Quest A Monumental Task

A twist of fate sees two diminutive pycons on the same quest.

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This shining population center is considered the jewel of The Sylira Region. Home of the vast majority of Mizahar's population, Syliras is nestled in a quiet, sprawling valley on the shores of the Suvan Sea. [Lore]

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A Monumental Task

Postby Prophet on October 23rd, 2016, 9:36 pm

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The tiny figure seemed to have some kind of intelligence. The mad leecher was surprised and lowered his guard for a moment. “Family?” He mouthed. The surge of djed used to create the weapons and armor of the man sent a wave of dizziness which caused a lapse in vision and focus. The man realigned with his target just enough to see the miniscule warrior sailing towards his face with some kind of thumbtack. As a reflex and a defensive maneuver, the mage swung his bone mallets up and outward from his core in rapid arcs. The motions covered his neck and face as well as provided a way to remove the Pycon from a place where he could to any damage.

One of the mallets was certain to knock the attacker from his trajectory and send him sailing against one of the dirt walls. The downfall to this was that a hammer was not entirely effective against the Pycon without an anvil to concentrate the blow. The leecher was not entirely concerned nor upset since he was mad but also he was lonely so he decided a follow up insult was definitely in order.

“Your family is a joke and you are nothing more than a plaything!” A gargled laugh erupted from the slacked jaw but ended up as a cough that brought about another few ticks of dizziness.
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A Monumental Task

Postby Ball on October 30th, 2016, 7:31 pm

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"My Speaking" My Thoughts


The distraction was enough Ball thought to extend a hand out before him in some kind of last minute attempt to protect himself. Luckily as he normally was, this was not one of those moments, a bone mallet connected with Ball. That connection changed Ball's trajectory plenty, but it also gave Ball something to grab onto. He released his rapier and a bit of his clay along with it to produce the thud and clattering associated with him being flung against the wooden wall. Bone was rough, it had to contour to the man's body and shape into mallets and those aren't perfect objects. So Ball clung to dear life as the arch of the one mallet found itself on it's descent and Ball was able to close in the gap far quicker.

This played into Ball's advantage though, as he hoped that the man's confusion only would lead to his downfall and Ball's clinging on for dear life actually resulted in him gaining enough of an arced swing to crack the bone that encased the man's hand. This provided a pretty unstable and sharp edge to balance on, but it was enough for Ball to sidestep his way across the opening and onto the place that would be knobby and easier to grab onto – the wrist.

Once there Ball was able to shift his body into a variety of spider legs, hooks, and slithering tentacles he made his way as subtly as he could (meaning he was like a bull in a china shop). “My family has defended mankind for centuries against the agents of Rhysol. They have continuously proven themselves as protectors and servants of justice.” Ball stopped speaking as he neared the man's elbow and looked up at the man's face, mixed in the man's confusion, his anger, and his spite... There was another feeling Ball could barely see. It was the loneliness of being trapped among the roots of the tree. Ball heard the part about him being a play thing... But he ignored that, for now. We are all playthings for the gods you. Me. The tree.


Credit :
Created goes to Raus for aiding in the photo manipulation, Myself for color and transparency manipulation as well as box code. Character is accredited below
Avatar CreditsMy lovely Avatar was drawn and created by the most awesome Nivel

Graders Please Note :
As Ball is getting closer and closer to maxing out Pyken as a skill, I would like to request that in places where Ball is not doing enough to constitute Pyken XP if Pyken technique lores could be issued instead.

Examples of proper XP level for Pyken would be: Ball developing or refining his technique by adding new thing against an actual moving target, not a dummy.

The use of basic skills alone are not enough to accomplish XP at Ball's current level of Pyken.

Thank you.

I will be handling all Ball related posts on Mondays @ 1800 my time *
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Ball
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A Monumental Task

Postby Prophet on November 4th, 2016, 9:28 pm

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The bone of the mallet cracked under the pointed pressure of the blow. The leecher cried out in anger and pain but his feeble attempt to shake the nuisance free from his hands failed for the Pycon had shifted and latched on to his wrist. The morphing madman soaked the bone back into his body from the mallets and the guards on his legs. His eyes revealed terror and joy at the same time which could be considered odd since the hand that replaced the mallet was obviously broken indicated by two dangling and lifeless fingers.

The decree of the little clay man ripped a giggle from the man’s cracked lips. Slow to react, the human was quick to think and now knew that bone would not stop this figure that worked its way up to his elbow. The deranged mage could only assume the surprisingly strong chunk of clay was trying to get to his face so he had to come up with some kind of defense. Using djed to manipulate his body, the man focused upon his arm that the intruder was climbing. The skin became loose from the bicep down to the fingers as bone, muscle and ligaments all became sticky strands of tissue. The arm was quickly replaced by a mess.

Like a bucket of noodles, the strands shifted and twisted around the weight of the little Pycon. The mad mage used his shoulder to complicate the ordeal by swinging the web from side to side. The tentacles of hooks of the clay figure were being targeted by the strands. In truth, the fiend was wondering that if he could ensnare the dirt being would it be susceptible to his morphing ability.
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A Monumental Task

Postby Ball on November 11th, 2016, 4:02 am

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"My Speaking" My Thoughts


As soon as Ball found himself at the crook of his adversary's limb his feet gave out from underneath him and the pycon found himself scrambling to grab hold of whatever he could. The skin that his fingers managed to snag a hold of felt like putty... Like clay. Sloughing off and twisting as he hung for his life. The man wasn't making it easier though for Ball with the shaking to and fro with all the movement of his shoulder.

With each sway Ball was batting away bits of human flesh as they attempted to ensnare him. They were scaring him tremendously and Ball paused slightly in his struggles as a thought latched onto his nexus.

I have nothing to fear. I am in the hands of the gods. Gods I am yours.. And as the next tentacle of flesh swung around Ball the little Pycon grabbed it tightly and pulled it hard so he was now wrapped up in it, but he wasn't done yet. He twisted his body around the arm so the flesh-tentacle traced around with him, ensnaring the man's arm with it. Ball then flattened himself as much as he could before squeezing himself out of the bottom gap between skin folds – pulling the edge of the tentacle along with him to seal the knot in place. Once free of the man's flesh Ball released and let himself fall towards the ground, rolling at just the last minute to prevent himself from being squished on the floor and dead on his own movement.

Once he was free of the man and on the floor safely he pulled his pole around in front of himself and wedged one of the ends into a crack of the floor and bent it so it was angled at the man's ankle. There was no time to waste and alert the man of his plan so Ball jumped above it and allowed the arched pole to fling him into the man's ankle. It literally was a straight shot into the man's ankle and as he propelled in that direction Ball tightened himself into a small tight ball of clay around his nexus. The impact would be brutal, having done something similar to dent armor years ago Ball knew the damage he could inflict.

If this attack was successful Ball was hoping it would be enough to drop the man hard in the direction of his entwined limbs and leave the man struggling with limbs and a useless limb so Ball could have a moment to break in the man's face. This man is an agent of Rhysol. And for that I will crush in his skull.


Credit :
Created goes to Raus for aiding in the photo manipulation, Myself for color and transparency manipulation as well as box code. Character is accredited below
Avatar CreditsMy lovely Avatar was drawn and created by the most awesome Nivel

Graders Please Note :
As Ball is getting closer and closer to maxing out Pyken as a skill, I would like to request that in places where Ball is not doing enough to constitute Pyken XP if Pyken technique lores could be issued instead.

Examples of proper XP level for Pyken would be: Ball developing or refining his technique by adding new thing against an actual moving target, not a dummy.

The use of basic skills alone are not enough to accomplish XP at Ball's current level of Pyken.

Thank you.

I will be handling all Ball related posts on Mondays @ 1800 my time *
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Ball
Ser Ball -- Pycon Knight of Syliras
 
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A Monumental Task

Postby Prophet on November 15th, 2016, 3:06 am

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The Pycon had eluded the trap and the Leecher suddenly felt very ill. When the impact shattered the bones in his ankle, it toppled the man. He collapsed in a heap while he screamed hysterically then several rapid and random mutations occurred in succession as if the blow had caused a chain reaction. First, the normal pair of human legs became bulbous knobs of flesh that resembled oblong pumpkins. The transformation was painful which was evident through the continued screams which soon turned into hoarse cries for help. When the gourd-like limbs trembled and began to reform as legs, the man’s face twisted into several other faces not his own. One looked like a young boy but gnarled almost immediately into the well-shaped face of a stately elder but both were marred by the open maw of shouting anguish.

A spasm took hold of the man who had been in the fetal position on his side. As the seizures ran through him like ripples in a pond, he rolled onto his back and was bridged by the shockwaves passing through his nervous system. The screams had stopped; the mage’s jaw was clenched tight by the repercussions of his overgiving. Then, as quickly as it had all set in, everything went still. The man lay upon the dirt and roots in absolute stillness with nothing but his shallow, hoarse breathing to fill the space. The discoloration and swelling indicated that his ankle was truly broken but the mad mage didn’t seem to have anything left.

Bleary and bloodshot eyes opened to face the Pycon. His gaze pleaded for mercy and his mouth opened to speak but nothing came out at first. After several tries through a quivering jaw, the man managed to choke out a few words. “Don’t…kill me…” He coughed and a fleks of bright red blood hit the dirt. The loose soil balled up around the substance quickly but he man continued as a few droplets ran from the corner of his mouth. “I wa-...I…” The man coughed again. “Paid to do-“ He waved his hand at the root system of the Windoak. “This.” He coughed some more and his fingers went to cover his mouth but they bent the wrong way as if he had no bones in them.
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A Monumental Task

Postby Ball on November 16th, 2016, 1:50 am

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"My Speaking" My Thoughts


Ball watched in utter horror as the man's crumbling form started to shift and alter on itself, Almost like myself in combat... But in far more pain. It must have been a few ticks as the man screamed in agonizing pain before he fell silent, his shifting spasms ending and Ball stepped closer, alert to any sudden changes or malice intent from the man. The man spoke – stuttered is probably more accurate – And Ball almost missed his words.

“Who paid you?” Ball frowned as he sat there near the man, yet still alert. “I cannot let the injustice of your actions. You have poisoned my family. You had the decision to take the payment and do this heinous act. For that you will pay. I cannot, grant you amnesty to walk out from here. Nor will I grant it. Speak of who paid you and I will do the only think I can. ”

Ball frowned at the man as his left hand shifted from hand to a long slender pointed tip. “Atonement is beyond your grasp sir. I am truly sorry. But you have proven you have no honor to yourself, paid to destroy something so noble. You lack honor among man, clay, and animal alike.”

Ball frowned as he lowered his hand down, allowing it to shift back into hand. His nexus ached from the beating he had received, his body not showing nearly as much damage but he felt it all over. Blood had splattered the man's fingers as he coughed, the mage's fingers splaying in the wrong direction as if the bones were no more. Death is inevitable, do you not see this? He is suffering.

“I can only grant you the mercy of a quick and painless death. May Dira deal with your soul accordingly.” Ball nodded and stood, granted most pycons were good at masking their emotions Ball's face showed a face of sorrow, anger, disgust... But most sorrow. “Just speak the name of your payer.” I cannot grant him anything more.


Credit :
Created goes to Raus for aiding in the photo manipulation, Myself for color and transparency manipulation as well as box code. Character is accredited below
Avatar CreditsMy lovely Avatar was drawn and created by the most awesome Nivel

Graders Please Note :
As Ball is getting closer and closer to maxing out Pyken as a skill, I would like to request that in places where Ball is not doing enough to constitute Pyken XP if Pyken technique lores could be issued instead.

Examples of proper XP level for Pyken would be: Ball developing or refining his technique by adding new thing against an actual moving target, not a dummy.

The use of basic skills alone are not enough to accomplish XP at Ball's current level of Pyken.

Thank you.

I will be handling all Ball related posts on Mondays @ 1800 my time *
User avatar
Ball
Ser Ball -- Pycon Knight of Syliras
 
Posts: 1322
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A Monumental Task

Postby Prophet on December 5th, 2016, 1:35 am

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The cowering mess of the morpher listened to Ball’s words. There was fascination in the eyes of the mad mage as he soaked in all that was being said. The longer the speech went on, the more giggles escaped the mouth of the man; there was even a garbled cough here and there. Weakly, the villain sat up and looked at the three inch creature that had brought him low. A high-pitched burst of laughter rolled into hoarse words. “I shouldn’t complain since I know that I’m dead when you finish talking but myyyy.” A fit of coughing interrupted the leecher. “I didn’t realize you little folk talked so much.” He grinned a sickly smile that revealed red blood filling the lines around his teeth.

“I s’pose I shouldn’t complain seeing as how…” The man paused for a few seconds as if the thought left him midsentence. His voice was weakening with each word but the stubborn fool continued to prattle on like a drunken barmaid. “Well, you’re going to kill me when I’ve finished talking so we’ll see how long my stami-hmp!” The pale man; ghastly pale with now sunken eyes, heaved from his stomach but closed his lips and clenched his jaw to fight back the seemingly inevitable eruption of unpleasantness. “Guess I’ve not long…to-“ a second heave and this one put the mage in a brief fit of convulsions that lasted no more than half a chime. He rolled onto his stomach and pushed his palms against the soil to lift his head. He was now literally eye to eye with the cyclops Pycon.

“I was paid by a knight. He said he’d kill me if I ever spoke of him.” The leecher paused but there was some strength this time as he quelled the desire to retch. It appeared that the releasing of his sinful burden was bringing some peace to the man. “O’ course, you’ll kill me long before he finds out so at least if I tell you about him, one of you can kill the other and I don’t have to die alone.” The sweat-slicked skin shook for a second –quivered- but nothing happened. The mage began to laugh a high and shrill sound that bubbled until blood flew out from his mouth in the worst fit of coughing yet displayed. The man’s face planted itself into the soil until the spasms had passed and when he looked up, his face had conformed to the flatness of the ground. He looked like a fleshy shield with a face; a hideous sight to behold.

“I don’t know his name, my good chunk of clay but I know how you can find him. He draws in mages to guide them on a pure path but the truth is that he twists their minds.” A fleshy appendage that was once a finger twacked off of the filthy hair of the morpher. “Petch, look at me. Anyway… the man you’re looking for is from Zeltiva and less than forty winters old. He’s hard to hit even for a mage.” The flattened face of the condemned villain suddenly bubbled out close to its original form but his nose was gradually sliding down towards his mouth. “He thinks outside-the-box, Dirtman…you’ll have to be clever to beat him.” The mage slumped back to the earth and rolled over onto his back. Wheezing escaped his lips as blood continued to roll from the corner of his mouth. His eyes cast a sidelong glance to the warrior and in a whisper, he conceded.

“Serve your masters and kill me, Pycon…” a wily grin spread over his face one last time. “Kill me now or you’ll never leave this place.” The skin of the man began to twist and whirl from his core outward. It seemed the morpher was leeching energy from somewhere and using it to fuel one last ditch effort to bring harm to his better. The problem was that he had no control over the process and was flinging lumps of skin and bone about carelessly.
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A Monumental Task

Postby Ball on December 25th, 2016, 1:21 pm

OOCGood gods this took me forever to reply to sorry about that

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"My Speaking" My Thoughts


Ball listened to the man. It was hard words to swallow. Yet the way he spoke the words Ball knew they were true. The root of the tree's current ailment was a member within their own ranks. A mage-knight from Zeltiva. Ball grimaced, he was not a fan of mages in the least. With their fireballs, their mind tricks, their body shifting... Ball didn't know what else they had, but they had enough of whatever it was.

Djed Ball... The word you are seeking for is djed. Ball pushed the snarky thought away just in time for him to hear the dying morpher's final threat. He had to react fast, and the little clayman did just that. His left hand dominated the air above Ball in a quick succession of shifting and bunching clay. His fingers mashed into a ice pick like hook, blunt to produce the most damage, but small and tight to ensure a solid impact. Ball didn't hesitate to add more weight behind the blow seeing as he jumped up off the ground and pushed his whole body's mass into the arching swing of the blow. There was no denying it that the man was dead, after that, he had no chance in Hai to get out of the way, coughing up blood and convulsing like he was Ball had a feeling that even if he left the man alive he would die on his own. In the name of Sylir I grant you a merciful death. A civilized and just death so that your heart may once more be pure in Yahal's eyes. May Dira judge your soul accordingly. And when the last words trailed his thoughts his hand-hook broke skin between the man's eyes, blood vessels erupted and soon his hand was cracking skull and hitting gray matter. Ball however only felt his clay take impact, first it took the skull with force, cracking it, but soon it was fighting to keep shape, trying to push back out of the crack towards his body, yet his weight was the only driving force – as the clay folded back into himself it only fueled the downward momentum.

When his hand made contact with the man's brain, Ball's world shifted in perspective. He was pissed not at the man before him, but the traitor above him. Somewhere up there was a man – a knight – who took his oath before this very tree, fought under it's banner... And still had the tenacity to kill the very tree that gave him protection and a purpose. Ball yanked his hand from the man's skull and without thinking brought it down again and again, each blow faster and harder, less precise and becoming more and more filled with anger. It took Ball almost a full chime to stop his relentless pulverizing of the morpher's face to before he realized the man before him was truly dead. This was the not end of his quest, just because the tree was saved does not mean Ball was going to quit seeking revenge. Oh no, he was going to kill the man who paid the morpher.

No one takes refuge among my family and then slap that kindness in the face with such heinous act. They will pay. Ball stood from the corpse and looked around the room. It was time to get out from underneath the tree and back into the open air above. In search of the traitor among them.


Credit :
Created goes to Raus for aiding in the photo manipulation, Myself for color and transparency manipulation as well as box code. Character is accredited below
Avatar CreditsMy lovely Avatar was drawn and created by the most awesome Nivel

Graders Please Note :
As Ball is getting closer and closer to maxing out Pyken as a skill, I would like to request that in places where Ball is not doing enough to constitute Pyken XP if Pyken technique lores could be issued instead.

Examples of proper XP level for Pyken would be: Ball developing or refining his technique by adding new thing against an actual moving target, not a dummy.

The use of basic skills alone are not enough to accomplish XP at Ball's current level of Pyken.

Thank you.

I will be handling all Ball related posts on Mondays @ 1800 my time *
User avatar
Ball
Ser Ball -- Pycon Knight of Syliras
 
Posts: 1322
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A Monumental Task

Postby Ball on January 18th, 2017, 3:04 am

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"My Speaking" My Thoughts


It only took a few minutes for Ball to gain his thoughts for a second and looked for his rapier. It laid thrown from his grips during the fight and Ball went to it. Stooping down the Pycon picked it up. It was then that a thought passed through his nexus. Evidence of the man was required, not that the blood that soaked my body wasn't enough. Ball slide the rapier back into the sheath at his 'waist' as he turned back to the morpher and started cautiously towards him. Wary of a sudden attack from the mage if he was indeed faking his death.

When Ball was sure the man was indeed dead – no movement nor breathing came from the hideous man when Ball was less than an inch from the man's face – he reached towards the man and plunged his hands into the man's left eye socket. Wrapping both hands around the nerve he roared loudly and pulled out the orb out of the man's face with a sickening twang much like a string snapping when pulled hard enough. He slung it over his shoulder, using a bit of his clay to keep it place he turned back to the wall and started the struggle to climb it.

A traitor breaths above. A Mage Knight from Zeltiva.

Three Bells Later

Ball seethed with anger. His eye twitched as his mind raced in search of the mage knight held responsible for the murder of the tree. Of the degeneration of the poor soul beneath the tree. Ball could not recall fully how he got out from underneath the tree. The last real thing Ball remember was climbing the lattice wall of roots – how he emerged from underneath the tree, out of the courtyard of the Windoak and here was beyond Ball's recollection. Not that it mattered, civilians kept their distance from the clay squire as he stalked through the halls, hands clenched tightly in fists. Ball was not the most intimidating squire around – but there was enough rumors to give him a reputation. Mage Knight from Zeltiva...

Before the squire stood the heavy double oak doors of the mess hall of the barracks – knights, squires, and pages alike were hidden on the other side of the slabs of wood their voices muffled but still noticeable. That was the din of noise that was held within. It wasn't hard for the Pycon to open the doors really, he didn't even have to reach for the knob – it was feet above his height. Instead he placed both hands on both sides of the crack that ran perpendicular to the ground. His eye narrowed as he gazed through the gap, it was not necessarily a thin perfect line as others would have on believe. It was at least an inch of gap at the bottom of the door, Ball smiled as his back and shoulder seemed to engulf the former morpher's eye in clay and pulled it into his body.

Within a few ticks Ball had pushed himself through the gap, left hand first then right. When they reached cobblestone and felt the change of vibrations from feet and noise through the cobblestone the Pycon squire pulled the rest of his body through the gap. Standing his attention was first drawn to the door, to one side was a heavy oak post that when placed in the brackets that hung at both ends of the double doors and half way between each door would act as a deadbolt of sorts.

Flanking the doors were two pages, shocked to see the little man that stood before them. They knew he was without much thought and jumped when he spoke. “Pages. Bar the doors. No one leaves. Even the grandmaster.” he rumbled and without much worry that they wouldn't do as he asked. With much struggle the two pages managed to lift the post from it's spot beside the doors and slide it into place with much grunting, groaning, scrapping, banging, and clanging that was expected from two twelve year old boys.

Ball turned as the roar of voices slowly quieted and a single table worth of a bench scraped to allow it's occupants to stand. “I never commanded the doors be barred. Unbar them this instance.” The voice sounded gruff. Ball knew it from the Warden that he met earlier. Ball jumped and landed on a table. Ball turned briefly to the two boys that barred the door, “Remove that post and I will break both your ankles.” He turned back to the warden, eye narrowing.

“I did. You know what I have been doing since the morning. The others have proven they were cowards.” Ball plunged his hands into his gut as he walked and hopped the tables to the warden. When he landed before him with a thud he pulled out the eye out from his belly and dropped it before the one-armed knight.

Pointing to the eye Ball spoke directly to the Warden in a whisper, “The previous owner was able to touch the tree's roots and do some weird changes to his body... Made himself stronger, faster... Crazier. He also spoke of a mage-knight from Zeltiva having paid him. A member of our family defiling our sacred symbol. Our family. Our trust. This I believe he was speaking truly as he seemed to be releasing a burden. A heavy weight. You placed me before the Great Oak to test my mettle. I am not here on your, the Lord Knight's, or the Grandmaster's orders. I am here on the orders of the Windoak. I will protect my family. A traitor walks among us. I shall find him and I shall kill him. Or die ferreting out the man so you and the others here can end his traitorous life.”

Ball turned his attention to the rest of the people in the hall. “I am looking for this knight. Bring him forth and by the grace of the tree and Sylir I will let you live and leave when my task is done.”

Ball's vision scanned the room from one end to the other, slowly taking in the faces and expressions. The pages were scared and confused. The Squires were just scared. The Knights though, most were pretty nervous, some had leaned to one another and chattered in whispers to themselves.

“If the offending knight will step forward and present himself to me I will grant him the only bit of mercy he deserves.” Ball's hands tightened once again into little fists, it was these fists that were known to be destructively dangerous.

The master observer couldn't tell a knight from a mage-knight or even one of the bigger and taller squires. The description given by the man under the tree was not enough.


Credit :
Created goes to Raus for aiding in the photo manipulation, Myself for color and transparency manipulation as well as box code. Character is accredited below
Avatar CreditsMy lovely Avatar was drawn and created by the most awesome Nivel

Graders Please Note :
As Ball is getting closer and closer to maxing out Pyken as a skill, I would like to request that in places where Ball is not doing enough to constitute Pyken XP if Pyken technique lores could be issued instead.

Examples of proper XP level for Pyken would be: Ball developing or refining his technique by adding new thing against an actual moving target, not a dummy.

The use of basic skills alone are not enough to accomplish XP at Ball's current level of Pyken.

Thank you.

I will be handling all Ball related posts on Mondays @ 1800 my time *
User avatar
Ball
Ser Ball -- Pycon Knight of Syliras
 
Posts: 1322
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Joined roleplay: January 31st, 2012, 4:52 pm
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Medals: 6
Featured Contributor (1) Overlored (1)
One Thousand Posts! (1) NaNo Excuses Medal (1)
Mizahar Grader (1) Chat Mod (1)

A Monumental Task

Postby Prophet on January 29th, 2017, 1:40 pm

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The mess hall was quiet for a moment though the Warden glowered at being confined. He knew the cause was just but he would not help the arrogant squire. It was true, the Pycon had a reputation in the Order as well as the city for being one tough rock but he was also known as a bit of a jerk. Most of the senior knights went back about their business and it seemed that as the chimes passed, the ordeal was going to be largely ignored. The man brushed aside the eyeball with his knife then handed the dirty utensil to his page with a look that needed no words to convey his request; a clean knife.

The young lad ran off towards the kitchen but never made it. He cried out and dropped the piece of fine silver, his face having lost all of the tan color –replaced by bone white. His wide-eyed stare looked directly at a young woman with white hair and fiery eyes. She had built a half wall of res and now, upon discovery, ignited it into her element of choice. Many of the squires moved back expecting fire but the woman made a wall of water. She stretched it almost to the ceiling and wrapped it around her form in an arc that also protected another. When the protective shield was nearly finished, a process that only took ticks, she touched it with her hand and converted it into solid and smooth ice. She was a Vantha, a child of Morwen, and this was her gift. While the girl had provided this distraction, a large man had been pushing djed into his muscles and preparing for the opportune moment to unleash his power. The sound behind the ice was distinctive and shook the entire room. A loud crack came first then stones crumbled and blocks fell away.

A squire shouted from a window down the wall and pointed as a tall man with short hair and the tiny Vantha woman ran through the corridors and towards the stables. The Warden looked to Ball. “Complete you mission, Squire.” The human narrowed his gaze then looked to the main doors. “Raise the bells and close the city. No one leaves.” The man stood up and looked around. “Let it be known that any who harbor these fugitives will receive no mercy but let it be clear that this is not a chance for heroes.” A gloved hand went down to indicate the fighter made of clay. “This task was given to Squire Ball by the Windoak. We must respect the propriety of his noble quest.” The Warden sat back down and looked Ball in the eye. In a soft voice he addressed the warrior. “I have done all I can for you, Squire. Sylir guide you.”

The doors were opened and the mess hall went back to normal except that the conversation had changed. The wall of ice remained but none touched it. In time, the mess would be removed and the damage repaired but now was not that moment. While fod was still being consumed, the focus of the room had shifted as all eyes watched the clay figure for his next move.

=====

The two mage-knights ran through the castle only far enough to escape the immediate area. They concealed their motives by pretending like nothing was wrong and no one questioned it. Alicia Frostfawn smiled up at Percival as she contemplated their new life together. The couple rounded another narrow corner on their way to the stables when the alarm was raised. The man and woman exchanged glances then nodded. They split up and neither headed towards the stables. Alicia vanished towards the end of the castle where many of the servants stayed. A predetermined plan had been set into place for such a situation. She had shadowed the maids for weeks in search of the right one. She located two who were roughly the same size and shape; one even had blonde hair. The woman would easily overtake one, take an outfit and identification papers then slip out of the city. Alicia had hidden supplies beyond the castle walls that would allow her to travel well away from the knights’ influence where she could happily spend her remaining days with her friend, her comrade and her love.

Percival headed into the higher levels of the castle. He also had a contingency plan. Centuries ago, during the construction of the great castle, the overseers had enough foresight to ingrain certain features which were to remain secret and used only in case of dire circumstances. The order kept its most important people high up in the stone city far from danger. Yet what if treachery occurred? Would the knights’ leadership be trapped? This would never do so in several places, the chutes used for laundry and garbage were expanded. Servants dropped filthy linens down these passages to the large wash rooms- it was simply easier. The same was done with food scraps. Such things never needed to be large to be effective since gravity worked well enough on its own but Percival had learned of a few chambers that had drops which were large enough for a man to descend. He climbed another flight of stairs and rounded a corner. He bumped straight into a pair of knights who were arming themselves to check on the reason for the disturbance.

“State your rank and purpose here, Ser.” A dark-skinned man with wise eyes spoke.

“Where are you headed, knight?” The taller of the two, this man had a scar over his cheek. Both men were in chainmail and partial plate as well as armed.

Percival bowed his head slightly. “Apologies, sers. I am Ser Percival Volimir. The alarm has something to do with a small woman with white hair. A servant on the floor below described such a person heading up towards the tower.” His crisp gaze went from one man to the other. “I shall follow your command, sers. What is your order?”

The two looked at one another. These were obviously senior soldiers but neither was aware of the situation and they hadn’t seen the girl either. The tall man nodded and the dark mark spoke. “We’ll split up and search these rooms. Remember to be courteous, Ser Volimir. This level houses honorable and respectable knights who deserve your kindness and tact.”

Percival bowed his head again. “As you command, sers.” He headed to the back of the hallway with a brisk walk then knocked politely and waited for a response. His plan was working perfectly.
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