Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 455/28 7983 Posts
“…How long have we been here?”
"I couldn't say, my love," Aranwen replied, her voice soft as it travelled along the floor from where she sat next to the door of her cell, "Without the stars, moon, or sun, I've no sense of time here," She added, "I have slept nine, perhaps ten times, but that has no bearing on whether a day or a night has passed."
“Too long, then,” Ch’dau chuffed wearily through the shadows, his hands gripping the bars to try and pull himself up. His eyes met hers from across the dank corridor and, sadly, in a glimmer, her’s were gone.
"I am sorry for my part, once again, in bringing you back to this…"
The kazari was about to dismiss the bladesinger’s need to apologize – he had followed her into this willingly – but that dismissal was forestalled by what she said next.
"…But, it seems the situation is far more different than I had originally seen. We may not have learned the whole of that priests' intentions, but they appear to overlap with ours, if marginally. His price in return for our freedom, and in saving you, is to aid him in one endeavour which he said he will disclose later."
Ch’dau grunted softly. “Saving me is not worth servitude to some k’tomba death priest,” he murmured, “but for the price of freedom for the rest of you, I suppose…” He fell silent, then, listening as Aranwen continued her consideration of the task they might be required to perform for the priest and, moreover, what his motives might be.
“…At best, I can only guess that he has quarrel with her, or perhaps desires leadership for himself. He cannot use his ghouls in his favour, given they also answer to other cultists as well. So he has need of forces he knows cannot be controlled, and has made certain to the best of his ability that we will comply with his request.
I do not like it. It has the feel of dealing with one problem only to leave another in its place. But we have little choice but to concede, if we are to survive.”
Survive. The Silver Cat chuffed faintly. He wouldn’t admit it aloud, of course, but he wasn’t certain that he would survive this… as long as he lived to see Kithran alive, his friends liberated from this place, and got a chance to kill Garn and Davena, that was all that mattered, now.
“I do not like it, either, my khatun,” he returned, “but I do understand your reasoning. If this is your will, I will comply.”
Posted on 2019-11-24 at 12:45:49.
Raven Resident Finn RDI Staff Karma: 71/3 1068 Posts
I am alive!
Having exhausted himself both physically and mentally in the fight with the ghouls, Cedric almost welcomed the paralysing effect of the monsters’ attacks. The excruciatingly painful bites and agonising slashes went way beyond the young cleric’s pain threshold even though it certainly wasn’t the first time he was hurt in a battle. With the paralysis came a wave of blackness which embraced him like soft, warm blanked. In the darkness the falling continued. And around him Cedric could feel more than see demonic faces, each more terrible than the other with gaping maws, tentacles and horns, spikes and oozing wounds. The forms came at the poor lad’s defenceless soul eating away his life force bite by bite until he could no longer hear or see or feel…
Cedric was out a long time. He practically missed all that had taken place before the evil priest decided to present his captives two options. He’d only been back to his senses to have a drink of the dirty water a few times before falling back into the darkness. Now, trying to push himself up, the priest stumbled and fell against the steel bards of his cell. He tried to take hold of the gate with his damaged hands only ending up reopening the wounds in the attempt. Crying out in pain, he let go of the rusty metal and fell down once more not even able to break the fall much. Breathing heavily Cedric wanted to let go of his consciousness and welcome the darkness again, but the haunting images he had seen in his delirious sleep still burned his mind the second he closed his eyes. It took all of the willpower the boy had left to force himself in a seated position against the wall and to calm his breathing down a bit. Cedric’s thighs were shaking with cramps, saliva was running from the side of his mouth and he felt like he was choking. There was more pain the young man had ever felt before all around his body. It would’ve been easier to name the spots that didn’t hurt as he was pretty sure there weren’t any.
Unconsciously Cedric tried to touch the comforting metal of the disc of Solanis’s sun, but didn’t find it hanging against his chest. Frantically he tried again and again until he heard the death priest chuckle in the hallway. Cedric didn’t bother to look as he realised what must’ve happened. Of course the enemy would not leave him or Gib in the possession of their most powerful weapon. It was clear the masters of this place, were it Davena and Garn or this evil priest or someone else, were not stupid even if they didn’t see the World like Cedric or his companions did. The loss struck him so hard, the young priest forgot his agony for a heartbeat or three, but then through the feelings of forlorn he found resolve in the teachings of his Lord:
Take my light into your heart and I shall burn away any evil you face. Spread my words and let my shine embrace the World wherever you go. No unlife can withstand the purity of the Sun and no evil can prevail over the radiance in your soul. My love will always be with you as you will always be a part of me.
Mumbling the words again and again, Cedric found the warmth of his God inside him once more. Grinning almost madly, he asked the Radiant Father for healing and the Lord responded immediately with his miraculous power. The pain in his torn form subsided, but it was not the greatest gift of the curing prayer… In addition to healing the cleric’s wounds and mending his body, the magic pulled and melted together the fragments of his broken soul and drove away the screaming demons from his heart. Looking down at himself, Cedric shook his head… Despite of the incredible and immense power Solanis held, even he was unable to fix the priest’s formerly yellow robes. The stupid smile disappeared from Cedric’s face as quickly as had appeared. He didn’t really doubt the God’s power. In fact he was very sure the supreme being would have zero trouble mending his torn clothes too. It was he himself who lacked in ability, not the divine power he had dedicated his life too.
"Truth be told," the black-robed priest adds, "I had thought to offer my bargain to you when the time of my need was closer to hand... but here we are.
The words brought Cedric out of his illusionary happy place and into the hell he and his companions still were in. Somewhat revitalised as a side-effect of the healing spell, the lad managed to push himself up and turned to face the servant of D’hurgen. He was really intrigued to learn why the priest had saved their lives. The man must’ve known neither of the priests would turn away from their gods under any kind of pressure. Cedric hadn’t really had any time to think why or how or who yet, but now his mind was trying to put one and one together as fast as it was able. As everything was still a bit foggy, it wasn’t really very fast.
"I will intercede to save your friend's life," he offers after a short pause. "If I do this, the four of you will swear to perform a task for me. Upon completion of the task, your freedom will be granted. I will not discuss my needs with you at this time, save to give you my word that my task will not run contrary to any vows already sworn by any of you. Indeed, I believe that you will find that we have a very mutual interest here."
Save our friend’s life? She is still alive! Yes! Thank you, Radiant Father! It was all Cedric could think about for a moment. Kith is alive!
The black-robed priest looks around each cell slowly. "Do we have an accord?" he asks.
When the evil, but intelligent eyes paused on Cedric, the cleric could only manage a little nod. He was about to say how he could promise to do the man’s bidding, but would not partake in anything that went against the teachings of Solanis or the dogma of His church, but lacked the strength to do so. Taking in a deep breath, he tried again, but the servant of the death god had already disappeared inside Ch’dau’s cell to save the cat-warrior’s life. Though the act made Cedric shiver in disgust, he was glad his friend would live to see the next day… hopefully.
As Ch’dau got back to his senses and shared words with Aranwen, Cedric leaned against the gate of his “quarters” and listened. He was still too tired to do much anything else, even if his spirits were now far better than they had been such a short while earlier. He had promised to do something quite evil, he was sure. But if that meant that they all might survive this ordeal and could be able to take Kithran with them as well, he was willing to do almost anything. Or so he now felt. Of course common sense said there was no trusting the man even when he had allowed them to live. But hope never killed the day and right now hope was pretty much everything Cedric had. Right now the Meadows of Dawn on would have to wait. It was not his turn to meet his maker yet.
Smiling weakly, the lad banged his fist against the bars a couple of times. Gone was the uncertain lad again and in his place stood a man of the cloth wise beyond his years. The voice was stern and solid even if his body was not: “That’s the spirit, my friends. We need to breath to make sure Kith gets to keep on breathing as well. We will need to survive to put an end to this all. It may not be today, but mark my words… That day will come.”
Posted on 2019-11-25 at 14:33:50.
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 359/54 6710 Posts
The day passes, as does the next. And the next. The days give way to a week, to two... has it been three? It is difficult to track just how much times passes in this dark, odorous prison, with the ghoulish minions making only irregular visits to bring food or water. A note of interest is that the food inproves somewhat - if one can manage to overlook the clear signs that a good portion of this food is at best scraps and leftovers - judging by the bite marks in heels of bread, chunks of gristle that appeaer to be pre chewed and such, there can be no real doubt that some portion can be nothing but actual trash.
Garbage or not, after more than a week with little to no food - and that being thin gruel - survival passes pride and disgust as motivating factors. Heels of bread, bits of cheese, small portions of stew, even the occasional piece of actual meat... all of these do serve to help sustain precious life.
Then, one night (or is it day?) the soul sucking tedium of the gloomy prison is interrupted with the priest's return.
He stands just outside your cell, an eager expression on his face. "So, my guests," he speaks. "The time has arrived."
He takes a long pause, looking at each cell. "I know that I have the word of the Bladesinger and the battle priest, and no objection from the sun priest. I hear that you," he points at Ch'dau, "are an honorable creature, cat man,that I can trust you will keep the bargain of your life for my task. Is that so?"
OOC: assuming a positive response of some sort...
The priest nods. "Very well. I will release you." He produces a key from his robes and unlocks each gate in turn.
The dark robed man gestures, and a ghoul steps forward with a long bundle in its arms. He unwraps it, revealing a simple longsword that he extends to Aranwen. "If I understand you properly, Bladesinger, you would not wield your old sword again... not that I could obtain it, anyway. Therefore, I have secured a replacement weapon for you. Alas, it is not of the quality of the one you surrendered, but I trust it will be functional."
OOC: assuming she accepts it...
He looks to each of the rest of you. "This creature," he indicates the ghoul that brough the sword, "will take you to another cell, where most of your equipment was stored. Once you retrieve it, you will follow me for your task."
He waits a moment, a slight smirk on his face, before continuing. "I am aware that you have met my Mistress, the High Priestess of our order. I have... a different idea for how our order should conduct itself. But my Mistress is not the sort to solicit input, nor is she inclined to step aside. I dare not act against her alone, as she is a terrible foe... but if I had strong allies such as yourself, I could see to it that she was removed from power, enabling our church to move forward and away from this fixation of hers."
He lets the words hang in the air for a moment. "I will take you to her, avoiding her guards. She is expending a great deal of her energy even as we speak; she will be vulnerable, and the time to strike will be now. There are those among the order whose support I can count on."
The dark priest looks to each of you. "When my Mistress is dead, I will honor you safe passage out of our domain. I give you this solemn vow in the name of D'hurgen, the Devourer. Of course, if you act against me, this seal is broken. Do you all understand?"
OOC: any response that doesn't include a "screw you" or violence...
The odious man nods once more, a wide smile on his face. "Very well. Follow my minon and equip yourselves. The time for change is at hand."
Posted on 2019-11-25 at 23:00:54.
Reralae Dreamer of Bladesong Karma: 135/12 2274 Posts
Replacement and Preparation
With the change in what was being provided to eat, Aranwen knew that the time would be coming sooner than later; it seemed that she had surmised correctly, the situation as a whole.
"Alas, it is not of the quality of the one you surrendered, but I trust it will be functional."
Aranwen regarded the blade brought by the ghoul. A far simpler blade, but she accepted it in hand without hesitation.
"Let us find out."
She turned away from the priest, so as to not cause undue alarm, and closed her eyes. Unsheathing it, she lifted the blade before her, holding the guard just in front of her chin, and simply kept it steady for a moment, testing the weight in her hand. Opening her eyes, she lowered the tip, pointing it at the far wall of what was her cell, once again holding it steady. With deliberately slow movements she swung the blade, and with each arc she began to feel the new instead of the old, the center of weight on the blade, the reach, imprinting the texture of the handle upon her hand, observing the many imperfections that made this sword into the unique blade that it was forged to be.
The priest was right, the quality was indeed significantly less than her old. But as she bore the blade, she accepted its imperfections. If anything, it felt appropriate that the blade she wielded now was less than a pristine one; she herself had been less than an pristine leader, in her mind, and where before she might have taken minor issue with the blade, she instead began to feel synergy with this blade, as it blended with the worn and cracked blade of her heart. As she practised with the blade in silence, she listened to the sound it made in the air, and she could hear its song. Different than her older one, but she could hear it nonetheless.
Sheathing the blade, she turned back to the priest and the others. Aranwen would have liked more time to attune her being with this new blade, but not even she knew how long it may take to truly attune to it in as strong of a manner as her old one, and she knew time was scarce.
"It will serve our purposes," Aranwen confirmed, giving a wry smile, "And it is far better than entering battle unarmed."
In acts of preparation, Aranwen once more donned her armour, securing the sheath of the new blade at her hip. This was all she needed to do physically, but in her mind she retraced her more recent battles, steeling herself, her resolve, and feeling the flame that yet burned in her heart. Her body was far from the ideal condition, but she had kept up with her fitness as best she could, and right now, she'd take fighting over waiting. To wait longer would be to be in worse condition.
Still, she afforded herself one brief moment of luxury. Having spent so long confined to solitude, she needed to feel that the others were indeed real and not a product of a shattered mind. She helped Gib with his armour, she helped search for and return Cedric's holy symbol directly to his hand, and Ch'dau... she stood beside him, leaning into his warm fur. In the darkness, she felt a few tears fall from her cheeks in relief.
* * *
"When my Mistress is dead, I will honor you safe passage out of our domain. I give you this solemn vow in the name of D'hurgen, the Devourer. Of course, if you act against me, this seal is broken. Do you all understand?"
Aranwen nodded her head, "I understand," She returned, "At the moment, I am far more concerned with the present than what comes after. We can know she will not be undefended, even with avoiding guards on our approach - she doesn't allow herself to appear vulnerable at any time," that is what initially drew my curiosity, Aranwen thought bitterly.
"I might not know how the room looks before we arrive, but I do know that she will have attendants. Ch'dau, if Garn is present and not blocking the path, I leave him to you. Keep him occupied. I will rush those that wield magic - if I should be able to get to her and hinder any spellcasting by my persistence, then all the better for our chances of success in this endeavour, I should think. Gib, attend and aid Ch'dau if I go for her. Cedric, see to our injuries as they come as best you can, and be ready with your light; we know that they will use darkness to stay our advance, as they have done so before. Avoid being in a direct line with her sight - we know of the lightning she can wield."
WIth a deep breath, Aranwen once more steadied herself.
"For whatever it is worth," She whispered, "Kithran, I am sorry for my lateness. Heren'salkya, please... please grant us your favour in our time of need."
Aranwen had a strong feeling that they would need it.
Posted on 2019-11-26 at 02:32:46.
Bromern Sal A Shadow RDI Staff Karma: 145/11 4042 Posts
Gib does his best to pick up on any nuances in the priest's speech. There are still many unanswered questions and possibilities. Where the game of politics is concerned, the warrior-cleric is unpracticed but not unaware. The opportunity being presented could be a move to gain favor with Davena as much as it could be to destroy her. Are you going to pretend to be our ally in this only to turn on us as soon as the battle starts and defend your priestess? Suspicion is a slippery slope and Moreno swallows it bitterly. He cannot afford to flounder at any point due to his conjectures.
Remaining silent throughout the exchange, Gib pauses everyone once they are taken to the cell where their gear is stored to make sure all are healed from their wounds. There's no point in rushing into battle with old injuries sealing their fate early. (OOC: Gib will cast Cure Light Wounds on any who need it.)
His armor feels a little loose but there's also a feeling of strength in being re-equipped. Sword in hand, Gib offers a silent prayer of gratitude to Therassor for this opportunity and once again, consecrates his soul to the God of Just Battle should he fall this day.
Posted on 2019-11-26 at 10:52:39.
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 455/28 7983 Posts
Thank Rrowl almighty, we're free at last!
Time passed, though it was nearly impossible to discern just how much, since the death priest’s last visit and, in those indiscernible hours (or days, or weeks), Ch’dau’s health slowly improved. The accord Aranwen had made with their jailor had, at least, resulted in better food and, as a result more energy, enabling him to move about the confines of his cell and exercise to some degree in an attempt to rebuild his strength… and his anger. When, after Khr’a only knew how long, the dark priest returned, the Kazari was feeling well enough to greet the man with a scornful snarl.
“So, my guests,” the man sneered, standing outside the cells, “The time has arrived.”
There is a long pause as the vile human paces the hallway, peering into each cell in turn. "I know that I have the word of the Bladesinger and the battle priest, and no objection from the sun priest. I hear that you," he stops in front of Ch'dau’s cell and points a finger, "are an honorable creature, cat man, that I can trust you will keep the bargain of your life for my task. Is that so?"
You can trust, k’tomba t’mbili, that I will not kill you until after I have killed the others, the Kazari growled inwardly. Rather than give voice to that reply, though, Ch’dau answered with a curt nod and an irritated chuff. “I will do as my khatun bids me.”
“Very well,” the preist nodded, “I will release you.”
It was a difficult thing for Ch’dau not to instantly tear the man to shreds when the door to his cell was unlocked but, somehow, the Silver Cat managed to restrain himself. Instead, he simply stepped into the corridor, stretching the ache from his limbs as the priest summoned forth a ghoul bearing a replacement sword for Aranwen.
“Alas, it is not of the quality of the one you surrendered,” the D’hurgenite said, presenting the blade to the Syl, “but I trust it will be functional.”
“Let us find out,” Aranwen replied, accepting and then inspecting the blade.
Ch’dau watched quietly as the Bladesinger tested the salvaged steel, attuning it to her spirit and listening to its song.
Following her assessment, Aranwen sheathed the blade and turned back to the priest. “It will serve our purposes,” she offered from behind a wry smile, “and it is far better than entering battle unarmed.”
The death priest nodded, gesturing to his accompanying ghoul. “This creature will take you to another cell, where most of your equipment was stored. Once you retrieve it, you will follow me to your task.”
He went on to explain, in more detail, what he expected of them in this ‘task’ of his and, as he did so, a savage, smiling snarl spread across Ch’dau’s features. It has been my plan, for some time, to kill that monkey-bitch, the cat-man, again, managed to keep his thoughts to himself, you have only delayed it.
Having been led to the cell where their equipment was stored, Ch’dau grumbled at the condition of his blades and spent some time honing their edges and returning them to their proper places as Aranwen went about aiding Gib and Cedric with their gear. As he tucked the dagger Kithran had given him all those years ago into the belt of his dak’tar, he felt the bladesinger at his side and, as she leaned into him, her relieved tears, trickling into his fur, he wrapped an arm around her and purred softly. “This is all but finished, m’penzi,” he murmured reassuringly, “I will see you and Kithran free of this place.” He nuzzled her gently, then, pulling her closer, tighter, for an instant before, finally letting her go.
His blue-green gaze swept over Cedric and Gib, then, and he nodded respectfully to the two men. “I will see you all free, my friends,” he swore, “here or in the Hunt.”
Soon, by the blessings of Therassor and Solanis, wounds were healed and more strength and determination restored as a result.
“When my Mistress is dead, I will honor you safe passage out of our domain,” the dark priest offered, then, “I give you this solemn vow in the name of D'hurgen, the Devourer. Of course, if you act against me, this seal is broken. Do you all understand?”
“Not that a vow given in the name of your god means uj’nga,” Ch’dau said with a snort, his fingers flexing and palms itching for the hilts of his falcata.
"I understand," Aranwen nodded, "At the moment, I am far more concerned with the present than what comes after. We can know she will not be undefended, even with avoiding guards on our approach - she doesn't allow herself to appear vulnerable at any time.
I might not know how the room looks before we arrive, but I do know that she will have attendants. Ch'dau, if Garn is present and not blocking the path, I leave him to you. Keep him occupied,” Aranwen plotted.
The Silver Cat nodded (and perhaps smiled a little too eagerly); “He will be far too busy trying to keep his guts on the inside to worry on you, my khatun.”
“I will rush those that wield magic - if I should be able to get to her and hinder any spellcasting by my persistence, then all the better for our chances of success in this endeavour, I should think. Gib, attend and aid Ch'dau if I go for her. Cedric, see to our injuries as they come as best you can, and be ready with your light; we know that they will use darkness to stay our advance, as they have done so before. Avoid being in a direct line with her sight - we know of the lightning she can wield."
“A blade to her mouth ought to keep her from calling her magics,” Ch’dau suggested, almost off-hand. His gaze flitted between his remaining companions for a moment, then, as it fixed back on the priest of D’hrugen, hardened and narrowed.
“Show us to your mistress, t’mbili,” he chuffed, “I grow tired of waiting.”
We are coming for you, Little Kitten.
Posted on 2019-11-26 at 11:41:30.
Raven Resident Finn RDI Staff Karma: 71/3 1068 Posts
Bring them on!
Cedric felt like kneeling as he accepted the holy disk from Aranwen. Since the dark priest had promised to unite the heroes (that was how the lad wanted to see their group in the depths of this den of evil) with their equipment, the lad had almost been holding his breath while waiting for this moment to come. It reminded him of the first time the golden symbol of Solanis had touched his hands. He still considered the day of his graduation the best day of his life. Thinking about the memory made the young man smile and he smiled to Ara too. His was once more the face of an innocent quire boy. There was no evil in sight or even in his mind for that short moment as his round eyes only saw the beautiful sylvari. The look in his eyes was not that of love or at least not in the way it could easily have been interpreted by a stranger, but he did love the bladesinger like a big sister he didn’t have. And he loved her even more now as she pressed the ever-warm disk into Cedric’s hands. A sudden, sharp, but light shock of electricity ran through the cleric’s fingers. He couldn’t tell if it came from the woman or the holy symbol as the feeling passed quicker than a beat of his heart…
Cedric was probably in a continuous state of shock, but if he was, he didn’t have a clue. Even the ghoul walking around with the priest of D’hurgen was completely ignored by the kid as he daydreamed for a second about the group storming into some unholy altar room to stop Davena from driving a snake-shaped dagger into Kithran’s heart whilst a crowd of black-garbed cultists chanted death-praising songs to their evil god. The vision flashed quickly before his eyes, but left Cedric staring at the amulet for a while longer. He blinked his weary eyes a couple of times to get them into focus and then said his thanks to Aranwen. Putting the chain around his neck felt good… it felt really good.
Cedric felt almost invincible for a moment, but then the smell of the undead monster reached his nostrils again and brought him back to the moment. Shaking his head he picked up rest of his gear including the trusty staff as his thoughts were already turning into the coming fight. They’d all witnessed Davena’s power in the forest not too far back and they’d seen how effortlessly Garn handled his weapon in combat. But now that he thought of it the killing of the undead, if one could call it that, had seemed very easy for the big warrior, too easy even. And now they all knew why. He’d been destroying the servants of his lady… or mistress as the evil priest had called her. It had to be her, right?
Posted on 2019-11-26 at 15:11:42.
Edited on 2019-11-26 at 15:30:48 by Eol Fefalas
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 359/54 6710 Posts
to the temple
You think that you have some control over your lives. You think that your actions are your own, that your path is the one that you choose to take. But the Mistress of Sands already knows your choices before you make them, knows the outcome of your ventures before you begin to undertake them. How, then, can you claim to be naught but puppets of the whims of Fate?
-Alcarus Faldhall, Musings on the Nature of Reality
Once the party is fully equipped and prepared, the dark-haired priest takes the lead, striding confidently down the hall. "There will be no sentries on the route we take," he explains. "First, there is no threat here below the surface. Second... virtually all of the faith are in the temple, where we are going, anyway."
From time to time, you pass the odd ghoul or zombie, but they do nothing to block your path. A cross corridor is taken, some stairs going up... soon, you are in a far better lit area.
The priest holds up a hand for caution, then calls a halt. You can hear the sound of voices chanting from beyond the doorway at the end of this hall. "We are nearly there; this doorway opens into the temple itself. Do any of you have any final preperations to make? If so, this is your final opportunity."
OOC: the priest stops to give you a chance for readying any weapons, casting any spells, etc
When everyone is ready, the priest smiles. "I would wish the Devourer's blessings on your efforts... but I doubt that you would accept them, anyway. Perhaps Shinara will be on your side this day, instead." With that, he steps into the temple.
This is a large, open room with a raised dais on the far end, away from you. The sconces dot the wall at regular intervals, casting the weird greenish light in stronger intensity than anywhere else you have been so far in this place. A dark stone altar stands near the front edge of the dais, rougly centered on the platform. There are quite a few dark robed individuals on the lower floor, chanting in unison, with their attention turned to the dais. In addition, several undead are present further behind the worshippers.
On the dais itself is a large crystalline sculture with a silver inlaid skull on its face; the skull has stones set into its eyes that radiate with a strong, deep purple light.
Two bodies lie to either side of the sculpture... on male, one female; both appear to have their throats cut, and both lie in pools of blood.
One ghoul and three dark robed figures stand at various places on the dais, all with their attention to the center.
An oddly curved piece of wooden furniture stands here. On it, dressed in a white gown, lies a young woman with her feet higher than her head. It takes several moments to recognize that the young woman - minus her normal gear, with her hair brushed out and her face flushed nearly crimson - is, in fact, Kithran.
Coming up from a kneeling position by Kithran's legs is a radiant blonde woman dressed in dark robes. She turns toward you, casually wiping her face with the back of her sleeve... when she does, there can be no doubt as to her identity. Not with the way that everyone seems to subconsciuosly defer to this woman who effortlessly radiates power and authority. This is the Mistress, D'hurgen's High Priestess; she can be no one else.
This is Davena.
Posted on 2019-11-27 at 14:55:28.
Edited on 2019-11-27 at 15:01:47 by t_catt11
Reralae Dreamer of Bladesong Karma: 135/12 2274 Posts
The Final Song
They arrived at the hall, taking but a glance inside to first get a sense of what they had before them.
"Not much to it," Aranwen whispered, "Some won't get in our way, whether they are incapable of battle and run, or are sided with him. The only way we'll know is by leading the charge. Conserve your strength; let those that flee do so, and only fight those that block our advance. We will need all the strength we have left to deal with the priestess and the devout," she looked from Cedric to Gib to Ch'dau, "Kill her, break their morale, and you must survive."
It wasn't supposed to be like this. She couldn't help but feel that everything had gone so wrong. The only time she felt more uncertain was thirty one years prior. But in the here and now, it didn't matter how sure of herself she was. She looked in the eyes of those three with her, the weathered warrior, the warpriest, and the kind cleric. It didn't matter if they wanted nothing to do with her after this. All that mattered right now was to win, and for them to survive.
Entering the hall proper, Aranwen nearly stopped in her tracks as her eyes met Davena's. Her face twisted with emotion, and her hand shook. She knew, but she didn't want it to be true. She even had a suspicion deep in the depths of her fears what dark purpose they had taken Kithran for. Why would the dead crave such a thing as a long forgotten pleasure, unless it was done on purpose? Ever since that fateful night, she knew, deep down. And now, her eyes told her exactly that which she did not want to be the reality, and emotions stormed within her. Disappointment, fury, pleading, disgust, hatred, resignation... Aranwen's face did not stay still, and her lips opened as she drew in a deep breath.
The first chord of her song was deep, almost matching the chanting within the hall, before it lifted into a crescendo as she advanced, blade steadied with the strength of her song. Despite the tears falling from her cold, golden eyes, and the hurricane of emotion inside of her, she sang and moved with a certainty of purpose. The certainty that comes of acting in fulfilment of an oath.
(Aranwen is going to do what she can to draw attention to her advance along one side of the hall, making an otherwise direct line for Davena. She will prioritize cutting down ghouls if they move forward to defend Davena, knowing that she has to kill them to keep her friends safe from their paralysis.
... make safe the path ahead for those who would follow...
If the hall moves in to obscruct her movement, she hopes that it at least results in a clearer path for Ch'dau and the others to have a direct line to the dais)
Posted on 2019-11-27 at 16:37:22.
Eol Fefalas Keeper of the Kazari RDI Staff Karma: 455/28 7983 Posts
To the Hunt and blood for Kithran!!!
"There will be no sentries on the route we take," the dark-haired monkey explained as he led the group toward their objective. "First, there is no threat here below the surface. Second... virtually all of the faith are in the temple, where we are going, anyway."
“Good,” Ch’dau growled softly. All the easier to kill every last one.
As the priest of D’hurgen had promised, there had been no resistance en route to the temple even from the odd ghoul or zombie that had crossed their path. After a short trek through the corridors leading away from the dungeons, they were guided up a flight of steps and into a much better lit area. Soon enough, the priest held up a hand for caution and, then, called for them to halt.
“We are nearly there,” he murmured over the drone of chanting that filtered down the hallway from the door ahead, “We are nearly there; this doorway opens into the temple itself. Do any of you have any final preperations to make? If so, this is your final opportunity.”
At that, Ch’dau tugged his falcata free of their sheaths. “I am ready,” he rumbled, though the feral snarl that was etched on his features said ‘barely restrained,’ instead.
((OOC: Everyone else’s prep…. ))
“I would wish the Devourer’s blessings on your efforts,” the priest smiled, “but I doubt that you would accept them…”
“F*** your Devourer,” the Silver Cat snarled.
“…Perhaps Shinara will be on your side this day, instead.” With that, and the Kazari’s spit at his back, the priest turned and stepped into the temple.
In his wake, Aranwen led them the rest of the way toward the doorway and, once there, they took a peek inside to gauge what they would face once they entered. Ch’dau’s gaze skimmed briefly over the death-cultists littering the floor around the dais, then fixed with deadly intensity on the figures atop it. A growl began to build in his chest when he recognized Garn, welled even louder when Davena appeared, and, when he realized that the white-gowned figure was Kithran, the growl very nearly became an enraged roar…
"Not much to it," Aranwen whispered, her voice soothing or, at least, stilling the kazari for a moment, "Some won't get in our way, whether they are incapable of battle and run, or are sided with him. The only way we'll know is by leading the charge. Conserve your strength; let those that flee do so, and only fight those that block our advance. We will need all the strength we have left to deal with the priestess and the devout," she looked from Cedric to Gib to Ch'dau, "Kill her, break their morale, and you must survive."
The growl still rumbling in his throat, his fingers flexing anxiously on the hilts of his weapons, Ch’dau simply nodded in response.
“For Kithran,” the bladesinger said, then, and stepped into the hall, herself, with the Kazari close behind.
The first chord of Aranwen’s bladesong was deep, almost matching the chanting within the hall, before it lifted into a crescendo as she advanced. The Silver Cat’s roar and the clanging together of his blades played a brutal counterpoint to her song as he charged in beside her.
Even as Ch’dau let loose his first slash at an enemy with one blade, his eyes sought out Garn and he pointed purposefully at the big monkey with the other. “YOU,” he bellowed, “COME!!!”
Posted on 2019-11-27 at 18:17:21.
Edited on 2019-11-27 at 21:54:47 by Eol Fefalas
Bromern Sal A Shadow RDI Staff Karma: 145/11 4042 Posts
Prayer is the only thing running through Gib's mind as the fell priest leads them through the tunnels. Despite the promise that no harm would come to them on this leg of the journey, each undead minion that they pass is a reminder of the hell they've gone through. His prayers shift from requests for protection for his friends to pleading with the Mighty General for Kith's well-being.
The priest holds up a hand for caution, then calls a halt. The sound of voices chanting from beyond a doorway at the end of the hall is immediately recognized by the warrior-priest as religious in nature and his blood runs cold.
"We are nearly there," their guide motions in the direction of the noise. "This doorway opens into the temple itself. Do any of you have any final preparations to make? If so, this is your final opportunity."
At that, Ch’dau tugs his falcata free of their sheaths. “I am ready,” he rumbles, though the feral snarl that is etched on his features says ‘barely restrained,’ instead.
"There are more preparations to be had, my friend," Gib draws in a deep breath of the cool cave air and glances at the priest of D'hurgen before returning his gaze to his companions. "I will ask a lot of the Battle Lord this day and pray that his grace is with us and he grants my requests. Aranwen... Ch'Dau... these miracles I ask of my god will be for you both as you'll be the frontline."
Turning to Cedric, Gib asks, "Does your faith have prayers for protecting one from the touch of evil?"
(OOC: receiving an affirmative, I'm assuming.)
"And one for granting a blessing upon allies?"
(OOC: again, assuming an affirmative.)
"Finally, what of the divine power to be invisible to undead?"
(OOC: yup... that too.)
"If you'll ask Solanis for these miracles on Aranwen, I'll tend to Ch'dau," bringing a determined yet weary gaze back to Aranwen and then Ch'dau, Moreno advises them of one additional action. "I will also ask of Therassor a battle blessing. Perhaps, with these miracles, we may yet win the day."
(OOC: assuming there are no objections...)
Gib asks Ch'dau to kneel and prays over him. "Lord of Just Battle, Mighty General, it is in humility that I ask these boons upon my fellows that they may carry the day in your name.
"Grant the ferocious Ch'dau of the Kazari protection from the evil he is about to face that he may show how mighty you are, that the honor of those who have passed on to the Halls of Heroes may be manifest in his actions," retrieving a small vial of holy water from his pouch, Gib unstops the container and takes a bit of the water on his fingertips. Drawing the Sign of the Sword on the Kazari's forehead, he pauses, feeling the warmth of his god's power flow through him, the Sign of the Sword briefly glowing with a silvery fire before fading into the cat man's fur.
Hearing Cedric about his prayers, Gib waits for him to finish the blessing, the younger priest having already requested the protection upon Aranwen from Solanis. When the Priest of Light is finished uttering the words of his blessing, Gib closes his eyes for a moment to bask in the feeling of confidence that washes over him. Then, pressing his lips together, he breathes in deeply and returns to his task.
"Honored General," the warrior-priest takes his sword by the blade, holding it so that the crossguard rests on the ridge of his index finger and thumb. Presenting it before the Kazari's feline face, he continues, "Through your divine power, grant that the senses of the foul incarnations, even the undead, be masked."
The holy symbol on his crossguard flares with the comforting silver light and for a moment, Ch'dau is outlined in a liquid silver that melts into his body. Fishing an electrum coin specifically fashioned for this sort of prayer from his pouch, Gib holds it in front of him, resting on the flat nail of his thumb. "Battle Lord, this foe that we are about to face is forcing undeath upon many who would look to you for justice. This warrior, Ch'dau of the Kazari, the Silver Cat, is entering into righteous battle. Grant him your favor on this day!"
Flipping the coin at his friend, it tumbles through the air towards his forehead before vanishing in a flash of silver light. Instead of the coin striking the fur and flesh of the warrior, the light that devoured the coin shoots straight into his eyes. Placing a hand on Ch'dau's shoulder for a second, Gib nods to him before moving to where Aranwen kneels.
Producing another electrum coin, Gib offers the Bladesinger an encouraging smile. "Battle Lord, this foe that we are about to face is forcing undeath upon many who would look to you for justice. This warrior, Aranwen of the Sylvari, honored bladesinger, is entering into righteous battle. Grant her your favor on this day!"
Flipping the coin at his friend and leader, it tumbles through the air towards her forehead before vanishing in a familiar flash of silver light. As before, the light that devoured the coin shoots straight into her eyes.
"It is done," Gib says, placing his hand on Aranwen's shoulder at the same time as gripping her hand and pulling her to a standing position. "We are prepared the best we can be without seeing the lay of the land with an army behind us."
Looking at his friends, the warrior-priest offers one more suggestion, "Rituals most likely take place upon a dais. We could be facing an encircling mass with Davena in the middle performing her rite, or she could be at the front of the gathered. Either way, I suggest that the two of you make your way to your targets post haste. These prayers will not last forever. I'll ask for Therassor to hold that maggot, Garn, so that you may finish him with little effort, Ch'dau. The sooner you can focus on Davena, the better off we'll all be. After the prayer, I'll take a shot with this—" he hefts his crossbow and loads it as he continues talking, "—at Davena if I have the opportunity and then join you in the fray."
(OOC: assuming acceptance...)
“I would wish the Devourer’s blessings on your efforts,” the priest of D'hurgen smiles, “but I doubt that you would accept them…”
“F*** your Devourer,” the Silver Cat snarls as Gib stares flatly at the man. Is he mocking us?
“…Perhaps Shinara will be on your side this day, instead.” With that, and the Kazari’s spit at his back, the priest turns and steps into the temple.
In his wake, Aranwen leads them the rest of the way toward the doorway and, once there, takes a peek inside to gauge what they are facing once they enter. Gib looks past his friends, his crossbow now hanging at ready by his side, his sword in hand, shield on his shoulder. There are so many... A growl forms deep in Ch'dau's chest somehow offering additional comfort. It grows even louder at about the same time Gib recognizes Davena and... Kithran upon the strange table wearing very un-Kith-like clothing. The Kazari's growl very nearly becomes an enraged roar and Gib's blood turns to the steel of his righteous wrath.
"Not much to it," Aranwen whispers, her voice soothing or, at least, stilling the Kazari for a moment, "Some won't get in our way, whether they are incapable of battle and run, or are sided with him. The only way we'll know is by leading the charge. Conserve your strength; let those that flee do so, and only fight those that block our advance. We will need all the strength we have left to deal with the priestess and the devout," she looks from Cedric to Gib to Ch'dau, "Kill her, break their morale, and you must survive."
The growl still rumbling in his throat, Ch'dau's fingers flexing anxiously on the hilts of his weapons, the Kazari simply nods in response.
“For Kithran,” the bladesinger says, then, and steps into the hall, herself, with the Kazari close behind.
The first chord of Aranwen’s bladesong is deep, almost matching the chanting within the hall before it lifts into a crescendo as she advances. The Silver Cat’s roar and the clanging together of his blades play a brutal counterpoint to her song as he charges in beside her.
Even as Ch’dau lets loose his first slash at an enemy with one blade, his eyes seek out Garn and he points purposefully at the big monkey with the other. “YOU,” he bellows, “COME!!!”
Following his companions into the room, Gib holds his sword aloft and calls upon Therassor, the God of Righteous Battles, "Mightiest of Warriors, Father of Righteous Battle, Highmost General! Your enemy stands before me! Hold his limbs this day! Hold them fast!"
Having offered up the prayer and feeling the power of Therassor flow through him, Gib quickly grips his sword between his knees and raises the crossbow, taking aim at the blonde priestess. Pressing the trigger, he doesn't wait for confirmation of a hit or miss, instead, he swings his crossbow to his back, rolls his shield down onto his arm, gripping the handle tightly, and retrieves his sword.
"Give me strength," the warrior-priest's dirge is added to the noise of his companion's assault. "Give me courage. No more am I. No more am I..."
Moreno charges forward, shield before him, sword ready to strike. First to assist Ch'dau if he needs it against the warrior Garn, second to aid Aranwen in her fight with Davena.
Posted on 2019-12-03 at 11:52:21.
Edited on 2019-12-03 at 12:30:53 by Bromern Sal
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 359/54 6710 Posts
worse fates than death...
Ch'dau roars his challenge as the party strides into the temple. The chanting of the crowd falls apart, giving way to confusion and panic as Garn casts the hood back from his face and draws his blade in preparation for the big Kazari's charge.
The beautiful blonde woman looks confused for the slightest moment, then her expression hardens. "Garrack! You are behind this treachery!" she cries. "I will see you flayed alive! Faithful ones, to me!"
The brown haired priest follows the party into the temple. "Indeed!" he shouts in return. "No more of us will die for your whims! You will meet our Master this night!"
Even as the party moves in, the dark robed worshippers divide more or less into two obvious factions at either end of the room, though some simply flee altogether.
The next few minutes are absolute chaos. Cultists fight one another, fight the party. The undead initially ignore the companions thanks to the spell... but the moment that the heroes act aggressively, that protection falls. Fortunately, the dead are only a partial impediment as priests from each faction struggle for control. The undead attack the cultists, the party... even each other. Terror fills the room, terror inflicted from the gods themselves, and even more mortals flee the fight.
Garn proves to be an incredibly capable foe. He shrugs off the divine influence of Therassor and meets Ch'dau's charge easily. The man is wiry, but unexpectedly strong - and truth be told, the Kazari is able to quickly ascertain that the human warrior possesses skill greater than his own; Garn is able to open several serious wounds on Ch'dau as the two share the steps of the dance of death. However, the Silver Cat's immense strength proves to be a boon that helps to level the field, and even though he is bloodied and wounded, the Kazari is able to bash aside the human's guard, step in, and thrust a falcata deep enough that it nigh explodes out through the man's spine.
Aranwen finds her path to Davena to be far less direct; the blonde woman's followers appear not only willing, but eager to lay down their lives for their Mistress. The Bladesinger is beset upon by staves, by knives, by undead, by summoned snakes and insects; she lays about in deadly, elegant fury, meeting all foes with swiftness and steel. Just as she is about to take the final steps to the priestess, Davena calls forth a blast of the darkest energy anyone in the party has ever witnessed. Blackness is not a term that suits this abomination; it is as if a hole has formed in reality, drawing all of the light nearby into the grave and beyond.
The bolt strikes Aranwen full in the chest, dropping her to a knee from the shock to her system. But then, Cedric is there, the young man laying a hand upon her shoulder, and the Bladesinger can feel the warmth of the sun itself flow into her body, giving her the strength to regain her feet.
Gib's own results are mixed. His hold spell is unsuccessful, and his crossbow shot is incredibly difficult, what with the sheer number of figures milling about. A prayer, though - answered perhaps by the Honored General, or perhaps aided by the death priest's invocation of the goddess of Luck - and the bolt is flung forth, hissing less than an inch from Aranwen's ear to bury itself deep into Davena's shoulder. Even were Moreno inclined to continue to provide missile support, that option is quickly taken as the press of bodies meets him, and he is forced to melee.
The fight rages on. Ch'dau struggles through cultists and undead, desperate to make it to Aranwen, to Davena. The Bladesiger herself is there, finally reaches the priestess, cuts her deeply. A black robed man chants, stretches his fingers out, bolts of energy fly forth, slamming into the sylvari's body.
Moreno is surrounded, but then has aid from servants of the death god. He is wounded himself, yet a large cultist forces himself to Gib's side, and the two of them lay about fiercely, keeping Davena's minions at bay, driving them back.
Kithran, in a daze, gains her feet. The entire scene is too surreal for her to fully process. A fight is raging all around her, though no one threatens the rogue directly. Somehow, a blade has appeared in her grip. She stares curiously at the handle.
Davena chants; Aranwen is stunned, dizzied, disoriented. The bladesong dies on her lips, her steps grow clumsy, disjointed. The priestess steps forward, her silver knife gleaming strangely in the greenish light as she slashes at the Bladesinger's throat. Just before the flesh is opened to spill Aranwen's lifeblood onto the dais, a ball of fur and blood and fury blasts into the side of the priestess, throwing the blonde woman off of her feet and onto the ground several paces back from the force of the blow.
Ch'dau stands between them, chuffing, then roars in fury and bloodlust. His blades are coated with blood and gore, as is his body. Much of it belongs to the servants of D'hurgen - of both the living and dead varieties - but far too much of it is his own.
But Davena is down, sorely wounded herself. The blonde woman struggles to reach her feet. Her wizard nearly finishes a spell, but freezes in mid utterance at Therassor holds him still.
The Silver Cat of Coria grins ferally as he steps towards the struggling woman, falcata held high. The time has come to end her reign of terror, to end all of this. The gods can see to his wounds after he sees to this task.
The thrust is deep and true. All of the screaming and struggling and fighting... all of the world seems to come to a stop as the kazari's gaze focuses on the blade.
The blade sticking out of his own guts.
The blade that ends in the familiar, ornate handle of a Bladesinger's sword. The handle that is held in a young woman's familiar hand.
Ch'dau's gaze shifts from the deadly wound to the face of his kibibi. The features that have haunted his dreams ever since her capture... they look so familiar, yet so alien. Her expression is blank, disinterested. It is as if a stranger had casually run him through.
The Silver Cat of Coria slumps to his knees, then to the ground, in a growing pool of blood as Kithran pulls Aranwen's blade free, then runs to help Davena to her feet.
Posted on 2019-12-04 at 18:02:01.
Edited on 2019-12-04 at 18:10:23 by t_catt11
Reralae Dreamer of Bladesong Karma: 135/12 2274 Posts
That I could save every one of us... but the truth is that I'm only one girl
There were just too many.
Aranwen watched as one by one lives were thrown before her blade. Every step she took was at the cost of her own life; for every cultist she cut down, another wounded her. Still she sang. Still she cried. Still she pushed herself onward. All she had, whatever remained of the many, many years she had yet to see, she put it into every step she took.
Then she had a clear view to Davena. Her golden eyes were chilled with cold fury, but Davena raised her hand, having ample time to prepare, and let loose the spell she held.
For a moment, all she knew was darkness, darker than blackest pitch. Aranwen felt her life leaving her body, and fell. It was all she could do to keep herself and the blade she carried from hitting the floor. The sounds of battle faded in her ears, and her vision went cloudy. She heard a gentle breeze through a forest, as if she were half asleep. She felt the sun upon her unmoving body.
And the world came back into focus as she realized the light she felt was brought to her by Cedric. Cedric, who was now far too close for Aranwen's liking.
No. You must survive. You all must survive. Even if I should not.
Aranwen pushed herself to her feet, crying out even as she felt her throat protest, her song echoing in the hall back into her ears.
Sae, please help me.
She fought, and danced, the blade in her hands shining with red from the blood it bore. Finally, finally she reached Davena. Her song stopped.
"It didn't have to be this way."
Aranwen's vocals burst forth anew from her lips, resonating with their own echo as she brought both of her hands upon the hilt of her blade as she slashed with all the strength she could muster. She took no pleasure or satisfaction in seeing the blood drawn from Davena's body. Would that it were enough to fell the woman.
Aranwen's song faltered as she cried out, feeling herself blasted once again by magic. Thankfully, it was not so strong as the first hit she had endured.
Davena's own face was a mixture of shock and fury at having been actually harmed. She wove a spell before Aranwen, and the song faltered on Aranwen's lips.
Everything seemed to happen as if she were watching from afar. She couldn't move, she couldn't feel, her mind a foggy haze as she stared ahead. She watched as Ch'dau came to her aid. She watched as he dealt a grievous wound to Davena. She watched as Kithran ran him through with her old blade.
Her eyes, already distant with the fog of her mind, turned flat. Her oath, unspoken but taken nonetheless, had come undone.
In her hand, the blade of her soul finally succumbed to the damage it had sustained, and shattered, leaving her holding only but the hilt.
Is this... how I die?
Not... not for you...
I kept... that promise... at least...
Posted on 2019-12-04 at 19:36:09.
Edited on 2019-12-04 at 19:37:40 by Reralae
The knife is withdrawn - this time, thankfully, without the twist. Kith can feel her eyes roll back in her head, but something is denying her the solace of unconsciousness. Davena's expression is sorrowful. "No, child... you may not faint," she states. "I am so very sorry, but you need this pain to help you truly learn your lesson this time."
The knife is wiped clean, then sheathed. Davena's eyes are almost pleading. "Darling… please.”
Please stop calling me that, she cries silently to herself, as Tara grins at her in the streets of Calestra.
“Let go of your stubbornness and learn." Davena then forces two fingers into each wound, twisting and tearing the flesh inside, causing blinding waves of pain to rack Kithran's body on and on and on...
At some point, Davena does allow Kithran to lapse into blissful unconsciousness; when she awakens next, the rogue finds herself stiff, still unable to move... but the pain is gone. Both wounds in her abdomen are erased as if they never existed, as are almost all of her bruises.
Davena smiles warmly. "Ah, you are awake, darling. That is good. I wanted you to enjoy this next part." She indicates the still kneeling form of Brother Hagan with a gesture.
"Your disobedience had to be dealt with severely, as you can surely understand... but you, at least, have unique circumstances to help explain your rebellion," she explains to Kith. "Hagan here is an ordained priest of the Dark Lord, who has himself acted as a conduit for the Devourer's awful glory. And yet, he allowed mere pleasures of the flesh to cloud his judgment, to bring harm to the chosen anchor. His punishment must of course be much more severe."
And with that, Hagan is subjected to some of the most horrific torture that Kithran could have ever imagined - and then some; it would seem that if Davena considered any sort of mercy for the big man, she decided against it. As opposed to the sorrow with which Davena punished Kith, she seems to treat Hagan with a more matter-of-fact - even angry - manner.
Many places on the man's body are blistered open and weeping from Davena's stone implement. He is covered with cuts, has shattered fingers and toes, part of his abdomen has been completely opened up to expose the organs inside. The big man weeps, moans, soils himself, begs again and again for death... but Davena is not apparently inclined to grant it just yet.
Kithran watches, enthralled, grateful that the lack of mercy Davena had shown during her own punishment seemed to be a trait of the D’hurgen priestess’ devotion to her lord, rather than an exception made to the sly thief herself. It is a work of art, the horror she is capable of bestowing upon the human body, and a pleasure to watch those once lecherous eyes screaming in terror.
Eventually, the paralysis wears off, and Kith is able to move again. She sits up and stretches her sore, yet pleasantly healed body, and Davena notices. "Darling," Kithran looks up at the woman as she speaks softly to her, and it sounds like the comforting, cheerful voice of someone she had lost so long ago, "this wicked man caused you terrible pain, did he not?"
The thief looks over to the man covered in blood and sneers, feeling no pity for what had been done to him, still infuriated at the punishment he had wrought upon her when he had called her escape out to the priestess. She looks back up to Davena sternly and nods.
The priestess holds her bloody knife up, then carefully grasps it by the blade and extends the handle to the naked rogue. "I think that it is only fitting for you to be the one to end his miserable life," she states. "Feel free to inflict as much misery as your heart requires."
Kithran’s eyebrows raise at the offer, and she gingerly pushes herself back up to her feet. It feels strange to stand again without the urge or intention to flee. She looks from Davena to the blade, then back up to Tara, and back to the blade once more before grasping the handle and making her way to the splayed man.
With whatever was left in him he pleaded with her, begging for death or life, or some sweet form of release from the pain, but she slowly sinks the blade into one of his lecherous eyes and rattles it around a little before ripping it out of its socket. Though he is in her face, his screams do not sway or even register with her as she moves into view of his second eye and grins, then does the same to that one as well.
She lets him writhe for a moment and she basks in this punishment the priestess has allowed her to bestow, before in one swift movement, as she had done to her enemies thousands of times before, she plunges the blade up into his throat where his neck and his jawline meet, then drives the blade down, splitting the neck open and allowing the blood to pour freely from his body.
I am here.
She watches him die, and turns back to Tara who looks back at her proudly, and she stumbles back over to Davena. She lets the blade drop from her bloody fingers and nearly falls into the priestess as she embraces the woman, burying her face into her neck and sobbing with relief
Kithran lay there on the odd piece of furniture, basking both in the warmth and haze brought on by that sweet, spicy liquid in the goblet Davena had offered her before the ceremony, as well as in the afterglow of the priestess’ own attentions. Her breath begins to come back to her and she smiles; it was completed. Finally. Davena would be so happy.
She swings her feet down and sits up, her smile fading as she begins to take in the scene around her. The devout are fighting each other? That is not right. She shakes her head at the chaos, but it remains and she feels her fist tighten around something in her hand. Looking down in her slowly fading haze, at the familiar, intricate hilt, she wonders when she had drawn her new weapon, but the thought is ignored as she realizes the fight before her. Davena is there, uncharacteristically disheveled and fighting . . . Aranwen?
No. Aranwen was dead.
Kithran looks around and there is a Ch’dau, a Gib, a Cedric . . . but they were all dead.
She shakes her head again and rubs her eyes. It is a betrayal. They were being betrayed. There were many powerful who worshipped the Devourer, who wandered these halls, none so powerful as the high priestess herself, of course, but powerful enough to have created these replicas of her family. Anger and humor wells in her heart at their ridiculous ploy, and rages as their fake Kazari strikes Davena down.
Kithran had lost everyone she had loved over and over and over again throughout her life, she would not let these monsters and their disgusting replications of her family do it to her again.
With the cat creature’s attention on Davena, Kithran found her opening. His falcata raised up above his head, Kith lunges. The longer blade was still awkward in the hands of one used to much smaller weapons, but she had been practicing, and her aim now was true. The blade sunk easily into his gut, and she met his eyes as he realized he had been run through.
A playful grin touches the corner of her mouth, one the real Ch’dau would have been well acquainted with, “Mistress,” she calls over her shoulder, “you would let these imposters give you such trouble?” She shakes her head, the grin widening, “Tsk tsk tsk, well we can’t have that.” She rips the lovely blade from the creature’s belly, and swipes the dagger out of its sheath at his side as he slumps before her, “I believe this is mine, thank you.” She flips it once, the Sylvari words “Debts Paid” gleaming on the blade as she catches it and tucks it into her scabbard's belt. “See Mistress? Not much to it.”
Kithran then notices the weak, fake bladesinger and laughs, pointing her bloodied blade at it, “That one doesn’t even have a bladesinger’s sword!” She scoffs and turns back to Davena, finally and truly taking in her condition. She drops to her knees beside her and wishes she knew just one healing chant for the priestess. The thief quickly wipes the gift the priestess had given her clean of blood before resheathing it and taking the blonde woman’s face into her hands. Pressing her forehead to hers, she whispers, “You have won today, Mistress. Despite this madness,” Kithran takes the priestess’ bloodied hand in hers and places it on her stomach, “You have won. Come now,” she lowers her arm under Davena’s shoulders and helps her to her feet, “let’s be free of this place.”
And without another look at the chaos behind her, Kithran helps Davena away from the fight.
Posted on 2019-12-05 at 03:42:15.
Edited on 2019-12-05 at 04:06:57 by breebles