[Mission] [TWFNE] Week 210: Simmering Temple

Redfin

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The small town of Kervidum has been under siege by mysterious forces. Their goal and purpose was unknown. They might not even be conscious creatures anymore. Prowling through the once peaceful streets of the town are haggard monstrosities. They look like laicars, enlils, velens and more, but their forms are decrepit, wrung out. Their flesh was sickly grey and full of holes. Underneath was a darkness filled with stars. Old, ragged clothes garbed hid their forms.

The center of town has been demolished not through any overt action but by the appearance of a grand building. Constructed out of massive bricks, the structure has pushed aside what was originally there. Parapets house a mysterious light, shining down on the village. The architecture has design that feels ancient, full of deep grooves and ornate carvings.

A staircase led up to a set of double doors. At the base was a plaque, the words swirling with light. It stated, "And So Ends The Watch Of High Templar Chesmalt. May His Memory Be An Everlasting Bulwark."

[173]
 

Keydis Lysistrata

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“Bulwark is Aquila, right?” Keydis mused, giving the plaque a half-hearted kick as she headed up the stairs. The brunette still looked imposing, short brunette hair spiked up and dyed red in the front. Still full of fire and determination, she didn’t hesitate to enter the mysterious building. One hand clutched under her ribs; her armor of black and violet scales gleamed as if untouched, but the leather plating below it had been ripped near her lower back. Her black half-cloak hid the wound from sight, and the decorative red sash at her hip soaked up the blood.

A second wound on her right calf was less easily hidden, and Keydis left bloody half-prints with each step. Promoveo, her schiavona, was also in need of repair, so she’d have to use it sparingly. It would have been a good time to retreat, regroup, and make a plan. If there were more guardians like the towering animated knight they had just faced, how would they fare?

Keydis paused at the top of the stairs, closing her eyes briefly and letting out a breath. She reflected on something Annora had taught her, tried to let her mind scatter and focus at the same time.

It felt like there was magic everywhere, but something stronger pulsed, somewhere inside the building. Keydis grumbled irritably. “Can’t tell where the thing is,” she muttered under her breath, stopping just short of cursing Annora’s worthless lessons.

She looked down at the pointed, barbed blades protruding from both arms, then clenched her fists and pushed her way into the building without waiting to see if Aeria or Diamantus were coming.


[275/275]

Starting at 11650/30000 Vigor spent
 

MoonlitRain014

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It seemed that, in the adrenaline-fueled haze of battle, Aeria had ignored the extent of her injuries. Clearly when she'd been tossed aside like a ragdoll, her landing impact had been a great deal harder than it had felt. A ragged gash ran down her side and throbbed every time that she moved it, trickling blood through her shirt. Her right leg ached and the knee felt like it was unstable if she tried to overextend it. She looked less rough than Keydis, but the pain in her side occasionally made her gasp. It was quite possible that she'd cracked a rib, perhaps even fractured it.

She paused for a moment, trying to gather her thoughts and steel herself for what was about to come. Whatever was in that tower, it wasn't likely to be any more pleasant than the thing that had once been High Templar Chesmalt. However, they'd come this far, so there was no point in hesitating and she plunged into the darkness, leaning on her halberd more heavily than she should have been.

Diamantus' tough scales and generalized hardiness meant that most of her injuries were superficial. There was a gash above her eye where a piece of flying rock had cut her face open, but it had been stitched shut by the healers back in Kervidum. In fact, she was itching to put some more bullets into whatever got in her way and didn't hesitate to follow her two companions down into the blackness.

Aeria had caught up to Keydis, hearing her muttered comment about not being able to locate the magic and responding.

"Maybe once we get in there further, we'll be able to get a better fix on things. The walls might be blocking your perceptions? We have no idea exactly what's in there!"


[301]
 
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Redfin

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Diamantus stepped up to the stone doors of the temple. There was nothing to do but open it. She braced against the ground and put out both hands, one on each side. Shoving forwards, the area began to rumble. It was slow, heavy at first. Dust kicked up as the doors scraped along the ground. Diamantus took a step forwards. Then another. Her arms strained as they spread further, opening the doors just enough for a person to fit through.

The interior was still full of color, but there was a coldness to everything. Burning torches and portraits of regal figures did nothing to brighten up the place. The walls were covered in engravings, not of writing but swooping line work. The shuffling of the decrepit humanoids only solidified how dead the interior was. They wore ragged robes and stared at the ground, searching for hope. They stumbled through piles of ruined furniture.

Pipes ran along the walls, burying into the stone. They connected to strange installations buried into the stone containing crystals. The fixtures clashed horribly with the grandness of the rest of the building.

There were three visible doors in the main room. One on the left wall, one on the right and a set of large doors all the way to the rear. There was two more strange, circular frames on the wall near the entrance.


The plaque had clattered partway down the steps, where it was resting. The glowing words peeled off the surface. It traveled in a winding path towards Keydis. It carried with them important memories from the High Templar. The sights, sounds, scent of it all invaded into Keydis's mind.

The Temple of Castus was under heavy renovations. It was for additions that went against the will of the Vis. Scaffolding climbed up the walls. Pulleys and anchors were made on the parapets. Workers carried pipes and wires by the cartful up ramps that had been laid on the main stairs.

The temple had never been so busy, but none were there for peace or worship. The usual calmness was nowhere to be found.

A figure garbed in ornate robes stood nearby, watching as the temple was transformed. They had a slender form, elegant. Every movement was flowing, dragging the long fabric behind as if it was flowing downstream. It was the High Priest of the temple.

"Chesmalt," the High Priest said, their voice soft and tender. "I never asked your opinion on this. How do you feel about the plan?"


“The High Templar’s job does not include room for questions, your Grace.” Your voice echoed out across the chamber, a low rumble underneath the sounds of the steadfast workers. You stood behind and to the side of the High Priest, his small body looking almost dainty in contrast to your immense frame. Your armor gleamed in the last remnants of sunlight, the metal polished until it reflected the faces of the workers before the two of you.

There was a pause before you continued.

“However, I heard about an old teacher with back problems,” you sighed, “who may have doubts...” your voice trailed off, watching as workmen pushed a heavy, L-shaped pipe up to the top of the tower.


The High Priest laughed. "I feel it goes against the will of the Vis. Some say it is the end of the world, but I do not feel so. It is merely a rebirth. But I cannot refuse an order by the Princess." The High Priest clasped their hands and lowered their head. "I admit the idea of saving everyone is something I wish to do, if only it was within the grand plans."

The High Priest turned to his trusted guard. "You will remain and stand with me, yes?"


You nodded. ”Always, your Grace. There is no place I would rather be.” You felt a faint surge of pride swell up into you and out of your voice as you spoke. “What sort of friend would I be to abandon you here, at the very end? No, I shall stand with you, as your bulwark against whatever comes.”

"Thank you, Chesmalt. I am certain with you around, the temple and our people shall weather whatever storm will come. You have always been dependable."

The light faded from the plaque, leaving behind the engravings in the original ancient language.

[553]
[178]
 
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Keydis Lysistrata

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While the visions flitted through her mind, Keydis fumbled faintly in her walk. She groaned and held a hand to her head, swaying on her feet, fighting a wave of dizziness. The memories weren’t her own, but they felt real enough. Keydis grit her teeth, forcing her attention to the present, shaking away the images of scaffolding and people at work. Silence replaced Chesmalt’s words, and the shuffling of the robed figures was all that remained.

“Stay out of my head,” Keydis muttered under her breath, a futile threat but voicing it made her feel better. Turning to the other two, Keydis called out, “Hey, you two are bookish, right? It’s Castus, not Aquila. You ever hear of a Castus temple around here?”

Shame Annora isn’t here. She says real temples of Castus are rare, Keydis mused to herself. Her half-blooded friend was an experienced ruin diver. Just the writing on the walls around them would probably make her quiver with excitement!

Keydis looked to the doors on the left and right, then walked straight forward. They weren’t here for treasure hunting, they were here to stop whatever was going on! “Whatever’s bringing these bastards here or back or however this works is definitely going to be on the main corridor, not a side path!” With that first step into the antechamber itself, the robed figures, thus far ignoring the three women, all turned at once, looking at Keydis. A collective groan rose up and they started shuffling in her direction. “Out of the way!” The brunette attacked the one in front of her with both bladed arms, ripping robes to reveal more starlight.

Dodging around the monster as it fell, Keydis jogged across the room, up the stairs at the rear, and let out a shout as she lifted a leg and delivered a solid kick to the doorway. It didn’t budge. She then grabbed the handles and pulled. Nothing.

“Well… fuck.”



[325/600]

Ambidexterity, Trained feat (reduces dual attack penalties to -1/-1

Two attacks on shambling horror, 4 mag. (3 skill + 2 material - 1 ambi)

11650/30000 Vigor spent
 

MoonlitRain014

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Diamantus snorted. "I'm 'bout as bookish as you are, I bet. Aeria - you know anything about a Castus temple around here?"

The spurii shook her head emphatically. "Nope. I've never heard of anything like that in this area. I wonder what the hell..."

Before she could finish her thought, Keydis had been attacked by one of the cowled figures and the second was coming towards Aeria at a surprising pace. The third had made a move towards Diamantus who calmly leveled her pistols and shot it, blowing away the cowl and sending it staggering backwards. The muscled velen dodged around it and also made her way towards the door.

Meanwhile Aeria had used the reach of her halberd to slash out, bisecting the attacking creature before it could reach her, also leaving the ragged rip of starlight behind and making a feint around it.

She glanced up at Keydis and Diamantus, as they faced the locked doors, her eyes wilder than they should have been. "You guys better look around! I bet there's some kinda unlocking mechanism! We need to find it and damn fast."


[486]
 
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Redfin

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Next to the large doors was a panel as tall as a person with a width twice the height. It was smooth metal and free of blemishes. A decorative picture snaked across the surface, but it was obviously mismatched from the other decorations around. Behind that was an empty space. Something should go in there, though all of the pieces were missing.

[615]
 

Mystydjinn

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The sound of heavy boots on stone punctuated Aeria's commanding tone, and a withered looking torch clad in midnight stepped across the temple's threshold and into the chaos of the room.

A small shudder passing through its handle made the flame atop quiver, but a low growl from its center seemed to quell it. Of all the places to stick her nose into trouble... The torch grumbled to herself and her scowling eyes scanned the room.

She took note of the crumbling furniture, strange architecture and decor, and with the shambling monsters she'd passed on her way to the massive building -along with those inside- in mind, her scholar mind bristled while she unsheathed her broadsword and trench dagger.

You are not desecrating Palash's Temple.

Why not? I'm here to get rid of it because a city full of people you don't give a shit about asked me to.

We're here because Gwen asked you to do it and you're pissed she lost her foot imitating you.

...

Right. Don't destroy archaeological finds, if this one doesn't kill you it might make bank. Everybody thinks its a myth or something.


With that in mind she scanned the room again and the frames on the wall by the farthest door caught her eye, specifically the one that didn't belong. Alright, obvious asymmetry is obvious. But where's the puzzle pieces? Distracted, she stepped into the room and a creature that hadn't focused its efforts on the other three women inside broke off from the main group with a few stragglers and came shuffling towards her.

Instinctively she raised her broadsword to rip through their arms before they could reach her, but a passing thought made her grimace and redirected the wide arc of her swing at the monster's middles.

WC:[296]


(Starting vigor -10%) [8,550/8,300]
Adept Militis + 250v + Bigaitum Broadsword = lvl 4 cleaving stroke. Aelf doesn't know these things are made of freaky starlight stuff but she's wondering if eviscerating them will make something pop out that she can stick in the open frame.
Not claiming Aelf to know anything significant about this local, but she's got vague memories of reading a myth that mentioned it being filled with monsters and some catastrophe destroying it, but of course, nothing else besides that and the name.
 
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Bat Cthulhu

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As the spurii began her assault, a laicar calmly walked through the large temple gates. His eyes, framed by messy dark hair that fell about his face, glanced around the room, comparing it to the mental notes he had made.

“Yep.” Cassius Colonnade said with a slight sigh, “this is the place he was talking about. Come on in.” Behind the young wizard, a demon slithered in, chains securing his hands as it moved about on a long thick snake tail. A scaly hood frame two large, serpentine eyes. It was, for all intents and purposes, a naga. Or at least, a demon that had taken a naga’s form.

Letting the demon take the lead, the two patiently walked around the fighters brawl, pacing around the edge of the room. The pair maneuvered themselves around, avoiding the brawl in the middle and opting to examine the fight as it ensued.

“They look like they got it covered,” the mage said to his apparent servant, adjusting the red scarf around his neck as they watched, “and besides, I don’t wanna accidentally shoot any of them. Kincaid still nags me about that one.” He leaned against the wall, somewhat behind the naga, and waited for the fighting to settle down.

208/208
 
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Keydis Lysistrata

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”You!” Keydis shouted out upon seeing Aelflead enter. Although their last encounter hadn’t been the friendliest, her grin brightened. The ache in her chest from Aelflead’s punch reassured her that the half-blood would be useful in a fight, unlike her unfortunate friend. At the thought of Gwen, the grin dimmed. “Shouldn’t you be looking after your little sister?” she called out.

Rather than wait for an answer, Keydis jumped from the top of the stairs down to the main antechamber, landing atop one of the robed figures and slamming her blades in. Giving both a twist and yanking them free, she jogged over to the door to the right of the entrance. This time she jumped and delivered a heavy dropkick to the door!


[125/725]

Ambidexterity, Trained feat (reduces dual attack penalties to -1/-1

Two attacks on shambling horror, 4 mag. (3 skill + 2 material - 1 ambi)

11650/30000 Vigor spent
 

MoonlitRain014

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Ducking a heavy punch thrown by one of the robed monsters, Aeria cut its legs out from under it with an easy sweep of her halberd's blade, spinning it to stab the the thing through the throat before tearing the blade free and casting her eyes wildly around the room, searching for anything that would fit into the patterns on the door. It seemed as though there wasn't anything, but she began circling the outside of the room, eyes flicking between the shamblers and the edges, looking for something that would help, hidden in the midst of the destroyed furniture and other detritus strewn around the room.

There had to be a key here somewhere. The sooner she found it, the better. She yelped in fear as a shambler reached for her, distracting her from her reverie and she lashed out with her halberd to cut at it and drive it away.

It was only then that she realized that Aelflead had entered the room. Maybe with that mad murderess in their midst, she could spend more time looking for the damn door key and less time avoiding death at the hands of zombies.

Diamantus took aim and blew the arm off the shambler that had reached for Aeria, sending it flying backwards. From her position on the stairs, she was able to cover her companion while the spurii searched frantically for something, anything that could unlock the door and move them forward.

[729]
 
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Mystydjinn

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"You!" The redhead responded in equal, but sarcastic enthusiasm.

She frowned as her blade slid through the monsters before her and turned up sparkles instead of anything interesting, but she swung again and found new monsters to tear through with her blade.

"She'll be fine." The woman didn't say much else, and instead kept to work at hacking her way through everything between her and the center of the room, rending her way through the creatures in hopes a puzzle piece would come tumbling out of their middles.

Though it would be more accurate to say that her enthusiasm in eviscerating the walking corpses could be better attributed to how much easy it was to focus on her form and stances. At least easier than dealing with the worry that had dragged her to the the vis-forsaken city in the first place.


WC: [142/438]
 
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Redfin

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The right door slid open partway with the sound of stone scraping against stone. It was too heavy for one strike. Perhaps pushing it would be a better course of action.

Take 1 wound damage for your feet!

Beyond was a small corridor. Pipes crawled along the wall leading into a large room beyond. But standing in the way was two more ruined beings. Unlike the shambling wretches of before, the ones in the hall stood tall and proud. While no less rotting, they were covered in armor, tinged dark from mysterious energies. A helmet covered their face with the visor fused together. Yet, they could sense the intruders without issue. They wielded winged spears nearly as tall as the hall.

The creatures still ran on instinct, however it was a battle instinct from long ago training. Both of them lowered their spears to meet those that would defile the temple.

They can still work like other enemies with you writing their reactions, just tougher.
 
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Bat Cthulhu

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“Oh Vis-damn it,” Cassius cursed as they watched, “Of all the things to do, she has to get more of these creatures involved?” His eye twitched. “Why can’t we do something smart, like reconvene or reconnoiter or establish a safe zone? Anything else would be fine” He continued at a low mutter as he pushed himself away from the wall.

“Let’s give the girl a little help, I guess?” The young mage half asked his scaly companion. As he did so, he shook his right hand, letting a small bracelet fall down to visibility. It was a simple thing, just a small shiny metallic gem tied around his wrist with a small piece of corded string.

Even so, he focused his will, channeling destructive energy through the small stone into a triangular portal about the size and height of his eyeball. Beside him, he could feel the demonic snakeman channeling the same force, though, as always, it came much more naturally for the creature.

The two broke their portals as one, Cassius smacking the bottom of his fist against his while the naga flicked its tongue against the one it had made. Two small bolts of the green light shot out from the shattered triangle’s. They framed Keydis’ head, one passing on each side of her as they sped on a collision course with the two warriors.

229/437

Two casts of Energy Burst. Both at 3rd tier Magnitude (1 for skill + 1 for catalyst + 1 for base)(2 for skill + 1 for base)
 
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Mystydjinn

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Aelflead had turned her focus back to the disgusting creatures surrounding her in the time the brunette took to leap and weave her way through the hordes, but the unmistakable sound of stone scraping on stone grated on her ears.

What the hell was that? Her mind demanded, and midway through yanking her blade free from one of the shambling corpses, her skin crawled over her bones. The redhead felt Keydis' mistake before she saw it.

When she turned to confirm her fears, Aelflead shuddered again as the sight of the rotting warriors stepping into the room from behind the newly opened door filled her vision.

She considered bolting from the room for half a second, her tolerance for rotting walking things nearing it's breaking point; she needed something else to focus on. Then she caught sight of Keydis staring the two newly unleashed monsters down and growled in frustration.

"Visdammit."


WC:[151/589]
 
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Keydis Lysistrata

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The two green beams that rushed past either side of her head were reflected in the barbed blades on her arms and her feral grin. Half-expecting some more bindings or a fog or some useless trickery, Keydis let out a whoop when the magic actually did something, one bolt striking a pikeman in the shoulder and the other in the chest.

Every moment hesitating was another moment lost. Therefore, Keydis chose not to hesitate and fearlessly charged ahead following the energy bolts. While he staggered from the hit to the shoulder, Keydis hit the left one’s spear toward the floor and aimed a straight-armed slash toward its hips. The one on the right had taken a direct hit but didn’t lose its balance. The winged spear thrust in.

Keydis dodged the tip of the spear, but one of the wings cut in across her ribs, rattling into the scaled armor. The brunette swallowed back a howl: although the blade didn’t manage to pierce, it struck hard, and the rib that was already hurting felt like it snapped. She continued her dash and aimed a thrust at the spearman’s side, some of its strength lost as she hitched with the pain.

She skid to a stop behind the spearmen, reaching over her shoulder -- and biting back another hiss of pain -- to grab her axe. Keydis spun, cleaving in a downward arc.


[225/950]

Reckless Charge, Skilled Militis (15m movement, one attack at each enemy on path, 1000 vigor)
Cleave, Novice Militis (attack in 180 degree arc, 250 vigor)
Blood from a Stone, Adept Pugilis (ignore pain, 200 vigor per round, 1st round)

Spearman A (Reckless Charge), 5 mag. (3 skill + 2 material)
Spearman B (Reckless Charge), 5 mag. (3 skill + 2 material)

Spearman A (Cleave), 6 mag. (3 skill + 3 material)
Spearman B (Cleave), 6 mag. (3 skill + 3 material)

13100/30000 Vigor spent
 

MoonlitRain014

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The spearman with the winged spear seemed to be giving Keydis more trouble than it was worth, so Aeria abandoned her decision to root around looking for the key and went to help her beset-upon companion. She shouted her defiance at the spearman and sprinted towards it with powerful driving thrusts of her legs, wincing at the pain it sent through her ribcage. Keydis was keeping the right-most spear bearer busy, so by the time it noticed Aeria, she'd gotten past its effective range.

It tried to backpedal, tried to get its spear into a block but she was far too close. A grim smile crossed her face as she aimed a hard thrust of the halberd up, right under its chin. The deadly point rocketed towards its target, ready to pierce it and fling it away, hooked on the cruel point of the halberd.

Meanwhile Diamantus took aim and let loose on the left-side spear bearer, her bullet aimed to take it right in the head and blow it away like the mouldering bone that it was.


Aeria used Comfort Zone

[907]
 

Redfin

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29,919✦
Exa
⏆82,293
Bounty
⏈0
Dahlitium
14⌯
Bigatium
0⍨
Auritium
0⍫
Vitatium
0⌭
Caelitium
0⌬
The two templar crumpled under the assault, their bodies twisting and separating. Their lifeless forms fell to the ground in heavy thuds, armor clanging and weapon clattering. The way they were protecting opened.

In front was a library, quiet and covered with an eerie glow. There was no apparent source of light, and it certainly wasn't from the empty candelabras. Large tables surrounded by chairs were provided for studying. They were covered in scraps of paper and quills. Books in the old language filled wooden shelves. Ink ran down from the pages, pooling on the floor. From the tracks on the ground, something was moving around inside. They headed around bookshelves to the rest of the room.

[876]

 

Mystydjinn

[Insert rimshot]
Jul 29, 2013
1,525
4
38
20
Flint, MI
Latens
5,719✦
Exa
⏆16,744
Bounty
⏈0
Dahlitium
41⌯
Bigatium
34⍨
Auritium
36⍫
Vitatium
0⌭
Caelitium
0⌬
A groan of frustration sounded from the redhead when the towering spear men shuffled out of the passage but disappeared just as quickly as they fell. But now that the way was open Aelflead decided the strange library at the end of the hall was better than the antechamber filled with corpses.

So, switching gears from looking for a key she met Keydis at the door in a few long strides. "You might wanna tone down your reckless tendencies, terran." Aelflead quipped, taking note of Keydis' pained look and the dark stain dominating her shoes' original color. "Can't have you petering out right at the beginning."

Then, flashing her broadsword to meet the jaw of one of the lesser corpses that had gotten too close, the redhead shouted to Cassius at the entrance. "Hey, you grumbling fuck! Have your demon carry you or haul ass over here unless you wanna get left behi-!"


WC: [153/742]
 
Last edited:

Keydis Lysistrata

Caeancora
Mar 9, 2019
98
0
6
23
Terminus
Latens
4,020✦
Exa
⏆760
Bounty
⏈0
Dahlitium
0⌯
Bigatium
0⍨
Auritium
0⍫
Vitatium
0⌭
Caelitium
0⌬
”Late to the party and you haven’t done fuck-all,” Keydis replied with a cold glower. “Don’t start acting all high and mighty. If it weren’t for me, you’d all be standing around outside, thumbs up your asses, watching the whole damn town disappear.”

The brunette seated her axe back in its sheath over her shoulder, then pointed at the tracks in the ink. “Worry less about the summoner and move your ass. We have company.” With both arm blades at the ready, Keydis jumped and slid around the first bookshelf, ready to stab whatever might be waiting.


[100/1050]

13100/30000 Vigor spent
 

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