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No title.
(2013-08-14 - Now)
No description.
Royce A foul wind blows through the jungle as the lone figure makes her way through the darkened pathways that meander between the massive trunks of the ancient trees. A wave of nausea assails the woman but she pays it no mind, registering the reaction of her human body to the putrefaction and diease that fills the air like a miasma with the detached disinterest. Rather than disgust, the revolting aroma brings her a sensation that comes as close to comfort as she can experience, familiarity turning down the dial of her ever-present paranoia by a notch or two.

Many of her footstep brings with it a gravelly crunching sound that seems far too distinct to be merely the result of the fallen leaves that carpet the ground. Fallen piles of bones jut upwards from the sea of foliage in haphazard patterns, likely the culprits of this phenomenon. The woman stops occasionally to inspect one of these grim landmarks, though what criteria she uses to distinguish one bone from another isn't outwardly obvious.

The hooded woman makes her way foward for hours, marching at a steady but leisurely pace, stopping only to dispatch the occasional monster that crosses her path with bursts of eldritch flame from the gargantuan cannon strapped across her back. Eventually, the familiar sound of souless moans begins to carry on the wind and she abandons her meanderings, turning directly towards some invisible point deeper in the jungle as if the faint haunting echoes were as clear as a beacon.
Firion The Foul Wind howls.

Firion appears oblivious to the connotations. If he has any ability to sense the darkness and the corruption he either conceals it well beneath the guise of a cheerful itinerant wanderer... or that is what he truly is, and does not care. Throughout the jungle, despite looking akin to a walking arsenal, the man only has one weapon drawn. A bow. On occasion he will nock it with arrows that appear directly in his hand from his quiver. Often he would fire at nothing in particular but the nevertheless the arrows would always veer to meet their mark. One of the lessons he had learned early was to keep himself sharp while making everything training. Well, almost everything.

He too ha left a wake of dead monsters sinking into the moist mulch of the jungle floor, beginning their slow decay amongst the brush. Strangely enough he doesn't find the sight of a woman wielding a cannon of eldritch flame on her back to be an unusual sight. He actually had an eye and a fondness for unusual weapons. Instead he hails her affably, despite a hint of bashfulness in his voice. "Well met. And what brings a lady of such obvious martial talent this deep into the jungle? Are you answering the call to arms that was made?"

Everything about the man would likely feel uncomfortable to her. Like he was a walking anathema. And yet there was nothing threatening about him.
Royce The hooded woman comes to a halt as she feels the presence of another violate the sense of sanctuary she had started to enjoy in this desecrated land. Her time among the mortals of her own world has instilled the knowledge that very few willingly brave such places as this. Why it is that men armed only with bows and blades seem more keen on intruding on the foul places of the world than those with guns and bombs is something she has yet to puzzle out.

Regardless of his reasons for venturing into the darkness of the jungle, she has to deal with him now. Royce tilts her head towards the young man, giving him a dispassionate look as she takes in his unusual visage and small arsenal of weapons. She stares at him for several seconds without saying anything, almost like a statue, before turning to face him fully.

"That is correct. Such wild rumors of undead armies lurking within the borders of civilized lands cannot be ignored. I have come to ascertain the validity of these claims and conduct research into the causes for such an uprising should they prove true."
Firion Maybe he's just a feckless youth despite his martial prowess. That his head is adorned with an ornately decorated bandana rather than a helm might be some evidence of this. As is the rose tucked into his armor. Royce however would likely sense the power in such a deceptive little flower. It remained unmarred and in full bloom despite how long or how he carried it.

Although he could certainly be lying about his reasons for being here, he doesn't appear to be at a glance, in fact he seemed genuinely gracious and cheered by the prospect of company in this jungle. "Oh I very much doubt that they are wild rumors given the strange happenings as of late. And while I ask you take no offense as you can obviously take care of yourself would you mind terribly if I offered you my company? I find that I'm having trouble finding Mister Drover's encampment, so we might as well investigate these happenings together."
Royce 0Ah, how unexpected. The witless young hero throws himself to the damsel's aid.

The voice of the Necronomicon juts into Royce's mind like cold daggers, its sarcasm intermingled with the ever-present loathing for all mortals. The witch tilts her head to the side as if contemplating Firion's proposal, buying a few moments for the dark presence to speak its mind.

0It would be best to keep this one close at hand where he can be watched for the moment. Despite his youth, he has managed to avoid being devoured by this place. Do not let your guard down.

After a moment of thinking, she nods at him. "Very well."
Firion Witless? Perhaps.

He regards her hesitation with unwavering optimism. He put up a single finger as if to say as a gesture /Uno momento/. And then a dagger snaps into his hand where previously there had been none before. Flipping it over so he was grasping it by the blade, he tossed it sidelong into the darkened jungle without even glancing at his target. Apparently it was a single errant soul bound in the form of decaying bones. Not for long though. The thrown dagger strikes its skull in its eye socket, and immediately the creature erupts into a column of white flame that extends upwards before bursting out wards with concussive force. The creature explodes, and a shrapnel of bones fly, before the flames ignite the dried marrow within. Moments later every single piece of bony matter had curled up like old parchment before crumbling into ashes. The jungle around it however it did not catch alight.

It had been such a casual gesture, done without swagger. As he steps forward to greet her, the dagger appears back within his sheath. He holds out a single hand amicably, "The name is Leon. Might I have the pleasure of your name?"
Royce The woman's eye narrows imperceptibly as the dagger is withdrawn, her keen survival instincts snapping awake in an instant. However, she does not flinch as the young man launches his weapon into the darkness, merely swiveling her head to watch the blade fell its target with an absent look of disinterest.

The powerful burst of light sends a sharp wave of pressure over the two of them. The witch stands firm in the short lived gale but her clothing proves less resolute, the hood obscuring her face in shadows falling away to reveal her timeless features.

Shimmering white hair spills like a waterfall down her back, its hue quite similar to Firion's own though infused with a strange sheen that reflects the light in a rather enchanting fashion. This unveiling also reveals the elaborate patch that covers her left eye, it's golden pentagram and arcane sigils standing out clearly against the black cloth.

Seemingly unconcerned by this, she slowly returns her gaze to the young warrior and stares at him with her lone crimson eye. Her face is devoid of emotion as she allows her gaze to drift down towards the sheath of the knife as it returns through some magical means to its casing, failing to hide her obvious staring.

"Royce," she offers, shifting her focus back to his face. She doesn't return the handshake, stepping past him to make for the point that she was focused on before.
Firion Firion replies affably, appearing nonplussed in regards to her not returning the hand shake. "A pleasure." Even the revelations of the strange qualities of her hair so similar yet so unlike his own.. or the crimson eye, or the pentagram eye patch. None of those seem to affect his attitude whatsoever.

And then he follows, not questioning her attitude(or lack thereof) at all. On the way, he performs the previous feat several more times. Sometimes with a dagger, others with his bow, as if he had an extra sense for creatures of ill intent lurking in the dark.
Royce Royce continues ahead of the upbeat warrior at a brisk pace, stopping only to examine an occasional shard of bone or foul-smelling pile of flesh from indeterminate sources. Her vision seems unimpaired by the weak light, the canopy of thick leaves and branches overhead blocking out all but the occasional dim ray of sunlight that stabs downwards through the darkness.

The witch makes no attempts at conversation as they travel. Indeed, she pays Firion no mind at all, hardly even acknowleding his presence or his displays of mastery over his strange weapons. Time becomes difficult to judge in the gloom. It could be minutes or hours that have passed when they finally come to their first obstacle.

Royce comes to a halt suddenly, as she has done many times by now. However, instead of dropping to her knees to examine some interesting specimen, her head cocks slightly to the side as if listening to something that only she can hear. The distinctive bouquet of rotten flesh grows more intense, almost overwhelmingly and the distince sound of shuffling feet can be heard nearby.

"Ahead." Royce turns and stares at her tag-along. "There are many."
Firion "Yeah." He didn't even need her to tell him that. Even if he didn't have a literal /darkometer/ as a sort of spidey sense, the smell would have given it away. He halts in his tracks seeming to gauge something in the air, his voice becoming flippant. "Well it doesn't feel the same as his majesty 'Defy me at your peril'. Man that lich was a pain."

He tilts his head to regard her, "So what's the game plan? Head on assault is always fun but it lacks impact against the Undead. They have no passion in their souls." He shrugs his shoulders, the azure pauldrons lifting fractionally. "We could find Drover's camp first if we actually wanted compensation. Altruism is great and all, but so is eating."
Royce In regards to his casual mention of liches, Royce offers only her blank stare. His magical seeking weapons do seem quite effective on the undead, so she can only assume that he is telling the truth about surviving such an encounter despite the odds. This could be a good opportunity to gather some preliminary information.

"Our path requires that we move forward. If compensation is your goal, it should not be difficult to convince the owner of this camp you speak of that we were forced to dispatch several of the undead in the course of our journey."

The chain wrapped about her torso like a bandolier begins to move of its own accord, slowly unwinding so that the heavy cannon on Royce's back begins to lower into her outstretched hand. She slides her arm into a covered grip that devours it up to the elbow and hefts the weapon with ease as if it were little more than cardboard.

"Beyond the fact that doubling back to find an alternate route would surely take a great deal of time, this is a perfect opportunity to observe the combat capabilities of these monsters."
Firion The azure clad warrior doesn't seem off by this at all. In fact, at the goad to continue forward he's already moving like the situation just does not trouble him in the least.

"Alright, I'm just always loathe to leave others out of the fun."

He continues to stride forward inexorably in the direction he sensed the Undead. As he did a mace and a sword rose out of their sheathes telekinetically. A white aura limmed the entirety of his form for a few moments before bursting into smoldering flames. In his hands he held the bow... and he just continued forward, waiting for the initial ranks to come into view.
Royce Again, the woman offers no comment to counter his bravado whilst marching into the jaws of danger. People such as Firion are nothing new to the witch. There will always be those who take pleasure in destruction and battle regardless of the peril that accompanies it.

She follows along behind him at a fair distance, choosing to hang back so that she might provide more effective covering fire should some greater evil be behind these creatures. More importantly, it will ensure that he takes the brunt of the initial attack should there be an ambush waiting for them.

The pale glow of the light warrior's holy aura casts strange shadows in the thick underbrush that makes the roots and shrubs seem to writhe as if alive. Soon enough the dull moans hit their crescendo as the pair of them emerge into a small clearing among the giant trees of the jungle.

Dozens of zombies loiter in the empty grove, clustered together in small haphazard groups. The smell of death fills the air here in a choking cloud that invades their nostrils immediately and clings to their skin like a cloying mist. Upon the arrival of the light, the risen corpses all turn to stare at Firion with dull slack-jawed gazes.

There is a short moment of silence as the zombies regard the invaders but soon enough a deep growl of hunger shatters the reprieve. As one the teeming mass begins to shamble torwards the smell of living flesh, arms outstretched to nab at the air with withered fingers as they quickly bear down on the most obvious target.
Firion Obvious target is obvious. Since Firion at the moment is basically a font of holy power.

Just without all the nasty closed-minded zealotry that typically comes with the required dedication. Or maybe his zealotry is of a different nature? Either way... he advances on the zombies. Five arrows are nocked, even though he never reached for a quiver. Four of them find targets, with the fifth veering wide. He clucks his tongue as several of rotting, risen corpses burst into flames. "I missed."

That was just about the only oppurtunity he had, before the rest are upon him. The telekinetically wielded mace and sword fend off the most clumsy of the first attackers. One is brained, the other has a great burning gouge traced across their chest cavity. The bow no longer rests in his hands. Instead it's a lance. Something which might seem supremely ineffective against most versions of the Undead due to it's thrusting nature. He spins it with a fluorish. One zombie makes it past his guard, and rakes its claws against a gap in his armor. While he was definitely pained by the strike, the zombie seems to have made out worse for it, given that it just lost his hand.

He impales that Zombie with the three-pronged tip of the lance, and it flails pathetically even as he sets it ablaze. And then he casually flings it into the rest of the group, causing an explosion of holy fire.
Royce From the safety of the edge of the clearing, Royce watches as her impromptu traveling partner unleashes his unique martial skills upon the small horde. All of her attention is devoted to the various weapons that dance about, with or without the aid of his hands, seemingly unconcerned that the sheer numbers of undead might manage to slip past his guard and come for her as well.

Strangely, that seems to be exactly the case. The zombies focus exclusively on the silver-haired warrior, not a single one even casting a glance in the witch's direction as they fearlessly charge into range of the holy weapons. Many fall without even getting close enough to lay their disease-riddled hands upon Firion but it would seem even his magical arsenal cannot protect him from their sheer numbers.

"They display no signs of exceptional skill or intelligence beyond the standard variety of reanimated corpses," Royce says quietly, as if talking to herself. "For a distress call to have been sent out, there must be a great many of them or else those responsible for the initial expedition must suffer from a foolish lack of preparation."

The brilliant explosion buys a few moments of repreive as the front ranks of the zombie menace burn and writhe on the ground, creating a barrier of flame that gives the others pause while they wait for it to die out. It seems they aren't entirely witless.
Firion Sheer numbers can overwhelm, but it's not that difficult to get some breathing room. Releasing his lance, it floats suspended horizontally. Placing one foot on it, he uses it as a springboard to jump and flip backwards, over the Undead ranks. A dagger is loosed while he's in the air, finding another zombie target and consuming it. He lands in an area just outside their ranks, placing one foot down and turning just as his lance rockets out from it's position, blasting through another Zombie, before it lands in his palm. It then disappears, reappearing on his back before an axe and dagger(possibly the same one he just threw) appears in his hands.

While it's doubtful that he heard Royce, he seems to have the same idea. He just puts it in different terms. He sounded cheerful, yet mildly disappointed. "No passion. No pride. No intelligence. No sign of tactics or strategy other than attempting to overwhelm through sheer numbers and it's doubtful even they realize that."

He turns fractionally and looses a downward chop with the axe, and another of them loses a limb, the nub left behind appears to be on fire as well. ".../some/ signs of self-preservation, which is good, else this would be pretty boring." He lashes out with a foot to the chest, and boots it backwards into the remainder of the horde. Another explosion occurs in short order.
Royce Royce feels a sensation that's she come to recognize as disappointment as the lone warrior continues to dispatch the undead with apparent ease. If a single fighter is capable of decimating their ranks such as this then their use to her will be limited.

0Do not be so quick to dismiss such assets, girl. These shambling husks may not possess much in the way of martial skill but every army requires pawns to take the brunt of the enemy's charge. Even great heroes can be worn down through the mathematics of war.

The voice comes unbidden into her mind as usual, the book's ability to read her thoughts rendering it near impossible for even such simple feelings to escape its notice. She nods, her eye straying to the small scratch that has been inflicted on Firion already. Even small wound can fester and add up, especially when there is no need for such creatures to rest and no possibility of causing them to route or break their morale. Useful tools indeed.

However, they could be far more than mere disposable shields. Royce takes a step backwards into the shadows and lifts her empty hand, chanting softly under her breath as the winds of magic flow into her body. A faint crimson glow lims her hand for a moment and then fades and she steps back into sight.

Without warning, several of the zombies in the back row of the pack begin to shudder and spasm, their dull moans rising in pitch to foul shrieks of what might be considered pain. Jagged rib bones erupt outwards, splitting the torsos in half and they begin gnashing at the air like horrific bloody maws.

These new monstrosities whirl to face the magical knight and let out gurlged cries as their bodies distort once again. With a sharp hiss of exploding gas, several of the now exposed bones eject from their withered trappings filling the air with deadly ossein missiles while those unaffected continue to scramble and claw their way forward.
Firion Who says you can't teach an old zombie new tricks? The new monstrosities in the back ranks begin to shower him with jagged rib bones as a result of the magic which twisted and warped them. Initially he catches the brunt of it, moments before he releases his weapons into mid air. They cross into a parry in front of him, as a shield upon his back appears crooked on his arm. The rain of deadly missiles continues, and Firion appears pained.

Several of the bones are lodged in the gaps of his armor, but they begin to smoke, and curl, and then dissolve into ashes and dust motes which float to the earth below him. "Alright. It seems my evaluation was a little premature." His smile seems eerie as he reaches for one blade in particular, grasping a hand around the hilt.

EquiBlood Sword

The sanguine blade leaves its scabbard, and immediately bursts into flames. Blood swords usually had one flaw in particular against the Undead, that of reversing the flow of the life drain. Well he corrected that flaw, by just adding a small measure of holy power. Now each time he touches the zombies with the blade, they begin to dissolve and crumble immediately, even before the flames begin their work. The blade absorbs their animating force, quickening the warrior with each strike.

Royce might feel the veritable pulse of the blade's own magic, much like a heartbeat of it's own, as each strike continued to bring him closer to the rear ranks. Fending off his flanks with shield bashes, and a telekinetically wielded axe and dagger. Some get their strikes in, but his wounds appear to be healing almost as quickly as they're inflicted.
Royce The smell of fresh blood seems to drive the undead creatures even harder in their desire to feast upon Firion's flesh, those further back in the ranks practically trampling those infront of them in their haste. The storm of ribs continues at a steady but staccato pace, the magically altered corpses somehow regenerating the lost bone matter to fire it anew.

The new weapon brought to bear upon the monstrous fiends allows the warrior to tear through them with even greater fervor than before, each strike siphoning the fell magics that bind them to life. Soon the clearing is a mess of hacked apart bodies and charred ash. Row upon row of the undead crash against him, their numbers steadily dwindling and Royce's chance to gather data along with it.

Appearing to finally step into the fight herself, the witch raises her monstrous weapon and unleashes a torrent of brilliant red flame from within its gaping barrel. The smell of sulphur and brimstone fills the air as blazing shards lodge within the rotten bodies, setting them alight into pyres of flickering hellfire.

Unlike Firion's holy flames, however, the blaze does not seem to consume the zombies. Now transformed into walking torches, the crackling husks continue to throw themselves upon the warrior from all sides.

Royce lowers her weapon after a moment. "It would seem my magic does not have the desired effect," she lies.
Firion The sight of the Undead as living torches of dark flame does give the warrior some pause. Suddenly he seems.. uncertain about what reaction they will have, clashing into him at close range, or whether his circumvention of the weapon's flaw will still work. A split-second decision is made, as he places it back into it's sheath. When she stated that her magic doesn't have the desired effect, all he replied with was a simple, "Don't worry about it."

The axe and mace reappear back into their ringed sheathes, and instead the lance and shield take up their positions at his flanks, bashing and thrusting. Instead of a close range weapon, he has his bow back in his hands.

Methodically, trios and quintets of arrows are nocked back and fired at the zombie torches in particular, creating an antipodal effect as holy and darkness flames intermingle into swirling energies of twilight. Feathered shafts appear all over them as he fills them through of these arrows, perhaps in an attempt to overload them with the unfamiliar duality of the flames.
Royce Royce steps back once more to observe as the last of the combat plays out. Firion's access to various weapons allows him to apply the proper tools necessary in each scenario, fending off the dangerous flames from afar as his polearm and shield hold them at bay.

Dozens of miniature black holes wink to life in the zombie ranks as holy light and eldritch darkness spiral inwards in an attempt to consume each other. The warring energies shred apart everything in their vicinity with incredible fervor and eventually the last of the abominations falls still leaving only silence to fill the grove.

Royce casually strides into the midst of the carnage and kneels down to inspect some of the remains, pulling various empty vials from a small satchel at her waist and stuffing bits and pieces of charred or shredded flesh into them.

"Your ability to dispatch these creatures was quite impressive," she says without looking up from her work. "I did not expect a single warrior to best so many with such ease."
Firion He watches as the last of the small horde are dispatched by the miniature wells of twilight. In truth he had no idea how that was going to play out, he hadn't even /tried/ that before, he'd just felt it in a boy that he'd met once in combat. He just had a sense of... intuition, that most people weren't able to handle that sort of combination of energy.

Even so, as the flames upon his body die away, he begins to look, tired.. perhaps even diminished from the effort. His errant weapons find their way back into their sheathes and scabbards, and it takes him some time to answer. "In truth?" He smiles cheerfully as he speaks, "I've seen better. Far better, and thus I must train harder if I ever hope to achieve my dreams."

It's obvious that even under her ruse, she wasn't of much aid in the battle despite being.. formidable, to have come all this way, and yet he doesn't seem to be calling attention to that fact. If he noticed it, he doesn't seem to even care.
Royce The woman spends several minutes investigating the aftermath of the fight. Her collection of bottles and vials seems almost endless as she fills them with what looks like little more than giblets of flesh, each indistinguishable from the last. She offers no comforting or encouraging words in response to Firion's self-evaluation, seeming to be the kind of person who only speaks when she has something important to say.

Eventually, Royce completes whatever it is that she is up to and turns to face the young warrior. "I have acquired a suitable amount of data for the time being. Our partnership is no longer required. I shall be departing now."

The ground below her feet seems to simply open up like an eye, revealing a void of infinite black. The edges of the tear into the very fabric of space glow a dark angry red as the witch sinks into the darkness without another word and within a few moments she is gone. The portal winks shut behind her, vanishing as quickly as it appeared, leaving Firion to find his own way through the infested jungle.
Firion The young warrior watches her depart, he even smiles and waves despite her dropping into a void of infinite black.

As he starts to walk along, trying to find his way to Drover's camp, he comments idly, "Well she was entirely unabashedly evil." He walks along again for some time before he continues speaking in a tone which sounds remorseful, "...let's just hope she finds her way, some day."

The rest of his thoughts he keeps entirely to himself. Even as a light shower starts on his way back. Just another light rain, which tries to cleanse away the jungle of the evidence of their passing. Whether it succeeds or not, is another story.

This scene contained 24 poses. The players who were present were: Royce, Firion