot; Dahlia cried from her kneeling position next to the prince, eyes wide with panic. <span class="time">-07:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick dropped her, sword lowering, realisation dawning in his eyes. Princess Helena... and the boy.... meeting here. Was that the truth behind all this? Was the innocence behind it all? He stepped away from her, trying to process the truth in that girl's eyes. <span class="time">-07:53 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> She revealed her own part in the prince's secret trysts, and she would pay for it, but right now, she didn't care. &quot;Please, Sir Merrick, she's our prince's only hope,&quot; she pleaded. <span class="time">-07:53 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando slowly lowered the crossbow, looking down to the prince. &quot;We must move him soon. Before the snake returns, or something worse.&quot; <span class="time">-07:53 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale froze at Dalibor's blunt and incriminating words, closed his eyes for a second to pray to the gods he didn't believe in. Then he swore, quietly. <span class="time">-07:54 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> He moved away, beneath the hanging blossoms of the Gahron Tree, staring into the distance. He seemed to lose himself in thoughts for a moment, before turning and coming to his senses. &quot;So be it. We take him to Leitania.&quot; He nodded again to Dalibor, whose words he had only half-heard. &quot;Let us move.&quot; <span class="time">-07:55 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Her hand brushed against her neck where the sword had been placed. But Helena was quick to recover and remember what was important. &quot;I follow a short path through the woods, it will take us directly to a hidden passage at the castle. We could be there quickly and have the castle healers there right away.&quot; She moved, pointing and heading in the direction she always came from. <span class="time">-07:56 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Very good... who's carrying him?&quot; <span class="time">-07:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron looked over at the man holding the prince. MERCENARIES! Helena soon had a shadow, Saffron was walking just behind her and to her right, the merchant's sword still in hand. <span class="time">-07:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale thanked the god's he now might believe in, but probably didn't and glared a little at Dalibor, before remembering the size difference and looking away. &quot;I'll take point.&quot; He said, drawing his crossbow. With a bit of luck he wouldn't get caught in the middle of a fray if he wasn't right next to the main group. <span class="time">-07:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> He turned to Dalibor and grinned as he saw the prince over his shoulder. &quot;Oh, right.&quot; <span class="time">-07:58 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor grunted his assent and lurched in the direction Helena indicated, trying not to jostle the unfortunate man too badly. <span class="time">-07:58 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick looked the way that Helena was pointing. The path she indicated ran almost parallel to the trail of destruction left by the snake. He swallowed hard. The last thing they needed was a second parley with that beast. <span class="time">-07:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Falling in beside Dahlia as they began to move, Ando looked at the girl with concern after her somewhat suicidal attack upon the snake. &quot;Are you alright?&quot; <span class="time">-07:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena moved as quickly as she could. Climbing over fallen trees or branches, circling through the brush. She did not notice or realize the snake had fled through this path, all she cared about was taking her Prince to safety! <span class="time">-08:02 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>They moved into the trees, leaving behind the Gahron Tree, whose blossom-heavy branches were not speckled with blood, dust and snake bile. The sun was falling steadily in the sky, the grey of dusk descending over the forest. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia trailed always a few steps behind those who outranked her, remembering her place as a servant. She kept the remainder of the herbs tied into a section of her skirts, in case the prince required more. She turned to Ando, smiling slightly. &quot;I am all right, thank you for helping my prince... and I'm sorry for lying to you earlier.&quot; She spoke quietly, a servant's whisper. &quot;And what of you?&quot; <span class="time">-08:02 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;I should have seen it,&quot; Merrick muttered as he moved behind Helena. &quot;The Prince had grown into a man these last few months. He became strong. He put away his childish arrogance and his princely tantrums. I thought perhaps it was the scholars, or my own example....&quot; He looked at Helena, seeing the anxiety etched upon her bruised features. &quot;Forgive me...&quot; <span class="time">-08:04 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando chuckled slightly at the woman's question. &quot;It's been an eventful night, is the best I can say. And think nothing of what you said earlier; we all have secrets to keep.&quot; He kept his crossbow in easy reach, in case something unwelcome appeared... <span class="time">-08:04 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> As the sky turned dark, Saffron tried to be more alert as she followed the princess, but she was starting to think back on the danger that just happened. Thankfully the soldier spoke, she would listen to their conversation instead, and not dwell on the most recent past. <span class="time">-08:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Yes,&quot; she held a hand over her mouth to stifle a laugh at Ando's comment and manner. Now was not the time for joy. &quot;Where would we be without our secrets?&quot; <span class="time">-08:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena cast a faint smile over her shoulder in Merrick's direction. &quot;He's inspired me to be strong and brave. To try things I never thought I could do... He..&quot; The words caught in her throat and she had to swallow. Helena turned her attention back to the path and watching where she stepped. &quot;He will be fine. I know he will.&quot; <span class="time">-08:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale walked ahead and under the cover of the trees to the right of the path. It was still complicated and didn't show any signs of easing up. Would the people who hired them be angry for not killing the girl even if they saved the princes life? He dared not think what would happen if the prince should die this day, then him and Dalibor would both be in the shit house. <span class="time">-08:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick hopped across a babbling stream, turning to ensure the others were still with them. He eyed Ando, clearly the best dressed of the ragtag group. &quot;Do you lead these mercenaries?&quot; he asked, although the woman with him seemed anything but combatant. <span class="time">-08:08 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor snorted at Merrick's inquiry. &quot;Ale and I work alone,&quot; he said, effectively cutting off Ando's reply. <span class="time">-08:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando stared at Merrick for a moment, then back at Ale and Dalibor. &quot;Never met these men in my life, to tell you the truth. I was... avoiding some old friends of mine when I came across the prince's plight.&quot; <span class="time">-08:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick suddenly stepped past Ando as he crossed the stream. The captain seized Dahlia's arm, stopping her moving any further. &quot;You...&quot; he muttered, peering into the girl's eyes. &quot;You're one of his serving maids? What are you doing out here?&quot; <span class="time">-08:12 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia didn't fight Merrick, or move to answer. The girl merely clammed up and cast her eyes down, waiting for the strikes to come. She couldn't tell Merrick, not here, not here, not now. Not with THEM here. <span class="time">-08:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena continued walking, only pausing long enough to make sure Dalibor was keeping up. The others could follow on their own time as they wished, but she would make sure the Prince made it! &quot;Hurry, please!&quot; <span class="time">-08:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;How much further,&quot; Saffron asked softly to the princess. Not that she couldn't guess, she had just come this way herself, even if it was by horse. No, it was because if she was having a hard time not thinking about what just happened, it had to be ten times worse for the woman who's love was on death's door. <span class="time">-08:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando's arm snapped out to grab Merrick's shoulder. &quot;There will be time for questions later, my friend. Your prince's life depends on us moving quickly.&quot; <span class="time">-08:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;Longer than I desire..&quot; the princess admitted. Had they a horse, this would be so much quicker, but on foot it felt as if it took ages! <span class="time">-08:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;I am hurrying. You try moving quickly after getting a horse dropped on you,&quot; the big man grumbled, but quickened his pace a bit regardless. <span class="time">-08:16 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Up ahead, at the front of the group, Ale was the first to notice it. There were tracks on the ground. Horse hooves. And specks of blood. The mount had been riding fast... <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Mercinary her might be, he had stamina and seemed to be willing to help someone in need. Good trait for any person. She grinned at him quickly before placing her left hand on the princess' shoulder. &quot;We will make it,&quot; she insisted softly. <span class="time">-08:17 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale's ears pricked at the mention of his name. How could a man with morals as decrepid as Dalibor be so damned honest? He'd given away both their names now, which meant no sneaking out the back door if they wanted. Damn. &quot;There's something up ahead!&quot; He called back to the group &quot;tracks.. and.. blood?!&quot; He was concerned, of course not for the group, or the person whose blood it was, but for himself, lest something.. complicated happen. <span class="time">-08:18 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick released the girl. Clearly he was not the only one stupid enough to follow the Prince out of the city. &quot;This is no place for you girl,&quot; he warned. &quot;Stay close now.&quot; He shrugged Ando's hand away and carried on, catching up with Dalibor. <span class="time">-08:18 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> (Mercenary he...) <span class="time">-08:18 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick got ahead of the princess, coming to a crouch beside Ale at a crest in the tree line. He looked at the tracks - the heavy imprint of horse hooves in the mud. He cast a glance back as the Princess. &quot;Your horse, mayhaps? It seems someone stole it.&quot; He ran his hand over the speckles of blood. &quot;Not the luckiest of thieves either.&quot; <span class="time">-08:20 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia's heart resumed its beat, and she resumed her pace, her gaze flitting from Princess Helena to Dalibor. That name, she had heard it muttered in the King's chambers as she had served him and his guests, along with his partner, Ale. They were the reason why she had come here, to warn her prince that his love's life was in danger. <span class="time">-08:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> So why wasn't she saying anything about it, now? <span class="time">-08:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando watched Merrick move away from Dahlia and him without comment, but his eyes perked up when he heard Ale shout. &quot;What's going on?&quot; <span class="time">-08:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena nodded. In the hoof prints there was a small symbol that was engraved on all the horseshoes of the royal horses. It was most certainly her horse. &quot;It cannot be helped now. We must get to the castle as fast as we can.&quot; <span class="time">-08:23 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;What do we think happened?&quot; He asked Merrick quietly, he didn't trust the man.. but it would be better not to show that. <span class="time">-08:23 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron hoped it wasn't the horse fleeing from the snake. Where was that blasted orc magicked thing anyways? No, wait, as long at the answer wasn't 'here' she didn't care. Saffron looked around while the others looked at the prints. <span class="time">-08:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;I think someone will get to the castle before us,&quot; Merrick muttered, following the trail of bloodspots and horse hooves. Nothing about this day made any sense... not least the fact that he was taking himself and his prince into the city of his enemy. <span class="time">-08:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Again, Ale was the first to see it a light in the distance through the maze of trees. It was hot yellow... the colour of a campfire. It was a little to the north of where the horse hooves were leading... close to the path left by the snake. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Campfire.. up ahead. Might not be best to move on the path anymore.&quot; He said, standing up and moving towards the treeline. &quot;Knight.. wanna help me scout?&quot; <span class="time">-08:27 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando pushed to the front of the group and peered into the gloom of the forest. Ale was telling the truth; there was indeed a campfire in the distance. &quot;Who the hell is that... and why hasn't the snake bothered them?&quot; <span class="time">-08:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick nodded. &quot;Alright.&quot; He put a hand on the Princess's shoulder. &quot;Wait. Here. We'll scout the camp ahead then come back.&quot; He then looked to Ando and to Dalibor, who held aloft the Prince. &quot;Keep him safe.&quot; And with that he turned and hurried after Ale into the undergrowth. <span class="time">-08:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Right.&quot; Dalibor nudged Ando with his free hand. &quot;Snake had a name, right? So probably someone was holding its leash.&quot; <span class="time">-08:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando watched the pair disappear off without comment, before turning to Dalibor. &quot;A silver piece says they don't come back.&quot; <span class="time">-08:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;But...&quot; her voice trailed off as Merrick and the others hurried in to the brush. &quot;...the longer we delay, the sicker he becomes. We should keep going!&quot; <span class="time">-08:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Yeah, it did. It was...&quot; Ando thought for a moment. <span class="time">-08:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Don't joke like that, good sir Ando!&quot; Dahlia was quick to scold, swatting at the smaller man gently. <span class="time">-08:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Mmm. Two silver at least one comes back. Ale may love the taste of his foot, but he's coward enough to know when to retreat.&quot; <span class="time">-08:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>As the two scouts crept through the dense forest, they edged closed to the light. It was, indeed, a campfire and it was blocked now and then as figures moved in front of it. There was the smell of smoke and cooking food, the clatter of mess tins. And... as they got closer... the noise of grunts and foreign words. Crawling to another rise in the root-choked ground, the two men peered over and looked into the next clearing. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;We don't want to be further delayed by them having to keep him safe and clean up a mess,&quot; though Saffron sympathized with the princess, it was best to wait a short while. &quot;Orcs, magic and a pair of royals. Any sort of mess could be there.&quot; <span class="time">-08:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;...Rudnart, it was called. And two silver on one making it back? I'll take you up on that.&quot; <span class="time">-08:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Orcs. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>A camp full of Orcs. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Perhaps a dozen of them. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Merely lightening the tone, Dahlia,&quot; Ando said with a grin at the woman. <span class="time">-08:32 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Grimfang Oakskin Light cast a ruddy glow across the rough faces in the darkness. Tusks protruded from greyish green skin and permanent sneers. Flickering red eyes watched the glow impassivel. They were quiet a moment, reflecting on the growing nothing between them all. One held up his tin lazily, dumped the contents of some unknowable meat into its mouth and chewed thoughtfully.y] <span class="time">-08:32 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> But the princess did have a point. Did she dare defy Merrick and continue on into the enemy's kingdom with these perfect strangers? <span class="time">-08:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;And if they don't come back...!&quot; She shot back, repeating the bet that Dalibor and Ando were so lightfully toying with. &quot;Every moment is a moment lost.&quot; <span class="time">-08:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Orcs...&quot; whispered Merrick as he lay beside Ale. &quot;It can't be... they were gone... they were all gone...&quot; <span class="time">-08:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;I fear we'll have difficulty guarding the prince if we move on our own, princess.&quot; <span class="time">-08:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Our best bet is to wait and hope our companions return soon. And if they don't?&quot; Ando shook his head. &quot;We'll deal with that if we have to.&quot; <span class="time">-08:34 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;We wait, if they do not return soon, we dare not go that direction, do we Princess?&quot; Her voice was no longer soft. &quot;Fifteen minutes, then we go back.&quot; <span class="time">-08:34 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Shit&quot; Ale murmured, so quietly even he barely heard the words. He looked to the knight, realising he must have fought in the war. he shook his head as if to say &quot;no.. no they aren't&quot; and gulped silently, pleading at the man to tell him what to do. He couldn't run from the group, but he sure as hell wasn't going to be the one to make the move that got them killed. <span class="time">-08:34 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Go back?&quot; Ando asked. &quot;I don't think the prince will last that long.&quot; <span class="time">-08:35 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor grunted his agreement. &quot;Can't fight without putting him down.&quot; <span class="time">-08:35 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;How can they be out this far... beyond the mountains... this shouldn't be happening.&quot; Merrick stared in disbelief at the Orc band as they squabbled over food and sharpened their rusty weapons, exchanging grunts and guttural words. <span class="time">-08:35 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> &quot;Nok. Rak tal, Rak Tal mi Nurk.&quot; The larger of the orcs hurled his tin into the fire, casting brimstone and sparks. He was a large specimen, easily nearing seven feet of corded muscle and ramshackle armor, the kind put together with pieces of victim armaments. He was clearly displeased. <span class="time">-08:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;And if those two are dead, I don't think any of use will last long!&quot; Saffron pointed out. &quot;I want to save this man, but he'll be dead too if we all die.&quot; <span class="time">-08:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia stepped forward, addressing Helena. &quot;Is there....&quot; she swallowed her apprehension and continued &quot;Is there another way if they don't?&quot; <span class="time">-08:37 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;You... make a fair point, there.&quot; Ando turned back to watch for the other two. &quot;Fiveteen minutes. Then we move.&quot; <span class="time">-08:37 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Damnit all man! what do we do!? I've got a crossbow, I may be able to take two.. possibly three out before they come and make us dinner?&quot; He gulped at the thought &quot;You could go get the group.. I'll wait for the backup?&quot; He tried a smile. <span class="time">-08:37 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena understood, she really did... but fear over her beloved's waning life was stronger! She was shifting on her feet, tired and frustrated. Helena frowned at Dahlia as she thought it over. &quot;Yes... but it could take twice as long...&quot; <span class="time">-08:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;I fear the prince does not have 'twice as long'. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.&quot; <span class="time">-08:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick nodded to Ale. &quot;Alright. Keep your head down. If they move, scream like you've never screamed before. Slowly he turned and crawled away, slipping backi into the undergrowth and leaving Ale in place. He crawled quickly, finally coming up into a run and slipping back through the trees. Wheezing and pale, he got back to the others. <span class="time">-08:39 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando's crossbow snapped up instinctively as Merrick reappeared, but he lowered the weapon quickly. &quot;What's the news?&quot; <span class="time">-08:40 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> &lt;Five moons. Five moons and still no softskins.&gt; One ork looked up sharply at the warleader, but Grimfang was only staring into the fire. &lt;No war for my men, no glory, no ancestors, no blood. I do not remember where we came from, what path we chose. Is this a curse? Did we dishonor the Great One?&gt; <span class="time">-08:40 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Oh no, there was only one of them back, this couldn't be good at all. &quot;Please say we can continue this way.&quot; She did not want the prince to die to leave the princess heart broken. It would be too sad. <span class="time">-08:40 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Orcs...&quot; he gasped, putting his hands on his knees as he fought for breath. &quot;Orc encampment. Ten, maybe a dozen....&quot; <span class="time">-08:40 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;...what? Orcs? There's no Orcs this far south of the mountains!&quot; <span class="time">-08:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale found himself praying again, pulling out his crossbow and loading a bolt, making sure he had some others easily reachable on the side. He sure as hell hoped when they attacked that the Orcs would be too busy to notice his location. <span class="time">-08:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Believe it,&quot; Merrick snapped, wiping sweat from his brow. &quot;Ale is watching them. They look like a scouting party.&quot; <span class="time">-08:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;One came back. You owe me two silver.&quot; Grunting again, he set the Prince down, propping him against a tree and checking to make sure the straps on his cestii were still secure. &quot;Since Ale isn't here, I assume we're takin' the fight ta them?&quot; <span class="time">-08:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Terror griped her... Orcs out here! This night could get no worse! &quot;What do we do! Is fighting them wise? ...And Conway...&quot; <span class="time">-08:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> ((Uh...my post should probably go before Asmo's)) <span class="time">-08:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Put the prince down,&quot; Saffron looked at the mercenary holding Conway. &quot;You're a better fighter than me. If you let any slip though, I guess I'll have to hold things here.&quot; <span class="time">-08:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> Grimfang stood. There was a scent in the air. Most people assumed orcs, big, belligerent, stupid, were just corded muscle and chaos. But in the times before the war, Orcs hunted with their nose. <span class="time">-08:43 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> He smelled sweat. <span class="time">-08:43 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Grumbling, Ando handed Dalibor two silver coins. &quot;So what do we do?&quot; <span class="time">-08:43 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor grinned and pocketed his winnings. &quot;I barrel in screaming like a madman, and you take advantage of the confusion. Got a crossbow?&quot; <span class="time">-08:44 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Fight Orcs?&quot; Dahlia was pale as a sheet. She had never a day in her life (the serpent didn't count, that was more holding on for dear life). <span class="time">-08:44 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> (Never fought a day in her llife) <span class="time">-08:44 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;I do...&quot; Ando muttered, unslinging the weapon, &quot;but you're talking about fighting ORCS here, man. I've heard stories...&quot; <span class="time">-08:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> &lt;The forest, spread out. It seems softskins have found us. Make no mention, take your weapons and do what you are trained to do.&gt; As one the horde stood, kicking dirt into the fire and grunting nods to each other. They spread, groups of two to push into the forest away from the campfire. Grimfang took his axe, a frightening thing of jagged edges and flaking blood. Perhaps there would be honor after all. <span class="time">-08:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale was trembling, all except his hand, which was steady as a rock. That one big Orc had got up. had it smelt him? surely not.. Orcs couldn't do that.. could they. and now. shit! they were coming, they were all coming.. could he outrun an Orc in a forest? Well he was going to find out.. <span class="time">-08:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Bolt through the head'll still kill 'em.&quot; Dalibor trotted off in the direction of the campfire, ready to break into a run the moment he saw an orc. <span class="time">-08:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando looked to Merrick, uncertainly. <span class="time">-08:47 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> A bolt through the head killed one of the Orcs, and Ale was already running. He wasn't loading his crossbow, he needed his hands for dodging branches and swinging off things for momentum. He didn't make any noise till he was closer to the group. at which point he let of a string of obcenities that would have made a whore blush. <span class="time">-08:48 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena knelt down on her knees next to Conway. She ripped a good piece of fabric from the skirt of her dress, pressing it to his forehead to wipe away the sweat from his fever. &quot;Don't worry, love. We will be there soon...&quot; <span class="time">-08:49 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;These Orcs...&quot; Merrick whispered, even as Dalibor head off. &quot;They've might've sent the snake.... Maybe... there would be antidote at the camp... in case one of them was...&quot; He was already drawing his sword. <span class="time">-08:49 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron looked at Helena, and then to Dahlia. Then she saw it, the prince's beloved, and the one that held unrequited love for him. &quot;Ladies, I will defend him if the orcs get passed the men, but I am trained to fight. You are not. Do not make this more a tragedy. If I say run, you run for your life. The prince would not wish either of you dead!&quot; <span class="time">-08:49 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Ale's shouts echoed through the trees and were joined by a chorus of Orc roars. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;The snake had an orcish-engraved scale. They must have sent it.&quot; Ando checked his crossbow and sighed. &quot;Very well. I guess we have no choice if they potentially have an antidote.&quot; <span class="time">-08:50 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor broke into a dead sprint at Ale's string of curses, lashing out with an uppercut at an orc that appeared out at the woodline without stopping. &quot;Let's BREAK SOME HEADS IN!&quot; he shouted, as the blades affixed to his fist 'encouraged' the orc to execute a rather sloppy backflip. <span class="time">-08:51 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> The orcs knew the forest, not like the humans who lived in their castles of stone. The moment one went down, the rest followed, strafing out wide and around, bounding through dirt and leaves that exploded at each footstep. Their weapons may have been inferior, but if that had slowed them down, there would have been no war. They came, and they roared for glory <span class="time">-08:51 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick spun, his sword at the ready. &quot;Ale needs us. To arms!&quot; He plunged back into the tree line, using the campfire to guide his way. The sun was now all but gone and darkness was smothering the forest. <span class="time">-08:51 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia watched Helena soothe the prince, longing to join her, but knew she could not. She heard mention of the antidote and was about to thank the merchant woman for her kindness, when she heard the screams and obscenities. She quickly looked about her, searching for a rock a branch--ANYTHING she could use to defend herself. <span class="time">-08:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando rushed through the forest after Merrick and Dalibor, ready to put a bolt through the face of the first orc he saw... <span class="time">-08:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale stumbled to a stop as Dalibor passed him and took the moment to reload his crossbow, swinging around and snagging another Orc in the neck, before retreating to the path back near the suffering prince, hurredly reloading his crossbow again. <span class="time">-08:53 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> The Princess gave no reply to the merchant woman. What could she say? That would rather die at her Prince's side than live a life without him in it? There would be nothing that could remove her from him, not until he was safe and alive! Still, Helena cringed at the distant sounds of Orc shouts. <span class="time">-08:54 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>An Orc slammed into Ale, lifting him from the path and plunging with him into the trees. The two fell, wrestling and clawing at each other. He felt the hot breath of the Orc steaming around his face <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>With a roar, an Orc lunged from the shadows behind Ando, swinging a cleaver that swooped over the top of his head. Ando had never been happier for his short stature <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron paced, as she listened to the not far off distance. This was inferriating, but what else could she do. She was good, but these were men that were paid to live by the sword, they were better, and someone did have to be the last line of defense. Still though the waiting was horrible. She wanted to run, run into the fight, or away it didn't matter. Saffron paced. <span class="time">-08:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor twisted, grabbing the armor of the orc that tackled Ale and hauled it back toward him, executing a viscious rabbit-punch to the back of the head before letting it go. <span class="time">-08:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> With a twist, Dahlie tore away two long Blackthorn branches. &quot;Mind the thorns, they have a mild poison,&quot; she offered the other to the Princess, her eyes suddenly steely. They would protect their prince together. <span class="time">-08:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;OH GODS!!&quot; Ando howled, diving towards the ground and spinning in the air to fire the crossbow bolt. In the commotion, the bolt only managed to lodge into the Orc's shoulder. <span class="time">-08:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> A sword burst from the chest of the Orc standing over Ando. Merrick was behind hit, driving his blade into the beast. He kicked the dead Orc to the ground then helped Ando up, putting his back to the man's as they became encircled by another two Orcs. <span class="time">-08:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena nodded at Dahlia. Resigned to the knowledge that she might need to fight. What she had told Merrick was true... because of Conway, she could be brave! She could do what needed to be done to protect him! <span class="time">-08:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Thanks buddy&quot; Ale said as he pulled himself up, loading another bolt in his crossbow. He also drew his sabre. These things were faster than he'd ever imagined. By the rulers of hell he was glad he wasn't part of that accursed war! <span class="time">-08:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Impeccable timing, friend!&quot; Ando called to the man he had his back to as he watched the snarling Orc in front of him. <span class="time">-09:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> Grimfang broke the trees like an elephant, leaping headlong over the two mercenaries and pivoting as he hit the ground. He brought his axe around in a deft swing, forcing Merrick back against Ando, the both stumbling against the force. They didn't look like the soldiers the orc remembered, more like vagabonds...scavengers likely. But they were skilled, enough to tear away at his forces. <span class="time">-09:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> He drew his sword and levelled it at the Orc before him, challenging it to attack. <span class="time">-09:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick and Ando fell against a tree, bruised by the force of the Orc leader's charge. There were now three of them... and they were big. <span class="time">-09:01 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Any time,&quot; Dalibor chuckled with that adrenaline-junkie manic edge back in his voice. He ducked as Grimfang sailed over him...and then twisted to execute a somewhat painful classic. He launched himself onto the orc's back, somewhat awkwardly punching over its shoulder, trying to get the jugular with one of the blades on his fist. <span class="time">-09:02 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Oh Gods he's bloody huge!&quot; Ando snarled as he pulled himself to his feet, snapping the blade up parry and attack from one of the Orcs. <span class="time">-09:02 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> As Dalibor came out of nowhere and pounced on the boss, Merrick sprang up and locked blades with the second of the Orcs. <span class="time">-09:02 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> She could make out their shapes through the trees, hear the screams and the sounds of flesh being torn. The sounds of battle. It didn't take long for the breeze to carry to them the iron tang of blood. <span class="time">-09:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale shot a bolt into the neck of one Orc as Dalibor lead the charge, though it didn't sem to slow this brute down. So swearing he rushed in, Sabre held aloft. <span class="time">-09:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando launched a flurry of blows at the Orc, the pair parrying and swinging their weapons at each other as they moved through thr trees. <span class="time">-09:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia's grip tightened on her branch until the knuckles turned white. <span class="time">-09:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>THRRWWPT! There was a short, sharp sound, and then Helena felt a twinge. It was like something had bitten her. She looked down at her thigh to see a thorn sticking in it. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;If one of them gets me,&quot; she whispered, trembling, to the other women. &quot;Please kill me before they can get me past the treeline.&quot; It would be a mercy on their part. <span class="time">-09:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> (Oops, switch those two) <span class="time">-09:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> Grimfang was tired. His forces were almost dead...dead in instants before they ever saw real combat. Roaring, he dropped his axe and pushed forward, grabbing Merrick by the shoulders and hurling him up against a tree, forcing the bark against his flesh. His red eyes glared balefully at the human, one of the many who had taken their lands, spit on their gods, and warred against his people...they murdered children, the elderly, all were just orc to them...so it was war. <span class="time">-09:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> The Orc's fist snapped out and caught Ando across the face with a glancing blow, knocking him back. He recovered in time to throw himself out of the way of his opponent's axe-swing. <span class="time">-09:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> With her arms around Conway, Helena was trying to block out the sounds of the fight. But the sharp twinge had her jumping in surprise, even as Dahlia murdered. She reached down, plucking the thorn from her leg with a wince...! <span class="time">-09:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Rolling back onto his feet, Ando swung around and charged at the Orc with a roar. At the last second, he pounced to the side and slide his sword between the monster's rib-cage. <span class="time">-09:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Grimfang hated this man, despised him, hated everything he stood for. A curse on all of them, thought the Orc... a pox on all those Vonhelduns in their filfthy city, stealing his trade, insulting his old ways.... flaunting their wealth as Leitania suffered.... as... he..... <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron was about to give some advice to the two when there was a sound, she looked down and saw the thorn sticking out of the princess' thigh. &quot;Bloody...&quot; Saffron had enough pacing. &quot;Coward!&quot; <span class="time">-09:08 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Well, the brute wasn't even noticing the attempts at a jugular shot....so Dalibor changed tactics. Rearing back, he delivered an overhand smash to the back of the orc's neck, ripping the blade back as he felt it lodge against something. <span class="time">-09:08 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>The Orc's thoughts started to become disconnected. Grimfang's grip faltered and Merrick brought his foot up, kicking the Orc hard in the solar plexus. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>There was movement in the trees. Something fast rushed around Dahlia's side. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Saffron heard the trees rustle above her. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> As his opponent toppled to his knees, Ando finished him quickly with a sword-thrust to the neck. He turned to see Merrick pinned to the tree by the Orc leader. &quot;MERRICK, HANG ON!!&quot; he yelled, darting towards his comrade. <span class="time">-09:09 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena felt dizzy... hazy! So very confused, but her first concern was still Conway. She held him close, even as she was struggling to stay aware of what was going on around her! <span class="time">-09:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> He let go, barely feeling the kick as the human fell out of his hands. He looked at himself in confusion, not sure why things had fogged away, why the world spun...he did not feel wounded. Could not. Not even when he fell to his knees, red eyes glazed as Grimfang fell forward to hit the dirt. <span class="time">-09:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Together, Merrick and Ando knocked Grimfang to the ground, sending him rolling back into the clearing of his camp. They advanced after him, their weapons at the ready. The tents were all around them... surprisingly good quality for Orcs... finely woves, lined with silk and sporting.... the symbol.... of Leitania..... <span class="time">-09:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Before Dahlia could speak, tell them to run, she turned, swinging her branch in a wide arch that threw her off balance slightly, sending her stumbling to her left. <span class="time">-09:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale pulled himself up, the other Orc was dead, a series of deep gashes all over it's body, but he'd recieved a blow to the side and was bleeding. <span class="time">-09:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> She had never been all that graceful, but the stumble had spared her the blade that swooped her her head. <span class="time">-09:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>A net dropped from the trees, falling over Saffron and pinning to the ground with sudden force. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Am I seeing things, or is that the symbol of Her Highness back there?&quot; Ando asked Merrick as they advanced through the tents towards the Orc. <span class="time">-09:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> He stood up from the dead orc, stepping back and looking around for signs of more orcs. Something didn't feel right - that was too easy. <span class="time">-09:12 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>A surface pressed against Dahlia's back and she felt the cool edge of a blade against her throat. White hair brushed her cheek and a voice, soft and melodious, spoke in her ear. "Easy now, human... you'll hurt yourself." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron had not expected that and the wind was knocked out of her. After a moment of struggling she tried to think her way out of the net without getting more caught up in it. Damn what a mess! <span class="time">-09:13 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Beside her, Helena slumped on top of Conway, passing into unconsciousness <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia stiffened, her branch falling from her hands. <span class="time">-09:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick looked at the tents, then at the Orc, then at Ando. &quot;What.... WHAT IN ALL THE GODS IS THIS???&quot; <span class="time">-09:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Orcs are.. not that easy to kill are they?&quot; Ale commented, walking up to Dalibor, holding his side. The wound wasn't deep but it would slow him down. &quot;something is very wrong about all this.&quot; <span class="time">-09:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;An excellent question. Perhaps your rivals in Leitania have been dealing with the Orcs?&quot; <span class="time">-09:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Grimfang lay upon the ground, tears in his eyes. His men were dead... his brave comrades... men raised with him in the grand halls of Leitania... scouts and warriors who had fought by his side in the Orcs wars. They had shared glory together, and now they would share death... <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> <font color=EE6363 size=2>[<font color=red size=2>Ioana Milanka Saffron</font> Is Away: fucking family]</font> <span class="time">-09:17 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Something isn't right, here...&quot; Ando muttered, moving over to check the fallen Orc leader. &quot;Don't move,&quot; he snarled at the fallen figure as he checked him carefully. <span class="time">-09:17 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Are you doing the honors, then?&quot; Dahlia gasped, trying to keep the knife away from her flesh. <span class="time">-09:18 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick stared, frozen by confusion. This camp was full of human tents. And beside him Ando stood over the Orc, the last one alive... and saw in his eyes the truth. Grimfang's eyes were human. <span class="time">-09:19 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Grimfang's eyes stared back at Ando. Human eyes. &quot;What the...?&quot; <span class="time">-09:19 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"We're going for a little trip," said the voice in Dahlia's ear. In the corner of her eye, she saw slender shapes peel from the shadows and pick up Saffron, Helena and Conway. Then, as the blade pressed to her throat, she started moving, her captor escorting her back the way they had come. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> His head snapped back to Merrick. &quot;We've been fooled. get the other two; we must check on the prince.&quot; <span class="time">-09:22 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> Rough words forced themselves from his throat, just confusion, orc...him, human...everything he knew was lost, confusing. &quot;I...&quot; he muttered, but his mind would not let him see. He closed his eyes and lay back <span class="time">-09:23 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick watched Ando rush off, but he was still too shocked to move. Then the voice of the Orc... the human... came to him from the other side of the campfire. He moved around and knelt beside Grimfang. &quot;You... you're a Leitanian.... but how?&quot; <span class="time">-09:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia had no choice but to allow herself to be led or else risk the knife's kiss. As she was guided deeper into the trees, Dahlia allowed one of the silk cuffs around her wrists to slide away, caught in a thorny branch, unnoticed by her captors. <span class="time">-09:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Ale, Dalibor!&quot; Ando called, reloading his crossbow as he went. &quot;We been fooled! Back to the prince!!&quot; <span class="time">-09:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> He took a breath, his chest rising and falling. he did not open his eyes. &quot;A scout, Captain Rawl Talmir of the White Spirits...my unit, we...I don't remember.&quot; <span class="time">-09:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>In the darkness, Dahlia could only just make out what was happening. Their captors were lithe and swift, fully dark except for their bone-white hair. Even their skin was the colour of night. They pushed and shoved the three women back along the path, the two at the back dragging the prince by each arm. And as they moved Dahlia's eyes fell on things... tracks... hoof prints in the ground and speckles of blood. This time moving in the opposite direction. Another horse... another rider. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale looked up sharply, drawing his sword and darting to join Ando as they ran. Shit, he was starting to think of these people as comrades. Complicated. <span class="time">-09:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor swore, spinning and bolting back to where he'd set the prince. &quot;SKULLS WILL SHATTER FOR THIS!&quot; <span class="time">-09:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Unconscious still, she was nothing more than a rag doll, dragged easily down the path as if she weighed nothing more than a feather. <span class="time">-09:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>As Ando, Ale and Dalibor got back to the path, it was to find the women gone. They had simply vanished. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> The three reached the place where they had left the woman. Ando glanced through the trees desperately. &quot;Where are they?&quot; <span class="time">-09:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> (OOC: The prince still there?) <span class="time">-09:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor swore again and dropped to the ground, looking for drag marks, foot prints, signs of a scuffle...anything. <span class="time">-09:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> ((No)) <span class="time">-09:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> A glint of silver &quot;Over there!&quot; Ale ran over, finding the bracelet hanging from a low branch. &quot;This look familiar?&quot; <span class="time">-09:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Even the prince was missing. Swearing, Ando moved over to what Ale had discovered. &quot;One of Dahlia's cuffs; they can't be far off. Let's try and catch up to them. I suspect they've not moved willingly...&quot; <span class="time">-09:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;What...&quot; Dahlia managed to speak between shallow breaths. &quot;...You're elves.&quot; Her eyes went wide with wonder as the realization suddenly struck her. <span class="time">-09:32 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick reached his hand out. &quot;Forgive us.. we didn't know... but... how...&quot; He looked at the Orc, the large, greenskinned body so at odds with the human eyes. How could this be? <span class="time">-09:32 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #ffffff; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Grimfang Oakskin: </span> &quot;It...was important. I...can't remember why. We camped and awoke as...these. I thought, I...assumed.&quot; But his voice broke and awkward tears wetted his green cheeks. <span class="time">-09:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Dahlia was flung face-forward through the trees and she staggered out into a familiar clearing. Conway, Saffron and Helena were dumped against the roots of the Gahron Tree, which now was wreathed in moonlight. The Dark Elves fanned out, crossbows and daggers at the ready. The leader himself kicked at Dahlia, driving her to sit with the others. "You should know," he retorted, his voice beautiful and androgynous. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale winced at the idea of more running. &quot;Yes.. I think we might have to follow them.. the forest doesn't look disturbed, I'd wager they went down the path.. We probably don't want to go down that way..&quot; <span class="time">-09:35 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Then we follow the trail from the forest, catch them unawares with any luck.&quot; He strode into the forest and turned back to the other two. &quot;Coming?&quot; <span class="time">-09:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor moved in Ale's direction - back the way they'd come. &quot;Looks like we're retracing our steps then.&quot; He grunted and started into the woods, turning to follow the path. Even as beaten up as he was, he managed to be silent as the grave...though he couldn't do much about the smell. <span class="time">-09:37 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick locked wrists with the Orc... no... the human... the Scout Sergeant of Leitania, and helped him to his feet. &quot;Some illusion is at work here, my friend. It made us kill your men. It's tricked us all.&quot; He turned as Ando reappeared. &quot;Are the others safe?&quot; <span class="time">-09:37 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Dumped on the ground, it was enough to jostle Helena to a vague awareness. Laying still and unable to bring herself to move or to even open her eyes, she groaned softly trying to hear what was happening! <span class="time">-09:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia fell to the forest floor, the impact splitting her lip, allowing dark blood to drip from the wound. Her ankle ached and throbbed; forcing her to stay crouched amongst the leaves. She glared up at her captor. &quot;I don't know what that means,&quot; her voice was hoarse from panic and anger. <span class="time">-09:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Yeah looks like a plan.. what about Merrick though?&quot; He mused, pulling a hip flask from a pouch on his belt and taking a swig of the liquid within, hoping for a numb to the wound on his side. <span class="time">-09:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Hopefully he's smart enough to follow.&quot; <span class="time">-09:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;They're gone,&quot; Ando replied quickly, &quot;All of them, even the prince. Dahlia left one of her cuffs to show the way, they're moving back the way we went.&quot; <span class="time">-09:39 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"Don't play coy, Leitanian bitch!" crooned the Dark Elf. "You put this spell on us. And now you will break it. Or I will break your friends, one by one." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Spell? I hail from Vonheldus! I'm a handmaiden to the prince dying beside me--You're making a mistake! Let us go.&quot; <span class="time">-09:40 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;No!&quot; Merrick whispered, reclaiming his sword and setting off after Ando. They returned to the path, following the distant figures of the mercenaries, with Grimfang trailing behind them. <span class="time">-09:40 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Our priority is getting the prince and princess free, I should think,&quot; Ando observed to the group as they ran. <span class="time">-09:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Damnit when we get out of this I'm going to pay for someone to create a crossbow you don't need to reload!&quot; Ale rambled as they rushed though the forest, loading another bolt in the device. <span class="time">-09:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Would make life easier, aye,&quot; Ando replied with a chuckle. <span class="time">-09:43 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Some of the Dark Elves exchanged looks, staring silently to their leader, who simply smirked. "What a pretty story. Too bad it's the last thing your tongue will utter." He drew his blade. "Release us from the forest. I won't ask again." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>One of the Elves came close to Helena, peering beyond her at the Prince. His hands were shifting unsteadily around the stock of his crossbow. He seemed on edge. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Never have to reload your fists, Ale.&quot; He stopped dead, hearing voices from the clearing ahead, and held up a hand for the others to do the same. Then he started forward with that eerily quiet stride of his to see if he couldn't get the drop on the captors dispite the dead-horse smell clinging to him. <span class="time">-09:44 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia looked around the clearing, before looking back to the leader. &quot;Heal him and I will do it.&quot; <span class="time">-09:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;What took them?&quot; Merrick asked as he jogged beside Ando. &quot;It can't be Orcs. We killed them... and they weren't even Orcs... I...&quot; He stopped talking. He could not work any of this out. On the ground before him there were horse hoof prints, moving in the opposite direction to the first set. <span class="time">-09:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale slowed down to a crawl. moving himself to the side, to flank those ahead. <span class="time">-09:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> As she spoke, the girl did her best to straighten herself to the regal bearing she had seen in the nobles of Vonheldus, her voice became steady and commanding. Where had this sudden strength come from? <span class="time">-09:46 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;They weren't Orcs!?&quot; He whispered in shock. What the hell were they- no.. tell me later..&quot; <span class="time">-09:47 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena shifted only slightly. The conversation so muddled that she couldn't understand what was going on or what they meant.. She finally opened her eyes, finding herself gazing upwards at a Dark Elf... yet couldn't find her voice to speak! <span class="time">-09:47 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;One problem at a time, chaps. Let's get our friends back.&quot; Ando slid into a silent crawl beside Ale as they inched towards the clearing... <span class="time">-09:47 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The leader glanced at Conway, who was lying face down amongst the roots. "I can't heal your stable boy." He pointed his blade at Helena. "But I can kill your wench. How's that for a deal?" <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;She's of more use to me alive, at the moment.&quot; Dahlia stood, ignoring the agony in her ankle. &quot;Do not like to me, elf, I know you have the knack.&quot; She kept the sylphen creature in her steely gaze. <span class="time">-09:49 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> (Do not lie to me) <span class="time">-09:49 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The Elf next to Helena inched forward even more, lowering his crossbow as he looked over her at the prone form of Conway. "Hey... he looks..." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor tensed at the edge of the clearing, silently counting his blessings that the captors didn't smell him. Exploding forward, he covered the distance to the leader in two strides, swinging around as he passed his opponent and taking the man down with a roundhouse chokeslam. He pulled his other fist back for an almost certainly lethal rabbit-punch to the face. &quot;Nobody move or your buddy adds to my collection.&quot; <span class="time">-09:51 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick got to the trees at the edge of the clearing where the others were crouched. They looked ahead to see the circle of Dark Elves - ten, maybe a dozen, holding the prince and the three women around the Gahron Tree. <span class="time">-09:51 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale had a shot, there were several people, all around the clearing, they had odd skin, and white hair, but he did not want to think about what things they were. They were humans for now, humans were easy to kill, not like orcs.. or giant snakes. He refrained from pulling the trigger, hopefully Dalibor would have this under control. <span class="time">-09:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando attempted to stop Dalibor's charge, but it was no use. Hissing in frustration, he moved around the clearing and got his crossbow ready, so he could cover his companion if it all went wrong... <span class="time">-09:53 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena turned, her head weakly following the stare of the elf. Her eyes falling on Conway laying across the roots of the tree. She gasped aloud, pushing herself to her hands and knees and trying to crawl towards him. He looked...! <span class="time">-09:53 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The other Elves brought up their crossbows, levelling them at Dalibor and watching him as he pinned their leader to the ground. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Crossbows down, folks, an' we can get through this without me gettin' any bloodier, yeah? Now would be good.&quot; <span class="time">-09:55 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Do as my servant says!&quot; Dahlia commanded as loud as she could so the others could hear. <span class="time">-09:55 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Helena's hair was seized. The Elf nearest to her pulled her to her feet and pressed the crossbow to the back of her neck. "Let him go, or the wench dies!" the Elf yelled at Dalibor. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia looked down at the now pinned leader. &quot;Heal my stable boy, elf, or this forest prison becomes your grave.&quot; <span class="time">-09:56 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> (Damnit, switch!) <span class="time">-09:56 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando trained his crossbow upon the elf holding the princess, and hoped that if he had to take the shot he didn't miss. <span class="time">-09:56 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> A&quot;Crap&quot; They all had crossbows, and best they could do was kill two before anything happened, and that relied on Ando being a good shot. This was not going as well as it could have, and yet.. some of them seemed optimistic it seemed. His crossbow was now aimed at the elf holding the princess, a shot to the forehead. <span class="time">-09:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor grinned. &quot;You have no idea how useless that threat is. Bows down. Now.&quot; <span class="time">-09:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Five.&quot; <span class="time">-09:58 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The Elf holding the Princess grinned over her shoulder. "Don't you know anything, maggot? A Vonh.. a Dark Elf never bluffs..." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Neither does Dalibor Ness. Four.&quot; <span class="time">-09:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia's eyebrow arched. <span class="time">-09:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick stepped from the clearing, his sword at the ready. &quot;We must stop this... please... something is happening in this forest. Things are not as they seem...&quot; <span class="time">-09:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> ((Nass! Not Ness. Dammit.)) <span class="time">-09:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Three.&quot; <span class="time">-10:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The Elf leader curled his hand, fingers slipping into the sleeve of his uniform <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The Elf behind the Princess falterd, his eyes narrowing as he saw Merrick. "You... do I... know..." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> The Princess was trying her best to remain calm, even in the face of this chaos. The tugging on her hair was painful as she squeezed her eyes shut. &quot;...it is truth...! Something here is not right, can't you see it..!?&quot; <span class="time">-10:01 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor felt the leader shifting under his grip and leaned into his chokehold a bit more. &quot;You move again and the countdown ends. Two.&quot; <span class="time">-10:01 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Sometimes Ale felt like the only sane man in a world of crazy people. this was one of those times. He was having a hard time keeping track of everything, and all his allies were slowly ripping up the aces hidden in their sleeves. <span class="time">-10:01 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"Just let us out!" pleaded another Dark Elf, the crossbow trembling in his grip. "I just want to go home!" <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Drop the bows and we can talk about this all peaceful-like.&quot; <span class="time">-10:02 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;One.&quot; <span class="time">-10:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;This doesn't make sense...&quot; Dahlia looked at the elves. &quot;I thought the forest IS your home...&quot; <span class="time">-10:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"Ca..." the Elf behind Helena loosened his grip slightly as he stared at Merrick. "Captain?" <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"AAAAGH!" One of the Elves fired, a crossbow bolt thudding into Dalibor's bicep. And at the same time the leader made his both, a dagger drawing from his wrist and plunging into the mercenary's hip. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> <font size=1 face=verdana>[<font color=red>Grimfang Oakskin</font> has timed out.]</font> <span class="time">-10:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;FUCK!!&quot; Ando snarled, letting loose a bolt that slammed into the face of the elf holding Helena. <span class="time">-10:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The other Elf brought his crossbow up, pointing the point at Helena's head <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>... a moment before he was shot through the skull and slumped back against the tree <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena used that moment to slip from the elf's grip. Ducking to dive towards Conway and protect him from any crossbow fire! <span class="time">-10:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Before the bolt even hit Dalibor an elf had dropped from the trees, a bold in his face. <span class="time">-10:05 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor growled and twitched, gripping the man's neck and slamming their heads together with a sickening crunch, staggering off to one side as he pulled the dagger out of his hip. <span class="time">-10:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Moving position, Ando slammed another bolt into his crossbow and took position to fire again. <span class="time">-10:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Another elf dropped from the trees, and the crossbow was traded for the sabre, as Ale began climbing trees. <span class="time">-10:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia leaped to her right, taking cover amongst the roots with the prince and the other two women. <span class="time">-10:07 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Another Dark Elf leapt high, slamming both feet into Ando and bringing him to the ground. He had twin daggers, and was bringing them down towards Ando's throat. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia's hand groped through the darkness, until her fist closed around a heavy stone. <span class="time">-10:08 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> With a yelp, Ando swung the crossbow up at the elf, breaking the weapon over his attacker's head and sending him sprawling. <span class="time">-10:08 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;No!&quot; Merrick cried, rushing into the clearing. Another Elf swung his crossbow and Merrick barged into him, knocking over Saffron's unconscious and wrestling with him between the roots of the tree. <span class="time">-10:08 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Straightening, he lurched into a lurching, one-legged sprint, catching the 'elf' who'd shot him by the throat as the man frantically tried to reload his crossbow. He slammed the man repeatedly into a tree, yelling as he did so. &quot;You! Did! Not! Just! Shoot! Me! You! Piece! Of! SHIT!&quot; <span class="time">-10:09 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;DAHLIA, GET THE PRINCE AND PRINCESS CLEAR IF YOU CAN!!&quot; Ando called as he wrenched free his blade and engaged the dagger-wielding elf... <span class="time">-10:09 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Through the chaos, Helena had her hands on Conway, checking him over... her eyes riddling with confusion. There was something odd here.. so strange. &quot;Everyone stop...! STOP...!&quot; <span class="time">-10:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>A Dark Elf spun towards Helena, bringing up his crossbow <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> One of the other elves was closing in behind her, with surprising speed, the girl was able to turn in time to clock him square in the jaw with her stone, the harsh blow was punctuated by her shriek of terror. The elf was sent staggering, blood dripping from the fingers that clutched his injured face. <span class="time">-10:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> There was an elf reloading his crossbow in the trees, but as he took aim at Dalibor he recieved a saber through the gut. Ale took the crossbow off him as he fell from the tree and used it to shoot another elf. <span class="time">-10:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando was forced into the defence as the elf drove the blades low, stepping and parrying through the trees. <span class="time">-10:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor snarled and dropped the unconscious - but amazingly enough, still breathing - 'elf' and turned toward Helena. In time to see another 'elf' aiming at her. He lurched after the new threat, but clearly wasn't going to make it in time with only one good leg. <span class="time">-10:11 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>THHHHHUNK! The bolt slammed into Helena's chest, knocking her backwards from Conway. She lay against the tree roots, eyes wide in shock, gasping for breath. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Finally, he managed to smash through the elf's attacks and land a blow, sinking the blade into his attacker's chest. <span class="time">-10:13 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena fell back, blood pouring from the wound. Tears falling down her cheeks. All she could see now were stars in the sky above...! <span class="time">-10:13 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Fuck!&quot; Ale shouted as he noticed the shot that had just been fired, just in time to recieve a bolt to the arm, which sent him tuumbling from the branches of the tree he was in. <span class="time">-10:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> He didn't make it in time, but he did arrive in time to make the 'elf' regret it. Dalibor killed the man by the simple expedient of jerking the crossbow into the man's throat and letting him choke on his own blood. <span class="time">-10:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia couldn't move. There was so much blood everywhere, on the ground, in the air, on her skin and the screaming... Dahlia closed her eyes and bit down on her lip. <span class="time">-10:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Keep it...Together... <span class="time">-10:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;THE PRINCESS HAS BEEN SHOT!&quot; Ando yelled, charging through the clearing towards the fallen girl... <span class="time">-10:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick rolled with the last Elf between the tree roots, each of them struggling with the crossbow. After a moment there was a dull twang and both men tensed. Merrick looked into the Elf's eyes, seeing them return.... return to what they were... return to human eyes. &quot;Ca.. captain...&quot; whispered the Vonheldus scout... before his eyes rolled back and his body went limp. <span class="time">-10:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia sank to her knees, body trembling from her ragged breaths. <span class="time">-10:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> She kept her eyes shut tight even as the tears came. <span class="time">-10:16 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> The carnage subsided, and Dalibor limped over to where Helena and Conway were lying. <span class="time">-10:16 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>The Elves lay dead amongst the clearing, moonlight catching on the Vonheldus symbols emblazoned on their uniforms. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando slid to the ground next to the princess, pulling the girl to face him. &quot;I NEED SOME HELP HERE!&quot; He had no experience treating wounded; all he did was inflict wounds on a bad day. <span class="time">-10:17 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Conway lay still, the poison now turning his veins black. And beside him, Helena's breathing became shallower, her flesh becoming pale. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Unless you have a miracle in your pack, nothing's going to do any good now. <span class="time">-10:19 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick scrambled to his feet, rushing over to Helena as she lay dying. &quot;No... forgive me.... we tried....&quot; <span class="time">-10:19 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale came stumbling into the clearing, he knew better than to remove the crossbow bolt from his arm. He poured a bit of the alcohol in his hipflask over the wound, and offered it to Ando. &quot;I'm sorry this is all I got..&quot; <span class="time">-10:19 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Helena's eyes fluttered closed and her body lay still. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando looked up at the group as he knelt next to the dying princess. &quot;Any ideas?&quot; <span class="time">-10:20 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Not enough, I'm afraid...&quot; <span class="time">-10:20 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>There was a shimmer of light, rushing like a wave across the clearing, and Conway and Helena were gone. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> The big man blinked. &quot;That...was unexpected.&quot; <span class="time">-10:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Prince Conway, slipped around the tree, catching Helena in his arms. "My lady." He smiled, placing his lips to hers as the evening sun came in shafts between the canopy. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale blinked. looked at his hip flask, and then to his wounds. &quot;I.. I think I've lost more blood than I' thought.&quot; <span class="time">-10:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>On the other side of the tree, the young lovers kissed. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando stared at the spot the dead lovers had been lying for a moment. &quot;What the...?&quot; <span class="time">-10:22 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> A soft sound of surprise, followed by a giggle. Helena smiled at the man she had grown very fond of seeing in secret. &quot;You are late. The sun has almost set and I would have been here in the dark all alone.&quot; <span class="time">-10:22 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor stood there, covered in blood, bile, and entrails, and stared at the dichotomy in front of him. &quot;Ale, I think that rabbit was more off than I thought.&quot; <span class="time">-10:22 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;I... what? Do we still get paid?&quot; <span class="time">-10:23 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;I have no idea.&quot; <span class="time">-10:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando pulled himself to his feet, trying not to think too much about what had just transpired. He offered Dahlia a hand to help get to her feet. &quot;You alright?&quot; <span class="time">-10:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Remember our first meeting?&quot; Conway whispered as he placed kisses on Helena's neck. &quot;You told me the story about the Elves... how they give their hearts to one another, for all eternity? I was a brute back then. Untamed.&quot; He lifted his eyes to her again, pulling away one of the hanging blossoms of the Gahron Tree that hung between them. <span class="time">-10:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> The blood. It was gone. Her body no longer was twisted in agony and panic, slowly Dahlia opened her eyes and looked on in confusion at the sight before her. &quot;What witchery is this?&quot; <span class="time">-10:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> She took Ando's offered hand. &quot;Yes...Now.&quot; <span class="time">-10:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;...I think.&quot; <span class="time">-10:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick stepped slowly, around to the other side of the tree, and stared speechlessly at Conway and Helena <span class="time">-10:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Your guess is as good as mine, my dear.&quot; <span class="time">-10:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;....PRINCE CONWAY!!!&quot; <span class="time">-10:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;I think, Ale, this would be a good time for us to limp off and get ourself some cheap alcohol.&quot; <span class="time">-10:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia waited for the lovers to startle. <span class="time">-10:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"You're never alone," Conway answered, pushing Helena softly against the great tree that dominated the clearing. It was drooping with blossoms of scarlet and crimson, almost glowing in the evening moonlight. They had chosen it long ago as their secret place... their special place. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena laughed. &quot;Will you give your heart to me, Conway?&quot; <span class="time">-10:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;My... my leige?&quot; <span class="time">-10:27 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale absent mindedly handed Dalibor the hip flask, not taking his dazed eyes off the couple. <span class="time">-10:27 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando stared at the pair standing on the other side of the tree. &quot;Are they... are they dead, or aren't they?&quot; <span class="time">-10:27 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Before Conway could answer, he turned, startling as he noticed the others. "WHAT THE HELL?" <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor took the flask, drained half of it, and handed it back, all without moving his gaze. <span class="time">-10:27 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Oh hey, that worked!&quot; Dahlia seemed to be just as surprised by this realization as the others. <span class="time">-10:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena looked confused before following his gaze to see the others. &quot;...Who...?&quot; <span class="time">-10:28 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Are you two... okay?&quot; Ando asked the couple. <span class="time">-10:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;'s a very good question.&quot; <span class="time">-10:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Dahlia smelled something on the breeze... she felt it in her skin... something was coming... something like her. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;I...&quot; Her face riddled with confusion, She pressed a hand against her chest. ...then reached to touch Conway's. &quot;I don't know what's... Are you all right..?&quot; <span class="time">-10:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;Because forgive my rudeness, Your Highness, but you're doing very well for someone who recently took a crossbow bolt to the chest.&quot; <span class="time">-10:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Dahlia enters.] <span class="time">-10:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"Do you see, now?" spoke a voice. From the clearing stepped a man, his face garbed in black leather armour. He held a dagger in one hand... a gemstone in the other that resonated magic. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>His eyes were amber... and one of them was bleeding. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale rounded, holding the hip-flask up threateningly, before switching it hurredly for his sabre &quot;Who are you!?&quot; <span class="time">-10:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> Dahlia regarded the newcomer with narrowed eyes. &quot;...&quot; <span class="time">-10:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"The tree couldn't let them go," spoke the man, as he stepped towards them, his amber eyes shifting to glare at Dahlia. "When I killed them, it saw... it felt. It despaired. It just couldn't let them go." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando rounded on the new arrival then turned back to the royal lovers. &quot;...WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON?!&quot; <span class="time">-10:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"The mission was supposed to be simple. Kill them and tie their bodies to the horses. Let the horses drag them back to each of their cities." He stepped over the horse hooves and the speckles of blood." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;The tree did all this!?&quot; Ale shouted &quot;the shit?&quot; <span class="time">-10:34 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"It was all going so well... even though my accomplice hadn't turned up. They died easily. As royalty always do." The man twirled his blade. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> The man sounded insane, but something about him told Ando he was serious. He began to edge between the man and the lovers; he wasn't about to lose them again. <span class="time">-10:35 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> &quot;Heh,&quot; Dahlia tossed a stray lock of hair over her shoulder. &quot;Can't believe I fell for that one.&quot; She purred in a voice that was darkened by centuries. <span class="time">-10:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"But the one thing I didn't count... the Tree. I killed them by the tree, and the Tree despaired. Because the tree knew what this would mean. The tree knew that what I had done would cause war between the cities... and in that war, its precious forest would be destroyed. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;....what?&quot; <span class="time">-10:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #AC82C0; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dahlia: </span> And then, her form shifted-- <span class="time">-10:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale stepped back, this was bad.. this man wasn't just a mercenary. He was an /assassin/ he made Dalibor and himself look like amateurs. <span class="time">-10:36 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"So it trapped me here," he rubbed at his scarred eye. "And it trapped you too. And when the scouting parties came, it attacked them. It did all it could to stop the war that was coming." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: "Verdana",verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> <font size=1 face=verdana>[<font color=red>Dahlia</font> logged out of the chat.]</font> <span class="time">-((10:37 Aug 20))</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena drew closer to Conway. None of this made sense to her, but those feelings of loss were swimming strong in her head... she didn't want to feel that again! <span class="time">-10:37 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Courrier New,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> [Noel ] <span class="time">-10:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando now stood between the assassin and the lovers, his blade drawn. <span class="time">-10:38 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The assassin motioned at them with his blade, chuckling as his eye bled. "But you people... you were different. It didn't attack you. It tested you. It wanted to see if you were really monsters... or if you had hearts... if you would rush to the aid of young lovers in peril." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> The leather clad woman stood next to her accomplice, her red eyes glowing in the darkness, the tips of her fangs just barely visible. <span class="time">-10:39 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale felt like he was caught in a trap. this assassin. That girl was changing.. and that tree.. it was apparently capable of killing, and much more. So very Complicated. <span class="time">-10:39 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"I bet you don't even remember how long you've been here... how many weeks have passed since the Prince and Princess were killed and their bodies dragged back to their cities. The armies have been gathering, the war machine sprining to life. Just as our masters ordered." He smiled at Noel, his fellow assassin. "You still think it's that same night, don't you... you night you were all too late to stop me." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"But that's all in the past," the assassin sighed. "I'm not the enemy anymore, am I?" He waved his dagger at the tree. "Now it's that fucking tree, keeping us here, because it thinks that it can stop the war." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Staring as the girl he had followed shifted, Ando watched uncertainly as the new figure stood next to the assassin. &quot;...Dahlia?&quot; <span class="time">-10:41 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor looked back and forth between the assassin and the tree and &quot;Dahlia.&quot; <span class="time">-10:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> &quot;What the fuck are you talking about, I've only been in this forest a few hours!&quot; <span class="time">-10:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick staggered, leaning against the tree. &quot;What... no... I was only a few hours behind him... I...&quot; <span class="time">-10:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> Noel returned the grin, an infernal unholy childish delight. &quot;Our luck is in, comrade.&quot; <span class="time">-10:42 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;So all this? Was for nothing?&quot; Saffron shook her head in sadness. <span class="time">-10:43 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> She leveled Ando in her hungry gaze. &quot;That means that this next part will be pleasure, rather than business.&quot; Her inky hair writhed around her head like serpents. <span class="time">-10:43 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The assassin's amber eyes narrowed. "You've been here a month. And the cities are on the verge of war. The scouting parties have chosen the place of battle... the place where it will all go down." He yelled up at the tree, his voice cracked into a serpent hiss. "YOU HEAR THAT, YOU FUCKING PLANT! YOU HAVEN'T STOPPED ANYTHING! THE ARMIES WILL TRAMPLE YOU!" <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> He blinked. And blinked again. &quot;Fuck it. If I'm gonna die, I'm taking you with me.&quot; He launched himself at the assassin, swinging with all the strength he could muster. <span class="time">-10:44 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Ale found his hand placing a bolt in his holstered crossbow as discreetly as he could manage. They were rats in a cage, but caged rats were the nastiest of all. <span class="time">-10:44 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> She had waited so long, been so patient, had held on even though she had smelled so much blood. She didn't care about the tree just now. <span class="time">-10:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> She had been a good girl and now she wanted her dinner. <span class="time">-10:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> A bolt was sent towards Noel as Dalibor leapt at the assassin. Ale rolled to the side with the shot. <span class="time">-10:45 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The assassin sidestepped, his blade slashing upwards and across, opening Dalibor's throat. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>As he did so the mask fell from his lower face, exposing the fangs... no longer those of a snake... but those of a vampire. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor staggered, gagging on his own blood, using his momentum to bring the blades on the back of his hand to bear on the assassin's kidneys. He was dead, but damned if he wasn't going to do some damage on the way out. <span class="time">-10:47 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando backed away from the assassin and his accomplice till he was standing in front of the lovers. &quot;You both need to run. Now.&quot; <span class="time">-10:47 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> Noel made no move to dodge the bolt, simply allowed it to lodge deep into her stomach. &quot;Ooooh!&quot; She howled mockingly. &quot;It hurts so much mommy! Make the pain go away!&quot; <span class="time">-10:47 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>"FOOLS! THE ARMIES ARE UPON US! DESTROY THE TREE OR YOU'LL DIE HERE LIKE THE SCOUTS!" He kicked Dalibor to the ground. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron stubbled a step back. This was light a nightmare, a hideous horrible nightmare! &quot;Damn it all!&quot; <span class="time">-10:47 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Dalibor NO!&quot; another bolt was loosed, this time at the assassin's heart. He'd revealed what he was and he wasn't letting his friend die for nothing! <span class="time">-10:48 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> Noel pulled the bolt from her stomach and let it fall the to ground, suddenly quiet. <span class="time">-10:48 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> His hand grabbed at the assassin, tripping the man. He wasn't faded yet. He had some...strength... <span class="time">-10:48 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The assassin caught the bolt, snapping it as he chuckled. Then Dalibor grabbed his ankle and he was pulled to the ground. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Here the assassin was blaming the tree for their demise... but the tree only want to live! To live and have peace! Helena broke away from Conway, stepping over the roots of the tree to press her hands against it's trunk. She looked upwards and it's beautiful flowering branches. &quot;You have done so much for us all ready... but if a war will happen in our absence...&quot; She pleaded, hoping the tree could listen and understand! <span class="time">-10:50 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Above them, the Tree pulsed, another wave of white light shooting out. The assassin's snarls became hisses and his body twisted and distorted, his skin turning to scales. He gripped the gemstone in his other hand, trying to battle the tree's magics, but it was no use. The ankle in Dalibor's grip began to shift and warp into a snake's tail. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> He felt the assassin hit the ground, distantly more than saw it. He didn't see much of anything, come to think of it.... <span class="time">-10:51 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> &quot;Enough of this Durrant!&quot; Noel sneered at Helena with clear disgust. &quot;Why not do away with them and fell the infernal plant ourselves.&quot; <span class="time">-10:51 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando saw a chance, however small. He darted forwards as Dalibor managed to bring the assassin to the ground and swung the blade downwards for a killing blow... <span class="time">-10:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> (Swiiiiiitch) <span class="time">-10:52 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> ((Aaand...Dalibor's dead. I'm out, barring plot devices.)) <span class="time">-10:53 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The body of Durrant, the vampire assassin, elongated in a heartbeat, swirling upwards and around Ando's blade. His skull split into a snake's jaw that clamped around Ando's body, the fangs piecing his shoulder and forearm. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> What was the princess doing? Saffron shook her head. She didn't know, she didn't understand a lot of this, but she understood one thing. &quot;Shut up bitch!&quot; She swung low at Noel. <span class="time">-10:54 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Ando screamed in pain as the snake clamped down on his arm, but managed to throw his weight forwards, striking at the snake's good eye with his free arm... <span class="time">-10:54 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> &quot;Durrant!&quot; Noel growled, threw a glare at the tree then back to the humans. Her body became a blurr as she sped toward the tree, one fist reared back, dark, tentacle-like shadows writhing around the limb as she struck at Saffron. <span class="time">-10:55 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> (Toward Saffron.) <span class="time">-10:55 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick rushed forward, his blade at the ready, plunging it into Durrant's side. The snake hissed and released Ando, falling onto its side as it grew larger. <span class="time">-10:55 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;DAMNIT!!&quot; Ale yelled, aiming his crossbow and shooting for the giant snake's good eye. &quot;I swear to god you will not get away with this!&quot; He shouted <span class="time">-10:55 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Ale's bolt sunk into Ando's arm <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena could not watch the bloody fight or the shifting snake. She closed her eyes tight and kept her hands against the tree. &quot;Please understand. Let us go home to our families. Conway and I can return the peace and stop the war. The forest will be safe! I don't want to see any more death!&quot; <span class="time">-10:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Conway moved beside Helena, crouching with her and placing his own hand to the tree. "Please... help us... these people mean you no harm..." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron rolled back from the glancing blow, glad that she hadn't gotten hit directly, but knowing that she couldn't leave it at that. &quot;That the best,&quot; she stood back up and smirked, &quot;you can do? My brother's hit harder.&quot; She ran at Noel to get another swing in. <span class="time">-10:57 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The snake's tail ripped from Dalibor's grip and lashed across the clearing, growing ever longer. It coiled around Ale's foot and pulled him off balance, dragging the mercenary in towards the tree <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> Howling in pain once again, Ando crumpled to the floor, clutching his wounded arm and shoulder with his bolt-pierced hand... <span class="time">-10:58 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> Noel's form was barely visible, seeming to dance in and out of the shadows, just out of Saffron's reach. &quot;What's the matter, little Saffy? I thought we were making friends!&quot; Noel's manic grin split her face as she collided with Saffron, pinning her to the ground. <span class="time">-10:58 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> The sabre was drawn, and through the red mists of rage and despair Ale desperately hacked at the tail. &quot;You bastard you bastard!!&quot; <span class="time">-10:59 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The snake expanded again, its head swirling upwards and looming over Merrick. The captain had to drop his sword and raise both hands, catching the snake's jaw. He held the fangs apart, even as his knees buckled. "AAAAAALE!" <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> <font size=1 face=verdana>[<font color=red>Dahlia</font> has timed out.]</font> <span class="time">-11:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> &quot;Just lie still, it'll feel good, I promise.&quot; Noel whispered as the dark tendrils of her hair wrapped around Saffron's throat, lowering her fangs to the girl's jugular. <span class="time">-11:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Agh,&quot; Saffron's chest hurt from that one. She turned and felt the teeth in her neck, it was no use. One ... last ... stab! <span class="time">-11:00 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF5F19; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ando: </span> (OOC: I'm about to pass out; you can use Ando for whatever the plot needs. Good gaming with you guys.) <span class="time">-11:01 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: "Verdana",verdana,serif; color: #FFFFFF; background-color: #000000;"><span class="username"> </span> <font size=1 face=verdana>[<font color=red>Ando</font> logged out of the chat.]</font> <span class="time">-((11:01 Aug 20))</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"You used our dreams," Conway whispered as he pressed his forehead to the tree. "Helena's dreams about Dark Elves... my nightmares about Orcs... you made these monsters. If you could see those things then look deeper.... see the good in us... please...." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> Motherfucker!!&quot; Ale shouted, hurling his sabre, blade spinning at the Snake's head, the sword burying itself into the pink flech of the inside of it's mouth, inches from Merrick's hand. <span class="time">-11:02 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> Noel reared back, a feline hiss escaping her lips as she clutched her bleeding face. &quot;Little bitch!&quot; <span class="time">-11:03 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The Snake squealed as Ale's blade pierced the roof of its mouth. It's jaw grew weaker and with a grunt Merrick let go with one hand, grabbing the sabre and twisting it. He held tight, even as the snake's jaw closed around his arm and the poisoned fang sunk in. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena could hear the screaming, cringing as she tried to drown it out. &quot;I wanted to much to be married here, under this tree... bring our children here and show them how beautiful it was...&quot; <span class="time">-11:04 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Not... good... enough,&quot; Saffron panted. She put the hilt of her sword against her chest and lunged up, blacking out before she was sure she got her target or not. <span class="time">-11:04 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Aaaaaaagh!&quot; Merrick screamed as he turned, his one arm buried inside the dying snake, his other reaching to reclaim his Orc blade. He picked it up, even as the poison entered his veins. &quot;RRRRRRRAAAAAAAGH!!!&quot; He flung through the air, the blade spinning towards Noel. <span class="time">-11:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> Noel cackled as Saffron's blade sank uselessly into her shoulder. &quot;How sweet, I think I'll save you for later...&quot; Noel looked around. Durrant wasn't doing too well, too bad for him. She was still hungry. <span class="time">-11:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> Noel's eyes locked onto the royal lovers. <span class="time">-11:06 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The blade spun through the air, over and over.... <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> Noel lunged forward, pinning Conway to the tree, her fangs inches away from his face. “Oh, I do like you, Princling, it’s a shame I didn’t get to show you just how much. I wanted to play with you and your little Princess before I bled you dry.” <span class="time">-11:08 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> A harsh laugh escaped her lips before she brought her fangs down to rip away at his flesh. <span class="time">-11:09 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> She wanted to tear it from the bone. <span class="time">-11:10 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Conway closed his eyes. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>SCHLLUK! The blade slammed into Noel, ripping through her heart and into Conway, impaling them both before thudding into the tree. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> The snake's tail loosened it's grip in it's death throes and Ale dropped to the floor with a thud. pushing himself up he pulled some crossbow bolts out. The clawing grip of the emotional surges made the idea of loading them into the crossbow unthinkable, and so he just weilded them like daggers. He ran up behind the Vampire, shoving with all his might both of the bolts into her back, next tot he blade. <span class="time">-11:12 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena screamed, too slow to shove Noel from Conway and save her love... &quot;Stop, stop...!&quot; she shouted in choked sobs at Ale, hoping to get the blade unlodged from the tree and free Conway! <span class="time">-11:14 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The vampires eyes went wide and as Ale drove the bolts in she topped back, tendrils of darkness receding, her body falling apart into ash. She lashed out as she fell, her claws ripping through Ale's throat and cleaving his windpipe. The two of them dropped, Ale landing dead in a pile of ash, <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> Black ichor dripped from Noel's mouth as it opened and closed in silent pain. Blood red tears dripped down her cheeks. <span class="time">-11:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> &quot;...muh...my prince...&quot; her head slumped forward, until it rested against his shoulder. <span class="time">-11:15 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Behind them, Durrant felt apart, snake disintegrating and leaving Merrick on his knee, clutching his arm as Ando did, poison seeping through his veins. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FF0000; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Noel: </span> The bolts in her back shuttered like spiny quills. &quot;...my...&quot; Noel's vacant eyes stared into nothing as her body went suddenly still. <span class="time">-11:17 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Conway held Helena's hand. "It's okay..." They both looked down. Slowly, Conway pulled the blade from his chest, no blood falling, no flesh torn. He was whole again. "We were dead all along, remember...?" <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>Ando's eyes fluttered closed. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> She laughed, a soft laugh between tears. &quot;It does not make it hurt any less...&quot; She cast a sad look at the dead all around them. &quot;Why did this have to happen...&quot; <span class="time">-11:18 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;Forgive us...&quot; Merrik whispered, as he fell onto one hand, looking up at the lovers, who were now the only ones still standing. &quot;Forgive us all...&quot; His eyes moved beyond Conway and Helena, looking up at the tree... &quot;Forgive....&quot; He fell forward, his heart giving out. <span class="time">-11:19 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Conway pulled Helena close. "I love you... never forget that. My heart is yours... forever..." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>They embraced, and above them the Gahron Tree blossomed into life. Its branches turned to crystal white and great pulses of light the clearing was illuminated. Enchanted magics flowed across the bodies of the fallen and... in an instant.... the night was eclipsed. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> ... <span class="time">-11:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick opened his eyes. <span class="time">-11:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> He sat up in the clearing, looking at the lovers. The vampires were gone, and the clearing was covered in blossom petals. He saw Ando stirring beside him. <span class="time">-11:21 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> Dalibor twitched once...twice... <span class="time">-11:22 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Ugh&quot; Ale sat up groggily holding his neck &quot;Uh.. Do we still get paid?&quot; <span class="time">-11:22 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> He slowly pushed himself onto all fourse, hacking and coughing up the blood from his lungs. <span class="time">-11:23 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;Hu?&quot; Saffron opened her eyes, blinked and sat up. &quot;Dare I ask?&quot; Timidly she stood up, frowned at the sword in her hand and with a twirl of her wrist it dangled upon her arm once more as a bracelette. <span class="time">-11:23 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> &quot;Until eternity, my prince.&quot; Helena was smiling. Warm and bright. Gazing at the man she loved across life and death. <span class="time">-11:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;I think it's safe to say,&quot; he said as he spit the -almost- last of the blood out, &quot;that no, we don't get paid. We get to live, though, which is good enough for me.&quot; <span class="time">-11:24 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Conway smiled, kissing Helena softly then looking up once more at the glowing tree. "I guess it decided to have faith in us..." <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;You know.. I think that's possibly the most intelligent thing you've ever said.&quot; <span class="time">-11:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Gee, thanks.&quot; <span class="time">-11:25 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> The young woman touched her neck gingerly, still in awe over all of this. &quot;Shut up you two,&quot; she grinned at the mercenaries. <span class="time">-11:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena broke away from Conrad, approaching the tree to wrap her arms around it. &quot;Thank you...!&quot; <span class="time">-11:26 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>The mists around the forest settled, the enchantment lifting. And there, to the north and to the south, they saw the armies gathered. The army of Vonheldus and the army of Leitania, gathered at the forest's edge and ready to go to war for their fallen royals. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>As Helena hugged the tree she felt her heart beating again... alive once more. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #CCFFFF; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=ngm>on the forest's edge the armies moved in, encircling the Gahron Glade, following the tracks their scouts had left. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick stepped towards the lovers, dusting down his uniform. &quot;I think... your highnesses... some negotiations are in order.&quot; He pointed to the two armies marching towards them on either side. <span class="time">-11:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Probably aught to stop the armies, yeah?&quot; <span class="time">-11:29 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> Saffron started giggling as tears escaped her eyes. They were not only alive, but they just might have prevented a war, and THAT made her feel very much alive indeed. &quot;Have them kiss in front of some generals,&quot; she said between giggles. <span class="time">-11:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;I think that's a job for those two Dalibor. And it may be time we started thinking about slipping off&quot; <span class="time">-11:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> &quot;My heart was always yours, Helena.&quot; Conway ran his hand through her hair again. &quot;We were born to heal this land.&quot; He moved in for another kiss and his lips were like softest water. <span class="time">-11:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> He slowly climbed to his feet. &quot;Ale...we're between two friggin' armies. We aren't slipping anywhere.&quot; <span class="time">-11:30 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> They could probably use honor guards though. <span class="time">-11:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> ((&quot;...&quot;)) <span class="time">-11:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick turned to Ando, Ale, Dalibor and Saffron. &quot;Now... about that king's reward.&quot; He grinned. &quot;Which king would you like it from?&quot; <span class="time">-11:31 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;Can we say both?&quot; Ale offered warily. <span class="time">-11:32 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>Conway gripped Helena's and led her across the clearing, standing with her between the two armies, which had now halted in awestruck silence. "Would you like to explain this, or shall I?" <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #EE6363; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ioana Milanka Saffron: </span> &quot;If it be all the same, I think I'll wait for that one to be king. Less hassel.&quot; Saffron grinned. &quot;Once we get away from these armies, I need to find me kith and kin.&quot; <span class="time">-11:32 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Never change, Ale. Never change.&quot; <span class="time">-11:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #718BBF; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Princess Helena: </span> Helena laughed! &quot;Perhaps a kiss is what is needed after all?&quot; <span class="time">-11:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8B2500; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Merrick: </span> Merrick slapped his hands on the backs of Ando, Ale, Dalibor and Saffron, standing with them as they watched the lovers go off to address the armies. &quot;Okay, my friends. Just smile and we'll get through this.&quot; <span class="time">-11:33 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #615E3F; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Dalibor: </span> &quot;Do I have to smile? I still smell like dead horse.&quot; <span class="time">-11:34 Aug 20</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>"You always knew best," Conway laughed, turning to Helena and embracing her in a kiss. And as they did so the weapons of the armies clattered to the ground and cheers went up into the air, echoing through the forest and resounding in the leaves of the Gahron Tree. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: Verdana,verdana,serif; color: #FFFF00; background-color: #0;"><span class="username"> </span> <p class=nnar>THE END. <span class="time">-Merrick</span></div>
    <div class="post" style="font-family: verdana,verdana,serif; color: #8E8E38; background-color: #;"><span class="username">Ale: </span> &quot;So Ando, fancy staying a highwayman? Or how about becoming a mercenary?&quot; Ale grinned sideways at the small man. <span class="time">-11:35 Aug 20</span></div>