Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Be a knight in shining armor, a troll under a bridge, a helium-seller in a steampunk world...whoever you want to be.

Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby Lordxana0 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:41 pm

Six figures sat around a round table sitting on chairs that looked more like intricately designed thrones. The room they were in was cast in pure darkness, so dark in fact that if one looked at it too long they might forget what light looked like in the first place.

"I call this meeting to order" a woman's voice rose first, breaking the silence. The woman who spoke was sitting on a throne made of vines and blood red roses. "For the first time since our fall we have come together in council, the Gods of Darkness." she paused for a moment. "I am Kumika, Goddess of Decay and Pain"

"I am Stramas, God of Warfare and Violence" a man's voice rose from a figure sitting on a throne made of cold iron with two skulls adorning the headrest on both the right and left.

"I am Strimar, Goddess of Entitlement and Paranoia" the throne she sat on was fashioned from thousands of moving eyes, constantly looking all around as if examining everything.

"Ladium, God of Drowning and Burning" the throne he sat one was half fire and half water, and where the two halves met a thin layer of smoke laid perfectly separating them.

"Grandian, God of Madness and Nightmares" the throne this figure rested on seemed to be made of millions of images of the most horrible things that could be imagined, and those that couldn't.

"Liuna, Goddess of Children and Life" the womans voice came from atop a throne of fluffy white clouds and joyous pure light.

Kumika's voice rose as soon as Liuna declared herself. "Brothers and Sisters, we stand here today on the edge of history. Finally the day we have all waited for!" she slammed a hand, or at least what looked like a hand, down on the table. "The barrier that our former family put up is at its weakest point. During this very moment our chance to finally strike the world our family created is neigh, but we can't do it by ourselves" she looked around at each figure. "During this night we can use what is left of our divine powers, make a crack in the barrier and finally reclaim this world for the darkness, give our children a chance to rule that rock" she stood up from her throne. "Those of you who agree with me lend me your power!"

For a few moments there was nothing but silence as the fallen gods considered her words. What she was asking was for them to throw away what little divine power they had left, leaving them with only the powers they had drawn from the planet in their forms they used after they had been cast down. After what seemed like an eternity they began to feed their power toward Kumika, causing her to glow with a purple energy. "With this, it begins!" she lifted her arm into the air and all at once the room became pure darkness.

**
Lucia crossed two of her four arms around herself as a sudden chill overcame her body. As the Goddess of Death and Rebirth she was in a special position when it came to recognizing oncoming disasters. This was the same feeling as when a massive storm was going to claim an entire city with its might, or when a massive wave destroyed a coastal city. But this felt so much worse, like the weight of the entire world rested on her shoulders. It had been so long since the other seven Gods and Goddess of Light had looked down upon the world and actually looked at it. Sure when their paladins or preists that they liked prayed for power or help they would sometimes lift a finger, but they were so detached that it almost seemed like they didn't care. But she did, she had always cared.

A vision came to her all at once, of what was to come. The Jackals ran free as the seal that had been set up so long ago was shattered, the entire world devoured by darkness and despair. The world that had once been run like a cycle was a husk of endless nothingness, where the only thing that moved were the Jackals, spreading their chaos throughout everything. The vision ended as soon as it began, and than the sound of glass cracking rang out loud as a bell. When she looked down upon the world she saw the cracks in the barrier, invisible to all who looked that weren't blessed with the eyes of a God. From the cracks small spores of darkness leaked out onto the world. Some died as soon as they touched the sun, but others managed to reach the sands of the badlands and stayed covered by it, growing slowly by destroying the unseeable life hidden within it. In a few days they would be fully formed Jackals, and who knew what would happen after that.

In that moment the Goddess came to a decision. The rest of her family wouldn't lift a finger, they weren't dedicated to the life on the planet like they had once been, now they were focused only on themselves. With a sigh she raised all four of her hands and spread her nine wings out. "Oh unknowable power that gave birth to all, creator of both light and dark hear the call on your child. Spread the power of protection out, create nine new heroes from my strength and give them the power to protect the cycle" from her wings burst forth nine grey lights, searching down the nine that would become the new heroes.

With that done the Goddess let out a light sigh, knowing what this meant for her. The wings on her back disappeared, as did the extra pair of arms she had. She was rendered mortal after giving her power like that. In a moment she disappeared from the land of Deities and arrived on the human plains, among a grand forest. She still had power through, and she vowed to use. it. Gather her power she sent a call to the nine that were chosen, most likely looking at the marks on their hands in confusion. Nine swords surrounding a shield, all grey and freshly created on some point on their bodies.

Nine were chosen to be the new Heroes of this world, to stop the threat of the Jackals, which seek to end everything. Find your way to the Grand Capital, the meeting point of all kingdoms. Once there find each other, and once you have I will find you.

So the story begins.
**
Welcome to the new version of Rise of the Age of Heroes. We will start out the same as before, give an introduction of your character and have them move toward the city. Once everyone has posted I will create the next GM post to tell you guys what to do from there.
Who you going to call? ME!
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby RussetDivinity on Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:12 pm

Lillia reclined on the branch of the tree, looking up at the stars through the tunnel she had made by shaping the boughs around her. She would return them to a more natural-looking state later -- probably. It was hard sometimes for her to remember to finish what she started, especially if something had happened to distract her. She had once gotten lost for three days trying to follow an anthill with her mind, and if she hadn't been sitting beside a strawberry patch, she might have starved. It had taken her a week to fully recover, though that was partly because the next day she had run for miles because she heard there was an even larger ant hill in a field to the east.

Then there was the time she had used her Earth magic to tunnel into a mountain just to see if she could. She had been able to, but it had taken her a long time to climb out, and when she made it up her hands were bloodied from scraping against the rocks and fending off biting spiders and insects that had tried to use her tunnel as a home. For all she knew, it was still there, a column straight down from the peak to the root, just wide enough for a Fae to fit through.

Tonight, what distracted her was the mark on her hand. It hadn't been there before, and the only thing she could think of was that she had scarred herself somehow. She hadn't done anything with the back of her hand for a while, though, and even in the dim starlight she could tell it wasn't the normal shape of a scar. It looked almost like a shield surrounded by nine swords, and was nothing she had seen before. It might be the sigil of a royal house, but if some royal brat had tried to mark her through magic, he would quickly learn what sort of enemy a Fae could be, especially one that could tear his kingdom apart simply by walking through it. How she could have been marked when she had avoided civilization of any sort for almost two decades was a mystery, but it was one she was determined to figure out.

With a flick of the end of her rope, the bough she had been lying on bent, allowing her to slide to the ground. Though she had avoided civilization, she was aware enough of it to know there was a city a few days away. She could probably find answers there, or at least a healer to clear the mark off her skin. Lillia broke into a run, flicking the ends of her rope so the grass would spring her feet forward.

Two days later, weary and hungry, she stumbled into the city. It was far larger than she remembered cities being, and the people in it glanced down at her and smiled, as though amused by her bare feet and dirty green clothes. She didn't bother to be embarrassed but walked up to a brown-skinned woman dressed in the strangest orange clothes Lillia had ever seen. "Can you tell me where I am?" Lillia asked.

The woman smiled, almost indulgently. "You must be a long way from home, little one. This is the Grand Capital."

That would explain how large it was. "And is there anywhere I can get something to eat?"
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby Guyshane on Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:19 pm

The breath was knocked out of the gang member as the dwarf pinned him to the wall with a bayonet. "Now then, chum." Magrim growled at the skinny man trying to escape. "You said you had information on the man with the scarred face. And you'll be giving it to me. Make no mistake 'bout that."

The man pulled harder at the rifle pinning him. "C'mon man we didn't mean nothing by it! We thought you'd be an easy mark. Can't you just turn me into the peace officers?!?"

"Oh yes I can see you thought I'd be a good mark. Since you'd be lacking in general intelligence." The pirate looked over at the other five thugs who had been beaten, shot, stabbed and just generally kicked around like baby seals who had gone up against a drunken sailor who the captain employed to break up fights on the ship. "Quite obviously you 'ere mistaken. And you are going to tell me ev'eything you know about 'ol Jay, else..." The dwarf pointed a pistol directly between the thugs eyes and cocked the hammer. "...things may end nasty and more than a tad nasty. Do we have an understanding here laddie?"

The crook gaped like a fish out of water. "Wh-whose Jay?"

Magrim slapped the man across the face. "The man with the scarred face, ya moron. Who else am I interrogating you about?"

The gangster spilled his guts. "L-l-look sir. This guy showed up a few months ago, he needed some boxes moved to a new ship from the one they had come in on. So we moved the stuff. He sold the ship but it caught fire that next night, a f-few hours after the sailed out. We haven't seen or heard from him since. And that's it I swear!"

"Thank you son. However I cannot simply let you go." Magrim grinned evilly and pulled the trigger

Click.

Magrim let out a deep rolling laugh as the thug went pale. "Ohh, gets 'em e'ery time. Thanks for the info." The pirate put his pistol away and pulled his rifle out of the wall. He strode out of the alley and down the way towards the tavern before noticing a pain on his right hand. His heart went cold. They didn't land a hit, it couldn't have spread to the right without me noticing? When he looked it was a brand of nine swords surrounding a shield. That was when the message came in. Grand Capitol, eh? Well why not? It'd be a good place for Jay to pawn off the treasure on some sucker. The dwarf's left arm throbbed under its armor. No time to waste then.
-----------

Magim wheeled his small boat into the Grand Capitol bay, quickly finding an open spot and tying up his ship. Well, here I am. Now what? A grin crossed the pirate's face. Well without a lead I guess I'll just have to find info on them from the same place I was planning to ask about Jay
I say we nuke it from orbit...its the only way to be sure.
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby agoraoptera on Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:33 am

Ah, but that had been a good gig, Alessa thought, frolicking about in the bay of the Grand Capitol. Well, further out, but technically still within the bay. Right at the waterfront was where fishermen dumped their refuse…

She rose from under the gentle waves, and instantly ducked back down again as a ship threatened to run her head over. Shaking her fists angrily at the uncaring wooden hulk, Alessa swam after it, her tail churning the water into hissing froth. She was a celebrity! If this was how the land-folk treated their celebrities, she might as well go back to the deeps.

Alessa caught sight of a dwarf on deck tying up his ship, and was about to holler at him when a cold, sharp sensation pierced her upper right hand. Was this some kind of protective dwarvish magic?

No… The voice of… A divine voice… Nine heroes… Heroes? ‘Damned Superstition’ Alessa, a hero? The merlady chuckled as she studied the sword and shield insignia imprinted on the back of her right hand. Fascinating…

A thought came to her; wouldn’t being a hero make her more of a celebrity? That’d definitely shoot up her career. Put in a bit of work, maybe save the world even, and live a life of fame, luxury and all-round grandeur. Wonderful!

Caught up in her imagination, Alessa almost forgot about the dwarf. She slithered up the harbour rapidly, gazing about for the dwarf. It didn’t matter how many times she’d surfaced; the fresh air always stung her eyes, and she blinked rapidly.

“You! Dwarf!” Alessa called out, her multiple voices layering onto each other to form a sonorous chorus.

The dwarf in question had a disreputable-looking youth pinned up against a nearby wall. “In a moment lass, I’m in the middle of some negotiations.”

“As you will,” Alessa cocked her head, observing the two. Strange negotiations, this was, what with the youth gibbering. How could anyone conduct business like that?

“Now then laddie. No one likes a pick pocket now do they? How would you like it if I started going through your pockets?” He asked as he began doing just that throwing out wallets, pocket watches, loaves of bread, pieces of fish, a rumpled looking lizard and a small gem. When the last landed Magrim’s eye followed its path and widened. He immediately slammed the boy down on the dock next to it, scooping it up with his other hand. From where Alessa was she could see it was oddly cut, a bird taking flight inside an unbroken ring.

“Where did you get that?”

“M-m-man, burn scar on his face. Stole it, three weeks ago.”

The dwarf nodded and let the boy up. “Collect the rest of your spoils and be on your way.” He then turned to the merlady. “Now, how can I help you?”

"You nearly ran over me with your ship!" she complained. "With all your vaunted civilisation, you land-dwellers have no respect."

The pirate bowed to her. “Forgive me mi’lady. I was a tad focused on my prize.”

Slightly mollified, and rather curious, Alessa slithered closer. "Prize?"

“Aye.” He replied, holding up the gem. “Perchance it may lead me back to an old friend, who I must repay a debt to.”

Alessa blinked again, her multiple eyelids closing and opening like intricate clockwork. She glanced at her hand again to be sure. "Are you one of the nine?" Alessa pointed both of her right hands at the dwarf's.

Instantly there was a pistol aimed right at her face. “How did ya find me? Have you been following?”

"Now that's simply rude," she said, voice unintentionally musical as she pushed aside the barrel gently. "Look," Alessa insisted, showing him her upper right hand.

“I see that.” He replied. “That does not change the question. Either you’ve been following me or these are some most auspicious circumstances.”

"I've been following you since you nearly caved my head in with your boat back there," Alessa pointed in the general direction of the water. "I wouldn't call getting run over 'auspicious circumstances'..."

“Look I already apologized for the boat thing. And while it may not have been the best way to meet it is an incredible coincidence to find one another right after arriving in the largest city on the planet.”

"I am a celebrity, after all," Alessa said, coiling up her tail and brushing back her fronds primly. "You should be honoured, you know."

Magrim chuckled as he holstered his pistol. “Celebrity, eh? You must’ve come up in the world since my crew and I saw you singing in that dive bar a few years back.”

"You see? You know me," Alessa trilled excitedly. "What's your name?"

“Magrim Kolmtek at your service.” He replied, bowing with practiced ease.

"'Damned Superstition' Alessa at yours, sir," she bowed in turn, with some difficulty. "Well, Mister Kolmtek, now what? I've only just finished a gig here a few hours back, so there's nothing on my schedule hindering me, but the instructions were rather vague, weren't they?"

Magrim stroked his beard. “True, Personally I planned to simply ask the scum of the city if they had seen the others or my old friend.”

Alessa drew back at the word 'scum'. "Well, I hope they don't prove too... unsavoury. I'd hate to get my fins dirty."

“Look lass, they’re crooks ‘unsavory’...” Magrim stopped, and took a long pull from a bottle inside his coat before burping loudly. “...is somewhat of their forte.”

"Oh, crooks. I thought you meant dirty homeless hobos. I can deal with crooks. Just let me pick up my wave-blades."

“Aye, and maybe a dictionary so ya can expand your vocabulary.”

She glared at him with her vermillion eyes. "I'll have you know," she sang, pitching higher, "that I was taught by the great..." Her throat emitted a series of melodiously incomprehensible clicks, hisses and gurgling. "... herself! I don't need a dictionary."

Magrim gave her a blank stare. “Uhh...sure, lets go with that.”

Alessa dove into the water and vanished, though Magrim could swear that she was singing. Within a couple of minutes, the merlady returned, bearing a set of twinned blades.

"Well, let's go."

“Aye.”
If you can make it better, don't make it sentient.

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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby AMimsyBorogove on Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:34 pm

"Well, well, well. What do we have here?"

The speaker was tall - six feet, three inches, to be exact - with a shaved head and a large greatcoat that concealed most of his features, as well as what armaments he might be carrying. Judging by his stance, he had some sort of combat training, and thus could be expected to have the skills and strength to go with it. His position was similarly advantageous - the top of the boarding ramp of a small airship, with two guards stationed at the bottom. Each was clad in an armored vest, with a pistol at their side, but they seemed to lack the discipline of their leader, which would make dealing with them somewhat easier.

The girl did not respond to the man's query, stepping out into the open light of the airship dock, her scarf, hair, and mantle all flowing in the wind, whirling themselves about her like the dancing of a cloud in the open sky. Even with her blinded eyes shut, she could still see them clearly in her mind's eye, the picture painted by the gently dancing wind more clear than any physical sight.

"A girl?" The man asked, sounding less confident now, and instead simply confused. "This dock is off limits, girlie. What are you doing here?"

"Look at her, boss. I think she's blind. She must have gotten l-"

"Incorrect." Ren spoke for the first time, a slight smirk coming across her face. "Well, the part about me being blind was technically right," She added sarcastically. "But I know exactly where I am."

"Then I'll ask again," Said the man with the shaved head. "What are you doing here?"

"Making a killing," She responded with a smirk. "Perhaps in more senses than one," She added, her side sword scraping against the wood of its scabbard as she drew it slowly, its keen edge glistening in the light.

The man atop the ramp laughed. "So a blind girl thinks she can collect the bounty on my head? That's just insulting. Well, men, you know what to do." Snapping his fingers, he sneered as his guards reached for their weapons in turn. Ren merely smiled, however, and leveled her sword.

'Leo, can you hit him from here?'

'Can a swallow fly?' Shot back the booming, confident voice of her partner, audible only to her.

'I'll leave it to you,' Replied the girl, bracing herself to lunge.

The guards drew their weapons.

BGM: Absolute Configuration - Yuki Kajiura

A loud boom filled the air, but rather than a gunshot, this sound instead came from the palm of the girl with the sword. The blade shot forward, grasped by an astral hand several times the length of the girl's own limb. The blade crossed the distance instantly, driving itself through the chest of the man with the gun. As a spurt of scarlet claret flew into the air, Ren was already moving, a burst of air concentrating itself beneath her feet as matching spectral limbs momentarily became manifest, launching her forward. As Ren drew back her own arm, the phantom limb clutching the sword matched the motion, snaking its way back to her hand, which closed itself around the hilt of her weapon.

The second guard screamed in fear and surprise, frantically leveling his gun and firing, only for his bullet to miss entirely as his target flew upward into the air, flipping head over heels and landing directly behind him, slashing deftly with her sword to carve open his throat as he tried to turn to strike her. The man with the shaved head gave a gasp of surprise as, almost simultaneously, the bodies of his guards fell limply to the ground. With a snap, a concealed gun hidden in his sleeve fell into his hand, and, raising it, he fired in an instant directly at the girl. A loud resounding clang filled the air as the assassin raised her hand before her face, predicting the course the bullet would take before it was even fired, the man's precise aim serving only to indicate exactly where she would need to block to defend herself.

The bullet fell in a crumpled mess to the ground, the only sign it had hit its target being a hole in the girl's upraised palm, exposing a dented sheet of metal beneath the skin.

"Magitech and magic at the same time...?!" The man gasped, his eyes wide. "But... how? What the hell are you?!" He cried, stepping backward as he raised his pistol again, preparing to fire a second shot. Ren merely swept down her hand, the spectral hand of her partner appearing around it and streaking forward, slamming into the upraised weapon and batting it out of her stunned victim's hand. Clenching her hand into a vise-like grip, the astral limb surrounding it moved it turn, grasping the man by the throat and lifting him into the air. He flailed frantically, swinging out his leg to kick at the girl's extended hand, striking her wrist and forcing her back, dropping him in the process. Landing on all fours, he gave a wild scream, drawing a knife from within his cloak and lunging forward. The blind girl hopped back, landing at the foot of the boarding ramp, and raising her sword as she did so to deflect the man's attack. Twisting to the side, she parried, leading him forward, before slipping away, sending him stumbling off of the ramp. Falling forward but rolling into a crouch, he raised the weapon with a reverse-grip as the young bounty hunter came on once again, striking twice rapidly with her sword to expertly twist the knife from his hand, before bringing forward her back hand, clenched into a fist. With a loud snap, the astral limb once again projected itself, slamming square into the man's jaw and sending him rolling backward across the floor of the dock. Walking calmly forward, the girl lowered her blade, placing its razor sharp tip at his throat as he tried to rise.

"Giren Alvaris: a high ranking member of the mob and perpetrator of countless counts of murder, fraud, and theft," Recited the girl coldly. "For your crimes against civilization, you have been marked for death."

"And you think I'll just let you kill me?!" He roared, grasping the sword held against his neck and forcing it aside in a single sudden motion. He rolled to the side, blood streaming from his hand as he rose shakily to his feet, drawing a pair of pistols from within his coat. "I don't know what the hell kind of trick you're using, but the show's over!" He screamed, firing wildly at her. This time, the shots were too spread out to predict their paths and defend herself. However, by sacrificing his earlier precision, he made it all too easy to dodge. Blurring left, then right, then left again, she darted back and forth, evading his aim each and every time a split second before he fired, slowly closing with him.

"What the hell are you...?! Why won't you die?!" He howled, firing again and again. His guns clicked as their cartridges ran out, but, without delay, he simply cast them aside and drew one last firearm, continuing to shoot. "Fall... Come on, FALL!" He was growing panicked now, backing up slowly until he stood at the very edge of the airship dock, just inches between him and a one mile drop into the city at the base of the cliff far below.

"Fall...!"

The sound of a gunshot and the whistling of the wind as the girl slipped out of his firing arc again.

"Fall!"

Another miss. He had nowhere left to run.

"FALL!"

Click. His last weapon was empty.

'Finish him,' bellowed the voice inside the bounty hunter's head. 'Come on, we've played around with this one enough. Just kill him already!'

'I don't need you to tell me that,' Thought back the girl angrily, bracing herself for one final strike.

The wind whistled around the airship dock, the girl's mantle and scarf flowing in the wind as a final spurt of blood flew into the air, the shimmering blade of the girl's sword piercing through her target's heart.

"You fall," She hissed, swiping the blood from her sword as the man gave a pathetic gurgle, then slowly began to topple backwards. Then, the wind at last took him, and he fell down... down... down...

"Perish."

Far below the dock, the man's body struck the ground, and was reduced to a fine red paste.

BGM: Sis Puella Magica - Yuki Kajiura

'Dramatic as always, I see,' Snarked the air elemental within her head as she turned, sheathing her sword and heading for the exit. 'Why'd you let him live that long, anyway? You're usually way too quick about these sorts of things, but you dragged that one out quite a bit, didn't you?'

"I underestimated him since I didn't know what weapons he had. I've already corrected my mistake."

"Ooh. Miss perfect misjudged her opponent? That's unusual." Leo's booming, mocking chuckle filled her mind... only to halt suddenly as a strange feeling came over the both of them.

'Leo, I'm sensing some sort of power at work here. Is this an attack?'

'Oh, quit being so paranoid. This isn't nearly strong enough to harm us, and if it were a curse, I could just dispel it. If any thing, it feels like we're being analyzed by somethi- WHAT?!'

'What is it?'

'This power... it's not the magic of mortals.'

'Is it an elemental spirit?' Ren asked, wondering if another being like her partner was at work here.

'Worse,' Said the air spirit gravely, all hints of mirth gone from his voice. 'It's a god.'

'What?!' Ren asked, her blind eyes opening for a moment in surprise. 'Has the divine realm noticed your presence here and decided to purge you?'

'I have no idea! But we're definitely the focus of this strange energy, and it's getting stronger. I think something other than me is trying to change the nature of your existence - something divine.' The air spirit said. 'Brace yourself. I doubt a normal mortal would notice something like this, but since you're connected to the spirit world through me, whatever change is about to happen could be rather painful for both of us.

The bounty hunter had very little time to process this warning before it began. Starting in her feet and swiftly rising up through the ground and spreading within her entire body, she could feel a surge of power tearing through her, filling the gaps left within her hollow soul by her unnatural partnership, and in turn pressing against the spirit within her, nearly tearing her apart. With the conduits for magic in her body blocked by the influence of her prosthetic limbs, and her soul filled by the air spirit Leo, there was very little room for the divine power within her body, causing it to overflow and rush throughout her in a surge of uncontrollable power. However, compared to the spirit inside her, she had it easy. Leo gave a wild howl as he was nearly forced from her soul, overwhelmed by the power of the god flowing into her.

Ren understood what was happening to her instinctively. She had been chosen by a being of great power to fulfill an objective, and granted the means to do so, throwing her fate into disarray and altering the nature of her existence. After all, this wasn't the first time this had happened to her. But this time, things were different. This wasn't a contract in which she could bargain for her own wishes to be fulfilled. This was a command from a higher being, which she would have no choice but to obey.

"Nine were chosen to be the new Heroes of this world, to stop the threat of the Jackals, which seek to end everything. Find your way to the Grand Capital, the meeting point of all kingdoms. Once there find each other, and once you have I will find you."

Gazing down at her right arm as the awesome power within her subsided, forging itself into a brand upon the back of her artificial hand, Ren caught her breath as the roars of her partner abruptly ceased.

'What... in the hell...'? Groaned the air spirit.

'We're going,' Ren said calmly. 'We'll take Giren's airship. He won't be needing it anymore. That should serve as sufficient proof that we completed our task. With the money from the bounty, it'll be easy enough to resupply, then make our way to the capital and find whatever awaits us there.

'Are you kidding? You're seriously going to start just serving as a god's pawn? That never ends well. We should just ignore it, and go on with our lives.' Ren shook her head at Leo's protests, chuckling to herself.

'I'm already the avatar of an elemental spirit who's eating my life away. Who cares how it'll end? I'm probably going to disappear before that time comes anyway. Might as well do something with what's left of my life before I go. Serving a god to save the world sounds like a decent way to pass the time.'

'Actually... about that. Do you have any idea how much power was just used to rewrite your existence? Your life force is higher now than it's ever been. You might have only been set for another month or so before now, but I'd say that, assuming we don't have to use too much power to fight, you could live for another ten years at least. So, why throw that away?'

'Because,' Ren said grimly. 'If nobody acts, this world will never change. Ever since we forged our contract, I've made my goal in life the rooting out and extermination of evil. Why should I stop now, when the ultimate chance to eradicate all of the evils of the world is within my grasp? Even assuming I did just go back to my life, what would I do? I have no home, no belongings, no relatives or acquaintances, and nothing to do with myself but fight. And, besides... The chance to fight the most powerful destructive force in the history of this world sounds kind of fun, doesn't it?'

'Kehehehe... Hahahaha... GYAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Now that's more like it! And here I was worried you'd gone soft on me! That's the girl with whom I made a contract! Very well, then, my vengeful sword, Renevari Lehsade! I'll lend you my powers to fight in this war! Roared the air spirit, his voice booming with excitement at the prospect of the battles to come.

Then it's settled, Spoke the bounty hunter's inner voice, making her way up the boarding ramp of the airship. Opening the hatch, she stepped inside the small craft, flipping several switches to activate the ship's magitech engine and start the lift generators. Releasing the docking clamps, she guided the craft free of the airship port, sailing it into the skies above, and towards the destiny that had been granted her...
"The Apocalypse is basically just a tutorial." - Sicon112.

"Due to the ambiguity of this wording, I am unable to determine whether or not I am the leader of the X-Men!"
"UNIVERSE-BREAKING EPILEPSY RAVE!" - AMimsyBorogove
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby Tohrinha on Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:52 pm

The weasel’s nose emerged from around the trunk, shortly followed by the rest of the animal. It rustled the leaves and debris as it foraged. Slinking up to each burrow, it poked its nose down, sniffing for food. Not finding any mice, it moved around another tree.

Its whiskers vibrated as the breeze blew a scent towards it from across the deer trail. A moment later, it saw the squirrel scratching at a widening hole beneath a tree root. Every few seconds, the squirrel would lift its head up from its work, then return to digging. The weasel twitched its ears. It began to move, darting in short bursts of energy, zig-zagging toward its target.

Gerry saw the weasel at the same time it caught sight of the squirrel. He relaxed his stance, letting the rock rest in the sling’s pocket. If he was lucky, the weasel would go for the squirrel, and he could nab it after. Weasel pelt might go for a good bit, just take finding the right buyer back in the city.

He didn’t dare move too much -- the only reason the squirrel’d come this close was because he’d stayed motionless for a good quarter of an hour, even with him behind a bush -- but he rolled his shoulders back to loosen them up.

The squirrel had finally noticed its danger. It froze, watching the weasel as it jumped. Gerry shifted his grip on the sling. He swung the sling back, about to whip it around, and--

A voice started talking in his head.

Gerry swore and dropped the sling, not noticing as the squirrel dashed away, the weasel almost immediately behind it. He stared around at the forest, but no one was in sight. And the voice was definitely somewhere between his ears.

“A’ight, where’s the buttercape?” Gerry grumbled as he grabbed the sling. “Can’t have been a mushroom, I’d have squashed it. Buttercape, buttercape… Maybe noxtooth. Bet it was in a crack on a tree somewhere. Oh shut up. I’m going to the Capital already, don’t need you to hurry me along.” He glared at thin air while he tried to tune out the… woman, he guessed.

“Great. Now I’m talking to it.”

Gerry stumped back to where the trail ran close to the forest path, his dinner forgotten.
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby Victin on Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:54 pm

"Nine were chosen to be the new Heroes of this world, to stop the threat of the Jackals, which seek to end everything. Find your way to the Grand Capital, the meeting point of all kingdoms. Once there find each other, and once you have I will find you."

Blinking, the elf rose from his afternoon nap and yawned. He rubbed his eyes, to make sure they were open, and then quickly closed them again as sunlight broke through an open window and attacked his eyes. After a few lazy seconds, Valerian finally rose from his bed and walked to a chair in front of an oval mirror and a wooden cabinet. "Nine were chosen to be the new Heroes of this world," he echoed in his mind as he slowly scrubbed his white hair, "to stop the threat of the Jackals, which seek to end everything.". He chuckled. "That could be an idea for a new act. Though we already present the ones about the heroes of old."

He kept braiding his hair, but that strange sentence refused to leave his mind. Valerian chuckled at himself for taking a weird dream residue so seriously, and judging his hair untangled started braiding it into his casual ponytail. Glancing to his right, Valerian envied the coat stand that wore his Mage-in-Red costume, but the manager had forbidden him from wearing it less than a few hours ago, and he usually waited longer to come up with an excuse that'd allow him to dress it outside the show. From the brim of his hat, a tiny creature watched him.

"Good afternoon, Kukri." He said with a smile. The small mouse turned into an equally small butterfly that zigzagged into the air and sat on Valerian's shoulder. In turn, Valerian finished braiding his hair, and was happy with what he saw on the mirror. It was then the elf noticed a strange tattoo on the back of his hand, that wasn't there when he went to sleep.

"I didn't have any alcohol for lunch, and I'm sure I didn't sleep from yesterday till now and woke up hangover." The butterfly lost its wings, and grew into a scaly green creature that wrapped itself around its master's arm and hissed its tongue at the tattoo. "Did Devin come around while I was asleep and played some sort of prank on me?" Kukiri nodded negatively. "Are you sure? Weren't you asleep either?" This time the snake simply tilted its head to the side.

Valerian was puzzled. This didn't seem like one of the blue troll's pranks; too obvious and he couldn't see much of an amusing end for it. He sprung up and the snake jumped, and now a butterfly flew around. The elf walked to the window and leaned outside, feeling the warmth of a sunny day. He saw the blue waves of Grand Capital's bay shimmer as a light wind blew, ships entering and leaving the docks, and workers taking large crates from and to the inside of said ships.

"The air here smells like saltwater, doesn't it? I've always prefered sweets anyways." He turned around, and in a few seconds his torso was naked and his plain white shirt in his hands. He opened the wardrobe, put the shirt in a coathanger and took a striped -No, checkered - shirt with buttons to wear. Looking on the mirror, Valerian saw a barefoot elf wearing a brown and beige shirt and plain black pants. He envied that coat stand even more right now.

"You know what, Kukri, our show will only happen on the weekend, and the manager did say he'd not be slacking off all week long but advertising ourselves and stuff. Since we're going out for a walk, we might as well as help in that task, no?" The butterfly grew and became a whistling mockingbird, the circled the entire room in agreement.

Quickly, the common elf was a naked elf, and the naked elf started putting on his costume as swiftly as it was elvenly possible. "Even if this is one of Devin's pranks, at least I have an excuse to go around town in character. Maybe we will find some other trolls around with tattoos just like mine and an unbelievably intricate plot that'll amuse us for once." Kukiri's shape changed as it became a bird with a dog for a head, and then it barked.

"But be quiet!" The dog-bird hybrid disappeared and a small lizard fell in an arc straight into the mage's pocket. Valerian made sure he was wearing the whole costume, his grimoire was in his pocket, his staff in his hands, what else... Oh right, keys, wallet, this, that, and he left enthusiastic at the perspective of an amusing adventure.
Dolphins are some of the smartest animals, yes, but by human standards… Let's say you should praise the god that forces them to stay handless and underwater.
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby narrativedilettante on Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:13 am

Desdemona’s meal was interrupted by the intrusion of an angry gentleman. Well, “gentlemen” was a generous term. The man who pounded his fists on the table was unkempt, with stubble on his chin and his shirt misbuttoned. “I’ve got a bone to pick with you!” He growled.

“May I ask what this is regarding?”

“You cursed me!”

Desdemona smirked. “It is my job. Appropriate countermeasures are in the hands of the customer, if you’d like to take it up with them.”

“It’s too late!” Said the man. “Thanks to you, tonight was ruined, and now you’re gonna make it up to me, one way or another!”

“I’m sorry,” sighed Desdemona, putting down her fork at last, “I curse so many people. It’s difficult to keep track. What is the nature of the ill that I inflicted upon you?”

“Lesions,” sneered the man.

“Oh yes? Where?”

“Don’t get smart with me! I can’t exactly show you where. Not when we’re in polite company.”

The darkened, ill-reputed tavern was hardly what Desdemona would call “polite company,” but it hardly mattered. She knew who this fellow was now.

“Ooooohhhhh. You’re Ivan. Miss Teller was terribly upset when she saw you with that milkmaid, you know.”

“I know. But you’ve got me all wrong, there wasn’t anything to it, Rosie’s always accusing me of these things when she’s got no reason to worry! She’s the only one for me, I swear. There’s never been anyone else. But then she goes and curses me and skips town and then I’m chatting to another ladyfriend and guess what, the stupid curse scares her off!”

Desdemona arched an eyebrow disdainfully. “If, as you say, Miss Teller was the only one for you, then I should think that any other ladyfriends would not be in a position to encounter your malady.”

“You’d better watch your mouth, lady,” growled Ivan, reaching out and grabbing Desdemona by the throat. Men were always underestimating her strength. She found it terribly amusing. “I’ve had a very difficult night and I won’t have you slinging accusations about me.”

“Of course not, sir,” said Desdemona. She managed to keep any amusement out of her voice, but didn’t quite manage to sound terrified. No matter. “I’m afraid I don’t have the means to draw your ladyfriend back to you, but I can help you get back at Miss Teller, if you’d like.”

“Keep talking.”

“Well, for a handful of gold pieces, I could do to her something rather similar to what I’ve done to you. Or, if your pockets are somewhat deeper, we could get a little more… creative.”

“Creative,” repeated Ivan. “I like the sound of that. Hey, do you think we could give her debilitating stomach cramps? Or… a plague of locusts flying out of her mouth? How about… Hey, are you listening to me?”

Desdemona stared into the distance, looking as if she was concentrating deeply on something outside of Ivan’s perception.

“Hey, I’m talking to you!”

Ignoring him, Desdemona stood from her chair and began walking toward the door of the tavern.

“I thought we were making a deal!” Ivan lunged forward and grabbed the mage’s arm through her cloak. She shook him off, sending him crashing into a table, and left without another word.

A few days later, Desdemona arrived at another tavern, also dark and disreputable, and looked around. The mark on her hand had tingled when it first appeared, but at this point her skin didn’t feel any different than it had before. “Excuse me,” she asked the bartender, holding up her hand, “Have you seen this on anyone else lately?”
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after.
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby Sicon112 on Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:10 am

With a thousand individual crashes that melded together to become a roar, the airship tore through the forest canopy, splitting the earth as trees were uprooted by the force of its violent demise. Bowling through the last line of trees as the metal keel of the gondola dug a trench into the rain soaked soil, the craft slid to a halt with a loud groan, and not a moment too soon. The dented and mud-stained bow of the once noble craft, fanciful decorations shattered and strewn about the landscape behind them, dangled precariously hundreds of feet above the river at the base of the immense chasm far below.

With a shout of surprise, a figure in black flew head over heels over the railing, flipping over mid flight and narrowly managing to grasp the edge of the deck with a single gloved hand. Fingers sliding over once polished wood, the masked form of Procyon slid a few more inches toward the distant ground, gasping for breath. Bracing himself to swing his other hand up far enough to grab the rail above that would provide much better purchase for his grip, Procyon raged within his mind, cursing and roaring mentally at the occupants of the ship above, but unable to voice his tirade as his body tried to regain the wind it had lost. It was at that moment that a tall shadow loomed over him, back lit by the lightning in the clouds above. The man's long silver hair, now soaked with rain and dirt, hung behind him as he glared down at the vulnerable dragon below before raising his foot and stomping down.

With an involuntary flinch and a cry of pain Procyon began the long drop ahead, or would have, if he hadn't frantically flung out the abhorrent chains tied around his neck with his free hand at the moment of impact. The golden spike at the end embedded itself deep into the crumpled metal shell of the airship, the punctured steel twisting inward with the impact and serving to hold the chain head in place as the momentum of Procyon's fall suddenly turned into a long swing, flinging him up over the port rail of the airship as he let out a victory roar.

The silver-haired man, still standing along the starboard rail, whirled around to face the sound, a look of dawning horror replacing the smug expression he had been casting into the abyss below before Procyon had suddenly disappeared from his view. Landing amidships with his coat flying out around him, the masked dragon fell into a roll to dissipate the momentum of his fall, and fluidly turned the forward roll into a blindingly quick leap, the pounce of a predator as it closed with its trapped prey.

The silver-haired man barely managed to begin an exclamation of fear before the leaping dragon clamped a hand around his neck and flung him through the door to the aft cabin, shattering the wooden frame with another crash, taking the obviously high-born man out of the fight. However, Procyon's triumph was interrupted by a blur of black and silver that sailed by him at ridiculous speeds, spinning like a top.

The dragon was hurled aside, crashing into the starboard railing again, which bent under the impact, but held. Snarling as a gash appeared across his chest, Procyon stood and faced the tiny, cackling old man, perched confidently upon his peg leg as he balanced on the railing of the poop deck. Laughing aloud again, he faced down the enraged dragon, silver cutlass in hand as his black tailcoat blew in the storm winds. "Well well well... I have to admit that you've done a pretty fine job of this hijack, youngster. You even made it all look like an assassination attempt on the young master in there." He motioned casually to the cabin below his feet, where the nobleman lay probably unconscious or dead. "But the ruse is over, I'm afraid." Grinning amicably even as he radiated a palpable intent to attack, he ignored the aura of fury leaking from the one he was addressing. "See, when mysterious masked marauders in tacky coats go around raiding magician's workshops and alchemist's laboratories, word gets around, and I'm afraid that an alchemist of my calibre can't afford to have his most precious works stolen so easily. You've got guts, but this is where you meet your end!"

Procyon's building rage finally reached its peak, and he responded to the condescending alchemist with a shout and a battle roar. "Don't look down on a dragon, you scum! I'll tear you limb from limb!" As the old human cackled once more and leaped toward Procyon, spinning in a whirlwind of crazed laughter and silvery steel, the dragon jumped up to meet him as his gloved hand flashed with a deep blue power, refusing to be forced on the defensive.

The two flying forms crashed into each other a blur of black, blue, and silver, and Procyon went flying sideways, his arm shattering the glass window of the cabin as his head slammed into the stairs up to the aft deck. The old man landed on the very tip of the bow, once more balanced on his peg leg, and opened his mouth to speak, but caught the glare of a single, inhuman, brilliantly gold eye from beneath a mask of stone. Underneath the weight of a glare born from decades of hatred, his voice faltered for an instant, and then anything he would have said was cut off by the crack of splintering wood. A tiny flash of blue, immediately washed away by the distant white of lightning high above, tore the dark oak of the alchemist's peg leg asunder, and with a cry of shock he twisted and fell backwards into the chasm, vanishing towards the foaming river far below.

Standing once more, Procyon walked slightly unsteadily as the rush of adrenaline from the recent combat slowly faded. Turning to where the old alchemist had been a moment before, he addressed the air. "A dragon takes what he wants. Humans like you are fit to be nothing but the basest prey."

It was at that point that a bolt of light split off from the lightning far above and crashed down on the surprised dragon as he raised a hand futile to ward it off with a shout. Foreign power rushed through Procyon's mind, and the world abruptly dropped away into a sea of blackness. Stumbling as the many seals trapping him in his human body clashed with this strange new energy flowing through him, he cried out in pain even as a voice filled his ears, volume shifting as wildly as the conflict in his being, sometimes deafening, sometimes nigh impossible to hear. "Nine were chosen to be the new Heroes of this world, to stop the threat of the Jackals, which seek to end everything. Find your way to the Grand Capital, the meeting point of all kingdoms. Once there find each other, and once you have I will find you."

Violently torn back to the present by a loud crack of splintering wood under a boot, Procyon had no chance to even begin to comprehend what was going on as the opposing energies still clashed with his soul as the battleground. Whirling around, Procyon was just in time to get the air knocked from his lungs once more by the flying form of the young nobleman he had cast aside moments ago. Propelled by his anger, the young man tackled the unprepared dragon, shouting at the top of his lungs as his feet left the ground and both beings tumbled toward the bow in a heap of limbs. "GET OFF MY SHIP, BASTARD!" Then with a loud creak the delicate balance of the airship was disrupted, and the whole mass ponderously tilted, and subsequently plummeted down into the pit deep below.

--------

The roar of ever-flowing water filled Procyon's ears, replacing the blackness that had filled his mind for an unknown amount of time. He gradually became aware of the wood below his sprawled form. Opening his single golden eye, Procyon groaned in pain as his vision swum back and forth, a blur of blue-white and sandstone red-orange. Slowly bringing what was in front of him into focus, he saw a thin, rock-strewn shore perhaps four meters away, and beyond that, a cliff wall that rose up, and up, and up, far past how far he could turn his sore head. His predator's instincts, honed to a fine edge not once, but twice in his life, once during his youth, and again after his forced transformation and the loss of everything he had ever known, focused his eye on a splotch of bloody red on the shoreline, and a bit of white fabric that attached to something on the far side of a rock. The sight brought the image of a silver-haired nobleman to mind, and memories slowly started to flow back into his mind.

Gingerly raising himself up slightly from the shattered deck of the airship, he looked around and saw that the wood he had been lying on was part of the bow of the broken craft, which had split in half at some point in time. Noticing a strange shadow, the dragon tilted his head upward to where the stern half of the ship, still in one piece, hung firmly wedged between the cliff walls about seven meters above the river, but the remaining fragment of the prow where he lay was jammed between two rocks in the middle of the rain-swollen river's wild current. Stumbling, Procyon started to slowly get to his feet when suddenly another loud crack echoed between the canyon walls. Groaning to himself, Procyon had just enough time to wonder if in the future that noise would be permanently attached to his sense of impending doom before part of the half-ship snagged on the rocks snapped free and wreckage and dragon alike were consumed by the torrent of blue and whisked away toward the distant ocean, and the city that sat at its edge. Fate had no intention of letting the bitter, exiled dragon escape the path that had just been set before him.
Normal people are the easiest to manipulate. Too smart and they have an annoying tendency to catch wind of your plans, too dumb and, in the words of a certain pirate, "You can never tell when they are about to do something incredibly...stupid."
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby Endless Sea on Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:48 pm

Perched invisibly atop the crown of a nearby tree, Julian bit back a swear as he watched the nobleman’s wrecked airship groaned and plummeted off the edge of the canyon, tracing a smoky path through the air as it fell towards the river below. Evidently Procyon hadn’t been satisfied with merely smashing the craft through half a forest and murdering everyone inside, no, he had to throw it off a cliff, too.

Next time I meet up with Timekeeper Command,, he thought, I’m asking for a backup squad. If they seriously think I can take this guy alone, either they screwed up their intelligence gathering, or their braincases are malfunctioning or something.

The acute magitech sensors in his optics refocused, settling their gaze on the stream of debris flowing from the ruins of the airship, now securely lodged in the riverbed. Procyon would be down there, the clockwork reasoned. It was highly doubtful that someone so strong would die from just a-

Julian?

Julian tensed. A foreign voice in his head- and one he recognized, at that. Memories of his junior years, of a poorly planned battle in an unfortunately fragile church, sprang to mind, and his brass-bound countenance broke into a grimace. M’lady Lucia, he thought. Still very sorry about trashing that shrine, I had no clue that I would-

A good-natured chuckle washed through Julian’s mind like the river below him. Julian, we’ve been over this already. Twice.

The Timekeeper bowed his head. ...Apologies, m’lady. But if not that, then what could you possibly need to talk to me for?

For now, all I require of you is to head to the Grand Capital. Once you’ve made your way there, I will explain everything.

Julian frowned. Grand Capital… I hate to drop everything all of a sudden like this, but if a goddess asks, I’ve no choice but to obey to the best of my ability, I suppose. Still, before I go- isn’t there anything else you’re willing to tell me?

Yes, Lucia replied. Watch out for Jackals.

Jackals.

That was a name he wasn’t expecting to hear in that context. Suddenly, things were starting to fall into place.

Understood, m’lady, Julian thought, turning in the direction he knew Grand Capital lay in. In that case, I’ll be on my way.
So, apparently I'm the sanest madman this side of the international date line. Seems legit.
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby Lordxana0 on Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:16 pm

Event 1: Welcome to the Grand Capital

The Grand Capital was built years ago in order to act as a meeting ground between the various races, a place where no one people had more power than any other. That being said the city has its fair share of corruption, and there of course people who will give others the occasional look and neighborhoods that will have certain races reaching for their sword just in case. Despite that the Heroes have been called here to meet, but its a big city and a lot can happen before they meet up.

Optional Missions

Optional missions are just that, optional quests players can take before the next big event happens and the story moves along. These allow players to build up on story, gain new equipment, and quest with their other friends. Once everything is said and done the GM will reward players for their actions and the next event will be posted. Event 1 and all optional missions will end on July 16th, or sooner if they are all completed/no one wants to take those remaining.

Optional mission 1: A False Smile

While walking through the city one might find themselves in a large area boasting an impressive number of people performing various tricks and playing music. One that might catch a persons eye is a female dragon in human form dancing. However the smile on his fake is quite false, and if one looked closely at the collar on her neck they would see it had a remote detonation rune built in. One could inform the guard, find the performer, or just ignore it and watch the dance. That remains up too you.

Optional mission 2: Hunter becomes Hunted

While walking through the Bazaar you see a young elf wearing a black overcoat and carrying two elves running from a various attachment of guards. With a quick look you notice there is a symbol on the elf's back, the symbol of the Demigod of Honesty Ijum. People who wear the symbol are followers of Ijum, and those who wear the coat and the symbol are hunters of creatures known as Shapechangers. Shapechangers are devious creatures who love causing chaos and are born without any care for other people. The fact a hunter of these creatures is on the run raises a number of questions. You could help the guards, or help the man, or just ignore it all together.

Optional mission 3: Knowledge Aflame

As you walk around the city you notice that a column of smoke is rising from uptown, and upon arriving there you notice a building on fire and a number of water mages trying to put it out. When asked you are informed that the fire is a result of a summoning gone wrong, a summoning that called in an elemental flame spirit that exists simply to burn everything and disappear. Normally in this case the city would block off the building and let it be, but this building houses a number of ancient tomes of magic, and if they are destroyed they might never be recovered. Oh and there might be a few people left inside. A small group of young people who were there on an academy trip and got trapped inside when the accident happened.

Optional mission 4: Old Parts

A bit of a commotion down town is occurring as a rather old Clockwork person has suddenly gone berserk and has begun attacking random people with a forgers hammer. Its body was built to survive heavy damage, and despite its age can still take a large amount of damage. If it isn't stopped people and property might get hurt. It will probably be a good idea to stop it before that happens.

Optional mission 5: Live by the Sword

In the part of town where most of the performers conduct their business a large crowd has gathered around a man who wears the garb of a wandering soldier. At his feet is a pan filled with gold. He tells the crowd that if any can defeat him in single combat he will give the victor not only all the gold, but the sword he wields. Anyone who is well versed in ancient legend will recognize he weapon as Mankizu, the Katana of Biting Despair. It is said that if one uses it the sword will slowly drain their lives, but also make them near impossible to beat. Battling against him could offer great experience, and possibly a few lessons. Or maybe another blade he has on him.

Optional mission 6: Justice by Fire

In the large outdoor courts close to the center of the city a trial is currently being held. A young Dwarf mage is being accused of using magic to make a member of Elven royalty fall in love with him. If new evidence isn't gathered within three hours the Dwarf will be burned at the stake for the crime of using magic to control another. The Elven woman is being held away from speaking by her father, who seems to have a rather cruel look about him an an Aura of evil energy coming off of him (Evil energy isn't the same as Dark Magic, it has more to do with worshiping Demon Gods).

Optional mission 7: Have a Laugh

Disaster has struck at the local pub as their usually comedian has fallen ill! The Goblin pub owner is frantically searching for a new comedy act who will keep his customers happy and make sure he doesn't lose the business he needs to keep him alive! He is searching specifically for people who can do something that will make the people laugh, and you might just be the hero he needs in order to make sure he doesn't go under.
Who you going to call? ME!
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby AMimsyBorogove on Sat Jun 28, 2014 12:16 am

The wind rustled the hair of the blind bounty hunter as she stood on the bridge of her newly acquired airship, her scarf and mantle billowing around her as she folded her arms, the spectral figure of a white lion blinking in and out of existence beside her.

"How close are we to the city?" Ren asked, not liking being unable to see where the ship was going. It had made landing a very awkward experience when they'd stopped to collect the bounty, since she'd had to rely on Leo's perceptions for everything. She did not wish to repeat that experience, but it seemed they would have no choice.

"Oh, calm down. Seeing you out of your element is amusing, but it's also pathetic. Just rely on me like always, and we'll make it to land." Sighed the spectral beast, his form visible only to his avatar as he strolled casually around the large wheel behind which his partner stood. "Ooh. There's a small dock on the outskirts of the city. Looks pretty run down, but there are a lot of customized craft down there. Maybe we could get someone to touch up the ship while we're in town? We could add extra cannons. More cannons are always nice."

"We could just as easily find someone to steal it in such a place," Said Ren, pointing out the obvious flaw with her partner's plan.

"Like we stole it to get here? Besides, you have a reputation across the country. Tell them who you are, and they'll think twice about crossing us. Ah, man, being infamous sure does have its perks!" The spirit laughed to himself, reaching up an arm to momentarily assume control of his host's corresponding limb to adjust the path of the ship. "Besides," He added. "This'll draw way less attention than landing in town. This ship is kind of gaudy, you know."

"I suppose it doesn't matter," Ren sighed, allowing her arms to steer the ship in accordance with the will of her spiritual partner. "Fine. We'll do things your way."

"Perrrrrrrfect," Purred Leo, guiding the ship into dock.

.....

A few minutes, a confused and subsequently terrified dock manager, and an unfortunate band of thugs who chose the wrong person to harass later, Ren found herself striding calmly down a largely empty street, wondering what exactly she was supposed to be doing now.

"See, this is why teaming up with gods is such a bore. They'll give you some epic quest to complete or a cryptic prophecy to fulfill, and then never actually make it clear what you're supposed to be doing," Grumbled Leo's internal voice within her mind.

"Considering my destiny was rewritten just a few hours ago, it probably doesn't matter what we do, so long as we're here and in position to encounter some sort of fortuitous accident that will point us in the right way," Reasoned Ren, stopping to sniff the air as something strange reached her keen senses.

"Is that smoke?" She murmured aloud.

"is that a spirit of elemental hellfire?" Wondered Leo inside her mind a moment later.

"See? Just like I said - something completely random and yet perfectly planned to guide us on our way."

"Gods work in mysterious ways. I'll give you that much," Grumbled the elemental. "But that doesn't change the fact that those ways are unbelievably stupid."

"Look, let's just go find out what's on fire and what we have to kill to fix things," Ren sighed, rubbing her head.

"Some kind of enclave two blocks west of here, and that hellfire elemental I sensed just now, respectively."

"You're such a genius, Leo. Whatever would I do without your astounding intellect?"

"Not kill dangerous criminals and save the world for your own personal amusement?"

"Indeed. Now come on. We have some fires to stomp out."
"The Apocalypse is basically just a tutorial." - Sicon112.

"Due to the ambiguity of this wording, I am unable to determine whether or not I am the leader of the X-Men!"
"UNIVERSE-BREAKING EPILEPSY RAVE!" - AMimsyBorogove
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby RussetDivinity on Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:59 pm

Lillia had never been in such a large city before. In fact, it had been a long time since she had been in any city at all. She had forgotten just how many people there would be, and she hadn’t realized how many would stare at her. At first she thought it had to be because of the mark on her hand, but soon she realized it was because she was dressed in dirt-stained, patched clothes and was just about the only person there who wasn’t wearing shoes. Once she found that out, she started sticking to the sides of the street, slipping along as quietly as she could. She wanted to get her answers and get out.

Unfortunately, that was proving to be harder than she had expected. Not only were the streets twisting, she didn’t know where to go to get her answers, and just when she thought she was getting the hang of the place, she ran into a cluster of people blocking the street. “This is why I hate cities,” she muttered, starting to weave her way through the crowd.

She didn’t get far before finding the street wasn’t actually a street but a little square with a fountain, with a beautiful woman dancing around it. Lillia paused, watching, before she realized something was wrong. The woman had a blank look on her face, as though she were imagining herself to be anywhere but there, and around her neck was a collar with a strange mark. It looked almost like a magical rune, but she didn’t know what sort it might be. She wasn’t well-versed in runes. Curious, she worked her way closer, stopping at the edge of the crowd.

---

Finding eight people out of thousands proved more of a challenge than Desdemona had anticipated. She considered the possibility that the others had yet to arrive at the city, or had kept a low profile for some reason. Or perhaps a few people wandering into town with marked hands and words of prophecy weren’t as remarkable as she would have thought.

None of the taverns had provided useful information, and Desdemona had taken to walking aimlessly through the streets, glancing at the hands of those she passed. No one displayed the same mark she possessed. After a while, the sights of the city began to distract her. It had been a while since she’d been in such a populous area, and the fire-eaters and illusionists were certainly eyecatching compared to goats and farmhands.

Most of the crowd was gathered around one performer in particular. She looked human, but in the same way that Desdemona did. The mage felt the same mix of emotions she encountered every time she met one of her own species, a sort of fellowship mixed with a deep-seated revulsion. The dancer was captivating, though, and Desdemona watched with the rest of the crowd. The expression on the dancer’s face was forced, and at first Desdemona assumed that it was just a matter of putting on a persona for the sake of her job. Desdemona did something similar, to earn the trust of her customers. The longer she watched, though, the more convinced she became that something was wrong.

---

Walking aimlessly around the Grand Capital, Valerian found himself struggling through crowds of people. ”Heavens alight. I hope I have not stumbled into one of those cursed open-air markets.” In the elf’s opinion you could find a hundred interesting things in an open-air market, but also ten times more useless things besides pickpockets and small thieves. ”Please watch over my wallet Kukri.” He whispered to the small lizard in his pocket.

However, he slowly came to the realization he actually was in a more artistic part of the town, with many street performers doing their art. Those also usually were full of pickpockets, but being a performer himself Valerian greatly enjoyed said places. He walked past a dwarf doing non-magical tricks with fire and a pair of humans playing some music in rustic instruments, but settled to watch instead a graceful human dancing to the sound of claps and running fountain water. Looking around, Valerian scanned the crowd in search of pickpockets, but the most unusual sights were a barefoot hobo and a hunchback hag watching the girl dance. It was no surprise - as a dancer, the elf was certain she charm even the pickiest of nobles. However as an actress she left so much to wish for. She certainly didn’t enjoy being here.

Valerian wondered why, and fixed his eyes on her. The dancer flew without letting her feet leave the ground, but he couldn’t enjoy her act if the artist didn’t enjoy it. Stepping closer, the elf had an idea. He was already in costume, why not play around a little? When she approached just enough, he sprang towards her, spun and finished with a bow. The dancer halted, confused. “May the dame concede me the honor of a dance?”

---

Lillia hadn’t known the audience could interact with performers. The last time she had seen a performance of any sort, it had been as though there was an invisible wall set up between the two sides. She had to admit, she rather liked this style better. It felt more organic, more alive, and life was what she loved. For a moment, she regretted not knowing more about the Fae style of dance. It might be interesting to combine it with the elven and dragon styles to form something different, something the audience would remember for years, or at least until something else caught her attention.

Instead, as the dragon hesitated, Lillia decided to do what she could. Reaching her magic into the ground, she found that beneath the cobblestone street were roots and the beginnings of plants. Unwinding her rope from around her waist, she encouraged them to grow, to reach up and to blossom. The plants emerged, turning the little square into a makeshift courtyard. Some of the plants were nothing but green weeds that were hardy enough to grow anywhere, but some of the weeds had beautiful flowers, and those were the ones that Lillia pushed to grow as strongly as they could, pushing aside the pricklier plants.

The magic hadn’t worn her out as much as she expected, and after returning her rope to its place, she began clapping in a rhythm she remembered from her childhood. It was an easy one to pick up, and it had been one of the easier dances. After a few of the audience members had joined in and were carrying it well, she stepped forward, allowing the leaves to bear her to the pair. “I hope you don’t mind if I join you,” she said, hoping to rise high enough to see the rune more closely.

---

Desdemona resented the interlopers for blocking her view. She was certain that if she could see more clearly, she could figure out what was keeping this unhappy dragon in her performance.

The dancer, for her part, accepted her new dance partners with grace, if not enthusiasm. And the rest of the audience seemed to love it, watching the three prance around the fountain. The dragon was clearly the most skilled of the three, but the young elf seemed competent at improvising, at least, and the fae woman moved with such enthusiastic determination that it was difficult to be put off by her lacking sense of sartorial expression.

Desdemona watched her examine the dancer’s collar, and drew her own eyes to the accessory. At first it looked like just another part of the costume, but the style didn’t quite match. A rune was written on the front of the collar, which could be part of a design but there were no other runes or symbols decorating the dragon’s other garments. Desdemona had only taken the one class on Runework during her university days, and she didn’t know enough to identify the symbol precisely, but it looked like it belonged to the family or runes that concerned explosions.

So the poor dragon was performing under the threat of death.

Though she hadn’t danced in… probably ever, Desdemona knew that she had to get in close to see if there was a way to undo the collar. She stood up straight, stepped in closer, and began to follow along with the rhythm.

---

As if the spontaneous transformation of the square into a garden wasn’t surprising enough, more people joined the dance. First the two strange sights from before, the hobo and the hag, but soon it seemed like the entire crowd, had joined into joyous dancing, clapping and even singing a popular rhyme. The dancer was confused, and even scared. “No, no, this shouldn’t be happening.” Valerian grabbed her hand and spun her closer to him.

“Calm down, my cherie. No need to be so worried. Your dancing was beautiful, so beautiful people couldn’t resist joining you. Relax, and enjoy the party.” He let her go, and kept an eye on her. Not because of her dancing, her appearance or that runic necklace that had a strangely familiar design, but because she seemed like a damsel in distress.

Distracted, the elf stumbled into a frowning little goblin, however before he could apologize the little one growled a curse and rushed with difficulty through the crowd. ”Sheesh. Is my wallet still there, Kukri?”

---

Even this close, Lillia didn’t recognize the rune. Of course, the wild Fae didn’t have much use for runecraft. After all, their magic was in their blood, and quite a few scorned those who needed to write down their work. She could feel the power behind it, however, and as she whirled and leapt in what she hoped were the right steps to the dance, she kept an eye on the crowd for anyone who might have put the mark on the dragon’s neck.

Her gaze caught a goblin muttering curses and hurrying through the crowd. He shot glares at the lot of them, especially the dragon, and whenever his gaze met hers, she trembled, though she was too skilled to miss a step. Even if he wasn’t the one, he was certainly suspicious. With a flick of the edge of her rope, Lillia made a cluster of dandelions twine around his ankles. The crowd paused, murmuring, and she stopped dancing to approach the goblin, who was now shouting loud enough to drown out the last few singers.

“How dare you?” he roared -- at least as much as a goblin could roar. “I demand you release me at once, or else --”

“Or else you’ll hurt the dragon?” Lillia asked. “Do that, and I’ll bury you alive.”

The dancer finally halted when the goblin hit the ground. Desdemona followed her gaze to the small creature. “Is that him?” She whispered. The dancer nodded. “I take it he’s the only one who can take this off?” Another nod. “Very well.”

The fae who’d brought all the plants into the square was not threatening the goblin, either through boldness or foolishness. Desdemona decided that more threats would be counterproductive, and tried a different method. “That’s some sloppy runework,” she told the goblin, suddenly drawing both his attention and the fae’s. “I guess you’d normally activate it from farther away, wouldn’t you? But collateral damage would limit your profits, so even if you did have a safe berth I’m assuming you wouldn’t want the blast area to include the entire square.”

“You’re joking,” said the goblin.

Desdemona smiled. “Of course you don’t want to take advice from a stranger. I understand. But I wonder how much you trust your own skills. Enough to risk your own life?”

The goblin glared at Desdemona for a moment before cursing. “All right. Tell your mage to let me up. I’ll take off the collar.”

“I’m no one’s mage,” the fae muttered, but she allowed the goblin to rise. He scurried to the dragon and got to work undoing the collar. It sprang away from her neck, and as soon as it had fallen to the ground, the fae bound him again with the plants. “Now what should we do with him?” she asked. “I vote we leave him here.”

Valerian watched in silence. At first he thought he had stumbled on something possibly dangerous and definitely illegal, but after the very same strange duo from before interrupted he noticed they too had a mark on the back of their hands. ”Could that devious troll have planned all of this?” For the elf, it all seemed too fortuitous to be a coincidence, but he didn’t know what move he should play next if he wanted to have fun with the game, so he decided to keep watching.

“Might as well leave him. These people need a source of entertainment now that the dancer’s free,” said Desdemona. She approached the dragon, who stood right where she had been, trembling with shock. “Are you all right?”

The dancer nodded. “Thank you,” she said. She looked at Desdemona with an expression of recognition, of familiarity, and it made Desdemona uncomfortable. She never knew how to handle members of her own species. Desdemona looked away, and spotted the elf who’d joined in the dancing earlier. He was also staring, and Desdemona got that same uncomfortable sense that he sensed something in common between them, when she rarely felt that she had anything in common with anyone.

“What are you looking at, little elf?”

“Nothing, nothing, just watching the show.”

Desdemona shook her head, puzzled by the mage’s casual attitude. She turned back to the fae who’d been so invaluable. “Thank you for your assistance.”

“I’m glad to help,” the fae said. “Though, in exchange, I don’t suppose you could tell me anything about this?” She held up her hand, revealing a gray mark. “I found it some days ago and came here to find answers.”

Desdemona’s eyes went wide. “I doubt I know any more than you do,” she said, holding up her own hand, “But perhaps we could look for answers together.”

The elf chuckled at both women.

“I’m sorry,” said Desdemona, “Do we amuse you?”

“To be sincere and frank, yes,” Valerian said, showing the mark on the back of his hand to both women, “Do you really expect me to believe in this?”

“You’ve got one, too,” the fae said eagerly. “I wonder how many of us there are. Maybe enough for an army.” She frowned. “I really have to figure this out.”

The elf didn’t even try to hide his giggling. “How long will you keep the acting?”

“Acting?” Echoed Desdemona. “What makes you think we’re acting?”

“What makes you think I’d believe to have been chosen by a god and not tricked to have a temporary tattoo on my hand?” Kukiri poked a tiny lizard head out of Valerian’s pocket.

Desdemona looked to the fae as if for some sort of explanation, but found none. “I’m all in favor of healthy skepticism, but for the three of us to have all been similarly tricked seems beyond the realm of reason.”

Valerian made an amused expression. “That assumes all of us are being played with instead of one of us being the fool and everyone else the tricksters.”

The fae pinched the bridge of her nose and closed her eyes. “Is it really so difficult to trust someone you’ve just met, elf? If we were chosen by a god, then it’d make sense that all of us have been drawn together. I don’t much like having my steps set out for me, but I’ll live with it until I know whether I ought to fight it or not.” She turned to Desdemona. “You’ve got some sense, at least. Could you show me where I might find answers in a city? I’ve been away from society for a long time.”

“Well, the first several places I thought to check proved fruitless, but I guess it’s premature to give up looking. We can see if the town criers have heard anything.”

“That sounds great! I’m Lillia, by the way.” The fae turned to Valerian. “You’re welcome to come too, but if you keep insisting it’s all a trick, I might use some vines to trip you up. I thought I’d give you some warning.”

“I’m not scared of falling, so I guess I’ll follow you.” He grinned at Lillia, and then gave a playful bow. “I’m the Mage-in-Red, Valerian.”

“Well met, Valerian,” said Desdemona with disdain. “Lillia,” she said more fondly. “My name is Desdemona.”

“Very well then. Will the ladies lead the way then?”

Desdemona shrugged. “I’m not particularly familiar with this city, but I guess I can play the guide in need be.” Making sure not to lose the others in the crowd, she began to lead the way out of the square, hopefully in the direction of some answers.
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby Tohrinha on Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:59 pm

Gerry stepped away from the trader to let another customer in. He worked his way back towards the edge of the market, dodging the taller people who didn’t look more than ten inches below their own chin, nodding to some of the others that recognized him. Some of the village meat hadn’t been smoked properly, but he had traded in the rest of his wares for a couple of silver-filled pouches, several fishbone whistles, and a sense of confusion.

Reaching one of the many side-streets leading away, he ducked into a shallow niche by a doorpost and examined the back of his hand. He hadn’t even noticed the mark before the trader pointed it out to him. Gerry shook his head, running his tongue along the back of his teeth. Could be the forest kids were getting quicker, or…

Gerry hated to call supernatural what could easily be explained by hallucinogens, but even buttercape would have worn off by now. He spat on the mark, trying to rub it off with his coat sleeve, but the swords remained as finely drawn as before. Nine of them. Either he was one of the nine, or he’d been marked as a target for some up-and-coming bandit group and now nine people were hunting him down, like that snake group that had taken down one of his cousins.

That voice in the woods had mentioned nine heroes, though.

Gerry pulled his sleeve down so that it half-covered the circle. He could always watch for others with the mark, so there was really no reason to go around parading it.

As he started back out into the street, a man barrelled into him, knocking him back against the wall. The man hastily spun around, holding his hands out to steady the goblin. “Sorry! Sorry--um, so…” he stuttered, glancing up the street. With a last flustered “sorry!” he edged away.

Gerry looked after him in confusion. The man hadn’t looked guilty, just… scared. “Hate to see how polite he’d be normally,” he muttered to himself, chuckling.

Now that he was listening, he heard shouts coming from where the man had run from. His regular inn lay in the other direction, which sounded perfectly normal. Gerry set off, thinking ahead to dinner, maybe cheating the doorman out of a few more coppers, then stopped with his foot in the air. It couldn’t hurt to just take a look. Heck, if there were a riot going on, it might be worth it to know to get out of the city a day or two early.

Gerry checked the sky. Still an hour, two hours away from sunset. “Agh. Fine,” he grumbled, swinging around. Plenty of time to scope things out before settling in.

He took a set of rickety stairs to the roofs when he got closer, climbing onto a flat stretch of hard mud. There weren’t any railings. Gerry peered cautiously over the edge into the square below, then leaned backwards, his feet suddenly feeling completely inadequate for keeping balanced. He’d lost his head for heights about the same time his eyebrows started turning grey. Gerry swallowed, then inched back toward the edge.

The shop across the way had its door half-shattered, one hinge gone along with the chunk of brick it was attached to. A carving in the shape of an anvil dangled over it. A smithy, then. In the doorway stood a clockwork person, hammer clenched in its hand. The rest of the plaza was mostly deserted, though a couple of elves hovered a good distance away, one still wearing a floury apron. As the clockwork brushed past the ruined door, the other shouted. “Paul! It’s all right, there’s no one out here. Just go back inside!”

The clockwork -- Paul -- continued forcing his way out of the smithy. The aproned elf took a shaky step forward, raising his hands. “It’s Anatoli, Paul! It’s a friend. Calm down. Calm--” The clockwork raised a stiff arm and brought the hammer smashing through the wood. The elf retreated as Paul pushed his way into the square.

Gerry pulled a bowstring from his pocket. The elves clearly had no idea what they were doing. Of course, neither did he, but at least he had a weapon and the luxury of not having a blacksmith’s hammer about to be thrown at his head.

He hoped.

Paul moved fast for a piece of machinery his size. He was halfway across the square in a worrisomely short time, the hammer held out to his side. His other arm stayed motionless, but just the hammer would be enough to wreck the entire plaza. Gerry grabbed an arrow from the quiver on his back, notched it to the string.

Anatoli’s companion grabbed his shoulder and pulled him with her, running straight towards a brick wall. There was a dark line there that could have been a passage of some sort, but Gerry didn’t bother trying for a better look. The clockwork was only a few feet out of range for his hammer. He drew the string back.

The arrow hit Paul squarely in the chest and pinged off. The clockwork never broke stride, but Anatoli’s friend looked back at the sound. She slowed just enough for Paul to swing his hammer forward.

She yelped, pushing Anatoli’s back before ducking out of the way. The hammer missed her head, catching her below her shoulder instead. The elf was thrown to the ground. She rolled once before stopping.

Gerry swore under his breath. He notched another arrow and drew, feeling the fletching brush his cheek before releasing. The clockwork had whole swaths of metal plate as skin, but there were still open areas, the gears showing through. If he could hit one of those….

The arrow hit Paul’s hip, and Gerry saw something small and shiny drop from his leg. The clockwork noticed the attack this time. He turned toward Gerry’s perch, the arrow shaft splintering with the motion. Gerry pulled out another arrow, whispering to his bow. Notch, draw. It flew into the same leg, the gears grinding again at the wood.

Paul was limping now, but he still whirled the hammer towards the building, taking out a chunk of plaster. Gerry knelt and gingerly leaned out from the roof. Another whisper to his bow, and the arrow shot down between Paul’s shoulder and neck, punching its way through small gaps in the machinery.

For a moment, Gerry feared that it would be crushed like his other arrows. Paul was preparing for another blow, his arm pulled back and starting to swing forward. Then it shuddered to a halt.

The clockwork was still staring up at him, apparently not noticing that its one arm was now as motionless as the other. Gerry let out his breath. He shot Paul in the other leg -- just to be safe -- before climbing down.

The elves were approaching warily by the time he’d reached the ground, the female grimacing as she walked. “Is he okay?” Despite the worry in his voice, Anatoli stayed well out of Paul’s reach as he asked.

“You c’n fix anything I did.” Gerry stood next to Paul, looking him over. The clockwork’s head moved slightly as they talked, but still said nothing. “You know him? Know anything about this?”

“We work across from him. We go out for a drink or a bite to eat sometimes, but mostly he stays in his shop.”

Gerry grunted, squatting to peer at the clockwork. “His arm’s rusted over.” He pointed out a few dark spots visible through the metal covering. “Could be the same thing happened up in his head somewhere. ‘m not really a mechanic.”

The other elf spoke up. “I thought magitech wasn’t supposed to do that. I’ve never had trouble.” When Gerry looked up, he saw her pointing at the side of her face. One eye was completely replaced, the metal spreading tendrils through her intact skin.

He shrugged, standing up and walking further into the square. “Ask someone who knows. And make sure your friend’s taking care of himself.” Gerry picked up his first arrow and inspected it before returning it to his quiver. “I’m sure there’s someone not too far from you that could check up on him every so often.”

He headed out of the plaza, rolling up his bowstring as he went. “Best of luck. I’ve got an inn to find.”
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby AMimsyBorogove on Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:38 pm

The cloaked figure walked calmly amidst the carnage, her scarf and pristine white mantle fluttering in the air rushing away from the fire that jetted forth from the windows and doors of the crumbling, blazing building. A dull, reverberating thud sounded across the courtyard as this breeze was deflected back towards the building, returning to the blind mercenary the details of the scene before her unseeing eyes. Water sprayed upward from the hands of an assembled group of mages and showered down on the fire, forcing it back only to be evaporated as the searing blaze rose ever higher, as though in defiance of their attempts to stifle it. Ren shook her head. A few magicians with low level spells would never overcome a powerful spirit in a contest of the elements. Still, they were keeping it at bay at the very least, which would make her job that much easier.

"Hey! Lady! Get away! Can't you see it's dangerous?!" Shouted a voice to her left as a man came rushing up beside her, laying hold of her shoulder and trying to drag her away from the building. Judging by the liquid that she could feel soaking into her mantle, he must have been one of the mages, probably one who had already exhausted himself trying and failing to fight the fire. Raising her hand, she gently, yet firmly took hold of his wrist and removed his hand, turning to face him with her eyes shut and a faint smirk playing upon her lips.

"That would be a rather difficult for me to do, I'm afraid," She said sardonically. "However, I assure you, I am well aware of the danger - and, more importantly, of its source."

She heard the mage opening his mouth as though to speak, then shutting it again. A moment later, he at last collected himself from his confusion. "What do you mean, miss?" He asked.

"An elemental spirit of fire has been summoned within that building. It embodies the raw essence of destruction, and will serve to imbue its conceptual nature into everything around it until it is banished back from whence it came. In short, nothing can stop these flames until it is dealt with."

"A spirit?" The man asked. "You mean some kind of rogue familiar?"

"No," Ren replied, shaking her head. "I mean a fully-fledged avatar of fire itself. Rather than a metaphysical entity given form by the will of a caster, it is a universal constant that is simply occupying a mortal body of its own choosing in order to proliferate its own essence within the physical world, thereby increasing its own power."

...

"...Sorry, what?" The mage asked.

"I don't think he gets it," Observed Leo with no small level of amusement.

"This is why I hate dealing with amateurs," Ren thought back with an audible sigh. "The long and short of it is that the thing inside that building isn't something you can fight with physical means, or with magic. You have to either kill whatever person it's possessing in order to make it leave," She explained as simply as she could.

"We're not authorized to kill anybody," Protested the mage. "There's gotta be some other way to stop it!"

"Well, you could simply attack it with a spirit of a related concept. For example, if you could convince an embodiment of water to help you, you could overwhelm it through the Natural Law of the Spirit World that dictates that fire cannot burn in water."

"How do we do that?"

"You don't, because spirits don't usually just pop into the physical world as they please like this," Ren sighed. "The being that's causing this fire is an aberration, you see. So, to really, properly fight it, your best bet is another being with an unnatural existence that exists both in the spiritual and physical planes."

"Well, then where in the bloody hell do we find one of those?!" The man screamed, his frustration boiling over.

"Find one?" The blind blonde gave a faint chuckle, her smirk broadening. "Why would you do that when there's already an unnatural existence here?"

"Huh?" Asked the man. "Who?"

The Emerald Manslayer raised her artificial hand, constricting it into a fist as, standing by her side, the spectral form of her partner flickered in and out of view. The magus stumbled back, giving a cry of surprise as the ghostly specter moved in unison with the woman, drawing back its hand and lowering itself into a ready stance.

BGM: Blumenkranz (Because holy crap, this song actually goes really well with Ren. 0.o)

"US." As two voices - one soft and determined, like a calm spring breeze, and the other proud and commanding, like a roaring tempest - spoke as one, the girl struck out with her fist, the spectral hand of her partner extending from her own palm and slamming into the blazing door of the building, tearing it free from its hinges. A cry of surprise ran through the crowd as, her cloak whirling around her like a tornado, Ren stepped forward through the opening. The flames around her rose up wildly, as though a gigantic blazing maw had opened wide to consume her. Yet, in an instant, all were blown back as the looming form of the spectral lion shone forth around her, made visible for all to see by the light of the fire. The flames drew back, unable to assail the air that gave them their very life. Ren smiled calmly, the path through the flames already mapping itself before her eyes as she made her way without delay towards the center of the archive. The fires parted as she passed, then collapsed, simmering down to a mere mass of sparks as they suffocated, the air itself refusing to sustain them. The smoke billowed around her harmlessly, deflected by a whirling mass of wind surrounding her upraised hand.

A wicked, demonic cackle assailed her ears as she reached the heart of what had once been a grand archive. Amidst the flames, a man - although he was so distorted by the flames that licked his skin, yet did not harm him, as to be hardly recognizable as such - danced wildly, clapping manically as the fire wreathed him, forming the shape of a serpent perched upon his left shoulder, and a cat's head upon his right, giving him the appearance of having three heads. A piece of the ceiling gave way, crumbling between them as the mercenary sidestepped, walking around the fallen masonry.

"Aym, who is called Haborym," Spoke the wind spirit, skulking behind the body of his master as his form flickered in and out of view, ephemeral as the fleeting wind. "How long has it been since I last smelled this stench? The distinctive smell of the smoke gave you away."

"Why, Focalor!" Cried the man, turning as his eyes snapped open, scarlet flame pouring from within his eyelids as he laughed wildly, clapping his blazing hands together again, a gesture which released a pillar of radiant hellfire that spiraled towards the crumbling ceiling. "I wasn't aware that you, too, had decided to take a romp in the Human world!" The possessed man grinned wildly, spreading his arms and spinning as though dancing amidst the carnage, a cascade of fire washing out over the room only to be shattered into a naught but a few stray embers as the blind warrior planted her foot firmly, a spectral paw overlaying itself over her own limb and releasing a violent shockwave that smothered the other spirit's rampaging fire in an instant.

"Whatever are you doing?" Asked the spirit, confused. "Didn't you come to join my game? Let's play as we used to, dear Focalor! I'll burn this place to ashes, then you can sweep up the wreckage in a tempest and carry my flames across the land! Oh, these mortals are so much fun. You can break them and break them and still they never give up! What a silly way to live, isn't it?"

"Sorry," Said the air spirit at last, his resounding voice ringing solemnly throughout the crumbling chamber. "But I don't go by that name anymore. My partner here chose to call me 'Leo,' so for now, that's my name."

"Partner? Surely you jest!" Exclaimed the other spirit, taken aback by this. "How could a spirit of your power be resisted for even a second by one of these funny little mortal creatures, let alone bargained with on equal terms?"

"I didn't resist him," Spoke up Ren at last, grinning calmly. "Just the opposite, in fact. I accepted him, allowed him to dwell within me without attempting to push him away. And, in exchange for becoming his avatar, he helps me achieve my goals during the time I remain alive."

"But why would a proud spirit ever accede to the wishes of a mortal? I don't understand, Focalor!"

"I told you, Haborym," Replied the spectral lion. "My name is Leo. In any case, do you really understand so little that you even have to ask why a contract is preferable to a one-sided possession? Just look at yourself - a flame, burning wildly. You can barely control that body, let alone its energy. Soon, your flames running rampant will drain that human you've possessed of all his strength, and you'll lose your host body. But me? I can stay here for years with this girl's will to help keep me from wasting my power needlessly."

"But still, that's no reason to submit to her!" Protested the spirit, trying to persuade his former comrade to join him once more. "Even if this toy breaks, I can always just take over a new one!"

"No," Replied Leo with a quiet chuckle. "You can't."

"Why not?!"

"Because we're going to kill you." In an instant, the specter of Leo merged completely with Ren's body, the air whirling wildly around them as the lion took its full shape, encasing the girl's lower body in the now physical form of the powerful air spirit as a gust of wind tore through the entire building, snuffing out the flames that had threatened to consume it in an instant.

"You... what?! But why?! Have you lost your mind, Focalor?" Cried Aym in fright and confusion.

"On the contrary. I haven't lost anything. I've simply gained a purpose for my existence."

"What do you mean? Are you saying that you've thoroughly become this mortal's servant?!"

"Don't make me laugh. I am the wind! I serve no master but my own whims! And right now, I can't help but think how much fun it would be to kick your smug ass right out of the physical world! You pose a danger to my host body, and I just so happen to be itching for a good fight. That's all the reason I need to kill you!"

"Then you really have forgotten your old self... Very well, then. I'll kill this body that's so precious to you, and return you to the Focalor of old!" Laughing maniacally, the fire spirit's form also took shape around the body he'd possessed, its flames blazing wildly back to life as it towered over the duo. Leo roared, phantasmal wings spreading from his back as he launched himself into the air, a rippling blade of wind taking shape within his closed jaws as he slashed it upward, sweeping through the flames that formed the fire spirit's serpentine "head," and snuffing this out in an instant. Aym, in turn, brought up a blazing hand and struck the air spirit, sending Leo flying backward before he righted himself, a single beat of his mighty wings snuffing out a second jet of flame sent to strike him down from the air. Diving from on high, he raised his clawed forepaws, slashing apart the feline head of the spirit with a blow that sent it reeling backward, its flames surging wildly, then just as quickly burning out as its energy began to collapse.

"I told you," Said Leo as his form dissipated once more, leaving his master standing on her own two feet at the center of the chamber once again. "Your power is unstable, and ultimately, useless against me."

"Shall we finish this, Leo?" Spoke Ren with a smile, cracking the knuckles of her right hand.

"Getting right to the point this time, are we? Good. I do so hate playing with my prey."

"It's not for your sake," Said Ren with a smirk. "I'm just worried that the body he's possessing will die if we don't tear them apart soon."

"Aww, disregarding my feelings so blatantly? I'm hurt," Replied the sarcastic spirit. "But I do so love tearing things apart, so I'll forget I heard that for now. So, would you care to do the honors?"

"We do it together," Replied Ren with a grin. "Got any good ideas for one liners before we finish him off?"

"Like you have no idea. I've been waiting the better part of a century to kick this idiot's ass, after all!"

"Then let's end this charade."

With these words, Ren struck, punching forward as the phantom within her arm did the same, a ghostly hand stretching instantly across the room to strike the flaming aura that formed the chest of Aym's spiritual form, within which the body he had possessed no doubt dwelt. The flames rippled and drew back, smothered by the force of the impact. In an instant, she followed this strike up with a second from her back hand, and then a third, then a fourth, accelerating all the while until her hands, and the ghostly fists extending from them, were naught but a blur, the images of one strike and the next blending together until it appeared that the spirit was being struck by a literal hailstorm of fists. Leo roared as he struck his prey again and again, the flames that made up Aym's spiritual body beginning to crack and die out, until at last the body they had consumed was visible. Then, striking her palm through the flames, she laid hold of the possessed man with a spectral hand, and ripped him forth, the flames that licked his body scattering away from him as Aym's spirit began to scream wildly, unable to sustain itself within the physical world. But Ren and Leo had no intentions of letting him retreat to the spirit world, to live to fight another day. They were going to end this pest here.

"It's all yours," Ren said, raising her right hand as Leo's clawed arm extended from it and grasped the writhing spirit by its sole remaining head.

"Ashes to ashes," Spoke Leo's booming voice - and then the girl closed her fist.

The fire spirit's head shattered into countless embers, crushed beneath Leo's mighty claws, and its body followed suit, dissipating into a few feeble sparks that soon died out.

"Dust to dust."

.....

The cleanup didn't take long. Soon, there were mages bustling to and fro, trying to salvage whatever they could from the burnt archives. Ren didn't learn until after the fact that there had also been several novice magicians on a field trip of sorts who'd been caught inside, most of whom approached her and, much to Leo's amusement and her chagrin, asked her to teach them how to perform spirit magic. Much explanation into the nature of her contract with the air spirit later, she finally managed to disentangle herself from the commotion, and left the archive no richer or poorer than when she'd entered it. Nothing had been lost, and nothing had been gained. Well, perhaps not nothing, as her partner had taken the luxury of draining the other spirit's remaining energy and adding it to their own stockpile of power, which more than made up for the strength they'd spent in defeating the menace. Still, there was one thing that didn't add up.

"I thought you said this was supposed to lead us into contact with the other 'chosen heroes,' Ren," Observed the lion, seeming rather unamused. "I don't see them anywhere."

"Tch. Some destiny this is, if I've still got to find my way by myself," Ren sighed irritably. "You'd think the least a god could do is point me in the right direction if she wants me to save the world.

"And this is why I hate dealing with deities," Said Leo smugly.

"On an unrelated note... what exactly was the relation between you and that spirit back there?" Ren asked, somewhat curious about the things Haborym had said.

"We both embody - well, embodied, in his case - elements that can be very volatile. It's only natural that we worked together on occasion to wreck some havoc in the mortal world. You might say that was just part of my job as a manifestation of the more chaotic aspects of life. I abandoned those duties when I abandoned the spirit world, however."

"I had a feeling it was something like that," Ren said, shrugging. "In any case, no matter how many people you've killed in the past, it doesn't really concern me. All that matters to me is my goals, which can only be accomplished by working with you. A few unsavory duties in your past mean nothing when compared to the possible benefits of your powers in the now."

"I'm glad to know we're of one mind."

"So... out of curiosity, you ate that other spirit, right? What exactly did he taste like?"

"Chicken. Really, really burned chicken," Leo replied without missing a beat.

.....

"Okay, now you're just screwing with me."

"The hell were you expecting? Spirits don't even have a sense of taste!"
"The Apocalypse is basically just a tutorial." - Sicon112.

"Due to the ambiguity of this wording, I am unable to determine whether or not I am the leader of the X-Men!"
"UNIVERSE-BREAKING EPILEPSY RAVE!" - AMimsyBorogove
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby Lordxana0 on Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:37 pm

Two figures stood atop the a large clocktower in the center of the city, standing above the crowds unseen. One wore pure white robes and had their heads bowed in prayer, a staff by their side. The other stood with a twisted smile, enjoying the sight of those who were about to be claimed by the oncoming violence.

"Shouldn't we begin already Lorium?" the man with the twisted smile asked, turning his head to look at the white robed figure. "It would be quite droll of us to leave our Mistress waiting"

"I am saying a prayer of thanks to those we are about to slay" the other figure spoke, revealing a feminine voice. "From their deaths will spring the birth of a new world, and for that we must give our thanks to each and every one." she lowered her hood and looked down. "Blessing be" she said.

"Blessings be" the man said with a laugh. "Now than lets get the party started!" he raised his hand and a massive circle of light appeared above the city. "I, Kiylar, the Sun Incubus, the Webweaver, the Sinmaker, call upon the might of the North Guardian to bind this spell. I call upon Inglus of the Snow, invoke thyself to bind this spell!" the light grew brighter above the city. "I call upon the might of the South Guardian to bind this spell. I call upon Yirum of the Mountains, invoke thyself to bind this spell!" a star with ten points formed within the circle. "Your turn" he said to the woman in the white robe.

She nodded and raised her staff. "I call upon Blessed Zorn, the Healer, Demigod of forgotten light to bless your humble servent with your power. I who have sacrificed my name and life in the service of light call upon your power, I beg of you to do this!" her body began to glow with white energy. "Now by your name, Resurrection!" the circle began to rain down beams of white energy upon the streets, and every spot that one of them hit a number of men and women wearing the armor of knights stepped out. Those without helms revealed faces that had been long dead, rotted away to look like corpses. They moved quickly to attack any civilians, attacking and killing all those in their path.

"Beautiful" Kiylar said, looking upon the carnage. "What are my orders Mistress?"

The woman lowered her staff and drew in a few quick breaths. "Guide the Reborns to find and attack the Heroes. All we need to do is kill them and than this battle is over"

The man bowed and spawned two white wings from his back. "By your orders, my Mistress" with a beat of his wings he flew skyward, summoning a pure white sword to his hand. "Blessed be!"

The woman nodded and summoned a white crystal next to her. "I call upon you, Poli" a massive griffon appeared in front of the crystal and looked at her. "Guard this crystal and destroy any who come near it." the beast roared and bowed its head. With a nod the woman disappeared.
**

Mass Event 1: War for the City

A number of living dead soldiers are streaming out of pillars made of pure white are attacking the city and killing all in their way. They are being lead by the Incubus Kiylar and are seeking out the heroes in order to stop them from interfering in their schemes. Fighting back the undead will be a task of itself, because despite their current state the corpses still have skills from their past lives. Destruction of the head or heart, or burning their bodies is the only way to ensure redeath. Of course so long as the pillars are active more will spill out. The best way to stop the spell is to attack the one holding it, and whatever object is being used as a catalyst.

Objectives:
1- Defeat Kiylar. He is a difficult opponent with years of skill at his side and a number of light based spells for healing himself and buffing up any undead around him. He is strong, but also a coward, if things get too bad he will flee and the spell will be broken.

2. Destroy the catalyst. The white crystal at the top of the clocktower is acting as the catalyst for this spell, and with it broken the undead will drop like flies. Of course a Griffon guards the crystal. Griffons may be monsters but still possess some spells pertaining to wind and light.

3. Protect the city. The undead will attack civilians and destroy property, it would probably be best if someone did something about that.

Side Mission Results
A False Smile- Completed. With the Dragoness free she will do her best to aid those who helped her by fighting against the undead, protecting others and maybe even joining in the battle against the Griffon.

Hunter becomes Hunted-Failed. The Hunter was killed by the guards before being able to destroy a shapechanger who took the form of the captain guard. The Shapechanger will hinder the guards efforts to protect the people and make it harder for them to fight against the undead.

Knowledge Aflame- Completed. With the fire put out the water mages will now be able to assist with fighting off the undead. Along with this some of the books in the library provide a number of dark spells that will aid the city in preventing an attack of this nature again.

Old Parts- Completed. With the old Clockwork person finally put out of their crazed attack those guards in the area can more effectively focus on the new threat of the undead. After the battle this clockwork person will go on to repair much damage done to the city.

Live by the Sword- Completed. Having tasted a fight already the swordsmen is happy to join in defense of the city, attacking the zombies and destroying them. It would be better to stay away and let him have his fun.

Justice By Fire- Failed. The execution was performed and there is now a riot between the Elves and the Dwarves as the undead attack, slashing back both of their forces from helping defend the city. The bad blood between these two will not be helpful in the future.

Have a Laugh- Failed. The pub has gone out of business and the Goblin owner has decided to light it on fire in the chaos to collect insurance on it. The fire is now spreading to other buildings and it is near impossible to do anything about that while fighting the undead.

Picture of Kiylar
Image
Last edited by Lordxana0 on Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby AMimsyBorogove on Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:25 pm

"Okay, I know I was asking for a coincidence to guide us to whatever other schmucks that goddess duped into doing her dirty work, but this is a little bit..." Spoke up the lion's irritated drawl as Ren sidestepped a slash of a heavy two handed sword, flipping backwards and landing on her palms to handspring over the head of dagger-wielding undead assailant from behind, lashing out with a spectral paw to crush its head before completing another flip and landing in a crouch, already reaching for her sword as the zombified knight came rushing forward, only to find its hands severed at the wrists by a sweep of the razor sharp blade as it flashed forth from its scabbard, then reversed its momentum and drove itself clean through the undead's eye, then his head.

"If you're going to say overkill, then think again. I have a feeling the goddess who contacted us has nothing to do with this particular incident. It would, after all, be antithetical to her stated objective," Ren replied, swiping the black ichor from her weapon as she let loose another pulse of energy to scan the area, searching for either enemies or survivors. Both of her questions were answered in an instant as three more shapes came darting at her from the left, an unearthly screech filling her ears as the hollow corpses lunged, weapons raised to attack, only to be struck down by a storm of icicles from behind her as several dozen footfalls came rushing towards her from behind. It seemed the mages from the library had followed her to ensure her safety. That was fortunate, since she was still feeling the aftereffects of her summoning of the lion-spirit during her fight with Aym. And, although all of them were fatigued by the earlier calamity, they would nevertheless fare much better together than they would alone.

"Lady!" Called the apprentice from before, rushing up to her side. "Are you alright?"

"It's Ren," She replied calmly. "And don't worry about me. I'm much tougher than I look."

"Do you have any idea what's happening?" Asked the apprentice.

"None," She replied, shaking her head. "However, it seems that there's some sort of spell that's using the city as a ritual space. My guess is that the source is somewhere at the center. To stop these undead, we'll have to put an end to their source."

"I don't have any combat training," Protested one of the mages.

"Then make yourselves useful elsewhere," Ren said immediately. "There's a fire in the western quarter. No spirits this time. It should be well within your league. If it's allowed to spread, half the city could go up." It seemed there was no choice. "The rest of you who can fight, go with them and help them get rid of that blaze. I'll try to draw the attention of as many of these undead as I can and lead them away from the most thickly populated areas."

"Are you sure you'll be safe?"

"I never am," She replied. "But that doesn't concern you. There's no time to lose, so go!" With these words, she leaped into the air, landing on a rooftop and beginning to dash across it, drawing her short, curved throwing blades as she did so and hurling them into the mass of undead below, then deftly snatching them one by one as they embedded themselves in the skulls of their targets, drawing them back using her phantasmal hands. In an instant, the horde's attention turned from battering down the locked doors of those citizens who had managed to get to safety in time to chasing the green figure on the rooftop whose mantle trailed behind her as she leaped down, landing in the street and rolling. As the small army of hollowed bodies overtook her, she raised a hand, extending a phantom limb to grasp hold of a flagpole across the street and pull herself safely out of reach, landing once more and taking off at a run, the undead just a few paces behind her.

"Tch. They're faster than I expected."

"Well, not to belittle what was, I'm sure, a brilliant plan... What exactly do you plan on doing now? Killing this many at once would take more energy than we can afford to spare."

"If you don't like my ideas, then next time complain before there's an army after us!" Shot back the assassin, seeming annoyed.

"But it's so much more fun this way!" Protested the spirit.

"For you, maybe," Muttered the bounty hunter, turning down a sidestreet to avoid a leaping undead, only to have to dodge as two more enemies lying in ambush jumped out in her path. Slipping between them, she extended both her hands, driving the throwing blades she still held into their skulls before recovering them once more and continuing her flight, their falling corpses only providing a momentary shield against the stampeding horde that trampled over their defeated allies without a moment's hesitation.

Emerging from the sidestreet, Ren turned... and found herself face to face with another small legion of zombies coming from the opposite direction.

She really hadn't thought this plan through, had she?
"The Apocalypse is basically just a tutorial." - Sicon112.

"Due to the ambiguity of this wording, I am unable to determine whether or not I am the leader of the X-Men!"
"UNIVERSE-BREAKING EPILEPSY RAVE!" - AMimsyBorogove
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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby agoraoptera on Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:58 pm

"This day," Alessa remarked mournfully, "is shaping out to be exciting, and not in a good way."

With a brutal chop of her wave-blades, she took the head off a zombie and cleaved another across its midsection. As it scrabbled at her, she flicked her tail forcefully, sending the bisected undead flying across the battlefield.

And battlefield it was. All about her was gory chaos, with cityfolk fleeing and fighting in equal measure. More than a few wielded weapons, but the faltering half-fleeing ragtag line threatened to quickly turn into a rout.

"This is no place for a celebrity," snarled the singer as she surged forward to ward a killing blow from hitting some city guard. Damned Superstition caught the blade on a scaly forearm, then grabbed and pulled apart the zombie with all four of her limbs. Somebody had to do something before the seemingly endless horde of dead took them all into its fold.

"To me!" Alessa's voice rang clear above the din of battle. "Rally to me, valourous folk!"

"O people true-heart brave,
There is no foe we cannot stave.
The time of the dead is far long past,
They are nothing to fear, nothing but dust,
Now we return them to the cold hard grave!
"

Not the most inspiring ditty she'd improvised, but it worked. She continued stringing together a mixture of wordless rhythms and battle anthems, hardening the city folks' resolve as they fought. The line of men and women, so close to crumbling moments ago, was solidifying and even pushing back the dead.

"The spectres of the past we do not fear,
For our strength and skill is without peer,
Unbreakable is mortal ardour,
We wax while they wane upon the hour!
"

Alessa paused briefly in her battle anthem, grabbing hold of a guard captain. The man nearly ran her through with his blade, but managed to pull back just in time.

"Get as many men as you think we can spare, pull them back and have them evacuate the civilians! It's bound to be a massacre out there if we don't do anything."

He was already withdrawing from the fight and calling for his own men to his side when Alessa resumed her ballad. Almost immediately, she felt sorely the lack of men-at-arms and cursed her own lack of self-preservation. Gathering her breath, she launched into another verse and continued hacking away at the undead.

"Advancing and fighting for the sake of love, we are troubadours..."
If you can make it better, don't make it sentient.

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Re: Rise of the Age of Heroes: Redux

Postby RussetDivinity on Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:02 pm

Lillia wasn't entirely sure how she had gotten separated from the two she had been with, or why the city was being attacked by dead men who could walk around, but then, those would just have to go on the list of things she wasn't entirely sure of, like that mark on her hand or when she would get her familiar. Sure, she hadn't been constantly pushing her boundaries, but she had thought she had mastered enough magic to at least get a mole or something. A mole might actually be fun, since it could tunnel around and tell her what happened under the earth.

But she had other things to worry about now. There was an army coming after the city, and she doubted normal weapons would hurt them as well as they would hurt a living army. At least she could use her rope for magic.

She unwound the rope from around her waist and wrapped the two ends around her hands. The army was growing closer, but she couldn't rush. Earth magic was steady and strong, and it took time to do right. Breathe in. Breathe out. Center yourself. Feel the earth. Granted, her feet were on cobblestones rather than dirt, but stone was simply another type of earth. It was less pliable, but stronger, and once it was convinced to move, it struck with its full fury.

Some of the civilians were fighting back against the wave of attackers, but most had run, and those who were fighting were being pushed back. If they moved too much farther, she wouldn't be able to cut them off from the dead men, so even though she wasn't quite ready, she dipped her hand, twisted it so her palm faced up, and punched toward the sky. The road rumbled, and a wall of earth rose up between the attackers and the civilians. It shot up, above the heads of the tallest, and the rocks attached to the road didn't crumble but clung together, forming a boundary that just happened to cut off one of the main roads.

"I'll fix it later!" Lillia called, hoping the people on the other side could hear her. There wasn't much time to check on them, however, as the army turned to her. There were a lot more than she had expected, though as they streamed down the street toward her, she thought she saw no more than thirty. She had never faced so many armed people before, and the closest she had come to a fight was hitting someone with a tree because he thought a tiny Fae couldn't be too dangerous. Lillia pulled the rope back, making an arc with the widest point close to her chest, and as she thrust it out again, the ground rippled, sending a wave of earth under the attackers' feet. Several fell, but some were surefooted enough to keep moving and even leapt over their fallen to get closer to her.

They didn't climb, Lillia thought, and she twisted her hand again, bringing up another wall of earth between her and the army. If she was quick, she might be able to box them in, and from there... well, she'd figure it out when she got to it. Pumping the ends of her rope up and down to convince the rocks to rise slightly under her feet with each step, she took off at a run, heading for another place to trap the army and hoping the people of the city would be understanding about the new roadblocks.

A cheer of excitement caught her ear, and she slowed a little bit when she saw a young man with a quiver of arrows slung over his back. He caught her eye and grinned eagerly, and she realized that he was younger even than she looked. "You're a mage, aren't you?" he asked, running alongside her and fitting another arrow to his bow. "Do you want to help me fight these things? It'll be like something out of a song!"

"Actually, you can help me." Lillia turned a corner, and the man kept pace, pausing only to fire at one of the army. His arrow caught the dead man's eye, and he cheered again before running to catch up with her. "I'm trying to trap a group of thirty. Once I've got them, do you want to kill them?"

"I'm not sure I have thirty arrows, but I'll give it a shot." He laughed at his unintentional joke. "Where do you have them?"

"I don't have them quite yet, but... there!" She couldn't tell if it was the same group, but there looked to be a lot of them, and they turned at the sound of her voice. As she called on the earth and rock, the man fired, knocking down the ones who were getting a bit too close. Once she had brought the wall up, she took off again. "It may not be a nice-looking box."

"That's all right. I'm just glad I get to meet an earth mage. This is the best day of my life!"

They rounded another corner, and Lillia found yet another group of dead men. These ones looked slightly different from the others, and she wondered just how many there were. As she brought up another wall and the young man fired into the crowd, she hoped she wouldn't be too worn out before the day was through. She was already starting to breathe hard, and it had barely been an hour.
Jubilation and despair are two sides of the same coin.
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