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Private (18+) Hands of the Sorrowful Knight (Redux)

Discussion in 'Skyrim Roleplaying' started by CapObvious, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. CapObvious

    CapObvious Gramos Goat-Shaker

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    While the conflicted elf observed the tides of battle, Daxos focused solely on what came before him. The piercing ring of steel slicing through the wind, the low hiss of casted fire singeing the flesh from the bones of their undead adversaries. Not one of these distractions phased the rampaging imperial as his focus honed inward, the pungent aroma of the blood of the fallen along with his vehement temper driving him to focus his attention on one opponent at a time; the sound of his heart beating drowning out any other disturbances that the chorus of sounds of battle attempted to bring to his attention. He unleashed a guttural shout as he brandished his weapon, calling out the horde to focus solely on him. The others would need to fight, regardless, but if he could distract their enemies, even for a moment, the advantage of numbers the undead had would become meaningless. The wave of the reanimated rushed their position, and Daxos welcomed the challenge. It was time to show these wretches the meaning of fear.

    One of the hobbling thralls rushed him soon after the call escaped his lips. Its snap decision to thrust himself so willingly at death was rewarded with a swift cleaving motion, slicing through the overeager undead without much fuss. Another soon followed, and was given the same kindness. As both of these fell, the blood that hadn’t been drained from their rotting bodies sung out to him, the stench bringing him deeper into the remembrance of past transgressions. The memories of those lost and those he had sent on their way himself. A third came thundering down the center, to which Daxos replied with a thrust, causing the creature to impale itself on his blade. The cretin continued to flail his arms about hungrily, unleashing a shriek from between what was left of it’s teeth into his face. The creature tried it’s best to reach for him, its arms stretching outward to get even the simplest of grips on the man. The only thing keeping them separated those mere few inches was the hilt of his blade, pressed firmly into its punctured abdomen. The imperial returned the shriek with his own cry, ripping the blade from its midsection and spinning about, blade outstretched, bringing the edge to the monster's throat and removing its head from it’s shoulders. The corpse fell to shambles at his feet while he watched, spitting upon it before pulling his blade back up toward himself, ready to bring it down upon another foe. He was in deep now, and his outrage was dragging him deeper. He needed to end this quickly, before he lost himself within his bloodlust, that continued to beckon for more to fall.

    Both luckily and unluckily for him, something soon came to fruition that would draw him out of this supreme focus. The sound of splintering timber and screams interrupted his concentration, causing him to turn to see the source, the remains of what once was someone’s home. Which had more recently become a certain small groups vantage point… I. Will. Follow. The words rang out in his head again, and his eyes widened in fear.

    sh**. Not again. No.

    He brought his voice loud above the carnage that was strewn about his team. “Do not falter! HOLD FAST. HOLD THE LINE.” He rushed toward the ruined building, his vision scanning over the wreckage haphazardly, looking for any signs of movement. Unlike the last time this observation was made, he desperately hoped for it. As if the Divines had for once answered his prayers, his eyes landed upon the legate, dragging the what seemed to be lifeless body of one of the others who had stood with her. As he got closer, his eyes widened. It was her. His terror was unfolding right before him, and it was far more terrifying here in the heat of battle than it was in the relatively safety of his mind. Ella was hurt, but another name sprung from his lips as he began to run, scrambling to reach the young woman he had so recently decided to remain distant from. “Damn it, Amelie! Not again. Don’t you dare!” He landed beside her as the legate seemed to drop back, likely suffering from her wounds while Daxos tended to the unconscious nord. He quickly pulled off the satchel from his back, digging through the potions Dolmas had provided him for the battle. After he brought one vial up to his eyes, he thrust it outward to the legate, who had turned to him as he had fussed about. “Take this! Use it. It will get you back in the fight. We need to get her back on her feet, and to find the other woman who was up there with you.”

    His attentions returned to Ella soon after, his eyes scanning over her face as he grasped it gingerly with his hand after it had grabbed another vial from his bag. “Wake up, girl.” He commanded. He saw her eyes flutter, then close again, her mind no doubt weaving in and out of consciousness. His eyes left the woman as he noticed the man from the roof was now down amongst them, his own attentions to the crumbled home searching in vain for his comrade. Daxos called out, his profound frustration dripping from every word. “There is no time to gawk! If you want to remain on the ground, then shore up the line while I tend to them. I will find your friend, but you must stand with them. Do not fail!” The man hesitated for another moment, before rushing off to the front line, with the Daxos’ attentions returning again to the woman who lie in his arms. He shook her gently, unsure if he was going to get through to her, her head looked to have taken a nasty hit, and he wasn't sure if she would be in a state of mind to be of any use after she awoke. But he had to try. “Wake up, girl. You’re not getting out of this that easily. We still need you.” As he waited for any sign of a response, his mind kept ringing with the dreaded line, beating upon his resolve like a tide on the shore:


    I. Will. Follow.
     
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  2. Hlíf 'Ulfr

    Hlíf 'Ulfr Princess Pants

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    *

    It seemed to have begun so quickly, the transition from the comfortable tension of silence to the deafening roar of battle. She had hardly had time to wipe from her lashes the remaining droplets that had clung there following the few tears that escaped the stormy eyes. From that feeling, that had overwhelmed her, the loss and her deep compassion for each lost soul, to the intense fire that burned in her veins and in her heart. It was an enormous feeling and it overtook her, it became her as she was swept into the heat of it all.

    A snarl upon her face and an angry gleam in her eye she set upon the undead, brandishing her short swords which gleamed wickedly as if they themselves thirsted for blood. They would wait no longer as within moments the swarm had fallen upon the nord. Moving like a dancer, light on her feet and using her superior ability to twist and turn she began to slash at the crowd. She moved amongst them just as she did through them, even using their own bodies to strengthen her own push or using them as part of her acrobatics.

    She tried her hardest to keep moving, to not lose rhythm as the onslaught continued, a tune repeating in her head helped to channel her focus. As she moved to disable one enemy she could hear the shambling of another approaching this time behind her. As arms moved fluidly in synch with one another she left the monster facing her with his innards falling to mix with the waste already surrounding them, pivoting as she moved. Following through with a push of strength the head of the unseen attacker followed his comrade to the ground, the distinct sound of his fallen corpse a most rewarding noise. She wasn’t afforded the time to feel pleased with herself however, her mind focusing in on the next target.

    Feeling progressively more aggressive yet in control as the blood of the enemy began to spackle her face, Brynn afforded the other a glance. Interrupting her viewing another undead charged her haphazardly, the annoyance causing Brynn to kick out at him forcefully and in a most satisfying way. Watching him fly back Brynn noticed a rune appearing behind him and with some impeccable luck, or planning the reanimated corpse hit home. As the body exploded, flinging bits of seared undead into the enemy she let loose in a moment of laughter, a truly pure sound amidst such gloom and pain.

    It did not have the chance to die on her lips before a rather loud and worrying combination of noises erupted from opposing side of the street, a curse replacing the sweet sound. As she looked to the building she began to surmise what had transpired and was forced to turn away. Rage began to rise just under the surface of her skin, fighting against her to break through and overtake her body. Gritting her teeth she cursed once more whomever had been so foolish as to further hinder their push. A low rumble escaped her, the beast filling her eyes and making her blood boil further. As Daxos called out to hold the line she quickly responded, though not with words. Her body, drawing on her somewhat feral nature took on a new edge as she stalked towards the crowd with a decidedly hungry look. She kept the beast in check, though just enough to keep from shifting. Using the fire in her veins to her advantage has been of great benefit to her many times, even in human form. She knew how to control herself, the beast, impressively well and used that to bolster her attack.

    With that, her push was renewed, though a delicate balance was now being held. Snarling as she pranced forward on light feet she felt the fangs in her mouth, though they certainly not there. She gave the beast its presence but as she felt its pushed she focused once more on the chant, the same smooth words that flowed over her body and kept it intact. She felt no fight from her beast though in return as many other may have done. They were the same, rather than two entities. As many stopped their shadows from coming forth and causing havoc in their everyday lives she disallowed this part of herself from breaking through.

    So she allowed herself to breathe deeply in the scent of blood, though the smell of the dead burnt her nostrils giving the beast her senses. In turn, it gave her strength and though on but the dead came into her focus it caused a noticeable shift. Each movement had a certain wild flare that only grew as she proceeded to move into the position Daxos had once occupied. Her face was contorted by some eerie mix of grin and something far more animalistic. Her blades bit with strength once absent in place of a bloodied maw and as she advanced all anger surrounding the no longer existent roof faded away. This new rage was much more pure.

    *
     
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    #42 Hlíf 'Ulfr, Jan 14, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  3. EpicVakarian

    EpicVakarian Calibration-Master General

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    Ella.

    She glanced around the cave suspiciously. She had no memory of how she'd gotten here. Spinning all the way around, her eyes widened as they lay themselves on the source of the faint voice.

    Four people stood before her. Four long-dead, partially decomposed people who had once been her friends.
    Ella.
    They all spoke at once, resulting in a horrible, discordant cacophony of voices.
    You did this.
    Ella's heart beat harder and faster, and she stood still, speechless.
    You killed us.
    "No," she murmured, "no, no, no, no I didn't!"
    You led us into this cave. You led us to the draugr. And when they descended upon us, you abandoned us. You left us to be devoured, while you escaped.
    "No, I tried to save you!" Tears began to pour down her face and her voice broke. "I tried to help, but I couldn't, and I had to run, I'm sorry!"
    It's all your fault.
    "No!"
    Ella.

    They all took a step toward her, arms rising up, reaching out toward her.
    Ella.
    They took another step forward.

    "No, no no, please, no..." Ella fell to the floor, curled up, weeping as her dead friends took step after step toward her.
    Ella.

    Ella.

    "Ella!"

    The voices began to fade out, into a faint, distant sound of Alice's voice. Ella's head began to throb painfully again.

    "You've got to get up." Alice's voice sounded as weak as Ella felt. "You... you can't die right now! You..."

    And Ella faintly heard Alice slumping against the ground. She drifted into total unconsciousness again.

    When next she heard anything, it was Daxos' voice, getting louder and louder.

    "Damn it, Amelie! Not again, don't you dare!" Almost immediately afterward, she heard him kneel next to her and grasp her in his arms. He kept barking orders to the others around them, and then took her face in his hands.

    "Wake up, girl!" Ella managed, just barely, to open her eyes, but the sudden burst of light only made her head wound feel even worse, so she closed them again, her mind still foggy. Not a minute later, Daxos shook her lightly in his arms.
    "Wake up, girl. You're not getting out of this that easily. We still need you."

    Then Ella's mind rushed with what was still going on around them; the gruesome squishing, the battle cries, the horrendous screams of the dead; and she remembered that people needed her, no matter how much pain she was in right now.
    Her eyes fluttered open, and she faintly made out Daxos' face.

    "What... what do you need me to do?" she asked faintly, as she reached up with one hand to clutch the enormous lump where the stone had struck her.
     
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  4. Simus

    Simus An Excellent Site Member

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    Alice's mind and vision had gotten foggy. She was on the ground, listening to the wind and the sounds of battle. Daxos yelled at her to get up but why did she call her Amelie? Her name was Alice. Was Daxos confused or was her head just spinning. She glanced over to her side and saw him hand her a vial but she didn't know what was in it. She couldn't hear him. She thought she might need to drink it but she was so tired and she had such a headache. She just wanted to sleep...

    "ALICE!"

    Someone screeched at Alice and was running towards her. Why were they yelling? Didn't they know how tired she was? She couldn't even hold her eyes open but the source of the voice was getting closer and the heat it made was very uncomfortable...

    The heat...

    She knew that heat...

    She didn't need to see that voice. She knew exactly who this was...

    "Cilla..." Alice gurgled, spitting up a bit of blood. "I need help..."

    "Alice?!" Cilla sprinted over and got down on her knees, sitting on her feet. She cradled her sister's head in her arms, close to her chest. "Hold on Alice. You're gonna...you're...oh hell no..." There was a small bloodstain where Alice's head had been. The back of it was soft and bloody, matting Alice's hair. It was going to really swell up later and she needed help now. Alice had always told her that when someone had a bad head injury that they might not wake up if they fell asleep without healing. Cilla didn't understand why but she knew she needed to keep Alice awake. Ella was in bad shape too but Daxos was right there to take care of her. Cilla needed to focus on her sister.

    "H...hey Alice?" Cilla said, her eyes filling with tears but trying her best to sound in control. Then she saw the potion. Daxos must have given it to her because she sure hadn't gotten it herself.

    "Uh...uh huh?" Alice said weakly.

    "Um...I uh...I-I need you to drink that potion in your hand."

    "W...why?" She slurred. "I'm not thirsty..."

    "Because..." Cilla stammered. "Because...uhhh...b-because it's a potion of milk and uh...y-you need to drink it to get strong bones because...uhh....because mama said you don't get cake until you drink your milk!"

    Cilla knew this had to be the worst lie in the history of the universe but it was all she could come up with now. So long as Alice drank that damn potion it was worth it.

    "Well...I do like cake. And if mama said so..."

    "O-oh she did. A-and you better hurry! Dad and Titus'll eat it all!"

    "Selfish pig...well...okay..." Alice mumbled. She was having trouble lifting the potion to her lips. Cilla grabbed the potion for her and pushed it to her lips. Alice drank slowly, letting it go down in little bits at a time and Cilla helping her along. She swallowed all of it, and that was a good sign, but as soon as she did she put her arms down and laid her head back down on the street. She closed her eyes and fell asleep besides Cilla's best attempts to wake her up.

    "Alice? Alice!? C'mon Alice! You've got to stay awake! You've got to..." She stopped to choke down a sob. There was nothing she could do right now but wait for the potion to do its work. "FUUUUCK!"

    She turned back to the horde, as implacable as ever. If Cilla couldn't assuage her anger then she could at least vent it. Her face was covered in sweat and her mouth was bone dry but she was ready as ever.

    "COME AT ME BROS!" She screamed, igniting her fire once again and hitting the zombies with a fresh wave of flames that burned away her tears. It did little other than distract the zombies but it would keep them away from Alice and Ella and what they didn't kill her fists would do the rest.
     
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  5. CapObvious

    CapObvious Gramos Goat-Shaker

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    Daxos looked to the woman, her hand reaching up to a spot on her head, and after looking at the wound, grit his teeth. “I need you to stand up. I have this potion. Take it. It will help with the pain, and help you focus.” He pressed the vial into her hand, watching it slowly grasp the glass. Daxos continued, his eyes not leaving the young woman. “We’ve nearly won this, but we cannot end this without everyone doing their part. Including you.” He assured, face adorning a patient smile as he helped her stand to her feet. As he did so, he glanced to line that he had left behind. He had feared his departure would have had left them in disarray, but to his relief, he was wrong. The group stood strong, united, holding fast against the crushing tide that was the horde, unyielding in their determination. Daxos felt pride in this, knowing that his belief in them did not go unwarranted. He studied each one of them, noting their tactics and behaviors, learning about them at their peak. There was no better time to study someone than when they cared the least about someone watching. But there was one whose behavior peaked his interest the most, his eyes sticking to them longer than the others.


    His eyes lingered on the woman who had taken his place toward the center of the line, tracing over her as she thrust herself into the fray; her tenacity shining through as she cut her way through what remained of the reanimated dead. He stood there for a moment, entranced as she flowed with the rhythm of both warfare and the beating of her heart, gliding through the dead as if they were going in slow motion, bringing each opponent down with a ruthless efficiency that he could not help but respect. She looked at ease with herself as she danced around the creatures, at one with her blades with each calculated strike; her distinctive armor like a second skin as she weaved herself in an out of combat with each step she took. However, this was not all he saw. He could feel something else in her. A balancing act of sorts, as if she were drawing upon a force deep within herself, as if there was something buzzing beneath the surface for her to tap into, to bring out her true potential. But what could it have been? His eyes shifted back to the young woman he had aided, looking to see if the potion had helped even close to what he had hoped. This fight needed to end, and he needed them all up and ready to bring it to a close.


    They were running out of time.


    On the other side of the line, the battle between the creature and the lunatic continued unabated. Despite the failing of the rooftop, or Daxos’ attempts to rectify what had transpired after, Dolmas and Valen could not allow the progress they had made to be impeded. The group had done well, the horde had thinned to near nothingness, and the creature could tell that his plan...or the plan of whoever controlled him, was falling apart rapidly. This caused the creature to become more careless in his attacks, his swings broadening as he rampaged about indignantly, doing his best to cleave the elf in half. Despite his best efforts, the conflicted dunmer remained unphased, his elixir keeping him one step ahead of the former hero at every moment. They would have him right where they wanted him soon.


    However, the creature had finally caught his break.


    The bastard swung low, the dull end of his axe smacking the hind of Dolmas’ legs, sending the elf down on his back, taken off guard by the swift turn of events. The creature smiled wickedly, axe raised above it’s head, ready to bring it down upon the demented elf. However, once again, favor swung back to Dolmas. From seemingly nowhere, another plume of smoke flashed beside him, and before Dolmas had time to register the movement, something...rather someone...had blocked what would have been the finishing blow. As he looked to the axe that was held off merely a foot before his head, he noticed a long bar held against it, perpendicular to the blade. After taking a moment to study, the nature of this bar had quickly dawned on him. It was no simple bar. No simple pole. It was a staff. But who…His eyes traced up the staff, to the arms that held it, to the torso that they were bound to. As Dolmas took in the intricate moonstone plating, his eyes went with wonder, before quickly jumping to the face of whoever was standing above him. As his eyes reached the eyes of the man who saved his life, everything stopped. The effects of his elixir held no candle to the time-stopping effect this mer’s face had upon the dunmer. For this face belonged to someone he believed to be long dead.


    This was the face of Rumare Larethor, High Elf, Advisor and his oldest friend.


    As he pondered the nature of Rumare’s sudden reappearance, the elf whose existence Dolmas questioned and Valen despised called out, bringing his attention back to the present. “Damn it, Hlerayn! This is not the time to gawk! On your feet!” GREAT. Hasn’t been here for five minutes and he’s already barking orders. I definitely missed this. Dolmas answered by taking his blades and leaping to his feet, not able to see anything but the creature who stood before him, blocked still, unable to bring his strike down even after such a time had passed. Rumare cried out as he thrust his staff upward, swinging it out to where the creature was left wide open for a final strike. The two elves took advantage of this moment simultaneously, both of them thrusting their weapons into the gaping chest of the fallen hero, pushing with such great force that the monster was thrust back like Dolmas had been prior. With their combined force, the two of them pinned the creature to the ground, exerting every ounce of pressure they had into cracking through the tusks that protected whatever lay beneath them. As they pierced the shell, the creature dropped lifelessly, the yellow orbs that rolled about in it’s head dimming, as it finally fell back into the cool embrace of death. It was over. The battle had been won.


    The two elves stood there, catching their breath as they stood over the corpse of the hero, but saying nothing. As they finally gathered themselves, they turned about to face the rest of the group, who were finishing up what remained of the horde. The two elves turned to each other, but did not embrace. There was no exchange of smiles, not even a greeting. Nothing that signified the reuniting of two great friends. Not because of exhaustion or tension.


    There was simply no time.


    Before Dolmas could utter a word, Rumare swung his staff at the elf’s head, connecting to it with a solid thwack. The dunmer buckled from the hit, falling to his knees as he tried to acclimate to what was happening. Well, that was surely closer to the greeting I expected. A cheap shot, too. Typical Rumare. Dolmas could hear the light footfalls of the altmer as he paced about, inspecting the fallen elf before speaking again. “Typical Dolmas. Playing hero. Should have known to leave well enough alone when her voice rent the heavens.” He’s not going to start raving is he? How cliche is this guy going to get? I may end up taking a nap Dolmy. Give me five minutes. Rumare continued unabated, entirely unaware of Valen’s internal japes. Meanwhile, in the back of the elf’s mind, a gentle rumbling snore filled the silence as the altmer went on to speak.

    “Nevertheless, you come running at the first sign of her, don’t you? How...predictable.”
    Dolmas growled under his breath, the implications of what was happening slowly washing over him. Valen however, was unimpressed with the altmer’s posturing. Yes, yes. You’re incredibly talented and have truly bested us. There’s no way we can recover. We are but MAGGOTS BENEATH YOUR GODLY BOOTS. Is that what you want to say, Dolmas? Are you a sniveling dog? NO! GET UP. Rumare did not wait for a response, instead continuing to spout exposition. “Unfortunately, your predictability has also made you a liability, old friend, along with every one of these imbeciles who stand with you.” He paused, looking out to the group as they finished fighting, their attentions turning to the altmer who mocked them. “Every one of them ignorant of what they’ve set into motion. What they’ve been dragged into.” He paused, kicking the dunmer in the ribs, sending the dunmer downward, hands clutching at his side. “What you’ve dragged them into.” Daxos saw this and immediately rushed to Dolmas aid. However, this was not to be. As he got close, the elf glowed with a light green energy of his own, his staff lighting up as he struck it to the earth, and thrust it toward the rushing imperial. As the staff drug through the dirt, the glow intensified, until it stopped short, the hardened crystal at its tip pointed outward to Daxos. As the force that left the crown of the staff connected with the commander, he was thrust backward, soaring for a short distance before smacking into the side of the recently ruined building, still ablaze from the fire of Ella’s mistake. The imperial coughed, wincing as he tried to move, before just resigning to lean against the rubble behind him. Valen cursed at this, his annoyance doubling. No one. NO ONE. Gets to take my fun from me. GET UP, DOLMAS, OR I WILL STAND YOU UP.


    Rumare looked to the rest of the group that stood watching this all take place, trusting this show of force was enough to warn the group that surrounded him. He looked to both of the commanders lying face down in the dirt like dogs, clutching at themselves in pain. It was nowhere near as painful as it soon would be, when the final phase of Rumare’s plan came into fruition. The final step in dealing with these upstarts, to put down the most potentially dangerous threat to the plans he had been called upon to administer.


    The end of the last remaining hope for the peace that had been assured.


    Rumare grasped his staff as he strode to the decayed corpse of the former hero that Dolmas had stood so valiantly against before, and grunted. Without wasting another second, the elf took his staff and drove it into the cavity that adorned the hero’s chest, twisting the staff as it pushed deeper into the remains. As he did so, he spoke out amongst the heroes as they all began to rise to their feet again, still unable to mount a counteroffensive. “You all were led into a trap, knowingly or not. It is time for you to face what your leaders have so graciously and unwittingly offered you up to. The creature you all have built with your own hands.” The scene soon grew silent as the group looked on, whether in bewilderment, frustration, or fear. The smoke from the scene prior returned to where the staff had been planted, once again wafting outward to the corpses that now lied at their feet. This time, however, the altmer had a different plan.


    The dead would not rise again, there was no need. They had already served the purpose they were made for. Not to kill or maim those that they were charged to fight. To study them. Every swing of a blade, every cast of a spell, every flask Dolmas pulled,, all of this knowledge was taken in by the creatures they had slain. All of it to create their true opponent. This knowledge pooled into Rumare’s psyche as his eyelids drew shut, lungs expanding as the pieces of the puzzle that was the team’s makeup flowed throughout his mind. As his eyes opened again, he smirked, raising the staff once more, before slamming the end back into the chest of their fallen foe. The effects were immediate. The body began to shift and shake violently like the hero had before, though in a much more lifeless fashion. However it was not the shaking that drew the most attention. The creature’s body was changing again, but now in a different way.


    It was getting bigger.


    Each of the bodies surrounding the hero that was touched by the smoke fell to dust, all of the particles that remained wafting back inward toward the corpse. As if a sculptor was adding more clay to his masterpiece the dust drew into the broken hero, building him up to an incredible size, hardening his outer layer with a dense coat of bone as he started to stand, slowly rising high above the team who looked upon him, as well as the rootops that the had previously scoured. The gaping hole in its chest, while still noticeable, looked to be covered by the tusks once more, this time with a pulsing red light glowing from in between the narrow cracks. The creature’s form was plastered with the hardened layer as it expanded its limbs outward, stretching as it grew accustomed to new form. As it transformed before their eyes again, it let out a horrifying cry, this time so deep and raw it reverberated in the chests of each of those who looked up on it. Dolmas could not fight the knee jerk reaction to clutch at his ears like a child, trying his best to stifle the shout before they burst. The creature raised its fists in the air, it’s volume growing before it brought both fists back downward, slamming them upon the ground with devastating results. The ground shook below them, causing Dolmas to fall to his knees again, trying his best to get his feet back underneath him. Rumare looked on as it all came about, growing more pleased with himself with every passing moment. The end had come. Dolmas and his new allies were going to be destroyed. His master’s plans were coming to fruition. Every piece was going in it’s proper place, as he had foreseen. It was only a matter of time now…


    Rumare stepped before the behemoth and raised his arms outward, gesturing to the group who looked on in horror. “Behold, your greatest creation. Ever since you walked through the city gates, I’ve been watching you. Listening to you. Every word, every thought. Nothing that you brought here with you is safe from me.” He stepped forward, the look in his eyes growing more sinister. “I have gathered every fear, every weakness, as well as every strength. This is the elaborate answer to the crude question that is you. This...band of dullards that you and the Loran spawn have so hastily put together. As for how he will answer...well. You will see soon enough..”


    He glanced over the group once more, before a spark lit behind his gaze, and a knowing smile crept upon his features as his eyes picked up on a straggler that was hanging back, her feet still firm on the rooftop that remained. Her glare dug into the altmer, and he could feel the chill her stare was giving off even from this distance. He chuckled to himself, now calling out above the dead silence, whether or not this simpleton would know it was meant for her meant little to him. “However, there is one more problem I need to remedy. Something that your frail companion had begun, yet never finished. I would reward you for at least being competent enough to not butcher his plans but...alas. I cannot let this stand. Having higher ground would be a terribly unfair advantage.” He smirked at the woman, his gaze returning the chill she had let loose upon him. “What would be the fun in that?” He cackled as he thrust his staff outward again, sending another shockwave toward the building Cosset stood upon, rocking its very foundation beneath her feet. If she did not act quickly, her fate would resemble the other Mage that had fallen in the previous collapse. This history could not be repeated. Not while Dolmas could still stand. Rumare anticipated this, and did not bother to deny his old friend one more chance to play hero. He chuckled softly, turning his back to them as he made his way back to the temple, his voice low. “Now if you'll excuse me, I have a champion to greet.”


    Dolmas hesitated for the briefest of moments, before the other occupant in his now aching skull. Quit wasting time, damn it! Get up there and save her, you dolt! Jarred awake by Valen’s unlikely encouragement, he took his chances and sprung to his feet, darting to the crumbling structure, bounding on the piles of splintered wood and layered corpses as he leapt to the rooftop, and broke into a sprint toward the woman. As his feet pounded upon the structure, the wooden beams his feet had recently tread broke apart behind him, the destruction following each footfall as he darted onward, not allowing himself to waste even a moment. Debris flew outward behind him as he sped onward, his head ducked and ready to take his chances. He only had one shot. He had to make it count. He took a masterful leap, arms outstretched, as he collided with the mage he had left upon the roof alone. His arms gripped her tighter as they were flung into the air, using his momentum to swing them around until he was beneath her, ready to take the brunt of the fall on his back.


    Luckily for them both, this was unnecessary. As they fell to the ground, they managed to fall upon a pile of the dead, rolling over the corpses as they fell to the ground shortly after. Dolmas cursed under his breath as he sat upward, his hand over the Mage as his focus turned to what was left of the building, then to the creature Rumare had reanimated. He let out a snarl as his his impatience grew, calling back to Cosset. “You alright?”


    Daxos stumbled to his feet as this all took place, his attentions returning to what had become of the creature that they had so recently brought back to its rightful rest. He spit on the ground, rolling his shoulders as he regained his composure. His voice rang out to the group who was gathering around him, waiting for some sort of a plan to deal with this new development. “Everyone, rally up! We're not out of the woods yet. Mages! Rangers! Stand at the rear, and prepare to fire, everyone else, prepare yourselves.” He eyes flashed again, the familiar look of pent up frustration returning to his features. “Looks like the fun has just begun.” Daxos charged forward, sword raised, and began to swing upon the creature. However, Daxos soon realized his folly. As his blade slid across the creatures hardened form, the creature did not respond at all, instead just watching as the blade connected, and then fell away. The imperial felt confused, before the behemoth shook the ground with another cry, before dropping another fist down where Daxos stood. With a quick roll he made it out, but felt winded as he rose to his feet again, unsure of what to do. The strike did nothing to the creature. A scratch could barely be seen upon the chitinous bone plating, but it looked as if the blade had done no damage to the overall structure that was this monstrosity. He called out to his partner as he dodged another blow, his frustration growing as he felt more and more helpless. “Dolmas?! A crazy idea would be fantastic right about now!” Dolmas looked on as he regrouped with the others, looking to the ranged fighters who had hung back, waiting for further orders. The elf spit in his annoyance, raising a blade outward toward the golem, barking out his next orders. “Do NOT hold back! Strike now! Give this bastard EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT!”


    With these orders, the true test had begun.
     
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  6. Hlíf 'Ulfr

    Hlíf 'Ulfr Princess Pants

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    *

    She alone loomed defiantly over the scene from atop her perch, a proud silhouette against the canvas of motley grey skies and a plan once formed that would have seen two other by her side. With the subtle tilt of her chin, an air of regality overtook her as a sense of justification ran through her body with mounting fervor, fueled by each belligerent word that tumbled from the Altmers thin lips.

    “You were lead into a trap..”

    The words echoed within the slightly pointed ears, leaving her brows to furrow in response in place of fruitless and wasteful prattle. She had found herself tired of talk upon first presented with his speech, that of this new fiend who pontificated with such pomp that the Breton felt sickened for the obvious intentions that dripped from every word. The effort must have been exhausting, to try and so heavily impress on to them all his superiority. So unaware was he that in his gleeful attempt at surprise that he had only confirmed suspicions, and as a villain confirmed his lack of originality in his failed ridicule.

    “It is time for you to face what your leaders have so graciously and unwittingly offered you up to. The creature you all have built with your own hands.”

    “The bodies had to be destroyed twice to be of use? What a terrible design.” She jeered quietly, this monster was not of their doing and the words to which she responded nothing but a poor attempt at stirring weakness in their hearts and a false sense of responsibility.

    It had been her astute opinion from the moment that she arrived that a trap waited and that these two ‘leaders’ would be their shepherds. Should they simply be drawing in more powerful bodies to slay and possess… her own thoughts ran through her mind. Though the content of the trap and its intentions may have varied it had none the less been identified and confirmed. As her eyes widened hungrily however her mind was drawn away from its confirmations. The transformation had begun and there was far too much information to capture, she could not afford to let her mind wander.

    The creatures stature mounted in tandem with her enthusiasm, fed by the intoxicating call of a new discovery and fresh views. Even the rantings of the mad mer could not hope to dull her excitement, certainly providing her with the opposite reaction that he had intended. Though its presence was grand in itself it was the screeching, which disturbed the rooftop far less than it would have appeared to disturb those below, that truly exhilarated the woman. Her body responded to the threat by pumping adrenaline through her veins and sending a tingle up her spine and through her hands as the magic energy contained within her body flared.

    "Behold, your greatest creation.” she groaned inwardly as he continued to spew forth more of his agenda upon then, pairing the groan with a roll of her eyes. “Ever since you walked through the city gates, I’ve been watching you. Listening to you. Every word, every thought. Nothing that you brought here with you is safe from me. I have gathered every fear, every weakness, as well as every strength. This is the elaborate answer to the crude question that is you….”

    Laughing quietly mid-speech at his assumption she was once more was fortified by her preemptive guards. Though the others may have pushed themselves or tended towards showing off Cosset made special effort, naturally through years of practice to hide her abilities. Being underestimated was a far more dangerous tool than being overestimated, and could be used to her own benefit. Having focused on crowd control, putting very little strain on herself she had both fooled this dunce and kept herself fresh for the fight to come. Yet his constant posturing wore thin, and she could not stop herself from looking upon the villain with disdain, contempt only growing as addressed Cosset directly.

    “However, there is one more problem I need to remedy. Something that your frail companion had begun, yet never finished. I would reward you for at least being competent enough to not butcher his plans but...alas. I cannot let this stand. Having higher ground would be a terribly unfair advantage.What would be the fun in that?"


    "How predictably cliché" she muttered between clenched teeth as her attention turned to the creature the altmer had gifted to them.

    She had no more time to devote to the tiresome, dusty old bore but had eyes only for his creation. She had a limited time frame to work within in which she alone was capable of testing weak spots that may have been difficult if not impossible for the others to reach. Widening her stance so as to maintain her position she began to cast with a fluidity that defied all challenge, that spoke of practice and a natural talent. Testing at several potential weak spots she rotated through a variety of spells, though ensuring as always to not show the true complexity of her abilities.

    Her jaw tightened as all attempts failed, though she would continue her venture she paused a moment to let her eyes roam the ground in search of a suitable place to jump. It was in doing so that she noticed the Dumner who ran towards her, debris creating a cloud behind him. He would reach her soon, whatever his intentions were and so she wasted no more time in letting loose a number of small attacks on the beast.

    The last bit of energy had hardly had time to jump from her hand as she was hit with the weight of the running mer, thrusting the two into the air. As they flew felt his arms around her, their bodies pressed together. Under any other circumstance, she would have forced him away, lashing out as she did so. However as the shock of the circumstance did not allow for such she clung to him, her face pressed tightly to his chest in a response completely alien to the mage.

    As they were hurled towards the stone and rubble bellow Cosset braced herself for the impact though once more she was surprised. As their landing came to fruition it was noticeably softened not only by the corpses but by the mer's positioning of his form, placed in such a way to take the brunt of the collision. As always, her mind raced from movement to movement, to tear apart the subtle inflections and irregularities in tone to analyze all information that the world presented her. No jolt nor jump able to stall this as she set upon his actions with critical eyes and little delay as they rolled over the corpses, finally coming to rest. As her body focused on regaining her bearings, she pondered the mer's intentions, his movements though as she did so it only served to enforce a single question that grew in its demand to be answered. Why? Her eyes read as they lifted from the ground and found themselves lingering on his own.

    Her gaze fixated on him in a new way, still searching staring hard into his face as if something in his eyes would divulge the answer to her unspoken question. But beneath that same probing visage something lingered, something rare and fleeting that slunk quietly in the delicate features of her face. It was confusion that lent to her a softness that went previously unnoticed. As she firmly pressed one palm to the blood soaked stone, lifting herself to sit, she made note of the hand that loomed over her in protection.

    Her main points of confusion lay not only in his drive to save her, endangering himself but in the small actions that followed the leap. The fashion in which he had shielded her from the impact was unnecessary if he wished only to keep her alive, likewise, the hand that rose in a natural show of protection fell in much the same category. Perhaps he gained some feeling of importance by playing the martyr, and she had been a simple damsel in his eyes. The thought disgruntled her slightly but as he turned back to face her she left it aside.

    “You alright?” He questioned his face in the midst of allowing an engaging snarl to fade away.

    "Yes," Thanks to you, she thought, begrudging her own thought process for allowing such a comment, even internally. "Thank you."

    Her last words were ripe with sincerity, no contempt or pride present in her voice though the softness had faded. She was not about to allow one such action to soften her resolve, nor her view of the suspicious Dumner. Instead, she picked herself up and surveyed the damage that the couthless altmer had brought about. At the same time she searched the immediate area for the chance at vengeance, she planned to show that cad what a mistake he had made underestimating her.

    *
     
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  7. Simus

    Simus An Excellent Site Member

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    In life, every werewolf had to walk the line between man and beast. They were forever caught between two worlds and they needed both to be complete, whole people. Balancing these worlds takes constant work and may of them fail but Titus was one of the lucky ones. He had a family who loved him and accepted what he was and they knew when to calm him down and when to run wild. He had the Companions, his second family, to teach him how to use his gift and focus it into something productive. His shield-siblings were his pack, his teachers and his aggressive outlet. These were his two families, his two worlds. He had to work every day to balance them but he had people on both sides to help him through it.

    By far the most supportive person in his life was Alice. She was better than anyone else at calming him down when he needed to be relaxed and the one to always stand with him when he couldn't be relaxed. On bad nights when he was particularly angry or upset and had to shift she would follow him like a shadow through the plains and hills and woods of their home in Whiterun to make sure he never got hurt. Sometimes she'd be with him the whole night and she would always be there when he woke up the next morning. There was only one other person in Skyrim who could give him that kind of support and she was hacking through the hordes of dead with her two swords like a mad butcher, her black leather bodysuit and long brown hair slick with blood.

    Now she was engaged with the golem the mad elf had summoned, fighting for her life. The golem made from the corpses of the dead the elf had so callously crushed to dust just to make a better war machine. A cold, pitiless killing machine that took no feeling in what it did. Not even mindless hunger. It cared for nothing save its master's commands. It was the tool of a coward and a madman who set them all up. He had orchestrated this entire horrifying slaughter just to insult Dolmas and kill them. And he had the gall to blame them for his mess. And to top it all off this coward had nearly killed his twin sister and was about to kill the woman he loved like another sister. Someone who had given him more than she realized and who might now be lost forever.

    It was time to let go.

    Titus' rage had been building ever since they had entered the city and there were about sixteen different factors boiling it. Alice, the elf and the girl he cared for had pushed him over the edge. He couldn't hold the rage back any longer and with the current situation he was finally read to let go. He made his decision a mere heartbeat after the elf was done taunting them with the high ground and asking where the fun in all of it was.

    "Oh I'll show you the fun in that necromancer. You just wait..." Titus growled the last part and began to shift. He ripped off his armor with practiced efficiency, having learned from experience that clothes were very difficult to wear again once they'd been ripped apart by your own transforming body. The breastplate, bracers, and leg plates came off first, then the mail and cloth t shirt, then the shin guards on his boots. The boots themselves and his pants were last. In thirty seconds he was naked with his pants around his ankles and then the shift began.

    He fell down on all fours as his body began to rearrange itself. His feet and legs bent and narrowed, his arms and chest thickened, his hands curled as his fingernails turned to wicked claws. His face contorted and lengthened into its lupine shape and his canines grew almost too large for his expanding mouth. Waves of agony and exhilaration rolled over his body as it swelled to an enormous seven feet, his blood, bone and sinew swelling him into the perfect hunter. Finally his mane of hair retreated and his entire body was covered in ebony black fur. The only recognizable features of Titus Psyrakon in this huge black creature of the night were his blue eyes. Those of his mother and sister and the only parts unclouded by the beast.

    His transformation complete, the beast was fully unleashed. He gave an earsplitting roar at the golem then charged at it on all fours. It, like the zombies, was a threat to the natural order and if he couldn't rip it to shreds he would smash it to bits. He lept onto the creature square in the face just as it was about to crush Brynn's head. Cossett and Cilla were bombarding its sides with small, fast spells but Titus paid them no heed. He held himself against the creature's face with his legs and teeth and pounded away at its head with his massive black paws, determined to pummel it to dust or die trying.
     
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  8. Hlíf 'Ulfr

    Hlíf 'Ulfr Princess Pants

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    *

    The blast shook the beast inside her to its core, though not with the chains of fear but rather the hunger for destruction and ultimately its release. As she fell to her knees, knuckles scraping against the cobblestone street each hilt still firmly grasped in her hands, the stakes rose and the internal battle intensified. It was a primal desire for one predator to respond to the challenge of another, an undeniably powerful urge. However, with a snarl on her maw and her teeth gritting angrily she fought it back, she was no mindless beast to be taken over in either form and she would not succumb. ​

    The call was seductive and enticing but the thought of being led into a trap made the wolf leery and in its hesitation gave her the opportunity to reason, and take control. She was no stranger to resisting temptation, her constitution was strong certainly much stronger than the urge to become just another monster or to deliver one more blunder to the elf. There had been far more mistakes already than she could reasonably expect, and she refused to contribute to the failures in any way. If she could keep this from him now it could only provide an unexcepted edge in the times to come, and that time will come.

    However her current lack of movement served very little to appease her beast blood, and in this way was dangerous. Thrusting herself into movement she began to rise, the chill in the air causing the blood that painted her to cool quickly though her nordic heritage protected her from cold and stiff joints. Her ascent was smooth and despite the light show that blazed above her, courtesy of the Breton mage, she focused on the creature and its reactions, or in this case the lack thereof.

    As if of the same mind as the she-wolf, the imperial whose place she had taken amongst the horde sailed forward to commence his own assault on their opponent. With a powerful flourish of his sword he marked the first of the unsuccessful melee attacks to befall the beast, however, there was a detail that may have gone either unnoticed or ignored as irrelevant by others that lit a spark. Despite the lack of immediate reaction, the blade could penetrate the skin, the skin simply healing itself rather than deflecting the damage altogether. It was a fleeting thought however as her stance was once more shaken, though she was not to be toppled, by yet another cry and the dropping of a monstrous fist.

    Wide eyed she looked on, resisting the urge to call out, waiting to confirm or deny another casualty of this folly as the fist obstructed her view. To her relief, as it was lifted the man was revealed to be intact if not slightly rumpled. His voice rose above the turmoil in disgruntled tones, meant for the ears of the Dumner who had cast himself off the roof of the crumbling building, mage in tow. Unlike the knight, however, she had no intention of waiting on the dictations that were certainly not guaranteed in quality or delivery.

    With each sword returned to his sheath she stalked forwards, calculating the perfect moment to rush the creature meaning that as its attention wavered, focusing anew on Brynn, she was ready. Exploding in a flurry of movement she dashed toward the golem, twirling away in an elegant roll as the fist came down to crush its opponent but she was no longer there. Despite her acrobatics, however, it seemed that one of their numbers had assumed the worst judging by the dark blur of fur and teeth that had since attached itself to the face of her would-be killer.

    She reacted with a sigh, forcing herself not to make any disgruntled gestures. With Alice injured there was no guarantee that Titus would not act in such a way that he, and the rest of the group, would later regret. He was not a wolf so controlled as Brynn, and with so much already having damned them she was not in favor of the transformation, though she doubted he was in complete control of it coming upon him. Never the less, she could not lose focus with the stakes only rising.

    Preoccupied with what she could only assume was the detachment of Titus, the creation had no time to waste swatting at Brynn. Providing at least some use, she was able to round the creature and assess the situation. Drawing out two daggers she rolled her shoulders slightly, looking up at the task ahead.

    "Divines preserve me" She muttered, running at and subsequently latching on to the rough hide, and inserting her daggers.

    The daggers did not budge nor rip down the textured skin which stank of death and ash as her feet found holds and her body was supported. In lifting one dagger and impaling it at a higher point, following it with the other after having risen to the former she climb. Her intention was to somehow reach the heart, or at least the gaping center of the creature and inflict some kind of damage upon it. It was a farfetched idea but now was the time for such a plan if ever there was one.

    With the sudden movement of the creature beneath her, she gripped tightly to her current position, hoping to avoid being thrown from such an altitude, potentially to her death. The little good that the sudden movement did for the group was to reveal Brynn, and her climb to the fractured group. Though likely confusing for most it did serve to lift one voice, and with it give more purpose to the climb. It began with a simple call, beckoning her to avert her eyes to the group bellow. The Dumner had chosen finally to take his turn in replying to the call for aid, and Brynn was affirmed and quite pleased she had chosen not to wait.

    "When you're done scratching the giant's back, stick that in the unsightly gap 'round the front, would you? I've got a surprise for this beast..." he cackled uncharacteristically to himself before continuing. "And it's going to be a blast!"

    With it, a satchel was thrown though it nearly missed its mark. As it dipped slightly lower than the Nord could reach her grip fell from one of the daggers allowing her to catch the bag but also leaving her hanging rather precariously. With a steely look, she slung the bag around her body and letting out a small rather aggrieved sound managed to gain hold once more of her anchor. She cursed colorfully as she climbed, finally nearing the shoulder of her adversary.

    Everything is falling apart she thought bitterly to herself as she viewed the surroundings from atop the shoulder of the golem. Both the structures around them and the carefully crafted plan were in shambles due to circumstance and the blunders of those few individuals in their group who defied all logic. She tried not to dwell on the thought that there was certainly more that she had not seen that had gone horribly wrong. It would do her no good to continue the thought process, though it had washed over her like a wave, dragging her away in the strength of its undercurrent. With her legs dangling before her It was simply so visually striking, their failures.

    Now was the time to focus on her surroundings and the task at hand. Her eyes flitting to the gaping hole and on all possible methods of reaching it finally settled on the tusks. They were close enough to reach with ease and dropped, sprouting in such a way to bring her near enough to have perfect access to the hole. Quickly, with one more quiet prayer to the heavens, she gripped the tusk and followed through on her plan.

    Inching closer she prayed that she would not be sent to her death by an unexpected jolt as the bag was lifted and positioned to throw. Taking a deep breath she swung the bag, giving it some momentum before releasing it to send it gliding into the heart. To her relief, the creature did not cry out, though it was slightly ominous that there should be no reaction. Ignoring the sinking feeling and seizing at what hope remained she likewise swung herself closer to the gray mass, dropping at an alarming speed.

    She needed to vacate and fast, and her current situation certainly met that criteria though it seemed foolish. Lashing out she planted the daggers into the hide, ripping it as she went. With time she began to slow and as the dagger finally caught she found herself close enough to the ground to make her final decent. With a neat tumble and roll the beast was free of her at last and she of it. She was free now to join the rest of the group, with the hopes that she had contributed enough to bring an end to this travesty.


    *
     
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  9. Simus

    Simus An Excellent Site Member

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    Cilla reignited herself as soon as the golem engaged Daxos and Dolmas. They had told her not to hold anything back and for once Alice wasn't around to nag her to be careful. Granted it was because she was knocked out but it was still an opportunity for some significant catharsis and Cilla wore a grin from ear to ear for it. Brynn had already engaged and Titus had finally gotten around to shifting. He had planted himself onto the golem's face like a cat hanging on a doorframe to get away from fresh snow and it gave her the perfect opportunity to get FIRED up (Gods that was a bad joke.)

    She conjured a small fireball in each hand. The balls got steadily bigger until they were bright orange cabbages and she pressed her hands together into a self-contained inferno. A roar of fury sent a brilliant jet of flame right at the golem's chest. Right where that gaping wound and that ruby red light were. Her aim was spot on and she held the jet. The flame continued to pour into the wound like painful, purifying water, steam was rising from the impact point, even the surrounding air became wavy with heat.

    But the golem wasn't slowing down. It didn't even seem phased by Cilla's attack, an attack that would have burned a hole clean through a giant's chest by now. She had held it for seconds now but she turned it up some more. She had to keep up the pressure. She held the jet for seven seconds. Eight seconds, eleven seconds, thirteen seconds. Finally, after fifteen seconds her magika gave out and she had to stop.

    After all her effort, in an obvious weak spot, nothing happened. She didn't understand and that scared her.

    ***
    Alice slowly gained awareness of her surroundings as she came too. All of the fires were out and the zombies were gone but the battle wasn't over yet. Somehow, all of the bodies had disappeared and there was a massive golem in the center of town. Brynn, Daxos and Dolmas were engaging the metal-plated behemoth but they were doing little more than distracting it: They were all wielding swords and they were doing little more than scratching the golem's grey surface. Their weapons would break before it did. It was like jabbing at plate armor with knitting needles. Cilla and Cosset weren't doing any better. The former was slouching against a wall, exhausted from what must have been an all-out assault and Cosset's magic was doing little more than providing more distractions. Titus, Mara bless him, had shifted and had clearly intended to pummel the golem to death. Now he was hanging onto its face for dear life. He was like a dog trying to attack a boulder. He could be the first to die and she very much did not want him to die a beast. Trapped in his own rage, not truly himself. They needed to bring this creature down and fast or they'd all be crushed to red paste.

    She took the next few heartbeats to consider her options and resources. A golem was a rock construct and rocks could be broken with blunt force or heat. This creature was the corpse of a man horribly bloated and covered in a shield of metal and bone. The same tactics applied here. Everyone here had blades so blunt force was not an option. Heat would have to be the answer. Alice herself was out of arrows and her destruction magic was limited but she had a very good grasp of concentration spells. Cosset, Ella and Elizabeth were all talented fire mages and this was the very thing Cilla excelled at. If they all worked together to augment Cilla they could turn her into one massive flame staff and aim for the creature's legs. Even if it didn't destroy it it might at the very least bring it down. It could work and they had time to do it. Cilla would be ready again in moments, Cosset had wisely conserved her magika, Ella was starting to come too and Elizabeth...

    Oh gods. Where was Elizabeth?

    "Elizabeth!" Alice shouted, turning back to the burnt husk of house that had so recently been on fire. Alice hadn't seen Elizabeth come out of there and now she feared for the worst. "Elizabeth! Where are you!?"

    She shouted again as she ran into the burnt husk, knocking down the brittle doorframe as she went. All around her was blackened stone and charred timber but then she saw something that made her heart sink. A burnt hand was peeking around the corner from a half-ruined wall. Alice ran over to it and put a hand to her mouth at what she saw, trying to keep the sudden lump in her throat from turning into vomit.

    A half-charred corpse lay there, radiating the smell of burnt flesh. The left leg was broken and it was almost completely naked. Only bits of short black hair and college robes told her who this was. The poor girl had died in an inferno with a broken leg and no one to help her. It took all of Alice's strength to hold back her tears but she succeeded. Whoever had caused this nightmare had taken Elizabeth's life. The life of a sweet and wonderful girl that Alice considered a dear friend. Elizabeth would not die in vain: Alice would see to that. She marched out of the building and put her hand on Cilla's shoulder, both of them ready for more.

    "You ready for round two?" She asked Cilla.

    "Hell yeah." Cilla said, then she hugged her sister. "Just don't die on me again okay?"

    "I promise." Alice said softly, holding her sister for a moment before both of them made ready. "We're gonna supercharge you and then we're gonna blow this golem back to gravel. Let's get started and wait for the other mages. They'll know what we're up to."

    "Wait a minute! I've got a better idea! Look up there!" Cilla suddenly exclaimed. She pointed to the golem, which had now turned its back to them, and Brynn was on its shoulders, using a pair of daggers like icepicks and holding on for dear life. She just barely managed to land on her feet and sprint away. The golem turned around again and the girls saw Brynn's parting gift.

    "Alice, do you see that bag?" Cilla asked.

    "Oh I see it allright. And I think I know exactly what our Brynnie has planned. Aim for that bag Cilla. Don't open fire until I get stuck in and keep a safe distance. I'll have to get close and you might have to drag me out. Things are about to explode."
     
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  10. CapObvious

    CapObvious Gramos Goat-Shaker

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    Nothing was working. With every flourish of Daxos’ blade, this thought resurfaced, yet he continued to try, not knowing what else to do. The call of battle and and of blood continued to hum beneath the surface of his skin, his grip on his sanity slowly slipping closer the point of no return. He was overcome as his senses began firing off, the stench of rot clogging his lungs and nostrils, becoming too much to bear. The pungent odor that emanated from the golem only worsened this mindset, pulling him deeper into his bloodlust as his wrath only intensified. He was becoming overwhelmed. The skirmish was taking too long, he was losing control as his senses were coming under fire. Dolmas needed to think of something quickly, or the imperial would be lost in his desire to kill, led only by the beating of his heart, and the hunger that drove him to bring that monstrosity down. At whatever cost.


    Simultaneously, Dolmas was trying his damnedest to do just that. He watched as everything began to unfold before him, and drew no pleasure in what he had witnessed. He paced behind Cosset and Cilla as they flung everything they could at the creature, with no signs of doing more than suppressing him, no structural damage resulting from their onslaught. The warriors who stood undaunted by the imposing size of the monstrosity were faring no better. With every swing of their steel, the words of the Altmer echoed in his mind. The creature was impervious to their methods. They were giving it everything they had, but it was proving fruitless, despite when one warrior decided to take more...drastic measures. The dunmer stood in confusion as the man tore his armor from his body, before he began to undergo a change of his own. In a manner reminiscent of the origin of the titan, the male twin’s body shifted into his own form of a monstrosity, though this form Dolmas recognized. As the freshly shifted creature bounded off a nearby surface and latched onto the face of the golem, Dolmas felt almost ecstatic. This was different. A new dilemma. Surely this would provide enough of a distraction, or even a challenge to the beast as the elf’s mind raced erratically, desperate for some sort of solution.


    However, it was not meant to be. For while they had given their welcome to the creature, it was his turn to return the favor. As the giant took the brunt of the attack, it felt nothing. The fire, the steel, even the blur of fang and claw were no match for the creatures hardened hide. Because of this, it had plenty of time to toy with it’s new playthings.


    Starting with Titus.


    The Golem clasped at his face with its palm, grasping the indignant beast before prying him off with ease. It gripped the wolf firmly in its bone-laden fist, before raising it dramatically and sending it downward. The wolf was rocketed from his elevated position, crashing into the ground, rolling as his body was flung away from the creature, laying there for a moment as he recovered from the fall. The creature wasted no time in returning his focus to the others, and swiftly brought down another fist upon those unlucky to stand below. Unfortunately, this time, it actually reached its mark. The swordsman, who had been sent to the front lines by Daxos prior, was beneath the golem when it struck down on the earth, utterly flattening him. The body lay limp in the small crater the impact had created, dead from the brute force of the swing. Another had fallen in this botched plan, and its effect was not lost upon the two who led them. Daxos, already losing himself to the challenge the golem posed, let out another roar as he struck down upon the giant again, the grip on his sanity wavering even further. The man’s death only strengthened his resolve, his desire to end this creature rising exponentially. Dolmas had called out to the swordsman before the fist dropped, but his warning had fallen upon deaf ears. He cursed under his breath as he stood there, his annoyance with the situation growing beyond reason. He didn’t want to give up, he refused to let the altmer win. The bastard would not get the upper hand again, nor the satisfaction that would surely come with it. But even with this resolve, he couldn’t shake the feeling that this was truly the end. They had failed. Rumare had outplayed him, as much as it sickened him to say it.


    However, this train of thought stopped cold, as after the man had been killed, someone took a great risk. The nord woman from earlier began to rush the golem from behind, and Dolmas was caught off guard, unsure if the woman had lost her mind. However, her intentions soon became clear. She leapt toward the creature, blades outstretched, and thrust them into the golem’s back. Somehow, to Dolmas’ astonishment, the blades sunk into the exposed back of the monster, and held her weight as she slowly began to…climb the...


    Valen swiftly wrestled control from Dolmas, his mind racing with the possibilities. “Move over, you blasted fool. Can you not see how brilliant this is?” Dolmas retorted, not too pleased with being thrust out of his own control, but spoke regardless. She’s only going to get herself killed. There are no- Valen quickly shrieked with exasperation, as he realized his bumbling host just wasn’t seeing what he was. “I cannot believe-.” He stopped short, snapping his head toward the center of the golem, and his eyes went wide. “Open those damnable eyes of yours. Do you not see what I’m seeing?” The mer’s focus turned to the golem’s chest, and everything started to piece together. The hole in his crest. The one from before the warrior had been raised. It was covered up, but there was a breach, just large enough for...Valen interrupted the dunmer’s thought, already reaching down for the bag at his waist. He slung it off of his shoulder and raced for the Golem, his voice raising high above the sounds of war.


    “YOOHOO! DOWN HERE, YOU SHE-DEVIL!” The woman did not seem to catch exactly what he had said, but she turned down to him regardless, the dunmer palming the satchel, holding it outward for her to focus on. "When you're done scratching the giant's back, stick this in the unsightly gap 'round the front, would you? I've got a surprise for this beast..." Valen cackled proudly before he unleashed his punchline, and Dolmas groaned, knowing what was coming. The madmer tossed his bag up to the nord, and continued. "And it's going to be a blast!"


    The bag fell short of it’s destination, causing the woman to unhand one of her blades and thrust herself outward, barely able to catch the bag from falling, and nearly ruining what could have been the one chance for them to end this once and for all. The woman let out an exasperated noise as she took the bag and continued her ascent, no doubt as frustrated with what was happening as the elf was. But it didn’t matter. She just had to get the bag in place, and then get the hell out of the way. Things were about to go off.


    Daxos looked to Dolmas, pausing for the briefest of moments as he gave a quizzical look, before the host regained control and spoke again, allaying Daxos’ confusion. “Keep that damn thing busy! When she get’s that satchel in it’s chest, take your men and run!” Dolmas rushed back to the mages, seeing that while the one called Ella was still getting her bearings, the legate had gotten back up, and had joined her sister and Cosset. They all looked to the rushing mer, who called out for them all to hear. “Rangers! Mages! Prepare yourselves! On my order, I want you all to fire upon the beast’s chest. Flaming arrows, fireballs, whatever you’ve got, use it! Do not hold back!”


    As he turned, the nord woman swung around the front of the creature, and stuck the bag in the snug cavity. With that, she landed to her feet and began to sprint away, the other warriors following suit. Meanwhile, the golem itself did not move. Instead, it looked to the gap in it’s chest, as if it were trying to grasp what was about to happen, but Dolmas would not allow it or his master the time. After a moment he bellowed to the line, thrusting a hand toward the beast in a commanding fashion. “FIRE!” A chorus of thwacks of bowstring and hissing flame rose around him as they raced for their target. The fire hit the bag square on, and the result, was more beautiful than any words could describe. As the reagents he had crafted all had been brought together, and the the fire ignited the mixture, the result created an explosion that, quite literally, rocked the golem to his very core, bringing the monstrosity tumbling down as the source of his power that had laid in its chest was blown to bits. The lights behind the creature’s eyes fell dim once more, and the monster broke apart, each chunk of the beast causing small vibrations through the ground beneath their feet. The group looked on as the monster lay about in pieces, this time surely deceased.


    They had won the battle, but something far more troubling still loomed on in the temple that the creature had guarded, and whatever was brewing in there...Dolmas felt that the creature could not even begin to compare. However, he gave everyone a moment to catch their breath. They had earned it, that much was certain.


    “Gather yourselves, then prepare for whatever is coming next. I don’t know what we’re going to see in there, but we will need you all at your best. Steel yourselves…” Dolmas sighed, wiping sweat from his brow. “This isn’t over yet.”
     
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  11. Simus

    Simus An Excellent Site Member

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    *

    Titus slowly got up, untangling the black furry lump he had become. Stars danced across his vision for a moment but they quickly stopped as he got back on his paws. Nothing was broken, just a small bruise on his left shoulder. He was strong, it was no bother. He had to stay on all fours to stabilize himself. The golem had thrown him a great distance and he had skidded along the street. bits of hair and flakes of skin sprinkled his approach. The golem would pay for that.

    He rose onto his legs. He had to rise. He was strong. Only a weakling would stay curled up and whimper at his wounds. He was not weak. He was a predator and his prey had earned his revenge.

    But his prey was no more. It had collapsed into a pile of metal and bone and rotting flesh. Titus had survived the battle but someone else had won it for him. Someone had robbed him of revenge. The air was hot and smoky and smelled of ash. His sisters, weak and human, could not smell it but his shield-sister could. She had not freed herself of human form today. She had held back, even in desperate battle. Titus did not understand this, but he did understand the smell. Magic was in the air. Someone had used magic to destroy the golem and steal his kill. Magic was a wicked thing. A tool for cowards and weaklings and those with no spine for battle. Magic had also created the golem and the mage was still around. Titus could smell her. She had to be punished and Titus was hungry. The battle had taken much of his strength and the kill he was about to claim deserved a reward. He sniffed the air, searching for the one responsible for this. The one who must die.

    *
    Alice was barely able to stand as she held her knees, panting from her effort. Every bit of her magika had been dumped into a cone of purifying flame to facilitate the explosion and to generate a ward spell to protect her from it. She couldn't believe Dolmas' plan had actually worked but work it did. The battle was over. They had won.

    As she looked around she could tell there were a few people missing. The Nord warrior she'd never even met was nowhere to be seen and neither was the man who was with Elizabeth. The pile of goo and bone-impaled corpse however told her more than she wanted to know.

    She looked to Dolmas. He seemed determined to keep going but for what purpose? The city was in ruins and all the people were gone. Slain by their hands or used to become that...abomination of flesh they'd just killed. There was no Rorikstead left to save.

    "I'm...not sure we can go on." She said, looking to Dolmas. "We've lost three people so far and the city...everyone's dead...there's no one left to rescue..." Her voice was flat and hollow, trailing off at the end. She'd seen war-blasted cities before, broken and burned by fire and siege weapons and hordes of enraged, rioting people who had simply had enough. She'd even seen the piles of dead that had come after all those terrible events. But an entire city dead? Emptied of life by monsters out of a frightening children's story? It was hard for her to come to grips with that. She sank to her knees, using her outstretched arms to hold herself up. She couldn't control the tears this time as they trickled down her face. Cilla immediately ran over and knelt beside Alice but she didn't hug her. She didn't pull her into a comforting embrace. Not just yet. Alice needed time and space to sort out her own feelings so Cilla simply put her arm around her sister's shoulder, helping her through it. Alice would hug Cilla when she was ready. Right now, she needed space.

    *
    Titus was back on all fours, sniffing out his target but also watching his sisters. He watched Alice weep and Cilla comfort her. Alice was clever and wise and strong of heart but she was also small and weak. Smaller even than Cilla. They were family, they were Titus' pack. They were weak and he was strong and he had to protect them. This mage had hurt them. He would protect them.

    Finally he had found it. The scent of the mage. He bolted towards a ruined building on all fours, practically leaping over there. Just outside he had found his prize. A small girl, frail and tired from her effort. She was almost as small as Alice but did not share her deadly grace or her infuriating cunning. This girl, this child, was no equal to his sister. She was the one who had made the smoke and fire that had killed the golem and she must the the one who had created it in the first place. She was the mage who must die.

    The low growl that escaped Titus' throat immediately got her attention. Her face was a complete mask of surprise and Titus could taste the fear coming off of her. She stank with it and he licked his lips with anticipation. Fear adds spice to any kill but especially to mages. They all had this exact same moment before he slew them. The moment when they realize all their arm waving and arcane babbling was meaningless and they were about to meet a death more glorious than they deserve. Titus coiled his hind legs back, ready to spring into action. Like a ballista releasing its bolt he sprung forward, ready to pounce onto her like a living missile and rip her to shreds. He barreled forward on all fours, charging at her and ready to pounce in mere seconds. It was time for the kill.

    *
    The growl almost made Alice's heart stop. She got up and looked back to Ella and realized that they now had a new problem. Titus was still shifted and he was looking at Ella like she was a deer. The poor thing looked absolutely terrified and if someone didn't stop him Titus was going to rip her into chili. There wasn't any time to think so Alice simply acted. She sprinted towards Ella, as fast as she could, but she couldn't outrun him. He was too close. She had to stop his charge.

    "TITUUUUUS! HEEEEEEL!" She screamed as loud as she could. The sound and volume of his voice carried true and Titus cancelled his leap just in time. His momentum very nearly carried him into the side of the building and there was barely enough time for him to use his arms to stop himself. He was standing as if he were trying to push the wall over, an energetic and thoroughly confused werewolf standing over a curled up and terrified Ella. Slowly, he moved away from the wall and assumed a more relaxed stance but kept himself between Alice and Ella. This was the part Alice had to be very careful with. He had to calm Titus down enough to shift back but also keep Ella where she was. If she tried to run, Titus would charge and she'd be dead.

    "Titus?" She said slowly. "I need you to calm down. That is Ella. Ella is a friend. You want to find the mage who did is. This isn't the mage you're looking for."

    Titus growled when she took another step. She stopped. She could tell she hadn't convinced him but at least she still had his attention.

    "Titus? Listen to me. You're upset and you're hungry. You're not thinking clearly. The only way you can find the mage is if you calm down."

    Titus barked at her twice then growled in frustration.

    "You can't talk to me right now. But, that's okay. You don't have to. You can still listen. I know you can listen. YOU know you can listen. I'm gonna take another step, okay?"

    Titus was getting frustrated at this but he understood. He nodded.

    "Good boy. I'm gonna take another step, okay?"

    Again he let her do so but he was losing patience. This mage might know where the other was and he couldn't let her get away. Alice took a third step towards him and slowly, cautiously inched around to his side.

    "Good boy Titus. We're almost there. This'll all be over soon." He had let her get all the way within arm's length and that was a very encouraging sign. All she had to do now was get between him and Ella and get him to calm down. She palmed a calm spell just in case. Titus was always highly resistant to Illusion magic while shifted but this was the best contingency plan Alice had at the moment. The eyes of the entire group were upon them. If this didn't work they might kill him. She turned to her back, just for a moment, so she could speak to Ella.

    "Ella? Move. Slowly."


    Alice watched her get up and thought things were finally calming down but then Titus did something she'd never expect.

    *
    Titus saw it, in the palm of Alice's hand. Magic. She was going to use magic to calm him down. She never used magic to calm him down. She didn't trust him, she was helping the mage. Alice had betrayed him.

    Before she could take another breath Titus roared and grabbed Alice by the throat, hoisting her up in the air and raising his right claw, ready to kill her for her betrayal. But just before he could strike, as he held her suspended above the ground, he saw her eyes. Her eyes were full of surprise and fear. As she hung there, dangling her legs and gasping for breath, she, his own sister, was terrified of him.

    Why? Why was she so scared? Surely she knew what she had done. Surely she knew of the consequences of betrayal. She should have been defiant, not afraid, if she had betrayed him. So why? Why was she afraid.

    "TITUS!" Cilla screamed, igniting herself and rushing over to them before he could react and with the same look of terror her sister had. Her tears were just barely visible before her own fire boiled them away. "Titus! Titus...please stop...please stop."

    Confusion now ruled Titus' mind. Cilla was pleading with him, begging him to stop. Why did she fear him. He was her guardian. Her protector...

    "Titus..." Alice wheezed. He looked back to her and finally he had realized what he had done. He was her protector but he had not protected. HE was the betrayer. The mage had slithered away and let him to his rage. She had done her work well...

    "Titus...please..." Cilla said, holding his left paw in both of hers. "Put her down."

    Titus closed his big blue eye and gave a long sigh of relief. Then he put Alice down, as gently as possible. As she regained her breath the full weight of what Titus had done had reached him. He sat down on his legs, paws secure on the ground, and began to whimper. His long, bushy tail was tucked between his legs and his ears were flat as his shame overcame him.

    Both his sisters were overcome with pity. Titus had been lost to the worst of himself but it wasn't his fault. This battle, and the high elf that had orchestrated it, had manipulated him somehow. He had given Titus an opportunity to lose control and drove him to that. He would pay for that. Not now, not today, but soon. Cilla wrapped herself around one of his massive arms and Alice gave him a warm, comforting embrace around the neck.

    "Shhhh..." She soothed, holding him close as if he were a stuffed animal. "Shhhh...It's over now. It's okay Titus. It's okay...I've got you, you're safe. I'm not going anywhere and Cilla's right here with you. We're gonna stay right here and we're not gonna leave you. You can just let go, whenever you're ready."

    Slowly, over the next ten minutes, Titus calmed down. His heart slowed, his whimpering got quieter and his tail and ears came back out. A few minutes after that he was sitting quietly, then curling up on the ground like a dog about to settle in for a nap. Alice and Cilla kept their careful embraces all the way, shifting them as needed to give him some space. He ended up with his head in Alice's lap and Cilla gently petting his side, sitting comfortably against his outstretched body. He was an excellent heat source when he wasn't hunting men or covered in blood. A total of fifteen minutes passed and Titus started to shift back. Fur receded into hair, bones and muscles shrunk and rearranged themselves, organs and sinew returned to their normal sizes and claws gave way to normal hands and feet. After eight unsightly but immensely relieving seconds Titus was his old human self again. Exhausted, covered in cuts and bruises and with a massive bruise on his side but safe. He was in a deep, restful sleep with his head in Alice's lap and Cilla at his side, wiping his cuts out with a wet linen rag Alice had prepared. The battle wasn't over but their part in it was. Now Titus would rest and they would take care of him. Anyone who had a problem with that could rot in Oblivion.
     
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  12. Hlíf 'Ulfr

    Hlíf 'Ulfr Princess Pants

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    As the mighty beast began to topple, its form shaken and broken by the blast she watched with empty eyes. Contrary to the others, whose shoulders slumped in relief, her excitement began to fade though blossoming in its place a slight glow of satisfaction grew for a solution haven been found. Her arms quickly moved weaving to cross before her, her weight shifting to a single leg at her dissatisfaction with the remaining feeling. To have gone from such a great challenge to the unstimulating quiet of the ghostly town left her empty once more.

    There was but a small ember, the deep-seated contempt that she felt to a degree for the great majority of those surrounding her though primarily reserved for the cantankerousAltmer. In the excitement of being torn from her position and the following confusion, she had lost sight of him. As the pieces came crashing down and the dust began to rise and settle the last memories of him began to flash before her disgruntled eyes, his steps and direction firmly planted in her mind. As the fingers rose to send the dust from her hair and clothing her mind was made up, and her eyes began to wander.

    Gather yourselves, then prepare for whatever is coming next. I don’t know what we’re going to see in there, but we will need you all at your best." With a loud exhale of air her own opinions on the halting of progress were made clear, though the others could not hope to hear from her distance "Steel yourselves… This isn’t over yet.”

    As she picked her way through the rubble, plucking at the pieces of the golem as she went, testing the texture of the dust between her fingers it seemed that there were other plans in the works. More disaster and distasteful conduct was still in the process of being executed she noted. It halted her, though no from fear as the feral beast, suffering from what looked to be mange inflicted by its descent, picked itself up hungrily but rather for a lack of interest in subjugating herself to any involvement. It did not surprise her to witless such negligence as she expected would follow from the Psyrakon siblings, particularly the lawless male.

    Therefore as the assault began there was no surprise to be found on her face, just as there had been to see his female counterpart lose control and begin to fill the air with her dreadful sobbing. Prophesizing the involvement of the whole family and the time-consuming drama that seemed to stalk them the decision was quickly made to change her course of action. Pivoting smoothly and tossing her head back indignantly she made her move, though it was away from the group rather than into the fray.

    Clambering swiftly over the wreckage she cursed internally, a habit that had seemed only to form with her forced cooperation with the group and which she could not seem to shake. Upon finding herself in the location of her last memory she stood erect and plotted her path. It was as she began to flow once more in motion that the scream of an all too familiar voice managed to peak her interest, slightly at least.

    "TITUUUUUS! HEEEEEEL!"The voice screeched, her previous thoughts confirmed and her ears ringing.

    Looking back for a moment over her shoulder she hoped there was at least one of them left, to act as fodder in the mission she had embarked upon so dutifully. It was, after all, much easier for her to observe, take note, and act as they fumbled about. As her regular procedure had been jeopardized due to the fact that she did not approach the subject alone it was the least they could do to be useful. Besides, if she lingered in the shadows of their folly there was less of a chance of any of them taking her by surprise.

    Their self-proclaimed leaders could act as shepherds, but she had volunteered for no such thing. she was a wolf, thrust by fate into a pack of what appeared to be dogs. Though some were fierce she had yet to see in any of them the quiet danger, that needed no words nor announce that set apart the wolf from the domestic. Others were clumsy, some noisy and brash in their execution.They had been bred for companionship first, and utility second. She had no need for such acceptance. Even the boy with the beast blood acted like a dog, feral and at a lost for control.

    It was not a comforting train of thought, but rather a set of facts that she was forced to live with. Despite the undeniable truth behind the line of thought she chose to cast it aside, never one to brood and realizing quickly that she was dedicating much more time to the lot of them than they deserved for such action as simply not being exemplary. It was time to set about resolving the issues ahead, or simply to move them as the remainder of the group seemed much more focuses on ripping eachother apart or watching it happen. She had no such desire.

    Turning her attention to a more worthy cause she continued to run the silt between her fingers, reflexively as she looked for the facts to jump out at her. She had her suspicions and her logic but she wished for one more unbiased look before confirming or denying her previous thoughts. The vast majority of the buildings had no guards, doors or the like having been torn asunder, otherwise, they were collapsed. It was the Temple alone which stood out as having weathered the storm each of them had experienced and fought only minutes before. The human condition was also as such that those seeking protection but unable to provide it themselves would turn to a deity, an all-powerful being, to deliver them. Surely it was there that she would find the villain, drawn to the vulnerability of the survivors. If this ploy was not realized she anticipated at least to find the remaining townsfolk which in itself was progress and therefore enough for the practical mage.

    Finally, she began with a most confident stride to distance herself, nearing her goal rather than being weighed down by the tomfoolery that she left behind her. She had no intention of returning or backtracking and if anyone should attempt to herd her back towards the mockery they would be met with an unwavering conviction. With this relief washed over her for only if in this moment she was unaffected by the actions of the others and once more had some control in steering the situation.
     
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  13. CapObvious

    CapObvious Gramos Goat-Shaker

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    After taking time to gather themselves, the two men took note of what remained of their scattered group. The team had dwindled in number. Once a solid eleven knocked down to nine, one due to mishap the other by an unfortunate flattening. Those that remained were gathering themselves, preparing for whatever was to come next. Ella had managed to get to her feet, and was seeming to finally have gathered her wits. A ways further, at the remains of the fallen golem, Cosset was picking through, touching and studying what was left from their former adversary. Dolmas watched her as she moved about, and was intrigued as she ran the soot from their foe between her fingers, likely taking in anything she could from what was left to investigate. While the others had taken advantage of the breather, she instead seemed intent on discovering more about the situation they had thrust her into, and the creature that had spawned from it. His observations were added to the already scattered pile of loose information that rattled in his mind, unsorted and begging to be sifted through despite there being not enough time to do so. There was a lot to this woman that mere sight and speculation could not answer for, and his curiosity started to call to him.


    However, this line of thought would have to be on hold. Not simply due to the vast importance of what they were trying to accomplish, but something more urgent, and more frustrating drew his attention. A disturbance of the relative peace that lingered in the hollow town, save for the staggered breathing and broken conversation. The beast that had stood with them had decided that he had not caused enough damage. That there was still yet need for more death. Before the two could act, the beast set his sights upon the reeling Ella, and thrust himself in her direction with reckless abandon. Likely he had smelled the blood in the water, and was planning to finish the frail woman off before she could have the chance to continue.


    This was not to be.


    The legate caused him to stop short, calming him for the moment as she attempted to talk him back into control, slowly stepping for him with magic in hand. Daxos watched the scene intently, his gaze dancing over each of them, as well as the companion who had come in with them, but did not join them in talking down the manbeast. The woman kept her distance, looking as if she were ready to jump in herself at any moment, yet more so that she were waiting to do so as a last resort. As if she were not willing to further irritate the situation, or the man who had started it. That was a fair thought, as it did look as if Alice had this under control again. Or so he thought. It seemed that even his own sister could not get him to calm, and instead he turned on her, preparing to instead end his sibling right there. However, this did not come to pass. The sisters seemed to talk sense into the beast, as he let the woman go and began to undergo another change. The man regained himself, soon shifting back after becoming overwhelmed with grief. The sisters doted upon him as he curled up against them, while the other companion looked on the scene as it had ended, her features stained with a small hint of disgust. The situation seemed to leave the woman with a bad taste in her mouth, something that Daxos understood.


    Daxos and Dolmas looked on as the team began to break down further, this time as the siblings, who had once seemed so tightly knit, fell apart before them. Even if only for a few moments...those moments were telling. They both witnessed the same actions, saw the same turmoil, but their thoughts and feelings on said actions could not have been more dissimilar. Dolmas understood what it was like. The lack of control. Not being able to discern friend from foe. He had experienced the call of the beast himself before, knew how hard it was to hold onto yourself in the wake of battle, when tempers flared, but to see it from a different perspective...It looked as terrible as it had felt. He did not approve of what had happened, and was still burning with a white hot frustration as the group continued to splinter, but he could not deny that at least he could sympathize with the broken man who laid at their feet in the arms of his sisters.


    Daxos however, was not nearly as understanding, nor did he harbor any sense of sympathy. The bloodlust was leaving him slowly as his once clouded mind returned to him, but the vexation dwelling within his chest did not fade. He lingered on the actions of the werewolf, reading into its every movement. The lack of control, the turning on his family, quite literally, like a rabid mutt, was infuriating. The male half of the twins had no self control, and what he had done was unacceptable, both in his attempt to attack Ella, and his response to his sister attempting to calm him. Daxos looked on at the scene before him, unamused. He felt no pity for the sniveling mess of a man, draped over the lap of the sister he had recently been trying to rip apart. He had met a few man beasts in his lifetime, and every one had seemed so savage and unruly; never truly in control of the power that lay dormant within, ready to burst forth at a moment's notice. From what he had seen, this man was no different. A liability, a hindrance, a hot headed mess. If Daxos were not in dire need of the aid...he would have put the bastard out of his misery himself. Though he could not deny the benefit of such would more than likely favor himself than the beast in question. But the distinction mattered very little. The desperation to keep themselves alive was all that kept the man from meeting the business end of his sword in the moments that followed the harrowing encounter. Nothing more, nothing less.


    But as they both looked to the others, some regaining their composure, others grumbling in frustration, Dolmas thought on the words of the legate that lingered on his mind. The sound of surrender in her voice as she spoke the words to him, defeat still hanging from them despite the tonal shift due to Titus. I'm not sure we can go on. She had said. There’s no one left to save. She had claimed. Dolmas’ jaw clenched tighter, his annoyance at the woman’s words starting to fester. This was not simply about the people any longer. Yes, the city was desolate. Yes, it’s streets were vacuous. But it’s hope, it’s people, still clung to life, in the temple mere feet away. Just as he had explained in the tent prior to this travesty. There was a sufficient amount of reasons to continue on, even despite this. She had been shaken, yes. But this was no reason to run with their tails between their legs. Dolmas’ annoyance soon came unhinged, but before he could voice it, Valen took control, prepared to voice his own. The madman spoke quickly, gaining the attention of the woman as she tended her brother.


    “Are you daft?” He started simply, the words crisp and sharp as he spat them to the small legate. “Is there not a working mind between those tiny ears, or is it merely fear that is keeping you from connecting the dots? I’ll try to speak clearly, so you can hear me over the whistling of the breeze that is echoing in that hollow head.” He thrust a hand to the temple, his eyes wide, pointed, piercing her own as he continued on with his raving. “You did see him, right? The pompous elf who just waltzed into the temple while we were playing with his new toy? The one who has likely killed all these…” He paused, making finger quotations mockingly as he spoke again. ”lovely people, and went on to the last safe haven for those that survived? You do remember that bit yes? Hell, I was sleeping through that boring little song and dance and I still recalled. What excuse have you?” Valen continued to unload, with surprisingly no scolding from Dolmas. Whether it was from his own frustration, or some sort of twisted agreepment with his other half was not apparent, nor was it important to Valen. He was going to take his chance to vent his annoyance, and was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. “I want you to get off your asses and get ready. Enough sniveling, enough stalling. We have a fool to kill, and I will not allow this embarrassment to continue any longer.”


    But before any of the siblings could speak out in their defense, something else caught the attention of the raving elf, as well as the host who had for the most part let Valen take the lead as he pondered internally. Swift, purposeful steps padded out from behind him as he turned on his heels, trying to gather what had broken the fragile silence that surrounded them all after his tirade. When his eyes met the sight, his brow began to furrow. Cosset, either no longer interested in the gruesome gathering of corpses or having had enough of the idle pratter, had begun to storm her way toward the temple herself. Valen looked onto her and allowed a smirk to crack upon his features, speaking to himself and to his host under his breath. “At least someone is willing to get this show on the road.” He chuckled softly to himself as she continued marching toward the doors. “A woman after my own heart.” He added under his breath, before Dolmas resurfaced. Not letting another moment pass, he broke into a light jog to reach the mage who had seemed dead set on going it alone.


    “Cosset.” He called, finally catching up to her brisk pace. “I would advise a bit more caution. I am just as ready to tear that door down and find him myself. But we need to wait for the others. There’s no telling what is happening behind those walls, and we need to be prepared for anything.” The mage did not waver in her movement toward the temple, but listened intently to him as he spoke. Her brow raised slightly as he mentioned the others, no doubt a gesture suggesting that counting on them to be capable of anything to be a foolish notion. They had reached the doors before she turned to face him, making eye contact with him as she responded to his statement. “You assumed that my intentions were to ‘tear down the door?’" She scoffed before she continued, giving him a look. "I expect you understand that there is a difference between gathering information and engaging a target." He sighed, shaking his head as he turned to the others, who were still lagging behind. He looked back to her, returning her intent stare with his own. “You are correct. I misunderstood your intentions. Forgive me.” He dipped his head slightly, before speaking again. “We will indeed need whatever information you can glean from this, especially while the others continue to linger. Thank you.” She nodded back to him, and continued about her business as he also began to linger around the entrance, listening in for any signs or sounds that could be breaking out from behind those doors that would give him any idea of what they would be seeing when they finally decided to enter themselves. As he did so, Daxos made his way to where the others all congregated. His rage had subsided, his focus returning to him as studied each of them, noticing things his that his clouded mind had rendered noticeable, or his frustration had declared unimportant. They all were worn from the battle, and yet they were being asked to continue in despite it all. Some were hesitant, others determined. However, no matter which side of the coin they were on, the next move was inevitable.


    They needed to keep going.


    Daxos moved toward the nord warrior he had watched previously, and spoke to her, his throat growing pained from the feral roars he had unleashed prior to their rest. “Help me gather them, if you would. Need everyone up to those doors and ready to breach them at a moment’s notice.” The woman nodded, and moved toward the redguard and the recovering Ella while Daxos knelt beside the psyrakons, who did not move to acknowledge his presence. “I heard what you had said before. I know things are bleak. That you think we have failed. And I’m sure what Dolmas had said did not help that opinion in any way.” He paused for a moment, before looking to the doors again. “But there are people in there. Alive and well. All that’s left of this poor shell of a city. They need our help.” He looked back to them all, as their gazes turned to him. “I need your help. We cannot finish this unless we all pull together and push through.” He stood to his feet, speaking again. “Let’s finish this out. Stop this bastard from hurting anyone else. Are you with me?”


    Both his group and Brynn’s got to their feet, and made their way to the temple doors, the desire to finish this forged anew. Daxos strode to the front along with Dolmas, who had turned to face the group that had gathered behind him. He spoke once more, his voice low. “The temple is silent. No voices. This can mean many things, but we must not allow it to dissuade us. Rumare cannot be allowed to leave these city walls. He must pay for what he’s done, and will do so with his life.” He looked to the doors with a scowl plastered on his visage, his hands placed flat upon one of the temple doors. Daxos took initiative and placed his on the other side, ready to push at the elf’s word.


    “Get ready.” Dolmas looked to the light between the door frame and growled low, ready to push. “This is for Rorikstead.”
     
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    #53 CapObvious, Feb 24, 2017
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  14. EpicVakarian

    EpicVakarian Calibration-Master General

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    As Ella looked around the battlefield, groggy from the knock to the head and a foul taste in her mouth from the potion Daxos had handed her, with a pounding headache from the explosion that had scattered the beast over a wide area, she couldn't help but feel utterly worthless. She had done nothing to help the group thus far; she had only killed Elizabeth, caused Alice great injury, and distracted Daxos. She had no right to have survived, not when Elizabeth and two stronger, more able men had been killed.

    She had to figure out a way to make herself more useful to them, so that she wasn't just a sniveling wreck that got dragged around with them.

    A sudden growl sounded off to Ella's right. She whirled around, and froze. Titus, in his werewolf form, was staring right at her, slowly licking his lips. Ella's heartbeat almost tripled, and she began to hyperventilate, but she desperately kept perfectly still, trying not to provoke anything.

    It didn't work. Titus charged, covering ground faster than a spooked deer, and Ella turned her back, hugging herself as she awaited death.

    "TITUUUUUS! HEEEEEEL!" Alice's voice echoed around the square, louder than Ella had ever heard her speak, and there was a sliding sound behind her. As it stopped, coming ever closer, Ella felt hot, powerful breath on her back. She turned, ever so slowly, to face the werewolf, her eyes wide. Alice was approaching from the side.

    "Titus? I need you to calm down. That is Ella. Ella is a friend. You want to find the mage that did this. This isn't the mage you're looking for." She tried to take another step toward them, but Titus growled at her, so she stopped. "Titus, listen to me. You're upset and you're hungry. You're not thinking clearly. The only way you can find the mage is if you calm down."
    Titus barked twice, and growled.
    "You can't talk to me right now. But that's okay. You don't have to. You can still listen. I know you can listen. YOU know you can listen. I'm gonna take another step, okay?"
    Alice took another step forward. And another. She slowly arrived at Ella's location, and held a hand behind her back, a faint glow in her palm. She turned her head and spoke to Ella.
    "Ella? Move. Slowly."

    Ella began to move back toward the rest of the group, but Titus finally snapped. He grabbed Alice by the throat and lifted her into the air. Ella, knowing and hating that she could do nothing, ran the rest of the way to the group, then turned and stared at the scene, where Cilla was attempting, desperately, to calm Titus before he ended up killing Alice.

    She couldn't hear what was being said, but eventually, Titus put Alice down, and the two sisters embraced Titus as he began to turn, slowly, back to his human form, lying on the ground, his sisters tending to his wounds.

    Assured that everything was okay, Ella sat on the ground, away from the group, and contemplated her complete and utter failure in the past battle. She couldn't let herself freak out again.

    After a short while, a hand gently pressed against her shoulder. She turned to see Brynn's face, covered in blood. Daxos wanted them to gather by the temple doors. Brynn gave Ella a hand up, and Ella followed her to the doors, keeping her eyes down out of shame.

    Dolmas was already stood at the doors, and when they had all gathered, he began to speak quietly.

    “The temple is silent. No voices. This can mean many things, but we must not allow it to dissuade us. Rumare cannot be allowed to leave these city walls. He must pay for what he’s done, and will do so with his life.”

    Ella summoned a flame in each hand, ready to fight this time. Daxos and Dolmas put a hand each on the doors, ready to open them both at once.
    "Get ready. This is for Rorikstead."
    Ella nodded, gritting her teeth and mentally preparing herself. The flames in her hand steadied, and grew slightly larger. She was ready.
     
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  15. CapObvious

    CapObvious Gramos Goat-Shaker

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    The rasp of the burdened doors filled the air as the two pushed them forward, feet hard pressed to the ground, fighting for every inch as they forced the barriers aside. As the breach between the doors grew wider, the light from the temple’s interior burned away the shadow and gloom that permeated outside, each of the group illuminated by the glow of torches and candelabras that littered the inside. The warmth radiating from said sources contrasting with the bitter chill that hung over them all as they stood in the doorway, unprepared to take in what they were about to see. However, none of them were as caught off guard as the elven half of their shepherds, who looked upon the sight expressionless, as if he simply could not process what he had discovered. As he glanced over the interior, both his greatest hope and deepest fear were there to greet him; twisted together in a horrific form that the elf had wished his eyes could unsee. That he could just turn around and forget. For with the knowledge gathered from what now lied before him, he knew that even the most steadfast could be swayed from what was right. That even those of the strongest will could be broken. For as he saw what lay waiting for him in the middle of the chapel floor...He knew that there was no longer room for hope.

    Hope had died.

    The temple was full of those that had survived the initial destruction of Rorikstead, just as the captain had predicted. Bookcases, chairs, anything that could have been moved were now pressed haphazardly against every other exit from the chapel. All aside from the one the Altmer had entered; the very same they themselves burst through. But not one of these makeshift barricades could have saved the poor souls who had been trapped there. Husbands, wives children; none had escaped the wrath of whatever force had entered and tore their safe haven asunder. Their broken forms laid about aimlessly across the stone floor, all leading to the woman who lay in the center, both she and her sword soaked in blood. Her tousled ivory locks, once strikingly brilliant, were now matted with the gore of those that were situated around her. The silver plating that adorned her form now was stained, marked, no longer unspoiled as it was painted with the blood of her recent slaughter. She rested on her hands and knees, panting, her breath ragged and pained as her fingers dug at the velvet carpet underneath, the musty air burning her throat. No doubt this need to breathe was the aftereffect of her recent butchering of the innocents that had most likely looked to her for protection, not expecting one who carried herself as their savior to instead herald their end.

    The woman’s broken breathing stopped short, as if she realized she were being watched. Her head began to slowly raise toward the entrance, her crystal gaze grasping those who had recently stumbled in on her. Her brow furrowed, confusion staining her already soaked visage as she tried to ascertain what she was taking in. She could make out the faint shape of him. The shock on his face was most unbecoming, but there was no mistaking who the face belonged to. It was him. Her dearest friend, and most trusted tactician. Not to mention the… The thought was cut short as her nerves began to sing out in pain, leading her to let out a burdened grunt through clenched teeth. Her thoughts were clouded, hazy as she pondered, beginning to wonder if she was really in the state of mind she believed. Was she just imagining things? She couldn’t be certain it was actually him, as much as she may have wanted it to be. Was he a ghost, another memory that had wormed it’s way into the fore of her mind? There was only one way to know.

    “Dolmas?” The woman asked, her voice troubled, breath still uneven. “Is that really you?”

    Dolmas stood in awe, unsure what to make of what he was witnessing. He let her call go unanswered for a moment, still assessing the situation, still taken aback by the carnage. Finally after a few more moments of study, he replied, but chose to remain idle for the moment. “Yes, yes it’s me. I’m here.” The others looked on behind him, unmoving, leaving him to dictate how he would approach this. He looked about the temple, amongst the dead, but saw no sign of the dastard that had preceded them. He was no doubt amongst them, testing him, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Rumare. The snake. Ever the opportunist. Was there any doubt left to be had that this was surely another trap?

    Not seeing any other way to go about it, Dolmas made the first move, lightly weaving himself through the dead. He stepped to her slowly, carefully. With every step his heart felt like it was going to burst from his chest. The dread, the uncertainty, the sorrow, all of it flooded his senses as his commander and friend sat dead center among the corpses, motionless, save for the rise and fall of her chest as it drew breath. He studied her again, taking in the blood and bits of flesh that covered her face, causing the sharpness of her icy gaze to be even more pronounced as it bore through the crimson mask she now donned. He felt himself stumbling over his words, unsure of what to say. Not only from the length of time it had been since they last spoke, but the jarring nature of the situation they found themselves in. Could one blame him? Would anyone have the words, or the strength to utter them were they in his shoes? Despite this, he managed to push out one question as he finally reached her, kneeling down beside her.

    “What happened to you?”

    However, as predicted, the moment was spoiled. Yet not by the altmer as he had originally predicted. No, it was instead a warning from behind, a desperate attempt to jar Dolmas attention to what was transpiring just a small distance away. Alas, the warning came too late. A voice boomed from the opposite corner, defiant and proud, heralding a verdant flash that propelled itself in their direction. A call above the fragile silence that confirmed Dolmas' original expectations.

    “That does NOT concern you, traitor!”

    The shockwave hit Dolmas square on, thrusting him back into the group that had followed him in. As they tumbled to the floor, the source of the voice stepped out from the shadows, the sound of footfalls and the thud of his staff echoing throughout the hollow temple. The altmer looked out amongst them, his brows raised in mock surprise. However, he did not get the chance to ridicule the dunmer as he likely intended. Instead, the voice of the champion rose above the groans and grunts of the party, confusion hanging from every word. “Dolmas? A traitor? Rumare! What is the meaning of this? Dolmas has never-” The Altmer thrust his staff toward the ground, silencing the woman as if she were a trained hound. Dolmas caught sight of this, bewildered by the implications, before the Altmer spoke again. “No, milady. Dolmas has forsaken us, and has disgraced our Lady’s honor. Ever since he has arrived, our efforts to save the city have been undone. Look at these creatures. These monstrosities you’ve slain to protect the innocents who had lied within this sacred temple.” His hands gestured out amongst the corpses, the woman looking out to them as he did so. Dolmas looked to he woman, who seemed too easily convinced of this treachery. Was she not seeing the same he was? Was she not seeing the slain survivors that lay broken around her? What was happening here? The altmer continued despite Dolmas' contemplating. “Those same innocents who you allowed to flee for their safety. The same innocents that he and his party had slain in cold blood.” The woman looked out to Dolmas as he rose to his feet, her expression pained and unsure. That did not sound like him. Surely this was some sickening jape.

    “Dolmas? Is this true?” She asked, her body stilling, waiting upon his reply with bated breath. Dolmas lashed out immediately, casting his hand downward in a commanding fashion. “No, I would never! We came to save these people, just as you were sent here to yourself! We tore our way though hordes of these monstrosities to get here, hoping to save what was left. We are not to blame for what you have seen, I assure you. If you wish to find the culprit, you need only look to the craven hurling the accusations to save his own skin!” Dolmas spat out, his exasperation apparent, a rigid finger thrust into Rumare’s direction. The altmer did not return any words in his defense, only wishing to respond with force. Once again he thrust out his staff, sending another wave of energy toward the party. This time, they were more prepared, and managed to send themselves away from the blast in good time. Rumare, however, did not feel displeased at the failure, as harming them was not his intention. They had done what he had needed them to do. They were out of the way. He pointed out the temple doors, toward what remained of their previous foe. “You see it don’t you? That, is what has become of your charges. You saved them, freed them from this nightmare, and Dolmas turned on them! Can you not see it with your own eyes?”

    Were any of the group to look upon the former battlefield with their own eyes, they would see naught but ashes and small remains of rotting flesh. Nothing that would have supported the mad elf’s claims of treachery. However, the woman did not see what they would have seen. Her burdened gaze upon the bloodied stone gave her sight of something far worse. As she looked upon what was left of the golem, she did not see an amalgamation of bodies and bone. She did not see the evidence that Dolmas needed her to. Instead, in her fading vision, she saw a pile of corpses, blazing yet still new to the scene. The corpses lay draped over one another, stacked toward the sky. Each dead citizen was fresh, their visages now still in the last look of terror they had worn before their light was snuffed, laying over each other in a sickening fashion that would have made Maere heave had she not been so taken aback at the implications. But this was not the only mound of cadavers she could see. She looked beyond, catching sight of every mass of bodies that littered back toward where the houses once stood. As she took in the sight her eyes began to grow misty, her body began to shake, her fingers gripping harder at the carpet. There they were. All the people she had saved from the creatures that had surrounded her now. The ones she had instructed to leave swiftly, that she would follow and protect. Rumare was right. They were dead.

    Her heart burned at the implications of this, with her fighting every urge to weep bitterly at their loss, at her failure to protect them. Sorrow clung to her as she came to the conclusion that the altmer had wanted her to see. Dolmas had betrayed them, and the ones who stood before her aided him in doing so. They all had to pay for what they had done. The woman began to breathe harder, her body shaking more violently as she let out a grunt. “You have betrayed our oaths. You have failed our lady.” Dolmas moved forward toward the woman, not caring about the altmer who smiled gleefully, preparing himself for battle. “I have done no such-” His defense was broken swiftly as she called out, her voice no longer broken and weak. Her voice boomed throughout the temple, her commanding demeanor returning to her as she spoke out against her former friend. “NO!” Dolmas gritted his teeth as he looked on, before she continued, her form still shaking in her building rage. “I will not allow you to lie to me any longer! You’ve betrayed these people. You broke your promise.” She paused, looking the elf in his eyes, and he winced, for the first time seeing that cold stare of determination burning into his very soul, for the first time on the opposite side of her vehement retaliation. “The blood of Rorikstead is on your hands, on all of your hands and you-” Her shaking form pulsed with a bright energy, causing Dolmas to step back warily. “Will-” She continued, the broadening flash growing brighter, the air growing more oppressive as the pulse began to quicken. Dolmas called out amongst his companions as he continued to carefully retreat. “Get down, GET DOWN!” He tossed himself downward, falling behind an overturned pew as the woman’s call finished. “PAY!” As the others got to cover, a powerful shockwave emanated from her resting form, the force of which blew away the corpses that surrounded her haphazardly, clearing her immediate area as she slowly rose to her feet. Her fingers laced about the hilt of her blade, gripping it firmly as she stood amongst those that hid, some hiding while others slowly rose to their feet. The woman stood proud, illuminated by a cloak of holy energy, wafting about her in a defensive manner, threatening to burn any who attempted to step toward her. “It has all become clear. I know now why I was called here. What my purpose is. I was deterred by my heart, and I allowed it to cloud my judgement." She gave Dolmas a chilling glare before finishing. “No more.” She growled, before stepping off toward the altar, with Rumare already waiting for her to take her place. The corrupted guardian looked to the offering table for a fleeting moment, before she looked to Rumare, barking out her next order. “Move it.”

    Despite once behaving as if he were in charge, the elf bowed to her order like the fetcher he was. With an all too familiar motion, he forced the altar to move abruptly, sending the structure aside with reckless abandon. Dolmas looked on in awe, not at the action itself, but rather what it had uncovered. Where the altar once was, a newfound chasm now had taken its place. From first glance, one could only see the a runic ward laying atop a cavity in the floor, nearly identical in size to the altar which now lay in pieces by the woman’s feet. The magic looked far more complex than Dolmas had seen before, the barrier thick and seemingly impenetrable to the naked eye. There was no doubt that no one in the party could crack such an ancient spell, but they would not want to. For if Dolmas was right about what was about to happen…

    It would be the beginning of the end.

    The woman took her sword, gripping it firmly in both hands as she stood above the breach, looking upon her foes for what would be the last time. She could not allow them to escape, there was no telling what they would cause if left unchecked. She was going to be sure that they would never see the coming dawn. She stood tall, sword poised to raise, before speaking again. “I. Maere Soul-Singer, will cleanse this world of your treachery, and bring her glory back to Tamriel once more. Her light will shine upon this land, and will burn away the foul darkness that you and your people have allowed to taint it. No matter whose face that darkness may wear, nor who those faces bring, I will not falter." She paused, exhaling softly, before she looked to them all again, one by one in a sweeping gaze. ”However, I am no fool. I cannot hope to accomplish this alone. To do what must be done...I will need to call upon some old friends!” Without further warning she raised her sword high above her head, the same glow from before pulsing within her again. With a mighty roar, she brought the sword down upon the ward, causing it to fracture. The ethereal glass began to break apart, falling into the crevice that lay below it. As Maere peered in, she saw nothing but darkness. Nothing stirred beneath their feet, but she knew that what she sought lay beneath the void, waiting for her call. She spoke low, her voice reaching out for what lay beneath.

    “Fin...Stand with me.” She paused to take in Dolmas’ shocked expression, before finishing. "The world has need of you yet."
     
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