The Tower of Druaga (Game Thread)

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Hearing the others comment and the shift in conversation, "Life spans are a funny thing in this tower, there must be ways to prolong life, and more so in ending it."

"Quiet, all of you, we're in a strange forest and your talking doesn't help the fact that we may be attacked at any moment. Forget what you think you know and what you can hear,smell, or see. The Tower is a strange place and I still don't trust this level to let my guard be broken by any of you."
Damian'ss comment was accurate, but Cecilia thought of the group and range of skills to compensate for any noise level. Grateful as she was for a human wall of flesh and metal, the factor that they hadn't met anything yet, nor any time before in the icy waste made it seem unlikely for attack.

"Would hushed tones satisfy you?" Awaiting a reply, Prail yet again chipped in...

"I don't know how you choose gender, but ours is usually at birth, as for death. When we die or are destroyed what happens afterwards is largely unknown unless acted by Gods or some other force. This can just be by time, fire, dismemberment, after the body or mind simply fail.

Considering this may be a once in a life time chance, you could explain your peoples lives and body, their gender for instance." Cecilia spoke lightly of the matter, and began to grin at the idea of what could be gleamed.

"Quiet, all of you, we're in a strange forest and your talking doesn't help the fact that we may be attacked at any moment. Forget what you think you know and what you can hear,smell, or see. The Tower is a strange place and I still don't trust this level to let my guard be broken by any of you." Damien said, annoyed by the conversation. Faunra had to admit the warrior made a good point - she may have good hearing, but when distracted by conversation it was of no value; or worse if they were depending on the sense to warn them of danger.

"Point made. I'm going to scale a tree and follow that way; see if I can get a better view of the forest so we can know about any potential threats in advance. If I run into anything, I'll make a signal like this." she said, then brought her hands to her mouth. she used them to make a noise similar to that of a bird call. Looking around, she found a large old tree with many low branches and started to make her way up.

"If I see any good game, I'll let you know." she added before she disappeared into the wood work.

"Wait Faunra, maybe we should-" Atticus tried to stammer out, but Faunra disappeared into the wood work before he could finish. He could've raised his voice, but instead chose to try and be quieter. Atticus could tell he wasn't on a roll today and decided to stay within his boundaries. He was also trying not to alert any predators, but so far it looked like there was a whole lot of nothing around them.

Atticus looked next to him, the walking heater/target known as Wooly casually strolling along without a care in the world. It's body language hinted that it wasn't nervous, happy, scared, or sad, just strolling along like it was usual day. Content was the word he was looking for. "Ignorance is bliss, eh big guy." He patted the large shaggy beast and it hummed a bit. It had been awhile since Atticus had worked with an animal not trying to kill him, so being around Wooly was a nice change from the norm. Who knew how long that would la-

"GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH" The trees shook as a roar echoed through the forest. Off in the distance, the sound of falling trees could be heard, along with more roaring. Atticus jumped to his side as a number of horned deer-like creatures ran by, their main feature being that each had 6 legs. Faunra jumped down from the trees.

"There's a clearing up ahead and it looks like our guide might be in some trouble." Faunra said, as smoke began to rise from the distance. The group picked up the pace a bit and came to the clearing, a stream running near by and a campfire already started, a few of Conney's bags sitting there.
Atticus sat on the trunk of a fallen tree. "What was that all about?" Atticus asked, looking around and trying to figure out where their guide was. As if in reply, another roar rang out right next to Atticus. It was a moose half of Wooly's size, skewed to the ground with about three dozen ice shards, and all of size of its legs tied by what looked like bolas. "Impressive..." Atticus said backing away from the powerful beast. It shook it's head ferociously, trying to reach out with it's antlers.

Faunra approached the downed creature, as it struggled against the binds around it, as its life blood seeped into the snow around it from the wounds. She drew her knife, and moved such that her angle of approach would not risk attack. Faunra put a hand to it's neck - about the size of a tree trunk - and whispered calming words - the only words in the elvish tongue she knew, those of a lullaby she only half remembered from before she could walk. As she did, the creature calmed itself. Faunra then ended its pain with a cut to the neck. "Rest well; know you will do good in death." she whispered to the now passed creature, as she began stripping it of all she and the group could use.

She turned to the group, waiting for their aid saying "We had best make quick use of this - the smell of blood will travel and I don't want to see what would hunt one of these... you know, aside from Atticus's lover.", the last part with a mischievous smirk - she would get that inventor to blush one of these days.

Prail began a bit of a monologue explaining her species and their own system, but soon the group was on the move as Faunra returned from the solo sojourn. As they entered the clearing and seeing the beast.

As Faunra began to cut away the hide, Cecilia joined in the butchering, bringing out her knives and hands a plenty. Feeling elated, and dare she think, jaunty.
"His lover must like them big." Noting the size of the animal, and Wooly in comparison.

"Anyway, according to Prail. Her species can choose what gender and transform freely between the two. Those flyers Prail disperses facilitate the whole mating, and they pop out from eggs."

Looking towards Prail as she plopped a hunk of meat on a rock near the stream. "Why haven't you chosen?"

"Oh, So that's what those are for." Atticus thought to himself as Cecilia explained Prail's gender and he inspected the campsite. He simply chuckled at Faunra's remark, not letting her get the better of him. Though truth be told, he was slightly worried. Conney was nowhere to be seen, only her bag sitting opposite a fire. She was their guide and probably had a better understanding of what to expect, so hopefully she was just running through the forest and hadn't been launched a thousand feet by the moose she killed. As he looked around, signs of life finally began to reveal themselves.

A few six-legged dears kept their distance, staring from within the foliage around the campsite. They were only about chest high, but by the looks of what appeared to be an adult one, that wouldn't last long. Atticus really hoped there weren't any more adult versions of them running around. He also noticed a few of those puffy birds fly by, the doomsayers that supposedly warned Etrius about "Crackling Day." The bulbous things were surprisingly agile, weaving through the air. As he walked, he stopped before stepping on a prickly snake like creature. It looked more like a large centipede and Atticus crouched down to look at it. It hissed at him, tried to slash at his face, and took off.

Atticus stood up. ""Well, so far this forest is turning out to be interesting." He said walking over to the fire and inspecting Conney's bag. Wooly lumbered over and sat down, snow melting beneath it, giving out a little whine as he stared at the bag. "We best figure out what happened to our guide. Cecilia may have the map in her head, but Conney still has a better understanding of all of this. Plus, I don't think our walking heater is moving again till she shows up."

Oh boy meat.
The beast lay there others were already cutting off muscle. What was it with humans and eating the least interesting parts of the animal? Then again it left the good stuff for her.
There was a burst that came when startling a large group of birds mixed in with the sounds of loads of balloons popping. She'd released all of her flyers, everyone with the sharpest teeth and claws.

Prail moved to a part of the beast they weren't cutting up, skulls were usually the best. The thick bone protecting the brain was enough to keep out her little flyers, then again...


The fully force of the thagomizer obliterates the skull spreading the brain far and wide.
That done her flyers were free to pick at their prize, so many fats, so many sugars and hormones.

She couldn't wait for them to return, it would be delicious.
She then decided to answer Cecilia's question.

"Hm." Rarely squeamish as Prail smashed the skull, Cecilia looked around the forests and clearing.

"If we plan to go hunting for Conney, then lets get started. I'm willing to go look for her, unlikely to get lost along the way with me." Brushing aside the matter of Prail conversations and focusing more with a missing member of the party, she mulled over how to explain the human side of things.

"We best figure out what happened to our guide. Cecilia may have the map in her head, but Conney still has a better understanding of all of this. Plus, I don't think our walking heater is moving again till she shows up." Atticus remarked, hinting towards Wooly at the end. Aleister calmly walked up to the blue-green behemoth, looking at it with interest, before patting it on the back, which it didn't seem to mind.

"Your right Atticus, Wooly here certainly is loyal to its owner." Aleister said in response to Atticus's comment, then walking up to the inventor, and began talking quietly to him.

"Also, sorry if I was a bit rough on you earlier when we were talking about age differences. Its just, I love Faunra, and I'd do anything to be with her. Perhaps its just what happened to her on as a result of the blast, made me go a little on the defensive; hope you understand."

"If we plan to go hunting for Conney, then lets get started. I'm willing to go look for her, unlikely to get lost along the way with me." Spoke Cecilia, suggesting the idea of a scouting party to look for Conney.

"That certainly is a good idea Cecilia; although some of us should stay here, in case Conney finds her way back to this camp, I mean, she has left her bag here."

Atticus simply nodded at Aleister in agreement and understanding. Maybe he had been a bit tough on Faunra and Aleister's sudden fling, but he decided he'd talk to him about it later. Right now Atticus was walking up to the corpse of the moose, mostly stripped by Faunra and Prail, and inspecting the iceshards and the bolas.

"Let's see now, if the moose took down this tree and shards are positioned like this..." Atticus began working out Coneny's movement. She'd set up a fire and dropped her bag, but then her footsteps made their way to the trunk of the fallen tree. It was obvious she'd been in this tree, shooting down at the antlered beast, but where would she have gone as it fell? He looked perpendicular to the trunk of the tree and looked up, following an arc through the air. She must of thrown the bolas while in the air and landed on an opposing branch. Except there were no branches near enough.

As Atticus stared, he noticed a few broken branches on the grown a number of large ones in fact, heading further East. They would've been the closest ones for her to land on. "Did the branch break under her weight? No, no imprints in the snow. And even then, that wouldn't explain the other broken ones, further back..."Atticus racked his brain, trying to figure out how that made sense. As he looked further into the woods, the breaks rose higher.

"I really hope she's just running around, getting some pent up energy out of her system." Atticus said, slightly worried.

Caedis watched with indifference as the large creature was stripped of its useful parts by the elf and the Lallowen. It was a common sight, to take whatever you need from the creatures of the Tower but most of the time their anatomies hadn't been thoroughly researched or known enough. It was an equally common tale to hear about climbers eating the creatures of a level only to find out that it was poisonous.

"All I hope for is if the meat is edible." Caedis said. "I'll wait for Conney if she comes back. Just hurry, I have a bad feeling about this place."

"I really hope she's just running around, getting some pent up energy out of her system."

"Perhaps Atticus, let's get moving then." the trail was easy to see for now, but Cecilia wondered how it would fare later on.
"Who else is coming and who is staying? I assume Faunra that you and Aleister will want to stick together?"
Her tone was plain and level, assuming that neither wanted to separate towards danger, or at least one of them wouldn't.

Listening as Caedis spoke... "What place is ever safe in this tower we climb?"

"Good question..." Caedis trailed off, trying to think of any place that was ever truly safe for climbers. There had been beautiful levels, and levels that are more alien than anything but there really hasn't been any "safe" levels. There was periods of safety but truly nothing safe for anybody.

"The Eternal Plains was nice... until the Fell beasts came. That got pretty hairy but it was the longest period of safety I recall." Caedis said, thinking back to one of the earlier levels in the tower which consisted of a never-ending field of grass and rolling hills. The only problems were the grass was about as tall as a regular person, and the carnivorous predators that preyed on any climbers unable to see them.

With one final cut, Faunra finished her task of stripping everything of use from the animal. Some of the long sinew had been collected to allow for the creation of a much better bowstring, and the meat had been parceled out. As Prail seemed to have no trouble digesting the meat, Faunra felt safe there was little chance the meat was poison. It would need to be salted and dried - a task far from easy in such a frozen wasteland, but there was plenty of firewood, so the task was also far from impossible. Both of these gains however, paled in comparison to her final acquisition - the brown-white fur. It was a large piece, easily enough to make a new cloak from, and she had seen several plants that would help dye it into a suitably obscuring device. It would be much heavier then her old cloak - being made from fur rather then linen - but that was a bonus in the cold weather. All Faunra could do was smile - today was a very good day.

"Fear not." Ramirez spoke, easing the tension. "That girl has greater ferocity than any beast in this forest. Besides, she's a local."

Still, his mind tried to discern a picture of events from the scene. The woman struck him both cunning and strong, and the experience of living in and exploring this world gave him no suspicion it was a kind of animal. A Tower guardian? Spirits given form as tireless and merciless warriors, teeming with every shape and size imaginable? No. None could pass without challenge. They'd have set upon us. When you faced those beings, everyone knew it.

He considered a rival climber party. For the Tower's dangers come not only from itself, but also the vast populations, it's city states, it's armies. And the numbers of adventurers questing within. Was she in the hands of some invisible teleporting creature, the familiar of some mage seeking his own goals? Was she being interrogated as we spoke?

His boots crunched the snow as he walked, the grip on his polearm cold from the chilled air. We can't leaver her behind, but we mustn't linger.

The fact it could have been poisonous was a valid point.
Prail made a short horn burst and the flyers turned to her.
A few instructions (presumably) later.
The flyers hung from nearby trees by their hooks, as opposed to being reabsorbed.
Prail sat down a little annoyed but better safe than sorry I guess.

"I think our bodies work a bit differently for that to work Prail, but alright. Prail suggests we wait and see if anything happens to her after eating."

Looking towards the trail she began to follow it, "The trail grows colder the longer we stand around and talk." Her voice was down to the point.

Atticus felt a bit reassured by Nathan's words as he started walking atop a few broken branches. Conney was a pretty ferocious woman and could probably handle herself. Maybe she was hunting, simple as that. Maybe she was messing with them, even simpler. But Atticus still had a bad feeling in his gut. Were they the only ones out here? Atticus vaguely remembered something Stonefuse had said about statues and then there was that whole dragon thing, the strange being in the mining suits who had attacked them, and-Atticus rubbed his head a bit. He was pulled out his train of thought by Cecilia.

"Alrighty then, Cecelia, Aleister, let's just search a bit. I mean, we are the only humans in this entire forest, right? How hard can it be to find one person running around doing whatever?" He said, trying to ignore his paranoia. "The rest of you should probably stay here, right now this is the only suitable spot in the forest and it doesn't appear the blood of that moose is attracting any unwanted guest." With that Atticus started walking into the forest as Aleister lit a few fireballs.

", it's obvious they're heading here. Though, I'm not exactly sure why. They're climbers, they're obviously looking for a portal, but we don't even know where it is." The spiky haired, pointy eared fellow said to the armored man. The armored man simply stood there for a few minutes, thinking. The both of them stood in a fabulous yet slightly frozen throne room. In a chair, sat the frozen corpse of what appeared to be a king of sorts. Neither "fairy" acknowledged the corpse as they spoke.

"They are not our problem. Within the past few weeks, towns all over Abzerosa have been assaulted by strange storms and we can't find any signs of enemy, nor how they're communicating with one another. The climbers can do as they wish, since they'll probably die at some point, but if they do get here, we are to do nothing. We've got to worry about our lives and our men, those damn snow monkies are planning something. They're planning something big, and I feel those dragons from a few years back are somehow involved. He said, before turning and walking out of the room. Spiky haired took a look at the frozen corpse of the king, before leaving as well.

Aleister, Atticus, and Cecilia went out into the forest, acting as a scout party who were looking for Conney; who was still nowhere to be found. To help keep the three of them warm, Aleister had lit a few fireballs, which flew within close proximity of the small group. As they continued to search, the forest seemed to give off this eerie feel, like something was there, but they could not see it. There were very few clues as to where their guide Conney could of went, which they were getting concerned with every passing second.

"Do any of you get this feeling, that your being watched? Like there is something beyond your perceptions of sight, that can see you clearly, yet it is invisible, even if we stand right in front of it. Cause, I'm getting that feeling right now." Aleister remarked, expressing his concerns.

Atticus stared up, looking from tree to tree. "I tend to get more of a right-behind-you kinda feel, but they pretty much work off the same idea." Atticus said, trying to think rationally and not let his paranoia cloud his thinking. So far there didn't seem to be any clue as to where she had gone. They'd have to get moving at some point, but they couldn't really get moving without Conney. Cecilia had been extremely helpful while they were passing through the mountains, but Conney had managed to keep them off weak ledges, avoid predators, and find feasible paths. Plus, it would just be in bad taste to leave her behind if she was just off, doing her own thing.

"Alright, what would you do if you were her?" Atticus asked himself. "I'm a slightly overaggressive red-head with a sniper rifle..." Muttering aloud, he mindlessly looked up. "And I like moving through tree's fast!" Atticus exclaimed, as he attempted to climb up a tree before sliding down the trunk.

"Maybe we're looking in the wrong places. We need to get a bit higher." As Atticus said this, he looked around quickly. No matter how he hard tried, he couldn't fully shake the feeling of being watched. He pushed the thought back again, walked over to Ceclia and Aleister.

Back at camp, Wooly slept. Stonefuse stood in his usual position, staring off. Damien was resting, still getting accustomed to having the heater on his back. Caedis suddenly wished she'd brought some ale from the brothel. Etrius was a few feet away, wings tucked in. Nathan began wondering what the groups next move would be. Zavier was inspecting the book he'd gotten from the library about this Fristic Empire. And Veritas sat near the stream, trying to feel how far the water went. He felt a large lake a few miles away. And then he felt something else.

It had taken a partial step through a stream and it felt...odd. A few more entities passed, but they were each different. One terrified him, one felt oddly peaceful, and another...was moving towards them. Fast.

Cecilia was no longer feeling that warm glow from her chat with Prail, and became aware of the pressure at the back of her skull more and more. Hearing both of their concerns and suspicions, she looked around casually.

"If something is watching us and we can't see it, then magic or otherwise is at hand, and we're unlikely to find them. Unless you want to toss random rocks and snow balls and see if someone says 'Ow!'"

Watching Atticus and his attempt to climb she merely grinned, "I'll see what I can see..." Scaling a tree hand and leg in a blur of motion, she to causeed branches to shift and snow to fall downwards. Cecilia looked as if she was hugging it, leaning from the crows nest of a ship, and sitting at the same time in parts.

Looking for bare branches, broken pieces, scores, slashes, any sign of the intrepid girl.

Cecilia searched, using a few of her ghost limbs to comb other parts of the trees. she looked for something, anything that would give any clue as to where Conney was. As she searched, one of her ghost limbs caused a couple of branches to fall, a tuff of red hair attached to it. It fell near Atticus, who picked it up.

"Hey Cecilia, you might want sto-" Before Atticus could finish, a number of branches fell on Aleister, accompanied by droplets of blood. "...for a moment.' Atticus said, as he realized what Aleister was drenched with.

Aleister sighed as he cleaned off the blood that had landed on his face and clothes. He then looked up at the woman who did it.

"Nice going Cecilia, could of gave a little prior warning about when you were going to do that." Aleister remarked in a perturbed manner. He then looked at the red tuft of hair that Atticus was examining, which gave him cause for concern. He then looked at Atticus.

"You don't think that Conney is injured in some way? If she is, then it can't be good. Cecilia, you carry on searching from above; whilst me and Atticus look from the ground level, that way we're covering more ground, and can get a clearer perspective on her state of being."

"Planning on doing that." Seeing the blood drops and hair fall, she wondered how she could have missed it. Searching the tree and the immediate area around it, she began to move forward along the trail, or what she was still just Conney.

Limb over limb, branch over branch, it was easy travel for Cecilia if a bit tedious in focusing. Looking down at who was with her, she wasn't sure what to make of Atticus entirely asides from a relatively nice person. Aleister seemed likewise okay and she felt she misjudged when it came to his choices, both were good in a fight roughly.

"Sounds like a plan." Atticus agreed, as an array of horrible thoughts passed through his head. That was a considerate amount blood Aleister was cleaning off his body. What the hell happened? If she was still alive, she was losing large amounts of blood quickly. Hopefully Conney knew how to patch herself up. As Cecilia searched in the tree tops with Aleister and Atticus searching the ground, they eventually found a path...lead by blood, hair, ripped clothing, and what looked like a tooth. Things weren't looking good for miss Pick.

The three of them eventually found themselves in what looked like a bog, heat rising from it, misty cobwebs in every corner, on every tree. If Atticus had sinking feeling before, he'd finally hit rock bottom.

"She's dead isn't she? Some weird alligator thing pulled her into a swamp, didn't it?" Atticus yelped, his head on the verge of exploding.

As the group arrived near a bog, Aleister immediately knelt down to scan the surrounding area, using what skills of a huntsman that he possessed, in the hopes of finding Conney's location, or at least a clue as to where she might have gone. It was then that Atticus yelped, feeling very much afraid and worried as to what happened to Conney.

"She's dead isn't she? Some weird alligator thing pulled her into a swamp, didn't it?"

"Don't worry Atticus, I have this feeling that she is still alive." Aleister remarked, in an attempt to cheer the inventor up. He then got up from the ground and reported his findings to the others.

"From what I can tell, the only other tracks made here aside from ours are rather fresh, which means someone has come this way rather recently; and that its only a single set. The blood trail itself is rather warm, which means the blood is freshly spilt." Aleister remarked, commenting on the nature of his findings, whether or not they reassured Atticus was up to him.

The boggy land was difficult to deal with especially with hooves, there was a slight heat to it was well that irritated Prail.
She did her best to move through it without fuss.
"She's dead isn't she? Some weird alligator thing pulled her into a swamp, didn't it?"

She said something.
Her tail swept through the shallow waters, probing for fish or whatever grew here.

Picking up a bit of snow she tossed it at Atticus, still hanging up in a tree.
"If she's dead, she's dead, but this all seems a bit strange."
Climbing down as she spoke, she kept an eye out for anything else.

"Any magic to see if there is a dead body or otherwise Aleister?" Cecilia thought two things of magic, able to do amazing things, but hard to know its limits.

"Its quite possible Cecilia, must admit, never had to do anything like it before though. Perhaps if I combined my water magic, with my abilities as a Reaper, might be able to see through the water. Here goes." Aleister remarked, as he knelt down near the water, holding a hand out, which cause a glyph similar to the one on his shoulder to appear on the waters surface.

He could feel a slightly tingling sensation gently flowing through his body, as his mind scoured the waters beneath him in attempt to find any bodies that may have sunk to the bottom. It took effort and concentration to control where his mind went; but he soon ended the spell, and commented on his findings, as he stared deeply into the water.

"Whilst there are only a couple bodies in there, none of them match Conney's description, which must mean she made it over safely. Thing is though, how do we get across to the other side?" Aleister asked, casually picking up one of the small pebbles, and gently tossing it into the murky abyss before standing up again.

"Well, she probably would've used the trees. I don't see how though, that gunk smells terrible and there's some pretty thick mist. You'd probably pass out or miss a branch before making it to the other side." Atticus said, crouched on the edge of it with a stick. He then stood up, leaning against tree covered in cobwebs. A small spider crawled onto his arm. Atticus didn't really have a problem with spiders, though he wasn't a big fan of them either.

"You haven't seen her have you?" Atticus asked blankly. The spider stared at him for a moment before trying to bite through his glove. "Yeah, I thought so...okay, enough of that." He flicked the spider back into the cobweb. He stood up, tired of trying to find a needle in a haystack.

"Conney! Wher' in the hay are ya!" Atticus yelled, letting some of his accent through. He didn't really care about attracting predators at that moment, he just wanted to find Conney and get back to camp. It was gonna take them like what, a week of two to get through the forest? He'd rather not spend that time worried that someone may or may not.

As Atticus stood there, waiting for a reply, he heard something. Something was flying through the air, but from where. Atticus squinted, trying to make out what was flying towards him, when a bolas flew out of the mist and wrapped around his legs. He fell back, trying to stop himself from falling into the murky waters. Something was heard passing through the trees when suddenly Cecilia was butted in the head by the end of a rifle and pushed out of her tree. Prail caught her and Aleister ran over to untie Atticus, but jumped back as a series of ice shards were fired in front of him. A figure jumped out of the tree, walked over to Atticus, and pointed a sniper rifle at Atticus's head, laughing sickly with a few coughs.

"What, no f-funny quips Mr.Slingshot?" A female voice asked, coughing in between. Conney stood there, cuts all over her body, chunks of hair missing, with a large bite wound in her neck, pointing her sniper rifle at Atticus laughing away. Her eyes were bloodshot read, and a strange purple liquid bubbled in her bite wound. She was covered in cobwebs and appeared to be drooling a bit. What the hell happened to her? She kicked Atticus in the forehead. "I'm going to kill him, simple as that. No negotiation, no-no-nothing!" She screeched. She fumed for a bit but was then back to smiling and laughing.

The others could tell something was seriously wrong with her. Prail recognized the smell of some kind of venom, a purple liquid oozing from her neck, and it was more than obvious she was delirious. Aleister brought the fireballs to his hands and held them out, pointed at Conney. Atticus simply laid there on the ground. He looked at Aleister and shook his, signalling him to wait. He then put on his best smile and asked, "Are your really gonna kill your favorite person without at least an explanation?"

Conney scrunched up her face and shoved the barrel of the rifle into his forehead, her finger even tighter near the trigger. "You're still not scared! Not surprised, you slimeballs are always cool. Makes you better actors." She snarled, looking up at Aleister, Cecilia, and Prail. "Hey, why so worried?" She asked, genuine confusion in her voice. "I'm doing you all a favor." Conney said, sounding genuinely disappointed. "I mean, while I was wrapped up, I had time to think about a few things. I mean, I broke out just to warn you guys! C'mon, we have a few minutes till they get here, stop looking at me like that and let me put one right through his head!" She said, terrified and on the verge of tears. A creature across the bog and beyond the missed screeched. "One's probably on it's way to our camp to wrap up the others, let me kill him and get a move on!" She cried out. Attius laid there, eyes closed and smiling. He didn't know what the hell she was talking about and was thoroughly fearful for his life, but figured he'd just sit there and enjoy the ground, cobwebs and all. That was what he was planning on doing, until she mentioned the camp.

"Wait, what about the others?"

Veritas stood in the stream, manipulating the water around him and slashing at the beast, to no avail. He'd seen it coming, but had only hoped it was nothing. But that's the problem with being able to see the truth, you can't kid yourself. Nathan and Zavier stood on opposite sides of him, their swords drawn. So this was the next step, Nathan thought to himself.

Etrius circled around the creature with his own sword drawn and slashed across it's top. It didn't look like he even scratched the creature. Caedis stood with her spear ready, jabbing at the creature. It harmlessly stopped poked the beast, not even bothering to look at Caedis. Faunra prepared an arrow and fired, aiming for the creature's eye. It flew through the air and met its target, only to snap in half. Faunra looked over at Caedis. This was gonna be harder than she thought.

Stonefuse found himself grabbing one of the monster's legs, but it didn't react to him. It simply shook him off like a small irritating insect. Stonefuse didn't exactly have feelings for reactions, but he didn't exactly like the beast's reaction. And finally Damien found himself face-to-face with the monster, slashing at its front legs and head. His sword simply bounced off the creature. It attempted to crush Damien with its front legs, but he blocked with his shield. The bushes he was standing in crumbled, followed by the sound of the earth cracking beneath his feet. Damien pushed off, using most of his strength to jump back for a second. Breathing heavily, he glared at the beast.


Who knew it was so hard to kill a spider?

A splitting head ache was something Cecilia rarely experienced, considering her head was her greatest asset. Cursing silently, she kept her eyes closed as the pressure became pounding and vision blurring. As the quite violent Conney spoke, and feeling more then peeved, she decided to have an out of body experience.

Standing stock still and opening her eyes, they grew a bit cloudy and unfocused. A figure seemed to form behind Conney, a rough shaped version of Cecilia, transparent and almost ghostly. Making light imprints on the snow, it looked ready to grab and lock her down. Sweat began to bead down Cecilias face as the dopple image drew closer, whether it was fast enough to jerk Conney away from Atticus or take the gun, was up to fate.

To do this she was taught by people who didn't understand how or why it worked, and often it was difficult and straining. Though the result, if success, tended to be extraordinary. Magic by all means might be able to do the same, and many assumed that it was just a form of it after all for her. To Cecilia it felt more natural at times, only under this kind of stress did she realize how much her own thoughts got in the way at times.

An exercise she would be put through would be to dance with the mirror image, to say it was like both were just left feet would be an understatement. One she could control just fine at times, provided she was able to see it and wasn't under duress, trying to see out of its eyes was the trouble, and often both would end up leading, or following to some disaster of a clash.

Assassination, delivery, guards, spies, you name it was speculated after perfection, but no matter the effort or steps of 'correction', it simply would not be done beyond one.

"Told you we should have moved away from the blood" Faunra muttered as the spider arrived. She had been working on drying her pelt to turn it into a cloak when it had purst through the trees to ruin their respective days.

When Faunra saw the arrow's trajectory, she firmly believed it would work out. It was perfectly on track to crash into its eye. No mater how strong it was, if it couldn't see them, it was no threat at all. Then then arrow connected and shattered as though it had been made of glass and the eye was of steel. And Faunra paled.

"Why can't we ever fight anything... nice?"

She turned to Caedis, who like her, just realized how much trouble they were it, and grimaced. Faunra tossed her bow and what few arrows she had made into the nearby forest, out of the way, where she could retrieve them later; assuming they lived that long. Faunra drew her daggers, but didn't move from her back position. The daggers would be completely useless against the creature if even Damien and his sword were unable to harm the beast, but they made good tools. Then she observed, looking for a plan.

The party was split, so they couldn't retreat without consigning Atticus, Ceceil, Prail, and Aleister to their deaths when they returned. They could try retreating in the same direction the other group had gone in, but tracking them while running away from a giant arachnid would be next to impossible. No, they would have to fight - at least until the others returned.

That meant, they needed to find a way to hurt or trap the monster. Looking around, she came up with two ideas, and only one of them was insane; it was a good day. To accomplish it however, Faunra knew she would need help; very specific and very strong help.

Faunra bolted to a nearby, very large, tree and dug one of her daggers through the middle of it's trunk as far as she could by hand. Then, using the metal plate Caedis had given her, she slammed her metal-protected arm into the pommel of dagger, driving it in as far as she could - all the way to the hilt. She could feel her arm bruise from the effort, it would hurt like hell tomorrow, but it was worth it. With her other dagger, she moved to the other side of the tree and made a large X, just above where the dagger had implanted. Finally, she called out for the aid she needed.

"Stonefuse! I need your help here!"

Aleister was quickly trying to make sense of the situation. As far as he could tell, Conney was acting delirious and out of control, most likely due to the purple liquid that was oozing from two bites on her neck; it took him to moment to realise what had bitten her, a huge spider. He was going to try and blast her down with some fireballs, but the look on Atticus face told him to wait, and the flames died down as his arms lowered.

He could hear the sound of a large spider screeching across the murky bog. Without hesitation, he hurled a spear made from fire magic at the arachnid, causing it to screech in pain as it quickly died. Whether or not that did anything to alter the situation regarding Conney, Aleister would have to wait and see.

"Well, thats one large spider dealt with." He remarked, trying to bring some positivity to the current situation.

That seemed to work pretty well. Still you never knew how long something like that really stayed down for. She walked over to the Smokey body, it was fairly conclusively dead but still, it was such a strange creature she'd have to start picking over the body.

It was pretty impressive as a beast she didn't care so much about the biological side but lifting the odd piece up it weighed a hell of a lot so it would have to be strong to even keep itself moving.

"Well, thats one large spider dealt with."

Conney looked over at Aleister and the charred spider remains, momentary distracted. Cecilia quickly acted, using her projection to hold Conney and struggling to maintain it. Atticus rolled away, his legs still binded, as Conney blindly fired and tried to get away from Cecilia's projection. He stopped rolling, grabbed his slingshot, and loaded a purple pellet. Cecilia's projection faded and Conney took aim.

"Nightie night." Atticus said, firing the purple sleeping pellet before Conney could fire her own shot. The pellet exploded against her face, engulfing her in the purple gas. A few seconds later, she fell to the ground, completely knocked out. Atticus sighed and started untying his the bolas around his legs. He stood up and stretched a bit before picking up a sleeping, slinging her over his shoulder.

"Thanks for the help, Cecilia." Atticus said quickly. "We better get back to the others and see what the hell is going on."

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