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> Blood on the Moon, A Journey of Discovery
haute ecole rider
post Aug 12 2018, 02:17 AM
Post #1341


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From: The place where the Witchhorses play



QUOTE
And I shook my head to get it out, along with the last vestiges of that horrible mental path lined with partially-clothed Athlains that I did not want to climb...EVER AGAIN.
blink.gif blink.gif hubbahubba.gif

QUOTE
Think about sniping at his choice of gear, instead of the.... other things, that I absolutely was not going to think about.


Moah hubbahubba.gif!!

It just struck me how much like my Alise and Argis that your Athlain and Thynae are - or maybe it's the other way around? Regardless, I loved Thynae's train of thought here, and how it moved from distraction to - umm - distraction (!)

This post has been edited by haute ecole rider: Aug 12 2018, 02:18 AM


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Burnt Sierra
post Aug 18 2018, 07:04 PM
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blink.gif

What's this?

unsure.gif

I must be seeing things...

bigsmile.gif

Could it be?

santa.gif

Yahoo! More Athlain and Athynae, Christmas has come early!

Certainly interesting seeing the growing feelings (well more like growing realization of feelings that have always been there) that Athynae is finally admitting she has towards Athlain. Haute ecole rider beaten me to the quote, but it's good enough to be requoted in successive replies if only for the vivid mental picture it created in my mind!

"And I shook my head to get it out, along with the last vestiges of that horrible mental path lined with partially-clothed Athlains that I did not want to climb...EVER AGAIN."

Hm, I suspect she might not get her wish there...

Lovely to see you back sir!













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treydog
post Aug 22 2018, 02:28 PM
Post #1343


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First- many thanks to my co-author for... um... fleshing out (sorry) my vague outline of Athynae's (the character) sudden awareness of the physicality of her best friend and sparring partner.

@haute- I was laughing all through poor Athynae's denials. She is remarkable stubborn and will probably find a way to blame Athlain for her discomfort. Just a feeling.... And if our descriptions of the evolving relationship between our A and A team reminds you of your own... that is high praise, indeed.

@Burnt Sierra- Presents for everybody! And if one is good- let's hope another is even better! And I think you are right- there are some images that just won't ever go away, no matter how disciplined the warrior who is having those picture in her head may be. Thank you sir, please have another.

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Athlain nodded and pointed for me to go around the corner while he stayed in the shadows in case there were more. I palmed a star as I stepped into what appeared to be more of a roughly hewn corridor than a cave. A small, blue-skinned being was bent over inspecting something on the floor. I flung the star and it sang off the stones close enough to scratch his fingers. He jumped and turned to face me with his spear raised as I pulled Dreamer free.

"Are you sure you want to do that?" My voice was flat and deadly.

Even though the little creature was only half my height, a part of me rather hoped he would try to use the spear. A fight, any fight would take my mind off of... other things- one of which was now breathing in my ear. Which might have been pleasant if.... No! Keep your focus on the threat! And which threat is that? a dry voice seemed to ask from somewhere inside my head. I ignored all of it, allowing myself only a quick glance at Athlain, who was scowling ferociously and gripping his mace so tightly that his knuckles were white.

I am not sure which of us was more shocked when the riekling spoke in a high, squeaky voice, "Who are you? How did you get here?"

"I could ask you the same."

"I am Krish."

"And?" I took a step toward him as I pointed the tip of Dreamer at his throat. He lowered the point of his spear and shuffled his feet nervously, as if torn between answering or running away.

"Karstaag has disappeared. I was trying to take care of the castle until he returns, but Dulk took over and he is bad. I had allies, kinsmen, to help me but we were too few, so I hired grahl to aid us. I was a fool; the grahl killed my kinsmen. I am alone now, running from them and hiding from Dulk, and now I have a sword at my throat from an enemy I didn't know I had."

Athlain finally spoke. His voice hoarse with suppressed emotion, he muttered, "Don't trust him. If you don't want to kill him, I will."

The blue-skinned Krish immediately dropped his spear and kicked it away before sidling over to place me between himself and Athlain. Even so, I had to put my free hand on Athlain's arm to keep him back.

"What is wrong with you?" I hissed.

His eyes never left the cowering creature and his voice was a monotone. "He's a riekling. He's dangerous."

I raised an eyebrow and used Dreamer to indicate the discarded spear. Athlain was not appeased, "Well, he's just waiting his chance to slice us to bits."

Now I raised both eyebrows and even rolled my eyes for good measure. " 'Slice us to bits?' With what?"

Athlain grumbled, "With his teeth!"

"Now you're just being ridiculous."

"Ridiculous?" His voice had risen at least an octave. "Those little blue ba---, ah... beasts nearly killed me at Hrothmund's Barrow."

I had to smile at his self-censoring of his language, especially considering some of the things he had heard me say during some of our intense sparring sessions. Let's just say hanging around the stables in Ald'ruhn had given me an education in more than guar-riding.

He apparently took my amusement as disbelief. "I could show you the scars...."

He looked as if he was reaching for the fastenings of his armor and I really did not need the reality of a half-dressed Athlain to refuel the images I had just about tamped down.

"Oh, keep your shirt on, I told him." Please! Thought the part of me that was trying to pay attention to everything around us. I decided the best thing to do was change the subject and try to get Athlain's attention back on the reason we were here in the first place.

So I sheathed Dreamer and added, "Besides, he might prove helpful."

Under his breath, Athlain muttered, "And the winged guar of happiness might fly out of my nose."

"I heard that."

Shaking my head at my companion's irrationality, I turned to Krish. "What happened to Karstaag?"

"I do not know. He was here and then he wasn't. He would not leave the castle without a reason; he hasn't left here for an age."

"Do you know what has happened to the horkers? Who's killing them?"

"I do not know, but the evil Dulk may know. He's probably killing them for fun just to hear their cries."

Athlain finally decided to be a help instead of a hindrace and asked, "How do we find Dulk?" The command in his voice caught me off guard, especially coming so close on the heels of his earlier complaints.

"He is probably in the throne room, but he is well protected."

"Can you tell us how to get there?" Athlain's voice was a little less harsh, now that he had a goal in mind.

"Are you going to kill me?"

I slid Dreamer back into her scabbard, "Have you done something I should kill you for?"

"Not that I can think of, today."

I chuckled while Athlain glared. "Tell us how to get through the castle and promise me you will leave us be, and all will be well."

"I could just run."

"You could try," now Athlain was chuckling. "But know this, little riekling; she will have you dead ten different ways before you finish your first step." Krish looked from Athlain to me and back.

"She missed my hand."

I parted his hair with a well placed dart that took just enough skin to make a point. "I never miss. You have now received one more warning than all but very, very few get. There will not be a third. Directions, throne room, now!"

Krish gave us the directions and warned us about the grahl and other rieklings that were part of Dulk's army before he left us by way of a dark tunnel partially hidden behind a boulder. I ran through my weaponry and asked a question that had been bothering me almost from the time we met Krish.

"Athlain, what on Nirn is a grahl?"

This post has been edited by treydog: Aug 26 2018, 07:35 PM


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ghastley
post Aug 22 2018, 02:34 PM
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QUOTE(treydog @ Aug 22 2018, 09:28 AM) *

"Athain, what on Nirn is a grahl?"

Why do I think this one will answer itself? tongue.gif


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treydog
post Aug 26 2018, 07:52 PM
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@Ghastley- Grahl ho!

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“What is a grahl?” It was such a simple question, asked in the spirit of honest wonder. Athynae- and I- were both always fascinated by the discovery of new things, of walking on paths previously unknown. When we were children, we constantly “discovered” new trails and new creatures, little thinking that someone else's feet had worn those trails, and that the finite creatures of Vvardenfell were well-known to those who had lived there for centuries. But we were children, and so we took a childish delight in anything that was new- even if it was only new to us.

Grahl- I had only encountered the one, the Lightkeeper in the Halls of Penumbra, so I knew little about them. After we finished with the corridors of Castle Karstaag, I wished my ignorance had remained intact. But finish we had, and now we had managed lock ourselves in a room in that palace made of ice, and all that were left were memories that I wished I could banish as easily as I had barricaded the door. Unbidden, memory of the previous few hours returned....

* * * * *

Knowing there were rieklings in the castle put me on edge, even though Korst had warned us that Karstaag used the foul creatures as servants. And then to have one of them actually speak to Athynae.... Perhaps that was simply a tribute to who she was- I would have been unsurprised if she coaxed speech from a stone. But another part of me wondered if all of the blue-skinned mer I had encountered were capable of communicating with more than weapons and simply disdained to use the speech of men. Or maybe Krish was somehow different. By his own admission, he had induced the grahl to assist in his overthrow of Dulk, the riekling who had apparently been left in charge.

I don't know why it mattered to me so much, wondering if the rieklings had some sort of society or not. And even if they did, it seemed to be based on pillage and murder. Of course, the same could be said of the Nords... or the Tamrielic Empire, depending on whom you asked and at which end of the spear they happened to be. Still I was grateful that, for a time, we did not encounter any rieklings, civilized or savage. Instead, the rough stone caverns angled upward and soon gave way to corridors carved from ice.

And it was there that we met our first grahl, one which seemed to materialize from the very ice of the wall. At first glance, it was almost a comical figure, with excessively long limbs, particularly the legs. But a closer look showed claws the length of my arm at the end of the paws, and a mouth filled with triangular teeth. Athynae naturally rushed forward, Dreamer hissing as she freed sword from sheath.

“Looks like someone could use a manicure,” she quipped, as she lopped the claws from one outstretched hand with a diagonal stroke. The beast made no sound, but stepped back and braced its other hand on the wall of corridor. And then, as its red eyes flashed, it grew back the claws Athynae had removed. And where the other hand had touched the wall, there was a hollow in the ice- a void from which it had drawn the material to rebuild itself. Troll, I thought, and then had the presence to say aloud to Athynae, who was already preparing her next attack.

We both knew that trolls are vulnerable to fire- it was one of those bits of lore we had picked up in our avid search for any information about adventuring. And it would have been helpful knowledge if either of us was a mage, armed with a fire spell at the ready. In the event, we defeated the strange creature by more conventional means- which is to say Athynae sliced bits off of it faster than it could grow them back and I hammered at what was left with the Gift. It might have lacked the elegance or poetry of using fire to melt a creature of ice, but cutting and shattering were still quite effective.

When it fell at last, I couldn't help but turn to look at Athynae and ask in as dry a tone as I could muster, “A manicure? Seriously?”

For her part, she simply wiped Dreamer's blade with a cloth and shrugged before replying, “I didn't think trollicure was a real word.”

Since she was in a relatively good mood- getting to hit things with her sword often seemed to have that effect- I decided to take a chance.

“I have a suggestion, and I don't think you will like it, but hear me out please.”

She raised an eyebrow and made a “give it to me” gesture with her free hand, so I plunged ahead.

“That grahl was slow. Yes, he was also big and well-armed, what with the claws and spikes and tusks- but... slow. If we encounter more of them, I think we can use your speed to our advantage, if you will let me occupy the beast while you hamstring it. And then, if necessary. I can....” I concluded with a pantomime of smashing something over the head.

Much as I wanted to keep explaining, I shut my mouth and waited for the impending eruption- which did not come. Instead, 'Thyna ran a hand over her various weapons, a sure sign that she was thinking about something. Her impromptu inventory complete, she checked Dreamer's edge once more before responding.

“ 'Occupy' I will accept. Running ahead and getting yourself shredded I will not. We stay together until I sense a threat, we assess the threat, and then we can see if your idea will work. But if it's some of those little rieklings you are so afraid of... or... or something else, we will find a different plan.”

She did not say, but I knew that “something else” was a reference to werewolves- and so I let the remark about my fear of the rieklings go by. Besides, she had agreed with my idea, even if she had hedged that agreement about with conditions. With Athynae, you took the victory you could get, because any win was a rare occurrence.

As we continued to move upward through the ice-walled passages, there was a remarkable absence of “little rieklings,” although I did sometimes hear a sound like small feet somewhere just out of sight, pacing our movement. But we did encounter several more grahl, and my plan for dealing with them worked even better than I hoped. The snow-wolf covering Athynae had placed over her leather armor helped her blend into the terrain, while I marched down the center of the hall as if I was on the parade ground. All of which meant that the grahl never even saw the ebony blade that descended like nightfall and removed limbs or heads. My main contribution, except in one case, was to simply stand there like a tin target on an archery range.

Finally, we reached a pair of massive doors that blocked further progress. We could hear what sounded like a battle taking place beyond the portal, but even our combined strength could not force it open. Father could probably have picked the lock- if he had been there, and if he had not gotten so... stuffy... about his less-than-legal skills. But without a thief- or a key- we were checked. I could see 'Thyna casting an appraising eye at the massive construction, as if considering how best to begin demolition, when a short figure popped out of a hidden tunnel a few yards back from the way we had come.

Holding his hands over his head and cowering, Krish the Riekling squeaked, “The banquet hall. Yes. You need the key. Krish happens to have... found it- when the evil Dulk was not paying attention.”

With that, he produced a large silver key and reached it tentatively towards us, as if afraid we might take his hand, as well.

Athynae took the key and gave me a bright smile. “Did you hear that, Lainie? The 'banquet hall'! Maybe now you can put that giant serving platter on your arm to good use!”

As soon as 'Thyna took the key, Krish darted back into his tunnel; muttering about grahl, elves with swords, and the evil Dulk. Meanwhile, my companion made a great show of handing the key to me and gesturing at the doors in an exaggerated “if you would, please” manner. Of course she wanted me to unlock them- it would keep her hands free for whatever might be on the other side. I sighed and acquiesced, believing myself ready for what lay ahead. But nothing could have prepared me for the scene within that banquet hall.

First, there was movement everywhere; rieklings battling rieklings, and grahl shambling through the knots of combatants like animated boulders sliding on a plain of ice, snatching up the little blue creatures as they went. My first impulse was to push the door closed once more and wait for the end of the furious melee. It would be easier for us to deal with the remnants. But then I realized what I was seeing- a grahl plucked a riekling from the floor and stuffed the living creature into its gaping maw. Triangular teeth closed down in a crunch of flesh and bone, accompanied by a spray of blood, and then the riekling was gone- completely devoured. I felt more than heard Athynae's shouted “No!” and was nearly staggered by the speed of her passage as she threw herself into the fray. I had no choice but to follow.


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haute ecole rider
post Aug 27 2018, 04:33 PM
Post #1346


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Thyna to the Rescue! Somehow I am not surprised. She strikes me as the kind of person that always chooses the side of the underdog.

It was fun to see Athlain’s quandary about the rieklings and their potential for intelligence, which implies they have a society, culture, and perhaps even a set of morals, however repulsive they may seem to outsiders.


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Burnt Sierra
post Sep 1 2018, 07:22 AM
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Ooh, frying pan, meet fire! Although, perhaps Athlain could gently suggest that diving headfirst into a pitched battle with no regard for safety could potentially be described as bravely bonkers. On second thoughts, perhaps he'd better suggest that from a safe distance himself...

And continuing our 'picking out evocative images' spot here is today's contender.

"never even saw the ebony blade that descended like nightfall and removed limbs or heads."

Now that is just wonderful. salute.gif

Delighted to see inspiration seems to have struck, can't wait to see the next update!


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treydog
post Sep 2 2018, 09:32 PM
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@haute- You are correct. She (imprecisely) sees the rieklings as "little guys" being "picked on" by the grahl. And in a little while we will learn a slight bit more about the rieklings- although mostly that they are a real pain in the fundament....

@Burnt Sierra- Athlain is most definitely thinking very peevish thoughts about the wisdom of diving into the middle of a fight- especially one that has no "right" side as far as he is concerned. Ah many thanks for picking out that line- it was one of those "pictures in my head"moments that came to me as I was completing the post and imagining myself in those icy halls. Inspiration or desperation- for once we have several completed posts ready to go, instead of waiting 2 years between....

----------------------------------------------------------------
Athlain inserted the key and turned, and as he flung the door wide, the previously muffled sounds of battle exploded into our ears. The scene in front of me was almost mind numbing; grahl and rieklings filled the room; blood and gore covered the floor and the walls, and as I focused on the grahl closest to me, he retrieved a riekling and popped it into his mouth like it was a tasty treat.

"No!" It was wrong- I couldn't wrap my mind around the grahl eating the little humanoid creature, so like a child in size. I had to put a stop to it. And so I charged with Dreamer in one hand and my dagger in the other. As I neared the troll, I used a broken chair as a springboard and jumped straight at the beast, swinging my katana in an arc that removed its head.

As the grisly object spun away from my blow, I heard Athlain yelling behind me, but I wasn't aware of the words. My feet had barely made contact with the floor before there was a pause in the fighting, amd all eyes turned my way. There was a breathless pause that seemed to last forever, then as if a switch had been thrown- the foes became allies to fight their mutual enemy- me. And by extension, Athlain. And so there really was no turning back; it was win or die. I'd spent my entire life training for situations like this, but something was wrong- I had never expected that the people I was trying to save would turn on me. I had forgotten that we were on Solstheim, where no good deed ever went unpunished.

The proof of my realization came quickly, as one of the ungrateful blue beasts grabbed my arm and bit down. I silently thanked Bryn for the improvements to my bracers as only one sharp fang found an opening in the Nordic silver inserts. I launched the little fiend toward the wall and sent my dagger after, pinning him in place by a fold of skin along his neck. He wasn't dead, but he also wouldn't be going anywhere.

That gave me a moment to spare, and I looked for Athlain. He appeared to be a machine, mace and shield working in synchronization to sweep rieklings from his path. Like me, he knew the grahl were the greater threat, even though their numbers were few. His face was a a mask, devoid of emotion, until he caught my eye. Then, for a fleeting moment, his expression conveyed anger, fear, and exasperation- along with a good dose of “I told you so.” He was going to yell at me, I just knew he was. Then the tide of blue monsters swept forward again, breaking around him like waves around a boulder and I had to turn my attention back to my own troubles.

The part of me that wasn't fighting understood though, that unless he removed their heads or struck a vital organ, the little freaks would dive back in for more. They were vicious beyond anything I'd encountered- other than the were beasts Hircine had sent after me. I now knew why Athlain had such an unhealthy paranoia of the rieklings.

I looked up into the face of another grahl, towering over me as he swung one of his massive clawed arms. I dropped flat as the razor spikes only just missed my head. As I dropped, I pulled my knees up under me and catapulted myself upward with Dreamer held vertically in both hands. The blade sliced up the middle of the ice beast and he roared in pain and frustration as I flipped backward to avoid his jaws. Then Athlain was behind him and tenderized his frozen skull with a swing that sent tiny shards of grahl ice in every direction. Athlain's eyes met mine in another brief connection that promised a long talk in the future- assuming we had a future other than grahl food. Hateful person that I was, I winked and then we were swirled apart again, each trying to end this melee as quickly as possible.

One of the little heathen beasts decided to chew off the lower half of my leg so I kicked him into the air and divided him into two parts; not equal really, more like a third and two thirds, mid chest. As the pieces struck, the floor, my mind momentarily focused on the fact that I was slaughtering creatures smaller than Ahnya and bile rose in my throat. I swallowed hard and looked toward Athlain, trying to find a way out of this madness, trying to reconcile what we were doing with what I had always believed being a warrior meant. But just then, a grahl loomed behind him. "No time for distracting thoughts," I whispered to my scattered mind before I yelled,

"Lainie, behind you!"

At the same time, instinct and training had Dreamer sheathed and three arrows flying from my bowstring. They didn't pierce that frozen hide, but were enough to get his attention. I put up my hand and beckoned, and when the stupid beast turned to lumber toward me, another shower of grahl brain matter decorated the hall. The Gift had hit the target square.

While I had been fighting- and wondering why I was fighting- Athlain had wreaked havoc on the rabid little beasts, decreasing their numbers considerably. But we had two grahl remaining and maybe ten or fifteen of the mini assassins. Battle was what I was born for- I still did not doubt that, but the killing would always take a toll. I had to stop thinking of the rieklings' size, stop comparing them to children, and look at their abilities with sharp teeth and claws and the fact that they descended mostly in clusters. There was no way to stop them short of death. And it occurred to me that it was probably far worse for Athlain, just the difference in who we were as people.

I had no desire to know how stupid the grahl were, but the two left appeared to be attempting some form of thought as the riekling hoard ignored them to attack Athlain and me in groups of two or three. The clear intent was to maim us and get us down on the ground, where we would have no hope of survival. In fact, when a group of the little death machines saw that the grahl were wavering, half a dozen of them jumped onto one of the ice trolls and- dismembered it. It was terrible and fascinating to watch- like slaughterfish shredding the carcass of a dead horker. In the momentary respite, I decided to get some elevation and leapt onto the table, nocking a couple of arrows. They flew true and dropped two miniature monstrosities that were attacking Athlain, but another pair climbed onto the table with me. With no time to change weapons, I swiped one with the tip of the arrow in my hand, making a nice slice at the base of his throat, and brought my bow down on the head of the other. It didn't knock him unconscious, but it certainly sent his two brain cells running for cover. Before he could gather them back together, I sank a dart into his empty skull through his left eye. The other was clutching his sliced throat, but was still on the attack, so I traded bow for katana and opened him from chin to pelvis.

But there was no time to savor my victory. The table started wobbling and I turned to see that the last of the great ice beasts had grabbed it by the corners and was shaking it back and forth. I was unsure of his plan, perhaps to dislodge me- or maybe turn the table into a giant platter and slide me down his throat? Fortunately, I had other ideas. As the table tilted, I took Dreamer in both hands and crouched to ride down the sloping surface like a ship dropping across the face of a giant wave. I even let my face show that I was enjoying the game and discovered for my effort that there was a difference between a grahl and an angry grahl. Before my blade could reach him, he slammed the table back to the floor and jumped onto the end of it. Since the ice troll weighed considerably more than I did- probably from the rocks in his head- that upset the balance of everything and sent me hurtling into space. I allowed instinct to guide me as I curled into a ball. Sensing the floor beneath me, I got my feet oriented and watched as the table top smacked the stupid beast hard enough that it sent him sprawling. Athlain, moving with a quickness that still surprised me, drove the monster's head into the floor like he was driving a ground spike to hold Cos Mear. I landed and rolled to my feet as most of the remaining rieklings swarmed toward Athlain. As they had made the mistake of forgetting me, I employed our previous plan and sliced their the lower legs as I ran past. And Athlain completed the maneuver by taking a roundhouse swing that bashed each of their hateful little heads.

I was within reach distance of the riekling I had pinned to the wall with my dagger, so I sheathed Dreamer and pulled the smaller blade free, letting the bleeding creature drop to the floor. The last few clustered between Athlain and me and I asked, "Do we try to reason with them so they can live?" I knew what his answer would be, but a part of me wanted a different outcome.

He held his shield in a guard position and his eyes never left the savage rieklings as he spoke, weariness in his voice, " 'Thyna, they aren't civilized. They are wild animals that exist to kill and destroy." He was breathing hard and the strain on his face was evident, but for all that, he still stood as solid as a rock in that hall of carnage.

But still, I had to try. "Where is Dulk?" I was in a crouch, balanced and ready should the need arise. "If you tell us where he is, you may live to see another day."

All I got for my trouble were grunts and moans and growls. Half of them advanced toward me and half toward Athlain. I balled my fist and threw a punch that, courtesy of the enhancements to my gloves, would have felled a charging kagouti. It sent a riekling backwards into one of his comrades, but both jumped to their feet like they'd been tripped by a feather. I tucked my dagger away and used Dreamer's greater length to keep them at a safe distance so that I could more effectively relieve them of their appendages, mostly their heads- since that seemed to be the only way to slow them down.

And then only two remained. Athlain restrained one and I had the other by the throat. "Last chance, you stupid little beast. Where is Dulk?" He kicked with his clawed feet toward my midsection and tore a hole in my leathers. I snapped his neck as payment for his stupidity, and turned to the one Athlain was holding. "And then there was one. Death it is, for that is what you seek. But before you go, where is Dulk?"

He growled out, "throne room" and then tried to turn his head to bite Athlain. My katana found his heart first.

* * * * *


Athynae's headlong charge took me by surprise. Hadn't we just had a conversation about “no rushing ahead to get oneself shredded”? But of course, that was based on the assumption that I was going to be the one to do something so reckless- the rules didn't apply to Athynae. If we survived, we were going to have a serious talk. But for the moment, survival was going to take precedence. A quick glimpse, all there was time for, showed half a dozen grahl and too many rieklings.

Fortunately, Athynae's impulsiveness put paid to one of the ice trolls immediately. However, it also meant we were separated- and now all of the former combatants were staring at the leather-clad, red-haired, sword-wielding half-elf that had just announced her presence like a thunderbolt. It just kept getting better and better. Mostly because, whatever their differences with one another, the trolls and rieklings would much prefer to vent their homicidal impulses on an elf... and on the Legion officer that had been foolish enough to open the door for her insane charge. That thought carried with it a memory from childhood- Athynae, who had started to run almost before she learned to walk- racing out the door of Indarys Manor, in search of some “adventure.” And my own, smaller self, with the word “wait” trapped behind my lips for lack of breath, as I chased after her. But she had not waited then and she was not waiting now, so the only thing for me was to try and keep her alive- “safe” being a forlorn hope that had packed its trunk and departed for unknown shores years ago.

Even so, I shouted, some meaningless cry that tried to express frustration, fear, and possibly even- though I hated to admit it- the joy of fighting against overwhelming odds. On a more practical level, I hoped that my bellow would distract at least some of the monsters from the tasty elf that had landed in their midst. I decided that I would never admit to Athynae that I had just thought of her as “tasty,” not in any context. I needed to take out the remaining grahl as quickly as possible; they were the greater threat, with their longer reach and ability to heal themselves. But to get to them, I needed to make a path through the rieklings. The shield 'Thyna constantly disparaged as a “platter” served that purpose admirably, as I swung it and the Gift in wide arcs before me. Even if the blows didn't kill the little creatures, they took them out of the immediate fight.

Once I had cleared a bit of space, I sought Athynae, wanting to be certain she was still upright- if either of us ever lost our footing, death would come quickly. She was in the process of dislodging a riekling, who appeared to be attempting to gnaw on her arm. Our eyes met and I did my best to express everything I was feeling, but especially the desire that she would use every bit of training and experience she had to survive. I was soon able to do my part to ensure that outcome, as Athynae dropped beneath a grahl's scything claws and I flattened his head from behind. Troll or not, he could not survive while missing such a vital part of himself.

Then it was back to bashing and kicking and punching rieklings. I was beginning to wonder if the little demons were spawning from the very air when a shout from Athynae alerted me to a grahl that had somehow crept up behind me. She followed the warning with a hail of arrows that caused the beast to change direction- a fatal error- for the grahl. I realized then what had been bothering me- other than being in a room filled with creatures that were determined to not just kill, but probably eat me. Athynae was fighting silently, without her usual constant refrain of quips and insults. That, more than anything, told me that she understood how dire the situation was.

Between us though, we had removed most of the ice trolls, which was a mixed blessing, because now the rieklings could concentrate their attacks on fewer targets. In fact, a handful of them swarmed one of the remaining grahl in an wave of thrashing blue arms and legs. I was just as glad that I could not see exactly what was going on in that pile of monsters- but I knew the same fate awaited us if we did not finish this battle soon.

I put paid to another few rieklings and then heard a tremendous rattling sound from the center of the hall. The last grahl was shaking the table upon which 'Thyna stood, trying to throw her to the floor and the waiting rieklings. But the clumsy beast had never dealt with someone as graceful as Athynae Sarethi, and she used her superior balance to make him regret his decision. I was actually looking forward to the collision that was going to result when Dreamer met the ice troll. But even his tiny brain recognized the peril, so he tried a change of tactics. His second choice was as bad as the first, mostly because I was able to slip behind him and do my best to merge his head with the icy floor.

After that, Athynae and I actually worked together like we were supposed to have done all along and took care of the remaining rieklings. To her credit, 'Thyna did try to negotiate with them, but my own bitter experience told me it was a vain effort. And even as the last one told us what we needed to know- the location of Dulk- he tried to bite my arm. For his troubles, he shattered his teeth on the steel plate and Dreamer pierced his heart. The awful episode was over- at least for the moment.


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The dreams down here aren't broken, nah, they're walkin' with a limp...

The best-dressed newt in Mournhold.
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haute ecole rider
post Sep 4 2018, 12:37 AM
Post #1349


Master
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From: The place where the Witchhorses play



It's funny how Thyna interpreted that look from Alain as he's going to yell at me while he was trying to tell her don't forget your training!!

Hee! Quite enjoyed this melee!


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Burnt Sierra
post Sep 9 2018, 07:02 PM
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Two Headed cat
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Not easy to have two perspectives on events, but its really not easy to have two perspectives on the same action scene, and still manage to keep it fresh and interesting and in character.

Skilfully done, and a joy to read!



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