Damien put one hand on his sword, not to wield it, but simply grasping it and stepped in front of Caedis, shield at the ready and helmet off, allowing the woman to see his eyes as he spoke, both as hard as steel, and as bright as they had ever shined. The wind did nothing but add to the image of a steel mountain, one cheek bloodied from it's encounter with the sword, creating a duality in his face. Seemingly calm on one side, pure fury on the other, he spoke with an even voice.
"You do not want to point that rifle at us, Conney, is it? My people threw those away centuries ago in favor of much more dangerous arms, with a much longer range. This woman is under our protection, as is everyone else. If you wish to speak, speak, if you want to fight, then shoot me, I can promise you that you will not walk away from it. Bloodshed is not something that must be done over a misunderstanding. That is reserved for much more serious crimes."
"You do not want to point that rifle at us, Conney, is it? My people threw those away centuries ago in favor of much more dangerous arms, with a much longer range. This woman is under our protection, as is everyone else. If you wish to speak, speak, if you want to fight, then shoot me, I can promise you that you will not walk away from it. Bloodshed is not something that must be done over a misunderstanding. That is reserved for much more serious crimes." Damien said to the sniper.
"Exactly, a misunderstanding!" The older man said, turning away from the beast called "Wooly." But she goes on these violent episodes whenever newcomers arrive, using her gift of inventing for violence, only wanting to protect her home, but some or her actions..." The man stopped, a hint of disappointment escaping his mouth.
"Dad, now is not that time for a therapy session! Oh and excuse me for being fearful of newcomers after that whole dragon incident!" The girl said, slightly screeching out of anger.
"What was that about Dragons?" Damien thought.
"If the guy you're currently using as a stand may interject-" Atticus said quickly. "Let me just tell you that you don't want to mess with that. Really, you don't wan-"
"Don't tell me what to do! I have had it with you travelers! Everyone else may be swept away by your tales of wonder and warmth even after that dragon guy ransacked our town, but we're not buying it! Right dad?!" The man simply shook his head and turned back to Wooly.
"Alright, lift your leg." The man said to the beast. Wooly lifted his leg, revealing what looked like a large yellow rock. The man tugged on it a bit and soon the boulder was gone. The creature roaring was replaced by gentle slow cooning and moaning. The girl slouched a bit.
"Aw, my poor baby. Don't worry, mommy's here now. Alright, Mr. Slingshot, start moving!" Conney commanded.
"You cannot be seriou-"
"Try me. I'd like to see your metal friend stop me from turning your brain into an icy meaty mush. I put up a decent fight against that dragon guy; ran him straight out of town. I'm sure I could handle him, quite easily!" She said with cold determination.
Damien stepped forward, but the man put his hand up. Damien let the man through, allowing him to speak with his daughter.
"Conney, for the love of-okay...think clearly. It was all just a misunderstanding, they were trying to protect themselves, and there is no actual reason to fight them . Now,travelers, can we please get moving? All will be explained in our town. You can rest, get medical care, whatever you need to aid yourselves." He said softly, a ragged cough shortly after.
"Fuck that! Let them freeze out here and-"
"Conney enough! We are leaving now!" The old man yelled, another even worse cough escaping from him.
She didn't say anything for awhile, neither did the group, simply staring at the old man and Conney. Eventually she sighed, giving in.
"Fine dad...but I'm gonna keep riding this guy! Conney said with a humph.
"Hehe, riding this guy..." She slammed the butt of her rifle against Atticus's head. "Okay, okay, I'm sorry! I was just saying that you can ride me anyti-" Another slam. "Shutting up now..."
The party started moving, gradually moving closer to Wooly. Now that the beast was calmed down, it gave off just the right amount of heat, warming the surrounding bodies who needed it. They began to question whether or not they should follow the guy whose daughter was currently holding Atticus at gun point. Prail stuck to the back, where it was colder. Stonefuse accompanied her, but stopped as he noticed a statue off in the distance. He tapped Prail's shoulder, pointing towards the statue but when they both looked back there was nothing to be seen. Prail tilted her head in confusion.
"It..it was nothing." The golem said quietly. Faunra heard tiny foot steps in the snow which quickly faded away. And Damien was troubled by what the girl had said, a feeling of dread circling through his armor. "Dragon guy..." He pondered.
"Hehe, riding this guy..." She slammed the butt of her rifle against Atticus's head. [b/]"Okay, okay, I'm sorry! I was just saying that you can ride me anyti-" Another slam rocked Atticus, this one from Faunra [b/]"Shutting up now..."
"Good" Faunra said then let the silence sit. Faunra didn't particularly care about the joke, that was just Atticus being... well Atticus. What did bother her about it was the noise it made. She kept picking up on the sound of foot steps in the snow, at the barest edge of even her impressive hearing. "Wooly" seemed to at least be loosely aware of it as well, evident by the occasional head movement coinciding with the hurried foot steps. Stonefuse was also aware of something, having tried and regrettably failed to point something out to Prail. Faunra bundled up a bit more, trying to stay warm and seem inconspicuous to any pursuers until they fled.
When the sound finally vanished, Faunra quietly approached the older man they were following. "Are there any creatures we should be weary of in this area? I think we're being followed." she inquired, whispering so as not to upset the group unnecessarily.
"Are there any creatures we should be weary of in this area? I think we're being followed."
The old man turned to Faunra, only momentarily taken a back by her elf ears. He quickly shook it off, an old fairy tale temporary budding into his mind, and answered her question.
"Well miss, the only things that comes to my mind are wolves. They'll tail pray until they find it fit to pounce. However, you obviously came from the mountain portal on that small frozen lake, right? It's a perfect place for an ambush and it has also turned back many climbers. So, if their were any wolves trailing you, you'd probably be on that lake...your intestines strewn from on end to the next." He said bluntly with a hint of grim charm.
"As for other beasties, plenty are harmless. Like Wooly, he's a coward. Trust me, whatever aggregation you saw was just fear. Hell, I was pretty scared after your friend with the honrs roared back at Wooly." He explained, pointing a Prail. It's the creatures you find in the scarce woods or across frozen seas you gotta look out for." He coughed a bit and suddenly a long skinny tongue came from Wooly, lifting the man onto his back.
"By the way, the name is Pick. Conrad Pick. You've already met my daughter."
As they walked, Caedis didn't take her eyes off the rifle that the woman had pointing at Atticus. Caedis had seen exotic technologies on the farther levels but she regarded firearms to be the worst. They were too clean, too impersonal. There wasn't the thrill of the fight or any styles associated with aiming and pulling the trigger. Caedis spit in the snow, not looking away from the rifle.
She heard the others begin the talk and she even heard the man's name and his association with the woman. Conrad Pick his name was. She couldn't care less and continued walking. Not even the biting cold couldn't break through Caedis' wall of focus but finally she spoke but to the woman again.
"How far is this town you speak of? Is it a shot away?" Caedis hated herself saying that but if she hated bad puns as much as Caedis did then hopefully something would happen.
"How far is this town you speak of? Is it a shot away?" Caedis asked.
Conney ignored Caedis. Conney was still mad at Caedis for threatening to kill her dear pet, but it was something else about Caedis that irritated her. Was it the way she walked? Her voice? All Conney knew was that she did not like Caedis. Plus that pun was horrible. Why did all these travelers think they were amusing? The only response Conney gave was the motion of her fingers like a gun, pointing at Caedis, and simply going "Boom. Headshot." Conrad could see that Conney wasn't going give the woman in the armor a legitimate answer, and chose to answer for her.
"Eh, don't worry Miss, we should get there by sunset. It's right up this passage-"
"Northeast, across a frozen sea?" Etrius asked.
"Um, yes that's correct. How did you..." Conrad asked, more than puzzled when he realized Etrius had no shirt on.
"Birds eye view. Plus, I asked those guys" Etrius answered spreading his wings and pointing at a flock of puffits overheard. Conrad's eyes widened, but it didn't seem like he was just surprised with Etrius. Conney didn't seem remotely interested in the bird man showing off his wings. "Just another weirdo with whatever agenda they had aimlessly climbing the tower with no actual purpose." Conney muttered scornfully.
Atticus looked up at the woman and shook his head. If only she knew.
"What's wrong with you, Mr. Slingshot." She barked quickly.
"Oh, nothing...nothing. And I have a name by the way. It's Atticus. Pleasure to meet your thighs." He said sarcastically bracing for another hit.
They made their way through the small valley and exited, the sun falling down the horizon, reflecting off a thick layer of ice. Zersa: Their frozen sea.
"Right across Zersa, the frozen sea in front of you, is our town. I suggest we get moving. The sun is already setting and you don't want to get caught out here, at night. Trust me. Oh, and fate help you if it starts snowing." Conrad quickly said. As Wooly stepped onto the ice, steam began to sizzle off the surface. Conrad petting Wooly a bit and suddenly the creature stopped giving off as much heat and the steam faded away.
"The ice is pretty thick, but you know what they say, better safe than sorry." Conrad said to the group as they walked onto the ice. It cracked a bit, but it looked like it would be able to support their weight.
Prail was still curious about this land. The people seemed far too aggressive for her tastes and the monster was worrying her.
Stonefuse had pointed something out to her but nothing there, creepy.
Night was drawing in so she'd lit her eyes up to prepare.
She released all the flyers she could to reduce her weight and moved carefully.
Luckily her hooves were pretty wide out and she rested her tail on the ground to spread out her weight as much as possible.
Looking around it was clear the others weren't qualified engineers.
Aleister was remaining rather quiet throughout most of the journey, finding nothing interesting to talk about, nor comment on anything that was being discussed. In terms of keeping warm, he was using a low power fire spell; which allowed for a reasonable amount of warmth, and meant that he could see against the encroaching darkness. Two small balls of flame appeared in his hands, which lit up the immediate area.
It was then at that moment, that Dante contacted him on a mental level.
"Ah, Gabriel, it seems you have found yourself in Abzerosa, more commonly known as 'The Ice Box'."
"I can see how it has obtained such a moniker. And a to you Hello Dante, I take it the Shinigami Agency, has another assignment for me?"
"Of course, I told you that one would be along soon. No doubt you have heard of this level's Dragon problem?"
"Indeed I have, our so called guide, Miss Conney Pick, has made mention of such a being. Must say though, she certainly has an aggressive streak about her. I mean, she has assualted Atticus a couple of times; then again, it was his own stupid fault for making some sexual innuendo towards her."
"Quite right on that aggressive streak. Just looking over her record now." Dante remarked as he sat down at his desk, and poured himself a small glass of scotch with one hand, as he leafed through Conney's record with the other.
"Can't say I'd act differently though." Dante spoke, showing signs of sympathy. "I mean how would you react if a traveller, who is a Dragon if I might add, ransacked your town. That seems like justification for being a little on edge as it were when it comes to travellers."
"Good point. Well made." Aleister replied, understanding the reasons behind Conney's mistrust with travellers.
"In any case, your assignment is to claim the Dragon's soul. Unfortunately, I can't cover you on the paperwork this time. But don't worry, its a simple report, and some form filling."
"Oh goodie, paperwork." Aleister replied with an unenthusiastic sigh.
"Must go now, have to supervise the complete training program of some new Reaper Agents. I'll speak to you again when your assignment is complete." Dante's voice then vanished from Aleister's mind.
"So, Miss Conney, could you tell us more about this Dragon?" Aleister asked with an air of curiosity and seemingly out of nowhere.
"So, Miss Conney, could you tell us more about this Dragon?" Aleister suddenly asked.
Conney had been taking aim at Prail's flyers, trying to understand what the heck Prail was when Aleister asked about the dragon. Atticus could feel her grip her rifle tightly as she began answer him.
"I...we don't really like to talk about it. One day the guy just appeared. He looked like anyone else, if perhaps a bit muscly, but didn't have a single weapon on him. He seemed like a nice person but later he began to act more arrogant, narcissistic, and a bit sadistic in terms of humor. He also had a few strange looking friends with him, extremely cracked skin, but they were pretty quiet. One day, he tried to take something but the person wouldn't give it up. that was when the three of them began to change. Destroyed part of the town. A few of us managed to save part of the town and I actually saved a lot of people. Gave those dragons one hell of a fight. But they killed a lot more people than I saved...and that's all I'm saying about that!" She said with a humph. She was breathing heavily and angrily. Conrad simply stared at his daughter.
"Well, uh...sorry to hear about that." Atticus said quietly.
"Yeah, me too..." She said quickly."See, here's my logic. If I can't trust a bunch of unarmed travelers who wandered across a frozen wasteland with next to no supplies, how am I supposed to trust a bunch of armed people, magic users, a walking tank, rocky over there, and whatever the hell that is?!" Conney yelled, motioning towards the group. They kept walking, awkward silence filling the air.
"...um...we killed a dragon once." Atticus muttered silently.
"Oh, good for you!" Conney said sarcastically. "And please tell that lizard-thing to put away its pets or whatever they are. Its making me nervous!"
If Prail had been able to say anything she'd point that the flyers were key to keeping down her weight.
That and she certainly didn't appreciate her flyers being called pets. After all they were her.
She looked towards her flyers letting out a small sound causing her flyers to pull back. She didn't reabsorb them but made sure they were further away from the others.
Prail gave the sniper a look as if to say she better not dare shoot them.
Stonefuse kept quiet for most of the time, ice crackling beneath his feet as he walked. On this level his crystalline form could easily be misplaced with ice, as the crystal was clear blue, only slightly darker in color.
Twice did he see an ice statue, and twice it disappeared before he could point it out to someone else. Now, he was determined to not look away from it the next time he sees it, instead opting to use words to attract the group's attention. Not having to blink was as useful as ever. His determination slipped, however, his attention stolen for a moment by Aleister. Stonefuse could sense a hidden power withing him, shining brighter only for that one moment. He could ask Aleister what it is, but questioning was overrated and unnecessary. He'll find out eventually.
Redirecting his eyes, he continued observing their surroundings.
Conney laughed at Prail's attempt at intimidation.
Oh, you got a problem with me dissing your pets?" Conney asked mockingly. Prail's flyers moved closer to Prail but one was just a bit behind the others. Conney took aim at it and fired, the ice shard bouncing off and slicing through the ice in front of them. The flyer wobbled a bit, and sped up slightly, like a little child running back to momma. Prail was just about to whip Conney with her tail when she looked down at where the shard had gone through the ice. Everyone paused, just waiting for the cracks to spread out and for them to start running but it never came. Conrad let out a hoarse chuckle and looked down from atop Wooly.
"Guys, don't worry about it. Like I said, this ice is thick. Really thick. You'd either have to be on fire or weigh over 50,000 pounds to really break it apart. I mean really, look at who I'm riding." Wooly let out a minor whine of amusement.
As the party started walking again, the ice behind them gradually began to crack. The group was making noise, each time they took a step. Damien, Stonefuse, and Wooly were the worst of it, but the entire party was irritating its sleep. Its piercing red eyes, now fully open, glared furiously at the shadow of the party. And then it realized it was hungry. As the group moved, more of the ice behind them cracked. The creature extended it's cracked jaw and prepared itself for a meal.
Atticus twitch his nose, trying to get ignore the odor, but it just became too much for him to take. "Alright, does anyone else smell fish?"
Conney simply looked down at Atticus. "...you have a death wish, don't you?"
"No, not you. It actually smells quite nice down-that's not the point! Seriously, does no one else notice that?"
The ice behind them began to bulge up a bit, cracks increasing.
"Um...guys?" Stonefuse said, pointing at the bulge.
Suddenly the creature burst through the surface, mouth open, charging at full speed.
"Oh Shi-" Veritas said as the creature burst through the surface, and nearly ate his hand. He had never tried using Ice before, but considering the situation, he thought now would be a great time to learn.
To keep it at bay, Veritas used the force of the water to drag the creature back in. "I HATE monster fish! Now hurry up and kill this thing!".
Being usually positive and quiet, it wasn't often Veritas was so vocal with his opinions.
They better hurry up.
"Now hurry up and kill this thing!" Veritas yelled as he pulled the creature back into the deep.
"Veritas, if you haven't notice, we're not exactly in the greatest position for a fight!" Atticus yelled back, the ice beneath his feet cracking.
The creature suck down to the deeps. It was disoriented, looking around for whatever had tugged it back into the icy waters. The creature was getting frustrated. First it had been rudely awakened and now something dare to challenge it. The creature let out a bellowing roar.
"Oh great, what now?! Conney exclaimed.
The creature jumped out of the water, flying over the group, an angry red eye on them constantly. Conney fired a few shots around the rim of its eye. Atticus pulled out one green pellet and hit it square in the eye. The creature freaked, and landed on the ice in front of them, riving on the surface in pain. "Bulleye." Atticus said under his breath.
The creature was flopping around, blocking their way, before breaking through the surface and diving into the deep. It was absolutely furious. The beast didn't care whether it got a meal or not, right now it just wanted all of them dead. The sea monster breached the surface of the ice and began swimming in circles around them, but kept its eyes underwater.I t broke apart the surrounding ice, gradually moving inwards.
"The damn things trying to box us in!" Conrad yelled as Wooly reared back and away from the edge of the ice, which was closing in on them. "At this rate, the ice we're standing on will sink before we run out of space!"
Veritas tried to hold the creature back, but it was moving to fast for him to catch, breaking free and resisting the pull each time Veritas actually manage to get a hold of it.
"Alright, I'm tired of standing out here in the cold and I'd rather not drown!" Atticus yelled as he pulled out the Rod, charged it, and thrust it into the sea. The resulting shock spread out across the ice but away from the group. There was silence, a few residual sparks skipping across the water. And then the monster roared, cutting faster into the ice.
"Oh...well then...Someone think of something quick, cause I am kinda low on ideas here!"
"Oh...well then...Someone think of something quick, cause I am kinda low on ideas here!" Atticus shouted as the creature began cutting faster into the ice.
Without much prior warning, Aleister began charging up ice magic, forming two big spheres of glittering energy around his hands. He then punched at the ice, sending the energy out in a shock wave; turning the water back into ice. Veritas was thrown out of the water, and onto the newly formed ice field. The creature began charging straight towards Aleister.
"Everyone! Get moving onto the shoreline quickly." He shouted at the others, pointing towards a nearby stretch of land.
"And as for you beastie-" Aleister said directly at the creature, but had to instantly roll out of the way to avoid its razor sharp teeth. He quickly plunged one of his swords into the creatures remaining eye with a backwards stab, which blinded it.
"Didn't know that was possible. Perhaps being a Reaper, enhanced my reaction times briefly. Certainly took a bit out of me though, must be a side effect of using abilities, that aren't technically my own... yet." Aleister thought to himself as he was knocked back by the creature. He quickly picked himself up, and made a desperate run for the shoreline.
"Perhaps if we can trap it on shore, then maybe we can finish it off." He shouted as he quickly fired off a few blasts of lightning at the creature's maw.
"Perhaps if we can trap it on shore, then maybe we can finish it off."
Damien yelled, made sure his helmet was properly sealed, and charged the creature. The word gave himself and the entire group, - besides Aleister who was outside of the range of effect - a heightened sense of awareness, faster, and a small bit stronger. To his eyes they were all outlined in a soft black light.
"The shore's too far to just run for it Aleister,"He yelled as he ran towards the beast, Altimar glowing and the ruby in the hilt pulsating,"We either kill it here or keep it occupied long enough to allow the rest to run."
The creature was writhing in pain from Aleister's blinding of it and had smashed the ice around it. Damien jumped from flow to flow, keeping just ahead of the creature gyrations before it came to a slow as Damien plunged his blade into it's back and began hanging on for both life and to kill the creature. Each movement it made did nothing but dig the blade deeper into it's sensitive internals, severing bone, penetrating blood vessels and reducing it's tough hide to a criss-crossing of blood and torn flesh. Yet still it fought against the man perched on it's back, but could not dislodge him.
Damien took the dagger he had bought many levels back and plunged it into the creature's hide, he felt it catch bone or at least some kind of armored plating underneath the skin. That cemented his position much better than simply the sword. The rending was now much more localized than before, though it would likely cost the dagger. A shame to be sure, it was well made, and had kept it's edge against the environments he'd carried it through.
Atticus's mind and body were sent into overdrive as the the word took effect. He could feel each individual crack and sway of the ice beneath him, move with more speed and precision, and felt his muscles tense a bit with some new found strength. Suddenly a lot of things made sense to him. One for which was the monster's mobility.
"The fins, aim for them! The next time it jumps into the air, fire at them, fire out how keep them restricted so we can stop it from moving!" Atticus yelled, loading his slingshot and aiming at the beast. From what he could see, the beast had 5 fins on its sides, two on its head, and 4 on its tail. Damien was clinging to the beast, already ripping through the two upper fins. All they had to do was get it on land and keep it from moving. The monster was still moving at high speed, even with Damien stabbing into its spine. "Gotta time this just right..."
Atticus breathed in. "Medius Zephyrium!" He fired, 3 molten tar pellets colliding between two large fins near its head. The tar seeped into it's eyes and the two fins were pulled inwards. The creature did a spin on it's side, temporarily pushing Damien into the water, and it contined to roar. The monster slowed down a bit, but kept swimming at a high speed. They had their game plan. Now to use it.
"C'mon! It's getting dark! We have to finish this, now! Damage or hold down its fins!" Atticus instructed.
"C'mon! It's getting dark! We have to finish this, now! Damage or hold down its fins!" Atticus ordered as the creature was still swimming at a fast pace, whilst Damien was under the water.
"Right then, how is this for damage." Aleister smirked with a grin, as he began summoning a series of black coloured knives. He then fired them at the creature, creating a series of surgical like cuts across the sea monsters body, and narrowly avoiding Damien in the process. A dark coloured substance soon began to trickle from the monsters body, obviously its blood. Aleister could see that the monster was beginning to tire. He then unsheathed his sword, and three circles appeared on the surface, each one bringing a cool breeze that swirled around his face.
With a single swipe of his blade, the disks flew towards the monster, and pushed it with great force, directing it head first towards the land. He then charged at the monster, and slashed at its exposed stomach.
Prail rushed to the side was soon as the creature had burst out she was just doing her best to stay above the water line.
She looked around calling her birds back to her for their protection.
It was massive, an impressive creature no doubt. She'd have preferred study time to be honest.
She'd positioned herself behind it or at least out of its way but after consideration decided to attack what ever was exposed, she could smell open flesh and she haddn't eaten in about a week or so. Sent back birds more offensive this time not as complex mentally but she'd given them sharper teeth and claws.
Caedis waited for the beast to pass, making sure to dodge its massive mouth. Once it did though, Caedis saw the opportunity to damage one of its fins on the side as it passed. She dodged the creature which had the fury of Damien and Alesiter to deal with along with Prail. Caedis kept to the side and plunged downwards with her spear, catching the fin and ripping a hole in it as it passed. She drew out her spear because she didn't want it to get caught if it tried to roll or dart past them.
Faunra stared at the beast. It was well out of her class - its scales were thicker than her daggers were long. The best she could do was fire arrows down it's maw hoping to hit something vital and dodge to the side when it attacked.
Her one advantage was her senses. The power Damien had released was allowing her to finally react to her already elven senses. Because of this, the leviathan's thrashing was much easier to evade. None of this answered her her problem of harming it. Zavier, Caedis, Nathan, Damien and Aleiester were all striking the monster with their unique combinations of magic and swordsmanship. Stonefuse was hidden from her by the fish, Veritas was busy using his water magic to strike at it, and Etrius was striking with the power of his wings and blade. Atticus was attacking as he usually did with his slingshot and strange rounds. Prail was fighting tooth, nail, and tail against the monster.
At the last thought she smiled and ran for Prail, dodging the fish in her running. When Faunra arrived, she found Prail striking at the massive shark with her flyers. She skidded to a stop a few feet from her and asked a single, important question. "Prail: Can you make poison by any chance?", while holding up her quiver of arrows, a dangerous smile on her face.
No she wasn't poisonous she was venomous one of the worst parts about not speaking was not being able to be pedantic. She'd have loved to explain the difference between poison and venom but never mind.
*Never mind Nod*
But regardless she might as well start productions
The spikes on the end of her tails started to get flushed orange against their usual bony white. They appeared luminescent and veiny and started to stink fairly badly. Prail offered her tail to Faunra.
Etrius dived at the creature, holdign his sword down below him. HE came in just inches above it and dug his sword into it's flesh. The momentum of his dive kept him moving, slicing a large cut down it's back, almost like he was flaying it.
Ramirez felt the freezing air through his armor, heard a loud series of thuds. The creature's head splayed up through the ice, it's big tail trailing off into the sea. He stood on the ice, with his polearm brushing against the snowy ground, bracing for the huge monster at our feet.
An armored head exploded through the ice. Out rushed a mouth. It was filled with teeth as long as your arm.
There was a flash of gray. And then a flash of white. Etrius went rocketing past!
"R-r-r-r-a-a-a-w-w-w-w-g-g-g!" The roar of the beast made the ice sheet shake. It thrashed as Etrius cut a slit through the hard scale, ,the acceleration of his dive adding to the swing. Suddenly, the creature jerked it's entire body, breaking the ice and water sailing through the air.
Prail offered Faunra her tail, glistening with an orange liquid. As the scent of the toxin was enough to kill most creatures, Faunra could only assume the poison itself would be quite deadly. Covering her hands with her cloak, she quickly directed the boney protrusions over her quiver, forcing the venomous substance to pool in the base of her quiver. The delicate task took much of her concentration, but the task was completed with relative speed.
By the end, the venom had pooled into a two inch deep puddle - covering the tips of her arrows. Without delay, Faunra discarded her poisoned cowl and dropped her back knee to the icy ground for the requisite support. She took aim, watching the rhythm of the battle. her breath slowed, matching her heart beat, as she pulled back the cord. Then she watched and waited as the giant fish thrashed about, trying to kill its prey. She continued to wait. The fish struck out with it's fins, trying to knock its prey into the sea and Faunra waited.
Finally, the leviathan's maw opened, aiming to devour its target. Faunra fired her arrow down it's throat. Another two arrows were nocked and loosed before it's maw snapped shut in pain. Faunra then returned to her waiting. She had two dozen more arrows unless she had missed her count and she was ready to strike again when it made it's next mistake.
"Maybe I'll go for the eyes next." she muttered to herself, taking her aim again.
The arrow entered the monsters maw as it dived back into the sea. Etrius pulled up and away from the water and Damien rolled back onto the ice, sliding into Wooly. The creature let out a minor whine and then...all was quiet. The water didn't move and the ice was already beginning freeze over. It's stomach had been sliced up, it's armor torn apart, skin cleaved in chunks, it was literally blind, and now it was poisoned. There was no way it could possibly be alive and still ready for a fight. Conrad sat by the sidelines on top of Wooly, trying to figure out what to say.
"Well, um...that uh...that was good. How about we just keep moving and forget that ever hap-" He was cutoff as the creature broke the surface and flopped onto the ice. It was thrashing around in the water and it's harder exterior was being blown off, revealing riving, bubbling, orange puss-filled skin. The creature's eyes fell out of it's head, it's teeth were bloody and nashed at the air. And finally, it's fins were exploding off its body...only to be replaced by long and skinny tendrils, tipped with spikes on the ends of them.
A tendril went for Wooly, who ran at the site of beast taking Conrad for a ride. Damien blocked the old man and the behemoth as he slashed at the tendril but it kept coming, slamming him down with a loud thud and the sound of cracking ice. More tendrils piled on Damien, holding him there. Aleister readied a flame spell but the creature jabbed him straight in the chest, sending him flying across the ice, past Conrad and Wooly. Etrius went diving towards the creature, ready to slice through the tentacles, but a pair emerged from the creatures back holding him in the air. Faunra loaded an arrow but was swiped away by tendrils, hitting Caedis as she tried to stab it at with her Spear and Prail who was pulling back her flyers.
Vertias began swaying the water, trying to pull the creature back into the sea when suddenly it's tail came out from under him. The Tail whipped him into the air, holding him there as hit whipped and pummeled him before forcefully slamming him into the ice. The beast was thoroughly sick of Veritas. Atticus, Zavier, Conney, and Nathan, ran at the beast, dodging tentacles or slicing through them. Stonefuse began running towards the beast as well, but his mass slowed him. Conney jumped off Atticus shoulders and sling on her knees, firing at the creature as she slid closer. A group of tendrils swiped across her face and the creature charged, mouth open.
"No!" Atticus loaded 5 explosive pellets and fired as the creature tried to devour Conney and Atticus slid to her side. He tried to pick her up but a group of tentacles sent the both of them flying. Zavier and Nathan kept running at the creature dodging tendrils and slicing them as he passed. They were then tripped into each other by a group of sweeping tendrils and were quickly wrapped up. By the end of the onslaught, anyone capable of fighting was either in pain or incapacitated.
All but Stonefuse.
The golem ran at its fastest, but it wasn't fast enough. He stomped on the ground as he ran and could barely jump over a group of passing tentacled. A sudden cluster of tendrils aimed directly for him. "Must. Go. Faster." Stonefuse picked up the pace, the stomping beneath his feet gradually dissipated as he picked up speed. The tentacles stabbed at him, but he charged through. He dodged swiping ones and reflected jabbing ones. As he found himself at the mouth of the creature it bit down. And Stonefuse jumped finding himself in the air. He raised his fist, diving at the creature...only to be hit by its tail and shot into the water.
"Stonefuse!" Atticus yelled, another tentacle swiping across him.
Stonefuse found himself sinking fast, deep into the infinite void of the frozen sea. He grasped the water in front of him, trying to get out. Stonefuse focused. He had to get out of here, he had to finish the fight. As he tried to stop himself from diving, he remembered the feel of being propelled by Atticus tornado traps in Minalca and remembered seeing how Damien had simply pulled himself out of the water.
The creature pulled Veritas was unconscious with most of his energy gone, Aleister was riving in pain trying to conjure any spell that might help, Damien was being held down with his face mask covered in tentacles, Etrius was held in the air and his wings constricted, Faunra and Caedis were tied up while Prail tried using her tail and flyers to free them, Zavier was being held tentacles trying to reach for anything, Conney was out cold, and Atticus was being held by up in front of the creatures mouth. It was still poisoned, but figured that if it was going out, it was taking the group with him, as a final meal. As it pulled him in, the ice beneath the creature began to bulge and crack. It didn't even have a chance to realize what was happening as Stonefuse punched through its underbelly and out of its back. Stonfuse landed a few feet away, the ice beneath him fracturing in jagged pieced. The creature screamed, throwing Atticus away, letting out a final roar, and sinking to the deep.
The tendrils pulled back, releasing those who were constricted. Etrius glided towards the group, Prail's tail sweeping away what was left of the tentacles from Caedis and Faunra. Damien ran over to Zavier who picked up Veritas. Wooly slowly strode back, Aleister on his back and a horrified Conrad in control of the creature once more. Atticus found Conney shakily getting up and helped her to her feet. The group gained their senses, grim satisfaction in their heads. But what had happened. They all looked over to where the beast had been, only to see Stonefuse staring into the deep.
Conrad was the first to say something. "I-It's already dark." He gulped down some cold air. "We should get moving, the town is only past the shore and over that ridge." He stammered out, the group moving closer to Wooly, trying to ignore whatever pains they had left. Stonefuse ran towards the group, once again moving at his usual rate. The whole group was exhausted and a bit shaken by the creature's sudden death, but Zavier simply stared at Stonefuse. Most of the group figured that Stonefuse had somehow beaten the monster and were slightly surprised, but only Zavier had seen what the golem had done. "Hmm, maybe I should keep an eye on this one as well." He thought. Stonfuse simply looked off at the shoreline and saw a statue on a cliff, but as soon as he turned away it was gone.
Etrius joined the rest of the group on the ice. He took pride in his sky-bound blood, but he knew it would be kinder to the others to at least stay where they could see him.
"You fight very fiercely." He said to Caedis, walking up on he left. "You would be a match for almost any Seraphim if you had wings."
Damn, that didn't sound quite right. He thought.
Faunra got to her feet with Prail's help, then proceeded to aid Prail in helping Caedis to her own feet. She took a moment to survey the battle field. The waters were almost refrozen to the same depths as they had been before the fight had begun. If not for the layer of red blood frozen atop the ice and the remains of the fish like creature that lay scattered upon the ice sheet, there would be little evidence anything had even occurred here. "What a frightening layer. You could disappear here and no one would ever know." she thought, her face betraying her thoughts.
"You fight very fiercely. You would be a match for almost any Seraphim if you had wings." the voice of Etrius said as he landed to the left of Caedis, complementing her fighting style. For her own part, Faunra turned to Prail and offered her thanks. "Thank you for the venom, I don't know what I would have done without it." she said, while retrieving her discarded supplies.
Faunra cringed when she saw the state of her bow. The final blow from the frozen sea shark had snapped the body of the bow in twain. nearly half her arrows had been lost into the water. "Guess I'll need to find some more wood" she thought with an audible sigh, grasping the usable remnants of her weapon. She emptied what was left of Prail's venom into several containers for later use. Finally, she grabbed her discarded cowl and set about washing the poison from the cloak in what little of the sea that had yet to freeze over, then placed it upon Wooly to dry.
Aleister woke up, most of his body covered in snow and ice; only his head was visible. He had enough strength to blast his way out with a little fire magic, which sent the snow scattering a short distance in front of him. He cautiously stumbled out of his snowy cocoon, and shook the rest of the snow off him.
"Ow, that hurt. More the force of impact from that sea monster; rather than the cold weather." Aleister remarked with an audible groan. He then began to inspect himself, to scale up the damage. Surprisingly, he could feel no broken bones, nor any bruises. He was alright surprisingly, considering what hit him.
"Well, despite being catapulted about thirty feet or so back, I don't really feel anything."
Damien cut through the tentacles still attached to the ice, freezing themselves to it. The dagger he had used to latch onto the monster had broken when he had been thrown off, but it's jagged edge and point was still useful. At least until he could find a replacement.
Getting through the tentacles was the easy part, the problem was that where he had been trapped, the ice was thin and was starting to break away, even with the blood quickly keeping the two pieces together. He slowly rolled, making sure to not break the ice anymore than it had already been fractured.
He was able to stand soon, slowly again, first sliding across the thinned ice on all fours, then bringing himself to his full height and walking, though he was forced to jump the last few feet as the ice began giving way.
"Lets get off this sea and continue onwards to this town Conney speaks of. We don't know what else may find us out here."
Prail was aware moving on was necessary but it was a shame to waste the body.
Then again that was what flyers were for.
Her flyers began to gleefully tear into the meat now spread over the ice. They'd started to go for the best bits (mainly being the organs) as Prail started to prepare to move on.
She didn't notice the looks she was getting from everyone else oh well.
Turning to Faunra she offered more venom for when it was needed.
"Damned tentacles. Damned, damned tentacles!" Caedis burst out as she kicked away the slippery limbs of the slain beast. She stabbed the cut tentacles for good measure hearing Etrius' compliment after she was helped up by Faunra. She looked at Etrius and stopped stabbing.
"Yes, why thank you. You aren't a bad fighter yourself." Caedis walked away from the tentacle and carefully stepped over the tentacles that remained from the beast. "We should probably get moving."
"We should probably get moving." Just as Caedis said that, Damien approached. "Lets get off this sea and continue onwards to this town Conney speaks of. We don't know what else may find us out here."
"Agreed. If such beasts come out at day, who knows what comes out at night. Since I saved you, we might as well keep you alive." Stonefuse can't laugh, but he figured he might as well give the whole joking thing a try. Now he could only hope he didn't fail terribly.
He noticed Zavier looking at him, but something else took hold of his attention. "It seems we are being followed. I was able to glance at it a few times, but it eludes my eyesight. Looked like an ice statue. Or, maybe, it was more than one."
Turning around to look at the group, he noticed Faunra's broken bow. "I can fix that for you, if you wish it Faunra. Now, best we get moving."
"Agreed. If such beasts come out at day, who knows what comes out at night. Since I saved you, we might as well keep you alive."
Atticus assisted a shaking Conney, but couldn't help but stop when he heard Stonefuse's statement. Was that a threat? Atticus had to admit that Caedis could be bitter, but what would Stonefuse have against her? Then again he could've been joking, but then again Stonefuse didn't joke. This, along with the fact that somehow Stonefuse defeated the monster, raised a few suspicions. All of which were drowned out as soon as Stonefuse said this.
"It seems we are being followed. I was able to glance at it a few times, but it eludes my eyesight. Looked like an ice statue. Or, maybe, it was more than one."
Atticus's mind did a minor jolt. "Oh, isn't tha-that fantastic! Just great, more unknown enemies-ah, forget it." Atticus decided not to probe the golem for information at that moment. Atticus was tired, hungry, and the cold was starting to get to him again.
"Don't worry, we'll have plenty of logging ready for you guys when we get to town. Plus, it doesn't seem like it's snowing that hard tonight." Conrad said reassuringly. Conney tried give her objection but the fight had taken a bit out of her and she was just as miserable as they were.
"Conrad, let's just get to the town in one piece."
The group walked onto the shore, simply following Wooly and Conrad's direction. Conney pouted, still slightly upset about helping the travelers. The wind picked up a bit, spraying snow into their faces. Those who needed the warmth huddled near Wooly, his natural heat warming them slightly. While they made their way up the ridge, Stonefuse scanned the horizon looking for more statues but saw nothing. Damien held the rear, mention of the town causing him to question even more of Conney's story.
"Dragon guy...could it be?" Damien tried not to think about it too hard, focusing on keeping an eye out for predators. Etrius was air born, flying over a few cliffs when he first noticed the lights. He flew down, joining the group. They neared the edge of the looked off into the distance. A number of roof tops sprinkled the landscape, lit lanterns lighting the streets and homes. As they stood up there, Atticus imagined himself in sleeping in a nice, warm bed. As they looked off, the ruins off of a castle could be seen rising from the sea of houses, stores, and whatever this place had to offer. A yellow moon lit light over it the town.
"Welcome home, folks" Conrad announced. "Welcome to the old town of Eisengrad."
As the group walked into town, they were welcome with waves, good evenings, even a few drunken cheers from some random watcher. There weren't too many people out and about, but their gaze followed the group. A few faces seemed to recognize Conney, Conrad, and even Wooly as they walked through town. They stared at the battle torn warriors with interest. A few people muttered things about Zavier's books, Atticus gadgets, and overall the group's attire. A few men reached for their own weapons as they saw Nathan's and Aleister's. People made room for Damien and Stonefuse while others tried to figure out what Prail was. A few young men muttered something about the woman in the armor and the one with the ears. After walking a few blocks, the group came to a relatively large house, with a large enlosure next to it. Wooly happily made his way to his penn, while Conrad and Conney let the group in.
They entered what almost looked like a small waiting room. There were a few chairs set up along a wall, a small play area with wooden toys, and a receptionist's desk. In the room over, through a pair of open double doors was a room with a couple of different chairs, mostly recliners, couches, and small bed-like seats.
"Just take the stairs up and make yourselves at home. Conney, be a dear and show them" Conrad said as he walked behind the desk, checking a pair of pipes on the wall. She muttered something, but took the group upstairs, Damien and Stonefuse managing due to the large and strong staircase. When they made it to the top, they entered a living room with a large couch and a furnace. There were a few pictures of a people, one caught Atticus's eye. A little girl, a handsome young man, and a nice woman with some coal dust on her cheek.
"Take a seat, and don't touch anything or else-" Conney said quickly. She made a small pistol with her fingers and said "Boom." She chuckled a bit and left the room.
"...so, this has been a rather interesting start." Atticus said aloud as he sat on the couch, fideling with some nick-knacks on a table.
"...so, this has been a rather interesting start." Atticus said as he took a position on the couch. Faunra ignored him for the moment; she was more interested in the furnace and the wonderful heat it was giving off. She stuck her hands out before the flames and felt the heat circulate through them. After warming up a bit she returned her attention to Atticus, now spread out on the couch.
"Interesting is an interesting way to put it. To be frank, I'd rather not see another giant ice shark." she said with a cough, choking slightly on soot of the furnace. "What I'd like to know is what all that talk of dragons was about, and who exactly is following us." she said, finally addressing the veritable elephant in the room. She could see some of the various members of the group flinch at the conversation topic - ah the advantage of elven eyes.
As an awkward silence settled over the room, Faunra decided to break the ice a little. "I'd also like to get one of those hats they're all wearing."