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Thread: [Open] Week 164: Misericorde

  1. #21
    That One Guy Apeiron's Avatar
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    Ioannes groaned and carefully pushed himself back up onto his feet. He grabbed at his chest and winced when it protested at his every movements. Firing wasn’t going to be easy like this. Something to worry about later.

    His rifle!

    The wandering gunsmith remembered then, as he’d been forced off the demon his rifle tumbled after him. Its golden barrel flipped end-over-end, and when Ioannes hit the serpent’s back he’d lost sight of it.

    Frantic eyes scanned around him, seeing only demons at first -- the velen-faced demon disappearing and reappearing amid the gargoyles, taunting Ioannes -- but then he saw it. Lying some twenty feet away, hiding behind another protrusion just so that the wanderer could have missed it had dull gold metal not reflected his own aura.

    Ioannes started forward in a painful sort of hobble, still clutching at his chest and gritting his teeth as he moved. His eyes darted up and around to the demon-clouded skies, searching now for that devil-winged velen.

    He almost wanted to call it a spurii-demon, but the spurii were so different from this thing. Comparing a spurii to these things… it was insulting to the half-breeds. Spurii weren’t nightmarish creations, dragged from the deepest parts of Infernalis to make a mockery of reality.

    He wasn’t far from his auritium rifle now, and there was no sight of the demon. Strangely, none of the others had tried to attack him either.

    Which worried him.

    The demons hadn’t disregarded him before, back when they fought in Terminus. If anything his light had been a signal for them. They’d been unrelenting then. So why weren’t they attacking now? Distantly he heard the occasional bark of a gun in the distance, accompanied soon after by the zipping buzz of a bullet somewhere overhead. Maybe they were why.

    He thought about how they’d reacted when he had first surrounded himself with his aura. There was something that unsettled Ioannes about it. The awe, the disbelief. As if it truly had inspired in them all a flame of hope. What would happen if he failed here? Would that flame be smothered? Would the men and women throw themselves at the demons without abandon?

    Closing the gap on his rifle, the wanderer knew better. No. They’d keep fighting. These were not fickle people who would simply give up. But he couldn’t be the thing that let their momentum fail or falter. He had to press on for them.

    Easing himself down, Ioannes picked up his rifle before rising and turning back around. His smokey-blue eyes measuring the distance to the snake’s head where the archmagi waited.

    Now he just had to hope the serpent didn’t dive under the water again, or that there weren’t demons hiding behind the protrusions waiting to pounce.

    Gripping his rifle in one hand, his chest in the other, Ioannes set his jaw and headed for the archmagi.

    [2953]

  2. #22
    The Lurker <span style='color: #FFFFFF'><span class='glow_008080'>swaswj</span></span>'s Avatar
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    As if reading the fool wanderer's thoughts, Archmagi Eleos turned. Even with eyes occluded by gold, Eleos seemed to be staring straight at Ioannes. The archmagi's mouth did not move, but his voice thundered into Ioannes' head. "Such struggle is meaningless. Your fate was sealed when you trespassed upon the lands of Krevati Evimirias. Brave, but to no avail."

    In a blink, Eleos was no longer far above, on the serpent's skull, but was right there in front of Ioannes. The Archmagi was floating just over the scales of the serpent, bare feet hanging downward. Surprisingly fast, one hand reached out, grabbing onto one of the wanderer's gleaming bracers. Slowly, a knowing smile crept onto the decrepit Janu face. "But of course, this bravery is not your own, is it?"

    Ioannes yanked his arm away, and the Janu let it go, showing no hint of concern even when Ioannes leveled his rifle at him. "I'm here to stop you!" he shouted, trying not to dwell on the accusation, and trying not to let his voice quiver. "You started this war, sending all your monsters!"

    The archmagi's eyebrows drew downward over his covered eyes. "Wrong!" Eleos shouted in his head, nearly driving Ioannes to his knees.

    BWOOM!

    The roar of the cannons shook the entire ship, a heavy thump felt in the chests of everyone standing. All three of the main cannon barrels fired at once. An answering roar came from the massive serpent, more glowing green blood splashing to the seas.

    The great daemon reeled and a shudder racked its massive body. Then, it started to drop, not diving but falling. The many cannon shots and the ballista still embedded in its throat were simply too much. Ioannes yelled out as his footing fell from beneath him. The archmagi reached out and grabbed him by the throat, holding him up with surprising strength. The great serpent's body crashed to the water's surface, sending up one last wave to throw the ship wildly to and fro, far below.


    Just as Deni loosed his bolt, he felt a heavy hit in his back. "--shit!" Before he could figure out what was going on, the entire ship reeled to one side. The velen fell to his knees, breath knocked out of him. The impact felt like the slam of a hammer at first, but then it began to sting, and burn. It began to bleed. Deni turned over to his side, arms fumbling to load another bolt as he scrambled back, trying to find breath past the shooting pain, to find balance past the rocking ship. Damn it, fucked up big time!

    The daemon standing over him was like a skeleton wrapped in skin, its proportions too exaggerated to ever have been humanoid. The bluish, blackish skin of the creature was dripping with slime, and a single large eye peered out from the skull, the other socket empty. Its arms were freakishly long, though one was lopped off at the elbow. It held the larger of its two arms up in front of itself, tipped in stunningly long, sharp talons. As it stared down at Deni, a black tongue slipped out to lap the blood -- his blood -- from the claws.

    Metal rattled as Deni finally got the bolt into place. He desperately locked it in place and tried to arm the weapon, still scooting back across the deck, painfully aware of his warm blood running down his back.

    Never breaking his gaze, the daemon cocked its arm back, claws pointed right at the helpless velen. Not yet! Deni's arms shot up and he pulled the lever.

    Click!


    "Wrong!" Archmagi Eleos shouted into Ioannes head once again, bony fingers digging into his throat. He clawed at the hand on his throat with one hand, feet dangling over a deep abyss. If he fell, there was no way he'd survive the fall, but if he did nothing, Eleos would crush his windpipe.

    Ioannes tilted his rifle up and pulled the trigger.

    The auritium bullet blasted into one of the gold patches, shattering into pieces and blasting through, ripping a nasty gouge through side of the archmagi's skull. He yelled out -- in his own voice this time -- and reeled back. Next thing he knew, Ioannes was up in the air, with only the churning seas and a thrashing sea monster's corpse there to meet him.

    He was already cursing his luck! From that range, if his shot was just one inch to the left..! Ioannes let out a stunned, "Ooph!" though as he slammed face-first into something solid. The air itself was slightly thicker, faintly opaque. Not willing to question his fortune, he pushed back to his feet and started readying the next round in the chamber.

    Standing on the magical plane in the sky, Eleos was growling wordlessly, one hand clutched over the gushing wound in the side of his head. Ioannes shuddered as he looked at the empty socket that had been hidden under the gold. "Your big arch-daemon is gone, mage!" Ioannes shouted. "Things aren't as hopeless as you think!"

    Eleos laughed harshly. "Is that what you think?" the Janu asked in his head.

    In a sudden flash, images flooded Ioannes' consciousness. An old village, falling to ruin but still full of people, the Janu people. Its name, Perichora, flitted through his mind, and somehow he knew that it was located southwest of Krevati Evimirias, on the outskirts of the land that the Janu claimed as their own. Land they had claimed for hundreds of years. Then, visions of a beastly creature, something between a person and an insect, standing upright on four pincer-like legs with arms made in blades.

    Vicatimae, a type of vistra. Dangerous alone, or in small groups. They could keep fighting long after sustaining mortal wounds. Their victims could often spend just as long dying. The Janu found that out when Perichora was overrun by the beasts: not just one, or a few, but dozens of them. They tore into the unprepared Janu, and Ioannes could feel the horror as if he had lived it himself. He could sense their desperation, could sense the need that had driven one Janu to perform a dangerous summoning.

    The summoning drew upon the emotions not only of the summoner, but the entire village. Negative emotions of hopelessness, fear, desires for vengeance but also a desire for mercy. Desire for the mercy of a quick, painless death.
    Misericorde.

    He gasped as he returned to the present. The flash of mental imagery had only lasted for a moment, but it left him in a cold sweat. Ioannes saw a vision of a woman's lifeless eyes staring back at him.


    A jam?!

    Before the daemon could finish Deni off, it froze, its lone eye widening.

    As Deni watched, the skeletal daemon's blackish blue body brightened to red, before darkening once again to black… then scattering to sand.

    There she was. Standing over him now, staring down at him with her dead eyes, the barbed head of his bolt protruding from the front of her chest, dripping a blackish blood. Deni tried firing his weapon again, but it was still jammed. "Hey now, it would never work, love," he said, trying not to show the panic welling up inside, forcing himself up into a sitting position while the daemoness suddenly walked around behind him. He tried to ignore the pain in his back, tried not to think about how much blood -- his blood -- was on the other daemon's claws, while he scrambled to clear the jam in his damned weapon. "People are going to talk." Almost there!

    Claws brushed over the gaping wounds in his back and Deni winced, snapping out, "Aquila's arse, woman!" But then the pain began to ease by degrees, the throbbing slowing. The pounding rush of blood in his ears began to quiet. In fact, everything began to quiet, the shouts of the fighters, the report of firearms, it all faded away. In its place, there came the steady rattle of rain on glass.

    Thunder rumbled distantly.


    "Waghhh!" Dante yelled out at the top of his lungs, eyes flying wide open. His body felt like it had just slammed into a pool of icy water, a shock to his entire system.

    The athlete fell forward, palms flat on the deck in front of him, trying to regain his senses. His body shivered, itched, missing that all-too-brief bliss he had felt. Suddenly, all of his aches and wounds burned furiously, pure agony coursing through his body and chasing away the warmth he had felt only a moment before. In contrast, everything hurt more, the sounds of battle painfully jarring in his ears. The air even smelled and tasted foul.

    No matter how much it hurt, though, he knew that if… whatever that was… had gone on any longer, he might have never come back. He reached out, grabbing the hilt of his claymore. It felt heavy, almost unbearably so, but Dante grit his teeth past the pain and forced himself to his feet.


    Deni opened his eyes to darkness. Lightning flashed, then, reflecting on the rain-spattered window in front of him, lighting up the room he was laying in, the clothes strewn all over the floor. A muffled rumble of thunder followed. What? What was going on? What happened to the ship, the daemons..? To Dante? To… her? As if in answer, claws dragged over his back, teasing over sore spots, but it wasn't like before. It was like...

    A familiar touch, a familiar scent… A familiar shape settled into the bed next to him, nuzzling in against his bare chest. "Ignis..?" he breathed out in disbelief.

    "Mornin'," she mumbled against his skin, and he could hear her smile in that one simple word. Her claws roamed his skin, tracing sore spots, lazily tracing over the welts where she had left her mark. Deni sucked in a breath as she found a particularly painful one, but relaxed his muscles just as quickly.

    "… Stop!"


    How did he… what was he doing here? Deni brushed his hand over Ignis' head, gently lifting her feathers away to look into her eyes, half fearing he would find a soulless daemon staring back, but it was her, all her. Those eyes that confused him and brought to mind all his insecurities over his new life but just felt so right. Adoring and affectionate, they were Ignis' eyes, without a doubt. But how?

    Her hands wandered up to the ridges on his scalp, nuzzling into his chest once again while she preened with her fingertips. "Is something on your mind?" she asked, voice still sleepy.

    As if bidden by some impulse deep inside, he answered, "Just you."


    "… get away from him..!"

    High overhead, Archmagi Eleos traced a triangle in the air and snapped his fingers, pointing at Ioannes. The air rippled above him, but he was still reeling from the visions and couldn't evade. The heavy weight of Atlas slammed onto his shoulders. Ioannes grit his teeth and tried to lift his arms. He managed to hold onto his rifle, somehow, but his arms felt like lead.

    "Those creatures did not come of their own accord. They were driven there. By your people. You drove them from your lands, herded them into our territory." The archmagi stood taller, pulling his hand away from his wound. "I destroyed the creatures, but I could save nothing, could save no one. All I could offer the dying was a swifter death."

    Eleos regained his icy composure and a diamond-shaped portal slowly began to materialize in the air in front of him. "You will not suffer as my people did, at least. You will have the mercy of a quick death, a painless end. As reward for your borrowed bravery, you will have the mercy of a reason for your death.

    "Be grateful you did not meet my brothers."



    [2000/5350]

    Notes
    Sorry for the megaturn. Tell me if I've misportrayed any of your characters and I'll make adjustments as needed.

    Also, have some visuals:

    Archmagi Eleos


    Arch-Daemon Misericorde



  3. #23
    That One Guy Apeiron's Avatar
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    “I wasn’t meant to,” Ioannes muttered. At least now the wanderer knew why he’d felt the Call so strongly on the ship.

    He closed his eyes for a moment, steadying himself as he felt someone rest their hand on his shoulder. No, not someone, but dozens of people. He could feel them there, just behind him, reaching out and helping to take the weight of the spell off his shoulders.

    Though he couldn’t see them, Ioannes knew they had no face, no gender, no age, no race. They were specters of a hundred-thousand lives, of heroes who’d come before infused with that undying spirit that he now possessed.

    “You said my bravery was borrowed,” the strain of Atlas fled from his body, “well, you’re not wrong.” The blue lines racing up from the bracers along Ioannes’s entire arm started growing in intensity, and the golden halo burned brighter around Ioannes.

    “But some of it is mine.”

    Adrenaline started to flood Ioannes’s body, and years of practice and experience took over. The spell lifted, the wanderer re-shouldered his rifle as quick as his aching muscles would allow.

    There, floating in mid-air, Ioannes squeezed the trigger and felt a twinge in his chest from his protesting ribs as his shoulder soaked the recoil.

    I can’t let you win, he thought. For your own sake.

    [3175]

  4. #24
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    This… doesn’t feel right, the pale velen thought to himself as he gazed at the bedroom ceiling. There was no way that the daemons were a dream. Yet the enlil’s head feathers nuzzling into his shoulder, the pitter-patter of rain against the window, a bed so comfortable he felt like he could sink through it at any second… they too felt real.

    Deni relaxed his muscles and exhaled softly.

    “I wish we could have more mornings like this,” he uttered groggily.

    “Maybe we can,” Ignis replied.

    Deni smiled. Genuinely. It wasn’t a crude smirk or some cocky grin, but a genuine smile. The horror of the daemons were still in the back of his mind, but they didn’t seem to matter. Nothing else did.

    I’m… sick of fighting.

    This… is better.

    Every breath that the athlete took sent a small jolt of pain through his body. Tracing the battlefield he tried to locate the esoteric female daemon, almost reflexively feeling his cheek where she had first touched him.

    The athlete's focus sharpened as he caught a glance of the target further back, almost completely filtering out everything else from his vision. His legs protested strongly as Dante forced himself to move, each step taking more effort than the last.

    Deni’s body was stood upright, but motionless, almost comfortable in the creature’s embrace. His empty blue eyes were wide, but stared at nothing. There were few allies nearby that could break the female daemon’s grasp on him, but as her blood-red halo deepened in colour, his time in Mortalis was beginning to fade.

    The ominous change of shade on the demon's halo hastened the athlete into action as he pushed his muscles to their maximum, numbing the pain with a rush of adrenaline that coursed through his body. He closed the distance with an incredibly quick dash followed by a quick jab of his left towards the daemon's abdomen area.

    The strike was enough to catch the archdemon off-guard. The force caused her to release Deni’s body as she reeled back. The velen fell to his knees. Then the pain radiated from every ounce of every wound. His jaws clamped together to prevent himself from screaming as his agony swelled to astonishing levels. With an audible gasp, he began panting. The pain had torn the air from his lungs. Once he remembered where he was, however, anger coursed through him. The dream had felt so real, but his wishful thinking had nearly gotten him killed. It wasn’t going to happen again.

    Deni drew his golden pistol. He spun awkwardly on the spot, cursing the wound on his back. The loud bang that followed was almost drowned out by the din, but the bullet still flew towards the female daemon. Still panting, the gunslinger staggered backwards a step from the recoil.

    “She doesn’t get you, she doesn’t get me,” he said to Dante in a croaky voice. “Deal?”

    “Deal,” gripping his sword tight, the athlete didn't avert his gaze from the daemon as he responded to the rogue.

    [351/2,949]

    [155/898]

    Note
    Dante used Blood from a Stone to ignore the pain and his feat, Zone, to cover ground quickly. Deni used Blood from a Stone after breaking free from the daemon's grasp.

  5. #25
    The Lurker <span style='color: #FFFFFF'><span class='glow_008080'>swaswj</span></span>'s Avatar
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    "How can you still move..?"

    As Ioannes lifted the rifle, Eleos released his deadly magics. Blades of wind filled the air, a dozen, a hundred of them, each one slicing into Ioannes, each one curiously painless, ripping into his clothes, tearing at his skin, but filling him only with cold and numbness. They were wearing away at his resolve as much as his life.

    If his words were only words, his bravery only borrowed, Ioannes would never have been able to pull that trigger.

    The roar of rushing winds was drowned out by the rifle's report. The auritium bullet went straight through the archmagi's robes to drive into, and through, Eleos' chest. The Janu, reeled backward, one hand clutching at the deep wound. Through his chest, through his lungs, perhaps even grazing the ancient one's decrepit heart.


    The daemoness stumbled backward but remained standing. Deni's bolt was still embedded in her chest, and his last shot blasted away the chitinous armor near her collarbone. Her eyes didn't reflect pain or fear, though. Instead, she faced Dante and Deni, confused and lost. Then, as she looked at her claws, still covered in Deni's blood, she looked sad.

    As they watched, the blood on her hands darkened and then turned to sand, scattering to the ground.

    By far the least intimidating of all the many daemons they had seen, both Dante and Deni understood her true nature now. No lost soul, and no base seductress, she offered something altogether different, represented a fear and a yearning. Her touch promised peace, serenity, seeking out those in pain and taking their pains away… forever.

    And they knew her name: Misericorde, Arch-daemon and instrument of mercy, in the form of a swift and painless death.

    For the first time, she smiled, dead eyes seeming to see right through the pair. She started walking toward them.


    A ripple rushed through the plane of air beneath Ioannes and Eleos. The latter of the two remained standing, even as his blood rapidly soaked into the robes. Ioannes, too, bled from dozens of smaller wounds. If Eleos had eyes, how wide would they be?

    "Careless..!" Eleos growled in the wanderer's head, though the admonishment was meant for the Janu himself. The archmagi coughed, a ragged, wet sound, blood frothing at his lips from his pierced lung. Somehow, the ancient sorcerer remained completely calm. "No matter… your people are or soon will be dead. The people of Krevati Evimirias will not surrender to your ilk." Rather than defiant, the words in Ioannes' head were resigned.

    The archmagi coughed up more blood, but smiled crookedly, waving one hand out in a slow sweep. Following the arc of his hand, circles of charred wood materialized in the air surrounding Ioannes, each filled with darkness that seemed to ripple and churn. Distant echoes surrounded the bleeding hero from all sides. "We go together, then, afore all the rest."

    Then Eleos fell backward. As he fell, the translucent plane of air shattered, sharp shards dispersing into wisps of fog. Quietly, the archmagi murmured to himself, in his own tongue, "Some small mercy, at last…"


    [525/5875]

    Notes
    Ioannes is bleeding from many small cuts, but they would be causing him no pain. He can feel them, but they are numbed. Eleos' final attack is Coiling Abyss with four portals surrounding Ioannes. The claws will attack him even while he's falling. Figure out a landing strategy while dealing with the attack.

    COILING ABYSS
    Basic - 1,400 Vigor
    A portal of darkness opens in front of a target within 30m, and a demonic claw lashes out at them. Augmenting with Terra Regia increases the number of portals opened, to a maximum of 6 portals.

    Portal: The portal has the appearance of swirling darkness with a frame of charred wood. They can be created all at once but must be triggered individually. The magic is pushed out by striking the back of the portal. While the portals are open, they have the sound of noises echoing in a canyon.

    Misericorde is fast and nimble, but walking straight toward Deni and Dante. She will try to dodge any attack she sees coming, and will try to touch either of the two if possible. If she touches you, you should expect to be stunned at least briefly until your partner knocks her away. At no point, however, will she actually attack you, try to pin you down, or even run away. Although she was evasive before, now that she's 'felt' your pain, she won't be satisfied until she's taken it all away.

    Do whatever you can to damage or slow her down.
    Last edited by swaswj; 09-14-2017 at 11:15 PM.

  6. #26
    That One Guy Apeiron's Avatar
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    The wandering gunsmith could hardly believe it. A bitter-sweet feeling rushed throughout his body as he realized what he did, and then his eyes grew wide when he felt the magicked surface fade away from under him.

    The world began to rush up around him and he panicked, the knowledge that those demonic claws were somewhere above him didn’t help.

    Frantic, his heart racing and the after-effects of adrenaline bleeding off, Ioannes looked up at the four hands that twisted so unnaturally through the air. He struggled to turn his body mid-air and re-shoulder his rifle.

    It was hell just trying to get the rifle seated right, and now he had to hope he could fire straight.

    Before Ioannes could take aim, one of the demonic hands was ripped away -- something had busted a hole right through it like it was nothing. He then remembered earlier, when marksmen had been set to task to take out the demons in the air. Whether by more dumb luck, or their keen eyes, one of them had managed to save him a little.

    There was still the matter of falling, however.

    One hand raced forward, faster than the others, and wedged itself into the wanderer’s left shoulder. Blood erupted from the fresh wound and Ioannes cried out.

    He could feel the waves beneath him getting closer.

    Just… one… shot.

    It could make such a big difference.

    Would it?

    If he kept falling, wouldn’t he just lose consciousness and drown?

    Not enough time to worry.

    Fighting past all the pain, but Castus did it hurt, Ioannes grit his teeth and pulled his rifle up and fired a hasty shot -- when had he reloaded? He distantly remembered the feel of the bolt slapping against his hand. Up, back, forward, down. -- and missed by a hairsbreadth.

    Shite, was all he could think at that moment.

    Imagine that. Falling, chased by demonic magic hands, and the final words he could scrape together was…

    Shite. Shite. Shiiiiiiite.

    Another patient shot range out, not from his rifle but from the ship’s marksmen, and chipped away at one of the other hands.

    A second shot followed, but missed its target as it made another impossible twist mid-air and rushed for Ioannes.

    That’s enough, he heard someone say. He didn’t recognize the voice, but whoever they were, they sounded equal parts frustrated and disappointed all at once. Just this once, I’ll help you.

    As he neared the water’s surface, the golden halo that surrounded him vanished, swallowed by the night, the demons, and the churning ocean.

    [3601]

  7. #27
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    Deni’s eyes widened at the smile on Misericorde’s lips. He took a few steps back, wincing at the bleeding wound on his lower back. The horrors that he had fought earlier were plucked straight out of nightmares, but her? She only wanted to send him back to that pleasant dream. Even if it would have killed him, he couldn’t get it out of his mind.

    “She was more attractive about an hour ago,” he groaned. “Now she’s just creepy.”

    Despite how desperate the situation grew, Deni always had a steady hand. This time, however, he was exhausted from the fighting. His hand began to quiver under the strain.

    “If you can take her left side, I’m pretty sure I can take her right,” the velen stated, still awkwardly limping backwards.

    Few beads of sweat on his forehead signaled slight fatigue on the athlete's body, his reckless techniques taking their toll on him. The bliss of her touch was inviting in and of itself, but a quick glance towards the rogue pulled the athlete’s thoughts back to reality.

    ”I can try,” he wavered a bit, ”I won't last long at this pace, so let's finish her quickly,” the athlete finished.

    The athlete stepped far to his left trying to circle the daemon as he manifested a green portal resembling a pair of fangs. Sinking his right hand into the portal the kinner pulled his arm back strongly, a cone of slicing wings roaring towards the daemon. He was still close to her, but was wary to keep her at more than an arm's length.

    Blue eyes glanced to and fro between the female daemon and objects to her side. After a brief mental calculation, Deni flicked his wrist and fired a bullet at the bow of the ship. The round ricocheted off the surface, aiming straight for Misericorde.

    [265/3214]

    [133/1031]

    Notes


    “SICKLE WIND
    Advanced - 200 Vigor
    Requires: 1x Dahlitium Pulveris
    When the caster pulls the energy forth, a cone of slicing winds roars forth, with a 5m range and 3m spread. Augmenting with Terra Regia increases the range by 5m and the spread by 3m for each grade, maxing out at 25m range with a 15m spread.

    Portal: The portal has the appearance of similar to an elongated diamond, except the elongated ends are split apart, forming fangs. It has the look of green marble. The magic is pulled out.


  8. #28
    The Lurker <span style='color: #FFFFFF'><span class='glow_008080'>swaswj</span></span>'s Avatar
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    Though the golden halo disappeared beneath the waves, darkness seemed to lift, as well, if only a little. The oppressive atmosphere lessened, and the remaining daemons both aboard and near the ship seemed to hesitate.

    It was only a brief hesitation, but the defenders took full advantage of it. Bolstered by Ioannes' victory and sacrifice, they rushed forward on the attack, turning the drawn-out stalemate in their favor with a defiant roar.

    The arch-daemon Misericorde seemed oblivious to it all, with eyes only for her latest prey. It was Eleos and the overwhelming desires of his people that had brought her into the mortal world, the power of their emotions powerful enough to bridge the gap between worlds. Alive or dead, she was the twisted embodiment of his wishes, an angel of mercy and death.

    As the body of Eleos fell, she granted her master his overpowering wish, sapping away all of his pain through the invisible link that bound them together. The spiked halo over her head darkened to red, pulsing in time with the final beats of his heart before the archmagi's falling corpse burst into ash.

    Her dead eyes seemed more focused than before, narrowing at the sight of Dante's attack. Moving faster than before, she scrambled forward, a wordless sigh of pain slipping from her lips. The savage blades of air ripped into her armored body only briefly before she was past the widest part of the cone, eyes wide, claws reaching for Dante's face.

    She grabbed his face, spreading her fingers enough to stare into his eyes. The halo began to darken again…

    At the sound of Deni's gun, Misericorde's head snapped to the side, locked onto the velen now. The bullet bit in high in her shoulder, eliciting another quiet gasp. She released Dante and in a blink she was on top of Deni, both claws clamped around his forearm, holding tight. Misericorde leaned in closer and Deni could hear a long-forgotten song, a soothing lullaby that teased at his subconscious.

    [325/6200]

  9. #29
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    Exa
    32,050
    That song…

    Deni blinked, but when he opened his eyes he was not on the ship. Puddles were scattered across the ground. Artificial lights brightened the dim streets. Far above him there was no sky, but instead the ripples of water. The underwater city of Pelagia. Home.

    “Deniisis?”

    That soft, sweet voice sent shivers down his spine. Slowly, he turned his head. There she stood, a velen woman just a few inches shorter than Deni. Her skin was a slightly dull white, with flecks of turquoise on the back of her hands and up her arms. It was obvious from wrinkles on her face that she was much older than him.

    Mater…” Deni uttered, though it came out as a weak breath. Joy radiated from her expression as she ran to him and threw her arms around his shoulders. He returned the tight embrace.

    “Oh, Deni,” she spoke into his shoulder. “It’s been so long. I miss you so much.”

    Eight years. The last time he saw his mother was eight years ago, when he left his home and took to Pelagias streets. The rogue’s eyes glistened as he held his mother in his arms.

    “Do you remember when I used to hum that little song to you when you were little?”

    She immediately started humming. Every time Deni would end up in a fight in school - which was a lot - she would never be angry. She would just hold him, exactly like she was, and hum that little tune. And all of his troubles would melt away.

    “This…” Deni breathed. “This is low, daemon.”

    “What did you say, dear?”

    If he focussed, he could feel the claws on his arm. He could hear screams and gunshots, even if they were distant. This time he knew what was real.

    “I’m sorry, mater.”



    Deni blinked. The vacant look in his watery eyes vanished. The velen twisted his wrist and aimed the pistol under Misericorde’s neck. He slammed the trigger twice, planting both bullets under her chin. As she reeled back, her claws scraped down his arm, but he didn’t even hesitate. Both of his wide arms wrapped themselves around her as much as they could. He tensed his muscles as he tried to hold her in place.

    “Do it, Kinner!” Deni shouted through gritted teeth. “Fucking do it!”

    [387/3,601]


    Note
    Double-tap used under the chin. DO IT.

  10. #30
    Member Shadowthread's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
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    84
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    Exa
    2,200
    Oh no you don't! As the daemon grapped the rogue again, gripping his sword with both hands the athlete closed in on the daemon again, he was not exactly sure what the velen had shouted but he did not need to hear words to understand him.

    Every muscle in his body ached and protested against him, the pain slowly resurfacing with the adrenaline receding.

    Please!

    Everything around was blurry as the athlete's focus narrowed completely on the daemon right in front of him.

    Please, just a moment more!

    Pushing his body and mind to their utmost limits the athlete carried the momentum from his run into a sweeping cleave with all of his might aimed at the daemon's neck, this time there would be no escape for her.

    [128/1159]

    Note

    Zone 3/5
    Blood from Stone used for 3 turns.

    Using Gangway against Misericorde.

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