- 2 Character
- 3 Tendencies
- 4 Relationships
- 5 A Trail of Dusk - Origin Tale
- 6 Tales from the Black book
- 7 The Hissing Abyss(Nightmare)
- 8 Pleasant Conversation
- 9 Visions of the Twelve
- 10 Raid Kill Photos
Weight: 190 Ponze (lbs)
Height: 80 Ilms (Inches)
Body build: Athletic
Eye color: Lavender
Glasses or contacts: None
Skin tone: Ashen
Distinguishing marks: Scar across left side of her nose, purple lightning tattoo across right eye.
Hair color: Purple with white Highlights
Type of hair: Smooth
Voice: Elize Ryd (E.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhCX67q4X1o)
Physical disabilities: None (Currently)
Usual fashion of dress: Light Mail armor or flowing white robes depending on situation
Favorite outfit: Kirimu Coat
Jewelry or accessories: Two rings and two stud earrings
Good personality traits: Loyalty, Determination
Bad personality traits: Lack of Patience, Short fused
Mood character is most often in: Stoicisim
Sense of humor: Dry
Character’s greatest fear: A Serpent large enough to swallow someone whole.
Character is most at ease when: Her mind is occupied (Busy)
Most ill at ease when: Her boredom fills her head with past events she'd rather forget
Enraged when: Manipulated
Life philosophy: There is no freedom, only survival
If granted one wish, it would be: Invisibility (Not due to being socially awkward or being an introvert. It would make her job easier)
Character’s soft spot: Musical Instruments
Is this soft spot obvious to others? Depends on the situation
Greatest strength: Her agility
Greatest vulnerability or weakness: Lack of ability to learn any sort of magic
Character’s darkest secret: In Origin tale below
Does anyone else know? Only her parents a few select conjurers
Alignment: True Neutral
A Trail of Dusk - Origin Tale
The onsets of winter were fast approaching. Snow began to block the passes that led to the Coerthas highlands, caravans would be unable to leave or enter the frozen land until the cycle of spring began to show its head on the horizon, even with the high mountain peaks roaring their defiance at such a notion. Villages around the Northern shroud of Gridania had already began their yearly preparations for the test that was a northern winter.
Such Preparations were lost in a place known as Silverfang, a hidden village nestled within the cavernous walls of the North shrouds mountain range. Silverfang boasted a small population of just under two hundred residents, a healthy mixture of Duskwight Elezen, skins as black as night and accentuated ear tips. The average Dusk stood at a height of sixty-five ilms.
Most homes were simple one story wooden structures and no more then three or four rooms, in one such home near the centre of the settlement a young couple sat huddled together in front of a roaring hearth, a warm blanket of fur covering them and their newborn girl, barely five months old and already seeing her first test from the land. She was had grown by at least three (pounds) since she had been born, nestled in her mothers arms. Fast asleep after a feeding the young Elviane dreamt within a magical fantasy, a far cry from the harsh reality of their humble abode.
Vorsaile Lefebvre wrapped his arms around his wife and daughter, an Elezen that had just seen his fortieth fall, short snow white hair hovering just above his ear, flowing into a skin that had seen a harsh existence. Hardened by the landscape and more then a few scars from battles with the other beasts that called this land home, most notably was his left eye, damaged beyond recognition from a recent incursion of Diremites, skin had begun to grow over the useless orb, his other eye a mirror opposite, crackling in the midst of the nearby fire shone a bright red iris, fixated on his wife and daughter whom he was glad shared more traits of her mother then her father. Like his, her hair was snow white, flowing gracefully down past her shoulders, stopping at her waist. He ran his fingers through the locked of her hair before placing his calloused hands on her soft cheek, highlighting a tattoo she wore over her left eye, in the shape of a bolt of lightning. It accentuated her eyes, like the ink she wore, a deep lavender iris staring back into his red eye and she merely smiled at him, holding her newborn closer which elicited a quiet cry from Elviane below.
Mianne Lefebvre looked down to her daughter, ushering gentle assurances to quiet the newborn, rocking the little one in her arms and quietly humming a lullaby in hopes to put the child back to sleep. Her song nearly enchanted her husband as well, his head began to bob in a similar rhythm to his daughters. Soon after she stopped, she looked at her husband and she pursed her lips to hide a giggle, she always seemed to forget even a minor enchantment in her voice would snare her unsuspecting husband.
Looking over the both of them, it seemed her spell had worked, even though her husband was trying he fell asleep, curled like a babe against her shoulder and her little El mimicking her father. Mianne looked over at the hearth in contemplation before a knock at the door shook her back into reality, and apparently knocking Vorsaile from his blissful slumber as well, both looked at each other in confusion, nobody was expected for the evening and both were surprised that anyone was out at this late hour.
Again a knock came at the door, a calm and collective tap. Vorsaile looked to his wife with a shrug, reluctantly slipping out of the thick blanket, his footfalls were silent as he walked through the wooden home, even the creaking wood was muffled while he walked over the numerous animal furs that lined key sections of the floor. Reaching for the metal door jamb he unlock several other bolts and locks that helped keep the door closed in a storm, slowly he pulled the heavy door open to see an Elezen standing before him. Hunched over and carrying a tall walking stick, fashioned from a branch of mahogany, a simple and long stick with what almost seemed a shepard's hook at the top with a bend that could hold a lantern that probably didn't exist anymore. Only the Elezens dark chin showed from underneath his cowl. The figure let his staff rest against a shoulder, bringing his heavily wrinkled hands together as bowed.
"I deeply apologize for bothering you at this hour, but might an old one such as I step The local inn closed it's doors and nobody else will answer... " He almost weazed, coughing from a dryness in his lungs that came from the weather more than his advanced age. "I can compensate you both handsomely if you are able to."
Vorsaile looked to his wife, still half hidden under the great fur blanket, her lavender orbs shining brightly with the fire as a background and she smiled back with a nod.
He nodded back soon after and helped the elder inside, pushing the door closed behind them, replacing the locks and jambs soon after. He quickly caught up with the old one.
"Can I offer you some tea perhaps? Wet your tongue and rejuvenate your lungs?" He offered as a kettle over the fireplace began to quietly whistle.
The old one pulled his cowl back revealing a face that had probably seen the fall of empires, sagging skin from his forehead to his chin, parchment thin grey hair and what seemed to be near white eyes. He looked up at Vorsaile, barely coming up to the younger Elezens chest with the hunched over back handicapping him.
"That would be lovely. And I cannot express my gratitude enough for your hospitality... It has been a long day of travel and unfortunately I arrived here to late" Letting out a long phlegm filled cough, wiping it onto his dusty black robes and cloak. Vorsaile lead him to a couch just behind his wife and daughter, covered in just as many furs as the floor and the elder sat down with a relieved sigh as he sank into the cushions.
"I'm afraid my curiosity has gotten the better of me on this but I must ask. You're not from here so how do you know where our settlement sits within the mountains?" Vorsaile asked after the elder had been given a chance to reclaim his senses.
"Oh I've been here before young sir, unfortunately the weather outside your cavern delayed me from getting here at an appropriate time." letting out a long sigh.
"I am Faucillien" Closing his eyes and containing a wheeze as Vorsaile strolled over to the fireplace, filling three small mugs with a sweet smelling liquid. Handing one to Mianne, to
Faucillien and then finally himself. He crawled back under the fur blanket beside his wife and looked back at the elder Elezen.
Faucillien nodded back. "Believe me my young friend. I will not be a burden for long if at all." His voice a bit clearer once the tea had done its work.
Vorsaile looked back towards his family, accepting the answer and was admittingly relieved to hear such a proclamation. Finishing his mug, ignoring the heat it gave off and wrapping an arm around Mianne and pulling her close.
A little laugh came from Faucillien but he said nothing else on the matter, bringing his gaze back to the fire as a grin slowly came across his face. He simply lay back in his comfy chair and let the comfort of sleep take him, due in no small part to Mianne quietly singing, all of them soon followed suit.
Morning did not differ much from the night in the cavernous deeps, the tall roof was covered in a deep darkness, even with the torches of the morning residents. A groggy Vorsaile awoke not long past what he thought was dawn, letting out a long yawn, looking down at his wife with a smile, his gaze further drifting and blinking in momentary surprise as little Elviane was nowhere to be seen, the blanket that housed the infant included. Panic began to set of the Elezens normally expressionless face, turning his head back quickly towards the couch only to find Faucillien gone as well. He quickly rose Mianne from her slumber who let out a scream as she discovered her arms had been emptied of her precious child.
Both scrambled to their feet, nearly tearing their home apart trying to find the little one when at last Vorsaile's gaze fell upon the great wooden door, closed but all the locks were still out of place. He gritted his teeth and wrapped himself into his travelling cloak. Grabbing his twin broadswords that hung near the door on the way out, unsurprisingly Mianne was right behind him, heavy leather tunic and breeches on, topped with a similar cloak to her husbands and both pressed on through the new fallen snow, following heavy boot prints from their home and out of town into the wilderness, informing a pair of guards on the way out, one accompanying them as they had seen the elder pass through the gate not long ago.
Continuing to follow a pair of boot prints left presumably by their would be kidnapper, Vorsaile started to notice a shift in the depth of the prints as well as their frequency, the elder was running but with a larger spring in his step.
"Was the old one getting healthier? How else could he move at this speed?" He thought to himself as they followed the seemingly endless trail out of the cavern, far from their village and up another mountain, it's imposing snowy peak staring down at the trio as of they were mere insects on its belly.
After what seemed like hours they had come upon a cave entrance, large enough for them all to stand comfortably more then shoulder width apart from each other.
"I'll bring up the rear, you two proceed on ahead." The guard had said to the couple, a young Duskwight male wearing a thin layer of chain mail on top of a fur coat, brandishing a simple lance that stood just above his head. Vorsaile could understand his hesitance to take point with such a weapon.
The tunnel went on for some time, stretching far into the belly of the beast. Finally they came to what seemed to be a nexus of caverns around a hollow dome. In front of them was a surprisingly well furnished cave, a desk stacked with tomes, both new and old littering the dusty floor, crumpled note paper thrown astray by some impatient scholar it would seem. The cavern was well lit, a large chandelier fit for a king was placed on the roof, making the area as bright as the daylight sun. Vorsaile's eye scans the multitude of exits and entrances that lead further into the occupants mountain home, the one thing it seemed devoid of at the moment. He nodded to
Mianne and the rear guard, stepping further into the nexus. After a few short heartbeats all three heard what sounded like a cackle, the voice coming from what seemed to be many of the different alcoves and caves, their eyes frantically scanning trying to discern the source.
It began to die away rather quickly, the only one who seemed calm at the moment was Mianne, eyes closed with her fingers on the string of her longbow, an arrow already knocked and waiting for a target to strike. She seemed to be looking within herself, attuning her ears to the vibrations of the cavern, following the voice to its source. Patiently she waited, a gasp came from her and she let an arrow fly, slamming into the stone wall next to an opening on the second level.
"There!" She whispered, though even that low volume bounced off the walls and gave an echo back at them.
Vorsaile smiled at Mianne "Did I ever tell you how much I love you?" His smile turning into a sly grin.
Returning his grin. "You can show me that later dear." She said with a wink before she slung her bow over a shoulder. Diving for the far wall and climbing up the rock, her husband and the town guard close behind her. Vorsaile and Mianne scaled the cliff rather easily, motioning to the guard to stay in the nexus incase anyone came running by and they proceeded down the darkened cave.
Soon after the two Dusks took off down the cave, the guard took a steadying breath to calm his nerves."Just calm down Amien, it's only a basic kidnapping..." His eyes quickly scanned the room, the presence of the library of books not helping. "A kidnapper that likes to read, yeah that's it, has to be." Nodding to himself with a goofy smile across his pale lips. "Can't disappoint mother, I mean captain... I failed her last assignment. I shall not do so again!" He proclaimed, slamming the pommel of his spear into the ground. So entrenched in his in thoughts of glory that he did not hear the skittering coming from a nearby cave entrance.
The tunnel felt like a maze, even with only one path the twists and turns gave one a sense of disorientation, only Mianne's keen ears kept her husband from questioning if they were even going the right way. Slowly the temperature began to rise, descending down into what seemed the mountains heart, waves of heart coming in pulses. The tunnel had finally leveled out, proceeding straight instead of the usual twists and turns. Vorsaile and Mianne turn to look at each other as the laughter begins anew, they were getting close. Both kick off their back heels, sprinting towards the source, thoughts of their daughter in the hands of a madman clear in their heads. The cavern began to widen and brighten once more, not with the same light that had been in the nexus above, but something that took on a reddish hue as the temperature began to spike. Mianne put a hand on her husbands shoulder. Stopping dead in his tracks he looked at her curiously as she retrieved two golden rings inset with a blue gem, slipping one on her finger and handing the other to her husband he nodded in understanding. Slipping his own ring on he felt a wave of cold sweep over his body, bringing the immediate air around him and his core body temperature down to a more reasonable level. They nodded at each other once again diving down the hallway in pursuit of the sound they'd heard.
"Diremites!" Amien screamed, diving forward into a roll, brining his knees and lance across his chest, narrowly missing a strike from a Diremites stinging tail.
Six Diremites had entered the room from the cave entrance, skittering across the ground on their six large legs. Their bodies came up to Amiens shoulder, about sixty ilms in height. A segmented tail with a curved stinger raised high with each one, coated in a noxious poison to liquefy their prey. Their black chitinous bodies shimmered in the light of the nearby chandelier, red, hungry eyes staring back at him and pedipalps flailing towards the young Duskwight.
Amien was panting heavily, his heartbeat rising exponentially, one Diremites he could handle easily enough by his own estimate but six of the large creatures sent shivers down his spine. Slowly he began back up, if he could get back outside he may have a chance. Diremites preferred warmer habitats so by his logic if he got outside they would give up the chase, though he dare l not turn his back for fear of getting a stinger in the back. One Diremite let out a screech, it's hunger driving it forward it's stronger primed for a quick strike. Amien blinked and kicked off to his right, narrowly avoiding the dangerous appendage as it slammed into the ground, breaking the rock underneath and sending chunk flying in multiple directions. Amien drove his lance into the creatures skull, ichor and brain matter spewing from the creature in its death throes before it finally fell still. He quickly turned his attention back towards the other five and found them charging but bashing into each other several times, slowing their progress as they proceeded down the much narrower tunnel. Against his previous logic, Amien ripped his lance from the dead mite, turn tail and fled for his life, counting on that narrow passage to slow the Diremites enough so he could make it out safely. The laughter at the cave's exit had died down to a minimal, driving the two Dusks on with renewed vigor, panic was settling in on them both. Visions of their daughter in the hands of a madman resonating in their minds as clearly as the ringing of the church's bell.
The cave spat them out into a large egg shaped cavern, the almost blinding light finally revealed itself as a river of molten magma. Running from the thinnest part of the cavern and collecting a large basin at the wider end, the ice rings the pair were wearing did not bring the air around them to an acceptable level, even with the enchantment beads of sweat rolled down their bodies. At the far end of the room across the molten river lay a large black sphere almost as big as the magma basin, it rose into the dark ceiling. Mianne muttered something low as a streak of tears rolled down her cheeks
"What monster would bring a child to the antechamber of the seven hells?!" She exclaimed to her husband whom could only shake his head in response.
"Why my dear, I could." A hollow voice resonating in both of their minds.
Both searched frantically for the source of the proclamation before their eyes settled on the large black globe in front of them, a figure had appeared just outside the impenetrable blackness, a humanoid standing a few inches higher than Vorsaile and covered in a flowing black and purple robes covering his feet and his face. Only his dark grey hands were showing before he reached up, throwing his cowl back to reveal long white hair flowing down his back tied into a simple ponytail. His ears shot out of the side of his head, accentuated to the point of resembling a high Ishguardian peak. The skin on his face betrayed a semblance of youth in the Duskwight, tight and pulled back to show a pointed chin and thin cheeks, two lavender orbs showed as he opened his eyes, making Mianne gasp.
"But, you're dead." She whispered, blinking several times in disbelief, drawing a curious stare from her husband and a grin from the figure across the room.
"But how can I be dead if I stand before you now?" Teasing Mianne with his voice.
"Something we shall quickly rectify!" She proclaimed, chanting a song that brought a purple an red haze across the room. She drew her bowstring with an almost feral war cry and let the arrow fly, surrounded in a red aura that began to drip like blood as it soars across the chamber. It flew true, only to bounce off the Duskwights manawall.
"Oh come now dear sister, is that truly anyway to greet your older brother? Surely you missed dear old Marti no?" Bursting out into heavy laughter, unable to keep a straight face as he looked at his sister.
The manawall her brother kept did not slow the enraged Elezen, firing arrow after arrow, each one like a lightning bolt streaking across the sky, bouncing off the barrier continuously.
"It's because of you our parents are dead! Your experiments with magic, breaking the very laws of nature. Dabbling in powers beyond your own control, summoning a Demon into our very home! The bodies of our parents, their blood is on your hands you murderer!" So enraged, so overcome with emotion she could not begin to see that her brother was in the midsts of casting.
Amiens plan had worked, daylight came into view from the cave's exit. The Diremites behind him had only just started to realize they needed to proceed one at a time with their tails flat against the ground in order to proceed down the long tunnel. Their skittering legs tapping the ground like a broken clock, rapidly counting towards a doomsday for the young Elezen.
He almost stumbled out into the waiting snowfall, not expecting the blizzard to have come back so soon with such ferocity. The mountains howled as if fighting some unseen foe, wind and snow slicing across the cave entrance. The sounds of the Diremites resonated from the cave entrance, reminding Amien where he was and what his purpose out here was. Gathering his wits and his matter covered lance, he backed away from the cave entrance with his weapon levelled at the mouth as the five remaining Diremites burst forth from their mountain home.
A grin came across Amiens face as the Diremites reeled in pain, the mountain snow sticking and stinging their hides like slag from a forge. They seemed to be communicating with one another as they slowly tried to back into their warm cave but Amien was quicker. Charging with abandon, screaming a war cry he drove his lance into the eye of the nearest Diremite, piercing it's skull and severing the brain stem. It tried to brig its claws to bare, to weakly defend itself, but the snow did it's work with the cold blooded creatures. The other four screeched for the loss of one of their own and two more slowed Diremites charged at the seemingly stuck Elezen. He was as he seemed, his spear was caught between crunches of bone and grey matter, he looked up just in time to see the two charging and dropped his spear, leaping back just enough to avoid the sting of those tails. He drew a long sword and dirk, a pair of backup weapons incase he lost his favoured lance, better then nothing but much less suited to dealing with these mid range foes.
The Diremites primed their stingers, bringing their tails in and they waited. Their beady eyes staring at the Elezen and it became a stand off, neither side wishing to break the ice and compromise their positions. The other two cold Diremites had already retreated to the cave of their mountain home, having had enough of the biting cold and deciding thy this prey wasn't worth the effort. So focused on his two enemies in front, he didn't see the vines breech the snow behind him.
The pillar of ice slammed into the rock just as Vorsaile tackled Mianne in a desperate attempt to save her. Diamond dust flew in every direction, turning to steam almost instantly from the heat of the magma below.
"Oh tsk tsk, had to ruin my perfect record with aiming didn't you Vorsaile?" said Marti in a chastising tone. "Now I'll have to live with that fact forever, hmm no matter as I have other things to attend to at the moment, youth has a fickle way of fading you see and I need something to sustain it. Your daughter will do nicely." He raised a slender hand into the air, snapping his finger abruptly and the globe of darkness diminished.
For within were two objects, one summoning circle within another the smaller one positioned at the far face of the larger one. The smaller circle contained an unharmed and fast asleep Elviane, caught in an enchantment cast by Marti she was blissfully unaware of what was happening around her. With the confines of the larger circle stood a much larger fiend, held down by chains of unknown origin. Large leathery wings surrounded the hulking creature, Marti whispered something to low for Mianne and Vorsaile to hear but the results were instant. The beast gave a trembling roar, almost sapping the strength from the duo's legs as it broke free from its prison. The wings spread far to a total span of ten feet, the leather wings slowly folded behind the creatures back.
"Gargoyle..." Mianne breathed as memories came flooding back in an instant, she knew this creature well. The demon rose to its full height of thirteen feet, towering over anyone in the room with ease, long avian type legs crouching back down as if to spring while it eyes the pair across the room. It's massive chest covered in what looked like chunks of solid limestone covered it's pectorals, but it was merely the hardened skin of the beast surrounded by sand colored sinew that took the place of skin surrounding its body with two arms nearly coming down to its knees, tipped with large black claws and two vicious looking dark steel long swords that almost matched its arms in length and thickness. It's head was sharp and angular, from its forehead all the way to its spiked chin looked like the tip of a sword. It's eyes carried small yellow iris' among a sea blackness. From the top of its head it bore two horns, brushed back at the point of protrusion before sweeping straight up towards the ceiling. It snorted at the duo, slapping it's two swords against one another before Marti uttered a single phrase.
"Kill them both."
The Diremites skittered backwards, closer to their mountain home but keeping their stingers primed at Amien. With another battle cry he charged the remaining mites only to hear a screech wind behind him and from the snow erupted a mass of vines and moss.
"Ochu..." Amien gasped, halting his charge and falling flat on his back, bringing his weapons to bare against the creature. The beast was over eight feet in height and six feet in width, the green moss hanging from its organic hide screeting large amounts of water. Its long and suffocating vines crawling towards its intended prey. The Ochu did not have what one would consider a natural head, it had four flaps that sat upon its circular body that housed a mouth filled with razor sharp teeth. It's maw snapped shut and it charged, not at Amien but at the two nearly frozen Diremites behind him. The two scared creatures launched their stingers but merely bounced off its armoured head. It's jaw opened wide and slammed closed around an unfortunate creature, shaking its body wildly, despite the repeated stings from the squirming mite in its death throes. Amien cringed as a sickly 'crunch' filled the air, chitin and ichor spraying every which way as the Ochu devoured its helpless meal. The last mite used its unfortunate ally as a distraction while it retreated to its warm mountain cave. After a few minutes of lopping its vines in the snow for the remains of its prey it spun. Feeling with its vines for further prey towards Amien with a feeling of hunger, apparently the mite had not sated the large beast.
Slowly it started to crawl towards him. A loud hiss was heared in the distance and both stopped in their tracks, snapping their heads in the direction of the sound.
"Oh what in the seven hells is going to try and eat me now?!" Amien screamed to the wind.
The gargoyle didn't have to be told twice, it leaped over Marti, towards a still prone Mianne and Vorsaile. Both twisted, planting their feet against each other and kicked off, launching in opposing directions just as the dark steel blades came crashing down. Both rolled backwards gaining proper footing and drawing their weapons. Mianne quickly fire off three arrows, one went wide and two pierced a wing, dangling like a wind chime. The creature did not roar in pain, but of annoyance and stalked towards Mianne. Seeing his wife in trouble, Vorsaile leaped at the creature driving his twin broadswords against where he thought the hamstrings of the creature were. Only to bounce off with a clang.
"What?" Was all he managed to say before the gargoyle turned, back handing the impudent Duskwight and launching Vorsaile more then twenty feet down the chamber before turning its attention back to Mianne. Snorting smoke from its nostrils is charged the Mianne, swords crossed over its chest for a heavy cross slash as she drew her bowstring back, waiting for the last possible second and firing the missile into and eye, the creature howled an unearthly roar as it collided with the back wall, missing the nimble Duskwight. She skipped back, far out of range of a counter strike from the gargoyle. The Gargoyle struggled, tearing both itself and a chunk of the wall out with a crash, its heavy blades slicing through the flying rock with ease. It stood there, eyes seething with hatred and boring into the two inferior Elezen and charged. Striking with abandon at Mianne and Vorsaile, all sense of strategy gone from its mind, replaced with blind rage. The strikes struck through the ground, bringing with it mounds of rock and narrowly missing the agile Elezen by the skin of their teeth each time. Both were panting heavily as the Gargoyle refused to let them both off the hook to back off and recover, while their stamina was limited to their physical prowess, the gargoyle's was near infinite.
Marti looked on at the spectacle before him with a laugh, his summoned Gargoyle creating destruction where ever its blade struck. He actually grimaced with a grin as a mocking gesture as the flat of a blade struck his sister, sending her flying into a nearby wall, rendering her unconscious.
"Too slow dear sister." he said as he spun on his heels, walking towards the warded and sleeping Elviane.
Dragging the back of his palm across her forehead a grin. "So we will be together as a family, joined in harmony!" he said with a snicker. He held his hands just above the sleeping infant, his hands aglow in a brilliant blue light, flowing from his palms like rain it coated skin of El in a similar light, her short white hair standing on edge as she takes in a deep breath, her eyes jolt open as she begins to cry loudly. Her voice echoed off the cavern walls in a siren's cry. Marti ceased his chanting and clapped his hands over his ears to hide from the wail, a motion mimicked by Vorsaile and the Gargoyle.
Vorsaile could only rely on his speed to keep away of the dancing blades, but he was retreating, and he knew he was running out of room. the lava pit was close behind him at this point and his blades were useless against the Gargoyles main body. He took one step back, and nearly fell into the pool below as his eye went wide.
"How did I move so far back to quickly?!" scolding himself for tunnel visioning on the gargoyle in front of him instead of keeping a sense of where he was.
The Gargoyle's right arm came down in a flash, aiming to cleave the Duskwight in two. Vorsaile sprang forward, tucking his knees and arms in against his chest as he rolled underneath the creature. Coming up in a crouch directly behind the demon expecting a swing from the second sword. He blinked in surprise as the Gargoyle wasn't facing him, but instead trying to rip its precious sword from the rock in front of them. Thinking quickly, Vorsaile went for the only portion of the body he knew he could damage, the wings. He brought his twin swords up high above his head, leaping for the leathery material between each bone and cleaved through it like butter. The demon let loose a painful roar, beating its injured wing while it desperately tried to relinquish its weapon from the rock. Dropping its other blade it grasping the blade in both claws not, desperate to rip it out. Vorsaile dropped his own blades, diving for the Darksteel blade that the creature seemed to forget about, trying to lift it as if he were wielding a claymore. Backing off and drawing it back for a heavy swing, letting all control in the swing go and slashing across the demons hamstrings, crippling its ability to move as quick as before. The realization had hit the wounded demon just as he managed to rip its blade from the hardened rock. Turning on his adversary and nearly collapsing from the pain given by his severed hamstrings. It beat its heavy wings to attempt to stay upright, but the severed flesh in between the bones prevented each bone prevented such a possibility from happening. It stumbled backwards and Vorsaile charged, darksteel great sword leading as it slammed against the Gargoyles hardened skin, piercing the breastbone and pushing the gargoyle further off balance. As it tried to gasp for breath it fell, the broken terrain collapsing in a shower of rock beneath the crippled creature as it plummeted into the pools below with a defiant roar and a hiss. The Cavern soon fell silent. Marti came to a moment later, groaning as he slowly came to his feet,off balance and nearly stumbling onto his back as he reoriented himself. He looked down at little Elviane with a curious brow raised.
"Curious little talent you have there." he said as he moved in closer to the child once again. He grumbled as he thought of a solution, mumbling something lowly as he moved his fingers in a few simple pattern and snapped them. In the immediate area surrounding both Marti and Elviane. Reaching into the folds of his robes he drew forth a dirk and flipped it upside down in his hand. Hovering the tip over the child's heart.
"Oh well, if you're going to be this much of a pain to draw youth from, you aren't worth the irony." he said, trying to plunge the dirk home. He stopped about halfway down as he began to choke on something. Slowly he looked down to his chest to find a longsword, protruding from his chest. His eyes went wide as he looked behind him, a beaten and battered Mianne breathing down his neck through gritted teeth. "I told you I would rectify that mistake." Twisting the blade against his spine and through a lung, a few seconds past and Marti was dead. His hands flat against his side as his body could not support him any further. Mianne drew her blade from the corpse and kicked it off to the side, almost collapsing herself as the adrenaline that had sustained her had worn off. Managing enough strength to bring her head up, she looked at her daughter, as pristine as the day they had met and fast asleep in her makeshift cradle. The woman let go a moment later, her energy fully spent as she let the darkness of sleep take her. Vorsaile sat across the way, a satisfied grin on his face as he watched Mianne fly through the air and across the chasm. He almost let out a cheer as her blade plunged home and he feel back, grasping his side in a grimace as he felt what he thought was a broken rib. Spitting out a bit of blood.
"Damn, I'm slowing in my age."
Amien looked from the sound of the roar to the Ochu that stood across from him, he blinked in confusion as the the creature seemed to forget all about him. Watching the beast turn on its heels and sprint further down the mountain, another hiss drew Amien from his contemplations, reminding him of where he was and scrambling for a nearby rocky outcropping and making himself as small as possible against the rock and the snow bank. His curiosity was nagging at him, whatever made that sound was close and fear kept him in check for the moment but it did not last very long. Swallowing his fear he craned his head to look around the rock and his eyes went wider then the length of his spear. Before him stood a creature that was spoken of only to scare small children before bed, a red serpent. Standing nearly as tall as two old growth mahogany trees, the beast was practically a titan. Its body was a thick as Amien if three of him were to stand shoulder to shoulder. It's light brown skin covering the length of its body and leading up to a large fanned out head to crown the serpent with fangs nearly three fulms in length, filled with venom. A hiss escaped its mouth as a thin forked tongue left an opening at the floor of its mouth, scenting the air and searching for prey
Amien immediately drew himself back behind the rock, slipping further into the snow as quietly as possible in hopes of evading the beasts sight. A little gasp left him as the beast cut a hiss short, every second felt like an eternity. All but his eyes felt like they were under the snow at this point as he heard the serpent slither across the ground, barely four yalms from his current position, he could see each individual muscle contorting to move the massive body. It took all of his strength to contain a scream as he saw the serpents head just above him. It swung its head side to side, flaring its nostrils every so often as if it was searching for something. It took a deep breath in and it froze. Amien could barely control his shaking as the beasts head eventually turned downwards, seeming to have caught his scent. The beast brought its head back before letting out an hiss that nearly the poor Elezen, he barely gained enough of his wits to duck underneath the beast before those stone tearing jaws planted into the bank where he just was, shattering the underlying rock and dirt layers beneath. It quickly recovered, backing up in an effort to get at its tiny prey but Amien kept running, back towards the cave that lead him back out here. Every bone in his body was screaming from the strain and his hearing was destroyed by the massive roar. Only just able to keep ahead of the jaws he was quickly tiring, but the cave was in sight and the beast had stopped moving backwards. Hope filled through his body as he dove for the entrance, but the snake's mace like tail was quicker. It slammed into the ground just before the cave entrance, sending rock, snow and the poor Elezen flying.
Amien groaned after a few seconds, completely disoriented and unaware of his surroundings, laying on top of the snow and unable to move his body. The serpent hissed again, but to Amien it was merely a whisper in the dying wind. His blurred vision only showed the light brown and red mass hovering over him, growing larger at a fast pace before he knew no more.
"My head, why does it-" Vorsaile screamed in pain as he tried to lift his broken body, grasping the side of a bed? "Where, am I?"
A door crashed open. "Vorsaile~ You're awake. What's wrong?" An aged Duskwight asked, dressed in neatly pressed white robes.
"Brother Simler... What are you doin-" biting back a scream of pain as a bandaged hand grasped at his broken ribs. He felt a warm hand guide him back down towards the pillow.
"Be at ease brother, you're back home in Silverfang." Simler said, bringing himself back to his full height and tucking his hands within the folds of his robes.
Vorsaile looked up at him, not a patch of hair adorned the head of the Wildwood, clean shaven with a head smooth enough to call glass and green eyes showed a softness that put Vorsaile's mind at ease for a moment. He took a breath to calm himself and look around, before he could ask the question, Simler answered.
"You are in the Chapel at the center of town. A division of guardsmen found you and your family in the caverns below after Amien failed to report in after sunset." Simler looked away to mutter a quiet prayer which perplexed Vorsaile.
"Did you find him? I know we left him at the cavern's central nexus as a guard... but I know not what happened after that." he said.
Simler collected his breath and looked Vorsaile in the eye. "He's dead. Eaten by what the search party believed to be a massive red serpent." Vorsaile's eyes widened at the mention of the creature. "We only found his frozen and bloodstained foot, presumably forgotten by the titanic beast as it went off in search of a more satisfying prey." Simler continued before clearing his throat. "In any case, they followed a trail of dead Diremites back into the central nexus that you mentioned and followed the cavern that had an arrow stuck next to it. Which I presume was placed by Mianne~" he said before Vorsaile looked at him in a sudden panic but once again, before he could ask, Simler silenced him with an upraised hand. "Do not worry brother, she is safe. As is, little Elviane. Although, she is being closely monitored by the Priests at the moment." His narrowed vision shot down Vorsaile's next question. "We believe her to be possessed." the admission brought a gasp from Vorsaile and Simler didn't stop the next question.
"By what?" Vorsaile asked.
"If the guards reports are accurate, and the priests seem to believe it so. They believe that the ethereal form of the mage that your wife slew to be inside her." Simler calmly stated.
"Marti." Vorsaile muttered with utter malice in his voice. "Mianne's brother."
Simler raised a brow at that. "Her brother?" Bringing a delicate hand up to rub his chin. "An interesting turn of events."
Vorsaile shot a glare Simlers way. "If they do-" he said before Simler's gaze silenced him.
"Do you really believe our order would kill the child? If so, what would it accomplish? The spirit would be released beyond our control simply to try and control one of us. No, the priests have other plans for Elviane brother." he said, taking a breath to bring back his calm demeanour. "The spirit will be sealed within her. She will be his prison for the rest of her life. She will never practice magic, and any attempts to do so will be met with severe consequences Vorsaile let me make that clear." Simler breathed a quiet sigh. "This is the best we can offer at the moment. She will still grow up unabated by the process, but any magical abilities she would have come to possess normally will be suppressed by the powers of the seal." Simler smiled a bit.
"Which means that you only have one voice to watch yourself against." Trying to bring a bit of humour to defuse the look Vorsaile was giving him at the moment.
It helped a bit and Vorsaile calmed down. "I never intended for her to study magic in any case." he quietly admitted, turning his head away from Simler. "Have you told Mianne all of this yet?"
"No, she has not awoken yet. We will once she is in stable consciousness, as the mother she should know... but~ Little Elviane." he said and Vorsaile turned his head back to face Simler.
"She must never know of these events." he said, and Vorsaile nodded with an understanding of the reasoning.
Vorsaile lay his head back on his pillow as Simler turned back towards the door. "I am truly sorry for all this." Simler said as he gently closed the door, leaving Vorsaile alone with his thoughts to digest everything that had been said.</b>
Tales from the Black book
The Hissing Abyss(Nightmare)
“Hey.” a voice said.
“Hey! Wake up lazy bones.” it said again.
Slowly her eyes opened with a groan, bringing a gloved hand to rub at her tired eyes.
“Get up, or we're going to be late for the hunt.” it said, this time fading into the distance.
She eventually brought herself up to a sitting position, stretching out her back and arms, looking herself over she nodded to herself, still clad in a loose brown leather hunting suit she eventually crawled out from her small tent, looking out into the small encampment her party had made up the night before. It had been a suns journey to this location in the Central Shroud, avoiding the Wildwood Elezen cities to avoid any sort of confrontation with their more civilized cousins.
'Civilized~' she thought to herself. 'What a joke, think themselves so high and mighty.' running her fingers through her shaggy white hair, she'd finally spotted the group further down the line towards a thicker patch of trees, smaller hunting groups were already being formed as she looked for someone in particular. Her ears perked high when she heard him call out.
“Hey, about damn time you got moving my dear, thought you were going to sleep through all the fun.” a quickly balding dusk said as he walked over to her, the top of his hair missing with a patch over his right eye, his one good working eye staring at her with a playful smirk.
“You really think I'd miss this dad? My first big hunt? And you wanted to leave me back home with mother... how dare you think of such a punishing notion Vorsaile?” mimicking his grin and he burst out laughing.
“Oh come now my dear, you know I would never do such a heinous thing.” His voice filled with a teasing sarcasm.
“Anyways, where are we heading? Have the scouts reported any signs of the beast?” she said after giving her father a playful shove.
He shook his head. “Unfortunately not, we're still going on the last report that put it here in the Central Shroud. We're splitting into four groups of five to cover as much ground as we can. Our squad will head south, through Sorrel haven and drop into the area surrounding the Everschade.
She raised a brow at that. “Do we really want to go so near a sacred site? Won't there be plenty of Wildwood nearby?” she asked quizzically.
“Unfortuantely we have to scour the area until we can confirm whether or not the beast is even here in this section of the Shroud before we move onto another portion, likely the Western. We have our orders not to engage any of our brethren as we do not want to bring attention to our group.” he explained, moving towards three other dusk, grappling hooks, short bows and twin blades equipped for combat in amongst the trees.
She looked at the group her father had gathered and gave a wave, and looked towards her father and one addressed the two approaching dusk. “You still sure you want to bring your daughter along Vorsaile. She may get hurt.” one smirked while the other two burst into a friendly laughter.
Vorsaile tapped his chin, looking towards his daughter with a judgmental look. “I don't know, maybe I sho- Ow!” as she slugged him in the ribs. Which drew another bout of laughter from the group. “Alright alright miss high and mighty. You have forward scouting.” he shot back at her and the two locked eyes.
She grunted and nodded. “Fine.” Slinging her bow across her shoulder. “We're to head across Sorrel Haven yes? So avoiding the Morbols that like to nest in the southwestern pools and the gazes that nest at the sanguine perch. Am I getting that right?” Glaring at her father.
He nodded. “Correct.” Looking back towards the group. “We're heading to the Everschade, which means the possibility of conjurer activity, they are not to be engaged, if they are around. Watch your backs, my daughter will take point. Any questions?”
They all shook their heads, bowing low and the group left the camp site without a sound.
A few bells had gone by, thankfully uneventful as they'd finally crossed into the grove surrounding the Everschade, hiding amongst the trees the group began to take points along the outer edges, looking for heavily pressed grass or rocks simply brushed aside by movement.
Vorsaile and his daughter had regrouped just beyond the southern expanse, following portions of broken skin that had been found against a rather large boulder, it seemed the beast was in the middle of shedding its akin but had failed to do so on the previous boulders, which left a small glimmer of hope that they were on the right track with their prey, Vorsaile brought out a small whistle which gave off the sound of a Velociraptor, a signal to their comrades that they had found something and were currently following it.
The trail of skin went on for a while, heading southwest along the river the ground seemed to sink deeper in comparison to the area around it, Vorsaille crouched down, testing a theory by pushing his finger down into the ground to find it a thick layer of compressed mud.
“Lovely~ be careful dear, the grounds not going to be friendly with us should we leave this depression."
She nodded back towards her father, her eyes looking farther down the depression to spot a problem.
“Tall grass, and none of it has been pushed aside. Yet the trail leads further in.” looking back at him with a cursory glance. “How did we want to proceed, surely we don't just follow it into the grass where we can't see above it...?” she asked.
Vorsaile shook his head with a sigh. “Unfortunately not~ Following the great beast in there would be suicide... We'll just have to wait on the others, speaking of which.” Giving his whistle three short blasts, signaling for the group to collect on their location. “We'll have to wait for th-” A hissing broke his train of thought as they both instantly drew their bows, backing away from the grass, the source of the sound.
Vorsaile nodded towards his daughter, nocking an arrow, trained on the grass, waiting for something to emerge. They didn't have to wait long.
At blazing speeds, a giant serpent crashed through the grass, following its own depression back towards the two, Vorsaile ducked to the right, towards the more stable river bed while his daughter panicked, ducking to the left towards the muddy embankment and he gasped as the serpent came charging through. Both Elezen starred in awe as if charged on by, over forty yalms in length and about two yalms in width of pure muscle. The ground rumbled as its massive head came up off the ground, staring down at the two Elezen menacingly, looking between them as its tongue tasted the nearby air.
She broke the sudden silence created by the massive serpent, nocking an arrow from her bow, the steel tip burying itself deep into its left eye and it let out and ear screeching hiss of pain. It looked back towards her with a deep seething hatred, its maw opened wide and it dove without a care. An instant later she tried to dodge, but her feet were caught in the deep mud of the terrain and all she could do was stand their as the maw descended like a lightning bolt, slamming down around her and suddenly she was, floating? The serpent decided to fling her up in the air, she dropped her shortbow for her blades in a moment of clarity, falling feet first into the serpents open maw.
“El!~” the voice of her father yelled out as the serpents mouth snapped shut once more.
Panic immediately set into the young Elezen, she only had one of her two blades and the walls of the serpents esophagus were closing in fast, in a move of desperation she drew her blade back until it was horizontal, the half yalm blade barely making it as she plunged it in deep, hanging on for dear life. El screamed like a banshee as the serpent thrashed, throwing its weight on top of her tiny body. Crushing her legs first, another scream came from her as she felt both break instantly and the scream stole her breath. Now it began to crush her torso, she was unable to draw breath, waves upon waves of panic settled within her, unable to calm herself, she was losing consciousness and quickly. Only her willpower kept her conscious at this point in time, with her last bit of strength she dug her blade into the serpents flesh, she was blinded further by the blackness mixed with the serpents heavy blood, sinking into her corneas but she had not the breath to scream. Her body was broken, the last bit of air left in her lungs was gone and her mind could not hold on any longer, and she blacked out, her grip on the blade had failed and she slipped further into darkness.
El visibly shivered, standing at the mouth of a large cavern in the mountain range just North of the Shroud at a rather high elevation.
“So sad we had to come up this far, but~ I couldn’t just bring a bird brain into my home where everyone could see. Now what would the neighborhood think of me?” she said in a condescending tone with a sigh.
She readjusted her wolf hide cloak around her, snow clung to the remaining fur on the garment, mixing with the brown clumps to create shimmering icicles off each strand, underneath she was in a similar attire of tanned hides, purely for warmth at these higher altitudes.
“Oh well, at least here I can actually have fun with this instead of having to keep him quiet all the time. Plus, I don’t have to clean it up!” a sinister grin spreading on her chapped black lips as she glanced back into the low torch light of the cavern behind her, spotting one of her cohorts coming to join her.
“The interrogation is ready to commence whenever you are my lady.” Said the approaching Duskwight, standing tall above El by another five ilms with pale grey skin and Auburn hair, dyed some time ago as the roots of white hair were beginning to show on his head.
El nodded towards him. “I’m assuming you have everything laid out and the proper canisters are filled to my normal specifications?” she asked.
The other Dusk closed his eyes and laughed. “My lady, I’ve been working with you for enough years to know how you like your wine down to its temperature.” Giving a toothy grin and El laughed soon after.
“I know Geo, I simply ask out of habit.” Nodding as she turned her heels to head into the cavern and towards the waiting captive and two other cohorts placed to act as additional safety mechanisms should the captive try anything during the interrogation.
El followed the torchlight to the side chamber set aside, it was sparsely furnished aside from the tools along several tables lined up against the walls with one smaller table made of mahogany in the rooms center and two chairs on opposing sides, one made of metal and attached to the floor while the other was made from spruce and two cushions made from vanya silk held on my several small screws. Before El had moved to take her seat Geo had already pulled it out for her with a grin.
“Geo, how many times have I told you to stop with the acts of a gentleman? It just does not suit you.” She said as she took the seat anyway.
“Too many times to count my lady.” Giving an exasperated bow as he backed off.
“Whatever am I going to do with you? Am I going to have to give Marti your position and you take his?” she said in a joking tone.
“Little Marti would hate being at your side my lady, although I suppose that Hyur glued to your hip will always be the closest. Maybe she should have my job if we’re going into impossible situations.” He shot back with a snicker.
“Still sour it isn’t you Geo?” she smirked at him and he coughed to cease his laughing.
“I’ll go get the bird brain.” He said moving to a previous chamber.
He walked in a few minutes later with two more Dusks, each holding a dagger to the neck of the Ixal to force him forward. His avian head was muzzled underneath the cowl they kept over his head, his hands were bound in front of his body and attached to a chain that was anchored to a steel band across the Ixals waist. El has her hands folded in front of her, watching the Ixal in her peripheral vision before the two flanking guards forced it into the seat, locking the band that was around its waist to the arm and back rests. The guards removed their daggers and the cowl that covered its head, backing away and only leaving the muzzle that kept its beak closed on it for the moment as El’s lavender orbs met its hateful red gaze.
“So, here’s how this is going to work my fine feathered friend.” Enunciating the last words with a bit of sarcasm. “I will ask a question, and you will answer. If I like the answer you provide, everyone goes away from this whole situation in one piece and happy as can be. If at any point you do not understand what I am asking, stop me and I will explain. If you raise your voice just to yell at me one of my associates will calm you down. Simply nod if you understand.” El said with a flat tone of voice.
The Ixal seemed to look around the room to weigh its options, one eye was still half closed from the fall of its balloon back in Coerthas along with several deep bruises along its yellow and brown skin from when it had been taken in. After a few seconds it looked back at El with a hateful gaze, refusing to answer her question for the moment.
“Geo.” El called out sweetly.
The taller dusk walked up behind the Ixal with a darksteel gauntlet, back handing it across the skull and its face nearly slammed into the table in front of him. It tried to screech but the muzzle made it sound like a baby crying from another room, quiet and insignificant. It looked back at El and finally nodded in understanding.
El smiled back. “Excellent. Geo, kindly remove our esteemed guests muzzle and we will begin.”
Geo nodded back at El, doing so with his gauntlets on to protect his hands in case the Ixal tried to bite his fingers off. Though for the moment it seemed wise enough to not try such a feat. It took a steadying breath as if to calm itself as El leaned forward.
“What is your name?” she asked, making sure he knew how the process worked.
“Huo would be the simplest term for your tiny tongue to produce. Anything more and you would be butchering our language.” He simply stated, not taking his gaze off El.
“Well then, saves me from having to come up with a shortened name for you so that works for me. We’ll get right into it then so I do not waste your time with us. Why were you and your now dead brothers in that balloon heading towards boulder downs?” El asked, something she already knew the answer to, but to test the Ixals mind.
“We were on routine patrol, while supplying the ground forces we have stationed in the frozen lands to make sure nobody encroaches our territory.” He said, and to one whom didn’t know what was going on it would be a reasonable answer.
“So you were delivering heavy arms to your ground forces. In an area that hasn’t had any Ixal activity or settlements? Boulder downs is far outside of Natalan, so why out there?” El asked pushing out of her chair and moving towards one of the tables at the side.
The Ixal kept silent at that for a moment. “We must take precautions all along territory.” He finally said.
“Again, I repeat that you were outside of your territory. There are no settlements in the area that belong to Ixal.” She said, taking two syringes from the table, testing each one before walking over to their guest. “I repeat one more time, why were you and your brothers in the area far outside Natalan?”
The Ixal remained silent. El shrugged, removed the cap over the metal needle and looked at the two guards near her. “Hold his arm.” And they both complied, the Ixal screeched. “I’m telling you the real, ingrates!” before El slipped the needle into one of his veins and pressed the plunger. All three backed off for a moment while the Ixal sat there with a confused look on his face.
‘Probably expecting neurotoxin or something along those lines.’ El thought to herself. It took a moment for the fluid to circulate through the body and the Ixal tried to bring his hands up to scratch at the area El had inserted the syringe, confusion still plastered on its face as it scratched. The Ixal shivered as he scratched more furiously, even drawing blood without whimpering in pain. Annoyance in its eyes as it looked back at El and her cohorts. It took a drop of its blood and tasted it with its long tongue. After a sample it looked even more perplexed as it went back to scratching itself.
“Spice?” it spat out as he started cutting himself with his own talons everywhere, trying to cease the infernal itch that he was failing to be rid of.
El simply giggled. “Bind his hands to the chair so he can’t scratch, bad for his health.”
The two guards moved in rather quickly with heavy rope, binding its hands to the armrests and moved back, despite the now constant thrashing of their Ixal guest. “Would anyone care for some wine while our guest settles down?” El asked her guards and Geo while the Ixal cried in annoyance at not being able to get rid of the itch.
“I believe I’ll have a glass my lady.” One answered.
“I believe I will as well if you’re offering.” The other answered.
El simply nodded as she looked at Geo. “Would you please grab one of the bottles I brought with me my dear? They’re just outside.”
Geo smirked. “When did I turn into your personal retainer?” as he moved back towards the caverns entrance.
“You know the answer to that Geo.” She shot back at him.
“Bah!” was all he said back as he brought back a bottle, a corkscrew and four glasses. Cracking it open and filling each one respectively. While they were busy with drinks the Ixal had begun to calm down, either because he was steeling himself against the urge to scratch or the chili extract had started to become too diluted was anyone’s guess.
El took her seat back at the table a moment later, a half empty wine glass accompanying her, interlacing her fingers and resting her chin on top of them. “So, are we ready to start talking for real?”
The Ixal glared daggers at El, desperately leaning forward to try and snap its beak closed around El’s throat only to catch the taste of shrapnel and blood on its tongue as it bit into her wine glass.
El simply sighed as the Ixal screamed in pain. “Why must they always do everything the hard way… Geo.”
The Duskwight walked up to the Ixal with a pair of heavy calipers, a spike, and a blacksmith’s hammer. He placed the items on the table, nodding towards El who left her seat, slipping on a similar pair of Darksteel gauntlets. Geo grabbed one of the Ixals hands and placed it upon the wooden table, palm down and open. El grabbed the blacksmiths hammer and the spike casually. Tapping each together twice as she pressed the sharp end of the spike inbetween two bones in the center of the Ixals hand and brought the hammer down with a mighty blow, sending the spike five ilms down, through the table and the Ixals hand. She brought the hammer down again for good measure, the head of the spike now pressed against the flesh. The Ixal leaned forward to snap at Geo whom brought a hand up and the Ixal bit into Darksteel, nearly breaking the bird’s beak in the process.
“Now sit down and clamp that beak of yours shut before I have to do it for you!” said Geo before he backed off and El took her seat once more.
“I’d thought, we’d come to an understanding with you Huo. The quicker you give us the answers to the questions we seek, the sooner you can go home. Is there something you do not understand with that?” El said, her voice changing from sweet and collective to stern and cold.
“Garuda take you! May her divine talons rip your flesh and bone asunder!” Huo snapped at the surrounding dusks.
“Geo, Calipers. Take two.” El said coldly.
“With pleasure my lady.” Geo said, grabbing the calipers he’d left on the table earlier, wrapping the metal around one of Huo’s black talons and simply pulled.
Huo’s scream echoed through the cavern as one of his talons was ripped from his frame, leaving his outermost finger bleeding profusely with the dislodged talon lingering just a few ilms away, left simply to taunt him as Geo unceremoniously ripped the second talon from the next digit, placing the calipers and the talons aside and stepping back.
El watched the proceedings with a wicked grin plastered over her face, a hand over her ear as if to take in the screaming with absolute delight and she burst into laughter with her arms folded across her midsection.
After a moment El collected herself and Huo seemed to be suppressing his pain, tears evident in his dull red eyes.
“Are you ready to talk again, or shall I rip the other hand asunder hmm?” she asked with a bit too much enthusiasm.
Huo’s stubbornness seemed to be getting the better of him. “You, -will- burn for this!” he said weakly.
“Geo, spike and two or three more.” El said.
“Two or three more?” He repeated.
El nodded in response and within a winds breath Huos screams resumed once more as his other hand spiked and removed of two talons.
He tried fruitlessly to curl his fingers into his palm but the spike was preventing any movement of either wounded hand. He looked at El, silently pleading for her to stop, his resolve broken as his head slammed into the table, partially delirious from loss of blood and his breaking spirit.
“So, I will ask once more. What, were you and your people doing in Boulder Downs, far outside Natalan and the little territory you have in the frozen north?” El calmly asked and it was like a symphony has just been written, the broken Ixal engineer sang like the avians his people shared an ancestry with. For what seemed like an hour, Huo spilled information on when they had started the operation with the transfer of supplies out of Natalan, closer to the western border of the North shroud, avoiding detection by using heavy cloud cover and crossing over the nail, the mountain protruding from the center of Coerthas. Out of breath and low on blood Huo went silent, closing his eyes and resting his head on the table once more, seeming to barely keep conscious at this point in time.
El looked to her subordinate with a delightful smile. “I believe we’ve uncovered what we need to, and as promised, we will let our new friend go.” Giggling quietly. “Geo.”
The taller dusk looked over at El. “Yes?” his expression unreadable.
“Flay him and toss him to the Banemite cave down the mountain range, make sure he’s never heard from again.” She delightfully exclaimed.
Before Huo could give a cry of defiance, Geo had walked up behind him and slammed a blackjack into the back of his head, rendering him unconscious and removing the spikes to drag him away into darkness.
El sat back in her chair, steepling her fingers, looking at what remained of her wine glass. “Such a waste of a drink.” Was all she said as she mulled over the evenings affairs.
Visions of the Twelve
The flicker of several small candles dotted the houses interior, nestled on a large wooden desk, the pulsing light bounced off several dark bookcases and casting three shadows to lay upon them as if simple canvas. El sat in her desk with her elbows placed upon the purple dyed mahogany wood, resting her head upon open palms she starred at the two figures across from her, standing with their hands folded behind them standing at attention.
El looked to the one on her left, a short pale skinned dusk with short black hair that barely touched his ear. Half of his nose was missing from having a shave to close with a sword on a previous assignment. From the neck down he was covered in black leather suit, a belt of dagger slots adorning his chest. The suit had seen better days, even in the low light there were small chunks missing from the belts and epaulets he wore.
‘I sometimes forget how much I abuse his services, sometimes~ never without a regret though, he’s useful.’ El thought to herself as her vision drifted to her right, eyeing the other Elezen.
This one was taller, standing almost shoulder to shoulder with El at eighty ilms she was a more imposing figure. One of her bruisers El had her around for when something went wrong. Her hair was tied back in a single blonde braid housed on a head of sun cooked skin with a delicate looking face. El couldn’t help but grin at that every time she looked at the older Wildwood.
“Unless there are any objections then Marti, the operation will proceed as planned. Get your forces centered on the southern tip of the nail and wait for the approaching caravan. Make it look like an typical bandits and not a targeted attack.” She said and the left Dusk nodded. “Dismissed then, both of you.” Both Elezen left the cottage without a word, off to perform their assigned tasks.
El sat back in her chair with a sigh, rubbing at her eyes with a groan.
“Wish I could get some damn sleep~” she mumbled to nobody in particular.
She reached for her long doused pipe, relighting it with a small fire shard and took a quick puff and breathed a small sigh of relief. She didn’t like taking to the pipe as often as she had in the last few days but her sanity demanded otherwise. She took one last puff before a blinding light slammed into her, making her choke on the smoke.
Her home for the moment, was gone, she was floating in what seemed endless space. Symbols of the twelve flashing before her, each one colliding with her form before changing into a long forgotten memory.
Nymeia, the Spinner
“Do you believe she’ll survive the ceremony?” a voice asked.
“That would be the hope.” Another responded. “The binding must be done correctly if she is to be his prison, unfortunately it’s not something that a child’s body should be subjected too.”
Quietly El let out a low cry, barely a season old an already her fate had been chosen.
“Let’s get this over with then, her mother will likely wake soon and it would break her to hear her child scream.” Several palms appeared overtop El’s huddled form, wrapped in her mother’s blanket and soon surrounded by a shimmering blue aura, soon bursting into several particles before being drawn towards her left shoulder, drawing as ink would to parchment, drawing a symbol upon her body, pulsating for a while before it finally settled down as a black mark.
“It is done.” They said, lifting the babe and taking her back towards her sleeping mother.
Menphina, the Lover
Snow licked at the mouth of the cavern, the cool northern wind filling the normally warm expanse with cool air to nip at the heels of the Elezen populace that resided within, watching the dancing flakes of snow with more than a passing interest, a young dusk, ashen skin and short white hair, pulled tight against her head to keep it from her eyes. She was huddled low, bracing against the oncoming storm without a care, alone with her thoughts and the winds beautiful tune on the back of a howling symphony.
“Somehow, I thought I’d find you out here.” A male voice spoke over the wind, crunching the freshly sprayed snow behind her and setting a heavy cloak overtop her shoulders.
Her ears perked as she glanced over at the older male, confused. “You know I come out here often when the blizzards start, why would you think me anywhere else?” El said, canting her head as she stared up at the male’s crimson orb with her on lavender eyes.
He simply laughed and ruffled El’s hair. “Because you’re just like your mother, you find music everywhere.” Taking a seat next to her, setting his own cloak overtop them both, hugging El close to his side.
El simply smiled, there was no resistance from her as she closed her eyes and listened to his heart beat along with the wind instrument provided by the wind. “You also know I don’t mind having you as company dad.” Letting out a gentle sigh as any immediate worries she’d had coming here, drifted away with a gust of wind.
Oschon, the Wanderer
El drew in a deep breath, stretching her arms high above her head, basking in the gentle breeze flowing off the mountain. She looked up to see the moon high in the sky, shining brightly and dancing in amongst the clouds. El took one last glance behind her as she brushed aside some packed snow outside the cave to reveal a carved sheet of ice, she smiled as she ran her fingers across the smooth surface, feeling for four slits she had carved in earlier in the week. Taking a deep breath she placed her foot between the slits, pulling strips of heavy leather up through them and tying her spiked boots to the sheet. Crouching she then leaped, pulling the ice from underneath its frozen bed of snow, pushing herself forward down the mountain, keeping her voice down until she was out of earshot of her home.
The wind blew past her face at high speed, without glasses or goggles she had to keep her eyes squinted but it didn’t shrink the smile on her face. Riding down the mountain at what felt like the speed of sound, freshly fallen snow slicing away beneath her board, driving her further on until the terrain changed from smooth snow and clear paths to turbulent ground and filled with trees. Ducking and weaving between the trees she glanced down at her leather laces and found them starting to spin. She silently cursed, doing a small leap and putting the board sideways against the ground, using it as a break and she fell backwards. She slowed considerably but she soon slammed into a tree. The board snapped into three pieces, flying every which way in shards of ice, narrowly missing El herself. Groggily she tried to crawl from her prone position until she heard a rumble. Confused, she looked up, only to find the snow that had been nestled on the tree collapse right on top of her. After a minute or so she crawled out of her snowy prison, breathing a heavy sigh. As she collapsed, half out of her prison a small snowflake dropped onto her nose. Her eyes fluttered open and she burst out laughing, having enjoyed every second of freedom.
Halone, the Fury
The crunch of sound and bone immediately filled the air as a steel-plated gauntlet connected with the cheekbone of a bound dusk, sending him careening sideways, dragging the chair he was tied to wish him and splashing into a nearby puddle of water in the dank room. The click of heavy heels echoed throughout the chamber as a delicate hand cupped the chin of the Duskwight’s shattered face, he looked up at the female white haired dusk and spat a red glob of phlegm in her face. She didn’t react for a moment, simply starring her prisoner down. A profound silence waved its way into the room until a quiet tsking replaced it. “Oh come now darling, why won’t you play nice?” El said, pushing her nails into the dusks jaw, drawing trickles of crimson, the wet polish on her nails began to mix with his blood, drawing a profound and bone chilling scream from the male and a simple laugh from El. “We could have been friend’s young one, but it seems to me that you like to make things hard for me.” Digging a nail further into the wound she had created in his jaw and ripped it back for a long deep gash, renewing the screams once again as the poison seeped into his blood stream. El stepped back to survey her handiwork, flicking her ears in annoyance before walking up to him once more, staring down at the still screaming male before kneeling down and picking his chin up once more. “If only you had acted sooner~ maybe we could have worked something out for you.” Her voice sounded teasing, mocking him in a way. “But you’re of no use to me for your voice now.” Drawing a knife from her belt and drawing it across his neck, severing his vocal chords cleanly without a second thought and dropped his now soundless head to the floor. She stood up straight and looked back to her counterpart with a frown. “Summon the guard back, this one has tried my patience.” She said as she walked out the door of the prison cell.
Llymlaen, the Navigator
“Hey dad, could I ask you something?” El asked, slipping her bare feet into the lake, resting her head on folded knees and dressed in a simple leather hunting suit.
Vorsaille yanked on his fishing rod, testing the small red bauble floating just above the waters clear surface, frowning as it settled normally, nothing attached. He glanced over at El, a curious brow raised on his one good eye. “You just did, but sure. I could answer another question.” He jokingly said back as he looked over to his bobber.
“Why do we sneak around on the surface? Live in caves, away from everyone else on the continent? Wouldn’t we flourish more as a culture if we joined with our cousins?” she asked and Vorsaille sighed, rubbing the back of his head.
“Well~ the reason for our separation is long before my time my dear, but~ from what I recall, we had a falling out with our surface bretheren. We parted ways as we did not, at the time, want to be a part of their society and civilization. So our ancestors left for the wilds, to be nomads.” He calmly answered after a moment of thought and he silently muttered a prayer to Nophica that his good eye was not on the same side as El.
“But, after so long~ wouldn’t the reason for our separation be long forgotten? Distorted into something… heinous…” sighing as she just answered her own question, kicking a rock underneath the water as she cursed herself for doing such.
“Calm down dear, you’ll scare the fish away.” Vorsaille teased with El, strangely enough bringing a giggle from the child.
Thaliak, the Scholar
“You’re absolutely sure Marti? You know what the consequences of misinforming me are.” El said to a short and pale dusk with short black hair.
“Yes, I am absolutely sure.” Nodding curtly, his gaze unflinching.
“Well that’s problematic then, have you found the reasoning for her betrayal yet?” El calmly said back, scratching her chin with a gloved hand.
“No, that reasoning has eluded me unfortunately. I have some of scouts tailing her day in and day out.” He said.
El sighed quietly, she didn't like it when there was a leak within her circle. She looked at Marti with a nod. “Alright then, tail her. Find what out what she’s been sharing, if you manage to find whom she has been sharing with, send a scout to follow them as well.”
Marti slowly nodded. “I’ll take my leave then.” Turning on a heel and leaving El’s residence as if he’d never been there.
El sat on her couch, staring at the dying fire, soaking up what she had just been told. “A shame…” she muttered to herself. “I actually liked her.”
Byregot, the Builder
“Just, a little, bit~ more…” El said, a metal chisel in her hand.
She hit the head of the chisel with a ball point hammer, shaving strips of wood off the top of a carved section of mahogany wood. Putting the chisel away for the moment she reached for rough sheet of sandpaper and began the process of smoothing her creation down to a workable level. After several minutes of working through sharp points left on the wood she brought the nearby candle closer to examine her work, a very rough replica of a Diremite the size of her head, including the long standup tail.
“The eyes are still a bit off~” she mumbled to herself, reaching for finer sandpaper to smooth the surface of the face.
The ground soon began to rumble, the tools in her workshop began to chime loudly. So much so she had to cover her ears in pain. Closing her eyes she tried to drown the sound out, not thinking to get under her desk in case something came crashing down from the quake. She heard several things hit the floor over the course of the next few seconds before the tremor finally stopped, cautiously she opened her eyes, looking back at her desk to find her carving missing. Her eyes went wide as she spin on her stool looking for it, a leg cracked, weakened by the recent tremor and she sat on upon something uneven when she hit the floor with a crunch. Slowly, rubbing her backside she stood and brought the candle over, amazingly it hadn’t fallen over and set the place ablaze. The moment she brought the light over she paled, dropping to her knees, putting the candle aside and picking up the broken pieces of her first carving. For weeks she had toiled at the replica Diremite, small bits at a time so as to keep her concentration sharp and a young El cried for the first time in years.
Azeyma, the Warden
“We can do this in one of two ways Mr. Marette.” El said, drumming her fingers overtop the rickety old table. Only the bottom half of her face visible due to a low cowl and low candle light, flanked by two similarly dressed Dusks, silent as the night they waited for a command or something to be done out of line, waiting to spring into action with their hands calmly pressed against the pommels of their short swords.
“I have nothing to tell you.” The wildwood responded in turn, his hands bound to the chair he was sitting in, head shaved completely and what El had come to guess was an attire made to keep him out of sight and quiet. Rugged black leather covering everything up to his neck, a mask accompanied the attire, but had long since been removed during his capture.
“Come now Mr. Marette, be reasonable, we wish to keep you here no longer than necessary and you can simply be on your way like none of this had ever happened. Would that not be a better arrangement then having us sit here in the cold belittling each other back and forth?” El sent back, a subtle tone of sarcasm instilled into the last statement.
“I am being reasonable madam. You have no reason to keep me here as I have nothing for you.” He shot back.
El sighed in disdain at her Wildwood counterpart. “Geo.” She said, the guard on her left walking alongside their guest, flattening his hand on the table and bringing out a heavy blacksmiths hammer, without a moment’s hesitation he slammed it down against one of the wildwoods fingers with a sickening crunch. The wildwood screamed in pain but El and her two counterparts didn’t even flinch.
“Are you sure brother? I assure you we can simply make it worth your while if that is the issue here.” She calmly said after he’d stopped screaming.
The wildwood gritted his teeth, and spat at El, the glob falling short by several ilms and El sighed once again. “Geo, two or three more.”
“Two or three more?” he responded in turn.
El nodded once.
The Wildwood began to scream once again and this time did not stop.
Rhalgr, the Destroyer
“Faster El! Faster!” Vorsaille yelled in between the constant clang of blades.
El was breathing heavily, her eyes constantly switching back and forth between her father’s blades and his footwork. Every time she slipped, he was right there, slipping into an opening she had created, narrowly dodging each slice and losing strands of her long white hair each time and her anger was growing.
Vorsaille saw the frustration in her eyes, she was becoming unbalanced, while she was breathing heavily and filled with sweat, he was calm, collected and watching. She missteped again, instead of bringing a blade up into the opening she had created he followed with a knee to the stomach, knocking her to the ground and sending her blades from her hands, clanging to the hard rocky ground nearby.
El grunted loudly as her head slammed into the stone, looking at her father with a growing hatred, about to charge him but a broadsword with ilms from her eye.
“You let your anger get the best of you, you’re uncoordinated. You’ll never survive out there like that, do you want to die out there? A cold, lifeless, corpse, to be forgotten?”
A fury erupted within her, grabbing at her father’s blade without a care along with one of her blades, her father’s blade dug into the stone behind her and he backed off. Taking her blade in two hands she came down upon her father with a heavy two handed stroke. Vorsaille wound himself up, his broadsword heavier then El’s blade. The two connected and the blades bent, testing each other’s might. Vorsaille’s blade proved stronger as it bounced back El’s blade shattered, as El came down Vorsaille clenched a fist, delivering a haymaker across her face and driving her back against the ground where she lay very still. He sighed lowly, looking down in shame, both for himself and El. “Just like her old man, too easy to anger.”
Nald'thal, the Traders
“Shouldn’t be much longer until they show~” El said to herself, lazily picking at her fingernails, braced behind a rock near copperbell just outside of Ul’dah, waiting.
She perked an ear as she heard a few footsteps come into range, resisting the urge to glance around the rock as she already knew who it was. They had followed her from the Steps of Nald all the way out here for a purpose, one she intended to find out.
Just a bit further down from the rock stood a lalafell and a highlander. Both seemed impatient at this point, the little lalafell called out. “Come out come out little dusk, we know you’re out here.” He called out.
El smirked as the voice had merely confirmed it. She glanced around once more, looking towards another rock across the way and concentrated, she threw her voice towards it. “Oh please don’t hurt me, I’ve only been on the surface for a few suns.” Mimicking a drawn out wail in the process, predictably the lalafell answered back while his highlander lackey went to the location El’s voice had been thrown to.
“Oh no my dear, we are not here to harm you, merely offer a proposition, a business arrangement if you will. You work for us and we’ll take good care of you. Surely that’s little to ask for someone such as yourself yes?” he said back.
The highlander was clearly trying to be quiet but the bulk of his boots made his footfalls as loud as a tortoise stomp. He leaped upon the location he thought El was in and let out a confused gasp as he face planted into the dirt. He looked back at the lalafell with a hapless shrug and both frowned heavily at the realization this wouldn’t be easy. The lalafell stepped backwards to cut off El’s escape from the mines staging point. The highlander started to move, a serious look on his face as he walked towards her hiding spot. She slipped around the rock and crouched down with a long knife drawn. The highlander took one step too far and El slammed the knife into his foot, effectively pinning him to the ground as she quickly drew another, snapping upwards and driving it into the base of his skull through his lower jaw. The large man dropped dead in a matter of seconds and El retrieved her knives.
“Joffrey, what’s taking so long?” the lalafell yelled after a minute or so of waiting. “She’s just one girl.”
El quietly laughed, having snuck behind the admittingly pathetic lalafell’s excuse for being a sentry, she crouched down. “Oh, was he your friend? I’m so sorry to say he won’t be coming into work tomorrow.” She said while giggling.
The little one suddenly blanched, falling onto his backside and trying to crawl away. “The ring will hear of this, you’ll pay for what you’ve done with your body, and that’s if they even want to keep you after this!” fear evident in his declaration.
“Oh my~ did I accidently attract the ire of some pathetic underground organization I’m supposed to care about, oh dearie me. That’s unfortunate… Hmm, what if I were to kill the messenger? Would that solve my problem, yes I believe it shall.” Her tone changing from a light hearted sarcasm to one filled with malice. She grabbed the little lalafell by the collar, standing to her full height.
The little one was visibly sweating at this point as El drew her dagger once more, placing it just across his throat, his apple just grazing the top of the steel. “Wait wait wait! I can help you. I am influential within my circle of friends. I could get you whatever you want, just say so.” He pleaded.
El seemed to think on it for a moment, drawing a bit of hope from him. Though it was a façade. “Sorry, I don’t deal with scum like you.” Slowly drawing the blade across his throat, her blade soon dripping heartily in crimson. She simply dropped his quivering body to the ground and let it run its final course. “Let him rot in the sun to be picked by carrions.”
Nophica, the Matron
“Oh now dearie me this won’t do, you’ve gotten yourself covered in dirt.” Mianne fussed over her daughter, covered in mud after coming home from her first hunt.
El simply stood there, a younger but spitting image of her mother, long white hair a lavender orbs that gave off a sense of calm in the nearby area. “Mom~ it’s only dirt, it just comes off.” Half ducking out of her mother’s reach behind her equally mud caked father.
Vorsaille simply burst out laughing, looking over towards Mianne. “Be careful my dear, don’t want to pamper her too much. She may get used to it.” He said teasingly and both women give a harrumph in his direction as well as the same answer. “You don’t seem to complain!”
Althyk, the Keeper
“A mirror? I never kept one of these around, only a little hand mirror.” El said to herself as she stood before a full length mirror, staring at her own reflection with a quizzical look, shrugging as she leaned closer, feeling at the recent bags that had formed under her eyes and the mirror suddenly flashed. When the light died down another form appeared within its confines. A male, in a black robe, his face covered, a sinister looking grin on his face.
“My how you’ve grown my dear.” Was all it said before the vision ended.
El awoke in her chair with a startled gasp, a hand on her blade as she scanned the room, breathing heavily. She eventually managed to calm herself once she figured the coast to be clear, taking a deep sigh as she rubbed her tired eyes. “What in the hells was that all about?” Groaning loudly as she reached for her pipe, still smoldering from before and took a long puff. She simply sat there, small plumes of smoke exiting her lips every so often, digesting everything she had just witnessed.