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Monster of the Deep


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#31 Steel Samurai

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 08:58 AM

OOC: Shadow, I just want to say that I am very proud of you right now.

The monster reared back, lifted its heads and let out an unearthly scream. At first, nothing happened. but then a trail of bubbles rose to the surface beneath a skiff and a schooner in the pirate fleet. The white foam caught the eye of one of the seamen, and he looked over the side, squinting, trying to see into the murky depths.

The skiff was suddenly dragged under, all of the pirates within gone without a trace.

A small fishing boat, gone.

A broad, smooth piece of what looked like rubber floated to the surface, right beneath the pirate's eyes. By the time he realized it was not, in fact, rubber, it was too late.

The monster had a mate.

#32 JRPomazon

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 09:23 AM

Urick watched as the second Hydra emerged from the depths. This situation was growing grim, almost all of their tactics and plans have been used and still the beast (now beasts) remain. What could be done? What haven't they tried before. He ran across the water and jumped back onto his boat, grabbing the small charm he had placed on the wooden craft. He rowed vigorously, at least to get close enough to the imperial soldiers. Was he mad? Survival was just more important right now, this matter would have to wait. There was an idea that Urick had devised, although it involved a certain level of insanity.

"You! Koridain! Prepare another fire attack and on my signal release it! Hold on to this!"

He handed the charm over to one of the soldiers and once again ran out into the open water into what could be a suicide mission.

#33 Crimson Lego

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 04:13 PM

Wondering why the beast wasn’t turning over and over in pain, and where the flames were, Mok found the answer by glancing down at the ocean while holding onto the Hydra’s scales for dear life. Oh great. Sheathing his blade and retrieving his bow, the dwarf heard the Koridaian shouting from the ship. Getting up? This thing isn’t dead yet, he thought. But in his head, Mok knew the imperial was right; if the fire didn’t work, they’d have to leave for now. “Come on,” he said to Urick grimly. “Let’s get out before we get killed.”

Leaping up and grabbing onto a crusader’s wrist, Mok hauled himself over the railing and onto the vessel. Getting up to his feet, he surveyed the Koridaian in black, white, and with purple hair. Stars, noted the dwarf as he gazed at the imperial’s insignia.

Clearing his throat, Mok offered his hand reluctantly. “I suppose I should thank you, uh, General,” he said.

Ooc: JR, is Urick an NPC?

#34 JRPomazon

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 09:55 PM

OoC: If you see me type in the words "Gray Cloak", then you are dealing with an NPC. (See Gray Interlude)

"This isn't the time for idle chit chat! Prepare a fire to lure them! If we can't bet them on sea then at least you can defeat them on land!"

He grabbed the charm back from the soldier.

"What are you-" the imperial soldier asked.

"MAKE HASTE!" Urick shouted, running over the waves to fight the beasts.

The imperial ship began to sail back as Urick charged toward the Hydra that was the least preoccupied with the pirate ships that were in the water. He readied his weapon as the beast lunged at him with it's three heads. A flash of light filled the air, the sight of the gray cloaked man and the beast vanished from sight. As the light faded, only the hydra could be seen, covered in various wounds but Urick was no where to been seen.

#35 SL the Pyro

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 10:10 PM

(OOC: Goddamn, we were working on our posts at the same time, JRP...)

--------------------

Retreat only seemed like a sweeter option when the second Hydra attacked the pirate fleet. "The beast's body can't possibly that long! There's another one!" pointed out one of his soldiers. Shadow was hoping he was wrong, but even with its body stretched out all the way with its tentacles extended, it couldn't reach the fleet from where it was currently. Shadow cursed under his breath; one of the monsters was bad enough, now it had a mate or sibling or something? Nonetheless, its sudden attack had disoriented and distracted the pirate fleet, buying the general and his soon-to-be passengers time to escape.

The small man was helped onto the ship first, a dwarf by the looks of him. He looked at Shadow with interest. “I suppose I should thank you, uh, General,” He seemed to be at a loss for words.

"We can exchange pleasantries later, right now we should get out of here while we still have the chance." Shadow suggested. He looked down at the other man, who had reclaimed his small fishing boat... his eyes widened. That man... or rather, that cloak... the same style as the ones he'd saw at Komitaa. He could clearly tell now that he was closer. But why would someone with the ability to walk on water need a boat?

"You! Koridain! Prepare another fire attack and on my signal release it! Hold on to this!"

And he tossed something up to one of the soldiers, who caught it nimbly and looked at it with curiousity. Before Shadow could even ask what the man in the cloak was planning, he was running on the water again. The general could be angry for two reasons right now: firstly at the man's apparently recklessness, second at being ordered around so. But these men in the the cloaks were no idiots, that much he knew... and excellent skill with a scythe and magic ability attested to this one's power. And it wasn't as if Shadow himself had a plan other than getting out of here before he was fish food.

Then, all of the sudden, the man grabbed the charm back and ran at the first Hydra. Shadow didn't know what happened after that; the man had suddenly vanished in a bright light, and the beast was covered in a not-insignificant number of slashes.

"What did he just do!?" Shadow bellowed, looking around frantically for the gray-cloaked man. Blast it all, he was hoping to at least get to know him... this was the first time Koridai and these cloaked people ever had a common goal. Cursing, Shadow decided to go along with his plan and launched a barrage of fire at the weakened Hydra, but again these had no effect other than irritating it. Well... the man had simply vanished into thin-air, so there was no longer a reason to stay. "Damnit, get us to shore!"

Edited by SL the Pyro, 16 February 2010 - 10:18 PM.


#36 JRPomazon

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 02:45 AM

On the docks of the port, Urick stood by as he watched the monster on the horizon chase the imperial group along the water. A flash of light and a lovely teleportation spell and here he was, right as rain. Hopefully, they would be able to outrun the Hydra and reach the shores. He looked at his charm and noticed that it was beginning to grow darker. Seemed that the magic had a limit after all. The blood that was seeping from the beast would attract it's mate as it followed the warriors to the shore. Then would be the time to strike. Urick devised a plan that would bring the beast to it's end. It was wet on the outside and proved resistant to fire. But what of it's insides?

#37 Crimson Lego

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 05:10 PM

Usually not wanting to walk away from an unfinished fight, Mok had to agree with the Koridaian officer’s decision. What more can we do? he pondered. They had already probably lost Urick, were now fighting 2 Hydras, and had a group of pirates on their asses. Not that they really matter in this situation, thought the dwarf as he watched the ship getting pulled down by the second creature. Maybe it was time to pull out; the fire attacks were not working and the original Hydra was quickly regaining its strength.

Notching his bow, Mok was about to shoot again in vain when the beast opened its mouth widely and roared them; for a split second, he was able to see unprotected flesh within the beast. I wonder…. Lowering his weapon, the dwarf quickly formulated a plan together, hoping it would somehow work before they all died. It’s almost impossible; what’s the chance of landing a perfect fireball in there before it clamps down on us?

Sighing in defeat, Mok turned to the officer and tapped him on the shoulder. “I have a plan, General. Why don’t we go closer to the beast, get it somehow to open its mouth, and launch some flames in there?” he suggested. “I’ve taken a glance inside, and its inside flesh looks pretty weak and vulnerable.”

#38 SL the Pyro

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 09:59 PM

Shadow took the plan under consideration while the ship sailed away to the shore, looking at the Hydra's mouth. There did seem to be a way that its neck and mouth moved in unison... it would completely extend its neck, then open and close its mouth at a frighteningly-quick pace. But he did see why the dwarf's plan had some merit; unlike the beast's exterior, its inner workings weren't as durable or as wet. A well-placed fire attack would definitely do some damage... but upon looking at how it strikes with its mouth...

"A daring plan, but I don't think it'll end quite the way you hope." Shadow said with some disdain. "I've been watching how it strikes. It moves its mouth forward with incredible speed and force; even if my fire hit it picture-perfect, it wouldn't stop it from chomping the boat and sending us overboard... and then we'd be dead meat." he explained. "And that's not counting the tentacles that could smack us off, it's whole body that could turn the ship to splinters with one charge and two extra heads that could devour us when we're not looking. We need to prevent the Hydra from moving entirely, and that's something we just can't do from here..."

Then the wisdom of Urick's plan hit him.

"But perhaps we can do it on land... provided it doesn't go ape-shit on the other pirates invading its territory..."

And unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what its doing. Its first target now out of range, the first Hydra decided to attack the other pirate ships alongside its partner. It certainly seemed... protective of this section of ocean...

--------------------

(OOC: Am I the only one who thinks we're NOT supposed to kill the thing just yet? Just throwing that out there.)

Edited by SL the Pyro, 19 February 2010 - 10:13 PM.


#39 JRPomazon

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 11:54 PM

OoC: Alright then, we keep them alive. But I think I'm going to leave this story for now.

The Koridian troops returned to the port, beaten and bruised as the Hydra returned back to the sea. It was clear that they needed more than just fire alone to destroy the blasted scourge. Still, this was far from necessary for him to go through all this for a mercenary and group of Imperial soldiers. The money wasn't the reason he was sent out here, it was to reacquaint him with battle. Tiresias was a strange one. He would back off from this mess for now and let Koridai deal with it, especially since one of the Viridian Knight's former comrades was fighting in the name of the goddess. Without another thought, Urick blended back into the crowd and bided his time.

#40 Steel Samurai

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 07:05 AM

OoC: No no, by all means kill them. I'm just throwing shit out there to confuse you guys. Good call, nonetheless. ;)

A man in rough, weathered clothing and knee high sea boots looked out from the shadow of a doorway. His single brown eye lit upon the figure in grey, and a slow smile spread across his face. He could feel the coins in his money pouch already. He yawned and stretched, then walked away from the doorway of the tavern into the crowd, his long shanks carrying him casually, but with a deceptive speed towards the man in grey, moving easily among the crowd, unnoticed among the hundreds of other pirates gathered to watch the battle.

Soon he was walking directly behind Urick, and, at the point where the crowd was thickest, he made a small motion with his left hand, and a stiletto dropped into his palm. With a swift, subtle motion, the blade had cut through the grey cloth and tickled the bare skin on top of Urick's spinal cord. The pirate leaned forward and whispered in his ear.

"Now now, don't be makin' any sudden movements or I swear ye'll not feel yer legs again. Just go where I tell ye and none shall be hurt. I mean ye no harm, I merely have a message t' give ye."



* * * *


Twenty minutes later they sat in a rundown shack on the edge of the town, two more pirates with blades at Urick's throat. The first pirate sat back lazily in his chair, propping his boots on the wooden table between Urick and him.

"Now, I c'n tell by yer grey cloak yer one of them terrorists that the boss has told us about recently. Normally we'd torture ye for information and then kill ye outright, and t' be honest that's what I'd like t' do t' ye right now, ye basterd, but th' higher ups say that this is what needs t' be done, and who am I t' argue with them, aye?" He paused and took a swig of brandy from a bottle on the table, then offered it to Urick, who seemed to not be in the mood for alcohol, at that particular moment.

"Now, as I was sayin', I have a message for ye t' deliver. Tell Jordan of the Whirlwind Spear that an old comrade desires greatly to have words with him. No tricks, no ambushes, just two old friends sitting back and doing shots t'gether. A month from this date, tell him to be in Puerto Valecho at the Lady's Garter Inn. Alone, as his friend will be. And with that . . ." The man inclined his head towards the other two, who simultaneously hit the grey cloaked man on the back of the neck.


* * * *

Urick woke up in the middle of the street outside the shack some ten minutes later. He got up and dashed back inside, but it was as if there had never been anyone in it.

#41 SL the Pyro

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 06:23 PM

Shadow stumbled off of the exit plank and onto the wooden port walkways, held up by one of his men. Damnit all, that battle had taken more out of him than he thought... using his fire magic seemed to be much more taxing to his body than it usually was. Probably another side-effect of this illness... he wasn't going to live much longer if something wasn't done about this soon.

As was to be expected, Almirante was in an uproar, fights breaking out between Juno-supporters and those who weren't stupid enough to believe the ridiculous farce. Most of the arguments consisted of there being two Lord Junos, which just wasn't possible. With cult members being smacked around here and the brunt of their forces getting shipwrecked by the two Hydras, their faction wasn't going to last much longer. A silver lining, as Shadow might be able to rally some pirates to his cause now, and that would make dealing with the damned beasts a lot easier.

"You two," Shadow said to two of his men, "Go find the leader of this town and tell him that an 'acquaintance' of Steel wants to discuss what to do about the sea beasts. Tell him where to find me."

"Yes, sir." They ran off.

Shadow was helped onto the Koridai wagon by his remaining two comrades, nearly stumbling again. He looked out at the dwarven mercenary. "Sorry for crashing your party like that, but it looks like this situation is more complicated than either of us thought." he said. "What will you do now?"

Edited by SL the Pyro, 21 February 2010 - 11:32 PM.


#42 Steel Samurai

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 09:37 PM

OoC: SL, you need to clear out your PM box. This goes for everyone, though. Tiny tiny thing dude, and easily mistaken. In the Chronicles there is no "Samurai" It's just "Steel", "Lord Steel", or "Lord Steel of Umbra, Commander of the Koridai Praetorian and Executor of the Will of the Book of Koridai"

#43 JRPomazon

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 01:47 AM

Things were more or less hazy for a couple of minutes after coming to, but he was well aware of what had just transpired. It seemed that he had been targeted, the civilized world was becoming far too dangerous. It was a matter of time, but that this was a matter that would only second on his mind.

How did they know about the Viridian Knight?

This had to be dealt with post haste. He reentered the now empty shack and began to draw marks in the air in front of him, another sage magick he had meant to try. Spirit writing, an almost lost art that he had discovered at the Chamber's archive of scrolls and texts.

"We have been recognized,
Tred with caution
Wind to fall at Puerto Valecho
Lady's Garter Inn
Most likely Trap"

As he finished, the illumated text vanished and sped off into the sky. To the seer. The rest was Urick keeping safe for now. The men from before seemed like the best option to keep safe from. First thing was first, he needed to be rid of his cloak. He removed the hooded garb, revealing his shoulder length white hair and gray eyes. Despite these things, he had the face of a young man. Urick walked quickly from the shack and into the streets.

#44 Crimson Lego

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 09:53 PM

“Not sure,” replied Mok calmly. His attention was focused on the 2 Hydras out in the ocean, whom were now dealing with the pirates that had remained in the area. If they hadn’t tried to stop us from killing the first one, I’d be quite sorry for them, thought the dwarf. Sighing, he sheathed his blade and turned to the general.

Offering his hand, Mok spoke softly. “I don’t believe we’ve been formally introduced. My name is Mok; I come from Van’Duras.” Not that it exists anymore.

#45 SL the Pyro

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 07:40 AM

"Ahh... a survivor of the Cataclysm, then? Though since you survived the Hydra attack, that's not surprising..." Shadow complimented, shaking the dwarf's hand. He tried not to be forceful with this handshake like he usually was; there was still a good amount of heat coming from his body, and he didn't want to burn the hands of a potential ally, so he settled for just letting Mok do the shaking. "I am General Shadow, of the imperial army. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mok." he introduced himself with a wry smile.

The general cast a glance out to sea, the sorry remnants of the pirate fleet rushing back to port. The Hydras were returning to the sea.

"Well, here come the cultists... I'd rather not be here when the port breaks out in a bigger riot." He turned back to Mok. "Keep your chin up, mercenary. With any luck we'll get another shot at that beast. so if you'll excuse me, I have to make preparations." He gave a small bow before retreating into the back of the wagon and riding off to the inn. The pubmaster would likely be surprised to see him alive...

#46 JRPomazon

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 04:24 AM

OoC: Alright, kinda short but it's what I got in me right now.

Urick carried his scythe on his back, but now the weapon made him stand out terribly. Everywhere he went it seemed that he was getting awkward looks from pirates and wenches alike. Better than the other opinion of being found and killed. He still had a small sum of gold on him, he might as well take care of himself. After all, he didn't have to worry now about not being seen.

#47 SL the Pyro

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 06:07 AM

(OoC: If I have any terminology mixed up, like the leader of a pirate town being a mayor, let me know and I'll correct it.)

--------------------

Night fell. Shadow was resting cozily in his inn room... well, as cozily as he could with his evident case of heatstroke. The pubmaster was quite amazed to see him still among the living, he could tell, but he didn't say anything of it. The inn room was a large and impressive one, which came as a welcome surprise. Nice drapes on the window, plenty of furniture and beds, and dim, desk-top lamps to give a welcoming atmosphere. Just like home. For a few hours now he'd been waiting for Almirante's mayor. Shadow didn't like being kept waiting by others, but he assumed the situations caused by the Hydras and their cult were a suitable excuse for being late. But if he didn't show up, the general would barge into his office himself... he doubted the Forsaken Fortress' intense training regiments had lasted since its fall, so breaking and entering would hardly be a problem for him, even ill.

Thankfully starting a commotion in the middle of the night wasn't necessary; at the stroke of eight as he gazed out the window into the night sky with his hands behind his back, his Koridian escorts led some men into his room. Three of them, judging from the number of footsteps, and he could tell they weren't his own men due to the lack of armored boots clanking on the floor. He turned to face them. Two of them were officers, pirate captains by the looks of it, likely serving as body guards. Nothing to spectacular to note about them. The third man, standing in between the other two, looked much more presentable; he wore the trappings of a high-ranking Fortress lord. For the sake of nostalgia, Shadow supposed. His hair was long and black, and his build was pretty impressive; tall and muscular, and his clothing choice seemed to emphasize this. And his eyes were almost hawk-like, piercing. Did this man fashion himself after Steel or something? If so, he failed to capture the intense air the Council member always brought with him. Still, he was a good visual role model for his people.

"Thanks for coming as such a late hour." the General greeted. "Guards, leave us."

The Koridian soldiers exited the room and closed the door behind them. The mayor stared at Shadow the whole time, raising his eyebrow only when they left. "From an Alliance dog to an Imperial leader or sorts... should I be impressed?"

His voice was deep and powerful... clearly an intimidation attempt, one that failed miserably. Shadow cocked his own eyebrow and replied with a grin, "Ah, so you remember me."

"There's only one old Dorm elite with purple hair that I know of that would be crazy enough to come here."

Shadow's smile immediately faded; he couldn't tell if that was a compliment or an insult, but he decided to believe it was the latter. He was quick to retort. "I see that even without their glorious Admiral Juno and favored Commander Steel, the remnants of the Fortress hasn't lost its sharp tongue."

The clenched fist of the mayor had informed the General that his words stung quite a bit. "An unfortunate twist of fate... but we have endured." Until the Hydras showed up at their doorstep at least. "Though especially now, we wish that Steel would come down from Koridai and set things right with this town..."

Ah, so this one wasn't ignorant. "How many people know of Steel's new position?"

"Only myself and those who run Almirante alongside me. Any number of things could happen if the townspeople learned the truth."

Shadow nodded sympathetically. "Very wise." he commented. "But I digress... please, have a seat."

They only did so when Shadow himself was seated. "So what is it you've called me here for?"

Shadow cleared his throat. "The sea beast, of course... or should I say 'Hydra.'"

"Yes... you and your soldiers reportedly did battle with it."

"Alongside a couple of mercenaries, yes." Shadow replied. "I believe I may now have a plan to rid your quaint little port town of the monster once and for all."

The mayor's expression remained unchanged. "And you need our help to accomplish this, is that it?"

Ouch, this man was smart. "How perceptive of you. Indeed, it's too big a job for just me and my escorts... but I figured with the appearance of the second Hydra and the spontaneous collapse of the cult believing the beast was Lord Juno, you wouldn't mind sparing some men."

The mayor's gaze narrowed, "If you're planning on sending my townspeople out to wage a naval battle against the beast, then the answer is no. You saw what happened to the cultists."

"Oh no, nothing of the sort. Unlike a few Koridians who shall remain unnamed..." like Solomon, "I value the lives of my soldiers. All I need is some quick construction work and your fastest vessel, and you can leave the rest to me. Of course I won't turn down additional help, but you don't have to risk your people's lives."

The mayor was quite surprised by this response; clearly he thought Shadow was just another vicious Koridai brat. "And your certain of this? No pirate lives will be lost?"

"If all goes well, the only ones who will be in danger are myself, my men and any mercenaries wanting in on the action." Mok and the gray-cloak came to mind.

The mayor seemed to consider the proposition, but he was predictably skeptical and suspicious. "And just what do you hope to gain from this? Past experience with you tells me this isn't out of the goodness of your heart..."

Shadow was consistently impressed by this man. He actually seemed like a competent pirate, and the only competent pirates he knew were Lord Juno and old elites. This was a nice surprise. "All I ask for is transportation to the Tower of Fire."

Suddenly, the man broke out into a wide grin. "You must be crazy."

Shadow looked at him, eye inquisitive. "Oh? And why's that? Do you know something about the tower?"

"Only that anyone who has entered the tower has never returned." the mayor responded. "A few of your old Woodie comrades at Delsha found this out the hard way."

Well, of course there was going to be a catch... why not? But still, Shadow knew for sure that the Tower of Fire would be his next destination, so he didn't have a choice in the matter. It was his only hope of curing his heat sickness. "And yet you would mind sending an old enemy to his doom?" Shadow replied callously. The mayor's smile disappeared. "You should know me better than that by now. I have personal matters to attend to at the Tower of Fire, and with the Hydra attacks wrecking Almirante's productivity, I can't secure a mountain-worthy vehicle to get there."

"So all I need to do is give you such a vehicle, and with the help of my men, you'll deliver me the Hydra's head... pardon me, heads?"

"Precisely."

The mayor pondered this for a moment. "I think I'm vindicated in calling you 'mad,' but past stories tell me that you've done amazing things..."

His face was unreadable, Shadow was getting anxious as to what his final reply would be. "So what's your decision?"

After a few more moments of deep consideration, the mayor replied, "Tell me more about this 'construction work.'"

Edited by SL the Pyro, 27 February 2010 - 06:08 AM.


#48 Crimson Lego

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:35 PM

Nodding a quick farewell to General Shadow, Mok began walking off into the town in a different direction than the Koridaians. Oddly, his hatred of the empire’s soldiers didn’t seem to apply to this man. The way he talked about the Cataclysm…that’s the key point. Most imperials that Mok ran into or captured on solo missions always tried to stay away from discussing the disaster. Probably Chikara’s influence on unified order. In his opinion, the dwarf seemed to think that Koridai was simply a mixture of Labyrinth and Alliance principles. She was Khuffie’s ambassador until the Cataclysm; who’s to say that she’s not rebuilding the organization with her at the top?

Unfortunately, Mok didn’t have much time to think about it; he would see if he could pick some up extra supplies and charter another ship. By now, the Hydras had probably descended back below the water, bidding its time. With Urick inside its stomach, thought the dwarf.

Walking off, Mok glanced back at the region of conflict and vowed to kill the beast, whether it had more heads or not.

#49 SL the Pyro

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 07:15 AM

When early morning arrived, the beach of Almirante was abuzz with activity. As per General Shadow's instructions, groups of pirates who wished to be rid of the Hydras -- desperate ones, mostly -- were performing various tasks; some were digging into the sand in various places, others were building crude, half dome-like constructs out of spare scrap metal. They didn't have to be pretty or anything like that, but at the very least they had to be as durable and as immovable as possible.

It was a similar situation at the port, now that the cultist numbers had thinned and were brought under control. Several ships were being prepared for departure with the knowledge and intention that they may never be seen again; useless, falling-apart or non-special seaworthy vehicles filled with whatever explosive and easily-detonated materials that were readily available, and thusly won't be manned. Only one ship really stood out, a fairly large craft with several sails and a light frame. Built precisely for speed, the fastest Almirante had.

Everything seemed to be coming together nicely at both sites, the plan would be ready within a couple more hours at most.

Shadow had only one concern: himself.

Fate seemed to be playing a cruel trick on him; his hotflashes -- he still detested the term -- were increasing in frequency, and he hadn't yet had one since he awoke early this morning. The last thing he wanted to have happen was this damned illness taking effect during the impending battle against the Hydras, especially since his fire would be a key aspect of the plan. But with any luck the struggle shouldn't last long. He'd planned everything down to the letter, including the expected timeframe in which events would occur, and even had the pirates whip up some special ammunition for cannons on the beach to fire inflammatory blasts should something happen to him. Still, it was bothering Shadow that a hotflash during the action was a possibility.

"Preparations are on schedule, sir." One of his armored units told to him, the quiet-like one again, snapping him out of his thoughts. "Within two hours, the beach defenses should be ready and the ships will be fit to sail."

Right on the money. Shadow smiled to himself. "Very good."

"And your condition? I don't believe your illness has yet struck."

Shadow sighed heavily; this one was observant. A good quality to have, make no mistake, but an annoying one at times. "Not yet it hasn't. But if everything goes according to plan, this situation should be done and dusted before that happens." His comrade was staring at him from behind his helmet, he could tell, no doubt expecting what the general would say next. "I hope." He decided to change the topic to something less-stressful. "So what do the pirates think of this plan?"

"Unsurprisingly, they think you're crazy." Shadow couldn't suppress his laughter that time, then broke down into a hacking cough. Damn heat disease. "But they don't question it otherwise. They're very eager to help after learning they wouldn't be on the front lines, but I don't know just how many really believe it will work... and if I may speak freely..." The general nodded. "I'm not entirely confident either. This has to be your craziest stratagem yet."

"Ahh, but you know what they say: 'It's so crazy that it might just work.'" Shadow countered, wagging his finger.

"I hope you're right... I... Koridai won't want to lose someone of your skill."

Hm. That was a curiously-quick correction. "Don't worry, I ain't going to Hell yet." Shadow replied, brushing it off. At least, he hoped he wouldn't be dragged down to a watery grave...

Edited by SL the Pyro, 03 March 2010 - 07:17 AM.


#50 JRPomazon

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 03:26 AM

It was odd that keeping a low profile was easier by hiding in plain sight. It was true, the cloak had proven to be a calling card for trouble now and with Koridai's eyes always aware, being unseen was more or less crucial for living. It was nice though, to walk around without needing to hide himself. Although the large scythe he carried on his back was so strange that it was collecting the looks of many a pirate. They most likely thought he was crazy and left him be. After all, who in their right mind carries a weapon like that and is still right in the mind?

His weapon of choice was also a reminder to the world. Stay away from me. Don't get too close or you're going to die. It's done a good job of portraying that message.

He had made sure to follow Shadow and his men to the port. Without his cloak, he looked like just another pirate. He took a crate and carried onto the ship, pretending to be a worker preparing the vessel. No one paid him much mind, it wasn't like they worked with the same people every time a job came around. After going to the inside of the ship and placing a light crate on the floor, he promptly made himself blend into the decor of nautical wood and portholes. Not like magic, more along the lines of walking into a room and closing the door. Then, it was time to wait.

#51 SL the Pyro

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 12:49 AM

Everything was finally ready. The gruesome-looking half-dome contraptions had been completed, and the bomb-ships were fully-stocked. Shadow's own ship was pre-fitted with two big cannons -- any more and it would be slowed down by weight, and he needed every mile-per-hour he could squeeze out of it -- and an accompanying stock of cannonballs and emergency rations. The general didn't think they'd be needing the latter, but hunger pangs in the middle of a big confrontation weren't a good thing.

Speaking of stomach problems, Shadow gulped down a couple of ginger pills to stave off seasickness. Granted if all went well he wouldn't be out at sea for long, but due to his illness he wasn't taking any chances. He boarded the vessel along with three of his men; two to man the cannons, one to steer the boat around. His last escort would be maintaining the situation at the beachhead to make sure everything goes according to plan. Once on the deck, he tried to tune into his magic sense to see if anything was amiss... but it returned only an eerie sound of static, and an unpleasant burning sensation. He immediately stopped and cursed under his breath; he was getting tired of his powers being hampered. Shadow knows he needs to get to the Tower of Flame soon, but to free up the necessary means of transport, the Hydras must be slain now. This plan must work.

He took off his hat and held it by its tip, letting it dangle from his hand limply... it was so he could determine the direction of the wind. More effective and more desirable than coating one's finger in saliva, he thought; this was his excuse to those who criticized his taste in fashion. A moderate breeze pushed his hat in the direction of the port. Perfect, that breeze would be more intense out at sea, and it was going in the right direction for him to return to land in a hurry. A glance around the hull of the ship showed rope being tied to it's aft railing and the railing of the bomb-ships so they'd stay with it, in easy places for it to be released. There were also ropes binding the bomb ships to each other, like a spider's web.

"All preparations are complete, sir." said one of his armored men, one of the two who would be manning the cannons. "All explosive ships are secured to the main vessel and the beach-traps are set. We're ready to begin at your command."

"Very good." Shadow replied, putting his hat back on. "Let's move out then. The sooner we get this over with, the better."

He nodded and shouted, "Prepare for departure!"

And all unnecessary men cleared the area. Within a few more moments, Shadow's vessel was making its way out to sea, the large gaggle of small ships tied to it by rope lazily following...

--------------------

In reality it wasn't very long before the makeshift boat crew was nearing the location of their previous showdown with the Hydra. The debris and the poor souls from the last battle had since been washed away by the ocean's tides... good, less things to get in the way.

Shadow decided that it was time. "Alright, release the bomb-ships!" he ordered, following his men to the aft. The four men worked frantically to undo every last rope, allowing the explosive surprises to drift away. They quickly rushed back to their positions: Shadow at the front of the deck, his armored men manning cannons on either side of him, and an unarmored one at the wheel. "Eyes and ears, people. That beast is probably still anxious from last time."

A couple of tense minutes later, a visible rippling and bubbling of the sea in front of the ship confirmed his suspicions. This sight put everyone on edge. Not long after, an enormous blast of water erupted from that point, quickly accompanied by a huge shadow blocking out the sun in front of them. Shadow held up his cape to block some of the ocean spray, before gazing upon the mighty Hydra that had appeared before him. Tall as a skyscraper, three-headed and menacing... each head letting out a bloodcurdling, inhuman shriek at those who would invade its territory and dare to challenge it again.

Shadow smiled. "Well, that didn't take long."

(OoC: Let's get this party started, gentlemen.)

Edited by SL the Pyro, 07 March 2010 - 12:52 AM.


#52 JRPomazon

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 01:17 AM

The ship cut through the water, the waves became still once again as the hydra rose from the depths. As flashy of an appearance as before, the beast appeared ready to resume the confrontation from the other day. Urick left the lower decks and walked out to the bow of the ship, his scythe's blade shining in the sunlight.

"Well, it looks like you found him. Great work." He said, his white hair tossed by the breeze.

"How on earth did you sneak on board!?" cried one of the general's soldiers.

"How indeed. But is this really the kind of talk right now? Look behind us."

The second beast rose, water rising in it's wake and a sea breeze fell upon the ship. They were organized this time.

"I can hold back one of them, I know what we are dealing with here. They are dark water hydra, they aren't common to this area. Hold this."

Urick tossed his charm to the soldier and headed to the hull, and leaped off to confront the mate. It only had one head, so it would be easier to manage. As long as he didn't server the head, it should not regenerate. Simple right? Wrong.

Urick landed in the water, standing tall as he faced off with the hydra. Tentacles shot from the water, attempting to trap in from below. Urick leaped around, dodging the blows one move at a time. This was odd though, this movement is much less savage than before with it's partner. It was calculated, more logical. Was this the difference between males and females of this species? Urick slammed his scythe into another tentacle and ripped a large chunk of it's flesh away. The beast howled in pain as it continued it's assault.

He might have picked the wrong fight.

#53 SL the Pyro

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 01:51 AM

Shadow grunted and batted a surprised eye towards the intruder; that scythe... he recognized that weapon. The gray cloak... he was still alive? So he had pulled a disappearing act yesterday... the general cursed within his mind; he should've been able to feel his presence on the ship! Damn his heat disease...

Although, perhaps his presence here was a blessing in disguise. He had expected the Hydra's mate to rise up from below the bomb-ships, like it had with the pirate fleet yesterday... this time it had surfaced alongside the other one, as if eager to protect it. Not quite what Shadow had in mind, but the first phase of the plan could still be salvaged with the gray cloak's help.

"Well as long as you're down there, try to lure that one into the decoy fleet! We'll keep the other one busy!" Shadow shouted to the man, looking at where that rope-bound fleet was at the moment. Not to far from the mate actually, that was good; he decided to leave that task to the gray cloak. He turned his attention to the three-headed Hydra, which was moving after its mate in concern. That wouldn't do. Shadow prepared his fire sigils and ordered, "Open fire!"

A pair of cannonballs were fired, connecting with the torso of the first Hydra. The sudden shifting and twisting of it's snake-like body confirmed two direct hits... it had to be more successful than yesterday's attempts at inflicting pain, at least. Regardless, it got the desired effect: it drew the beast's attention back to him, and it roared with fury as one of its heads lunged down at the intruding ship. It was quickly met with a blast of fire to the eyes, causing it to snap back in anger and pain. Another head lunged; Shadow had barely managed to prepare his fire that time, but he succeeded in repelling that head just like the last one. The third and final, however, was too quick for him and looked like it was going to get through...

Until a cannonball from one of his soldiers nailed the Hydra head right in between the eyes. It let out a pained groan and went limp, very clearly in a daze.

Shadow whistled, taking the chance to ready some more sigils. "Nice shot. Did you ever consider trying out for a cannoneer position?"

"It crossed my mind..." the soldier responsible replied. "But I prefer a battlefield where the land doesn't shift under my feet."

Well, there was definitely some sense in that... the Hydra head struck by the cannonball started shaking around, trying to remove the dizzyness. "We just need to keep this thing busy until our gray cloak friend down there gets the mate into the trap. With any luck, that shouldn't take long."

The general and soldiers readied themselves for the next round...

Edited by SL the Pyro, 08 March 2010 - 01:54 AM.


#54 JRPomazon

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 02:48 AM

It was like dancing, except that the music was replaced by shrieks and howls and loud splashing. The tentacles were the only things he could really take care of without fear of regenerating. Eventually, it would run out of those and start using that lovely head it has. But that was looking too far ahead, it still had much more fight left in it than Urick could care for.

If he understood the plan right, he needed to get the beast between some of those ships. Understandable, the Imperial warrior probably had something in mind. So he kept hopping and dashing around, leading the beast to the target location. Then, his foot began to sink into the water, like ice breaking underneath. He looked at how far he was from the ship, the charm's effects were out of range. Damn, this was going to need some improvising. The hydra lunged it's head forward, attempting to swallow him whole. It's good this one only had one head, it would make this a hell of a lot easier. He slashed his scythe into the top of the beast's reptilian mouth and held on for dear life as it lifted it's head back.

#55 SL the Pyro

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 03:59 AM

Shadow took a moment to check on the mercenary's progress while the three-headed Hydra was stunned. He did seem to be having a little trouble, considering he was now getting flailed around. What had happened, though? He can walk on water, why not just dash across it to the bomb-ships? Something had gone wrong... was his magic wearing off? No, it wasn't that simple... it's been a whole day, his magic power surely would've been recovered. So then what was the problem?

The general's musings were interrupted by a lashing of the first Hydra's tentacles, trying to wrap around his ship. The jostling shook him out of his thoughts, and for this he wasn't happy. He shot out the fire he'd been preparing in a wave, making the beast let go. "Don't interrupt me while I'm scheming!" he complained. He cast a glance up at the man again... if there was something wrong with his magic, he was in serious trouble; being forced to swim in predator-infested waters was never a good thing. "Turn the ship around and bring the cannons to the aft; it looks like our friend needs some help." Shadow cast a glance back at the bigger Hydra, which was about to ram them. "And be quick about it!"

The soldier at the helm scrambled to turn the ship around and get out of the way of the oncoming beast. The others hurriedly wheeled their cannons to the back of the ship and fired, making the monster alter it's direction slightly. Just enough to avoid the ship thankfully, though the wave that resulted from the massive thing's movement through the water made the boat do an unhealthy lurch. The soldiers had things to brace themselves on, but Shadow himself was left at gravity's mercy and, despite his best efforts to stay upright on one foot, landed on his back. Damnit all, even seasick, shifting ground wasn't this hard for him to manage before!

He got back to his feet quickly and checked his surroundings. That wave did accomplish their goal of getting closer to the bomb-ships and the gray cloak; they were at the eastern flank the fake fleet, and the other Hydra was rapidly nearing it from the south. "C'mon, just a bit closer..."

Edited by SL the Pyro, 08 March 2010 - 04:03 AM.


#56 Crimson Lego

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 10:06 PM

During the whole fight, Mok had been silently standing by, unnoticed by either General Shadow or the amazingly alive Urick. From what the dwarf could tell, the Koridaians were attempting to draw the Hydra towards the false ships a short distance away and try to blow them up with explosives. Not too shabby; it’s going to require a lot of effort. Even Mok could see that Urick was having a lot of trouble holding his own, and probably needed some help. Time to get in and hold down the other one.

Drawing his sword out, the dwarf hurled himself over the railing and into the water. A moment later, one of the larger Hydra’s tentacles shot out and grabbed him. Anticipating this, Mok easily sliced at it with his sword, forcing the beast to release him with a roar of pain. Regaining his footing on a large piece of wood, Mok dodged attacking tentacles, occasionally swiping them away as well. Not good.

Hopefully, General Shadow hadn’t been out of his mind when he thought this plan up. I’m going to a serious talk with him after this and why he thought using bombs from faraway was such a good idea.

#57 JRPomazon

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 12:37 AM

So many things happened at once, the motion of being tossed and seeing moving tentacles was all a blur. He landed on the back of the beast, perhaps the luckiest break he had all day. He ran towards the neck of the beast, trying his best to keep his balance on the creature's slippery spine and swung his scythe into it's neck as far as he could. He began to turn his weapon from side to side, influencing by means of great pain where the hydra's neck would turn. This was good, this would work just nicely. He turned it's neck and soon it's motion went along with it, anything to reduce the pain. Steering the beast like a rudder, they headed towards the dummy ships. His chances of survival were now worse than before.

#58 Crimson Lego

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 09:15 PM

Grabbing onto one of the Hydra’s fins, Mok slashed repeatedly at it with his blade, hoping to somehow miraculously penetrate its skin; by the 5th time, he knew it was hopeless. Our only hope are those explosives, he thought, staring at the fleet of ships packed with bombs. Distracted for a second, the dwarf found himself thrown off the beast and crashing hard onto the deck of the ship. Managing to hold back his pain, he was helped up by one of the Koridaians. “Thanks,” murmured Mok as he walked over to the railing. The imperials were now firing arrows at the Hydra, trying to keep it away from a ship. How can we drive it back without killing ourselves? Stroking his beard, Mok realized that the cannons were most likely their best hope.

Limping down beneath the deck, the dwarf loaded a cannonball into one of the guns and lit it. Covering his ears, he heard the explosion and the roar from the beast. Glancing out, Mok was amazed to see that the Hydra was now retreating, though it was evident that the cannonball had missed it entirely. Loud noises; that’s what we need.

Repeating the action, Mok could only hope that Urick was handling the other beast just as well. We had all better make it out of here alive, he thought. General Shadow doesn’t seem so bad after all. Perhaps the dwarf would have to rethink his view of Koridaians.

#59 JRPomazon

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 12:13 AM

OoC: Not sure exactly how you planned this S_L, but I'm going to take a couple liberties here.

Urick pulled his scythe out of the beast, the duo had arrived at the target location. The hydra threw him off his neck, which sent him flying once again. However, they were close enough to the bomb ship that he could land on it's deck. The beast lunged at him as he hit the wooden deck, with every intention of swallowing him alive. He had to recover quickly, being blown up or eaten alive were two things he was hoping to avoid. He outran the jaws of the beast and dove into the ocean. As the Hydra pierced the hull of the ship, the motion triggered the explosives set on the ship. As he submerged into the water, the massive explosion shook the sea as it blew pieces of the hydra in all directions.

Urick resurfaced as he looked at the damaged done. What was left of the main body was a bloody wreck, the entire neck was missing and charred black. Fire seemed to be the way to stop its regeneration abilities. Urick swam vigorously towards the main ship, eventually coming to a part he could stand on. It was lucky that he managed to hold onto his scythe during the ordeal. As he stood on the ocean, he looked to see the mass slowly sink below. It wasn't coming back, not after that. Without another thought, he head back towards the Koridains and the dwarf, one hydra remained.

#60 SL the Pyro

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 07:48 AM

Shadow almost threw a fit when Mok made his unannounced appearance on his ship; that's two powerful mercenaries that could've blindsided him at any given moment, and he wasn't the slightest bit aware! He really needed to get rid of this sickness. Although the dwarf showing up was another blessing in disguise, as he didn't need to help the gray-cloak now. The general kept his efforts focused on the bigger Hydra so it wouldn't harass the others.

Moments later, he heard the sound he had been hoping to hear all morning: a large explosion. He turned on his heel to see Mok and the gray-cloak joining him on the deck of his ship as the smaller Hydra was mutilated by the bomb-fleet. A lucky first shot; it's head was blown clean off, and the rest of its long body was getting tangled up in the ropes that held the decoys together, bringing them in and setting off more thunderous blasts. Regenerative abilities or no, there was no way it could come back from that.

Of course it would've been easier if the damned beast had just rose up from under the fleet like it did last time... typical that the female -- at least he thought it was the female -- had all of the brainpower. Its sudden change in tactics almost ruined the general's battle plan.

Still, it was 1-0 for the mercenaries. At least the tedious part was over now. The next phase was bound to be less problematic.

The explosions had caught the attention of the bigger Hydra, and it rushed after its sinking mate. This lull in combat gave everyone a chance to catch their breath... and gave Shadow a chance to yell at the stowaways. "For God's sake, you could've just asked me if you wanted on board instead of sneaking on..." he complained. "But that being said, this might've been tricky without your help. I expected the smaller one to rise up from under the ships like it did before... so thanks. I'll be sure to compensate you both later."

Shadow then gave the order to set off for the beachhead, full speed ahead. Just a few moments later, the bigger Hydra rose from the sea again, all three of its heads roaring with such fury that a lesser man would've wet himself just at the sound. It was chasing after them. Good, everything was back on track.

"Ooh... he doesn't sound too happy." Shadow snickered. He snapped his fingers, cueing another volley of cannonballs from the retreating ship. These knocked the Hydra back, stunning it momentarily, but once it regained its composure it still pursued. Perfect. He turned his attention back to the mercenaries. "Well, as long as you two are here, I might as well tell you the rest of the plan. Since we destroyed its mate, our three-headed friend here is probably going to hunt us to the ends of the earth... so I've prepared some more fiery surprises for it at Almirante's beachhead. All we need to do is get there, and this beast's fate is sealed."

Edited by SL the Pyro, 15 March 2010 - 07:57 AM.