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  #46  
Old Sep 8th, 2023, 08:55 AM
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Talia Dawnstar
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Talia soon came to the conclusion that sand was stupid and sandcastles boring. It was much more interesting, she decided, to watch Beef/Blyne go about her dramatic business. The kender was a master people watcher and some had said she had a rubber neck. But damn…. Blyne was so much fun to watch.

Zendra went about her familial closure, which was understandable, Talia wasn’t really that annoyed to be standing around. But Blyne… she did something… something weird. First she fell into a coma which had Bessimeh crying out. Talia just watched.

Shiny black rock… maybe don’t touch things like that?

Then little tornadoes appeared from the sand and Talia shook her head. She wasn’t sure if anyone else noticed the little twisters but she knew that trouble was near… and she was right. Talia was moving before the first claw and snout appeared from the spinning sand. She yelled out a warning as she swung her hoopak like an ax right into the nearest sand demon.

As she finished her swing, Talia turned and sprang away before the creature knew what hit it.


OOC17 to hit: 8 damage and 11 more sneak attack (No Aoo - fancy footwork)
 

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Last edited by Begon Ugo; Sep 8th, 2023 at 08:56 AM.
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  #47  
Old Sep 8th, 2023, 06:01 PM
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Zendra Zantir
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It wasn't the first time Zendra had gone digging. On one moonlit night three days outside Sanction she'd spent nearly an hour shovelling soil on the fruitless quest for a cache of loot supposedly buried by Red Dragonarmy officers during the wading days of the War of the Lance. That expedition, provoked by the ramblings of charming old drunk with enough tall tales to exhaust a kender had ended with Zendra having to employ her shovel as an impromptu club to ward of a hungry and inquisitive wolf.

Still even that little escapade had merely been physically exhausting. Nothing like this. As she dug and wiped back strands of golden hair from her eyes Zendra could feel her tears mixing with the sweat from her forehead, taste in on her lips. When Talia or Xihue or Devari spoke to her part of her resented an intrusion into her very private world - and part of her welcomed it, the momentary respite.

"I'll just be a few moments longer," Zendra panted to her friends.

She was just getting ready to gently place the urn and bury her uncle forever beneath the shifting sands of Khur when the creatures came. For a moment she thought she was imagining things, that the heat and emotion had finally gotten to her... but no of course not. The attack was real. These were Dust Mephits, filthy, weak willed creatures that feasted on death. She'd heard of them before and now here they were, intruding on her grief.

Zendra screamed. It wasn't a cry of fear, not even of grief for all that emotion was present. It was rage and disbelief and shame and exhaustion and disappointment.

She dropped the shovel but retained enough calm to gently set down the precious urn even as her hands trembled with high emotion. Reaching from her backpack she drew her crossbow. Dragonbite glimmered in the Khurish sun, it's gold inlay and fine wood seeming as beautiful and deadly as the great eagles they had seen not so long ago.

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Dragonbite, Zendra's crossbow
Still trembling Zendra drew the enchanted crossbow up, aimed it at one of the Dust Mephits and fired. A golden dart sped towards the leering little demon and...

A miss.

A shot that by every law of averages should have struck the vile demonling straight in whatever it had missed. Zendra blinked and felt the beginning of a fresh wave of tears building at the corners of her eyes.

Oh where has my luck gone? Leached away by the empty sands? Since I have entered Khur I have felt cursed. I shall find no fortune in this terrible country. I know it in my bones. Bones, bones, bones like poor dead Samira. Will I end up like poor Samira?

Why does Khur hate me so much?


Sobbing uncontrollably Zendra gave a shuddering and shaking breath and raised her crossbow once more, preparing to fire again.

Well this land will not take me without a fight.



 


 


 

Last edited by Elanir; Sep 10th, 2023 at 06:58 AM.
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  #48  
Old Sep 10th, 2023, 04:08 AM
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Xihue of the Alan-Atu
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Zendra had exposed the grave but her exhumation was incomplete when the sands swirled to life around them. Dust and dirt congealed into impish creatures that radiated malicious intent. He was ready.

Like the fletching of her bolt, Xihue launched himself at the object of Zendra's crossbow volley. The overhead arc of his Hits AC17 for 5hpcrosier fell solidly upon the demonling's left shoulder as if to announce the monk's presence. A surge of energy, unleashed from the reservoir of his inner essence, exploded into a double hits AC12 for 5hppunch that would have broken the nose of a normal foe but the second strike of his flurry of blows lanced into the flesh. Xihue's open critical stike, Carimon's Fist hits AC23 for 10hphand became the piercing blade of a flesh and bone spear that tore into the chest of the creature and recoiled, extracting a fistful of whatever material passed for its internal organs.

Draklagsh, volante gresethk mrogoshta, whispered an inner voice. It was strangely familiar but Xihue couldn't connect a mental image with the words. Were these his own thoughts? "Dragonsoul, unleash your power", the hollow echo repeated in the same language but, this time, the meaning was plain.

 
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  #49  
Old Sep 10th, 2023, 09:40 AM
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Looking back, Devari would be unable to say whether she noticed the strange creatures forming from the swirling sand first, or if it was Zendra's anguished scream which alerted her. Everything seemed to blur together, both moving at a frantic pace and yet seeming to drag at the same time. One moment she had been worrying over how best to handle the archaeologist's grief, the next she had apprehended the danger, realised that there would be no talking her way out of this mess, drew her sword and rushed at the closest enemy before it could fully form.

The hours of training took over and Devari quickly stuck the sword into the centre of the swirling vortex of sand, feeling a satisfying crunch as it connected with something. The imp cried out, its voice like the howling wind, and Devari stood back in satisfaction, taking a moment to turn and see how her friends were faring. Talia was scampering into cover, moving away from another devil which popped behind the kender, its body going back to the dust from whence it had come. Xihue too was triumphant, hitting another creature with blows too fast for the eye to make out.

"Ha!" Devari shouted. "So much for these terrors!"

But she had spoken too soon. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed that the devil that she had stabbed hadn't popped. It snarled defiance at her and prepared to counter-attack!

 
 
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  #50  
Old Sep 10th, 2023, 01:33 PM
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Blyne
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Complementing the tears on her face, Blyne's eyes had widened in shock and dismay, her usually ordered thoughts tumbling one over the other as she struggled to keep up. What the young irda had seen inside the black mirror affected her greatly, its revelations pushing her into an odd place between hope and despair. Blyne wasn't brilliant enough to know how to feel or what to think. No, she wasn't even supposed to let her emotions rule her like this in the first place. But with how insufficient she was, what else could she do but acknowledge that she needed help? Yet her mother needed her help as well, needed her daughter not to keep failing her like she had been.

With these conflicting emotions roiling inside of her, hands pressed on her ears to ward off the noise, Blyne's first instinct was to run away from her reflection. But she was keen, and she understood with every fibre of her being that this was a test. If not designed by the gods, then by the spirits of the dead. The high-ogre would do everything to give her mother her peace, to find support in her teachings and to redeem herself for being a failure of a daughter. Looking over her shoulder with a wild look in her eyes, Blyne noticed that even further dreads were spawning and taking shape to challenge their destinies, yet she was the only one who could see the real threat as it had come for her. Running was not an option. This was yet another test she would pass. But she couldn't face a fiend by herself, and she needed help. And she needed Besimeh to be safe.

"Help!!" Forgoing decorum in lieu of urgency, Blyne cried out for her fated companions. "The black mirror is a portal! A fiend has crossed into our realm! Hurry! You can see its reflection!" Keeping her eyes on the dark, glossy surface herself, the frantic sorceress darted past her own reflection and hurried further onto the pool of black glass. Her allies were distracted and blind to the truth. She had to buy time and slow down the fiend. More weight! Following her nature as an irda, Blyne reached out into the flow of violent primordial magic surrounding the black mirror and focused the forces of the universe down on the place where she had stood mere moments ago. The sorceress vividly experienced the chaos as she conducted her magic, dreading the lack of control that she experienced, but she feared what she had seen in the black mirror far more. After she had completed her spell, she finally cried out. "Besimeh! Stay back!"
 
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  #51  
Old Sep 10th, 2023, 02:42 PM
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Isandril Moonsilver, Wizard of High Sorcery
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As Blyne suddenly seemed to disappear and then reappear, no doubt due to the chaotic magical energies permeating the place, Isandril found he had little to no chance of stopping the shapeshifter from approaching the surface of what seemed to be black glass. Had he had the time, he would have warned against moving too close to something suffused with summoning and translocation magic, at least without taking much needed precautions and especially at a place such as the one they now found themselves, a place of chaos magics. But unfortunately the sudden appearance of hostile creatures meant his attention had to be focused elsewhere.

Still, menacing as the small creatures looked, the way they materialized and the time it took them to do so seemed to place them at a disadvantage, as it gave ample time to the adventurers to react. And react they did. Talia, who was proving quite adept at the disposal of adversaries larger or scarier than she was, got rid of one with a single strike from her hoopak. Xihue, almost predictably given the man's record so far, prevailed over another. Devari, on the other hand, was not quite so lucky, though she did wound the creature she squared off against gravely. Indeed, were it not for her rapier, Isandril's fire spell, a mere cantrip for he did not dare cast more powerful magic at this place unless he truly had to, would not have been enough to finish it off. Although their opponents had the unfortunate trait to... well, explode when killed, the mage deemed their claws the greater threat.

They were doing well, as only one little monster remained. And, the mage had to admit, he found it somewhat... puzzling. Was this the extent of the threat? Of the conjuration magic he had detected?

Blyne's urgent warning seemed to suggest that it was not.

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  #52  
Old Sep 13th, 2023, 11:47 PM
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Aric Armitage
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Earlier…

Aric stood back and listened to his fellow companions address the duplicitous creature now revealed as Blyne, who they had formerly known as Blainneth. There were many things he might have said, but in the end, he remained standing quietly, arms folded, pensive. He spent the time instead watching the face of this human-elf-creature and quietly wondered, how many more faces lurk behind this mask you’re wearing? And what’s really behind the mask? She was nearly unflappable, and he had to give her credit. Even when those around her were expressing their doubts, she hardly let her composure slip. He had to give her credit for that. She’s dangerous in her own way, he reckoned. She might not be a swordsman, but she’s got a sharp wit and a way with words – and words can cut sharper than any knife, if wielded by one who is skilled at using them.

”Alright,” he said at last when it seemed like everyone had said their piece. ”I think that’s enough. We’ve all got secrets,” he said, ”things that we didn’t feel like sharing because they weren’t important at the time. Things we didn’t feel like sharing because, truly, how well do we truly know one another? How well do we even know ourselves…” he said quietly, trailing off. He shook his head and seemed to come back to himself. ”I still don’t know what the future holds for all of us, but one thing that is becoming clear to me is that we are bound to one another. We met at the festival of the standing stones, but clearly there’s something more there, something that I still don’t understand, but I would like to – and I trust that you-“ And here he turns to point at Blyne. ”-that you have a great deal to share about where we’re headed, about the song we heard. I told you before, I wasn’t going to press you any further until you were comfortable with sharing more about yourself. If that time comes, then so be it.” He paused. ”In the interest of being up front, I should probably share that I don’t just shoot arrows.” He stepped forward, pulled an arrow from his quiver, and touched it with the tip of his finger. ”Lux,” he muttered, and the plain wooden shaft glowed with soft white light. He stepped toward Blyne and handed the projectile to her. ”A gift of sorts, and a reminder that even the mundane of us have surprises.”

He stepped back from the shapeshifter, and walked now toward Veralyne, who was in fact named Devari. The soft-skinned woman had been watching the proceedings with an uncomfortable expression her smile couldn’t quite hide, and Aric wondered just how long she had known about Blyne. Pashin? The standing stones? Certainly not before that… Oh, but what does it matter. It didn’t, not really.

”I don’t really believe in new beginnings, but I think things will be better moving forward. We understand one another more than we did yesterday, and I’m sure tomorrow will be better than today. Just like you and your hair, Devari. They may have taken your locks, but…” He closed his eyes, thinking of the words he had only so recently come to know. He slowly moved his finger in a slow, dancing arc in the air and quietly whispered ”Corona florum.” Above Devari’s bald head now circled a small crown of ethereal red roses. He gave her a smile. ”Just because they took your hair doesn’t make you any less beautiful.”



They packed up camp and headed out shortly thereafter. Aric was quiet for the most part, content to range ahead, his eyes cast toward the horizon. He didn’t know how things were going to go moving forward. He had begun to think about their circumstances, about how a group of strangers had been cast together, like a collection of metal scraps smelted down into something new. But what were they? It seemed like their progress had taken stutter steps from the beginning, but now… were they finally walking toward their destiny? Was there actually a destiny? Or had all the talk of prophecy been premature, all their connections merely coincidences? Aric refused to believe that. He couldn’t believe that. It was suicide to think that way. They had to stick together, to believe in one another, or they would die out here in the desert.

He had convinced his companions to leave the tree alone, and though he had received a few strange looks at his unexpected arboreal devotion, the others had deferred to his wishes. He was glad. He could feel a lightness in his heart, his spirit, that hadn’t been there before. He looked up into the sky and smiled. Atonement, he thought quietly. One step at a time.

Things were going well. He had awakened with worry in his heart over confronting Blyne, but that situation – if not resolved, at least, was abated. He had conquered a fear and come out the other side, and now they were moving forward – and quickly! The mountains were already in sight, and it appeared as though he and his companions would reach them this very day. As he continued to look toward the mountains, he spotted a pair of giant eagles far in the distance, circling higher and higher. He recognized them as the same birds he’d spotted before,
Dice * Nature (re: eagles):
1d20+4 (11)+4 Total = 15
but the significance of it was lost on him. Their flight was not calm; in fact, were he to try to extend a human emotion onto them, their movements were jagged, uneasy… nervous? What could they be nervous about? From this distance he could not see anything that might prompt their curious flight. He stopped to peek at Kay, his small bird. He had kept her shielded from the harsh sun in her iron kettle nest. The shredded bedsheet that was her bedding was beginning to smell, and he longed to reach greenery again so he could rustle up some dried grass for a more natural nest. She was chirping up a storm, and
Dice * Perception (re: Kay):
1d20+3 (1)+3 Total = 4
Aric couldn’t be sure it wasn’t due to the presence of the giant eagles. He grabbed a hunk of what remained of the snake that Xihue had killed and cut it up into small slivers with his butcher knife. It wasn’t as fresh as the last time he’d fed her, but then, she was a vulture, and they primarily subsisted on carrion. I’m still not going to chew rotten meat for her, he thought with a grimace. He had learned not to give her too much water; typically, there was enough liquid in her food, and he didn’t want to make her sick. She was getting a little bigger now, and her feathers were starting to grow red and beautiful. He wondered at what point she’d be strong enough to fly. The thought made him a little sad, but then he shook it off. She should be free. I already took her family from her. I could never take her freedom as well. Only until she’s grown… he thought. He gave her a gentle pet on the head, then closed his pack and re-hoisted it up on his shoulders and turned his eyes once more toward the mountains.

In the far distance between where he stood and the peaks of the Harikas, he spotted something tall and jagged. Not a mountain… but not man-made either. He didn’t know what it was, but when he moved closer to it he spotted a plain face on one of the sides with carved writing. At this distance it was illegible. He moved closer and read the inscription on the cold stone. The name didn’t mean anything to him, but it was significant enough of a landmark that he decided to bring the others over to look. Mostly, he didn’t want to be there by himself.
Dice * Arcana (re: grave):
1d20+4 (4)+4 Total = 8
The place creeped him out, though he didn’t know why. It took a few tries to convey what it was he had found, but when he mentioned the names Samira of the Mikku and Loren Balnir, it was like a million torches lit up in front of Zendra. She took off at what could only be described as a sprint, and it was all he could do to keep up with her. It didn’t make sense to him. How, out of the thousands of square miles of desert, could they have wound up at the very grave of Zendra’s aunt? It boggled the mind – but then, so many other curious things had happened to them, how could he not chalk it up to fate?

Aric stepped away as Zendra did what she had to do at her aunt’s grave. In truth, he was starting to feel tired. They’d walked a great deal this day, and he’d not been as diligent at taking rest breaks as he probably should have. He’d eaten and drank sufficiently, but not enough to feel fully quenched and satiated. Maybe just… a small rest. No one would notice. He found a good-sized boulder some distance away and took a seat, leaning against the rock and letting his eyelids drift closed.

When the attack came, it took him by surprise. He was just starting to stir when something happened, something related to the magic that Blyne had cast. One moment he was fine, then there was shouting, and
Dice * Arcana (vs sand creatures):
1d20+4 (10)+4 Total = 14
as he opened his eyes and looked at some strange, swirling figures born of dust, he heard Blyne speaking words of magic – and suddenly he felt overcome with sickness. He retched but nothing came up, and his vision felt swimmy.
Dice * Perception (Disadv):
1d20+3kl1 (12)+3 Total = 15
1d20+3kl1 (18)+3 Total = 21
He tried to look toward what Blyne was screaming about, but all he saw was her. Around them, his other companions were attacking the dust figures. He shouldn’t have fallen asleep, but it couldn’t be helped now. Despite the sickening feeling coursing through him, his fingers remained untroubled. He
Dice * Attack (Longbow, Disadv):
1d20+7kl1 (18)+7 Total = 25
1d20+7kl1 (16)+7 Total = 23

Dice * Damage:
1d8+5 (2)+5 Total = 7
aimed his bow at the nearest figure emerging from the dust and fired.

 
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  #53  
Old Sep 14th, 2023, 05:43 PM
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Chaos’ Legacy

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A dust mephit
The impish creatures screamed furiously as they turned their beady eyes to the trespassers, their voices so shrill that they made the companions grimace in discomfort. “Dust mephits” Zendra had called them, drawn to places of death and decay, vile creatures normally lurking in dark crypts, hoping to surprise their victims.


But this time their intended victims were ready for them.


Talia charged at one of the creatures, hoopak held in both hands like a Solamnic Knight might wield a lance. The sharp butt spike easily pierced the skin of the dust mephit’s back, which resembled not so much hard-packed earth, as the kender had feared, but caked mud. The strike was so skillful that the weapon penetrated the mephit’s little body, the metallic tip coming cleanly out of the creature’s chest. There was no trace of blood, for these were no natural beings, but creatures born of wild magic, tainting the desert with their presence. The mephit exploded violently, but once more Talia’s quick reflexes ensured that by the time the cloud of dust formed, she was already running away from it, her eyes shut tightly and one of her hands keeping the sand particles from finding their way inside her mouth and nostrils.


Zendra’s spade was allowed to slip from her hands and fall to the ground as the young woman’s agile fingers sought the familiar grip of her enchanted crossbow, Dragonbite. Though never choosing battle, if she could avoid it, sometimes the solution to a problem was as simple as a well-aimed crossbow bolt. Normally, hitting a target as large and as close as one of the imp-like creatures would have been as easy for the archaeologist as reciting the names of the Kingpriests of Istar in chronological order. This time, however, was different. This wasn’t the forgotten tomb of some nameless stranger. The remains she had uncovered were those of a close relative, a woman who, had fate been kinder, might have been an important part of the young woman’s life. It was such thoughts that made Zendra’s normally steady hands shake and the bolt of wood and steel wildly miss its intended target.


Xihue’s hands in contrast didn’t shake. They moved with a speed and precision that seemed impossible to fully comprehend, much less imitate. His well-worn shepherd’s crook, as humble in origin as the man who wielded it, battered the mephit repeatedly only to be followed by lightning fast punches. The Alan-Atu’s fist penetrated the small body of the creature as effortlessly as a kingfisher plunged into water. When he unclenched his hand and looked inside, all he saw was sand. Alarmed, he raised his head to regard his opponent and was Xihue succeeds at the Con saveinstantly engulfed by a thick cloud of dust as the mephit exploded.


Devari knew that she wasn’t really a swordswoman. She owned a sword, yes. She even knew how to wield it without cutting herself most of the time, but it was mainly for show, as were most of the things she said and did. Or was it? Admitting her real identity and occupation to her companions had made her feel wretched - but it had also been liberating in a sense. Pretending seemed so natural and effortless for her, but in truth the lies had been slowly eating away at her. The truth allowed her to act in ways that she had never even considered before, like running, sword in hand, towards an unnatural creature that had manifested in the middle of the desert. She knew that such an attack would draw the mephit’s ire. She knew that even if she managed to kill it, the magic that gave it form and sentience would strike back at her. But she didn’t care. It was the right thing to do and so she did it. It was as simple as that.


Devari’s slender blade parted the air between herself and the creature, just before its sharp steel point stabbed the mephit where its heart should have been. The woman expected some foul liquid to come out of the wound. She expected the creature to turn into a cloud of dust that would make her gag. At the very least she expected the mephit to scream in pain. All the imp-like creature did, however, was glare at her with its monstrous yellow eyes and raise its clawed hand to rake at her face. It never got the chance, however, for its small body was suddenly devoured by magical flames. Devari turned to look at Isandril, who was urgently trying to warn her about something, though her mind was currently unable to comprehend his words. "Watch out", she thought she heard him say. "Watch out!"


The woman ducked, trusting in her reflexes. Not everything her mother had taught her was bad. The skills she had learnt had kept her alive up to this point and they would continue to do so in the future. She was grateful for that much at least. When after a few moments the cloud of dust settled, Devari blinked. She could see normally. From the four mephits only one remained. It was targeted by Aric and Tegan and despite being able to evade the knight’s flying handaxe, the creature could do little against the eight of them. Nine, with Besimeh, Devari corrected herself, though the merchant hadn’t even attempted to attack the little demons. In fact, she only seemed interested in Blyne who was using her magic to do something to the “pond” of black glass.


The shapeshifter released the energy that she had drawn from the world around her and the very ground groaned as the air over the “black mirror” shifted. Small fissures opened in the earth next to the obsidian-like surface and noxious fumes escaped, spreading rapidly. Besimeh managed to cover her nose and mouth in time, but Aric was too late, ready as he was to let his arrow fly towards the lone mephit. Inhaling the miasma felt like swallowing smoking coals and no amount of coughing appeared to be able to free his lungs from the vile substance. Nonetheless he released the arrow and saw with satisfaction as the missile pierced one of the mephit’s wings, causing the small creature to struggle to keep itself airborne.


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Aric is weakened by inhaling such noxious fumes


It was with great effort that the surviving mephit managed to land on top of a boulder, its bony arms and legs hugging the rock tightly to keep itself from falling off. It gave its opponents closest to him a look of pure hatred just before opening its mouth much wider than it should have been possible without dislocating its jaw, and exhaling a swirling cloud of dust that instantly covered the Solamnic squire, the Alan-Atu and the kender, hiding them from the eyes of their friends.


The cloud of dust didn’t even have a chance to dissipate before newly formed dust devils close to Zendra and Devari slowly gave birth to a couple of additional mephits. Judging from the sands that wouldn’t stop shifting, as if being stirred by an invisible hand, the wild magic hadn’t grown any weaker with the destruction of the three mephits. An Arcana check might offer important informationIf anything, it now felt stronger, making the hair on the back of everyone’s neck stand up.


The fight had just begun.



Calendar13th Day of Aelmont (Winter) 422 AC / 38 SC, Noon

Solinari: 7/36 (Waxing)
Lunitari: 16/28 (High Sanction) - conjunction with Nuitari
Nuitari: 5/8 (Waning) - conjunction with Lunitari

Boons/Penalties:
White Robes - | Red Robes +2 spell DC, ADV on spell attack rolls | Black Robes +2 spell DC, ADV on spell attack rolls


 


 


 


 
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Old Sep 15th, 2023, 12:55 AM
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Aric Armitage
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It was all he could do to speak, what with all the coughing, but somehow Aric managed to choke out a few words.

”They’re- *koff koff*
Dice * Arcana (re: mephits), disadv:
1d20+4kl1 (10)+4 Total = 14
1d20+4kl1 (20)+4 Total = 24
they’re going to keep coming!
he barked out. ”Whatever this place -*koff* - whatever this place is, it’s feeding them somehow, like -*koff*- like -*koff koff* - just -*koff* - just RUN!”

He’d been creeped out enough by the atmosphere of this place, and the prospect of lingering and being attacked by self-replicating dust devils was not on his agenda. Nor would he waste any more time trying to convince his companions to flee. Instead, he continued forward toward the mountains, taking the time to
Dice * Attack vs green mephit (longbow, disadv):
1d20+7sch12kl1 (19)+7 Total = 26
1d20+7sch12kl1 (14)+7 Total = 21
Dice * Damage:
1d8+5 (2)+5 Total = 7
fire on the run at the same mephit he had wounded before. The shot was on target, but whatever malady was plaguing him had taken a lot of the punch out of his shot. He looked back at the others and realized that he couldn’t see three of them. Fear gripped him, cold and fierce, and he almost stopped to find out where they had gotten to. The sand was swirling madly, but so far he did not hear any screaming beyond that coming from Blyne. He would just have to trust that the others could hold their own, but in the meantime he had plenty of arrows to make the mephits uncomfortable... assuming, of course, that magical sand creatures could actually feel pain.

I hope they do, the dark part of his brain whispered. I hope they feel every bit of it.

 
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Old Sep 15th, 2023, 08:54 AM
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"A fiend has crossed into our realm!" Blyne's cry came just as magical flame blasted the demon that Devari was fighting, causing her to wince back a little, which was just as well because moments later the thing exploded, sending a shower of sand and grit all over. Devari shielded her face and then spat some sand from her mouth.

"I thought this desert would kill us a little less directly," she called back to the others, just as another batch of the creatures appeared. Aric had taken off at a run, which was probably the sensible thing to do, but Devari had become separated from the others and a new monster was directly in front of her. Having now witnessed the kind of exit that these things made, she was reluctant to go stabbing this one now.

"Okay, little guy," she said soothingly as she sheathed her sword, "just listen to my voice, that's it…"

She reached down deep and coaxed the power within her to the surface, humming a low c note. She could feel the power responding, but now she wasn't sure what to do with it, she didn't think conjuring a sun hat onto the thing would have the desired effect. She would just have to fall back on instinct, she supposed.

"How'd you end up here anyway? Are you so ugly they kicked you out of the Abyss?" As she spoke the words she unleashed the power, hooking it onto the words as they left her mouth. She couldn't be sure if it had worked, but it felt like it had, and the creature seemed more angry than before. That was a good thing, right?

"Zendra?" she called, backing off hurriedly. "Bardic Inspiration! Add a D6 to an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or amount healed from a healing spell in the next ten minutes.When this is all over you have to teach me to use a crossbow, okay?"

 
 
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Last edited by Lazer; Sep 15th, 2023 at 01:55 PM.
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Old Sep 16th, 2023, 03:58 PM
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Zendra Zantir
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Zendra felt herself chilled to the marrow for all the heat of this country. She knew the Chaos magic that engulfed place like a foul miasma meant there would be no end to the horrid little imps being conjured from sand and sorcery.

"They'll just keep coming!" she yelled to the others, pausing to send a bolt towards one of the demons before groaning in dismay when it missed, even with the inspiration from Devari. Another miss! That wasn't just chance, it couldn't be just chance could it?

Zendra didn't have time to think about it or much of anything, hastily fumbling with her crossbow even as she looked at that horrible black glass like the reflection of a fiend's soul. They'd figure some way to close it but they couldn't hold out long in this position!

"Isandril!" another yell from her hoarsening throat. "Can you shut the portal!"



 


 


 
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Old Sep 16th, 2023, 04:19 PM
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Talia Dawnstar
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Talia had a brief, fleeting moment of triumph as she quickly destroyed one of the sand mephits. The resulting explosion was no danger to her as she quickly danced away. But then, as quickly as the mephit was vanquished… another took its place. The kender glowered in anger… she hated this game.

She remembered playing whack a mole when she was a child. During the summer festivals she had played a game with her cousins. Small toy moles would emerge from holes and the children would take turns smashing them with a large hammer. Harmless fun it was… at least until she was older and the game turned into whack a kender.

The reappearance of the mephits reminded Talia of the embarrassment and anger she had felt when teased and ridiculed by the taller folk. Seeing that Aric had badly injured one of the creatures, Talia sprang past it to attack the next mephit in line.

A quick surge forward had the tip of her hoopak plunging through the mephit and Talia then sprang away, hearing Zendra call out to destroy the portal. Talia backtracked away from the injured mephits, heading towards the shining black glass.


OOC15 to hit orange: 8 damage and 4 sneak attack: 12 total (No Aoo - fancy footwork)
 

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Old Sep 19th, 2023, 02:52 AM
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Isandril Moonsilver, Wizard of High Sorcery
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A single word was Isandril's answer to Zendra's question. "No." There were spells that could probably do such a thing of course. Spells to supress or even nullify magic. However, such power was beyond him currently. He would have to both survive and pass the Test to gain access to such knowledge. Or at least to do so without severe repercussions. Still, perhaps there was something he could try.

Given the situation, this was probably neither the time nor the place for research and experimentation. Or perhaps, because of their circumstances, it was. The mage's mind raced. What if he tried freezing the black surface, coating it with ice? Admittedly, it was not the actual purpose of the spell he had in mind and he was not certain it would even work at all, but it was worth a try... or was it? The area was saturated with chaotic energies, energies that could alter spells and even make them backfire. It was certainly a risk, possibly not even a calculated one. But... But what if it worked? It was difficult to resist attempting to answer that question. After all, there was probably not a wizard alive -or dead for that matter- without a healthy, oftentimes unhealthy, amount of curiosity within them.

"Ligiis frigio draconis." As he spoke the incantation flawlessly, he held his arms outstretched in front of him, palms facing each other and fingers slightly curled, the gesture vaguely resembling a dragon's open maw. And between his hands a vial of meltwater simply hung suspended in mid air. As arcane frost accumulated before bursting forth in a cone of frigid air and ice directed at the black surface, Isandril braced for whatever this strange place had in store for him.

"If this works and ice forms but the creatures seem unaffected, try shattering the frozen glass," he called out, at the same time wary yet curious for what might happen to him as he completed his spell. And, honestly, having really no idea if this would actually work.

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Old Sep 20th, 2023, 07:49 PM
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Blyne
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Just as the inadvertent release of miasma had dissipated, Blyne hastily wiped with a sleeve across her tear-stained face. Her eyes darted beyond the black mirror where her fated companions kept engaging the spawns that must have gotten called upon as part of this test, but as they were slow to come to her aid, her gaze swiftly returned to the reflection of the fiend that had been barely slowed down by her magic. This was it. Blyne had already reached the other end of the mirror. If she fled, then none of them would be able to see the horrible foe. The young irda felt a mixture of determination and fear when she concluded that she would have to stand her ground.

"You'll have nothing!!" Besimeh's eyes went wide as she watched Blyne defiantly shout into the empty space above the black surface, only for the irda to immediately transition into what looked to the khurish merchant like another spell cast. Lightning erupted from the shapeshifter's human shape, crackling left and right from her torso as it surrounded Blyne, giving the impression as if the powerful electric currents were about to jump at anything that would come close to the sorceress to repel it with lethal force.

But however incredible the pent-up energy enveloping the body of her dear friend appeared to be, Besimeh saw clearly that Blyne was genuinely afraid. The merchant knew her well enough to realize that the irda wasn't imagining things. Her friend's anxious words still echoed in her ears and there could be no mistaking their urgency. Only… Besimeh couldn't see the reflection that Blyne had implied, no matter how desperately she looked for it. Perhaps it was only Blyne's magical affinity that allowed her to perceive threats other people were completely unaware of?

After a hurried dash that carried her across the eerily dark surface, Besimeh caught up with her friend, just as the sorceress leaped to the side as if there truly was something there that she had needed to dodge out of the way from. The khurish woman couldn't see. But she was full of trust. "Blyne, let me help you, though I… I can’t see anything. What does the fiend look like? Where exactly is it? Perhaps, if I attacked it from behind…?"

The merchant woman drew two curved daggers out of their sheaths, looking at them with uncertainty. The blades were forged by a master smith and beautifully decorated, but they were made from mere steel. Good quality Khurish steel certainly, but would that be enough to cut the flesh of an invisible demon? Besimeh shivered in terror, but tightened her grip on the weapons' hilts all the same. She had to do something to aid her friend. "Guide me! Tell me where to strike. Together we’ll defeat the fiend!"

Truthfully, when Blyne had realized that Besimeh was running toward her instead of away, she had felt naught but dismay. Everything inside of her told her that this was a test for herself, and maybe possibly her fated companions too. But not for Besimeh! The merchant couldn't come to ruin, and the young irda felt strongly that the reflection that she was looking at was certainly the sort of entity that could ruin everything. I must not let her come to harm, not for my sake!

But just as the fiend had gotten close enough that it could touch her, the young irda had no time to discourage her special friend as she leaped another step back, afraid of her foe even in spite of the crackling lightning that was surrounding her. One look over her shoulder suggested that Isandril was casting something big, but her other allies were slow to arrive by her side, and then Besimeh's pleading words sunk into the irda's consciousness. Together. There was no other choice. "There! Right in front of me!" Blyne pointed, and Besimeh followed suit, striking out with her daggers into the empty air.
 
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Old Sep 21st, 2023, 02:04 AM
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Xihue of the Alan-Atu
Highs and LowsThree broken, disfigured, little faces peered out from behind the ruggedly broken scree that littered the base of the bluff. The plateaued space boasted vibrant grasses, wildflowers and a few low shrubs in sharp contrast to the mushroom, mold and fungus adorned passages theat ran through Uisi Ilquar's bowels. The feral trio disdained blinding sunlight and the sweet fragrance of the picturesque tableau before them. Had the slug farms not been decimated by some unknown afliction, there would have been less need to be here.

Bglrk drooled the sight of five goats in the meadow. He was hungry. He was always hungry. The thought of fresh heart, liver, spleen, and kidney, tripe, bladder, blood and brain almost made him giddy. No, not giddy, lightheaded. Maybe that was just the hunger. Either way, Bglrk wanted dinner. Mwrbq's stomach growled nearby. She was having similar thoughts. It made her empty left eye socket itch. Gypnk's remaining left ear twitched, listening for the shepherd. There was always a human nearby animals like these. The three goblins waited impatiently, hoping that one of the goats would graze near enough to the cliff face for them to grab it and run. It was daytime. It was not time to fight in the open but they were hungry.

Xihue entered the pasture in high spirits. His second child had been born that morning, a strong baby boy with big ears and his mother's eyes. Although this was a time to celebrate the new young Mother, the acolyte monk was proud to have been selected to sire the lad. Each strong, new addition to the clan improved his reputation as a virile and valuable male and this event would ensure that many more prospective mothers would consider him, or even seek him out, to father their children this fall. It was always nice to be warm as the weather turned cold. Xihue was happy but he should have been paying better attention to his goats.

The stifled bleat ended in a gurgling rasp and sudden silence as the Wretched ones finally claimed their prize in the wayward ram. Gypnk was especially fond of man nuggets as every goblin knew that these delicacies gave males power, stamina and enhanced charisma (or what passed for it among goblin kind) in additional to their food value. It was no time to celebrate, however, the shepherd had spotted them. Normally, they would fight. It was three to one in their favor after all. They were tired and it was daylight. "Take it to the caves!", yelled Bglrk. "It won't follow us there."

Broken from his reverie, Xihue launched himself in pursuit of three goblins. The biggest one seemed to be missing an ear and was carrying the ram at great speed toward the unstable stone garden that skirted the base of a sheer cliff face. The two goblins that flanked the laden large one turned to fire small cross bow bolts that zinged past him, one nearly grazing his left leg, cutting a hole in his wrapped sash, but missing him otherwise. It was too late. The trio disappeared and echoes of their hooting and laughter faded into darkness where the new father could not safely follow.

Dejected, Xihue knew that this event would tarnish his reputation at the very time when his son's birth should have bolstered it. The young teen gathered the lady goats and guided them back to the village to report this encounter to the elders. They would not be pleased.

"Master, this day started so well! How could I be so unlucky as to have both the gift of life and the shame of death accounted to me on the same day? How should I feel?"

"There is no such thing as "Luck" Xihue. When there is work to be done, one must concentrate on that labor. Inattentiveness has consequences as you have just learned. Never fail to be aware of your surroundings. When you are, you will know when it is time to meditate, when to eat, when to sleep, when to fight, and when to study. Pay attention to details. Until you do, you will not be able to ascend."

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Xihue
No moisture warmed his hand as it recoiled from within the dust merphit. No blood or ichor needed to be washed away but the extra-planer creature exploded in a shower of dust that, had the monk not been quick enough to close his eyes, might have blinded him. The remnants of that fight settled quickly as another of the creatures endeavored to breath a toxic grey-orange cloud that hinted of cinders and fire to envelop him. Tegan and Talia momentarily disappeared from view as well.

As the air cleared, Xihue took a measured breath of dusty desert air. Eyes narrowing in concentration to mere slits beneath a furrowed brow, the Alan-Atu warrior extended his awareness and rapidly evaluated the battlefield. More of these creatures were spawning, everyone was engage.

"Lady Zendra, quickly gather what you must. This place is unstable and indefensable. We must extricate ourselves from the area. If needs be, we may regroup and return better prepared. A limitless number of these creatures will eventually overcome us if we remain."

The shepherd took a defensive posture until the archeologist had collected whatever she needed to preserve from her excavation, intending to carve a safe passage for her or intercept any new threat.

 

 
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Last edited by Black Jim; Sep 21st, 2023 at 02:09 AM.
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