News: 
Paragraphite

Majik Morose Read 2761 times

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #60 on: August 25, 2017, 07:04:07 am »
Eizel had been fixed on Aveline's interaction with the red knight. The irritation with which he accepted her suggestion was good proof of something Eizel already suspected. The ease with which he cut the beast down was another. The Star Blade was famous for a reason, and it had wrought its fire well through the Spawn that had ducked Blair's light. The Titanium Knight considered Aveline up and down, and while it was scrutiny, it was not in any way accusatory. He even seemed a bit amused with his eyes narrowed at her, asking her without a word what she was up to. He nodded at her question.

"Let's find them among the trees!" he said and sent a brilliant slash toward the sky to inspire the men. He touched the side of her ramet and smiled with some excitement underneath his collected air. It begins again, for us, said his expression before he turned and ran to meet the creeping shadows that were amassing. Elvan was already there, shaving the leaking evil with Syn, and crashing into it with Saevir.

"Glad to see you in the fight, Tremiss." Eizel shouted with no sign of distrust in his voice as he passed the red knight. "Let's see what we can do to these monsters. Maybe we'll be home for supper." he boasted as Blair sung another aria of transcendent illumination to decapitate the overflowing shade. Elvan had to step aside for it, but was grateful for the assist. Eizel and the men were with him soon, hacking away.

A screech and a howl rocked the forest, the trees parting for a gust of intent. There, in the valley of cleared trunks moved the four legged thing that was producing Spawn from its back. "Don't falter and don't rush!" Eizel called and held Blair to the sky. It gave the men strength when they looked upon the Midnight Spawn and remembered its confusing legend. The first moon slash from Blair cut it at its eyes, over its snout, and it continued to complain in many Spawn's voices as it shook off the pain. It gave the knights some reprieve as they gathered behind their general. Only Cougal among them hadn't moved from his ramet's saddle once, not even when he had the Star Blade destroy the spawn fro Aveline's test.

With the help of fellow knights, Elvan was having an easier time felling even great Dusks, and filled in where he was needed, Syn taking him everywhere he was needed at these relatively short distances. It wasn't a matter of lone skill, as it had been many times in Salynus. Instead he instinctively fell in where he was needed, working hard to protect the heads of his comrades and cut up the enemy.

"No don't! The Spawn will attack worse if you push now!" Cougal said, calm where his mount stood with him. His group of knights remained behind him, but the ones who'd come from other places and Cretse itself listened to Eizel. In the midst of running from battle to battle, Elvan stopped to looked at the red knight then. It seemed out of place for Cougal to put himself in a position to be proven wrong.

"Cougal! Come here!" Eizel snarled, swatting at monsters with his artifact. He gripped a little creature with his armored hand and slammed it to the ground for Blair to impale. The sound was unpleasant, rock against metal. "We need everyone!" but Cougal shook his head as his ramet took steps back. Elvan's eyes widened when the battle took Eizel's attention away from the red knight.

As Cougal lifted his hand, it would seem as all the approaching spawn moved to retreat. But it seemed more like an ebb before a great wave. Elvan, who knew Cougal was a villain, sought Aveline's eyes, and when he found her, pointed with three fingers at Cougal, begging her to let loose an arrow that might might prevent whatever gesture would unleash mayhem on the knights.

-

The two brothers looked at each other when Nystali laid out her own plan. It was obvious the two would rather continue to argue, at least for a little while, but saw good reason in her way, that might look like a compromise but in truth left everyone with what they wanted. It would seem Velfall especially saw good merit in her reasoning as she presented it. Biol, who was likely the less astute, was the first to agree. "Yes. You are religious so those who are religious might follow you." he seemed proud of himself for that.

Velfall made a face and shrugged. "If you're willing to do this, then I see no reason not to. It almost sounds," and he inhaled pointedly, looking at his brother for the next word "simpler - this way." The pique went over Biol's head as he sat back, unsure of why he was getting such focus from Vel, already looking around for his next ale. "I'll set you up with places to go if you'd like to meet with pious crowds." Vel continued.

Biol did return to the conversation when she asked about who lead them. "He's modest, but everyone listens to him. We all have our groups, good at different things, but there was a raid a yew years ago, then everyone listened to Velfall." he said with a big proud smile. Velfall waved over a mug for his brother and placed it with with a thud by the large man. It was affectionate, but also to shut him up.

"For big things." Vel admitted. "But mostly we stay hidden, collect information and do what we can to keep the fires alive and well in the bellies of the people. Not many things require our gathered efforts." He stood and brushed her shoulder. "You will walk with me?" He meant inside the bar at first. When they'd gotten what privacy they could hope for here, he handed her a folded up wax paper. "For your cough, before you can become a martyr without virtues to your name." he'd seen it. "In the cellar of the temple, forgotten rooms, they keep people like you and make them mad with loyalty. When there's conflict, there's blood from their lips." he said. "I try to slip them this when I can." he smiled, crooked as he put his elbows on the bar. "It's not the favor of a long-haired, silver-eyed, indecisive friend, but it'll soothe the symptoms until he can wise up." His forest shore and sunset ocean eyes were always picking up details, and if you'd learned enough about hero personalities and Kin, Nystali's and Elvan's exchanged looks were easy to read.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #61 on: August 26, 2017, 10:54:28 pm »
Nystali was glad when they agreed to her compromise, if it was that. Really, it seemed the brothers had just posed a small conflict for the sake of it. Surely there was no reason they couldn’t work both fronts. She was not surprised when Vel was admitted to be their somewhat-leader; what she wasn’t sure what to make of was the overall disparate behavior of the group. It wasn’t that she feared or doubted that sort of independence, she just didn’t know it. Neither knighthoods nor temples ran without hierarchies.

“As you like,” she said, and placed herself on Velfall’s arm when she stood. Like it should be expected. Whether she was that sort of woman or not, she knew how to impose herself as a priestess when it suited. That was the kind of thing that could have been dangerous if it had been grown up differently. Disarming.

She had it in mind to be incredulous when Vel offered her the medicine, but decided otherwise when he mentioned other Kin. Tali took the paper. “Does your priestess know?” she asked, and the question was brimming with disgust. She’d heard of that kind of thing from the previous lore master, but it had often sounded like the kind of story told to children to keep them from straying far from home. Cretse was, admittedly, the perfect environment for those seedy places to bloom. No religious fervor, a strong market for artifacts, and a bustling trade port. “Do the people not?” not know, not care, it was most obviously both sins.

But Velfall had more to say, and Nystali was as taken aback by the intrusion of her watchful gaze as Aveline had been. “If only it were so simple as a matter of favor,” she replied, that steady expression lacking any of Aveline’s brilliant indignation. Perhaps it was worse. “But, thank you. I didn’t know there were medicines for such issues. In Salynus, Kin were rare and the conflict of their artifacts were rarer.” She gave him a tiny bow.

“I will wait for Aveline and Elvan to return before moving forward. I think it’s only right, given what they have done for me and what this will mean for them.” She told him, with no indication of wavering in her intentions. Whether it meant she expected no resistance or was certain to move in spite of it was hard to say. “In the mean time, will you tell me more about you and your friends?” She gave him the ghost of a smile, surprisingly cheeky. “You can start with yourself. Mysteries are intriguing, but poor for alliances.”

--

Aveline felt her world slow, the pass of Elvan’s gesture slicing at half-time through the air. She followed the direction of his fingertips and saw Cougal Tremiss at the end of the accusation. The knight exhaled, her dark eyes fixed on the target she’d been handed by her oldest and dearest friends. If standing against Cougal at Salynus had carried the risk of exile, this surely carried the risk of their very knighthoods and, perhaps, their lives.

Her stare flitted for the briefest moment toward Eizel, and then she drew Mariposa against Valor’s string, her shimmering gestalt flaring across the coiling muscles of her back. “Eizel!” Aveline shouted, leaving formalities for the gravity of her aim. She didn’t say more, though he’d know it as a petition for his trust. As a fellow soldier and as a friend, as an honorable woman who had shown herself loyal to him and to their homeland.

She let Mariposa fly, and Cougal was distracted long enough to consider Aveline’s fate rather than the many men he’d been prepared to swallow. The Star Blade sparked and clashed against Mariposa, the sound resonating in the rapid thunder of his ramet’s hooves as he whirled and fell upon Aveline. “Traitor!” he snarled, because it should have been. The Star Blade burned as if it were molten when he struck her across the back. She had reacted fast enough that she did not find its edge, but the broadside of the blade sent her flying from her mount and sprawling hard in the dirt. There was a terrible howling and the sickening crack of trees splitting under force.

Cougal retreated to his men and they readied a retreat, a number of Eizel’s own forces scrambling after the Steelback command. Fear was an insidious thing, and Cougal’s plans seemed infinitely favorable to those of the Titanium knight’s then. The writhing mass that was the Gattler split the trees around them and rolled like a massive wave into view, waves of splintering black glass rippling outward from its path. Several mounted knights-in-training were too slow, fleeing from the jagged pikes, and found themselves lofted on glass spires sent through their chests and limbs.

Aveline was coughing hard, struggling to push herself up off the ground, but she was not moving quickly and the Gattler was descending upon them without pause.   

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #62 on: August 27, 2017, 02:50:56 pm »
Elvan could only give half his heart to the battle in that moment, swinging Saevir to keep the critter off himself as he watched Mariposa interrupt Cougal's gesture. There was hesitation in the mass of enemies, since the command had not been fully carried out, but the first order remained in them, and they continued to swarm the alarmingly small group of knights still fighting. It was clear that whatever spell Cougal had meant to dispatch would have extinguished them all.

Elvan's breath was lost when he saw Aveline thrown by the Star Blade itself. He felt cold watching her cut through the earth, like the part of his life he'd spent with her, which was all of it that he could remember, was becoming lost with every foot she slid. A beast, a collection of sentient, assembled spines, barreled toward him and he couldn't lift Syn to protect himself. But before the first lance found him, he could see Aveline's back rise inside the ring of Spawn closing around her.

Somehow he was sent off, heart's speed, toward her, crashing through the living spikes with Saevir first. It was ill advised but the shortest way, and it left him with shards through his armor. He cut up the back of a creature that stood in his way in the wall built of malice around Aveline, so her could start slicing at the hard-shelled creatures that seemed entirely made of Gattler, instead of being amalgamations of it and other Spawn. He wanted to pick her up, because he'd not seen her breathe in a moment, but that kind of indulgence would kill them both. So he continued the endless task of blocking black blades that wanted to cut her, and crushing the arms that held them with Saevir.

Eizel had thrown explicit orders for the men to come back, but the knights that were sworn to follow him hesitated without listening. He asked them what would happen to Cretse if they didn't fight now, and they were ashamed but silent when they followed Cougal. Eizel was left walking through the monsters with the right that Blair gave him, it's rays shooting out from the creatures of glass when they were struck. He was becoming furious with frustration, desperate no longer to keep the monsters off the path for Cretse, but off the remaining knights, rather. It would seem only he and Elvan had any success in this tidal of darkness and fire.

Elvan felt Syn exhausted and Saevir loose strength, but he continued with fatigued arms. A gangly thing with one primary weapon, its long tail, managed to dodge through Elvan's defenses. It bowed close to Aveline, and its tail swung with accuracy. Elvan couldn't know if it was Syn or himself that ran, but he was there before it found her, his side opened up from having deflected the weapon. He was hunched over her, his limbs her cage, and heard the Spawn move close. He hair smelt wonderful among all this monster blood, and he buried his face into it as he waited to die against her.

And then a light of Blair's hue swallowed their part of the forest. It was so strong he could feel it touching his bones. And yet it didn't hurt his eyes. When the burst was gone, the monsters that hadn't been consumed cowered toward the trees again, and the mass in the distance that must be the main creature of Gattler, did not advance.

"Back!" Eizel commanded now that there was a path for them and a halt in the Gattler's group. Elvan didn't know how he listened, but he got them both on a ramet neither of them rode here, and then he held her to him as it started back for Cretse.

-

Velfall often felt bad for the Kin that were harvested. It was not his priority to keep them well, so he couldn't go to them often. Sad, but their fates were not so directly woven into the people's that he had the luxury of constant sympathy for them. In truth, what efforts he could spare he justified by their value for their product. If he could free them one day, there'd be less of a market, and less for the Steelbacks. The grim in his expression might have told Nystali some of it. At least he was kind enough not to tell her about the limitations of the medicine yet. She should be smart enough to realize, though, and the shortcomings of the recipe would be clear to her, eventually, anyway.

He made sure she had a glass of water, and slid it in front of her in such a pointed way she must think about what she'd been drinking last night. It was all accompanied by a grin. "We're not barbarians, even though we look rough." he started. "Believe it or not, we have threads in all of Cretse, and contacts beyond, too. The dark fortune of the Steelbacks is that they make enemies everywhere they go.

He went on to tell her about the network they had in place in every tier of society because even the whitest towers need maids to polish them. Throughout the carefully laid out collections of accomplishments - he didn't shy away from talking about the risks and the main actors in procuring them, either - it would be clear to Nystali that there was just unrest and worry, while those that truly suffered were negligible as allies since they were bereft of their strength already. He spoke of a spark, he spoke of a great calamity stopped or a big movement to make the people rise. Steelsback was smart in that they slowly poisoned groups instead of taking over fast.

"Which is why we need symbols." he said and touched his eyebrow in thought. "Your help will go a long way. You can speak, can't you? We'll need that too."

And then he'd tell her about the meeting in church. Their priestess would be stopped from attending. It was simple matter of having her carriage loose its way. The people would wait a little, and then Nystali would be able to speak to them in place of the familiar woman who liked to praise the Steelbacks. Nystali might see the urgency and opportunity, which he hoped, or he'd have to convince her with a speech of his own. Either way he'd get her there, and hope her tongue was gilded enough to sow the seeds from which they might grown the new Cretse.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #63 on: August 30, 2017, 06:18:50 pm »
“Elvan!” his name tore from her lips, vacating her lungs like wildfire. He was moving toward her so quickly, but the Spawn were endless and daggered. She wanted to tell him to turn back, but he’d gone after her so immediately that any retreat had already been swallowed by more beasts. She could hear ramets bleating, loud and nasal and frantic, and the men shouting in confusion. Eizel had called a retreat, but as many men had gone to Cougal were reticent to fall back when the titanium knight had not turned with them.

When Elvan fell against her, she flinched. “Elvan, you idiot,” she hissed, though she reached to hold onto him as the cracking limbs of too many monsters snapped in their ears. Blair’s brilliance came like the gasping dawn, blinding against the surety of death. It was scalding, but it did not make her squint and she stared, dark eyes wide, with hesitant relief at her oldest friend.

It was Elvan that was injured, and yet he was the one that hauled them onto a frantic ramet and pulled her close as they tore away from the Gattler. Her heartbeat was thunder in her own ears. She regained her composure after some deep breaths, reaching to take the reins from Elvan. “Put pressure on your wound.” She said, and only commanded the ramet to slow when they had nearly reached their original rendezvous point. The ramet wheeled and she paced it slowly, scanning the distance for Eizel’s form.

When she saw Blair’s glint far off, and Eizel’s large ramet charging toward them, she let out a small sigh of relief. “He got away,” she said, and it was of such mixed sentiment she must have meant Cougal and Eizel both. “Ah… fuck.” She muttered. Aveline twisted to look at Elvan. “You’re an idiot.” She said, and she wasn’t smiling. Her dark eyes hadn’t lost the ghost of fear and Aveline wasn’t the sort to fear her own death in battle.

Eizel reached them in short time; he’d followed them out as soon as he was sure they had a safe lead on the roiling Gattler mass. When he reached them, he was solemn, but had Mariposa and Valor on hand. Aveline winced when she saw; it felt a bit too much like being taken care of to see he’d risked his life to return her artifacts. He was, surely, one of the most admirable knights she’d ever met.

--

“I can speak,” Tali said, “and I can play a figurehead when it’s needed.” In Salynus, she’d been an extension of the temple, of the town but not part of it. Salynus kept traditions for the sake of history, but their faith had dried long before. She had only ever been a figurehead, in that sense. “I will go to the sanctuary and meet Cretse’s congregation. It will give me a better sense of your priestess, anyway.” She agreed. Two days hence, on the day most who continued to move through motions of religion would bother to attend.

In Salynus, there had been people most evenings, stopping through to hear old stories or to ask for some superstitious ceremony or another. Here, in this city, whatever semblance of faith remained was carried in large part like an obligation, Priesthoods operating to placate and soothe and provide political leanings for whomever didn’t wish to decide for themselves.

When Nystali and Vel departed the tavern, the sun was already sinking low on the horizon. The waning red light put a little swiftness in Tali’s step. She hadn’t realized how quickly the time had passed, talking to Velfall and his rebels about Cretse and all the Steelback tyranny infiltrating the realm. It hadn’t been hard to draw Tali close to their cause and fuel the sparks of resistance in her. She was reasonably convinced by the time she left, though her demeanor had remained firmly placid.

“Aveline and Elvan should be back soon, if they aren’t already. They would have told me if this expedition was particularly dangerous or if it would take them overnight.” She said to Vel, and expected he’d understand she wanted to be back at the inn with some haste. Perhaps it was naïve of her to think that way, believing her friends would be that kind of honest with her when they had always hoped to shelter her.

When they reached the bar and inn, Tali was looking around with some expectancy. She was eager to confirm her friends were well, to hear about their knightly adventure, and to tell them about her new acquaintances. They were not at the bar. “Maybe they’re in the rooms, or are on their way back,” she reasoned, and made her way to the stairs. She seemed to expect Vel would tag along, though she hadn’t explicitly asked for his company. It indicated that she might not be completely unfamiliar with her knight companions leaving her with keepers, which was both endearing and a bit sad.

--

Aveline, Elvan, and Eizel were grim when they rejoined the straggling company waiting for them on the march back to Cretse. Their numbers were much thinner than when they’d left. The Gattler had taken its tributes, but Cougal was gone also and with him, his newly acquired faithful. Aveline glanced at Eizel and wanted to say something, but had nothing when she saw the way he gripped his reins tight and spurred his ramet toward the head of the group.

The soldiers largely broke rank by the gates, many heading toward the ministry building to receive first aid and many others eager to find their way home. There would be a debriefing tomorrow at high noon, but, for the moment, every man was quick to slink away from the day’s defeat. Aveline took her chance to guide their ramet toward Eizel, reaching out to lay a hand on his shoulder.

“We wouldn’t hate your company later at the bar, Ser. Your decisions saved most of your men, one way or another. That’s worth drinking to.” She offered, before turning the ramet off toward the inn. She hoped he would come.

The bar was not much populated when she and Elvan dragged themselves inside, weary, and made their way up to the rooms without greeting. It was for the best, as Cretse had gone about its day without a thought toward what had transpired beyond its gates and Aveline had no desire to tell the tale. She was quiet when she helped Elvan to his room, her own body aching, and quiet when she insisted upon following him in after and locking the door. She drew him a bath and took her medicine pouch off her belt—one of Eizel’s recruits had handed them around before they’d left that morning.

“Let me see it,” she said of his wound, and wore the sort of expression that said she’d not take no for an answer.

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #64 on: August 30, 2017, 09:08:36 pm »
Elvan's side had kept together well, but the breeze invading his armor to cool the blood underneath was enough to let him know what was hope through adrenaline, and what might the reality of things. On the ramet, he'd madly held on to the strips of leather that let him control the beast. He knew she was alive against him, he'd seen to it, but he still wanted distance from the place they might have died together. A vicious reflex had him jerk at the reins when Aveline wanted them, before he came to his senses and let her have them.

For almost all of the ride he had his head to hers. It could have been protective, from the outside it looked that way, but Elvan was reliving the destiny they'd left behind in the forest and retreating into the contact. He only realized Ava had lost her artifacts when Eizel brought them back. He smiled at the general, and tried to put all his gratitude in it. Eizel was not in the mood for any praise.

Elvan's posture finally dropped when they locked the door. The straight gait had probably not done wonders for the injury but he had a duty to the people before he expressed his own pain. It was the cause of some worry for him, of course, so he nodded when she wanted to see, because he needed to tend to it, too. When she helped him with his armor, he did not protest.

The small room had two small windows, and the fire of late day coming in through curtains burnt his skin in its likeness and made a blaze out of the draping blood already crusting over his stomach. A long creature, Elvan's conditioned physique had little stars and star-tails already - anyone who'd lived a knight's life would - but today's memento reached from the low of his back to wrap him all the way to the chest, pointing to his heart. It had been merciful because the cut was clean, almost like a shaman's blade, but glass is naturally sharp, after all.

"And you? Are you hurt?" he asked and gathered her face in his fingers to see if there were marks on her, as though he hadn't been spying for the entire ride back. "I... I thought they would swallow you up." he said, and in his voice there was the truth of his need for comfort for that nightmare more than he needed gentle for his wound. With a sigh he held her face up so his could rest on her, lips on her cheek, and nose to her cheekbone. Not a peck, not really, but he took in her scent and tried to convince himself there was no way his Aveline would be gone.

There was some noise against the door, and though he'd remember it, he didn't heart it. His lips went across hers, the most alarming touch, on his way to the other side of her face. Like he was discovering her details, like she was returned to him though she'd never left. And in the end all the affection he sought to give her, and have from her, couldn't be accomplished with this searching caress, so he made sure she had the medicine in her hand, on her fingers, if she had to, but he moved against her until the wall stopped her. And then kissed her like he'd just discovered he could.

-

Velfall couldn't mistake the cadence of the door, and by the way Nystali retracted her hand upon finding that it was indeed locked, she was thinking in the same direction. He wondered if the relief of knowing they were home was enough to overwhelm the other things the Nightingale might be feeling now. He said nothing, of course, and led her back down the stairs with a promise of more pertinent information about their network.

It was a lie, of course. The details she needed she already had, and anything like that shouldn't be spilled so recklessly, especially when the tavern was filling up. He led her to the bar. And had mugs waiting for them with a simple gesture to the woman behind it. "To alliances." he suggested and held one mug in the palm of his hand, out for her, while lifting the bottom of the other almost all the way to his forehead, tipping. Nystali had gone a great distance from someone who might be helpful to his cause to a prospective friend since yesterday, and Velfall would drink a real amount for his friends. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve even though hadn't spilled.

It wasn't the best cure for whatever she was feeling, but he was sure she'd excuse herself if she didn't want this kind of thing, again. He would be sure to follow if she left with any indication he could, or he'd stay here and wait for her. This kind of place was a second home to him, anyway, and he figured she might need a friend later, if she didn't need ale now.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #65 on: September 04, 2017, 09:35:31 pm »
Her fingertips were cool, almost painfully so, as she examined the wound. It was not as deep as she had feared, and she exhaled sharply. Relief ran like panic across her face. It would leave an angry scar, but the cut had not pierced beyond his taut muscle and that meant the worst was most certainly over. “Come.” She said, short and hitched like there was a flood of other things to say. Aveline held back.

She made herself busy, finding wash cloths left by the inn matron and soaking them in the warm bath water. The tub tingled under her palm, simple majiks driving both the water pumping and warming mechanisms. She was gentle when she pressed the damp towel to his chest. When he took her face in his hands she was tense, like she was considering a struggle, but changed her mind. “I’m alright. I think he must not have meant to kill me.” She said. Because the general’s Star Blade did not frequently miss its mark. Her back would be a constellation of bruises by midnight; he had struck her soundly even if he had caught her with the flat. For now, though, it would be hard to argue that Elvan had not received the worst of it.

She closed her eyes. There was an achingly familiar space, that intimate empty between them when his nose drew against her cheek. It burned now, raw and smarting in the gasp of near-loss. “I thought so too.” Aveline admitted. “And you shouldn’t have come after me.” Though she knew it would have been impossible to expect otherwise. Had their roles been reversed she would have been appalled to be left behind.

Aveline laughed suddenly, a flighty sound that bubbled up the way desperation does. “Idiot.” She hissed, but it wasn’t cruel, just modestly horrified.

When he kissed her, it was a tide rushing.

--

Nystali drew her fist back, one hand over the other like she should reprimand herself for knocking. “Ah…” she started, and there was a small blush there though her lips did not express the same sentiment. A flicker of the young woman behind the priestess, jarred by the prospect of what might be on the other side of the door. “Uhm…” she glanced at Velfall like she was hoping for rescue. “Perhaps we should wait in the commons.” She suggested.

He seemed willing to play the ruse, offering benign information at the bottom of a mug. “Well, I shall hope to conduct myself better.” She suggested, though it was possible there were better reasons to seek an alcoholic stupor tonight than the last. She seemed unable to leave her friends behind entirely, though, glancing at Vel as they took the stairs back down. “Those two share a heart, I think.” She said. “Which, for me, and what I am, that’s interesting, right?” And there’d be no other comment beyond that. Matter-of-fact, impassive expression. Smart girl, in a way. It wasn’t as if Vel wouldn’t have been swimming in all the subtext.

Tali didn’t know if it was presumptuous to think there was that unapologetically human sort of comfort embracing her dear friends, and didn’t think it was well to consider it too far. Aveline had always settled in the valleys of her inadequacy. Strong warrior with a history and a place at Elvan’s side. Nystali claimed a thread, thin and delicate, woven around her heart and his. If she could dream, she’d have liked to find Elvan the way Ava had. She though, maybe, he’d have had the faith to take her soul in hand, then.

When Vel offered her a drink, she took it because he was being kind. But she was delicate at the bar, this time, and nursed the mug with patient care.

--

Aveline had entertained this sort of entwinement before, seething in her most ambitious dreams like her childhood grown wild without her direction. She’d often told herself, waking with flush cheeks and warm thighs, that she was better than those impulses. Whether Elvan had recognized the way he looked at their priestess or not, Aveline had. And Aveline loved them both. And once again, Elvan insisted upon challenging her.

She was not proud that her noble intentions rarely carried her through. She’d taken shelter in Vel but a single night before, nursing the jealous aches that threatened her pure doctrines. And, really, she was hopeless now. The Gattler had left her emotionally raw, grasping for every confirmation that Elvan was real and alive with her, still. Teetering like that, his mouth and all the confusion behind it was enough to send her plummeting.

She managed a vague question, buried in the denials of her own tongue searching for his. “What about Tali…” and it was absurd, because there was nothing beyond that room for either of them then. If he had paused, reaching out to remember, she would have kissed him harder and hoped he would forget. Aveline dropped the washcloth and searched for his skin, disbelieving touches grazing the edges of his shoulder blades as she assured herself that he was there and alive and with her. Eventually, she hooked her fingers in the waist of his breeches, tugging as if she could pull him closer to her.

Aveline had never pretended not to love him, but she’d never quite allowed it either.


Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #66 on: September 05, 2017, 09:31:09 am »
At first, remembering how Cougal had flung Aveline with The Star Blade, Elvan’s patience swelled like land lifted by volcanic breathing. He really thought he’d succumb to the fire seams. And then he smiled serene, because there could have been no majik to stop him back then, from jumping after her. He kissed her deeper for it, now that she was between his body and the wall. How well they moved together. How well everything connected. When he was becoming eager, the way men are urgent, she said a name, and it let him remember similar throes in this room. His mouth breathed the name back at her, as though repeating it with would be enough. Tali hadn’t almost died, and she couldn’t comfort him from that dread, either.

And then they weren’t childhood friends or comrades. He was overwhelmed by the hotter edges of his affection for her. Beautiful Aveline, who’d always be part of his heart. While she held on to his breeches, he found his way around her clothes, and used this advantage until they spiraled off her. He almost choked on the heartbeats made solid in his magma blood when he saw her shapes. Beautiful Aveline, who’d lived his life with him, and was written with the same silver stories. His kiss was almost murderous then, to be close to her in that instant the way he’d always wanted, a little, in his particular, familiar way of loving her.

Elvan had the gift of being infinitely honest and physically adept, which made for a powerful, endearing kind of lover. He had not taken lovers, the way people might have thought of the handsome soldier and spirited monster hunter. There’d been girls who’d kissed him behind trees, rewarded only with his apologies and promises they were beautiful, but he’d not proceeded to be physical with anyone. Because his heart was so specific, his body had to starve, too. But he didn’t hesitate against the wall, and was more primal with her, adoring but very curious, the way expert Velfall had not been. The wound and its presence made him tense up, and that of course made for sturdier, sudden advances.

With the taste of this, finally, he was parched for it all. To know her, to try her. “Aveline.” He tried, to see if he could anchor himself in this disarray. “Ah, Ava.” He wasn’t trying to be cruel, of course, he was meaning to do the opposite. Hopefully she’d only hear the desperation for her, and not be reminded he’d never said her name like that before, because of the priestess between them. This was their little oasis, then, warm and rhythmic, and there might not be another place again with such sweetness for her.

-

Velfall’s heart laid flayed for Nystali. He couldn’t begrudge the knights their moment, certainly Aveline should have it, poor girl, but he thought maybe Tali ought not have been exposed to the truth as clear as a locked door could recant it. He wanted to tell her that her heart was in there, somewhere, too, but he’d like to be a friend before he was a matchmaker. Elvan seemed a simple person in a matter that had become complicated. It was hard to guess what he would think he should feel.

It was a great horror to him that she did not seek out to empty the mug instantly, and he returned his drank-out vessel for more content with a meaning gesture. She did not follow. He stayed close to her, shoulders touching. Composed Nightingale. He made harmless chatter as he had more of the ale. She was polite and that let the conversation live for a bit. He had a plan for it, by the arrival of his third mug.

“There is this girl.” He started. He had brewed the medicine for other hearts in the cracks of his own broken love a few times. It was only fair he should see if Nystali could be helped by the same thing. “Sometimes she is fully noble. Not the kind of noble that can be held up on pedestals, but a motherly kind of martyr, nonetheless.” He didn’t suspect Nystali was a snob about the how virtues should be shrouded, but he liked to paint the picture of this woman he adored in a way she would agree with. “You would be impressed.” He assured her. He had some more foam on his on his lips before he cleaned it with his thumb and tongue.

“But we keep from each other because somewhere along the way, she and I came to believe the fairytale that loving as hard as we do isn’t everything that matters.” He wouldn’t include the bit about comfort in others, since he wasn’t sure that would help her, today. Velfall was itching to try her out, though. The bitter notes in the in-house brew made themselves known in his mouth then. He’d spoken of her often with these people. “What kind of advice do you have for us, Nystali?” he asked. His strength was that he was always earnest, which made him a perfect harlot for when you needed one, but also a fitting confidant.

Another tragedy sauntered into the tavern. Eizel, without his gestalt but with Blair on his hip. He sat down with the men that beckoned him and, smiled emptily in to the mugs they slid his way. The knights thanked him and he shook his head and made little jokes, but his mind was still on the men he’d lost to Gattler, and Cougal.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #67 on: September 12, 2017, 11:56:45 pm »
It was strange that she wanted to cry felt the tremors of laughter at once. A tragic kind of desperation, faced squarely with that most terrible conundrum: love with loss, or never taste him at all. And she’d never really had a choice in the matter, either, not with every synapse rebelling and the most human parts of her begging to entwine with his.

Aveline did not cry and she did not laugh. Instead, she lost her voice to the poetry of their lips and her own adamant tongue. He said her name in the worst sort of way. It sounded like scandal to her noble soul but wrenched her heart all the same. She had to believe he didn’t know the whole of her long-measured adoration, or he was the most terrible sort of man for having her this way.

For all that torment, she was giving less. She, who’d taken lovers in his absence and found pleasure on the honey of Velfall’s lips. It had probably been to guard against this. So that she could not delude herself into thinking her body was sacred for his pleasure. For a very short moment, she even thought of the swaggering stranger who’d warmed her just the night before. That maybe she’d have to seek him after this and ask him to cheapen everything breathless and spiraling between her and her childhood soulmate. If not, surely, Elvan now would be too much for every day after. And she still had to fight at his side, because they’d lived to see it.

Aveline would not stop him, though. She didn’t want to, or couldn’t. Feeling Elvan alive and urgent against her, it was a shared exhale of tension seething from their limbs. She was strong, and willful, and had loved him for many years. She showed him the best of what she was, soft bare skin and scars, and insisted her curves and their dance were the memories marked on the heels of the Gattler. And it was odd, because it was like they’d retreated into that other life, where they knew each other at every turn and plotted their future with held hands. If he’d be buried in her now, she had to buried in him forever. Her scalding kiss and a smolder corner of his heart.

--

Nystali listened to Vel’s story, blank faced but attentive. She could appreciate his effort, but wanted to tell him it wasn’t needed. Instead, she said, “It’s difficult, what duty can do. Or warp. I have only ever been a vessel, in a way, so maybe there is less fire there. I don’t know.” Her blue eyes, storms on a midnight horizon, were steady when they met his mottled gaze. “I can rarely give advice, you know, subject to fate the way we Kin are. It’s servitude, and it’s not. I think you and your pretty martyr should savor whatever there is to savor. If it is longing or it is loving.” She took a sip from her mug. “As long as it’s honest.”

Because, really, it was because Elvan had never been honest with himself or her that she ached. His sense of principle or his gallant heart, somehow, had probably warped the thing that shuddered in her. It was strong, she thought it must be when it felt as if it might tear from her body whenever he was near, but it was designed by something both of and beyond them. Tali had never known what to make of that, or why she could not help but to love him. By all accounts, she had always believed Aveline should have held Elvan’s heart.

“I think it’s a bit like… well, it is difficult to love when that becomes an obstacle for the one you love. And so then it’s easier to accept everything and anything else.” She touched her fingers to her chest. “I don’t think that’s smart of me, probably. So, again, maybe I can’t give advice.”

She gave him a small smile, appreciative that he was trying when he did not need to. “Tell me more about her, your girl.”

--

Gemma shut the door behind him, one fist curling to keep thin sheets around her. She waited, counting breaths slowly to still her shaking. Her body ached; this was the second time the Starblade Knight had visited her and she feared the thought of him coming again. Really, he was rough to the verge of violence, and he never stopped himself. Gods help her if she came to carry that man’s child.

The first time he’d come to her, he’d been insistent on her pleasure. She hadn’t understood why—it was not the prerogative of most her clients to please her—until he dug his fingers against her sternum and pulled an artifact from her at the height of her climax. Gemma had never produced a worthwhile artifact. She had joked, occasionally, that if Velfall were the sort of man to wield an artifact, she might have been able to make something half-decent. But he wasn’t, and she probably wouldn’t.

The General had pulled a length of black rope. And then he’d laughed at her. It hadn’t been worth giving to his blade, but it had pleased his baser inclinations for the rest of his paid evening. When Velfall had asked her why her wrists were raw, she’d been nauseous recounting the story. Gemma retreated to the bed, curling around her pillow as her mop of rose-brown hair fell across her face. She hated telling Vel about her clients, because it made neither of them happy, but she wished he were with her now. In fact, he’d not paid for any time with her at all this week. It wasn’t terribly unusual. He was often busy when she had to work, what with coordinating Cretse’s little underground resistance. That didn’t make it any less disappointing. 

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #68 on: September 13, 2017, 09:37:24 am »
It was a strange kind of excruciating, losing himself like this. He’d lived his life with so much control, shackling even love itself to the train of his mission, and only letting it escape to fuel his fatigued legs and arms when his mind was reeling with fear. But now love was drawn from beyond his clamoring fingers, because he wanted to let it roam against her. It was a killing of self, in a way, and it was delightful and decadent. Elvan wasn’t shy about his body, and the wound held together well enough. He thought he might not care even if it opened and spilled his life out. What a lewd kind of hunger for the would-be gentleman.

It would have been enough to know her in a new way, just the novelty and the additional tie in their strong bond, but he discovered that intimacy like this is delectable on its own. He breathed on her skin and kissed the fog when it stuck to her, and tried her in different ways. How foolish that he’d not explored this kind of comfort before. Her sounds and the symbiosis of their pleasures. It made him mad in the middle of it all, and Elvan acted more like he should always have, with abandon and an abundance of honesty. How great her scars tasted, and if he was rough, how prettily she moved. It was all so selfish, so new, and he could well see that she didn’t hate it, either.

Strong warriors, both of them, but that kind of heartrate couldn’t overcome this bed and room the way it could lay to waste their enemies. To Elven it was a bit of a surprise, when slick friction and kisses could be so draining. At least this much of the act his physical life had not prepared him for. So, within his searching want and his sampling of her, his dark breaths became lost and took on anxiety. It made his rhythm faster, cruel, reckless against her. And when he closed his eyes and held his breath against her hair, he took her hand to fit their palms until he was at a harrowing deficit, but brimming with lucid rapture.

“Aveline.” It was gratitude and an apology. He wanted to swear his love to her, the way exhausted lovers do, but even through the stark hum of the aftermath, he couldn’t be so thoughtless. She was alive, he’d tested it and confirmed it with some force, and that would have to be enough for this moment.

-

Velfall, who’d thrown every feeling end of every emotion that mattered on the wood between their mugs, kept his composure through the impulse to flinch when she said sound and insightful things. Savor, she said. The way he heard it, and often thought of it himself, it sounded like his connection to Gemma so far had been a bit of a waste, when they could have been together, deeper. Like their time was acutely finite and that he was spending it like it was endless. And then he discovered the echo of his sin in her. “Those are excellent instructions.” He said into the ring of his drink before sucking up half its worth. He wondered if he’d made the suggestion audible enough in the taunt.

What a visceral detail, her hand on her heart, where he could see lighting live, almost invisible in the light of the tavern, before that heartbeat had sounded and her skin was only that, again. Unrest makes for undecided artifacts. These two seemed to be closer to that conflict than most. That well explained the blood on her lips on occasion. He was sure she knew, already, the Nightingale. He murdered the rest of the ale with her as witness and ordered up something harder in a smaller vessel, next, because he intended to be open with her when she asked for more of Gemma. The way he’d lived, raised by his mother, he was frightened by heart’s honesty, but he didn’t shy away from it if he found a conversation where it belonged.

“Known her long time. Before I was eyes deep in this act of fatal heroism.” He mouth was small when he lifted the powerful burn in the thick liquid that would taste sickly of honey. “She was otherworldly, dancing in the square just as handfuls of precious seeds flew in the air. If you’ve seen the polished husk of glow-wheat fly, you know it looks golden when the sun hits it. But that kind of treasure was just noise in the air when I saw her dance on the cobblestone.” He wondered often if they should just have been casual lovers then. He drank, but his longing for her matched the burn, and the result was barely a twitch of his mouth when he was done.

“I thought I was such a prince, then, running through the glistening, dry rain like a rapier.” He grinned and shrugged, as charming men do when they brag. He would only have shown this kind of face before an equalizing defeat. “But when I took her waist I couldn’t even put my lips to hers the way I’d planned. Her eyes have the green of mine but she framed them in such a smile that I sprained my ankle, dancing with her.” If Nystali saw, he lifted that foot up on its toe, once. “In an alley, where I thought I’d be so fortunate, she let me hold her to the wall but I couldn’t even bring myself to pluck the gold from her hair.”

When he laughed it was beautiful, because it was a practiced detail. He spun once and had another little glass of the sweet spell when his chest was almost on hers. He hadn’t turned her around forcefully. If anything, it might look like he was seeking comfort in her now, pressing her back to the bar. His trick was that he was transparent, the way her Elvan wasn’t. He held the little glass to the corner of her mouth when he looked at her with the mixed eyes of a whore and a friend. “What a coward I am, loving her like this. I hide behind my duty, as you say.” He started tipping the glass. This had been meant to help Nystali, after all. “But my loss is negligible, as the heartsick would say. I think the greater waste and crime is what this does to her. Every time we meet, it’s not complete.” If she didn’t drink, it would swirl between her lips and roll down her chin. “What if I die, incomplete?” he asked and then looked at her in a way that she would know she was the one he was speaking about. “What if we were honest in a new way about an old feeling?”

-

Cougal didn’t consider himself a loose mouth. But his mistake was the same as most men with a pretty woman, her time paid for. For all the games he had to play with knights like Eizel and even Aveline, he wore none of that mask with provided entertainment. He enjoyed quiet threats in his smiles, but appreciated the freedom these kind of chambers afforded him. Actresses, all of them, but he knew some expressions from his time on the battlefield, and relished in putting that truth on their faces when he hurt them. And of course he’d wanted the one the brothel owner presented as kin. She received both his time and his plans.

It was all veiled in a way that amused him, of course. He’d said a great deal about a nearing darkness, and how she’d be alright in life if she obeyed him, same as here, in thin sheets. He pretended to be a monster when he rocked her and held her throat, and he told her that perhaps one day he’d possess her too, with the Starblade. Grandeur of ruling the world with beasts doing his bidding, when she was made to stand on the bed on her knees and hands.

The rope he kept. It was a good rope, after all, even if it was an embarrassment of an artifact. He liked to feel it when he wasn’t with her, and tried it on other whores when he could. There was something sweet about Gemma, though, that had him return. Today, coming out of the room – he’d dressed while she was not allowed to - he gestured for one of his men, who’d come here with the intention of standing guard only, to visit her next. Cougal wasn’t so much generous as he was confident. He was sure he’d celebrate with her too, when Cretse saw either its switch in ruler, or its demise. He had told her as much.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 10:45:33 am by Verse »

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #69 on: October 17, 2017, 03:05:51 am »
Aveline didn’t know what to make of her heart in the long beats after their collision and crumble. It felt like years when it had been seconds, lying next to him without touching him. She heard him say her name and let it drown in the clamor of her pulse, which had not yet realized their frenzy was passed. “Nystali…” Aveline bit her tongue.

How awful that the priestess’ name was the first sound off her lips after that. A good and honorable knight, reaching beyond the twisting mess of her wet and ailing love. They weren’t alone ever, the two of them. Now that they’d tested each other’s bones and come clean and mortal from the trial, it was better that they crash back into reality. She saw it as martyrdom when she should have recognized the seeds of a pitiful masochism in herself.

Falling free of this strange microcosm in the bed was paramount. Quicker was better, or Aveline would be swallowed by the most lewd manifestation of her childhood heart.

She sat up. “She’s probably worried for us.” Aveline said. When her dark eyes fixed on Elvan’s face, they were kind. It wasn’t fair for her to let him go so easily, but anything else would have been heartbreakingly uncharacteristic. “I hope you’ll forgive me if I become jealous.” Aveline would retrieve her clothes, slow because her body was recalling the Spawn that had abused her, and leave whether Elvan was quick to follow her or not. With her back to him as she pulled her under clothes on, she could almost imagine she was an uncaring lover.

--

She drank the liquid, because she had the sort of practical sense not to allow a mess, but a slip of amber traced the edge of her lips nonetheless. When she had swallowed she pulled her face from the offered drink.

Nystali laughed despite herself, clapping her hands over her lips as if she’d said something scandalous. “Good Sir.” Tali began, and then had to turn her cheek toward him to prevent herself from laughing again. “You are incredible.” She told him, because she had never much bothered knowing a man besides Elvan and Vel’s forward charm was a novelty on the edge of absurdity.

“I do not need comfort, but I appreciate the sentiment.” She said, and her expression was surprisingly earnest. “I think, in many ways, I am an unfortunate twist of fate for those dearest to me. I couldn’t ever deny them a small escape.” Nystali’s crystalline gaze was long-suffering, like her knightly friend, but there wasn’t even the ghost of self-righteousness at the root of it. A benefit, perhaps, in such an unwavering sense of destiny. It was simple to be content, or resigned, in the throes of an overwhelming and inescapable purpose.

She took a delicate sip of her drink, unaided, but her stare had not left his face. “Do you know what Maidenhood is for a Kin?” she asked, licking clean her lower lip and inclining her head. A long fall of starlight hair tumbled across her shoulder. There was the flit of a smile at the edge of her pink mouth. “Selfishly, I wonder if he might take one if he won’t have the other.” Another self-startling laugh and she wagged her finger at him. “I shouldn’t drink with you. It’s troublesome.”

Tali’s attention was pulled away from her dashing companion then. “Ah.” She said, as Aveline appeared at the bottom of the steps. “Company you enjoy.” She hadn't, in all that, made any effort to unpin herself from the bar. For as easily as she had blushed and hummed against Vel's teasing earlier that day, she seemed able to hold her own when the matter was something dearer to her. "I'm glad she's safe, Aveline. And if she is here, there is no question that Elvan is breathing too." As if there had been any question the two had been together upstairs.

--

When Cougal’s man left and Gemma was certain she could not even stand to see him off, she lay tangled in the bedsheets and counted her breaths before she began to sob. It wasn’t that she hadn’t the stomach for her work, so much as it was that Cougal and that pitiful rope he’d taken from her left her impossibly empty. She had hoped never to see him again.

Eventually, she was force herself from her miserable stupor and bathe. Dress simply and take her leave; Biolfall would meet her at the tavern door when she knocked thrice and paused for the fourth.

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #70 on: October 17, 2017, 11:59:16 am »
Elvan was blessedly oblivious. Naive could not have begun to describe it. He was buried deep enough in the tempo of their interaction, that’d he’d foolishly still call an act of friendship, that he felt at home. He could not be unsafe with Avaline. So his eyes expanded slightly, attentive to her sounds when she said the other’s name. He carried a little sullen, too, when he collected it off her, but he held it too him and examined it, like she had dropped something and he plucked it to carry it for her, instead of recognizing his own part in its creation. All to easily he agreed with the sentiment to soothe whatever anxiety the priestess might feel at their absence. Perhaps his dull sensibilities or blind addiction to Nystali could have been a monster on its own, in which case it would be a most overwhelming and personal spawn to the otherwise formidable Aveline.

He watched her dress and thought it was lovely. He’d discovered her tonight, but he hadn’t been surprised she was beautiful. How cruel his innocence was, but it was utterly kind to him, at least. He put his clothes on, as well. It was fast, fluent, until he could hold her shoulder. Even his thick shroud of ignorance was swept away for a moment at her next words. “Don’t be jealous, Ava.” He asked of her and turned her around suddenly. If it should have been a lover’s lips to hers, reassurance and a final contract between their hearts, it became a tight embrace instead, her head to his chest. Comfort and connection. The same as before, on the bed. In a way it was his honesty telling her that yes, jealousy is probably an accurate response. There was a kiss at the end of it, sweet and searching, hand on her cheek, but it was again to revel in that his Avaline was not dead, rather than a deeper hunt for love.

“Let’s go.” As though Nystali wouldn’t wait. Ava had said as much, but even he should have been guarding his eager. He was simply longing to feel whole again, and while his beloved partner in arms was a great part of that, it could not exist without Nystali, too. Hand around hers. “I am glad to have known you like this before I knew anyone else.” As he opened the door. As though that was a throw-away truth she’d hear and then forget. Shouldn’t she have marred his heart better? How cold he must be to take it only for its physical aspects.

-

She was lovely to drink with, and the mixed eyes expressed that much. Honesty about her, which he enjoyed. Hers was deliberate, good manners and worldview, but he didn’t hate unintentional slips either. He had some more to drink while she spoke. Their small escape, she said. Ah, what kind of denial was that? It amused him, but he also felt for the tree. What a poison love can be. He put himself into her reasoning. It was easier that way. “Unfortunate twist? I think you mean to be a martyr for your cause. And deliberate martyrs are always the worst kind of friends.” Aren’t we? A bit of a sting maybe, but at least he shared it with her. If she thought a priestess could save the world in any meaningful way while her coup de grâce was locked-up behind her knight friend’s decision, she was mistaken.

She was being rather lovely, speaking of chastity like that. He thought, if he could trick her into a rumble for her sake, it would be because he was curious too, now. He meant to prolong the intimacy of the moment, keep some mystery about it and build some interest, but he laughed at the thought of Elvan the knight with a vow other than one of weapons. “To Elvan the maiden, then.” He said and lifted his container. A dull sound, claimed mostly by the ambiance of this mixing crowd. It marked the arrival of the other two. Velfall read them, unabashed. First their act, and then their feelings on it. Ah, perhaps the next drink should be to Elvan the emotional dullard. Poor Avaline. Velfall was more connected to her body because he’d had it. It was a shame she’d offer it and not have what she wanted.

“We all live.” Elvan said as he stood next to Nystali. Velfall deftly pulled at Ava as soon as she became available to his grip on her arm. “Have you been alright?” Elvan pressed and looked at her drink, but shrugged and gestured for two more.

“You smell accomplished.” Velfall said beyond the hearing of the other two. “I know a good dispersion spell for scents.” He offered. Always the well-meaning whore. It was with affection that the back of his hand tapped hers, though. He very likely like Avaline the most of all of them.

-

Another well-meaning such was let into another tavern. Biofall wasn’t so secretive, because it was not unusual for them to talk business here. During this hour, though, the chances of bought eyes and ears was greater. His brother and sister would have warned to be more careful, but he was cautious enough, he thought, bringing her into the corner of a faraway booth. The large man had thought of paying for her time often, he thought she was prettiest of all the women in that house, but even his senseless mind knew better than to trade those instincts for his brother’s trust. It was true what they said about a good whore, though, she was good company even with her clothes on. He always took it as her knowing what he thought, and forgiving him for it. Biolfall didn’t have many recognizable virtues, so he held that one – though its notoriety might have been imagined – as a point of pride.

“He’s working.” Biol explained. In the past she’d contacted Biol often for this kind of thing, but been met with Vel when she came. Biol understood it was a kind of game, but he wasn’t privy to the nuances of such courtship. He was happy with his part in it. “Talks to some knights and a priestess. The priestess makes a good impression.” Usually Gemma knew as much as he or more, but lately Biol hadn’t known Vel to take the ride out to her, or have her come here. It wouldn’t be the first time he offered her superfluous information, most of the time he served to validate things she’d heard, anyway.

The information she had, though, was enough to turn his usually hot blood cold. He cleared his throat quickly and sent a message that Vel needed to come. The little boy was their quickest.

-

Cougal had a few scales on his naked arms sticking out of his armor. It was a bit provocative to wear war garb, but he didn’t see fit to change. Tonight he was a titan striding the realm of peasants. After Gemma’s generous spread he had the mind to indulge other urges. This tavern was by no means the best one in Cretse but he’d heard there’d be a particular general here, tonight. With a few of the more malicious defector knights in tow, he’d come into the warmth and had a couple of tables cleared with a look.

-

“Don’t look now, knightly.” Velfall said to Avaline as he took another frothy gulp, nodding at the tables growing rowdy and the one on the other side of the room where Eizel sat. “Someone’s about to get boxing clever, and I feel like you and Elvan might want to take your corner.”

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #71 on: November 08, 2017, 06:23:21 pm »
Nystali was grateful to Velfall tonight. She thought she should have gone to see the world sooner, now that she’d met him. It was a very genuine appreciation. “So, we are.” She had agreed, the flicker of a coy smile chasing a drop of brew past her lips. Tali had never believed she was good company, and least of all for Elvan. Her heart had begged for him in the heaviest sort of way. The gravity of that imposition had not been lost on her. It was why she could bite her tongue and be glad when Aveline and Elvan found their way into the tavern.

For her part, Aveline was not so able to meet her friend and was quick to indulge Vel when he pulled her his way. “How crass,” she said, and she didn’t smile even when the reply was teasing at worst. She wondered if Elvan had been trying to hurt her, when they’d left his room. If she was honest with her reflection, she’d know he’d had no such intention. That probably made it worse. Aveline did not delay in taking the mug that was slid toward her. “Allow me to be pitiful while I regret seeing eroticism in survival.” She mused, glancing back toward Elvan. A sigh. “That’s a lie. I won’t regret it. But that’s more pitiful still, perhaps.” She said. A sidelong look at her priestess’s expression and no satisfaction found. There were times when Tali’s practiced neutrals could be cruel.

Tali nodded at Elvan. “Yes, I’m glad. There was little word around town, so I had assumed you were successful.” She said. Because you weren’t there to assure me. It was not intended to be accusatory, but Aveline, who’d overheard, thought it should have been. “Velfall kept my day interesting. I should like to tell you and Aveline about it, later.” She said. And so, it seemed she was securely on the side of Vel’s rabble, if she was willing to encourage her friends into the fold. Whether it said something of resignation or denial that she’d fallen so quickly into that kind of conversation was difficult to say. Regardless, it was unusual and Elvan would notice it as such. Nystali was always interested in listening. She had rather rarely suggested she had things she wanted to share.

There was very little time to consider what might have been on her mind, though, as Aveline reached to touch Elvan’s sleeve. “Eizel.” She said, a sharp dark glance in the knight’s direction. The stare slid, catching Cougal as well. She gave Vel a little nod before gripping her mug firmly and moving away from the bar and in Eizel’s direction. Quick to act Aveline, with a good head on her shoulders and a hopeless heart. How pretty. Nystali had seen the exchange.

“Vel, can we help?” she asked, as if a row was inevitable. It might have been laughable that she’d placed herself in the same circumstance as the handsome libertine. She had not overestimated herself, though. Rather, she was asking whether they were constrained by their friends’ knighthoods and Vel’s secrecy. Nystali’s small hands had curled into white-knuckled fists. 

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #72 on: November 09, 2017, 02:30:44 pm »
Elvan, innocent on merit of his ignorance, was falling into Nystali again. Their dance, as though he’d not just gone a beautiful, well-built song with his childhood friend, just now. He wanted to hear what Velfall had shown her, since it rung of some significance, mentioned in that tone. Another kind of returning connection when Avaline took his attention. He was already putting strength into his shoulders when he felt the intent of her voice. He graced Tali’s shoulder, as though they needed to be so informative of each-other’s departure when they were so close with their hearts.

He moved behind Tali, one step, and saw when Cougal drank with his eyes on the better general. Eizel, who’d struck Elvan as a more subtle man, stared back. There was a blackness creeping in the war-willing spines of either party. The pair of childhood friends hurried to Eizel’s table and it was about that time one of the defectors on Cougal’s side said something about weak leadership. Elvan had time to grab the shoulder of one of Eizel’s men before he could stand and hurl his mug at his former comrade. It was a bad sign that Eizel did not add anything to the exchange to calm his men.

“I think perhaps this is the powder keg and we’re all mice with dry teeth.” Vel answered Tali. A Cretsian expression, but it should be easy enough to understand. Velfall rolled his arm around hers until their palms connected. His fingers pulsed once as they closed around her knuckles and he pulled her close. It was not his intention to be so intimate, but it had been bred into him. He needed to keep her safe, the new light of the rebellion. He’d not told her, it might better if she didn’t know yet, but she’d caused a bit of buzz already.

“Look at you now with all your holiness, Eizel. People need a strong man, not some by-the-book wimp!” Cougal said, standing up with a large horn of ale in his human hand. “All the things you swore, these good lads swore it too, but they know better now. They know I can fight the Gattler.” This caused a bit of a crawl in the other bodies, listening. People knew the legend of the Gattler.

“Don’t you mean control the Gattler?” Eizel asked, standing up too. When his men wanted to do the same, he finally cut their intent with a slice of his palm. He’d not see them fight, but he’d also expose Cougal, if he could. There was some confirmation in Cougal’s grin as he drank the large helping of ale and let the vial roll out of his hold onto the table.

“You know, I had a whore today. Sweet, really.” He started and pulled out the rope he’d now come to treasure. “Gave me this out of her chest. Majik.” Nystali would be able to feel Velfall’s hand grow cold and tighter at the same time. “I don’t think she means to like me, but violence can be quite persuasive.” His men laughed as Velfall dragged Nystali to the back, where there was a door to the alley outside. “Do you think she’ll be the only thing I’ll tup tonight, or do you think you’ll be able to resist better?” Cougal posed.

“I feel inspired for revolution.” Velfall whispered between his teeth before he hammered his incisors together. It was a Cretsian idiosyncrasy. In the tale, the mice in the powder keg had caused a spark like that, and exploded the armory of the invading forces.

Eizel sat back down. There was no reason to respond anymore. When one of the defectors flung his glass on one of Eizel’s faithful the tavern unfolded in violence. Elvan tasked himself with stopping lethal blows and shouting for the men to stop. Eventually they moved outside.

“This is becoming a sordid ordeal.” Eizel muttered to Aveline by his side. “let me try to end it.” He said before shouting to his men to stop. They did, and so did Cougal’s lot. “You and me then. Not like knights, but like you’re my son in need of a lesson.” Eizel said, rolling his sleeves.

Cougal laughed and there was a ring in the street behind which Velfall pulled Nystali. He had a place next to the tavern, and he’d hidden explosive spells there.

Cougal shed his Gestalt and came at Eizel first. Eziel evaded with pure form, drawn directly from training, but then exploded into a jump that resulted with his knee pivoting into Eizel’s passing shoulder, since it was the only exposed limb available. Cougal roared in anger and the Star Blade’s signature flared on his neck, but subsided soon. With every breath the red general took, though, the Gestalt tried to climb his throat. Eizel seemed bothered by this, but advanced feigning a wide swing but shrunk away from Cougal’s counter just in time to send a dense fist into Cougal’s chin. It was clear after a few similar collisions that Eizel was simply too well trained to fall for any of Cougal’s barbarisms.

“What if he beats Cougal? Could he convince the men to stand down?” Elvan said, hopeful by Ava’s side. It seemed to have been Eizel’s plan all along.

There people watching, and the knights cheering their leaders on, did not hear the hum of their artifacts. There was a darkness coming close. It had already eaten the guards on the farthest posts of Cretse.

Cougal, who’d been thrown quite a distance, stood with his gestalt’s deep green in his eyes, but still with naked arms. The Star Blade was blazing behind him, eager to be included. Cougal ran, arm cocked back. Eizel stood firm, left hand out in a classical close quarters challenge. It was clear another throw would be ideal, if they remembered their training. Just as Cougal extended, fist ready to make an ill-advised choice, scales flashed to cover that arm into Eizel’s crossed guard. The Titanium knight was thrown back. It was impossible for human bones to withstand trauma like that, and Elvan had his hand on Aveline’s shoulder when he saw their general tumble.

When he stood though, dirty and angry, Blair’s gestalt had already covered him. Elvan found himself sighing in relief. It was a short lived celebration. The men had already drawn their artifacts and launched at one another. When Elvan grabbed Syn she was calling in a shrill gust. It was strengthened by so many, frightened screams. Elvan turned, and the quaking of the other artifacts in other hands finally drew the quarrelling knights to look at the entrance wall, too.

It was old. It had eaten armies and it had slept through many upheavals of man. It could not remember much of the mother that had loved these creatures, only that their emotions were satisfying in its belly. But today one of them had swatted at it with mother’s love, and it had hurt. It could no longer simply pluck them, overwhelm them with itself. It had come for strength, to be in mother’s graces again. It could not be a favorite child if she gifted such things upon men too. Perhaps it had been wrong to assume its own immortality. Perhaps it should steal and become whatever power had hurt it, today.

It had borrowed the shape of a human, walking with heavy legs and no head, all dressed up in naked, dark muscles. The people ran, but there were a few that stayed, frozen by the sight of the giant. Gattler molted, and cattle-eating critter fell to the ground from the crevices of its bulging sinew. It reached for the ones who stayed, because they must be the haughtiest, while its offspring hunted the ones who fled.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #73 on: November 11, 2017, 12:37:10 am »
“She can’t summon her gestalt.” Nystali said, the words hissing from between her clenched teeth. She had allowed Vel to tow her out in a rush, not that she could have sufficiently resisted, and her eyes were starlit storms as she craned around the lip of the alley to see her friends spilled out on the street. Close to one another’s hearts, those three, despite all the strange mire they brewed between them. She shot a glance back in Vel’s direction. “She only has Mariposa.” He would understand then, if he’d not immediately realized, that she meant their lovely Aveline.

Her expression turned apologetic then, as if she’d been insensitive. “That cord. Was it your lady friend’s?” she asked. A thin smile, reassuring, but ill. Only Kin could really fathom the horror of having an artifact ripped unwillingly from their chest. She could pretend the girl might not have been humiliated for it, but that would be a poor lie for them both. “Give her peace, when you can.” Tali said, clearing her throat and turning back to the bizarre brawl evolving in the street.

Aveline had realized her predicament in the beat before Tali had observed it. She was tense behind Eizel, because of it. Aveline worked predominantly with Mariposa, when the full strength of an artifact was needed, but Valor was her easy rhythm from afar. The two together generated her shimmering gestalt. “Cougal will not accept…” Aveline’s prediction was lost in a harsh inhale as Cougal’s scaled fist winked toward Eizel. She reached to grip Elvan’s bicep, fingertips digging with an unintended ferocity. This was spilling rapidly into madness.

And then they heard the Gattler and saw it come. “Elvan,” she said his name the sort of way that held full conversations. He had already taken hold of his artifacts, Nystali’s lineage, and she felt the same urge to jump to a righteous defense. But they had been at the belly of the Gattler, watched the Spawn spill to the earth, only that morning. To have forgotten that kind of visceral horror so readily would have been ridiculous.

“Cretse will not survive.” Aveline muttered, and Mariposa sang in her hand as she slammed the butt of the glaive onto the cobblestone. She cast a look in the direction of Eizel, who was back on his feet and had briefly abandoned facing down Cougal to watch the shambling monstrosity the Gattler had formed. The tension in his shoulders told Aveline everything she needed to know.

“We defend, because we are knights,” She said, to herself and to Elvan, and then let go of his arm to lock Mariposa at the ready. With a slow exhale, she launched off toward the core of the beast, feet hammering on the stone road. It was worthless to pick off the dibbling Spawn spilling from Gattler’s appendages. There was a ripple behind her, knights loyal to Eizel catching sight of the warrior woman racing toward their goliath foe. It drew their blades and bows from Cougal’s men and the small Spawn careening through the streets. Her long tail of hair was a war banner then.

“Ava.” Tali took two steps out of the alley. “Velfall, she can’t. None of them can…” It wasn’t for lack of faith in her friends. The artifact in her chest burned and shuddered. It made her nauseous. The Gattler was an abomination not so unlike Cougal’s own Star Blade. It made her unsteady. She looked back at Vel for the briefest moment before she was running toward the fray herself. A celestial being in simple dark leather; if Aveline had become a Valkyrie, Nystali was herself a fated divine. She was rushing toward Elvan.

Her approach would set Syn and Saevir humming, unwilling to take Elvan away from their daughter. When she reached him, fingers extending toward him, she had the look he must have dreaded most on her pale features. “Elvan. This creature…” there was some accusation there, having not been informed it was this very beast they’d gone for that day. “You have to take it.” She said, free hand over her chest. There was no doubt she was willing, with the way the light was already slipping between her fingertips. “For this city… and Aveline?” she asked after she’d stated, because no matter her desire she couldn’t force him to take what had to be made between them. It was a cruel irony for the Kin. They could have their souls taken, but could not choose to give them uninvited.

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #74 on: November 11, 2017, 02:46:23 pm »
Velfall had gone with her close to the street, carrying the weight in his belly when she'd said Ava couldn't fight with her Gestalt. It was a small set-back, when these odds were building herculean. He made a promise the moment he nodded at Nystali, that yes, Gemma would have peace when he saw her again. He owed her that much. It would seem that rope was quite an intimate thing. He should wish to punish Cougal for it profoundly. Vel, who'd armed himself with pouches of ballistic magic in their different vials, saw Nystali run, and saw that others saw, too. It was perfect, every bit the symbol their priestess of the armory had not been. Little tales of Nystali had reached them, and it had spread like hope does.

Before she could go far, the rebel Velfall found flare-water in his arsenal, and broke the glass tip off to pour some on the ground, weakening the blinding spell significantly. Then he threw the vial and it spun in the air like festival rockets before it shattered against her back, gently for the thin glass, composed mostly of sugars so that even the weak, shipwrecked sailors could use it to call for help. The spell spread on the simple leather, recognizing majik within her, and joined with it. She was a creature of light then, darting into the battle, to Elvan, and it inflamed the hearts of the onlookers. Velfall added to the scene by using the same hue of light, but in far more volatile spells, to dispatch of Spawn, that the audience could see her light eat the enemy. He could not have written it better himself.

Elvan, who was swinging, arm still feeling the way Ava had touched it, was trying not to worry for his beloved friend, because she knew better what to do than he in wars like this. They must defend, and she hadn't meant themselves. The song of his artifacts became beautiful but warning when Nystali came closer. They didn't want him to hurt their daughter, like he could ever have. His eyes were wide, and his wrists were relaxed, both edges touching the ground amid this great skirmish.

"Nysatli." he said when she came to him, a glow like the white middle of a bonfire flame. He did not see the other eyes fixed on Crete's new light when he touched her cheek, adoration chasing away some of his soldier's dread. He was also inspired by her. And then her words hurt him, when her own light lanced through the shallow spell that clamored to her. There were twin tears on his face, from one eye. He touched her cheek, too, Syn and Saevir stuck into the ground.

"I mustn't..." he tried, but she was right. Aveline, this city, every thing he wanted as a knight. Still his hand trailed down her neck to place on top of her fingers. He could see it then, their destiny forged and ready. It was her heart shaped by his ambition and desire, built like a blade. It was theirs, and it wanted to live. It rose toward their palms from within her like a deep-sea god wanting to see the sky.

Gattler saw the vigor of the knights, and thought it was strange it had not noticed their power before. Of course this was where the truth of mother's love laid. If it gathered all of it, it would be powerful. It could sleep for ages and noone could bother it, or it could devour this world. A shadow moved toward it with confidence. It recognized her. Someone who'd gotten away. It didn't feel very threatened until a crescent of familiar majik rapped it across the chest. There was the man who'd hurt it, before.

Eizel had send a hefty blow to cut toward Gattler, and it had hit true, but Blair's light had not been able to stop or mar it much. This form of Gattler seemed denser, stronger. Eizel signaled for those that could see to move away.

When Elvan felt the pommel reach through Nysatli's hand and grace his palm, he felt his fingers grip and pull. Then he looked into her eyes, and remembered when he'd first seen her. His heart remembered that he was not a knight deep down, not a man or a boy. There was something at the foundation of him that would exist even if those things disintegrated. And that part of him wasn't sure the annihilation of men was the worst thing. His hand, like her betrayer, drew back without gripping the hilt, even though it sent protesting agony all the way up to his shoulder. Syn and Saevir rattled in frustration when he instead embraced Nystali tightly. "I can't. I'll save us without it." he said. But he wouldn't.

"You miserable fool!" Velfall called from where he stood, hurling majik at beasts. Elvan didn't hear when he grabbed the artifacts to start cutting down spawn, as though it would matter now.

Eizel, dressed from top to toe in Blair's gestalt, ran toward Gattler, and the legendary monster responded. It seemed to want revenge, and the titanium knight wanted to give it the chance if it meant saving things in its way. It did not see Aveline, and Eizel hoped that would be to her advantage. It was then something happened that had never happened before. One of Blair's plates split. Eizel swallowed the cry but lurched forward when the Star Blade was yanked from the back of his shoulder.

Cougal, arms engulfed in gestalt, reached with the powerful artifact toward Gattler. "Stop! Not now! Not while I'm here!" It was a confession, and it was loud with Cougal's powerful tongue. But the Gattler didn't stop.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #75 on: November 14, 2017, 06:31:25 pm »
She nearly collapsed when he left her. The pommel of their could-be blade, the shining thing that so aggressively pressed on her heart and soul, sank back within her. It had tasted his touch and then he had retreated. He might as well have driven the whole blade back into her, speared her. Nystali’s exhale was sharp, and the red that tasted her lips was thick and dark. “Elvan…” she did not say his name loud enough to overcome the sing of Syn and Saevir as he sprang after the hordes of Spawn. And she did not know what to do then, a weapon without a guide, left in the midst of the fray. She was shining, Vel’s doing, and the knights who charged around her shouted like her brilliance was a rallying cry. It left her unsure of what to do, or where to go next. A vessel, not a captain, in Elvan’s presence.

Aveline was encouraged by the bright flare from Blair; Eizel was a great leader and his artifact was something of that too. Inspiration in the flash. She used Mariposa to launch herself at the Gattler when she was close, shouting as she flew. Nystali saw her friend soar, and she saw the Gattler swat at her with a large, shifting hand. Aveline was thrown back, several Spawn spilling off the Gattler’s palm and tearing at the knight and her artifact as she was sent careening toward the ground. Grit teeth and quick thinking twisted her to land on her feet. Ava threw a glance back at Eizel. “Sir, it’s stronger. We have to focus on the mass… the other Spawn will continue to come!” she hissed as she pulled herself up straight.

She wasn’t wrong. Surely, the Gattler was finite, but in the sphere of Cretse and the knights attempting to defend it, the beast might as well have been an endless source of monstrosities. If they could not break down the core of the gargantuan beast, there was no saving Cretse. “They’re wasting their time.” Aveline urged, before leaping back toward the Gattler, staying grounded when she drew close, this time. Mariposa whirled in a flurry, trails of crimson light winking like butterfly wings as they shimmered through the air. Aveline thought to attack one of its legs, to pull it down to a more manageable size, at least. In response, the Gattler let Spawn spill. Trifling things, Noon order Spawn at worst, but in a frenzying wave that surrounded her feet and tried to pull her down as well. Mariposa sang, and their dark blood speckled the cobbled streets.

Nystali watched the few townsfolk around rushing to be out of the reach of knights and Spawn alike. There were Eizel’s men, Elvan included, fighting valiantly. And Cougal’s, seemingly unbothered by most of the Spawn turning their backs on their fellow knights as it suited. Eyes darting, she found Cougal amidst it all.

“Commander!” she yelled, clear as a bell. “Have you no shame?” Tali wiped the life from her lips on the back of her hand and set a course toward the scarlet-haired knight. That man had destroyed her home, tortured her temple’s artifacts, and allied himself with Spawn filth. She’d seen what he’d done before, so it was no real leap to understand his place with the Gattler now. Vel’s spells had not waned, and the Nightingale priestess was a starry beacon converging on the towering knight and his blade. Majik was palpable, synapsing between the girl and the Star Blade as she drew closer. How ridiculous that Elvan hadn’t taken her when he was given the offer.

She didn’t have a good plan. Tali was not a fighter, nor tactician. But she understood she could be a distraction. “What is power, when you destroy everything?” she demanded. Wanton destruction left nothing to rule, but to pretend Cretse was anything but a show of terror would have been naïve. She could recognize it, but it could not make the people of Cretse matter any less, and she had offered to help them. “You don’t deserve to call yourself a knight.”

Aveline had heard Tali call out after Cougal and it had made her flinch. If she’d been in any position to do so, she’d have been demanding Elvan extract their friend from the path of danger. But she was not, and it seemed the only real course of action was to take advantage of whatever small distraction Nystali might be providing. The Gattler was still a horrendous power without Cougal’s influence, but it was also less directed. Aveline launched herself at the beast again, and Mariposa struck true. The sparking scarlet blade drove deep into the Gattler’s belly, and she allowed gravity to carry her downward with her grip on Mariposa’s shaft tight.

Spawn in the Gattler’s mass squealed and shrieked as the artifact cleaved downward, and the Gattler spewed beasts in the wake of the strike. For the briefest moment, Aveline thought she had caught a glimpse of something green and glowing at its core. Something warped and pulsing and shaped like a war axe.

When her boots hit the street, the spill of Spawn rained down over her, knocking her onto her back. She cursed and shouted for Elvan and Eizel as loudly as she could. She was certain she was working in the right direction, but the sheer volume of Gattler’s Spawn infested form made it impossible to move on her own.

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #76 on: November 15, 2017, 01:04:49 pm »
Cougal had seen the glow of the hilt growing out of Nystali. It had made his mouth water and his eyes pulse with greed. He was the only one on the scene that could blatantly disregard the threat of Spawn and the giant coming. To the handful that noticed, it was clear he was of the beasts the way they ignored him as they advanced. He was afraid for the Nightingale's life for a moment, because if she died she couldn't give anyone her artifact, anymore. It was good to see her vigor returning with the edge of anger. Such a queenly thing, striding toward him.

The scales on his armored arms lifted and sank, as though to take breath into his body that he was sharing with the Star Blade's gestalt, the Star Blade's monster. Their contrasts were written plain when he stood there, a hungry dragon, immune to his own evil lacerating the city, while her bright light and determined face came close to stop him. The people saw their newest hope, and she turned her bright self to draw shadows that spelled the truth of Cougal's deceit. In his hand laid the gravity of things, and it sunk their hearts, because the mythical Star Blade had supposedly been on their side, as far as they had believed, until then.

"I usually call myself the victor, Nystali." he corrected her when her lecture and walk was coming to an end. Scales covered his cheekbones and his eyes took the color to their whites. His voice was a mass of other's windpipes. To Nystali that would be a reminder of artifacts they'd eaten. But the uncut, erratic magic that was still somehow leashed to the Crimson Knight awoke something in the priestess. And though it was an answer and a bit to threaten back, it was at least something that Cougal could use. Elvan had already called the weapon forth so much that it was at the surface, and Cougal sheathed the Star Blade on his back as he grabbed Nystali's arm when she was close enough.

"I can help you." he said, clawed fingers digging into her chest as though she'd not come to condem him, but simply as the wrapping around a gift he'd yearned for.  The Star Blade blazed like iron against iron out of the furnace when its master started pulling at the immeasurable treasure inside her. It was satisfying to a deeper degree than Gemma’s measly offering could have hoped to be. He licked his lips with a black tongue and then wrinkled his nose with effort as the claws slid off the pommel. There was blood and the natural glisten that had wanted Elvan on the handle that slowly started sinking back. “Give it to me, Nightingale!” he ordered, gripping with two scaled digits to try and pry.

Elvan, who was cutting through the river of Spawn with enthusiastic participation from his artifacts, was using Syn to draw a straight line of blood from where he stood toward where Aveline had landed. “Ava!” he called desperately into the muck that was becoming her tomb of smaller monsters. He was frantic about making way into her. He’d seen them weigh her down. It was not a way soldiers should behave, he should have an eye out for the people, but Elvan’s heart was being laid bare her on the cobblestone.

From having been infinitely benevolent, he could feel a drag in his two swords, and then suddenly an unnatural halt in the hilts as he tried to drive them forward. “No!” he protested. “Please!” but they helped him less than any normal weapon would, since they were actively trying to pull him backward.

Eizel clearly saw the divide in the rushing Spawn around Cougal and Nystali, and turned his attention from the horde infront of him to send a hard slash toward the red knight. The half-moon went through Nystali without connecting, and collided with loud sparks against Cougal who roared as the attack that could faze the Gattler shook him. It was enough to have him let go of the glowing artifact, which might result in the effect Elvan’s retreat had, sinking the magnificent weapon back into her. “Come here, Cougal!” Eizel ordered, pulling Blair back for another strike as he ran toward the two. It was obvious he was diverting attention. “You weak scum, let’s see if you live if I don’t extend you the courtesy of being a fellow knight.”

It seemed to work, as even the pool of Spawn that was trying to drown Aveline was being drawn away to either witness or attack Eizel. Elvan pulled her to her feet in time to be yanked back a few paces by Saevir. “Are you alright?” he managed to ask before he realized where the swords were trying to go. His eyes were large when he looked back at Aveline over his shoulder before he launched himself back with Syn’s furious speed toward the priestess. Above her, the Gattler would be swelling, a dangerous thing, intending to overwhelm the knights finally, at Cougal’s command. She would be the first to see an impossible amount of spawn, and the central beast growing too. Cretse’s and its people and protector’s fate would be clear.

Then the large adversary, half-way to the sky, grew intent. It saw Elvan, the streak he’d become, as the mother and father artifacts blazed through the thickening amount of bodies trying to return him to Nystali’s side. When he collided Saevir’s full force against Cougal’s protected arm, the red night complained with a grunt and had to let go of Nystali. Elvan caught her but Gattler was fast, having stomped in to rattle the houses and was now reaching for Elvan from above, as Cougal’s mind was set on vengeance and the reclaiming of the Nightingale. Elvan had his arm wrapped around his love, Saevir raised, but it wouldn’t be enough to stop Gattler.

“Aveline!” Velfall called as he waved from one of the rooftops. He’d heard Nystali on how the knight was unable to function fully in battle without Valor, and had been into the room to retreat the bow. The lock was worse for wear for his intrusion but it was likely a price she’d agree to if it meant having the weapon with her. He tossed it to her.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #77 on: November 26, 2017, 03:53:59 am »
It was the worst sort of intimacy, the world dulling to a hollow rush of howling wind around her. Cougal’s hand on her chest, above her racing heart, and the thing within her stirring. Agitation and fear, but an irreconcilable drive to obey. So it was, for Kin and the knights which could wield them. Nystali’s courage flew from her in a choked sob as the pommel of her blade was raised again. In truth, it was only the prelude to something greater, that blade as only the tip of the weapon she could be in Elvan’s hands. For Cougal, it could never be so legendary, but it could still be something twisted and brutal.

Her hands flew to grasp at the base of the blade as it rose, cutting her palms on her own soul. She felt her sternum flex, attempting to bar her artifact from exit. Without full commitment from them both, birthing her artifact could well be deadly. And there was no consent in this. No desire, or love, or faith. Her skin split and tore where it could not prevent the weapon from rising, and she gripped harder on the blade. Her red life slithered fast down her wrists. “It’s not yours.” She hissed, blood on her teeth. But, already her eyelids were fluttering against the agony of it.

Eizel bought her a moment of time, and in the space she heard the Gattler scream with all the voices wailing in Cougal’s own mouth. She sobbed once, the ache of too many consumed artifacts shrieking in unison with devoured Spawn. Aveline slammed Mariposa’s blade into a large, goat-like Spawn with double rows of sharp teeth and saliva that dripped and made the earth boil where it touched.

Elvan was there in her moment of need, hauling her back from the tumultuous wave of monstrosities pouring from the leviathan Spawn. “Van,” she gasped, clipped but thankful, and gave him a short nod before she was tensed to leap back at the fray from a better vantage. She hesitated when he shot off at inhuman speed, Syn driving like a streak of starlight.  It drew her stare back to Cougal and his present captive. Nystali looked like a rag doll in his grip. “No!” she snarled, and was ready to rush after her too, when Velfall called for her.

She looked up in time to catch Valor in one raised hand, her pearlescent gestalt flickering across her shoulders the moment Valor touched her palm. The bow shifted and flexed to its fully sized form and Mariposa’s shaft had shortened and slimmed in as much time. A feline spawn with hideous leather wings and three human mouths threw itself toward her. Aveline stumbled back in time to nock Mariposa and let it fly. It cleaved the spawn cleanly through the brow and Ava was already rolling out of the way of another assailant and toward Mariposa’s retrieval.

Anxiously, she looked back to see if Elvan had found his way to Nystali and was at once glad to see he’d found her and horrified to see both Cougal and the Gattler with their full attention on the pair.

Tali was shaking, dark stains welling onto the fabric of her tunic. Her breath was ragged, shaking with effort that whispered of damage behind her ribs. It was foreboding without a healer on hand. Her silver stare was focused past his shoulder, above them both. “Elvan…” she coughed. “You have to,” Nystali shuddered. “Now!” she rasped hard against the taste of her own blood in her mouth.

Aveline was certain she saw the Gattler’s massive, swarming hand descending in slow motion. Doom for Cretse. Doom for her beloved friends. “Not like this. Not yet.” Aveline breathed, and swiveled back toward the Gattler’s writhing torso. It towered above her, but she had seen its horrible, corrupted, artifact core. If she could get it, perhaps she could break the mass. If there was a chance of saving Elvan and Nystali in that moment, that was the only one she could think of. She prayed to very Earth that Eizel would be able to get to Cougal in the few seconds they had and support her wild effort.

And Mariposa took wing, shining like a bright red bolt, and Aveline leaping with her hand fast around the glaive. It was the sort of imagery that should have inspired myths. She was perfectly determined, but as she sailed toward the Gattler’s core in that mighty vault, she might have looked back and very briefly caught Vel’s eye. The worst sort of expression would pass between them, irony in her peace.

The Spawn closed around her in a suffocating rush, but she willed Mariposa to carry her deeper. Claws and fingers tore at her armor, ripping at her exposed skin and digging into her mouth and nose. She thought she must be screaming, but there was no sound. The tortured interior of the Gattler was horrendously silent. When Mariposa could not drive her further, she dragged herself through the mass. She was not afraid of falling because she was deep enough in the tangled creature that she would surely be crushed before she tumbled free. An eternity passed in what she hoped was only a moment. If she was not quick enough, The Gattler would remain fixed on Elvan.

Then, she felt it. Her hand burned, scalded by the corruption on the artifact tying the core of the Gattler. Brilliant green light swam in her vision, and she let Mariposa and Valor go. She held fast to the huge axe and hauled herself in toward it, though she was certain her hands were simply being burned away. “Work,” she mouthed, choking on digits pressing at every orifice. And with all her will and desperation set toward the creature, she was certain she felt the beast shudder and begin to sway.

Nystali blinked, vision swimming, as the great hand came sweeping down toward them. But then it stopped, shuddering midair, and seeming to struggle to hold form. Spawn spilled out of it, but away from Cougal. In a strange way, his threatening presence was a small protection then. And then the entire Gattler careened wildly, stumbling back two steps to crash against Cretse’s outer wall and send rubble flying. 

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #78 on: November 26, 2017, 03:42:43 pm »
Velfall, showering the crawling sea of Spawn with his breaking and exploding vials, hung his arms with one spell at the end of each as he saw Valor become an angel to lift Aveline toward the heart of the gargantuan monster. With that image, he thought he should have everything he needed now, to set fire into the souls of doubters that would eventually be the rebellion of Cretse, but he also felt Ava through all this. She wasn't a legend yet, she was someone he'd known and shared in. A friend who'd opened up to him. She didn't live her life with her martyrdom on the horizon, all Velfall had truly seen in her was the aching heart she'd carried for Elvan. It was the conflict between that feeling - which must have been a bitter, mangled hope - and her duty toward Elvan's life that Velfall saw in her eyes before she drove into Gattler.

Elvan was somehow solid, a steady arm for Tali to rest on while she bled from the damage Cougal had caused in pursuit of their story, pressurized into a ballistic miracle inside her. His other arm was quaking, possessed by his desire to listen to her, and save this city, even the world, and see the structure of their unspoken affection. Gattler even retreated suddenly, as though it wanted to see the artifact too. Elvan was horrified when Aveline came into the towering Spawn, and gasped deeply.

He looked down at Tali with new determination then, and let Saevir fall to the ground, but by the time he graced her chest where Cougal had so eagerly divided it, there was no strength left in his intention, and no command in his touch. He coughed bitterly. The artifact, which had been infused with love for its mother, still glowered to outline her sternum from underneath, despite its father's debilitating desires. He couldn't abandon Aveline, but he couldn't hurt Nystali.

Eizel was strengthened by Gattler's stagger, and felt infused with power when it fell back. A leader of knights, he'd never put them in harm's way if he could help it, but he understood a sacrifice like Aveline's better than perhaps anyone in Cretse. He didn't linger on her certain peril, and let Blair swing with a brilliant wake against the hungry Star Blade. The two swords met and the resulting, outward power dried out and scattered the bodies of Spawn it touched. This gave the two generals a ring to fight in.

Cougal hissed in frustration when Gattler disappeared from his control. He slashed his mythical sword from the side, to cleave the titanium knight. Eizel stepped back from the large swipe and then kicked off into Cougal again, Blair lancing toward Cougal's face. It was obvious Eizel was the better swordsman, then. Cougal caught Blair with his free claw and pushed back easily. The Star Blade could make up for the disparity in skill. Eizel drew Blair back quickly, and light stood from the gauntlet. Cougal grunted and let go, some scales falling from the Gestalt and turned to dust before they reached the ground.

Elvan was quiet, carrying Nystali toward a building that seemed steady enough. The Spawn were coming off faster from the fallen Gattler, but they seemed smaller, frailer. Elvan moved heavily as he sat down with his priestess. Velfall was there to take her, and shove Elvan away. "I thought you were going to be the knight to save us." Velfall snarled as he cradled Nystali's face in one of his hands. "Instead you killed Aveline!" This unlocked one of Elvan's knees and he almost fell forward. The two men looked at the generals fighting when Eizel called out in frustration.

The Titanium Knight had been entombed in Spawn, clinging to his limbs and biting on to Blair, immobilizing him. Cougal laughed darkly at a short distance and careened forward with The Star Blade ready to soak in Knight's blood. Before he could run the better man through, Cougal stopped abruptly, Saevir peeking out from his chest. Looking back, Cougal met with Elvan's stare. The blade had gone through the evil heart, and the blood on Saevir's metal was the same black as the Spawn, as though the folk needed more proof of Cougal's corruption.

The Red Knight spun, mostly unaffected by the would-be lethal blow, and smacked Elvan to slide and roll and then crash into a wall. It was tremendous trauma, of course, but Elvan used both artifacts to support him as he climbed to his feet. By now Cougal's lack of concentration had freed Eizel, and the two were about to start another duel when Gattler screamed in many voices. The giant menace stood, shifting shapes and no longer dropping Spawn, limbs collecting around its chest where Aveline was trying for control, grasping the central Artifact.

The power within the ax was trying to undo her body, which would not have been hard if the majik that seeped from her heart, determination and love, hadn't been present. The Giant swayed as it stood and fled with ruckus into the woods. It couldn't battle the knights and try to reconcile the disorder between its want to murder and Aveline's determination to protect. It was constantly trying to soak her in itself, set on claiming her incredible will so it could use it. Eventually it would succumb, visible by the people since it was taller than the trees, melting into dead Spawn that fell to the forest floor. Its shredded voices was the ambivalent song of triumph to Aveline's victory.

As the ring of surviving knights joined their general in surrounding Cougal, even he had to dart through the square and follow the Gattler in escaping.

The resulting disarray eventually turned into efforts to rebuild and heal the wounded in which Elvan found a moment to finally visit Tali, where the adoring people had placed her, in the best room of their hospital. He'd not found Aveline in the earth beneath trees, despite digging with his bare hands. He'd not found Gattler or Cougal either. Velfall was already there, inside, to open the door and punch him in the jaw. It brought Elvan a few paces back.

"You bastard! How can anyone be so self..." but the rebel couldn't continue with the grim expression Elvan wore, and stepped aside to let the knight in to hold the hand of his only remaining family. Despite Vel's anger,
 he strode out in search for his own neglected lover, now that he knew Nystali would live. He'd heard something that Biol had kept her in their hideout by the docks.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #79 on: December 07, 2017, 05:33:30 pm »
“I’ll save you,” Aveline’s wish, like a sacred and tolling bell, rocked through Nystali’s mind. The voice was twisted and snapping, like bones bent too far, but her friend was in it still. The artifact at Gattler’s core, like a magnified and resonated in Tali’s chest and pounded against her skull. It was horrible, because there was more pain and anger in it than Tali had ever felt, and it was soul-wrenching, because Aveline held fast.

“Ava!” Nystali screeched, shaking and arching wildly in in Elvan’s arms. Her breath was shallow and fast from the damage Cougal had done, but her lungs found the space to sob. “Ava!” the girl howled, fingers reaching beyond Elvan and toward the Gattler that crashed and staggered back. Death to Nystali had been the fleeting souls of artifacts—torn away, unwilling, into the Star Blade’s grasp. Now she understood the difference between the echoes in majik and the true weight of a human soul flying.

Aveline thought she heard Nystali call for her, and it made her resolve falter for the briefest moment. A million memories pressing at the back of her eyes. She hadn’t known the priestess for so many years, but they’d become fast friends. And Elvan, always Elvan, running madly toward her house at sunrise; a little boy with bare feet and a dream of knighthood. She gripped the axe tighter, and then she was alone.

A strange, sickly green glow on the horizon approached. “Knight.” She heard it, whispering through her very soul. She was certain, at first, it was not her own thought. “Why sacrifice for the ungrateful?” the voice asked. Aveline blinked through the empty gloom. The light continued to approach, faster, slowly eating away at her vision.

“It’s my duty to protect and…” she trailed off. She was sure there was no need to say it; the voice was wrapped so tightly within her. It was soft and invasive, lulling, curious.

“Even though he never loved you?” the voice asked. Aveline was quiet for a long moment.

“He did, I think.” She said. The light was close now, cold and consuming.

“The way he loves his Harbor Kin?”

“It would not have been possible.”

“It is her fault then, too.” The voice said, and Aveline wondered if it were her own heart in the green glow, edged and sharp.

“I loved them both.” Aveline said.

“And hated…” she felt a surge of something foul within her, insistent and pounding. Aveline shut her eyes.

“No. I never blamed her. Never blamed him either.” She said, a flood of sensation returning to her limbs. Elvan’s touch on her bare skin, the taste of his lips, the friction between them.

“You lie, too, Knight.” The voice was tinged with a dark amusement. “We lie.”

“We?” Aveline murmured.

“We. Us.” The voice said. There was a loud howling in her ears, and she thought she heard Nystali in the din. A desperate and brilliant blade through the mess. She blinked, and saw movement at her feet. Up through the gloom, as if surfacing through a film of ink, she saw Tali shining. Her silver eyes were glistening with tears, slow to focus on Aveline as she emerged. She reached out for her friend, and Aveline reached back. She saw her hands then, and that they were mangled and charred. When she touched Tali’s palms, Aveline watched her own fingers crumble away to ash.

“Aveline.” Quick, urgent, painful, and ringing in her skull. Aveline opened her mouth to respond and her breath tore Nystali’s image away. Stars on the breeze, carried off into the dark.

“Us.” The voice said again, and Aveline had the sensation of falling. It became real when she felt her spine collide with the earth, the sick thud of her own weight coursing through her teeth. She gasped, and it hurt, and she coughed and rolled and wretched black blood as she lay on her side. Her arms were searing with pain. When she opened her eyes, she was in the depths of the forest. It was dim, but the light still hurt her eyes.

A horrible, dull, throbbing nestled deep in her chest. It made her think of her friend, and the way the Nightingale often touched her chest as if there were something desperate to be freed there. Aveline reached own aching hands, shaking, to her chest. She found a cool blade. Straining, she tried to look down at herself. The Gattler’s axe was buried fast. Most of her armor had been burnt away, a strange black ooze bubbling up and out around the seal of her own flesh on the axe blade leaking and spreading out over her exposed skin. It was enveloping her, creeping slowly across her scarring flesh. The ooze pulsed, and as she blinked hazily at the arm tucked under her cheek, she thought she saw the flicker of eyes in the slithering ink.

Aveline choked out a sob. She was dying, she was fairly certain. Aveline had never feared death. But now, she felt a seeping cold that shook her very soul. This was not death, so much as being taken. “Us. We did hate them.” Aveline thought she heard a whisper. She squeezed her eyes shut.

--

Nystali, lying on the bed she’d been taken to, was so still that one of the villagers held a tiny mirror above her lips to check for breath. A tiny puff of condensation was all the confirmation they were given, but it was enough to ease the tension in the burly man’s shoulders. A tear slithered down the priestess’ cheek.

“Aveline.” Nystali was calling into the dark, chanting her friend’s name with increasing fervor. She’d seen her, briefly, and seen a dark shadow twining around her. In the emptiness of sleep, she thought she saw Ava’s form flicker somewhere out in front of her. Tali gasped and stumbled forward, reaching for her friend. In an instant, she was at Ava’s side. “Aveline!” She could see the dying knight and the artifact lodged deep in her chest. The spreading tendrils leaking over her body. The soft green glow that was at once calming and malicious. Aveline’s eyes opened abruptly, searching until she could focus on Tali’s face. “You’re still alive. You’re in the forest?” Nystali breathed. She could sense the place as if she were there herself. The Gattler’s core had been frighteningly powerful.

Aveline smiled weakly, and her teeth were black with the thick ooze spilling from her body. “Not for much longer, I think.” Aveline coughed. Nystali pressed her hands to Aveline’s cheeks.

“No, hold on for us. We’ll come. I just have to—“ Aveline shook her head.

“I saw you too. You need to stay still and rest. If you wake up now, this would be a waste, right?” Aveline mumbled. Nystali bit down hard on her lip.

“You don’t have to be so long-suffering all the time. With me and… and Elvan…” Tali clenched her teeth. Something shifted beneath Aveline’s skin, writhing along her brow.

“You’re right, I shouldn’t have been. You took him without a thought, didn’t you? And you both… acting so pure for each other…” Aveline’s voice warped, hissing from her throat like a symphony of alien voices. Nystali recoiled. She sounded like the Gattler. Aveline winced and gasped, squeezing her eyes shut and panting when she looked back at Tali. Nystali felt her blood run cold. She’d never seen that sort of fear in Ava’s eyes. “I’m sorry. It’s not… Tali, it’s not me. I love you both.” Aveline coughed again. The black tendrils slithered faster. “Please, don’t tell Elvan—“ Aveline convulsed.

Tali brought her hands back to her friend’s face and leaned to press their foreheads together. “My dear Aveline, I’m so sorry.” She gasped, holding back pained sobs. Aveline reached to touch Tali’s wrist, wrapping her hand weakly there.

--

Aveline kept her eyes squeezed shut, Tali’s presence hovering just above her. A quiet specter. It was comforting, even as it sent a deep coursing sorrow through her heart. “Go peacefully.” She thought she heard Nystali say, and a peculiar warmth spread from her chest, where the Gattler’s axe lay. How quaint. If she’d had the strength, she would have smiled. A parting gift for artifacts—the wish holding their souls to earth, realized in a dying dream. Her Nightingale was more clever than she was given credit, sometimes.

She fell into Nystali’s gift, and felt her friend’s lips against her ear. “Be true, and he might share your dream tonight.” Tali urged. It had been known to happen, like an echo in the living tied by fate.

Ava felt Elvan’s arms around her, and she was sure they were in that damned inn room again. “I’m dying,” she told him, blinking up at him. Her vision was blurry, but she could smell the familiar ghost of his skin. Elvan stroked her brow and gave her his lips. “But it’s ok. It wasn’t time, and you couldn’t let Cougal have her.” Ava mumbled against his kiss. “I love you. I always have. No matter what—“ she stopped before she could lose the illusion.

--

It was nearing dawn when Aveline woke up, and she was not alone. She wasn’t in the forest any longer, and she felt rested. She went to move, and found herself restrained. Gemma’s rope; a paltry gift, but one that didn’t break, it seemed. There was a low, throbbing pressure in her chest. Glancing down, she saw a sliver of the axe’s blade still there. As if it had sunk deep within her. Her skin was covered in a dark slick or something living and corrupt. She swallowed hard and looked back across the room to her sole company.

“Am I dead?” she asked, and dreaded the answer Cougal would give her. 

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #80 on: December 08, 2017, 07:54:06 pm »
Elvan could not have slept anywhere but by Nystali’s side. His body was exhausted from uselessly digging in the forest, and trying not to succumb to grief and worry. His armor laid on the floor, somehow, and the leather and undergarb stayed on his body, in the chair by her bed. He looked at her until she was burned into his dreams. He was breathing calmly without realizing, and sunk into a place where Aveline still was.
 
The dream dulled some of his sorrow and desperation, and he could feel her unrest. Too often they had fought things with the strength in their bodies. This was nothing so simple. So he held her to him, in that inn, and on the grass around the house they’d shared, before they’d known anything else, before Nystali and their inevitable fates. When he kissed her it was to give this image comfort, but it was also the same as offering incense or flowers on an altar. Her forgiveness was like a breaking twig against his monsoon of guilt. It was just like her to try, after what he’d done.
 
“I love you too, Ava.” He said and touched her cheek, where darkness gathered. She didn’t look herself suddenly, which was odd to him. He looked her over, and wherever her clothes were torn and his eyes touched, the blight would well, as though to see him. He touched her arm, and the darkness rushed to see about his fingers. “I’ll find you again.” He said against her forehead and held her closer. Her skin moved without motion, but he held her tighter. "Stay strong." he said against whatever was taking her. It felt out of place. She'd done enough good in her life not to have to suffer this. He kissed her hair and felt light encrusted memories bear down inside him. Her wise words when they were too young, because her heart had always been pure and without distractions. Her body beside his when they were exploring the place where they grew up. Always together. His soul panicked, a quiet moment of endless desperation, when he realized she would not be beside him anymore. It killed part of him that hope couldn’t rebuild. But he’d find her somehow. It was in his story.
 
He was slumped over in his chair and holding the Nystali’s cover hard in one hand when he woke with fresh tears cleaning his dirty face. When he looked at Tali, they would both know each other’s thoughts and sorrow. He felt remade in incomplete parts. "She said she was dying." he said to the priestess. A priestess might know. It meant she wasn't gone yet, if the dream had been real. "Something's taking her."

-

Cougal had been in the worst kind of moods, following the leaving life of what had once been the Gattler contaminated by her gallant. For the voices in the Star Blade that had already spoken to and steered the creature through the weapon in its heart it was not a big task to find her in the craters that the fall had left. With a swing of the cannibalistic sword, Cougal had healed the earth with dying Aveline on his shoulder, unceremoniously. This was a forgotten outpost where no one would hear her, or find him. The glistening darkness on her body reacted to her return to consciousness, so he knew before she opened her eyes.

"You look well if you're dead." he said and sat up from the chair, which stood by a simple bed. He'd not even let her have that comfort. "You should. You cost me, yesterday." he said calmly while his footfalls filled the room on his way to her. The rope stayed around her, crisscrossing over her body to artfully squeeze and run where it was pleasant to see. Gemma's majik had reacted to something in him when it had submitted to his reach. A small gift, but a fitting one. The bonds played well with the blight on Ava's body. His mood was becoming better, seeing the feisty knight like this, but such empty entertainment had come too late.

A quick kick to her bent legs would turn her on her back from her side. Quite an image, him in his armor, and her dressed in rags, rope and slithering darkness. He took some time to consider this for his wanton ego. Then he drew the Star Blade from his back. "But you'll repay me best you can, Aveline." he assured her, eyes pulsing with frustration. The edge of the Star Blade lowered until it could touch the sliver of the ax risen from her sternum.

At once the blight moved on her skin and stuck to her nerves and sinew, drawing her taut and keeping her attention with a strange reward, that she could not hide in pleasant things in the back of her mind. Torture, because she'd earned it a thousand fold, stealing his monster and army, and revealing his nature to Cretse. Destruction and praise would barrel through her body, to build her in pain, but also to focus her on it. It was a communication without obstacles, blade to blade. The Star Blade gossiped to its master, and told him of Aveline's heart, her deep love for the new knight. Before he lifted his sword from the conduit on her chest, he gave her that sacred, stolen night in the inn, but made it hurt her also. Then, as though her cries were sweet music, he savored her sounds as he dragged her over the floor to the chair, where he sat with her, her hands bound behind her, legs on either side of his, so he could simply watch her close as she was being tormented by her dearest memory.

"I'll take you to see him." Cougal said as he trailed her jaw with one talon of his gauntlet. Her emotions were being diluted with what he needed her to feel. Pretty new weapon, that had ruined his old one. The tendrils were crawling on to his thighs, too, connecting them. "Wonder how you'll feel by then." In her disarray, she was being molded to the bane of Cretse.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #81 on: December 10, 2017, 09:39:41 pm »
Nystali had emerged from the gloom of sleep slowly. Still, she had woken before Elvan. In the quiet, she struggled to make her peace and found none. Aveline was gone. The priestess squeezed her eyes shut. It was all horrendously unfair. If Elvan had only taken their Artifact, perhaps it would have ended differently. It was a poisonous thought, but she found it hard to shake. How long was he going to let everyone else suffer for his damnable sense of honor? If even Aveline hadn’t escaped the consequence of his inaction, it might well be hopeless.

When he did finally wake, Tali was staring at him. Her usual expression, softer for him in private, wore like a meticulous mask today. Their usual disagreement hung like an oppressive weight between them, now laden with Aveline’s soul. But she had not taken away her hand. If nothing else, she could still feel for his sorrow. In part, it made her angrier, but that did not detract from the gravity of the loss. And begrudging him would not bring Aveline back. He would see it in her storm cloud eyes that nothing would.

“She is dead.” Nystali said. “And she was taken.” She didn’t have it in her to be delicate. “I saw her. We will not have her back.” Tali said. She didn’t say any more. She had, at least, that much sympathy so as not to tell him that her truth did not preclude them finding their friend again. It would be better for them if they did not. Tali closed her eyes. It was as much her own fault as it was Elvan’s, if not more. She realized that. But it didn’t change the bitterness of her grief. “I’m sorry,” she said, and her voice broke. For Aveline and for blaming him for it. Her apology would not alter anything.

--

Aveline’s eyes narrowed. “Bastard.” She hissed. “Why am I here?” she demanded, pulling against her ropes. They did not give, instead tightening harder and making her gasp. She had it in her to struggle when he drew near, ineffectual as it was. “Free me.” Aveline snarled, staring up at him from the flat of her back, though her lips were drawn in pain. Cougal did not seem to intend any sort of gentleness. She froze when he drew the Star Blade. “Don’t you dare,” she snapped, but her protests were quickly silenced when the blade found the edge of the axe.

The swirling corruption on her skin pulsed and danced when the blade came near, and then Aveline lost herself. She gasped, shuddering as the blight invaded her cells and drew her like a bow string. A cacophony of confused memories barreled through her, racing to caress the Star Blade; she quivered and moaned, an unbidden rush of strange desires and conflicting sensations racing across her nerves. The memories moved faster, as if her body’s reflex spurred them on, and the dark vines on her skin shivered in repulsive delight. She cried out. It was painful, and yet she felt herself arch against the blade, the axe sliver spitting sparks as it slid.

She was only vaguely aware that Cougal moved her, drowning in all the bitter sweetness of Elvan’s body over her own. How many times would she be made to relive it? Aveline sobbed, and cried out when her body remembered the excruciating details of Elvan’s intimacy. She trembled, and the blight slithered over every inch of her skin, reaching out to rush against Cougal’s touch. It burned, and left her gasping.

When Aveline blinked and found herself again bound and in the dim room, the final throes of piercing pleasure tremored through her with Cougal in her sights. She stared back at him when he touched her, and could not find any protest to conjure to her lips.   

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #82 on: December 11, 2017, 01:56:15 pm »
This was the hardest Tali had ever been to him. It wasn’t like she was at fault for Aveline’s departure. That much was visible on her face, still pretty, but to very little comfort. “You don’t know that.” He said, against reason. The priestess could see people even after their body had succumbed, if she said they were gone, it was ludicrous to argue. He didn’t know what else to do. If Aveline was missing he had to look for her, and if she was gone then—he should still do something. He sat up straighter, which brought him further away from Nystali on the bed. He felt guilt come with the air between them. If he wallowed in it, he’d be useless.

“I am sorry too.” But that was the wrong phrase. He wasn’t sorry for the same reason she was. “I am sorry.” Was better. He looked her over. Pale hair and limbs concealed under the blanket. He thought it might be comforting to hide against her. He’d never deserve that again.

The door made rhythmic sounds before Eizel came in, Blair around him. His face was dirty with soot. “My deepest condolences.” He said with a low drop of his head. “She will of course have a grand farewell. The people of Cretse recognize her sacrifice.” Elvan nodded and stared to the side. “If you would like to weigh in on the ceremony.” Eizel looked at Tali. She was a priestess, after all, and Aveline had been as close to her artifacts as any knight.

“My condolences, also.” Elvan offered in return. Eizel straightened his back and seemed to take a moment to consider something that upset him quite a bit, by how his nostrils flared and his eyes darkened.

“I don’t think I will be needing that from you, Elvan.” He said and bowed again, hand on Blair, before he started to leave the room. It was clear why Aveline’s former commander might be displeased with Elvan. Eizel changed his mind at the door and moved closer and looked down at the new night with disapproval. “Do you remember swearing to me that you’d do your best, lest you dishonor Aveline and I take it out in blood?” he asked, hand reaching for Blair. Elvan didn’t waved, but there wasn’t strength in his eyes when he returned the stare.

“I do.” He said with steady self-reprimand in his voice.

Eizel’s shoulder trembled before he relaxed and let go of his sword. “Just live with your choices, Ser Elvan.” He left after that.

“She’s still out there.” Elvan said, eyes empty as he stood. “I… I will bring her back.” It was for Nystali, as though Eizel had never been in the room.

-

Cougal, despite his ambition, didn’t often corrupt knights to take over cities, so this was all new to him too, even if evil is rather intuitive. His body acted like that of a man when Aveline offered such torn behavior. He wasn’t simply going to hurt her. There would have been no affinity between her and Gattler then. This treatment was also more amusing, tendrils reaching from her to slide and attach to him as she sat in his lap, and climaxed to the thrumming nightmare he was skewering her on.

“You’re going to be returned to them soon. The people you saved.” It didn’t matter if her good heart thought she was revisiting to makes sure they did well. He needed her confused. He needed her to think she was with Elvan when she was crushing a person. The blight traveled her throat and filled her mouth until it spilled back out, dressing her tongue and reaching her swallow to climb into her sinuses and fill her head.

He reached his gauntlet out to touch the sensitive sliver sticking out between her breasts. The thumb of the scaly glove flicked the blade to send further agonizing rapture through her. It was something else when the weapon itself vibrated and sang. It amused him, to make an orchestra of her nerves like that, and he continued as the rope held her from resisting him, if she still had such impulses. The blight was climbing him also, but in a more timid manner. Threads were pulling her closer to him, as though she was going to be part of him, now. Love had been known to resist corruption before. So he intended to use it, instead. It would draw her back to Cretse, and then his own desires would spill out like spawn to annihilate the people.

Cougal also exhausted himself, trysting with Aveline like that. It mattered little to him. It was a decadent way to pass time until the evening, when he’d come back to the city that thought it had defeated him. Their champion would be the reason their streets would be brimming in death.

-

Velfall had somehow convinced Aveline to come out. The people, hard at work, were happy to see her. Their light when the darkness had come. Elvan had gone into the woods, by what he’d learned. And Gemma was alright, guarded by Biol. He’d walked Tali around, making small talk and joking whenever he could fit it in. How much misery there was here, but at least the city had been cleansed of corruption. His sourced had given him enough to reveal the dirty parts of their politicians, and now the city were looking to Tali and Eizel for leadership. A new start, clean.

“And then, if you’re up for it, we were going to light lanterns for the dead, and they seem to be hoping you’d say a few words.” He continued.

There would be a signal, clear and lancing, in the Nightingale, then. Something was nearing again, and it was closer to her heart than before. Aveline, but changed. But completely wicked. A shadow came like night for the wall they’d barely started to men. Slowly the panic spread in the people she had soothed. They recognized this darkness.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #83 on: December 19, 2017, 04:22:25 am »
The priestess’ expression hadn’t changed when he’d challenged her. Tali would have liked for him to be right, but she was certain they both knew she was not. “You don’t want me to be wrong, this time.” Nystali said quietly. She looked away when he apologized, but her fingers lifted from the blanket to brush over her chest.

“We cannot fail.” She said. It was going to be more than avenging their friend. More than honoring her sacrifice. Nystali knew that even the grander purpose they’d been crucified with still unfurled tinged with her own selfishness. Her life’s meaning hung in the balance of it. It meant something to her that Aveline had believed in them both, too. At least, she had felt that must have been in the edges of the knight’s decision. If not, Aveline had been as hopelessly tied to Elvan as she was, and that hurt in as many ways and more.

Eizel broke the heaviness of the room with his own simmering fury. Nystali looked at the knight when he came in. “Yes, I’d be grateful for it.” She said. It would have been the job expected of Cretse’s high priestess, but Tali did not bother to mention or consider it. Velfall had implied the woman might as well have been in bed with their enemy. Tali would not acknowledge the possibility that such a person could have any place at Aveline’s final rights.

Nystali stared at the wall when Eizel’s attention fell to Elvan. She sympathized with him, in a way. Elvan had made his decisions, after all. Still, it felt wrong to her that he hadn’t seemed to cast that blame on her at all. The sensation coiled in her chest when the knight left. The priestess hardly acknowledged what Elvan said to her when the door shut. Instead, her silver gaze was unreasonably bright when she fixed it back on him.

“Elvan, why didn’t you take it?” She blurted, and her voice cracked. She was leaning forward toward him, as if there was the same sort of urgency there’d been with the Gattler bearing down on them. “Why will you never take it?” Tali shook her head in frustration.

“I know I’m not Aveline and I know I’m not… maybe I’m not what you wanted. Maybe these ridiculous fates aren’t what you wanted from me but I—” she choked on her own confusion, burying her face in her hands. She could hardly understand the roiling twist of feelings in her own heart. It wasn’t unlike the conversation they’d had in the inn room, but Tali hadn’t remembered her own drunken stupor and grief was wont to force the same miserable honesty.

She reached for him then, and crushed her lips to his, all of her helpless bonds to him laid there. Tali let go of his shirt, nearly shoving him back from her, and collapsed back into her pillows, turning her face from him.


Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #84 on: December 20, 2017, 09:41:00 am »
Tali’s question dragged him out of the night Aveline’s predicament had sent him into. It was familiar, this conflict, and a bit welcome for it. But it was more urgent, like ambitions knocking on your door. He was overwhelmed by the promise of vengeance and justice, but also weighted by adoration for the woman he’d loved since he’d seen her, before his heart had been ready for it. “Because I…” but how wretched would it be to confess here, when she was decimated like Cretse, and they’d won a victory of blood and dust.

When she kissed him he felt like another self. Someone with hope. It was almost certain then, happiness. She had this light in her and he responded without hesitation. By the time his hands had come up to keep her, she’d turned away on the sheets. His hand still extended, he stared at her until that palm could rest on her shoulder. At first she’d recognize it as the kind Elvan, and perhaps feel as frustrated with that as she was entitled too. But the fingers searched deeper into her. Urgency. He’d had reprieve from darkness in her lips.

He pulled at her, but couldn’t bring himself to force her attention if she’d not give it. Elvan moved closer, until his leg touched her, sitting on the sheets. “I always want you.” He promised against her uncertainty. She must not believe anything else. It was at the core of it. “I wanted you more than I wanted to be a knight to protect people.” A selfish love from a hot heart. A person that no one should be unless the world burn, but the only person he could be certain he was. “All of this is penance because I want you.” When he touched her hair and stroked it aside and her neck was precious and inviting he looked away, as he always did. “Ah, Nystali. I think I’ve wrongfully kept us together.”

He should have recognized this and gone to another post. He could have brought Aveline with him and they could have saved another place together, where artifacts weren’t so powerful and the monsters weren’t so plenty. He lifted her finally, because he wasn’t strong enough to hold up the legacy of his failure, and he certainly wasn’t strong enough to be without the comfort he still remembered from their secret, kept even from her mind now, in the inn.

If her heart lit up when he placed her in his lap he wouldn’t care. Their artifact was valuable beyond compare because of its potential, but he needed her. An escape into the world he wished he had. “I’ve done this a thousand times.” He said and held the back of her neck and the beginning of her lower hairline to keep her lips where he needed them to be. “I am sorry I am a thousand lifetimes too late to love you.” He kissed her like he always meant to, selfishly, fully, with a search for more but a contentment in his breath.

-

Cougal was having a good time, far away, but not far enough. Aveline was unwillingly giving him the best show. How many times had the memory of Elvan’s body mutated in the world the Gattler and its master the Star Blade made for her? She wasn’t as opposed to it as pure knights should be, a darker lover who hurt her blissfully, ran her through and offered pain where pleasure should spread. It was her composition, then. Cougal wondered if she’d be pliable to these tastes without the majik used to take her now.

“Look at you, Aveline.” He said, threads knitting them tighter together, as he reached around behind her, as her lower back, where her arch was most prominent, grew the handle of the axe that split her chest. “How perverted you are. Elvan wouldn’t want you now.” He scolded as he moved the weapon inside her, tearing and rebuilding her while she was already being assaulted by all other things inside her. He wanted her to become something else in the husk of herself. Slick sounds filled the cottage as he cruelly stirred her with the sharp axe. “But I’ll take you.” He said into her ear as he plunged the axe upward, half of its twin blades protruding with the blight holding on. “Your hell can be like this. Isn’t that what you want?” Repenting while climaxing?

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #85 on: December 30, 2017, 03:17:20 am »
Aveline’s bones snapped and knit back together under the kneading pressure of the dark blight. It surged over her body, pulsing like a tidal flow, flitting and arcing from her skin to stroke the Star Blade and reach further for its master. Her vision swam. It was excruciating and impossible to catch her breath, a disorienting lightness beating against her skull. She panted, blinking hard, and her pretty, dark eyes shifted as she searched for Cougal’s face. He was talking to her—mocking her, maybe. She heard Elvan’s name. It broke her heart even as her body shuddered.

The blight reacted to the artifact spewing in her core. She cried out, a moan or a howl, and writhed in the red-haired knight’s grasp. Elvan had always caused her so much pain. Or, he had always been the vehicle with which she’d punished herself. It was hard to isolate what had been, now. Her own, miserable ecstasy fluttered in her ears like a broken record. She’d been pathetic. Aveline sobbed and the blight snaked to slither into her mouth, invading her from every portion of her being. It was horrendous, and yet the undeniable voraciousness of her corruption was so desperate for her that she was assaulted with perverse pleasure.

She’d only ever wanted Elvan to look at her the need she felt in her marrow now. Aveline hadn’t been blind. She’d seen the way he’d look after the priestess, like it was the greatest sacrifice to keep his hands from her. It had made her feel sick, the first time she’d caught that gaze, and then she’d learned to ignore it. Even in his bed, Ava hadn’t felt the same sort of indescribable need. Rather, it had been a furious confirmation of themselves. They had always been for each other and could not dare to leave the other behind. A pure sentiment warped by her own jealousy and his impossible heart. Aveline’s hips thrust forward hard.

Part of her understood all the strange, twisting things—her body and her thoughts—were not herself. They were feeding on the worst of her. It made her nauseous with the guilt of it. It didn’t matter if the corruption wasn’t herself. She had given it life. Her eyes were black pits. When she cried out again, her mouth was a wreath of dagger teeth.

--

Tali flinched when he touched her. “I can’t bring her back,” she started, but she couldn’t pull away from him either. It was a terrible betrayal, she thought, and yet she’d only ever wanted him to see her like this. “I should have been more distant.” A useless protest, because she could not have kept her heart from him any more than she could find it in her to move away from him now. She was weak, she understood, and deeply shackled to the fate of their souls. Aveline had been a better woman.

There were tears on her cheeks when he pulled her to him. She trembled when he held her. “I am sorry for what I am.” Nystali murmured. She felt the artifact shift within her, hot and compelling. Her skin lit like a star had settled beneath her breast. “I shouldn’t be here. Aveline…” Tali was lost in his ridiculous apology, because it was the truest music she’d ever heard. His lips tasted more honest than they should have. If he’d been pitying her, she was disgraceful enough to admit she’d not have turned him away. She had been a sad twist on Elvan’s fate, she was certain, and yet she could not bring herself to have wanted anything else.

“My soul has loved you a thousand lifetimes over.” She wrapped her arms around him, drawing herself as close to him as she could. Her breath was unsteady when she found him with her mercurial stare. “I have only ever existed to be yours. There was never anything else for me.” She said. Her skin was hot, the trembling existence of their artifact flowing and burning within her. It was remarkable. Her heart had ached for him to fulfill his place as her Knight, but she couldn’t have cared less then. She found an even greater selfishness in her. Her breath was shaky. “I’ve only ever wanted to be yours.”   


Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #86 on: December 30, 2017, 06:03:05 pm »
Elvan held her closer. If he had been himself from another day, when there was balance in his life, back when she tended to their tattered artifacts and the villagers went along with traditions she taught, he might have placed her away from himself with another attempt at being pious. But he didn't have those strengths now. He only had Tali left, and he needed more of her to survive. How undeserved, her declaration, and how confirming it felt to him. Gifts he'd not earned. But he wanted, and he'd listen, today.

When he kissed her deeper it felt better, her body inviting to him because he craved it, and her soul whispering with the light of her majik, of their artifact within her. It was all melding into a reliance now, and he felt strong again, for her. A knight's knowing fingers solved every riddle of her clothing, and a man's frustration laid her on her back. It was truth they shared, finally.

He could escape his fallacies then, when he kissed her more, their power growing in her to outline her heart with the light of their weapon. He was drawn to it, of course, the way he'd always been - all the flaws in a man, hubris and vanity and hunger, but also the qualities that made him better, his loyalty, and his compassion. His destined lover, and the fate he'd sought to thwart out of something misplaced. How pretty, in the end, simply looking at her, like she would have needed that captured starlight to be stunning.

When he kissed her next it was to distract as he became first with her as Aveline had been for him. Taut, like an adoring grip. How delicious the new are. The majik in her whirred. He lover her enough to explore her then, loved her beyond the caution that had been the bane of their togetherness. He kissed her for himself, and moved for pleasure, his intentions burnt into something pure and honest finally, because their attachment hurried him into this primordial rythm.

-

Cougal had no such affection in mind for his lover. Aveline was falling apart in the best of ways in his lap. In the momentum it was nurturing in her, growing the worst and then mutating it to something she'd never recognize, it sought out Cougal through her, eating his clothes by claiming them with Gestalt. A jagged artifact as an extension on him, while threads and scaled chains pressed out of her and from him to lift her in a suggestive way, before impaling her on that new obelisk. She'd already been altered to fit and appreciate that toothed lance, and it found a perfect home in her belly.

She's become the image of a spawn herself, with veins of the Star Blade's brass and reptilian designs netting the Gattler's blackened muscles to her human skin. He pulled at the handle protruding from her back again, sliding the ax half way out, that kind of friction a conflict in her, since it was agonizing, but her nerves were being taut agony was delectable. In a moment of curiosity, he drew the handle until the double blades were completely out of her.

The Star Blade already had a hold on her, but it was diminished greatly when its anchor had left her physical self. Cougal saw one of her eyes blink free of the influence, naked with a human's white and the oxidized veins receding from the Gattler's mass on her limbs. A taste of freedom, perhaps. And then he plunged the ax back into place, through her shoulder blades to protrude out her chest, returning the deep, hot spell.

He reached around the writhing, pulsating creature straddling his lap to finally tug at Gemma's rope. The little majik that inhabited the fibers adhered to its master, and it swirled, untied from her now, landing on the floor without claim on her freedom anymore. Cougal was confident in the unholy addiction he was imprinting on her, and his own hubris assumed she'd be overtaken well enough that she didn't need the restrains anymore. What good would a spawn be to him if she didn't obey, and needed to be leashed?

Elvan, who'd kissed her and sought her pleasure, was fading from her inner vision, but the pleasure of the transformation stayed, fiddling with her sinew and pumping in her bones. A pretty monster with a woman's attributes, born with her as a base, but enhanced with Cougal's sick preferences, influenced by the Spawns he loved.

"Do you want to go back to Cretse?" he asked his creation.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #87 on: January 09, 2018, 08:36:21 pm »
Tali wished she could explain the searing agony that knit itself with her elation. Their artifact, like a child ready for the world, incited fire along all her nerves. But, her heart was swollen with the relief of meeting her lover at last. It was coming home to something so familiar to her soul she thought she might weep. Nystali was radiant majik and moonlight in his arms, and she was swept along on the tide of their joined fervor.

Somewhere, only Aveline could sympathize. The pleasure in torture, confused and rapturous, like she were being both given and denied her greatest desire at once. There was, as well, the vague sense that she should have felt some guilt—this was not mourning—but the distinct inability to experience any remorse. Aveline, pliable in Cougal’s harsh grip, and Nystali bending with Elvan to their own storm. The two women, who had both loved and tormented one another, sang parallel hymns.

It might have been fate for them both. A great synchrony of tragedies.

Nystali trembled, her lips slick and hungry against Elvan’s abandon. She felt like she was drowning, if drowning could be beautiful. When her body arched hard to find him and her breath was stolen on the soft cries of her ecstacy, her flesh became so hot it was almost scalding. The light of their artifact had spread, like a shifting and fluid infusion of silver in her skin.

Aveline’s head lolled to the side, the corner of her lips speckled with froth. Teeth which had grown too long for her full and sacrilegious lips curved to make her soft panting as wicked as it was abhorrently lustful. There was no flicker to the darkness of her eyes when she stared back at Cougal. The blight writhed, snaking around his limbs as it crawled across her flesh. When Gemma’s rope fell, she did not move, but the inky black corruption did sprout. Arachnid legs spidering outward from her infested body, sprouting  from her hips. Something like a spire-tipped black crown had rose, jagged, from her forehead. Pretty demon.

“Yes. Take me to them.” Aveline’s rattling voice, a chorus of Spawn-like howls and the fading of her own anguished shrieks, was a fateful hammer in the quiet space. Outside, there was a series of wails. Other Spawn, drawn back toward the force that was the Gattler, ready to remake its mass when the new hive queen was sent outside. Cretse. Where Elvan rode her memories on another soft body. Where that priestess had stolen her fate and her heart and cast them to the ravenous dark.

--

Tali had not removed herself from that bed or her tangle with Elvan. She had made herself known to the knight again and again, until her heart raced hard enough that it hurt and her breath was sharp in her own throat. It had been panicked and starved and deeply moving. It was not a fair thing, but it was true: if Aveline believed she had loved Elvan deeply, she had no concept of Nystali’s soul-bound devotion to the man.

But now, it didn’t much matter. Aveline moved steadily toward Cretse’s outer wall, leaving a trail of dark and acidic ooze in her path. It ate through the wildflowers on the side of the road and left the stones in the road burnt as if they’d lit fire. She was towering, a slim and blighted torso bursting from a crawling mass of Spawn. The new Gattler’s small and mighty head. Cougal was assuredly near; she was moving at a crawling pace for her size and seemed to wait at points for direction or encouragement.

Nystali sat bolt upright when she felt the Gattler’s core artifact approach. It was still faint, but moving with purpose. Aveline’s purpose. She could feel it like a vibrating chord wrapped around her skull. “Elvan!” she gasped, throwing herself from the bed in mad haste. She had not considered her present weakness, nor her further exertions, and crumpled almost as quickly as she exited the sheets. The priestess searched for his gaze and the truth in her gleaming silver eyes would be more explanation that he could possibly want. “We must alert the knights.”
 

Verse

  • Posts: 1436
  • blue in nothing
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #88 on: January 10, 2018, 09:37:20 am »
Elvan was warmed by Nystali's mercury glow, and his body sought it like it was keeping him from some great agony. Adoration in the way he responded to her desire, and a bit of healthy frustration in his own hunt for other angled depths. It was rapture to stay in moments that were honest about this part of their connection. He'd not allowed himself to love her for most of their lives, not freely, but here he could, and there was a lot to say. For the first time he was treating her as though she might not break if he embraced her too hard.

His soul also wanted the weapon underneath her ribs, growing in her organs from the fodder of their love, built with every hum of their hearts, and it resulted in a search for friction that answered the call of his earthly wants but left the destiny between them still wanting. To him it simply felt as though they could not be tight enough. It was a romantic daze, but it was misleading, as bewilderment is. His tongue, on occasion, was lost between her softnesses, raking at her sternum. An act of strange, obsessive lust, but also a truth about his innate want to draw that treasure.

He was still in that lull when Nystali woke to news brought by her aptness to other worlds. He was startled and sat, but reacted soon to wrap her in sheets. He wanted to take care of her, and lift her back to bed, perhaps stay in this dreamed up privacy from their lives a little longer, but he knew the world had come back to punish them for their absence. He nodded at her when she told him what needed to be done and dressed quickly. Before he went out the door, he held her to him and kissed her. He didn't know why it felt like farewell.

-

Cougal found himself astride a long Spawn with teeth on both ends, a body clad in scales and fur, and gills that seemed to breathe fog under him. He'd had quite a productive time with Aveline, and he'd seen her grow to this scrumptious thing. The Star Blade was content with its daughter, and held its beacon within her steadily. Her features were changed, her endowments shadowed, but the people who loved her would know her when she returned to the place she'd saved. He was bloated with pride.

There was only one stain on his mirth as he rode, and it had been an obstacle between himself and Aveline. It seemed something other was spiraling in her, and while it didn’t hinder her decent to this blighted demon, it could not be touch itself. He wondered about it, and had tried to see it through the hyphae of the Star Blade, but had found nothing to make him wiser on the presence.

The Spawn he rode slithered next to her, to keep away from her potent trail. He wanted to savor this victory. Better the sun come and put its light on their dying faces. Something is lost when lit only in arson. The day had broken over the lands, though, and he was running out of reasons to delay her maiden slaughter. An arm fully wrapped in Gestalt, spiked and plated, bent back to draw his Artifact high. She would be attracted to the stars it left in its wake, the blade breathing with intent. He pointed to where they were going, and forced his Spawn to move quicker too. The Spawn that followed her now scurried on ahead.

-

"And you're sure of this?" Eizel asked, securing Blair's belt around himself as the two of them stepped away from the house Eizel had been trying to mend to make it at least crudely functional as shelter. It was a last, hopeful thing to say, to maybe have Elvan change his report. Elvan didn't respond with anything Eizel wanted to hear.

"Nystali is already speaking with Velfall. Something's coming back. Knights must be ready." His point was stressed by Saevir and Syn crossed on his hip.

“Well, I did not swear a carpenter’s oath, after all.” Eizel said with a sigh, and white light climbed his body until he was again dressed in the well-proportioned Gestalt of his artifact. “I’ll go wrangle the…”

A scream broken by the throats own gargle interrupted their conversation rudely. One of the knights who had been posted at the remains of the wall. Nobody knew, not even himself, that he’d always grated Cougal with his half-assed ambition and real success. Perhaps it had reflected Cougal’s own road through the ranks. The knight staggered toward the general, and as he fell, a lump of oily roots were revealed on his back. Through the wet coils Elvan and Eizel could see a heart and a pair of lungs be extracted from the fantastically gruesome crater on the knight’s back. It seemed the bastard Spawn was building itself with the remains of the fallen man. Eizel ran passed the deceased watcher, sliding Blair surgically through the disgusting, tall mass. The cut incinerated and then exploded the hungry Spawn.

“Aarms!” Eizel shouted with his famous sword raised as new dread seeped into the bodies of the folk who thought the battle was over. The knights were reflexively pulled by their general’s order, and artifacts were ready instantly. It was in time to hear the multitude of audible death coming from those closest to the hole in the wall.

Cougal had stayed with his new creature while the many Spawn had gone ahead, but he was catching up, also. The Spawn were inspired by Aveline’s fate, and were rather unformed until they could get to human parts. He did not intend to bend them to his control, their wills were useless compared to Aveline’s, but he thought it would be economic to reuse the fallen to build his loyal monsters. Not that there was a lack of fully equipped, independently functioning Spawn coming, either.

“Do you see, darling?” he asked and shook the tip of The Star Blade at Cretse in uproar. “He’s already moved on, erasing every trace of you. Shouldn’t we remind them who you are?”

Elvan was already gliding through the mass with Syn’s enthusiasm. It seemed she recognized the magnitude of the threat. Midday Spawn had their bone plates shattered and their flesh hammer through with Saevir’s blue rage. When Elvan stopped to breathe and look around to see where his next strike was needed most, he threw and eye toward the forest, where the threat was welling from, and he saw his friend and lover over the trees, held on a podium of shadow limbs and sinew. “Ava…” he gasped and his shoulders dropped.

She would see through her altered eyes how ruby and amethyst pulsed up his arms, like spearing ice, to form an armor around him. In the middle seam, a deep purple line became the brackish love of both parents for their ill-fated priestess daughter. Saevir rumbled in his right arm and he moved on red, armored legs against his will. “N-no… It’s her! She’s… alive!” he tried, but the artifacts had only one purpose, and Aveline the beast was the largest conceivable threat to the nightingale now. Even as men died around him Elvan couldn’t stop moving toward the large monster.

“See.” Cougal said and spun the Star Blade in his hand. “He comes for you. He was never your lover for his own part. He would like to kill you and lay your head at the priestess’s pretty feet.” And he probably believed that too.

When Elvan had his eyes on Cougal he didn’t try stopping his artifacts anymore. Syn took him quickly through the distance, making clouds of the Spawn that stood in her way, until Elvan could leap in a perfect arch with Saevir raised. He poured all his rage and hurt into the strike, and Saevir resonated with the meaning, bearing down like a lifetime of guilt toward Cougal on his mount. The Red Knight grinned at the free morsel for his own sword and raised the hungry artifact to deflect.

Saevir collided with the Star Blade, and left a mark on its edge. It came at the cost of the blue father’s life. Azure shards billowed out from the contact, and the fragments showered Cougal’s face without cutting his smile. Greater blades had been devoured by the unholy weapon. Elvan was well aware, but as Cougal was busy with celebrating before Elvan had even landed, the furious knight darted Syn forward, in a crack between plates that connected Cougal’s gauntlets over his chest, and found his heart with the red blade.

Cougal hissed and backhanded Elvan to the ground. The blow and Elvan’s desire to hold on to Syn, broke her too. He was in a fading armor on the ground, holding the hilts and halved edges of both artifacts given to him. Cougal pinched the blade protruding from his very heart and pulled it out, flicking it into the breadth of the Star Blade which sucked the majik out of it quickly. He pointed the ravenous sword toward Elvan on the ground, on his knees.

“There. Here he is. Teach him what it feels like to be betrayed.” He said to Aveline.

VenomousEve

  • Posts: 591
  • Crunch.
    • View Profile
Re: Majik Morose
« Reply #89 on: January 16, 2018, 11:05:06 pm »
There was a strange moment when the rebellion realized they’d been waiting for Nystali like an emptiness in the core of their resolve. It came when she burst through the door, out of breath from her search or her present weakness, and she looked like some sort of divine creature sent to light their souls aflame. Perhaps she had. The priestess, whose fate had always been to anguish with a burning heart, might have only ever been able to bring them with her.

She had put on her own clothes, rather than the practical leathers she’d been given at the inn. Though utterly unreasonable, the dancing white threads seemed like they were a war banner in the dim room. The glow of her artifact had not faded, a silver starburst splitting her chest, and her eyes were an urgent and oncoming storm. “The Spawn return. Cretse will fall or you will have your city back. There is no other path.” It might as well have been a prophecy. It was met with silence, and then anxious murmuring. “Did you not hear me?” Nystali demanded, and her voice had found a volume and passion it rarely carried.

Velfall would stand first, and then Gemma on his arm. If he wanted to protest, the green-eyed girl would dig her fingers in hard and plant her feet. This would bring Biolfall, and then the rest, onto their feet as well. Someone would call out and ask her what they were to do—they had been a band of guerillas causing political mayhem more than a fighting force. Theirs had never been a group able to stand in open opposition to the Steelbacks.

“You haven’t got a choice. Velfall says they lock away Harbor Kin in this town. Find them. Those of you who have the heart to wield an Artifact, bare your soul and beg them for their aid. The rest of you should come with me now.” She looked at Vel then, a silent request for his own voice then. She was not the sort of leader he had been for them. “I will go at your side.” She promised. Tali didn’t know if that meant anything to them. She was not a knight and she had given no grand weapon. Still, she had herself to offer, so she did.

--

Aveline shrieked when she caught sight of Elvan, and the many Spawn surrounding her trembled and added their screaming voices to her dismay. She would crush Elvan and his ridiculous sense of nobility. Then she would crush Cretse, and on until knighthood meant nothing. What, if not for their dedication to that ideal, had been their undoing? She loathed the memory and the soft and persistent pain of her humanity. Ava surged forward. In another life, they would have been happy. In another life, Ava would have been a farmer’s wife, with a child bouncing on her knee that had her dark hair and Elvan’s eyes.

Another life, another life. She’d been given another life. It had been thrust upon her, into her, and torn her previous self to shreds. In this life he was even less hers than the last. In this life, he tore toward her like a righteous killer. She wondered if she must be disgusting to him, which made her bellow with rage, and she charged forward. Elvan met Cougal first, and the Spawn writhing in Aveline’s Gattler rushed around the pair in a mass. They lurched forward, clawing toward them without making contact, as if waiting for the Red Knight to give them permission to leap.

When Syn shattered, it was as good as any signal. The Spawn spilled forward and clawed at Elvan’s legs.

Aveline dipped down toward the pair, salivating and hissing, carried like the head of some impossible serpent to arc over Cougal’s shoulder. “Elvan. You forgot me so soon.” As if she knew everything that had occurred. In an awful way, she did. Cougal had given her those false fantasies too. If part of her understood they had been illusions, it might have been kinder than any truth Elvan could offer her now.

“I could never forget you. Not even in death.” She threw herself toward him then, and the Spawn kicked into a wild frenzy.

--

The creatures spilling past Cretse’s crumbled walls were the worst sort of leap back in time. It was a mess of bloodshed and wild shouting by the time
Tali and many of Vel’s group made it back toward the major push of fighting. Fresh fires had started from those Spawn with incendiary fogs billowing from their pores. She did not have to say anything when they arrived. It was apparent enough that the only thing to be done was help stave off the incredible onslaught of beasts. If they could add man power, perhaps the trained knights could focus on the bigger creatures and the Steelback soldiers who’d joined in the chaos.

Nystali was climbing. A half-destroyed house had just enough foothold for her to scramble toward its caving roof. Across her shoulder hung Valor. She wouldn’t have known what to do with Mariposa, even if she’d wanted to bring her friend’s trusted Artifact to battle. Even with the bow, she had little confidence in her ability to assist. What she could do with surety was give her Nightingale voice to the knights and their Artifacts. “Vel, try to cover me.” She shouted down.

When she sang the old chants, the words were too soft to break the din of the fighting. But every Artifact heard. It was a soft pulsing at first, a gentle warmth in the hands of those they fought with. It grew like a thundering war drum. Artifacts across the city lit and shimmered with eager light. A call to arms, for the souls that had been bound to physical form.

Even past the wall, where Elvan was where she could not see, the broken blades of Tali’s parents pulsed with renewed energy. Aveline screamed.

The corrupted axe in her chest burned in a horrified struggle. Nystali winced when she heard the echoing sound. She had felt Ava near, but her contorted voice was painful to hear still. She clasped her hands tight, chanting louder until she was shouting into the drowning cries. Even this would only buy time. She knew that much. If Elvan could not stop Aveline from entering the city, this was surely all a fool’s errand. Her own Artifact seemed to swell, and it was like she was being consumed from within. How ridiculous it would be for Elvan to refuse to her now.