Stone Man Pass

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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Porcelain Fish » March 30th, 2010, 2:11 pm

Maduin held in a sigh. Obviously there wasn't going to be time for curlers tonight. "I'll sit up with Lillith," he said with a bright smile instead.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Graybeard » March 30th, 2010, 10:07 pm

[OOC: Let's assume that dinner got made and eaten without incident, unless someone had something specific in mind. All the recent stuff was associated with the gathering of wood for a campfire. So:]

Bemused, Sister Rose watched as Drusia went off by herself. She doesn't want to hang around with us smelly humans during the night? Or something else? I suppose I really don't want to know. "Argus, I guess that leaves you and Brad the middle shift, if you don't mind," she said. "If you'll excuse me, I'm going to turn in too." She headed for the tent.

[Again OOC: I also vote we do not fast-forward to morning, but if people would rather transact the one-on-one conversations that these pairings allow off line, that's fine, whatever you feel like doing. Rose will have some things to say before dawn, however, and I have this little suspicion that there may be another encounter or two during the night...]
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Porcelain Fish » March 31st, 2010, 12:08 am

[OOC: I apologize for the length in advance. Cliffnotes at the bottom:/OOC]

“Pardon me for just a moment, I need to attend to a small personal matter.” Maduin winked at Lillith, still internally lamenting the fact that he hadn't managed to get her lovely brown hair curled, but willing to wait for another opportunity.

He stood, gliding quietly into the trees. Around him, needle-laden boughs and whispering leaves dripped with moisture from the rain earlier in the day, and from the faint rumbles in the distance, he thought more might be on the way before the night was through. He could smell the lush vibrancy of the wet greenery around him, alive and rich on air that was still slightly moist, a faint breeze brushing over his face.

A little concentration, an act of will, and a little enchantment commonly used in “Blackout Parties” at some of Tsuiraku's more adventurous venues allowed him to see well enough not to trip over anything, though it didn't allow him to see very far (which, admittedly, was the idea). He walked until the firelight was a glow behind him, still visible enough that he could make his way back, but ensuring that no one would be able to see him.

The Super Duper's brass casing was dim beneath the dark bellies of the lightless clouds overhead, no glint reflecting from the little silver clasp that held it shut. For long moments Maduin simply cradled it in his fingers, mind skittering through possibilities like an uneasy spider, gingerly turning each over, considering it warily before moving on.

“Maduin.”

Maduin started, contemplations disrupted. Magic whirled around him as he turned, a pale, shimmering eldritch mist against the darkness. The breeze strengthened, trees sighing with its passing.

It took Maduin a moment to recognize the face illuminated by his power, the brown hair and gray eyes. Thomas had a smile on his face, but his gaze was wary. Distant thunder rumbled on the air. Thomas glanced away for a moment.

“Sounds like it's going to rain again.” His expression turned slightly abashed as his gaze returned to Maduin. “I'm sorry for startling you.”

Maduin blinked. “No, I . . . that's quite all right. I just wasn't expecting to see you . . . here.” Again, he'd almost said instead, but luckily his instinctive etiquette was there to tune the phrasing to something less incisive. His brow furrowed slightly as he took in Thomas' unrelieved black garb, the simple robe that flowed to his ankles, the strange staff peeking over one shoulder that looked remarkably similar to the one Rose had found earlier. “Thomas, forgive me for asking, but why are you here?”

Thomas chuckled, and if anything he looked even more chagrined than before, complexion reddening. “Well, funny you should ask that . . . I um . . . I was following you. Not to do anything,” he added quickly as Maduin's eyebrows rose. “I mean, to be perfectly honest, I was following the person who's following you.” He lifted his hand, hesitated, and Maduin blushed.

The cold glimmer faded, golden luminance blooming in his curls instead, soft and gentle, playing over strands the amber color of thick honey. Thomas' smile widened, and the tips of his fingers brushed Maduin's cheek. “I didn't want anything to happen to you.” His expression became distracted as he ran his thumb along the line of Maduin's jaw. “What worries me is that I haven't managed to catch sight of him yet, and . . . that should really worry you.” He lowered his hand, gray eyes turning dark like the sea before a storm. “I don't think you or your companions are safe.”

Another roll of distant thunder made Maduin jump, and suddenly raindrops were cool on his face. He was so flustered it took him a moment to establish the rain-charm, another to realize that Thomas wasn't looking at him anymore. The young man from Salticiel had his gaze fixed on the darkness in the trees around them.

“Tho-”

Maduin had the name half out of his mouth when Thomas vanished in a blur.

“-mas.”

Maduin had a sinking feeling that something was about to go terribly wrong. The rain intensified. There was another roll of thunder, cracking through the sky, a shuddering tremor that he felt in his bones. It died away, a trailing, high-pitched scream falling to silence on the tail-end of it. He froze, torn between running back to the tent for help and staying where he was.

Then he felt it, a soundless burst of powerful magic, and he thought of Thomas out there in the dark and the rain. The golden glow died away, cold eldritch luminance replacing it once more, and Maduin steeled himself and slipped towards the place where he'd felt that magic, rounding a tree. At first he saw nothing. What was revealed in the lightning stroke that shattered a nearby tree made his blood run cold even as he staggered forward on unsteady feet.

Thomas lay on the moss and the leaf-litter, a dark mass of blood and flesh Maduin couldn't bear to look at where his abdomen should have been as he ran to him, darkness spreading around him in a widening pool that stained the earth. The light died away, the raindrops falling freely on his face as he redirected all his concentration.

Something moved in the darkness a few feet away.

Maduin raised his eyes, dread digging icy claws into every part of his body.

Cobalt blue eyes blazed at him beneath the glare of lightning from under a hood dripping with rain. The long, broad blade held in one hand still gleamed darkly with something far more mortal than water. The wide, glazed eyes of a dark-haired woman stared from between his feet.

The darkness returned. A branch snapped beneath a heavy footfall.

Maduin let out a scream laden with magic, tearing apart the night,a haunting howl that cried out Panic! Terror! Confusion!, sending chaos shrieking outward on the wind.

Maduin let go of the Pandemonium Cry, chest heaving, lungs aching, vision blurring, and held Thomas's body close, shoulders shaking with quiet, exhausted sobs with only the trees to hear him as rain continued to pour down out of the sky.

[OOC: If you skipped all that - somebody died. :/OOC]
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Graybeard » March 31st, 2010, 2:46 pm

Sister Rose woke up with the second crack of thunder, but it wasn't the noise coming from the sky that woke her (she'd heard plenty of that over the years, sometimes in circumstances considerably less comfortable than this); rather, it was the whimper from the next sleeping bag in the tent.

"R-Rose?" Kim almost whispered. "I -- I'm scared."

Of what? Rose wondered, suddenly wakeful. Surely this girl had experienced thunderstorms before; for much of the spring and summer, there'd be storms breaking off from the mountains and blessing the land below with Luminosita's Tears. That was part of what made the farm land so fertile -- fertile enough to support a semi-wild girl living off the land, to all appearances. The proximity to the ridges here at the camp site might make the thunder more sonorous, what with all the terrain for it to reflect off of, but the storms in the valley could be pretty noisy too -- and, in their own way, scary. The girl had put up with those for years, from the looks of her.

"It's all right," she said, patting Kim's arm. "We're safe here. The lightning won't get down through the trees to --"

The girl interrupted. "No. Not the storm. There is one of them out there. I can feel him." She whimpered again ...

... And then Maduin screamed.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Sareth » April 1st, 2010, 9:25 pm

Lillith heard the scream and lept to her feet. "Maduin!" She immediately dashed into the darkness to go looking for the man. She wasn't sure what had transpired, but she knew that she had to help him, whatever had happened.

Inside the trees, it had gone dark. With the departure of the sun from the skies, the moon stood no chance of illuminating the ground beneath the thick branches and leaves. Lillith soon found herself stumbling about in the dark. She began feeling a bit alarmed. She looked about wildly and saw nothing but black. "Maduin?" "Maduin!" she began calling, attempting to find her way. "MADU*mph!"

A hand had come out of the darkness, cut off her shout and an arm snaked around her waist. "Hello, hostage." Lillith jerked in surprise. But then her training kicked in. Magic fights, giant war machines, and guns she couldn't do anything about. But someone grappling her from behind in pitch black conditions simply became another martial art exercise. She reached up for his hand and threw her foot out, ready to throw.

The hands were gone before she knew what had happened. "Not fast enough," came the voice, and a blow to her head brought darkness to the rest of her senses.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Graybeard » April 1st, 2010, 10:43 pm

OOC:
Sareth wrote:Inside the trees, it had gone dark. With the departure of the sun from the skies, the moon stood no chance of illuminating the ground beneath the thick branches and leaves. Lillith soon found herself stumbling about in the dark.

Fine for her to be stumbling around in the dark, but I think there's a different explanation. For one thing, there's an evening thunderstorm overhead -- the mountains work that way sometimes. For another, I have this all as happening between two and three weeks after the start of Errant Road, and the very first "turns" of the game were under a not-quite-full moon. At the present time, the moon would therefore be either just about new, or a sliver of crescent in the western sky that would have set by the time all this is happening. Anyway, stumbling about in the dark is fine, so... /OOC:

---------

"LILLITH!" Brad shouted, instantly awake, not because of anything the girl had said or done (or because of the storm, for that matter), but because he'd been awakened by Maduin's scream. Of course, it didn't really matter who had screamed; he still knew what he had to do. "I'll save you!" And he tore through the door of the tent, pausing just long enough to grab the Lancea -- but not long enough to activate it.

Sister Rose cringed inwardly, even as she continued to try to calm Kim down. It sounds like things are going to hell in a handbasket out there. And I'm not sure whether I'm needed more there or here. If I go outside, what are we fighting? And if I stay here, can my own frayed nerves really do anything to help this girl? She ventured a tentative glance back toward Kim, to look for a clue as to what she should do next ... and wasn't prepared for what she saw.

The girl was smiling.

"I'm okay now," she told an astonished Rose. "It isn't out there any more. I could feel it." And without an explanation, she went instantly back to sleep.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Drusia » April 1st, 2010, 10:45 pm

I dream that arms encircle me, holding me close. I feel warm and loved.

Lillith heard the scream and lept to her feet. "Maduin!" She immediately dashed into the darkness to go looking for the man. "MADU*mph!"

"Shit," I murmur, sliding free of my lover's arms, "They must've..." I blink and turn back towards my bedroll. No one is there.

Damn, Maudin. Your spell is fucking awesome. I hope you're still alive. I'd like to thank you again for teaching it to me.

I head towards the noise, my short Durris Flamma in one hand, a human-forged dagger in the other. You never know what you'll need, after all. I hold off expanding the blade - I don't want to make myself a target.

Speaking of targets, I can hear a scuffle ahead. I hear a low voice murmur something, and Lillith gasp. The voice again, and then an unpleasant thud. My eyes narrow as I try to triangulate her position. First Maudin, now Lillith - if I went through all that effort only for Lillith to die now I will be very put out. And I'll make sure to put out her attacker as well. One eye at a time.

I concentrate and, navigating by best guess, I fold space for an instant, appearing three paces behind the where Lillith went 'thump'. I heard her fall, so I listen for the sound of a standing person kneeling, or of armor moving. If her attacker tries anything, I'll have to decide fast if I strike to kill or to cripple.

-- Drusia


OOC: Silly Einsigerum! It's a bad idea to provoke an assassin trained elf in the dark. Particularly one who is familiar with your techniques. If this is the Einsigerum, that is, but I'm guessing based on Kim's comment.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Drannin » April 2nd, 2010, 7:34 am

Argus woke up to Maduin's yell and staggered groggily outside into the rain. Shaking his head in confusion, trying to keep from being bowled over by Brad, he suddenly heard, faintly, Lillith cry out in pain.

Instincts took over.

Kneeling down quickly, Argus stretched his will out to the abundant stones in the ground. This close to the mountains, there were many. The ground shivered slightly, and particles of mineral matter rose from the ground and enveloped Argus solidifying into a form-fitting, skin-like armor. A twitch a his hand, and a wickedly sharp stone lance surged from the ground into his hand. Probably not something to rely on, with his shoulder, but it would keep him safe close-quarters. Stretching his will out again, Argus sensed the vibrations in the ground, the trees, the air... not quite as good as sight, but it would let him navigate a bit easier. His preparation complete, Argus dashed towards where he felt Lillith cry out, avoiding the resonance he felt from trees in his path, dodging soggy ground instinctively...

...Something appeared behind him...?

A hard blow caught him on the back of the head, glancing harmlessly off solid reinforced rock. There was a quick grunt of surprise from behind him, as Argus quickly responded, adrenaline pumping through his body. A quick twist of the hands, and his rock spear struck behind him, most likely whacking a shin. The immediate follow-up braced the spear, quick as lightning, and thrust backwards, hard, into his assailant's stomach. Only the blunt end, sadly. Stage three of a standard battlemage kata had Argus whirl around, bringing his spear in a hard arc... which whooshed through air as his adversary seemingly melted away from the blow - 'So fast'...

And seemingly melted into the darkness, no sign of him through the vibrations in the ground.

Argus stood there, breathing heavily. What had just happened?
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Graybeard » April 2nd, 2010, 9:01 am

[OOC: This has all gone VERY weirdly compared to what was expected here, so there may be a bit of floundering around for a while. Some of the following may make it seem weirder yet, but believe me, it doesn't...]

Her decision made for her by Kim's exceedingly unexpected return to sleep, Sister Rose hurried out of the tent. However, rather than heading to the sound of the commotion, she hung back for a moment and put on the senses-sharpening spell. Somebody was going to need to look after situational awareness here, and while Rose wasn't exactly helpless in a fight by any means, there were enough spellcasters and swordswingers in the group already. Besides, fools rushed in ...

----------

... As, indeed, a fool had.

Bellowing like an enraged bull elephant, Brad made a beeline for where the noise seemed to be coming from, not checking his path very carefully. Somebody (something?) else was moving rapidly through the forest in front of him, and he could see magical light glinting off it -- Lillith's abductor, probably. Waving the Lancea (only slightly more menacing than a long stick, without the Durus Flamma activated), he sprinted toward the movement ...

... Not noticing the body sprawled in his path, near where Maduin still stood sobbing.

"LILLITH! I'm coming! Help is on the waaAAARGHHH..." The sentence ended early as he tripped over a messily dismembered torso ... and just before the point of his chin hit the ground, shutting him off as effectively as any heavyweight boxer's knockout punch, he had time for one inexplicably clear thought:

What? This body is wearing the same outfit that Zeb was when I saw him run like the wind... And then he hit the ground, and the lights went out.

-----------

Up ahead, a very tall figure paused to cast a certain defensive spell (leaving Argus sputtering in his wake) and to rearrange the burden he carried across his shoulders ... and he noticed something.

"Well, well, well," he chortled to himself in a deep basso voice; Lillith would have recognized it as the one she heard earlier, of course, but she was still unconscious and unable to hear anything. The voice continued...

"Not just a hostage ... but an Errant. This night has all manner of opportunities for entertainment."

He headed on up toward the pass, long legs devouring distance even without the use of time magic.
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Re: Stone Man Pass

Postby Porcelain Fish » April 2nd, 2010, 12:10 pm

Lillith's cry of pain brought Maduin's head up, piercing through his own grief, hazel eyes narrowing dangerously. He stood as chaos erupted around him, as though poetically conjured by the very power he'd used to drive off Thomas' killer.

So, there were more.

They wouldn't escape.

He passed by Brad without a glance, once more shrouded in cold eldritch radiance as he cut through the trees toward the pass. Argus' startled grunt off to his left confirmed his expectations. The attacker had headed back along the path Maduin had taken.

Boughs writhed away, undergrowth snaking back, clearing his path as rage drove him onward, gave him new strength. Faintly, in the back of his mind, he knew that using magic like this was dangerous, that so close to the edge of exhaustion, it might well consume him utterly.

The rest of him didn't care.

He came out of the trees as a tall figure paused on the road above him, and then glanced up, eyes widening at the sight of Maduin surrounded by ghostly power. He vanished.

Maduin's cold expression didn't alter one whit, but suddenly the light around him was brilliant, incandescent, a panoply of colors as brilliant as unnatural dawn, and he sang, no frenzied cry, but a song rich and powerful, intricate and lovely, one with an entirely different purpose than the Pandemonium Cry.

The man staggered once more into visibility, mouth slightly open, his brown eyes wide beneath his dark hair, the faint shadow of a beard on his face, gaze locked on the singer. He trembled as Maduin neared, body tense, clearly fighting the power invading his mind, creeping into his body, falling to one knee.

He stared, transfixed, as his doom approached, beautiful and terrible.

Maduin's expression was utterly cold as he lifted the man's chin with one finger, looking directly into his eyes, and watched as every last bit of resistance drained away, until the mind behind them gave up the struggle.

“Obey me,” he said simply. Then he passed out, leaving the man staring at him, waiting with trembling need for instruction from those soft lips and not understanding why, Lillith still unconscious across his shoulders, unable to move.
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