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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:10 pm
ATER NOX

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Ater Nox is massive island not too far from the main land, characterized by gothic structures and a constant looming mist and is as intimidating during the day as it is at night. The main practice on this island is dark magic which suspicions from the other factions build on. Often, impossibilities seem to be conjured up here. Rouge pirates are known to drift from Ater Nox.
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:35 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:12 pm
In a cave off the coast of the island, a red 10 foot circular diagram appeared in the sand, glowing with magical energy as it activated. The circle was a destination spell, pre cast by the Witch Queen of Ater Nox before she had left for Lucidus Magus. The wind blew around the area suddenly, creating a vortex from the increased fluctuation of energy from the circle.

Then, it went quiet suddenly. A moment after the windy vortex subsided, red electrical energy arched from one end of the circle to the other, and again and again, until a shockwave of energy erupted from the center, revealing 10 figures in the circles midst.

The Witch Queen now stood there, with her palm on the ground. She stood up with difficulty, as the area transportation spell had drained much of her own energy. She saw that everyone else was there as well, though unfortunately she was now outnumbered. The cube spell that Maliarc had cast at her, as well as the bullets coming at her and her men, did not travel with them, fortunately for the Queen.

Without hesitating, she turned to one of her men that had been shot by Commander Vossler, and placed her hand on his forehead, ignoring his cries of pain. As she did so, purple light emitted from the man's eyes and mouth, and he screamed. After barely a moment, the mans body went limp and fell to the ground, dead. She had used a curse and drained his life force, to replenish her own energy. She then turned and faced the people in front of her with a devious smile.

"Welcome to Ater Nox." She said nonchalantly with venom in her voice, motioning to the cave around them. This was her plan all along, to get Lady Aaren away from all of that protection of hers, so that the Queen could have her to herself.
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:47 am
The trip from the second floor down to the ground floor behind the building was one big blur. Layla hardly had time to react when Ben pulled her to him and carried her towards the balcony, and even less time to scream when they leaped to the building across the way. She aided in him carrying her by wrapping her arms around his shoulder tightly, and squeezing her eyes shut in fear. She kept them shut as Ben slid them down the wall and towards the ground. When his arm released her, the girl looked up at him and then at her feet, planting them on the ground.

While relieved, the moment quickly ended when she came to the realization of where they landed; her eyes darted towards the scene in front of her. There, she saw the Lady Aaren being shielded by a Lucidite knight, and both seeming to be defended by a man in a cloak. The sudden sounds of gun shots from above caused Layla to clasp her hands over her ears. She had never gotten used to the ear-popping sound of them, no matter how many hours Vossler tried to invest in her shooting.

The sound disoriented her, but she watched as Ben ran ahead, and she followed. Something told her to get closer, that somehow she could help. But how? She was just a girl, and she didn't even have her karambit on her. She had nothing. Layla ran anyway, and the magical energy, so thick in the air like molasses it was so thick, coming from Maliarc and Judith seized her mind and made her body feel electrified. Something inside of the girl wanted to come out and release itself, and it built as she ran.

Then Judith cast the spell, and Layla no longer saw the alley before her. In fact, the time it took between her being in the alley and her being on Noxian sand ceased to exist, like there was no pause, no movement, no physical transportation. It was magic, and the girl suddenly found herself in the middle of a battle that very well had nothing to do with her. She was an innocent bystander, an innocent, period.

The breeze from the coast blew at Layla's soft, white hair, and she felt sand trickle into her shoes. She smelled salt in the air, and when she gathered her surroundings, her ears were once against violated by the sound of a scream. The girl gasped and turned towards Judith as she took the life force of one of her men. They were disposable. Layla furrowed her brows and gazed down at the lifeless man. She couldn't help but wonder if the man had any choice in this event at all. Her eyes went back to Judith and she walked over to the others that had been teleported with her.

*******************

Emer tried to gather his sense after the spell had been cast. Aaren had lost her footing and he turned to pull her back up again. "Emer," Aaren said quietly, "I'm so tired... I want to sleep."

The knight's brows knitted together in concern. How could she be so tired when there was so much terror and excitement around her? Even if she were genuinly exhausted, she wouldn't be so drowsy; he had seen her so before more than once. She felt like dead weight in his arms, and he glanced over at Judith with a hard gaze. He kept the woman in the corner of his vision as he laid the Lucidus leader on the sand and then stepped in front of her. Aaren tried desperately to hold herself up, but struggled. She felt ready to pass out.

She was, however, awake enough to hear Judith's words. "Ater Nox," she whispered. "Of course... of course." The lady then saw a pair of feet in silver flats next to her. She steadily lifted her head and saw Layla standing there. The girl looked down at the leader briefly, and then looked back up. Aaren felt her stomach clench in horror, and she almost felt like she was ready to cry: a child... this girl was still a child, and she now has to face the terror, pain, suffering, and bloodshed of the Witch Queen's powers. She felt a wave of remorse come over her, of deep grief. She wished this night had never happened.

But little did Aaren know that Layla was ready, even when they both didn't know it themselves. Layla herself was afraid, but tried desperately to be brave. The electrifying energy from earlier left her body tingling, and she wanted to clench her fist, to push out the tingling if she could. Instead, it pulsed through her small body, even in her face, behind her eyes, her mouth—she felt it everywhere and in everything that was her. It was confusing, fascinating, but distracting. She couldn't hope to understand what it meant, not now. Her fingers curled and uncurled like a nervous habit.  

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:10 am
One minute Ben was rushing forward, blade extended, ready to join the fight against this so called "Witch Queen", and then suddenly they were all in a cave. He stopped, and so did Asher who was equally confused, and he looked behind him, hearing the sound of the ocean. Before he could process what just happened, he heard a scream, and returned his attention forward. As his eyes fell upon the queen, one of her men went limp at her hands, and fell to the ground, dead as a rock. He looked up at her, unfazed by what he saw. He was no longer bothering to keep up the facade of the Merchant Guild Leader. Not here, not when there was so few of them to put up a fight against the Queen.

After she spoke, it clicked in his mind and he realized what had happened. So they were in a cave somewhere on the coast... Ironically one of the Agency Safehouses was nearby, that much he knew. But he didn't have the means to call for help, or get reinforcements to their position. The teleportation spell fried his earpiece, and he knew as much from the crackling he heard in his ear moments earlier.

He glanced around him, seeing that Lady Aaren, Sir Emer, the mage from earlier, and Layla were there as well. He turned towards Judith, with a hard stare. "So. This was your plan, was it? First you curse Lady Aaren with the illness, and then you're going to try to kill her, is that it?" He stepped forward, his blade still extended. Asher stepped forward as well, and the 350lb direwolf bared its fangs at Judith, emitting a low growl from its throat.

His spies in Ater Nox had relayed him the information a few months ago, and he had been wanting to reveal the information at an opportune moment, though he wanted to do so without blowing his cover as the Head of the Agency. Now, he didn't even know if he was going to survive this encounter with the Witch queen. It seemed the only ones who were fit to fight were himself, Asher, the mage, and Sir Emer. He glanced to the side at Maliarc, wondering how much of a fight the mage could put up.

He turned back to Judith and her two remaining men. "So what then, you slaughter us in this cave? What does that accomplish? Do you think the other nations wont come for you? You're a fool for this, Judith." He took another step forward, knees slightly bent, ready for any attack that would come at him.
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:23 am
Maliarc had recovered from the attack a slight bit quicker from the spell than most of the others, due to him being a mage. However, after listening to the strange man that had approached Lady Aaren earlier, he was shocked. Shocked, and enraged. She had put the curse that plagued Lady Aaren?

He couldn't help but drift to the thought sequence that he was the only unimportant person here. Sure, there was the girl that he had seen at the table with Lady Aaren, but she would be big some day, no doubt. Maliarc, however, would always just be a mage from the West. Not to mention he had failed in the entire reason he had left the West. Shaking his head, he had to return to the problem at hand.

He glanced at Lady Aaren, with nothing but sadness in his eyes. Sadness, and a bit of an apologetic look. He had failed. He could not let them cloud his judgement now though. He put the magical barrier that he had on her earlier back, ensuring that whatever happened, he had at least done his best. He then pictured her in front of the black backdrop, as he had done so many times before, and channeled more energy to her. He wasn't sure if it would help at this point, but he'd be damned if he wouldn't try. He was going to pull out all the stop at this point, no matter what it took. He would use his forbidden magic if need be, though he'd rather it not come to that.

He started to concentrate on the air surrounding him, and within a matter of seconds, flames appeared. They were stationary, and would not move unless commanded to, but they were of a deadly, black flame. He would not be caught off guard again. Turning back to the witch, he narrowed his eyes, awaiting her next move.
 

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:31 pm
Judith stared at Ben as he spat out his heresies towards her. She was speechless for a moment, not expecting this merchant to know something that only her and a select few knew, unless...

Her eyes narrowed at Ben as he continued to speak, and a suspicion weaved its way into her mind, like a virus, spreading itself until it became more and more clear. Was this man the Leader of the Agency? She had heard rumors that the Agency operated under the guise of a well known organization, but the Merchants Guild? A smile found its way onto her face, like a creeping arachnid, venomous, and deadly.

"Tell me, Benjamin Black, how do you know that information?" She paced to the side as she spoke, ignoring the black flames summoned by the other mage. She would not be intimidated by the mage. Regardless of how powerful this mage was, she did not gain the title of the Witch Queen for nothing.

She continued to stare at Ben, her interest in him now occupying her attention more than Lady Aaren. "Surely a mere merchant wouldn't be dabbling in the affairs of others like me, or Lady Aaren." Her words indirectly confirmed what Ben said, but at this point she didn't care if the fools in the cave knew of the curse she had on Lady Aaren, for none of them would leave this cave alive. "Unless of course, you're more than just a merchant..." Her tone of voice was laced with a taunting demeanor, and she stopped after she spoke, turning her body towards the group. Her two remaining men were silent, and stood their ground, though one of them continued to bleed from his gunshot wound.
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:14 am
"What?" Emer breathed. He looked as though he had seen a Lucidite airship crash into the celestial buildings of his home. But was it any worse, really any worse, than discovering that the leader of his home, the one he protected so closely, was being afflicted by a Noxian curse which was the true source of her illness? The thought of Ater Nox having such an intimate, terrible, and secret grip on the condition of Lucidus Magus' leadership made the knight clench his jaw in anger and resentment. Now, it made sense why no healer could lift Aaren's affliction, why no matter what spell was placed upon her, what she drank or ate to treat herself, why all of it failed to ease her suffering.

He only wished that this revelation wasn't the true answer to the mystery. His gloved hands gripped his sword more tightly, angrily, but he was strong willed enough to not blinly run at Judith or her men. But he would wait, and he would strike hard. Aaren was just as distressed as Emer, but her body had not the energy to express her feelings of anguish. How did this happen? She was confused, unknowning of when it had truly began, this curse. She lowered her head upon her arms on the sand, silent. She could not listen anymore.

Emer glanced over at Ben and furrowed his brows. "What is she saying?" He asked after Judith questioned him. "How do you know these things?" His question had no note of taunt, but was genuine in its desperate need for answers.

**********************

Layla looked down at Aaren again when the queen revealed the curse she had upon the Lucidus leader. Her heart sunk in her chest, and she was afraid again. Her mind was flooded with memories of her mother, and her mother's journal of secrets. It spoke of curses, curses that could change the lives, or end them, of others. She would read brief stories of deaths and painful afflictions. In some ways, Aaren was fortunate enough to not have had experienced the things Layla had read her mother had done to others.

In Ater Nox, Mystics were used exclusively for the purpose of affecting the lives of others. Sometimes in beneficial ways, like through hexes, but most of the time, curses were much more useful for the greedy hands of the wealthy and powerful. It was better to create paths towards success and power through pain, suffering, and death, than through actual hard work. Layla understood that at one point, her mother had been used to create these paths for others. Maybe that was one of the reasons why they fleed Ater Nox so long ago.

She wouldn't let the memories fog her mind and take away her focus. She had some idea of what Judith could do if she was a Mystic herself... but so was Layla. The girl knew she was useful, though, but perhaps not completely useless; she did know at least one useful curse if she were attacked, a curse that would create a rather loud ad painful distraction for the attacker. She could use it to help protect Aaren, and herself at least.  

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:05 am
Ben kept a serious stare towards Judith as she spoke, with his eye brows furrowed. Asher's hair on his back stood up, and the direwolf let out a snarl, poised to attack. He continued to keep his knees bent, and started to step to the side. "Maybe I am more than just a Merchant." His voice had an equally taunting tint to it, just as Judith's rhetorical question did.

Suddenly, Ben whispered something under his breath, causing his victorian style dress shoes to glow with a blue tint, and he leapt forward, somehow running at a speed that would have been impossible for a human to travel at. As he rushed forward, he grit his teeth and leapt at the unwounded Ater Nox guard, and threw his right mechanical arm forward, with the blade still extended, aiming for the man's heart. Ben purposely aimed for the one that was unwounded, so that Asher could strike the one with the gunshot wound.

As soon as Ben leapt forward, Asher let out another snarl and charged forward at a speed that would be considered unnatural for a 350lb beast. The direwolfs aim was toward the man with the gunshot wound. Though Asher was not as fast as Ben with his dark magic alteration spell, Asher and Ben knew each others techniques, and the two of them were well coordinated. The direwolf lunged forward, jaws open, aimed at the wounded man's throat, counting on the man to be distracted by Ben's quick movements. The two of them acting in such perfect unison, was a sight to behold.

As an assassin with Ater Nox origins, Ben had been able to master a collection of dark magic spells that were useful to an assassin, mostly alteration spells that increase an individuals human abilities. The combination of this, along with Ben's mechanical body modifications, made him a formidable weapon.
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:16 pm
Maliarc was content to listen to the conversation that was taking place between the mysterious man who was "just a merchant" and the witch that was responsible for so much more than just an attack on a couple of leaders. This person was confident, but Maliarc wasn't sure she knew what she was getting into. Either way, Maliarc was content to listen. That was, until the mysterious "merchant" man made his move.

He moved faster than any human Maliarc had ever seen. Then again, it wasn't uncommon in this day and age for normal people to know magic. However, that this man knew it, and paired with that large beast, it seemed that they made a formidable combo. He watched as they fought with the two men that the witch had with her. But, it seemed it was his turn to do something.

Maliarc had a few hidden spells up his sleeve;one of which being the ones he was currently casting. The balls of fire that had been simply sitting in the air had finally begun to move. They slowly melted into the ground, seemingly to disappear. A closer observation, however, would reveal that the areas where each individual ball had melted into the ground was starting to glow. After only a few seconds, small, cylindrical beams of flame straight up into the air, slowly turning to lava as they went. They disappeared into the skies, slowly building momentum. After only a few more seconds, the beams began to fall, directly on top of and around the witch. Maliarc wasn't concerned with the merchant and his beast, for if they were as fast as they had shown, they could easily dodge this. He simply wished nothing but harm on the witch. The only problem Maliarc was facing was that he didn't have much left in him. He simply had to put all he had into doing this;he had failed in protecting Lady Aaren once, he simply couldn't fail again.
 

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:24 am
Judith narrowed her eyes at Ben as he spat out a short statement. Before she could speak, is when Ben suddenly lurched forward using a momentum spell, which surprised her. Her men didn't stand a chance against the attack, and one of them fell backwards as Ben's mechanical blade pierced through his heart and exited through his back. The other man, distracted by Ben's sudden movements, screamed as Asher lurched at him. The scream turned into gurgling, however, as the giant wolf ripped his throat out, causing blood to stream down his exposed neck tissue. The first man shuddered, and died on the ground, and the second man clawed at his throat as he gasped for air, and died as well.

Judith's face turned into a snarl of anger, and she threw her palms forward towards Ben, violently blasting him and his wolf with a spell that sent a shockwave towards the two. Before she could do anything else, columns of lava fell from the sky, aimed at herself and everything around her. She hastily whispered something similar to what ben whispered, and her heels glowed with a purple hue, and she sloppily dove out of the way, landing on her shoulder. She was then thankful for the sand, as she slid to a halt, barely dodging the lava. Her eyes glowed with a dark hue, and before she even stood up, she whispered a series of dark words, that seemed to echo throughout the cave.

Suddenly, the ground around Maliarc, Emer, Layla, and Lady Aaren began to shake and give out, before turning into a giant sink hole underneath them. She knew if they weren't quick, the ground would swallow all three of them. Taking this opportunity, she stood up quickly, kicking off her heels, and threw her hands in front of her. She aimed her hands at Ben and Asher, and grunted as she summoned the energy to emit a blast of extremely heated air that flew at the man and his giant wolf with alarming speed. The blast of air traveled at the pair, crystalizing the sand underneath with its extremely hot properties.

As she caught her breath, she looked at the 3 corpses of her dead men, and an idea popped into her mind. She then began to chant another spell, one that was more impressive than any she had cast that evening. Her breath was labored as she continued to chant, and she began to hunch forward, as the spell continued to sap her of her energy. She then finished the last word of the chant with emphasis, and the the air around her began to rotate into a vortex. The vortex grew slightly, sucking up the sand around her, blocking her from view. Red lightning began to arc from the center, where she stood. Inside the vortex, Judith began to materialize ectoplasm from out of thin air in front of her, and it weightlessly danced in the air in front of her, growing as it floated.

Then, the air in the cave grew heavy, and it seemed as if the moonlight that entered the cave began to dim, making the red arcs light up the cave with with red hues. Several screams echoed through the cave, as well as several demonic laughs. As the laughs echoed, three balls of ectoplasm suddenly flew from the vortex, and soared up into the air, before arching forward, and splashing onto the three corpses of the dead men. Each ball moved like a living liquid, and entered the corpses through their orphases.

The bodies were still, as if to welcome the ectoplasm. After a moment, the Vortex around Judith stopped, and sand fell through the air, softly. The Air returned to its normal thickness, and the moonlight entered the cave again, illuminating the area. Judith stumbled slightly to the left, attempting to regain her balance from the heavy use of black magic. She lifted her head, a malevolent smile now on her face, and looked upon the group in front of her.

Then, as if to compliment the malevolent smile, the three corpses moved, as if waking up from a dream. This was short lived, however, for the corpses then began to shudder violently, before growing still once again.

A soft chuckle could be heard from Judith, and her chuckling turned into a soft laughter, as if she had gone completely mad. In return, the corpses suddenly exploded into three large fiery forms, with the likeness of horned Hell Spawns. The three hulking flame-wreathed demons stood up in unison, and all three manifested a sword of flame from in front of them, in their outstretched hands.

"Kill them." Judith bellowed, amidst her soft laughter.

All three demons immediately rushed forward, but in different directions. One rushed at Maliarc, one at Ben and Asher, and the other at Ser Emer and Lady Aaren. They were solid fire, and their swords were fire in solid form as well. They each had two black areas on their heads, void of fire. The two black areas could only be described as their eyes. Flaming tails swung from side to side behind each one, only adding to their demonic appearance. The three roared in unison, as they rushed towards their targets.
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:14 am
Emer stared at Ben incredulously, as Ben hinted that he was much more than what he seemed at the party just before he launched towards the two Noxian men next to Judith. The fact that Ben had used magic to make himself faster than any human he had seen, only confirmed that hint. He kept his sword at the ready, knowing that this was the start of the battle that could very well claim his life. He glanced over at Aaren from his peripherals, vowing to not let this outcome affect her in any way, even if it cost him his life.

The knight kept himself close to Lady Aaren, keeping himself between her and the fight that was now unfolding before his eyes. He prayed that Ben and the mage would kill them, because he wouldn't leave Aaren's side, no matter what. He wouldn't allow her to be an open target. He put himself into a defensive stance upon seeing Judith blast Ben and his wolf with a spell after they killed her two men, before narrowly escaping Maliarc's attack. He silently watched as she looked over at himself and Lady Aaren, and gave her a dangerous look as a warning.

However, she then began to chant something, and her voice seemed to echo throughout the cave. Immediately following, the ground beneath him rumbled, catching him off guard. A look of urgency came over his face, upon seeing the ground near them begin to crumble away, and spread towards himself and Lady Aaren. Without hesitating, he turned around, and hastily bent over, and picked up Lady Aaren with his free arm. Her frail body was lifted easily, and he hoisted her up and over his shoulder, and ran as fast as his feet would take him away from the sinkhole as it grew. The Sinkhole caught up to him however, and he lost his footing. Without thinking, he heaved Lady Aaren forward and away from him, in a desperate attempt to get her away from the sinkhole.

It was then that he wondered if he would fall into the sinkhole, and be buried alive. However, as he fell forward after throwing Lady Aaren out in front of him, he realized that he was at the very edge of the sinkhole, which had stopped growing. He hit the sand with a soft thud, his armor softly clanking as it happened.

He immediately recovered, and rushed forward towards Lady Aaren.

"My Lady, are you alright?" He bent down, looking at her with a concerned face. He hoped the sand had cushioned her when he heaved her forward and off his shoulder. He then heard a rush of wind, and he turned around quickly, determined not to be caught off guard again, with his large sword raised in front of him. The rush of wind was another spell that was aimed at Ben and his wolf, but his attention was grabbed by her as she began to cast yet another spell.

The mere fact that she could use so much magic, and so quickly, troubled him. His troubles grew, however, when he saw the vortex form around her. His eyes narrowed, and he ran his free hand down the length of the steel of his blade, while concentrating his energy. The steel began to shine with a white glow, and he lowered the sword in his hand, changing his defensive stance to one that would give more momentum to a kinetic magic attack. The spell added wind controlling properties to his sword, and if he swung it, then it would be an attack that could cut even the largest of foes clean in half.

His face then became one of horror as he saw ectoplasm enter the dead bodies of the three men, resulting in them exploding into fiery demons. He had never seen magic like this before, and the sight of these creatures unsettled him. He stood his ground and didn't falter, however, knowing that he was the only thing standing between Lady Aaren and certain death.

The demons then summoned flaming swords into their grasps, which only added to their intimidating appearance. He grit his teeth, upon hearing Judith laughing, wishing he could impale her with his sword. Then she spoke the two words, the two words that made adrenaline course through him. Then the demons rushed forward with a roar that chilled his bones. He readied himself, upon seeing the demons split their aim, resulting in only one of the creatures coming at himself and Lady Aaren.

He studied the beast as it rushed forward, noting how fast it was. As it got closer, his grip on his sword tightened. Then, when it was less than 10 feet away, he tightened his muscles, drew his sword back, and shouted, "Not one step more, DEMON!" As he yelled the last word, he swung his sword in an upward diagonal arch from his side, which conjured a blast of wind as sharp as his blade, and as forceful as the strongest of storm winds. The blast of wind would cut any normal being in half, but he wondered what effect it would have on this creature. The knight didn't stop there, however. When he swung his sword up in a diagonal fashion, he used the momentum of the attack to bring it around and over his head, while building the momentum into another swing. The second swing came from over his head, as he pushed his weight forward into the swing, bringing it down into another diagonal swing, but aiming for the ground in front of him. When the sword slashed downward, another huge blast of forceful wind was emitted from it, instead hitting the ground, and cutting through a large portion of the sand. The strike completely freed a large portion of the ground in front of him, causing the ground beneath the demon to fall away into the sinkhole.

The area of rock and sand that he cut free was about 1/15th the size of the floor of the cave, and it loudly rumbled as it all turned into a landslide of rock and sand, tumbling down into the large sinkhole, almost doubling the size of the sinkhole as well.

Ser Emer then brought his sword back in front of him, this time focusing his energy into a spell that would give his blade freezing properties. He once again ran his hand down the length of the steel, and it glowed with a dark blue hue. If the beast somehow managed to escape the two attacks, he would counter its fiery body with fire's polar opposite: Ice.  

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:59 am
The sounds of everyone and everything in the cave filled Aaren's ears and yet all blurred together. She could not make sense of anything when the only thing she could focus on at that point was staying conscious. The force pulling at her body, emptying it of her wakened state, didn't feel stronger as it felt constant and steady. It never stopped. The lady's eyes were already shut, but she felt a slumber try to wash over her, a slumber that was deeper than any before. Her chest clenched in fear. She wondered if the sleep came over her, whether she would ever wake from it.

It was then that she felt the ground quake and the sand tremble and roll under her. Aaren consciousness was started when Emer picked her up, and she opened her eyes drowsily to see her surroundings. The motion of her knight carrying her, though, distracted her gaze from focusing on anything unmoving; and when he threw her forward, the impact caused her body to wake again. Aaren gasped and her body rolled onto its back. The sand was soft, but the landing felt harder than it would have been had she not felt so weak. She breathed deeply and stared up at the cave's ceiling, though the view changed to the familiar face of Emer looking down at her instead.

The lady softly furrowed her brows and reached up to grab at his breastplate, though her grip was exceptionally weak. Her hand fell away and onto her chest when Emer stood back up, shielding her from the terrors that were coming. Aaren wanted to look, but felt that focusing on the cave ceiling was better. Much better, especially as she listened the horrific sounds of Judith's voice, then lightning, then dark laughter... she did not want to look.

********************

Layla felt her throat grow drier as she watched the fighting commence before her very eyes. She had seen fighting before, and knew how to fight a little; but this was more than she had ever trained for. It wouldn't be enough to throw a punch to get away, or to point a gun (which she did not have). The only thing she could do was rely on Ben, Asher, Maliarc, and Emer now. She was almost as helpless as Aaren, and she hated knowing that.

Her thoughts were interrupted, though, when the ground shook and she lost her footing for a slight moment. The girl yelped when she fell onto her bottom, but was quick to scramble back onto her feet so she could assess what was happening. She had been so taken by what Ben and Asher were doing that she hadn't noticed Judith's chanting and what it was causing. Luckily for her, Emer knew and picked up Lady Aaren, throwing her over his shoulder as the ground gave way. Layla ran ahead of the knight and tripped forward but caught herself before falling completely. It wasn't long after that she heard Aaren grunt as she hit the sand near her; the girl looked over and watched the knight check on the Lucidus leader before performing his duty again.

The girl's heart was pounding, and she felt like she had just ran for a few miles. She panted a little and her head was spinning, but she did her best to not let it disorient her. She took a few quick steps over to Aaren and knelt next to her. Of all places, of all times to finally start talking to this woman, and yet this may be the last time. The girl didn't care about being a healer anymore; perhaps all that mattered now was giving some sense of hope to this woman who in that moment looked as though she could barely lift her own head.

"Lady Aaren," Layla spoke softly, though she could not keep the fear away from her voice. "Can you hear me?"

She watched Aaren stare up at the cave ceiling; Layla dared not look to see what was happening as the air around them grew dim, and Judith began chanting again. She reached down and grabbed the woman's hand from her chest and held it. It was this touch that caused the lady to turn her glassy gaze over to Layla, who in turn sighed a little in relief. "Are you ok?"

"...I," Aaren attempted to speak, but swallowed down when she felt the dryness of her throat. "...I think so."

Layla scooted closer to Aaren's side and glanced over at Emer. Her eyes caught the sight of Judith's dead men rising and begin to change, but she quickly looked back at the Lucidus leader so she wouldn't see what they would turn into. "I'll stay with you... ok?" The girl said, and watched as Aaren nodded weakly. However, she wasn't prepared for Aaren's glassy eyes to suddenly run over with tears and her lip to quiver. "I am so sorry..." the woman whispered, squeezing her eyes shut. "You should not be here... not here, not this."

Layla didn't know what to say as she gazed down at Aaren, but her attention went back to Emer, and then to the beast coming at them. She felt like her heart would leap out of her chest from the horror; she was almost sure this was the end. But she would not run. Instead, the girl hunched over Aaren and wrapped her arms around her. Aaren looked up, seeing Layla's white hair create a curtain around their faces and her eyes shut tightly. The Lucidus leader realized then... this small, helpless girl was using herself as a shield to protect her. She was not afraid to die for Aaren, as Emer was not afraid to die.  
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Role-Play 1 - Sovereign

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