PM to join A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

An unfortunate accident leaves a group of hunters trapped and in need of rescue.

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The westernmost tip of Kalea, Wind Reach is home to an amazing group of people and their giant eagle mounts. [Lore]

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Mirage on March 24th, 2015, 8:55 pm

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Swiping at its shoulder once more, the creature grunted and waved at the spiraling smoke, gesturing in a way that was similar to irritation or annoyance. Like one swatted at a fly. With additional fire being flung at it the creature waved its arms over its head, beating out the flames and beginning a march toward Zhol, picking up speed as it went as new smoking wounds appeared on its shoulder, neck and chest. It's full attention was focused then on Zhol and it did not even slow as the arrow from Khara's bow struck true, undoing two or three of the finer knitting's in the creatures left arm, but if it noticed it did not show and its arm that it was now using to propel itself on all fours still worked fine... though where it attached to the shoulder did show a little extra give and the skin slid over itself in a looser fashion.

Picking up speed, faster and faster the abomination lumbered after Zhol, each tick bringing him closer, and closer. Smaller trees and shrubs he simply trampled, a fallen log he swatted with one hand to send it crashing into the brush. Closer... closer... but then when Sira slammed into its side finally the momentum was halted and it was staggered to the side, nearly falling over but just managing to write itself again by sheer strength. The flapping wings blinded it, the talons cut deep into the flesh on its left side and it yelled and hollered like it had before, trying to fight off the bird with swift and strong blows aimed to either cripple her wings, brain her with one meaty fist, or hit hard enough to drive her away.

OOCI apologize for the wait :)
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Azira on March 30th, 2015, 10:52 pm

It was a relief to have the Endal grasp her offered hand and pull herself up without too much difficulty. The sight of the blood had worried her, the thought of internal injuries from the impact entering her mind as well but she seemed all right. She breathed a sigh of relief, taking in the scene behind her again.

Zhol was doing a good impression of a human torch, hurling fire at the already smoking creature. Khara was trying to shoot at it, screaming something about sunlight burning it. The huntress examined the beast in confusion. It was smoking because of Zhol's magic fire, wasn't it? She could see where his enchanted flames had licked against the creature's stitched hide but there were other patches that smoked and burned, which didn't look the same. Maybe the game scout was onto something. If the light did affect it, they didn't really have much hope of exposing it enough to do sufficient damage to kill it. If they could steer it into the light then they might manage to test Khara's theory but that was a difficult task. So far, Zhol was the only one who seemed able to control its movements, his magic fire able to get its attention where arrows had failed. It hadn't even changed direction when the Kelvic had sliced open its leg. It could move faster than the horse boy could and it'd probably get to him long before he could manoeuvre himself into an advantageous position.

The huntress didn't know what to do, didn't know how they were to all get out of this situation in one piece. There was no time to form a plan before Sira was thrusting her own talon sword into Azira's hands. The teen took it, testing the weight of the unfamiliar weapon. It was ungainly, alien to her but she was ready to use it. The Endal had a point. It'd be better than her dagger, she'd have more reach but then why wasn't Sira giving it to her rather than keeping it herself? A probing look was shot in the woman's direction to see if she was too badly injured to wield the blade herself. The other was on the move though, running at the creature full tilt as if she was actually charging at it. Before she reached it, she jumped and transformed, the body of a fully fledged Wind Eagle slamming into the monster. It was knocked off balance and Sira used her newly gained wings and talons to her advantage to attack it. It wasn't going down without a fight and it looked strong enough to do serious damage to the Kelvic, maybe even kill her, with a well aimed strike. They were going to have to do something about it fast.

They needed more light and the canopy was blocking too much of it. It was an obstacle that they were going to have to remove. She had a sword and Zhol had fire but she had no idea if he was limited in how much of it he could use. Reimancers could only use so much magic before serious consequences arose but it depended on their skill level and she had no idea what Zhol's was. She couldn't guarantee his help with that but she could still yell her intentions and allow him to aid her if he could.

"We need to let in more light! Clear the leaves!" she yelled, gesturing upwards with the talon sword before running for a nearby tree, hoping to gain enough height to start hacking away at the obstruction. Sira could keep the monstrosity distracted long enough to give the outsider enough time to move from his current position as well as to take any necessary actions, like testing out this theory of Khara's. If it turned out that the Chiet was wrong then they could only hope that they wouldn't waste an opportunity to take action against the creature.

Her climb was as rapid as she could manage, her movement greatly hampered by the unfamiliar blade before she tucked it into her quiver to free up her hands. Azira had to be cautious though, the talon sword much longer than the arrows and therefore in more danger of falling out. She couldn't afford to drop it and have to descend to retrieve it and so she had to err on the side of caution, moving slower than she ideally would have liked. The man was sure to react before she even got near enough to start removing the canopy but she could only hope that she'd be of some use. The teen was fairly confident that he'd have the sense not to aim too closely to the area that she herself was in so there was bound to be some small bit for her to hack away. As soon as she was high enough, she would start aiming at the twigs that grew off the main branches, slicing clumsily through the thinner wood to shed the tree of its coverings.

Khara had better have this right.
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Zhol on March 31st, 2015, 1:09 am


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Zhol could feel sweat beading across his brow, and drenching the hair at his temples. He knew what it was: not the heat of fire, not the excursion of trying to evade this hulking abomination; it was the sheer effort, the act of tearing off scraps of his soul and unleashing them towards the creature. He could already feel it, his body gently trembling, his skin pale, his essence tired and drained like suffering from a fever. Warnings from his mother rattled and resonated around his mind, reminding him of what he risked by giving too much. Pain. Danger. Death. But then that threat loomed over him and everyone else either way. An uncertain risk traded for a different one.

Watching Sira transform and tear into the creature gave him a moment of reprieve to gather his strength. He had seen wind eagles before, but this was the first time he had witnessed just how powerful the revered raptors were. He hesitated, watching fists and talons swing and slash at each other, wondering if he should dive into that melee. He circled around, his eyes searching for a target of opportunity, a body part staying still long enough and far enough from the Endal to barrage with fire, or a chance to strike at some vulnerable part - the bloodless leg wound that Sira had already caused, perhaps?

His eyes almost rolled when he heard Azira shout - apparently even in a crisis such as this, she still had that effect on him. Of course they needed more light; he'd already theorised as much; Khara had already said as much; who was she expecting to inform? He glanced in her direction as she precariously began to scramble up the tree. Burn the leaves, a familiar voice whispered into his thoughts. Burn the trees! Burn that petch huntress. Who cares about more light? More fire!

No, he tried to will, but the sentiment was weak in his mind. Visions of the entire forest ablaze flashed through his mind, an eager wanting squirming in the pit of his stomach. He tried to force himself to focus; tried to aim that destructive urge towards the creature; tried to silence the persistent whispers in his mind that encouraged and begged him to burn something.

Then he saw her; the rope that hitched him to his senses, to stop him from bolting off into impulse and instinct. Khara's arrows were landing true, but the abomination was merely shrugging them off the same way it had Sira's sword. No blood. No pain. How was that possible? How was this creature even alive? Was this creature even alive?

No time for questions though; they could worry about such things when it was dead. He managed to capture Khara's gaze, just for a moment; he drew his sword, stabbed it into the ground, and left it there. Hopefully Khara would be able to find a use for it; Zhol certainly would not. His hands signed out his deepest affection, before he wrenched his eyes away.

He focused on the creature. More fire was what the persistent whispers were urging. Very well then. He felt the res ooze from his pores, weaving it's way down both his arms. No small orb of fire this time though; Zhol held one hand a few inches above the other, tendrils of res emerging from his hands, knitting together in the space between. It was only sheer focus that kept his hands from shaking; he could feel his strength draining, flowing from his body in the wake of the res, everything he could muster being woven together. He tasted copper at the back of his mouth, but ignored it. He felt the damp sensation of blood creeping from his nose, but ignored that as well. Only two things commanded his focus: the creature, and the whispers in his mind.

His jaw clenched as a bundle of res the size of a child's skull congealed in the space between his hands. "Sira!" he yelled at the wind eagle, hoping that she had enough wisdom and warning to evade what was coming. One last swell of will, and the res burst into flames; Zhol let out a yell of pain as the fire momentarily seared against the palms of his hands, and then launched the fireball towards the abomination with all the speed and force he could muster.

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Khara on April 1st, 2015, 5:47 am

Every breath was a struggle to remain composed as the scene continued to play out. Her arrows well and truly proved almost entirely useless against the creature, even if Khara had managed a shot that she otherwise would have been ecstatic with. There just wasn't enough to show for it, the slight slack it had given was miniscule and there was simply no way she could keep hoping for such continual luck to remove stitches - it simply took too much time. Not to mention everyone else in the group seemed to have other ideas that were far more effective.

She actually took a step back in surprise, even if nowhere near the melee, as Sira transformed into Wind Eagle and attacked the monstrosity. A flash of red out of the corner of her eye and an accompanying shout had her attention briefly follow Azira as she took to the trees. Clear the leaves? Was Azira actually agreeing with her? Khara could only continue the almost constant pleas in her head for help, any kind of help, that Syna or anyone else listening could provide.

And then in a moment that took far longer than time should allowed for, Khara looked back towards the fourth member of their group and she felt as if her chest would cave inward and her heart would stop all together. The way Zhol had abandoned his sword, that look he gave her, the gesture that was entirely ill timed. What the petch are you doing...? She could do nothing but watch as the human boy overexerted himself, or at least that's what Khara thought he may have done. The fireball that was unleashed against the creature forced her to flinch and look away. She looked back just in time to see the reimancer waver on his feet. Another tick was all it took to notice the blood that dripped down his face and the fact that something just wasn't right.

Then the Chiet did the single most reckless thing she had ever done in her entire life. It was a trait that the Inarta were supposed to be known for but Khara had never exhibited; always the quiet one, always cautious and over anxious. Never in any wildest thought would Khara ever have seen herself running towards danger as fast as adrenaline and lack of thought would carry her. The sword that Zhol had left behind was grasped clumsily in her free hand and pulled from the ground as she passed, almost threatening to yank the girl backward and to her feet before it relented. Khara stumbled a few paces before she came to a sliding stop between Zhol and the creature; the sword planted into the ground somewhere between the two of them but within both of their grasp.

As soon as the unfamiliar weight of the sword left her hand, her fingertips sought out another arrow from her quiver. It swiftly found it's place against the bowstring and was drawn back, determined aim focused entirely on the creature's head. The tension held as Khara waited to make sure it was necessary, determination suddenly making her disciplined and patient in the aftermath of the attack. If the creature so much as hinted that it wasn't done in by Zhol's last attack, if it so much as shifted towards the two of them, the arrow would be released. Khara could only hope that her aim would still be true and that a shot towards the creature's many eyes would be more effective than her previous attempts.

The Chiet didn't strike a particularly opposing figure and she knew that. But no matter what the blast of fire was going to do to the horrific thing, Khara had no doubt in her mind that she wasn't about to let it - if it still could - take away the single person she couldn't conceive living without and not put up as much of a fight as she could about it. A nagging voice in the back of her mind had the audacity to speak up that she should have been in the trees helping to clear branches with Azira; Well, they could all yell at her later for it. This was important to her, and Khara felt that even Syna could probably forgive her reasoning for it in that moment.

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Sira on April 16th, 2015, 4:10 am

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Sira wasn't paying much attention to what the others were doing. It was hard to pay attention to things when you were busy trying to hang on to a creature that was pommeling you like a rub beater beating a.. well, she couldn't really think about metaphors either at that moment. The creature was strong, but so were Sira's talons, and she did her best to hang on. A heavy punch right to the chest nearly knocked her loose, but she held on by one talon.. probably a terrible mistake. Even more so when she latched back on with her other talon and began beating her wings frantically.

She knew she couldn't fly away with the thing. Well, she could, if there weren't branches and leaves blocking her path. But she beat them anyway, at least hoping to lift the thing off the ground a little. If she managed to break a few branches in the process then great, more light. If not, well.. Sira didn't much thing of that. The creature's fist caught her in the beak, snapping her head back, and she saw starts. Sira did not really hear Zhol's shout, but she did get out of the way. It was just that she fell out of the way, struggling to retain her consciousness, rather than made any actual effort to avoid the fireball.

Sira did manage to scramble away from the monstrosity once she was off it, kicking her legs and flapping her wings with no real direction in mind other than away from the creature that she was fairly certain could have killed her if she stayed much longer. Hopefully Zhol or one of the others could handle the thing for a while, Sira needed a break. She didn't even have the energy to shift, and just hopped away, awkwardly folding her wings and wincing as one didn't fold in quite right. She didn't think it was broken, or rather hoped.. maybe dislocated? Sira wasn't a healer, she wasn't even certain if she could dislocate a wing. She just hoped it wasn't broken, she would need it later.

Zika, Sira called telepathically up to the adolescent Wind Eagle that she hoped was still in the sky above them. If you're up there, we could really use some help!

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Mirage on April 20th, 2015, 9:11 pm

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Gutteral grunts and yells like a dying mule came from the creature as it fought of Sira with all of its might. It did not know fear, nor pain from facing a Wind Eagle and so its blows were not hesitant or tentative in anyway. It struck with every intention of breaking every hollow bone in the Kelvic's body. Of course it was not as easy as the creature thought it would be, or expected to be, so as time past his blows became more and more furious as frustration seemed to build. So focused on pummeling the Kelvic that when she suddenly let go he stumbled after her as well, still swinging and nearly knocking over a smaller tree as he fumbled to find his footing again on his one good leg.

Just as the thing got its footing again Zhol's fire struck it full in the side, and as before the creature yelled and began beating at the flames furiously to put it out. This time, however, the flames found a new path to take as they scorched over the beasts body. The threads cut by Khara's arrows had exposed a softer, moister interior that instantly burst into a roaring flame the moment they touched the mages magic fire. Fueled by whatever the beast was made of the fire quickly leapt and started to consume the shoulder and upper arm of the beast.

Soon it figured out that it would not be able to put out the fire with just its free hand, so instead the beast turned toward its attacker, a darker light of fury in its many eyes as it lumbered after Zhol, using its nonflaming arm to half run, half trot toward him, going faster than something that size should be able to move. It was focused on Zhol, all eyes on him and ignored Khara as she stepped between them. When the arrow was fired the creature didn't even seem to notice, not until it was already sticking through one of the eyes of its head, the arrow piercing deep into its oddly soft head and part way out the back. It continued to trot toward them even as all of its eyes rolled back until nothing but the whites could be seen, then suddenly stumbling on its own feet as it was almost upon them and would fall right on top of both of them if the two did not somehow get out of the way.

The ground would shudder as the beast fell, sliding several feet before coming to a full stop just before hitting a large tree. The fire on its left side was already starting to spread up and over its back, catching light on more and more of the creature as the ticks went by. It did not lay perfectly still however, and from time to time it would twitch or kick a leg or curl its fingers, but it would not rise again.

OOCSira I leave the control of the other wind eagle to you :)
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Azira on April 23rd, 2015, 10:32 pm

As tempting as it was to look around at the sounds of the battle between her companions and the monster, Azira remained focused on her task. She hacked at branches persistently, a slow clearing taking place as a result of her work. It was tiring, her arm swinging back and forth in a movement that was unfamiliar to her. Add to that the weight of the weapon itself and its alien presence and it was no wonder that she was not only growing tired but was clumsy as well. She made slow progress but she hoped that it would.

She had no idea where the creature was or how her friends were faring. It could have been heading towards her for all she knew or on the verge of crushing one of the others. It would have been so easy to look back and see what was going on but she'd slow herself down in the process. Maybe this work would ensure they lived through this and they killed this thing or maybe it wouldn't but she had to try. There was no sense in distracting herself from the task in hand, even if there was a great temptation to look around. The creature's yells, the sounds of two large bodies whacking into one another, whooshing noises, slapping. She had no idea what was going on but it was quite a cacophony. The huntress could feel the vibrations of the fight and the monstrosity's movements as they travelled up from the ground and through the tree. It made her feel off balance than she already was with the strange weapon and her awkward position.

When the creature crashed into the ground the shockwave was phenomenal. As the vibrations shook the tree, the Avora's head turned in spite of her resolution and the next thing she knew the talon sword was out of her hands and she was tumbling through branches. She scrabbled for some sort of handhold to stop or at least slow her descent but only managed to receive a painful whipping on her limbs instead and landed on her hands and knees at the bottom before toppling over sideways. There was far too much of this falling business going on today. The teen groaned and lay still for a few moments before forcing her aching body to move. Arrows had come loose from her quiver, scattering around the base of the trunk. The talon sword, which she was thankful she'd released, lay a few feet away from her. She did a quick once over of herself to check that she wasn't too badly injured - she'd only received cuts, scrapes and bruises - before glancing in the direction of the felled beast. It had taken a hell of a beating.

Its body was beginning to burn, some of Zhol's magic fire having successfully taken hold. It twitched and jerked a bit but she thought it was probably death spasms. There was no way of being certain however unless it was approached. Better to make certain it was dead and then maybe quench the flames so they could get a better look at whatever it was. The arrows remained where they were as the huntress moved to collect the talon sword. She strode purposefully with it towards the thing, only slowing as she drew within a few feet of it. Fear spiked through her as she thought of approaching it to deliver a blow to ensure it was dead. What if it was still alive? What if it was playing death, ready to slaughter whoever came near it first? She shook her head ever so slightly.

If it was gonna do anything, it'd have done it already, she thought. Taking a step forward she prodded its head with the tip of the blade, shuddering as the point entered with surprising ease. The head seemed too soft, too unnatural. It was sickening. Azira drove it in as far as it would go before she tugged it back out again. Whatever it was it wasn't normal and so she had no idea what would count as a finishing blow for it. It was just wrong!

"What is that and where did it come from?" she asked in Nari, Zhol's presence forgotten. Her eyes moved to the cave in or what remained of it. It had come from inside the cave, where the people they'd been sent to rescue were. Surely they'd known what was in there with them. Surely this creature whatever it was wouldn't have treated them any more kindly than it had acted towards them. In that case, the Wind Eagle, Zika, should have known, shouldn't it? She shook her head again, still remaining frozen to the spot as she looked from the beast on the ground to the hole through which it had emerged. There was something here that they were missing. Something important.

The huntress turned towards Sira intending to return her sword to her now that the ordeal was through. The weapon was foreign to her, unfamiliar and yet there was something about this situation that made her regret having to return it. The danger was passed and yet her hair was on end.
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Postby Zhol on April 25th, 2015, 7:08 pm

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Zhol's heart rate quickened as he watched the creature erupt into flames, an intoxicating excitement coursing through him as it's innards combusted. There was horror too, but not nearly as much as his rational mind would have liked; guilt and fear at the potency of his magic would come later, for now he relished in the wondrous fire he had unleashed.

He could hear his loved ones, whispering away to him, rare praises that only fuelled his misplaced joy. Burn, you ugly bastard! Dinah's voice enthused; Zhol didn't notice the tinge of coppery taste in his mouth, too overwhelmed by the feeling of the sheer aggressive satisfaction the twins had always shared when they'd managed to secure a victory. That's my boy, Dardanus chimed in, a rare note of paternal pride in his voice that Zhol had seldom heard and desperately wanted to hear again. Was this what it took? Were there more monsters for Zhol to burn; more pride for him to earn? You saved us, Khara's voice gently added; what should have been the coup de grace to destroy the last vestiges of his restraint, the last hesitations of believing that everything would be better as long as he kept making more. You saved me.

Conscious thought wrestled through the whispers and fog that had filled his mind, as if it were fighting it's way past tiredness, or sickness. Khara wasn't in his head; Khara was in front of him, protecting him, standing vanguard against the creature that was even now still staggering it's way towards the puny human who had set it ablaze. No amount of exhaustion, no amount of distracting thoughts, no amount of burning inside his skull of fire desperate to be let out, no amount of anything could have stopped what Zhol did next.

Mustering all the strength he could - all he had left, more or less - Zhol launched himself forward, more of a glorified stumble than a genuine effort to find his feet again. One hand wrapped around the hilt of his sword that Khara had planted into the ground within reach - Why had she done that? Why hadn't she taken the sword? Why hadn't she climbed to safety to help Azira clear branches? Why had she stayed; why had she tried to protect him? No, not now. Ask later. Focus. Focus! - the other wrapping around Khara's waist and dragging her with him as he staggered forward, a combination of weight and momentum hurling the two of them back towards the ground, tumbling clear of the creature's path. The effort left him sprawled flat on his back, arms akimbo, air driven from his lungs by the not unpleasant weight of Khara lying on top of him.

"Are you okay?" he managed to whisper, moving his head only slightly so that he could look down towards her, reassuring himself that she was safe. That was all the movement he could muster for now; not that he was particularly inclined to move. With any luck, he could just lie here with Khara, and leave the rest of this failed rescue to everyone else.

Azira's question grated across any hopes for something so pleasant. Zhol didn't have to speak Nari to be able to guess what Azira was asking - no doubt she was stating the obvious again; it wouldn't have surprised him if there'd been some veiled insult directed towards him as well. That would be just her style; petching ungrateful huntress. He'd just saved them all, what else did she want? More, his father's voice whispered, helpfully. If she doesn't appreciate what you can do, then do it more until she does.

"We should check out the cave," he grunted, struggling as hard as he could to stay focused; struggling equally hard to rip himself away from Khara and heave himself back to his feet. There might be more monsters to burn! Dinah's voice offered helpfully. Zhol's hands both clenched as he tried to keep his thoughts straight. "There might still be people alive in there," he pointed out; this was supposed to have been a rescue after all.
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Khara on April 26th, 2015, 2:03 am

Terror, resolve, shock, confusion and finally relief had made up everything she was aware of as the creature had turned on them, as the flames successfully found something to burn within it, as her arrow pierced it, as she was suddenly pulled out of the way of the lumbering creature, and finally as she sought to regain the breath that had been knocked out of her. The shudder as the monstrosity hit the ground was at first mistaken for the suddenness of her own body falling atop Zhol until she could fully perceive what had happened.

All she could do was mutely nod as Zhol whispered his concern for her, not willing herself to move until the horse boy began to get to his feet. Khara reluctantly followed suit, becoming slowly aware of all the aches from the various bruises that were forming along her body. Her hand reached up and the back of it wiped against the wet feeling on her cheek, leaving a smear of blood in it's wake.

Her eyes took in the felled creature and she couldn't help but wrap an arm around herself, only vaguely aware that she was still tightly gripping her bow as she watched Azira pierce it's head with the sword. Was... Was that an arrowhead sticking out as well? Was that her arrow? Khara wasn't sure to feel proud or horrified and settled on some conflicted mix of the two. She looked to Sira too, who was still in Eagle form, something seemed off about her as well but Khara couldn't quite make out what it was. A part of her wanted to ask, longed to, told her it was the right thing to do, but speaking at that moment seemed like an immeasurable task and her eyes lowered to the ground instead.

It felt strangely calming as she noticed and began to pick up the few arrows that had fallen out of her quiver as Zhol had pulled them both to safety. She looked up, letting the final one linger in her fingertips as Zhol made the obvious yet dreadful statement - they weren't done. They hadn't come out here to slay some monster, they had come to save people that had been trapped within the cave. With that... Thing, her thoughts unhelpfully added. Survivors seemed like a unlikely prospect, but Zhol was right, they had to check.

Her attention lingered on him too long, noticing the way his body shook, the sickly appearance and strangely alert gaze that conflicted with it. She didn't know if someone could over do something when it came to magic, her knowledge was entirely lacking, but he certainly didn't look anything like she had ever seen. It worried her, enough to pierce through her own trembling and forced her to put the last arrow away in her quiver before her hands reached out and ensnared his.

"No more magic for now. Please," she whispered to him, eyes trying to seek out his own for a sign of understanding before she looked back to the other two to gauge their feelings on continuing onward.


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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Sira on May 28th, 2015, 3:34 pm

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Zika's only response was a surge of frantic emotion that made Sira want to grimace. The Kelvic knew she wouldn't be getting any sort of coherent reply from the wind eagle, but mentally yelled at her anyway in hopes that she might listen. Zika! Go to Wind Reach! Bring back help! Focus, do it now! Sira had no way of knowing if the eagle would listen, and she was past caring. The immediate threat was over now, and that was the most important part.

When Azira approached, Sira turned toward her and, seeing the weapon the Avora was carrying, wearily shifted forms. In a whirl of glittering smoke she appeared, human and naked, slumped on her knees and still breathing heavily. Her arm hurt but she realized she could move it freely, it wasn't broken or dislocated, just sorely bruised. That much was good, at least. She was bleeding from numerous cuts, and bruises were already starting to form on her body where she'd been pommeled.

"It's dead.. I think. That's what counts, right?"

Sira didn't want to think about looking for survivors, but she knew the others were right. They still had a job to do, a job that Sira started them on. They had to see it through, especially now, even if there were no survivors. They had to figure out what the petch was going on. She took a moment to catch her breath before rising, then took the sword back from Azira when offered.

"Thanks," she responded wearily, "I guess we should go see what's in that cave."

Not waiting for a reply, not bothering to look for her bow, or clothes, or anything else, Sira gripped her sword tightly then trudged off toward the cave opening. She stumbled once or twice as she climbed over the scattered debris, and even tripped just as she reached the mouth of the cave. Petch, she thought, glancing over her shoulder to see if anyone noticed as she hurriedly got back to her feet and waited for the others to join her. When they did, she willed light into the gnosis mark on her hand, illuminating the mouth of the cave and bolstering her courage as well as those nearby, then moved forward into the dark.

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