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The Siege of Aydn's Keep


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#61 JRPomazon

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Posted 28 May 2010 - 10:41 PM

"If I'm not mistaken, you are the one wearing the colors of your enemy. I hardly think you are one to comment on clothing." Pharos replied.

The ground and surrounding trees were scorched, the smoke from the charred remains of vegetation creating a thick fog that rose to the sky. He was getting tired, the battle obviously wore him down a great deal. Looking across to Chikara, it seems that she wasn't unaffected by the strain of battle herself. This needed to be resolved quickly, his presence was needed for the sake of the knights attempting to escape.

"This ends now."

A sudden tug on his robes from behind said otherwise, the protruding spear head coming through the side made gave him incentive to look behind him. There sat Selena upon a Hall horse, her eyes dead set on Pharos. Though she did strike him, her blade did not make a direct hit and was mostly just cutting through his robe while grazing his side. He looked back at Selena, his eyes locked with hers.

"I would recommend practice child, that spear is far too heavy for you."

Pharos knocked the spear away with his staff and snapped his fingers, creating a sparking ember to scare the horse. The horse was startled and threw Selena off it's back and onto the ground. His staff began to expel fire around the front end that began to form a sharp blade much like the spear he was attacked with. He lunged at the downed Selena with his staff, the blade of fire striking through her armor and pierced her side. Avoiding her vitals was intentionally, but far from an act of mercy.

"Those who act shamefully with in turn lead shameful lives."

Pharos withdrew his staff, and quickly protected himself from another spork attack by Chikara who came to Selena's aid. Pharos backed away quickly and took the reigns of the horse and leaped to reach the saddle. He quickly took control of the animal and rode off, leaving only the smoldering earth and that single solitary ember that rested on the charred earth. The glow became bright, exploding into a wall of flames that separated the queen and her daughter from their people. Pharos rode, holding on hand on his side as the other shared the reigns and his staff. The wound was manageable. He passed by the number of fallen knights ridden in blood and the torn wagon. He took his side from the sight as he cursed underneath his breath and focused on reuniting with the remaining knights.

Soon enough, the keep began to appear in view and ahead of him was the remaining knights of the caravan. They looked on to see someone coming from behind and in turn sent out cavalry quickly to determine what kind of threat they were facing. Leading the charge was none other than Sir Einz, who managed to stay alive. As they discovered it was Pharos, their fears were cast aside for relief.

"Sir Pharos! You're alive!"

"Yes Sir Einz, but just barely. How many have we lost?"

"Too many. We've lost one third of our numbers to those bastards in the Labyrinth! Damn them!"

"The day is not over, we will mourn our fallen comrades after the storm passes."

Pharos regrouped with the other knights and together they traveled to the keep.

OoC: Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Edited by JRPomazon, 29 May 2010 - 01:18 AM.


#62 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 10:26 PM

Chikara was beginning to feel the physical and mental strain of putting so much work into this fight so far from the natural fountain of dark energy that the Labyrinth provided, but she was and always would continue to be a rabid animal in battle, biting to kill and only gaining more strength in situations where she felt cornered. Pharos wouldn't stand a chance, she would make sure of this. But this fight was dragging on, precious time that could be spent assisting her people in attacking the wagons before every last one of them had made it to the sturdy protection of the keep. She was proud to be the sole being suppressing the fire mage from obliterating her more unwise minions, but her amusement in the man was running dry.

And there she came, a demented 'knight in shining armor' to aid the queen in her cause. Selena on horseback, spear held menacingly in search of the Hall soldier's vitals. Her use of the weapon was still clumsy, the queen felt; it would still be many years before she considered allowing the princess use of the legendary blade back home that she begged for. Perhaps Chikara should have felt grateful at being somewhat saved. But now was not the time, nor was she the type to carry such emotions in the battlefield.

Then the flames returned, knocking Selena from her steed and allowing the foolish man to steal the beast before trapping the two Labyrinth women behind a burning wall. Oh, her patience was running thin.

"Did I say for you to come to my 'rescue'?" the queen hissed at her second in command, gliding headfirst into the smoldering earth and using her skills to create yet another wave of hot dirt overturning to suffocate the fire. The edges of the fire continued to burn, but at least a safe path had been made between the royal ladies and their main forces. Still she wanted to move quickly; neither of them were by any means immune to the smoke rising from the ground. Nor did they want to dally while the fires and the battle both continued to rage onward.

"He stole your horse, he wounded you - you should have remained with our people where there were fights you could handle, let alone lead!" Chikara grabbed up her now-miniature hot spork yet again, cutting through the cords that bound her false armor around her and cutting out of it haphazardly - it was far too warm and unwieldily at this point.

Then, without a word, she leapt at her daughter, grabbing her firmly under the shoulders and around her chest with one arm whilst the other concentrated on digging the flat back of the iron-red weapon into Selena's side - directly where Pharos' fire-spear had struck. "Struggle and you die. I'm simply cauterizing the outside of the wound so it doesn't become more of an unnecessary annoyance." Her tone nearly suggested that she spoke more of Selena herself than the injury she suffered.

"Now let us be off!" She grabbed her lesser by the arm, tugging her toward the direction of the ensuing battle with no regard for her internal injuries. "We've lost enough time already!"

#63 Selena

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 11:33 PM

Of course, the queen was not happy with Selena's gallant attempt at saving her sorry ass. She'd come all that way to successfully drive off Pharos, and what was her reward? Contempt! Selena swore that this was the very last time that she'd ever rush in to help Chikara when the chips were d-- sweet merciful darkness, what the hell was she doing it burned make it stop! That goddamn spork. Selena hated that spork. It was so stupid and Chikara embarrassed her every time it showed up in battle. Who fought with giant eating utensils? Why did a giant flaming eating utensil even exist? What drugged up Loddie had originally created the damn th-- ow.

That was when Selena was hoisted to her feet. Chik was a horrible nurse.

"You stupid bitch," Selena hissed. "You're so drained of energy that you can barely walk in a straight line. You're lucky he ran away after I showed up. You couldn't have carried that on much longer, and he looked like he had plenty more magic to dish out. And don't touch my chest in public again, dammit!"

To further demonstrate her dissatisfaction, Selena roughly shoved the queen with both arms, hoping she'd fall to the ground. Selena took the lead, then, ignoring the insinuations about her lack of leadership skills. Selena was a fine warrior. The only reason she'd not done a better job was because of the lance's weight. It wasn't balanced. Bad Hall weaponry. That was it.

Labyrinth troops had already gathered in the woods near the keep, the branches protecting them from enemy archers while providing them with the ability to strike quickly if battle were to occur. Things were silent. That was good. Her troops could use the time to rest. After that, they would infiltrate the keep and kill everyone inside if it were possible. Otherwise... a long, long wait until people starved to death. Perhaps they could poison the water supply?

Selena thought over her options as she sat down beneath an oak tree, flexing the muscles of her feet. Boots came off. She inspected the now burned flesh underneath her torn leather suit and found that it was fine. Would have been better if not burned. The Labyrinth blessed her with enhanced strength and longevity, so surely her body could ward off an infection if that were a danger. Stupid flea-bitten hobbit. Everyone settled down and relaxed. The food that had been stolen from the tipped over wagon was now being happily consumed. Someone passed around a bit of wine to Selena and she drank it in a few quick gulps. Some bread followed. Mm.

When Chikara caught back up with her, Selena glared daggers.

"You could be a little more grateful, you know. I could have left you for dead, and let's not even consider the possibility that you being so focused on that man could have been a cause in us losing the caravan. You know. The thing that mattered. He was doing that on purpose to distract us from the wagons. You fell for it. He couldn't protect all the wagons at once if we'd all swarmed them."

Well, technically, Selena had been primarily motivated to kill as many people as possible, but the caravan was still important!

#64 JRPomazon

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 07:56 AM

The knights reached the gates of the keep, tired and beat from the battle just earlier. A lone sentry watched from the entrance wall, looking down at the Hall Knights below. Pharos proceeded to the front and addressed the lone sentry.

"I am Sir Pharos Incendia, the representative of this caravan. We have been attacked by Labyrinth forces and wish to seek shelter within the walls of the Keep."

"Are you the caravan sent with the shipment of gold a week ago?" The sentry shouted back.

"Aye, that we are."

A few moments passed, the caravan left in silence in front of the well fortified structure. The doors began to creak open, the keep welcoming the tired knights to a place of rest. As the doors open completely, the caravan wasted no time entering the keep. Pharos kept his eyes by the entrance, something felt amiss about this place. The presence of something . . . dreadful.

#65 Ken the Wandering Soul

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 08:09 AM

He watched.

Really, there was not much else to do as the two armies clashed. Though curious of the one called Pharos, Raiyu held little personal stake in the battle. Nothing to lose, nothing to gain. A lone figure on the sidelines.

When the battle reached its end, Raiyu walked alongside the knights who had fought so bravely to protect the caravan. The spirit seemed to favor those with injuries, pacing along beside them. Sometimes he would ask questions--why they fought, what they had worth living for. Most of the time though, he just silently observed them.

When they finally arrived at the keep, Raiyu expectedly received odd looks from the sentry, his Roslen robes sticking out amidst the armored knights. He simply returned the sentry's look as he continued into the keep.

Raiyu stopped for a moment when he felt a terrible sensation wash over him. He pondered the feeling for short while, mulling over how he had not felt such a sensation since... Oh goodness, how long ago was it...

The sensation was soon pushed to the side when he felt something new--or rather, heard something.

Thump-thump

A heartbeat. Raiyu looked around, trying to find a sound that no one else seemed to hear. The spirit soon broke off from the kngihts of the caravan to pursue the source of the sound.

Thump-thump

What began as something soft, just barely noticable, began to grow louder. The spirit continued to walk through the keep, almost chasing after the beats.

Thump-thump

Raiyu eventually came across a man--not a knight from the looks of it, just a regular warrior. He watched the man from afar, seeing that that the man was practicing with a dinged-up sword, swinging away at a practice dummy.

Thump-thump

He was definitely the source of the heartbeat that attracted Raiyu, but as the spirit watched the man practice his swordsmanship, he began to notice something else.

Clank-thump

The sound of metal hitting metal, in time with the man's heartbeats. Again, Raiyu was unsure of where exactly it came from, but it eerily went in rythm with the heartbeat.

Clank-thump

The man had stopped practicing his swordsmanship, and was walking towards the sound where the clanging seemed to come from.

Clank-thump

Raiyu walked along behind the man, avoiding attention he stared studiously at the man, wishing that he could figure out what it was about the heartbeat of this man that he was so drawn to to begin with.

Clank-thump

The man eventually walked into a room where the smithing was done, going up to a woman who had been hammering away at the hot metal of a freshly tempered blade. So that was where the clanging came from...

From the doorway, Raiyu watched the man and woman as they happily talked to eash other. He watched them, and realized that the heartbeat he had followed was something these two shared.,

Thump-thump

Raiyu raised a hand to his chest.

Thump-thump

Edited by Ken the Wandering Soul, 03 October 2010 - 08:22 PM.


#66 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 07:58 PM

"My apologies for not showing gratitude for your incompetence nearly getting us killed," Chikara was quick to snap in reply to her second-in-command, spitting comments like venom as she became ever agitated at the extent of her army's low standing on the battlefield thus far. A good percentage of the caravan wagons had fallen, but enough had escaped to make her feel the fool.

Plus that fire-wielding Hall soldier had escaped with little more than a scratch… "Of course, we should have swarmed the caravan like maggots upon a log, and waited for that fool of a mage to burn us all alive! Clearly, losing all of our forces in one fell swoop would have been far more successful than where we stand now!"

"If ever you wish to become a leader of the Labyrinth, there are two things you must understand. First, we are considered rats to our enemies, and they never let us suffer to live if they can avoid it. Second, if we are indeed rats then we must know when to bite and when to run. You should have focused on the caravan all along, where you had the upper hand, rather than jumping head-first into that man's fires. I can still handle far more than you, whelp. And I can only hope to live to see the evening where you can stand on your own without my help - and not act like a child when things don't your way."

The queen rummaged through the ravaged woodpile of the wagon to find a flask of undisturbed water. She would have preferred liquor, but supposed that the stuff couldn't hurt. Not after all that smoke and ash in her lungs.

Then she sat down upon a pile of discarded bodies, ignorant of their horrified death masques. "We could burrow under, if the supports are not too deep. Go through the water supply in the same way that we terrorize Kakariko's well. Use our shadow soldiers to climb the walls during cover of darkness, but then they must remain defenseless lest they go into a fighting frenzy and are discovered. Whatever plans we make, let them not involve us lingering here long enough for them to realize we're in range of their more powerful crossbows."

Chikara waved her hand at nothing in particular, staring at the sealed doorway of the Keep as it silently loomed against them. "You're in charge of this affair, I'll submit to your orders from now on and see how well that does for us. I'm sure that if your plans fall too flat, I'll be able to think of some way to patch things up to our benefit again." The queen had a wry smirk plastered against one side of her face, but whether she actually had any plans or was bullshitting to throw Selena off, she would never tell.

#67 Selena

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 05:20 PM

Yeah, sure. She'd submit to Selena's orders. That was what she had said before they began their field trip, and 'submission' was apparently not in the queen's vocabulary unless the Red Room was involved. Selena would have to get used to Chikara doing her own thing, or at least trick the other woman into doing her bidding. Reverse psychology should have been effective. That supposedly worked on stubborn children, and, despite her age, Chikara was not that much different as far as her mental capacity was concerned.

Selena looked up at the Keep and sighed. Still... the mission was definitely going to be a team effort, so it was best to put their evil brains together to come up with a plan. They'd been bickering the entire way up - more so than usual - and now both women were pissed off at their temporary failure. Time to calm down and make a peace offering (if Loddies knew what such a thing was). Selena offered Chikara her bottle of wine, as there was plenty of the red liquid to share.

"Drink this. Your liver will feel neglected if you stick with the water," Selena said. "We've been snappy, even for us. Let's just... figure out a way to get this done. We work better when we get beyond the ego contest. We can save that fight for later."

No, that was not a confession of her inability. She refused to admit something like that. She had done just as well as the queen herself had, so Chik couldn't gloat much at her unless she wanted the same insults in return. Now. How to deal with Sir Pyro and his merry men. They'd have to get a sense of their surroundings to start off with. Couldn't plan an assault unless they knew where they were going. Every fortress had its weak spots. Sewers, maybe, but sewers had nowhere to drain up here. Disgusting slobs probably just shit in glorified buckets. However, that didn't rule out the possibility of there being other underground structures. Fortresses often had emergency escape passages for when defeat was imminent. Probably up in the hills or further out. Likely far behind the keep.

"Probably no sewers here," Selena said. "Possibly an escape passage of some kind. We should scout for one of those before making any concrete plans. Crossbows shouldn't be a problem since we're in the trees. The canopy is thick here. If there is an escape passage, we could send in a team under cover of darkness and have the main group provide a distraction up front. That fire guy is going to be a problem once we get into close quarters, but he'll be hesitant to use his bigger spells if his troops are present. We'd better make sure he has guards with him to act as our meatshields when the time comes. Shouldn't do too much until it gets dark. We can see; they can't. Scouts will stick out like a sore thumb and be used as Hall target practice. They've got good vantage points up there."

Selena leaned back against the truck of 'her' tree and crossed one leg over the other, bare feet cooling off in the shade. She took a breath. Another one. Kind of wanted her wine back. But what to do until the sun went down behind the mountains?

"Well. Wanna play cards? Spar? Drinking game?"

#68 JRPomazon

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 09:59 AM

The caravan made its way inside the keep, the tired and injured knights making themselves at home as they treated their own wounds while making a head count of which of their comrades managed to survive. As this went on, Pharos went to an attending sentry by the front gate.

"I insist you take me to see your commanding officer."

"Of course sir, follow me."

The armored sentry took the lead, guiding Pharos through the halls of the keep. It was clean stone, torches lit the halls with minimal outside light coming through the lower levels. As they progressed to the higher level of the keep, the light relied less on torches and more on the natural light coming from archer's turrets and the like. Pharos studied the layout of the places he had walked through as best he could, he would need to know how to get around if he was going to stay here. Eventually by the entrance to the third level, there was the chambers of the commanding lord of the keep. They were lightly decorated with nice furnishings but it was still very much a polished stone chamber. The man stood by a large table with a map of the area, looking up to see the sentry leading Pharos into the room.

"My lord Masterson, I present Sir Pharos of the gold caravan."

"Thank you sentry, you may leave us."

The humble sentry left their presence and returned to his post.

"Sir Pharos, it is an honor. I've heard much of your past accomplishments in the Hall."

"You flatter me sir but I'm afraid now is not the time for praising. Our caravan was attacked as we made our way to the keep."

"Attacked? You don't mean . . ."

"The Labyrinth found out about the shipment sir, their queen herself is among their ranks."

"CHIKARA NADIR!? Oh miserable fortune, how can this be!?"

"We've lost men and we'll need to leave as soon as possible. The sooner we can get the gold back to the hall and Sir Jericho, the safer we'll all be."

"Leave? Whatever for?"

"Pardon?"

"Sir Pharos I understand your plight but leaving this keep is foolish. It has been built for occasions such as this. Chikara Nadir or not, I assure you no Labyrinth soul will breach these walls. Now, how much of the gold has been forfeit before your arrival?"

"Lord Masterson, I do believe the gold is far from the issue here. You have a horde of murderous soldiers out in those woods who would like nothing more than to raze this place!"

"I must protest sir Pharos, the gold is everything. It is the reason why either you or Chikara Nadir are here. I have my orders from the hall, the same orders as you, to make sure ALL the gold you are transporting gets to the hall without fail."

"How long will you suggest that we stay here in the keep then Lord Masterson?"

"As long as I see fit. But rest assured Sir Pharos, not a single one of those bastards outside will penetrate these walls. Not one."

#69 JRPomazon

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 03:26 PM

OoC: Allow me to brush off some cobwebs . . .

Pharos nodded lord Masterson.

"If you must follow the protocols placed by Sir Jericho then please use haste. If we leave with the gold, we leave with any reason Chikara and her following have for staying here."

Pharos left the chambers, entering the cool stone hallway of the keep to return to the remaining soldiers of the caravan. As he passed, he noticed the light coming though one of the slim arrow loops and decided to look down on the area below. The ground appeared vacant, nothing but muddy earth with patches of green grass placed randomly around the structure. The vegetation had not settled back into place, it wasn't long ago that this keep was completed it seems. Although the ideas of newness come with a sense of ease, no such peace was given to Pharos, for in it's newness we worried that the oncoming storm would be a baptism of fire for the keep and those inside.

He turned away and went to return to his men on the ground level.

#70 Selena

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 06:51 PM

ooc: Oh yeah. :D





The warriors of the Labyrinth remained in place until the sun fell from the sky and darkness swept over the land. Their time. The moon was a slim crescent, its light unsuitable for revealing the secrets of the rolling terrain. Years of living underground had given the people of the Labyrinth the ability to see in the dark as if they were hunting cats on the prowl. Selena had ordered scouts out to locate a possible side entrance to the keep an hour before midnight and watched them scamper across the future battlefield, staying low to the ground in order to avoid detection. They would be fine if they didn't make any sudden movements in strange directions.

They returned a while later, lungs working hard to pump air into their bodies after their quick run. As with most members of the Labyrinth, they spoke informally to their leaders, as there was little distinction between Chikara, Selena, and the rest of the domain apart from their levels of ferocity and combat ability.

"There's a tunnel north of here - a thirty minute run. Didn't see anyone come out, but the entrance is a big reinforced door that's locked from the inside. We couldn't get inside to check out how many guards were there. Felt quiet," said the lead scout.

"Good job," Selena said. "Get some rest. There's water over there."

"Thanks!"

Selena turned back to Chikara. "Well, we've got a way in that doesn't involve taking on an entire army at once. Now we can sneak in, cause a major panic, and listen to the soothing tones of their agonized screams. All you need to do is use your earth-warping trick to get us into that locked tunnel. Maybe you can try sensing for any vibrations down there to see how many guards we'll be up against." She grabbed Chik's arm and started to drag her out toward the distant tunnel. "Come on, it'll be fun. Just don't take the spork to me anymore. You've given me more injuries than the enemy today."

Selena used her free arm to wave her other elite troops forward.

"Let's go! The rest of you stay here and prepare for a frontal assault on the keep. Soon as we get the gates opened up, you can swarm in and kill 'em all!"

With that, Selena rested her boar spear against her shoulder and began the journey toward the tunnels.

#71 JRPomazon

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 02:35 AM

As Pharos returned to his men, he saw that the gold weighing had already begun since his absence. He looked at the knights lowering the golden bounty from the scraped and battered cart while men in finer robes were flicking the beads of their abacuses back and forth, counting every number they saw. It seemed that the Hall was not only precise in the defense of the week, but in checking to make sure their affects were as they should be. There was nothing to worry about here, perhaps he was needed elsewhere. He looked around the room and noticed that Raiyu was not among the company present. Had he wandered off somewhere?

Before he hand the chance to look, an odd chill passed through the air. He turned around to see a sentry moving up to the higher levels of the keep.

"Sir knight, a do you have time for my query?"

The knight stopped and turned to Pharos.

"Yes, how may I assist you?"

"Yes, how many portals does this keep have?"

The sentry paused for a moment, calculating the number in his head.

"Well . . . there is the main gate that is keep shut unless we are letting people in. And there is an emergency passage from the keep into the mountains, but we don't enter or exit that way unless it is an emergency. If anyone were to find out there was a back door to the keep . . . I shudder at the thought."

"Please, take me to this passage, I'd like to see it with my own eyes." Pharos asked, his eyes showing that he had not intention of taking no for an answer.

Edited by JRPomazon, 19 August 2010 - 02:37 AM.


#72 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 07:31 PM

Chikara sighed with exaggerated gusto, letting herself be dragged along with Selena with a faked 'if I must' pout across her lips. "Any more of this and I'll start thinking you're in the works of usurping me as queen," the redheaded warlord teased her younger companion, eyes intent on the dark distance. She had no problem with doing the dirty work for her nation, but letting another determine the course of action - even if the right one - was still an entirely new concept to her. Such had not been the way of her life since the days of Veteran before her.

"Selena." She twisted her arm around to bring it loose from the other woman's grip, zipping low between the old birch trees at the same pace as her companion - that of a flying shadow adept at becoming one with the surrounding night. Her talents were those one would expect of a denizen of the dark underground, nearly a stereotype of underhanded tricks and graveyard creepiness that made some enemies suggest with snubbed-up noses that the Labyrinth queen was little more than an exaggerated Poe. "I expect you care not about how much your borrowed armor shines by the end of this battle, bloodstained as it shall likely be. Although - how long can you hold your breath?"

#73 Selena

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 08:44 PM

Usurping the queen? She'd never! Smiling at the thought of the idea, Selena happily continued her way to the Keep's emergency tunnels. When they were within visual range of the entrance, Selena ducked low and stayed as close as possible to the ground without resorting to lying on her belly. The rolling terrain provided much needed cover. There were three guards, lightly armed compared to the forces she'd seen on the battlefield, smoking tobacco besides the reinforced door. They wouldn't be of any concern. As she spied on their destination, Chikara opened her mouth and began to complain. Usurping the queen? Sweet innocent Lena? She'd never. She felt her lip curve upward at the mere thought of seizing more power.

"How long can I last without breathing?" Selena replied. "You've discovered that first hand, though I hope you don't intend to do that right now. We're working. For the record, it's just over a minute."

Her coming of age ceremony had been a horrible, traumatic experience. Which was probably why Chikara had liked it so much. In any case, Selena knew what that meant. Chikara was probably going to work her earth-based magic to tunnel underground and get them all filthy in the process. Selena didn't mind the dirt, of course, and it was the only way in without some kind of crowbar, but she was never comfortable with that sort of magic. Shooting things with fire, though a bad thing so far on the trip, was more her style. Stabbing things was even better. Getting buried alive? Not so much fun.

"Just don't screw up and kill us all, please."

#74 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 09:30 PM

"A minute, eh?" Chikara was suspiciously silent in response, staring down the door ahead and mentally processing the time it would take for her to burrow underneath it and far enough beyond to negate any suspicion from the outer guards, let alone any that might be just inside.

But with another person in tow, one who could not manipulate the earth of their own will? And the risk of the tunnel curving beyond that door in a way that might lead to several extra minutes of burrowing around in search of the opening? Sure, she could stay down there for a half hour or more if necessary, conjuring a contained pocket of air for herself and sliding through the dirt as though it were as smooth and fluid as water. She had determined early on that it would be a necessity to move between Labyrinth tunnels and catacombs in a manner that few others of her brethren could, both in case of invasion of their subterranean kingdom, and in case she found the need to spy on - or assassinate - lesser denizens of the underground. Never really found the need to learn how to buddy-system it, though. If her people needed to get anywhere in the Labyrinth, there were portal stones for that. Took a hellava lot longer, but she stood alone as the bearer of the greater secrets of her realm, and had no intentions of compromising such.

"Sure, we can get there in…roughly that amount of time," Chik estimated out loud, sounding a slight bit more upbeat than she had any right to. "Going down on the count of three, so you'd better inhale on 'two'."

"Now hold onto my hand, and don't DARE let go," she muttered, clasping Selena's glove tightly as she herself began to sink feet-first into the rich soil with a quiet ripping noise of roots and compacted debris giving way. "And if I try to share air with you…just don't fight it. Now's not the time to care about your personal space."

Without giving the other woman a chance to respond in retaliation, she hissed out a quick, "Onetwothree!"

#75 Selena

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 10:10 PM

Holding hands? Really? Selena was not a child. She did not need someone to hold her hand through this proce-- oh god she was sinking. Instinctively, Selena reached over with her other hand and held onto Chik's bicep as tightly as she could. Chik had counted that way on purpose, damn it all! Fearful of having soil go up her nose - which would be most uncomfortable - Selena managed to turn her body before the full descent, burying her face against the crook of Chik's neck to shield her from the direct impact of the earth.

Then, the proper countdown. That had been fast on purpose, damn it! She'd gotten her full breath of air just a second before the land swallowed them whole. There was a small distance, perhaps a centimeter or less, of room between their upper bodies and the soil, Chik's telekinesis keeping it at bay. She had no choice but to keep her eyes shut tight and go along for the ride, mentally fighting with herself to keep from panicking in the otherwise fatal situation.

I hate you. So much.

If only she could read her thoughts.

#76 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 12:05 AM

Chik barely tensed up at the sensation of Selena's body so close to hers, more appreciative than perturbed that the woman would be less of a friction drag in their descent through the rocky soil. From there it was just a matter of pressing the limits of her telekinesis to move them forward without injury - or surpassing time limits. She couldn't necessarily be bothered to know when Lena was about to begin suffocating, and more importantly, this had to be done before daybreak.

She slid through the earth, estimating as best she could how far they need travel and in what precise direction to pass the guards on their lazy post - without them feeling a tremor beneath their feet. At least, once they had burrowed deep enough, their path mostly consisted of decayed leaves, needles, and other worm food, and they were able to generally stay clear of large boulders and thick deeper tree roots. Still, she had a hard enough time detecting the presence of other beings, and she would never wish to be one of those hippies who could sense the energies of rocks. Ergo, they were swimming blind. And directly into the foot of a mountain, at that.

Now, shifting through solid rock? That would be a bit trickier. The woman leaned back, her neck craned as she searched for her companion's face and quickly replaced Selena's air supply with her own. Then into the mountain face her fingers dug, not capable of transforming the rock into a malleable, moving substance by any means…but rather, shifting herself and her second-in-command into one with the absolute darkness that their dark god gave them access to, whether they knowingly praised him or not. She at least had no end of appreciation for their short period of rest between that last battle and now, not wanting to imagine falling short on mana while still trapped in the subterranean abyss. Never would she travel with magic unless entirely alone, ever again. This was far too much a hassle.

Finally, at long last, she twisted around to grab Selena by the sides, lifting her up as though she were no more than an infant being tossed in the air. She was shoved through the surface, at least to shoulder-level, and left to dig the rest of the way out on her own. As for the queen, a single filthy arm shot out of the ground a few feet away like that of a reanimated corpse searching for living flesh. Then her other arm, the twine slowly rising up without actually positioning themselves as though to lift the rest of her body out. Instead, Chikara simply rose from the ground in all her filthy glory as if standing on an invisible lift, bits of root stuck to her matted hair.

Rather than beginning to snap orders and start walking down the path with Lena trailing behind as she struggled to dig her way out, the small woman pressed herself against the wall of the cavern path, coughing beneath the light of a single lonely oil lamp. She winced, spat out a pebble, and readjusted her weapon's belt with somewhat renewed gusto. "I'll be good in a minute. Just takes a lot out of me, having to do that with all of your extra weight and mass."

#77 Selena

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 07:24 PM

Selena scrambled to pull herself out of the soil and inhaled sharply, the stones of the tunnel's walkway scattered around her from the unexpected carving of earth. While Chik was able to free herself with relative ease, Selena was forced to use all of her upper body weight to claw her way out of the fine mess they had caused. She grabbed onto a stone that was still firmly in its proper position and pulled with all her might, eventually freeing her entire torso. From there it was a matter of wiggling her hips and legs until she was able to bring up her kne-- uh oh. Her boot came off. Oh, for god sakes. She felt the earth swallow it back up as she freed her entire body. She spun around on her knees and lowered her arm back into the soil, digging wildly at where her missing boot last was, her single bare foot raised up off the floor to allow her to lean forward even more.

"Son of a bitch."

With a mighty tug, Selena freed her boot from the soil, and proceeded to dump out the new contents. When it was as clean as it was going to be, she slid it back over her foot and tightened the straps so that it wouldn't come off again. And then... the rest of her. Armor was filthy, and oh god her hair. Her poor hair! Like a dog that had just left the waters of a lake after a fun-filled day of swimming, Selena shook her head. A plume of dust and dirt cascaded down around her while heavier clumps of soil and rocks fell straight to the ground. She blew, and the dust cleared, revealing her messed hair and pathetic, dirt stained face.

She looked down the length of the tunnel, at least that which was visible, and found plenty of torches but no guards. There had to be at least a few of them somewhere. Further ahead, beyond the curve of the tunnel. The ones on the exterior side of the door apparently hadn't noticed their little invasion attempt. They hadn't tried to get in. Now, all they need to do was work their way through the tunnels, head into the keep, and find a way to open the main gate. And not die. Rest was good.

Given their mutual panting, Selena felt obligated to say, "Well, was it good for you too?"

#78 Chikara Nadir

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:56 PM

"All business, m'dear," was Chik's simple reply, giving the war queen more time to gag on dirt clots and the general unease that came from having so much energy drained in such a short period of time. Not that she could let herself appear to be in any condition other than that of a soldier ready to storm the barracks. Not to Selena, and certainly not to those fools who would have their heads as trophies on the tip of her giant spork.

Thus the short redhead, in her infinite power and grace, took two steps forward in the direction of the next distant, strangely blurry torch, and simply slumped over to land face first in the arid soil. "Mrrf." She turned her head to the side to pull it out of the dirt while beginning to pull herself up again. "Musta stumbled over a rock. Yeah."

Then she stopped. Held one hand up, silently signaling to Selena to not move an inch. "Traps." Chikara lowered her head again, pressing it to the dirt for a moment to listen to sounds unheard, while staring into the dimly lit corridor at sights unseen. "Nothing high-tech, nor well maintained. It's a wonder they're not covered in spiderwebs."

Taking a slow, deep breath, the night-creeping queen blew gently against the dusty floor, a soft brown powder rising into the air and traveling far higher and further than it could without the aid of telekinetic magic. In the air it stuck to spiderweb thin lines sparsely located every several feet. On the ground, meanwhile, it pulled away from cracks that were revealed to belong to individual tiles apart from the otherwise solid floor, no doubt pressure plates that would release equally loathsome results. "Keep your eyes peeled. And if you see a golden statue. Just don't pick it up."

#79 JRPomazon

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 03:00 AM

"With all due respect Sir Pharos, you should stay with your men."

Pharos turned from the attending sentry and found the leader of the keep, Lord Masterson.

"It is not as though we don't trust you, but you must understand that you are our guest and as such you should understand that you should not feel so entitled to tour about the keep as though you haven't a care in the world."

"Then Lord Masterson, why don't you confide in me the information I seek. This passage into the keep from the mountains, I presume it is guarded."

"Throughout the day and night we have patrols inspect that passage, much the like the rest of the keep. Aside from the guards there are a series of traps set in place that intruders would most certainly set off."

"What kinds of traps?"

"Tripwire, if tampered with, would almost certainly release one of a variety of self defense devices placed throughout the passage. Crossbows aimed at the ready that would be triggered by the lightest movement, projectile stones and weights that can crush anything in their path, various pitfalls and other things, along with a resounding alarm that we can hear from this spot and the rest of the keep."

Pharos remained unimpressed.

"How many men are down there Lord Masterson?"

"At least 6."

"Triple it."

"I beg your pardon?"

"You are not only dealing with the Labyrinth, but their Queen as well. Do you think she would be prey to such traditional methods?"

Masterson remained silent, compiling his initial response.

"Even if this is true, they'd have to find the passage first."

"We should pray that does not happen." Pharos said, walking away to his men once again.

#80 Selena

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Posted 01 October 2010 - 06:10 PM

"Given that we live in one of the most extensively booby-trapped locations on the planet, I'd hope that we can avoid setting off these pathetic attempts to keep intruders out," Selena said. "Assuming that you don't pass out on top of a pressure plate."

As she didn't often use magic, Selena wasn't terribly familiar with the powerless sensation that her companion presently felt. It was difficult to be sympathetic. What was the big deal? It was just a little tunneling. She'd thrown an entire tree earlier in the day. Of course, that might not have helped matters. It didn't matter. They had to move before the guards found them. It would be hard to hide in a tunnel, even dimly lit. Perhaps if they blew out the torches as they went? They could see in the dark just fine. The guards could not. They'd come to investigate the torches, thinking a stray wind had blown them out, and perhaps they'd trip their own death-devices. If not, then they'd be easy to pick off in dark silence.

Selena bent down and grabbed Chik, pulling the other woman up to her feet. To make sure she didn't pass out again following the abrupt change in posture, Selena kept one arm wrapped around Chik's waist, holding her in place. She kept her voice low, just in case any guards were afoot, and whispered the plan into Chik's ear.

"Okay, here's my idea. We start blowing out the torches. We make the tunnel pitch black. My telekinetic prowess should be good enough to handle that task while you recover. We'll be able to see. The guards won't. They'll be helpless and focused on getting the torches re-lit. They'll assume it's the wind. Stay silent. Avoid traps. Pick off guards as we go. And most importantly, don't do anything stupid."

Using her free hand, Selena extended it to point at the tunnel beyond.

"Ready?"

Concentrating what magical energy she had, Selena disturbed the air and, one by one, the torches began to go out, bathing them in blissful darkness. Down the tunnel, the voices of fearful guards could be heard.

#81 JRPomazon

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 09:43 PM

Several minutes passed as a guard stood in front of a large wooden door, sealed with an imposing rusting lock. The key was safely kept at his side but under rare circumstances would he ever use it. It was his job to make sure that this passage that twisted it's way through rock and earth remained shut unless if there was a crisis or if he was being relieved, a ritual that took place once a week. So most days he stood and waited, nothing of interest going on until the lights began to go out. Things became dimmer and dimmer, the cries of the other guards echoed throughout the halls. His eyes were widened by fear as all the lights went out, save for the torch behind him. He turned around to use the key . . . no . . . he had to preform his duties. He went to the rope on the opposite side of the door by the torch and pulled on it rapidly. Inside, a loud bell rang in a small chamber under watch by another sentry. As the bell rang, his eyes too grew wide with fear.

"I must tell Lord Masterson!"


At the front of the keep, two sentries waited by the door. One had a small silver coin he kept flipping over and over, passing the time as the other kept watch. The other sentry looked over to his co-worker with a perturbed look and asked him:

"Must you keep flipping that coin?"

A lack of concentration if only for a moment caused the silver coin to slip from the other man's hand and down to the ground, where it slid underneath the large gate.

"Ah! My coin!" He exclaimed as his possession slid out of reach.

"Serves you right to be playing on the job." The other replied.

The coinless sentry went over to the small door built into the gate and slid open a window to see where his precious coin had fallen.

"Stop wasting your time, even if you did find it you still wouldn't be able to open the door without permission." His friend replied.

The determined sentry was stubborn and closed his window to open another one closer to the ground, built to make eye contact with shorter folk such as dwarfs.

"Ah! I found it! I bet I can reach it from here . . ."

As the foolish sentry reached out to grab his coin, he felt something cold creep up his arm. He paused and then . . .

*CRUNCH*

A shriek of terror and pain, the sentry pulled his arm back to find that his exposed limb was now gone, bleeding out all over him.

"What the devil!?" His companion shouted.

"There's something out there!" The armless sentry shouted.


News spread quickly throughout the keep, the reports of an invisible threat stalking the front of the keep while the bell rang from the mountain pass. A lone sentry reported this to Masterson as soon as he could.

"Lord Masterson, we are surrounded! The secret passage has been found out and the front is being kept by some invisible demon! What shall we do!?"

The prim and proper lord of the keep turned pale as he leaned against a wall to support himself. He looked as though death was upon him.

"Ready the men . . . seal off the passage into the mountains at all cost. There shall be no demon stepping inside this keep."

#82 JRPomazon

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 04:23 AM

OoC: And a one . . .two . . . three . . .

BUMP

#83 Ken the Wandering Soul

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Posted 14 December 2010 - 11:29 PM

Raiyu shuddered. The feeling of those heartbeats coming from the man and woman were chillingly familiar, a familiarity he had not felt since the end of his bloodline.

Even as the Keep's bell tolled, Raiyu could not take his gaze off the two. For the man and woman though, the bell's ringing sent their eyes searching, finding Raiyu at the door. The man stared back silently, almost intimidated by Raiyu's gaze but the woman stood forward.

"Who in the blazing hells are you and why are you here?" she demanded.

"Your hearts are the same," Raiyu stated, his voice carrying that awed sense of revelation.

The woman was taken aback by the seemingly non sequitur statement. She opened her mouth, beginning to berate Raiyu, when a loud voice came from the halls.

"There, the suspicious looking one in the robes!"

Some anxious looking guards ran down to Raiyu, one of them quickly holding a blade to the spirit's throat as another man bound his hands behind his back. Raiyu made no attempt to resist, barely acknowledging the guards presence as he kept his gaze on the two in the smithy.

Eventually pulled along, Raiyu broke his eyes away to look at the guards, and at the others milling about. It was clear that something terrible had happened, something that threatened the safety of the Keep. As the guards took Raiyu to see their superior, the spirit being resolved that we would go along with this for awhile, but he would see to it that he would return to those two, and save them from the danger of this place.

#84 JRPomazon

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 12:34 AM

OoC:

Clear-

Zzzzt!


. . .

Waiting on someone . . . who is not me . . .

#85 Selena

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 05:08 PM

An alarm bell.

Well, the guards were more cowardly than Selena had anticipated, but that was fine. It was still pitch black, the Hall warriors were still blind, and Selena could still see just fine. Anyone who dared to enter the passage would be slaughtered. Just a matter of getting to the end of the passage before they did something to block it off. Mindful of the trip wires and other devices planted along the way, Selena began to move down the tunnel like a wolf on the hunt - not a sprint, not a walk, but something methodical and relentless that resided between the two. She had run down the Labyrinth's well-protected tunnels countless times before without setting off any of the traps within. This tunnel was far less difficult.

With Chik trailing due to her temporary fatigue, Selena was the first to see a guard stranded in the tunnel. He was fumbling with his torch, attempting to light it with flint and steel, hands trembling in worry. Her footsteps were very quiet, but not silent. He heard her approach at the last moment, dropping the torch and attempting to draw his sword from its scabbard. Selena lunged forward and, instead of lashing out with her simple boar spear, shoved the man back several feet. He landed roughly on the stone floor.... on top of one of the trip wires.

Immediately, a barrage of crossbow bolts slammed into his body, piercing right through his armor. Selena watched in mild amusement as he choked on his own blood and squirmed until finally falling still. Well. At least the Hall knights now had confidence that their precious traps were working!

There was a rumble further down the tunnel, and Selena picked up her pace to see what it was. A stone wall, slowly descending. No doubt a way for the Keep to seal off the tunnel in the event of an emergency. Chik had drained a good chunk of her power to get them into the tunnel from above ground, so Selena flexed what telekinetic abilities she had and slowed the wall's descent. Stone shrieked against stone, and gears clashed together for a moment, giving Selena time to toss her mentor to the other side of the wall before it came down. Selena herself was forced to roll beneath it, landing on her belly when she came to the other side. She immediately shut down her magic, and the wall slammed shut behind her, sealing off the tunnel.

She finally came face to face with the bell ringer. Selena smiled at him.

"You've been a naughty boy, alarming the whole keep like that," she said, standing back up.

"You'll never ma--"

He was rudely interrupted as Selena darted forward, piercing his neck with her boar spear. Gasping for breath, he fell to the stone floor and not-so-silently bled out. She fished the key off his body and turned back to Chikara, nodding toward the door.

"You ready for the main event? Or do you need another minute to restore your power?"

#86 JRPomazon

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Posted 05 June 2011 - 06:18 PM

The guards and sentries were running towards the secret mountain passage while others began watching the front of the keep. Those of the ladder group just watched the unearthly fog in front of the keep move in as silently as death as the former began to form rank and prepare a blockade in wake of whatever it was on the other side of the large wooden door that kept whatever it was that had begun to cleave a path inside. The soldiers with the gold caravan did nothing but sit and watch this happen, unsure as to what they should do. Lord Masterson was not their superior and waited for Pharos to make his mind up about the situation.

Sir Einz broke from the others and walked towards Pharos, who sat crosslegged as he held his staff with his folded arms.

"Sir Pharos, what do we do? The Labyrinth forces have come for the gold and they won't stop at nothing till they have it." Einz said, concerned for their group and the well being of the Keep.

"I know Sir Einz, I know. Lord Masterson will not listen to reason, he thinks he can still hold back the Labyrinth with the Keep's defenses alone. Now our chances to flee have all but escaped from us, we must fight if we are going to survive."

"Then what are your orders sir?" Einz asked.

"The sentries are moving towards the mountain pass the block it off. No doubt that's where the real threat is. However, if the front is left unattended the demons who lurk in the fog will overwhelm us. If the sentries are to fail in protecting the entrance to the mountain pass then at least be prepared to seal that section of the keep." Pharos replied, getting to his feet.

"But would you not be the best man for such a task Sir Pharos? You are by far the strongest ally within our ranks." Einz said.

"My power is best not used in such small areas like hallways. There could be a considerable amount of collateral damage. Leave the front of the keep to me and the archer sentries and I'll regroup with you all as soon as I can. Use whatever means you have to your advantage without restriction."

Pharos had already made up his mind and left his position with his men and proceeded down the hall towards the front of the keep. Einz looked back to the men who had come to guard the caravan, looking them over as he thought of what to do.

"Everyone on your feet! We need to move this cargo out of harms way! Find the most secure spot in the keep!"

EDIT: Added that last part, nothing too fancy.

Edited by JRPomazon, 10 June 2011 - 12:12 AM.


#87 JRPomazon

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 09:59 PM

OoC: Revival/continuation. Pardon my dust.

The keep door was surrounded by fearful guards, looking through the cracks of light to see whatever it was that was out there. Even in fear, the curiosity of man is still a formidable force to contend with. Pharos approached the crowd and with a single word he commanded the wayward guard.

"Aside."

The guards quickly moved to whatever side they were on and Pharos approached the gate enterance. The main gate, as massive as it was, was fitted with a smaller personnel entrance for easy moving.

"Unlock this door." Pharos commanded.

"You're mad! There are demons swarming out there, one door opens and they'll flood in like a torrent!" A guard exclaimed.

"Do you honestly think that this door alone is what's keeping them at bay?" Pharos asked.

"If they wanted to enter, they would have. Now, open this door."

The guards, quietly in submission to Pharos' logic and authority, opened the several latches that held the door.

With clicks and a loud creeking noise, the portal was open and Pharos walked out into the fog like swarm of wraiths ordered by the Labyrinth to prevent escape of any and all Hall soldier or knight.

The wraiths swarmed around in circles from as low as the ground to as high as the sky. Pharos looked up to see the unruly spirits shift like a festering wound. It did not take long for them to notice that prey had stumbled into their range and a multitude of the spirits dove down, their ephemeral forms waving through the air at shocking speed to devour Pharos. However, this was not the first time the master mage had dealt with infernal creatures such as this. As he was on the brink of being surrounded at all sides, a burst of flames encircled him from top to bottom and spread out in all directions. The wraiths quickly backed away before the fires could scorch them and began observing from a distance.

Pharos quickly raised his staff and began to wave it around himself as flames were conjured into the air. Like a plume the flames rose into the sky, spreading around and tracking the wraiths as they flew to evade the magic. Several of the more earthbound spirits took the chance to attack from the side as they hovers inches from the ground and flew to strike as Pharos was distracted. To their misfortune, he suspected their tactic and with his free hand scorched the spirits as they were flung in recoil by the sudden burst of fire that exploded around them. Taking too long to fend off the spirits, the mage decided to end the conflict with one more display of his power. He firmly slammed his staff into the ground in front of him and raised both his hands in front of it, the gemstone embedded into the gnarled wood beginning to glow until a sphere of fire appeared above it. Pharos raised his arms skyward, sending the orb of fire shooting into the sky high above the keep and the wraiths.

The sphere burst apart, creating hundreds of raining flames that rained down about the wraiths and set a majority of the ephemeral fiends aflame. As the wraiths fell and faded away as their forms were covered in flames, the remaining number retreated further back to gain a safe distance from the mage. Pharos grabbed his staff and headed back inside where he was greeted by the astonished guards.

"To your positions, this battle is far from over." Pharos said, heading back to his knights.




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