Hunters of Terra Dolor (Role Playing Section)

ZombieSplitter53

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InsaneDarkness & ZombieSplitter53
Faith in a Goddess
Part One


Havenbrook Manor
Oct. 16th, 3349


The Duck Thrope sat on her bed, a little smile on her face. She was staring at a new book she'd gotten from the library, one she'd been looking forward to but was snatched up by everyone in the free world before she had a chance to get ahold of it.

Her content reading was interrupted by the sound of a commotion in the halls. The sound of at least two people arguing could be heard. While the Duck Thrope's instincts told her to not leave her room, she felt like she had to do something. So, she, at the very least, left her room, albeit quietly.

A woman with blonde hair bickered with a man with grey hair, the former dressed as a mage of sorts, the former in almost regal looking attire. "I do not care what the others think!" said the woman. "The next person I find is mine. I will not be left out while the God of gothy darkness gets all the fun with his vampiric charge."

Well, now that I'm out here... Might as well return one of my books... Faith thought, floating off the ground past the two towards the library.

The woman watched her as she floated past. "Well now... a little smaller then I expected, but.. " She moved towards her. "Little One! What is your name, child?"

Faith jumped at being caught. "F-Faith Regallis..." she answered, meekly and without turning around.

"Ms. Regallis, do you... like tea?" The woman stepped in front of her. "I am new to this manor. Would you tell me about it over some tea?"

The man rolled his eyes. "Always with the tea. Can't you see you're bothering her. The mortals are staring..."

"I have time, I suppos-se..." Faith let go of her books, having them floating above her head as she turned around.

"Oh, you are quite clever with your magic." The woman took her hand and pulled her along, heading for the bar despite claiming to be a stranger. "So tell me a little about yourself, Ms. Regallis."

"I... I'm just a Havenbrook Hunter. Ther-re aren't any jobs right now... so there's-s nothing to do..." the Duck Thrope started, twiddling her nervous fingers, "I've been reading a lot-t so as to fill my time... I use wind magic, cl-clearly..." Faith held up a finger to spin a mini-tornado above it so as to reinforce her point. "I use a shortsword and my mag-gic in combat... throwing kn-knives if I need to..."

"That is so awesome, Little One." The trio sat down in the bar and ordered some tea. "How would you like to have even more power though, dear? To wield more might to rival others. I am sure, with the gods interfering left and right here, I bet you wouldn't mind a patron god, or goddess, of your own."

The man cleared his throat. "Pouring it on a little thick, aren't you. If she knew what was best for her, she would run away."

Deciding to now humor the man that was a part of the conversation, Faith asked him, "Why is th-that?"

"Because she is so fickle. She finds these projects to work on, then gets bored with them and drops them so quickly."

"Oh, hush. I said you could tag along if you don't cause a scene."

He scoffed. "Yeah... me cause a scene."

The blond woman stuck out her tongue. "Ignore him. Oh! How rude of me! I never introduced myself. My name is Mevah, Little One."

"Hello Mevah." Faith gave the woman an innocent smile.

"So... how about it?" Mevah scooted closer. "Want a patron goddess of your own?"

"I'm not... a very religious person..." Faith shyly admitted.

Mevah scoffed. "Me either. Many of the gods are petty and..." She looked at her companion, flirting with the waitress bringing the tea. "...self serving. But just give your loyalty to this one goddess, and she will gift you with special abilities. That's it. All she wants is to have someone she can watch and cheer on like the others."

"Is there anything I sh-should be aware of? Previous takers, maj-jor risks, etcetera?" A suspicious look crossed Faith's seemingly gullible face.

Mevah tapoed her lip in thought. "Well... no previous takers. I guess you could become drunk with power. Plus the abilities you would get might make you a target for those who would want to use you. But you can handle that, right?"

"'You can handle that' she asks the complete stranger," the man mumbled, taking a sip of tea. "No offense, but she looks like she couldn't handle a shot of peach schnapps, let alone the responsibility of being a goddess' charge."

"Well, there's a first tim-me for everything. We can both-th learn from each other, I suppose." Faith's voice held a slight peppiness that wasn't present before, enjoying the two's back-and-forth from a third person view.

Mevah's smile widened. "You... you know I'm talking about me, right?"

"Yeah. Of course." Faith shrugged.

Mevah's eyes widened even more. "So we have a deal?!"

"Unless he has som-mething to say about it." The Duck Thrope cracked a joking smile.

The man looked over. He slowly grinned. "Not unless you would rather have my power."

Mevah slapped his arm. "I saw her fist! You're just being a jerk now."

He leaned forward. "What do you say? Boring goddess of Life? Or the great and powerful God of Light?"

Faith shrunk in her seat. "I don't know..."

Mevah slapped Mendakin on the chest. "Now you're the one scaring her! Besides, you have that baby to care about." She smiled sweetly and held Faith's hands. "You will be my special mortal, okay? And I'm going to give you some cool powers."

"O-okay..." Faith's bill-nose stuck out from her hood as she peered out.

"Right. So... um..." Mevah paused. "What to... give you..."
 

ZombieSplitter53

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Faith in a Goddess
Part Two


"You didn't already think of this?" he companion asked in surprise.

"Hush." The goddess of Life thought on it. "Do you know any light magic?"

"No... Just wind..." Faith drearily answered.

Mevah nodded. "Gonna need you to trust me, Little One. Please... close your eyes."

The little Thrope looked to the man for confirmation and comfort, worry etched into her gaze.

He gave her a gentle smile. "She is the goddess of Life. It isn't in her nature to bring harm, so you can trust her."

The Duck Thrope slowly closed her eyes, a little hesitant and tense.

Mevah took a deep breath. "Now, focus your magic into your chest. Envision the whole of your magic as a swirling orb of green light. Once you have it, imagine the orb splitting into two, one green, one white."

Faith's hair started to float as the Duck Thrope did what she was told. She imagined her green orb of magic splitting in half, creating both a white and green orb of the same size. She breathed deeply as she did so, making sure her nerves didn't overtake her as she felt the physical effects of the product of her imagination.

Mevah concentrated her own will into Faith's. As she did, the two orbs of magic stabilized and finally split completely apart. She breathed out and sat back. "And there you have it. You can now use light magic."

Faith's skin seemed brighter than before, not to mention that the girl felt a sense of... Power? Pride? Enthusiasm? She removed her hood, feeling a little less embarrassed than usual. "Cool." She gave the Goddess a radiant smile.

Mevah placed a hand on her chin. "There's that beautiful smile. How do you feel, Little One?"

"Well, definitely not terrible, Miss Mevah."

Mevah gave a toothy grin. "Start small. Light spells, flash attacks, maybe a bolt or two. What you just experienced is what major magic users like witches do to develop new elements, just done on a quicker scale. Take it slow. With my magic, your body will adjust to it quickly."

"Understood." A slight glint was visible in Faith's eyes that wasn't there previously. "Although..." The Duck Thrope ran a hand down her arms, creating magic channels for her magic to travel through within her robes, although taking her full concentration to do so. The result was visible to the naked eye, almost seeming like futuristic tech than a bundle of cloth now.

"Ooohhh!" Mevah ran a hand across the material. "What is this? Where did you get it?"

"My mother made it for me. Well... my first mother... Although, Titania did give me this." Faith maneuvered past her incoming sadness by removing the blade from the sheath she kept at her waist in a way that held no flair as to not injure the two, ultimately holding it horizontal with the blade pointed away from them so they could get a better look at the hilt.

The Light god held out his hand. "Mind if I see that?"

"Sure." The Duck Thrope held out the hilt towards the man.

"Hmm... not bad. Here." Mendakin pull out a small crystal and placed it at the end of the hilt, the object magically embedding itself. "Touch the crystal, and you'll imbue the weapon with a light element for a short time before needing to recharge. It'll be useful against any creatures of darkness."

"That's rather... benevolent of you. Thanks." The girl held out her hand to take her sword back, a little friendly smile still present on her face. Her other hand rubbed her cheeks, having smiled for much longer than usual.

Not to be outdone, Mevah reached to her side. "I have one more gift for you."

Her companion shook his head. "You're giving her those? Your mother won't like that..."

"Y-you don't have to... Really. I can't give you anything in return, so..." Faith held up her hands in defense, the man's reasoning encouraging her further to do so. One of her hands tugged on the edge of her hood, a remnant of her old habits, she realized.

Mevah shook her head. "You are my charge now. My job is to give you gifts, your job is to use them wisely. Here." She placed a bag in Faith's hand. It shifted slightly, indicating it was full of small objects.

"If you say so..." Faith peered into the bag.

It was filled with light blue, tear-shaped seeds. "These are the seeds of the tree of life, Yggdrasil. Infuse one with your power of light."

"That... sounds complicated," Faith admitted.

Mevah shook her head. "Just close your eyes. Imagine the seed in your mind. Imagine it glowing, and the magic I have given you will do the rest."

Faith, once again, did what she was told. For some reason, she felt a sort of... loyalty to this woman. She imagined the seed glowing a vibrant white as her magic seemed to move on its own without her input, a weird feeling for her, someone who has a very good grip on her magic.

The blue seed gained a faint white glow. "Only you can use these," Mevah explained. "Not only will my light magic make you a better attacker, the seeds will make you a great healer. Feed them to your comrades to heal them from nearly any injury, even a near death one."

Faith's eyes widened, shocked to hear that she could heal her allies, of all things. The duck girl lunged at the Goddess for a hug, closing the bag with her hand so none of the seeds would fall out. "Thank you..." she nearly incomprehensibly whispered.

Mevah's eyes widened in surprise, but she hugged her back with a loving smile. "My pleasure..."

Faith used the Goddess's body as support along with a little wind as she pushed herself into a standing, or rather floating, position. She calmed her radiant brightness emanating from her, so as to not blind anyone as she sat back down in her chair.

Mevah smiled sweetly as she watched her hover. "Well... how about we go practice your magic a little?"

"Wait... Really? How can I refuse?" Faith backed away from the Goddess, giving her some room to move past her.

Mevah instead stood next to her, offering to hold her hand. Faith gladly accepted the offering, a little more giddy than before.
 

Dahlexpert

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The fallowing is done by Dhalexpert&ZombieSplitter53

My Empire has arrived


Halven forest over looking the capital city.

Alice and her army already carved a path of destruction, destroying watch towers and guard patrols on their way to their location. “Now all we have to do is wait for Rumi to open the gate, once that's done we can move in and the others can move as well. Marlee should be causing some havoc with her slave army." Come on you two I need you to open the main gate so we can charge in.


A harpy flew down from overhead, acting as a scout. "I saw her. The one you call Rumi and her party is heading for the main gate now. Prepare yourself."

Alice smiled and marking started to appear all over her body." Alright boys this is it beyond those walls is a city ready to be ours if you want it, We will show the soft minded people in that city that we are the new power in Terra that we are the army they should fear more than any nation. But most of all we will show them that we are united we are ruthless and we are non-forgiving." Alice pointed her ax at the city." Catapult fire at will and everyone else, Chaaaaaaarge!"

Everyone let out a roar of confidence as they charged the city walls, thunderous on their own even without the three giants stomping alongside them. Heavy boulders, some on fire, flew overhead and smashed the inner city. As if on cue, the main city gates flew open just as Alice and her army reached it, Rumi stepping out. "The path is set! The palace waits!"

Alice made her way past Rumi and she finally got to use her ax by slashing it into a guard slicing her in half, Alice continued to slash her Ax at guards away from Rumi." Rumi were is Marlee we need to find her?"

"She's with Ergo, freeing the slaves in the working district." Rumi used the butt of her sword to knock someone out. "She said she would meet us at the palace footsteps when we get there. I'm supposed to give the signal we have arrived."

"Excellent, Let's move then we have a long way to go before we get to the palace. Which means we have a lot of carnage in our way, by now Satako and Crixus are going after the other gates. So let's get moving."

The bandits and harpies swept through the large city, destruction in their wake. The soldiers and guards, as well as any citizens foolish enough to stay on the streets, were nothing but stepping stones before them. Had the city time to prepare for the attack, things wouldn't have gone so smoothly. The army was transported overnight thanks to Seclavar and Grimora, however, and there was no time to get reinforcements for the marching army in time. Rumi only killed when she had to, not wanting to take too many unnecessary lives and going for non-lethal kills when possible. The rest of the seven, and the bandits of course, were merciless and brutal, their numbers trumping the city guards. They were stronger still for the discipline Alice instilled in them, not stopping to loot but instead pressing on towards the palace.

Alice on the other hand was merciless, killing all in her way but when she was not consumed by her blood lust she told civilians to hide in their homes. Alice loved using her new weapon and how it was sharper then her last one, she chopped the guards in half, melted there armor with her fire magic and used her dark magic to in pail them. To Rumi surprise Alice wasn't using her necromancy but instead was biting some guards and taking their blood. In the far distant she could hear gates being destroyed in the distance.

"How are things going so far?" To Alice's right, an almost invisible Grimora ran alongside her. "You look like you're having a blast."

"Things are going great." Alice said blocking an attack and used the helt of her weapon to hit the guard’s eye forcing him to back off, Alice then drove her ax through his chest." They weren't ready at all." Alice pressed forward, killing all in her way." Hopefully Marlee is right where she needs to be."

"I could go check if you want," Grimora offered. "I'm not supposed to help, but what Ms. War doesn't know won't hurt her."

“As much I don’t want you to sure.”

On the west gate Satoko and Lorica unleashed there monsters on the guards.” Haaa this is to easy!” Lorica yelled

“Stay focused the day isn’t won yet.” Satoko started chopping away at the surprise guards, while Lorica monsters ate them.


Tezrian smashed a male guard in half while Babani used her powers to throw a dozen weapons at once. Gravel laughed as he threw one man into another. "Lighten up, Satoko! What's wrong with a little fun with our work?!"

“I’ll have fun when we win.” She says cutting a guard head off.” Let’s move we need to find Alice!”

Grimora returned to Alice's side as she was nearing the palace in the northern district. "Marlee is ready. The slaves are free. You only need to signal her now."

“Wonderful.” As Alice looked around she saw the remaining guards retreating.” Heh Crixus will handle them, Rumi prepare the signal Marlee is in position.”

Rumi nodded. As they reached the palace stairs, she shot a yellow flare into the air. It was only a few minutes later that Marlee and Ergo came running up with dozens of freed slave. "We ready to go?" she asked.

“Good to hear, Listen up round up go and capture the remaining guards and towns people. I’ll go and handle the royal family.”

As Alice started up the stairs, Marlee ran up to her. "Wait! You... you don't have to kill them, you know? They... they could be more valuable to you alive then dead."

Alice raised her eyebrow.” Really tell me Marlee, how is me capturing them beneficial at all?”

"I... I don't... i-it shows you're not just some barbarian but that the people can trust you to be reasonable. And... and they would make for excellent hostages of course. There is still an entire Halvian army probably heading for the capital right now. Just... consider it, alright... boss?"

Alice rubbed her chin and smiled, a smile Rumi hasn’t seen since they first met.” Ah that’s a fantastic idea Marlee, I will keep them Alive nice to see that you’re not just all anger and rage.”

Marlee nodded. "Ditto. Thanks." She nodded, and ran off to do as she was told.

As Alice walked up the steps she looked around her soon to be home.” Ah well we’ll we can’t be having blood everywhere now can I.” Alice closed her eyes and put her hands on the ground, suddenly all the blood in the city started to move toward Alice engulfing her. After a few minutes what seemed to be an ocean of blood was absorbed into Alice body.” Ah I feel so much, much stronger now. Now then time to capture a few royal family members.” Alice kicked the castle door open and made her way inside.
 

Dahlexpert

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Jun 23, 2013
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Part 2

The pair of king and queens sat at their thrones, looking down at the commander of their army. "I am, your magisties!" he cried out. "We could have stopped any attack on our home, I swear! The never would have gotten close! B-b-but they just... appeared just outside the city the other day!"

The city's oracle laughed sinisterly. "The gods themselves conspire against us..."

"How leads this army?" The Elven king demanded.

"We... we don't know?" the human Prince Bradly answered. "But scouts from the fight say she is a vampire!"

The room fell silent as there was the sound of fighting outside of the room, guards yelling and screaming before everything fell silent.

Suddenly a torso of a guard came flying into the room, her blood completely drained." Ou your scouts were right, and I come to take this city for my new home where I can raid further."

Prince Bradly drew his sword. "Foul beast! You might be able to take on an average guard, but see if you can best my steel!" He shouted as he rushed forward.

"Son, no!" The human queen shouted.

Alice used her finger tips to stop the sword grabbing the back end of the tip." Really, did you honestly think that would work?" Alice in a blink of an eye kicked the prince in the stomach and uppercut him back into his thrown.

"Enough of this!" The human King stood up. "Who are you? Why do you attack us, and what do you want?"

"Well my name is Alice Valentine, I attack you because I need a capital, and I just told you what I want so there's no need for me to tell you again. But today is your luck day my men told me to capture you all, and I thought about it, and there right killing you all will be so easy and you will not suffer then. I want you all to suffer I guess that's what I want."

"What does a vampire and an army of thugs want with the Helvan capital?" The Elf queen asked. "Please, we have done nothing to you. Leave us be."

"See I can't do that, I need a capital for the coming war. You are nothing but a stepping stone to my empire, now I will say this once surrender and bow down to your new empress. Or you can fight me and I will force you into submission."

The Elf king shook his head. "You have our surrender. We obviously cannot stand up to you. But we would sooner die then bow to you."

"Ou you will bow it may not be to me but it will be to something else I have in mind for you, let's go you former rulers. the kings and queens did not put up a fight and fallowed Alice out there castle, once outside the former rulers see the army that took there home. They were shocked to see not just bandits but there former slaves, monsters, giants and harpies all working together." War bound welcome to our new home! Alice yelled. cheers could be heard all around the city, as Alice men chanted and cheered with most yelling All hail Alice.

Ergo watched with a suspicious look on his face as the Kings and Queens were humiliated in finding their home lost. He slowly approached Alice and said, "We need to talk."

Alice looked at her forces." What is there to talk about? But before you say anything give me a minute." Alice turned to the slaves." My name is Alice Valentine, I'm a vampire yes but I did send these two people to set you free which they did an amazing job of doing. So I’m goanna give you all a choice the first real chose in your lives." Alice pointed to the docks." If the ships haven't been destroyed you can get on those ships and leave, you can live your own lives. Or you could join me and my men. Under me you will still have the freedom you have known, you don't have to join my army you can be farmers dock workers whatever you want in this city. So you can all leave and I won't hunt you all down, or stay here and ether join my army or help this city grow?"

The slaves looked at her nervously, between her and Ergo. Ergo stepped before them and said, "They're leaving. This is your war, not theirs. They are all scared that you are only claiming to want them to be free. That there is no real choice. But like I said, this is not our fight. We're leaving... all of us."

Alice eye twitched." Excuse you I'm sorry but who died and appointed you leader of the light elves? I recall telling you to free them not to decide to talk for them. But you your different you pledge loyalty to me you killed your own masters to join me!" Alice took a deep breath and looked at Ergo." Fine you want to leave fine you’re a wanted criminal you’re more than likely to get them killed, so go ahead get them kill under you."

"That's exactly why I want them to leave," Ergo shouted back, showing more backbone then ever. "You use fear and intimidation the moment someone stands up to you. Hell, I was trying to help you, and you used those tactics on me when I wasn't showing the results you wanted. Well, we're not going to die for you. We're grateful, but you only freed us as a step to enslave all non-vampires. We won't be a part of it! We would rather stand against your army then help you destroy the world!"

Alice raised her eyebrow. And Alice took off her galnents and the torso part of her armor, her chest being covered in bandages so they won’t bounce during combat. She then slammed her ax into the ground and punched Ergo dropping him to the ground.” You wanna be a leader then fight for them.”

Ergo coughed and slowly stood up, wobbling a bit. He unsheathed his sword and yelled as he attacked. He knew he had no chance against her, but he had to try.

Alice grabbed the sword and punched him in the stomach leaving a huge dent in his armor, Blood came out of Ergo mouth and falling to his knees." So this was your plan huh you think you would lead your people huh." Alice kicked him in the side of his head, Alice holding back a bunch of her power trying not to kill him flat out. She then stepped on his chest." Get up! I'm gonna enslave them right fight for them!"

Ergo coughed out a mouth full of blood. "You're a... tyrant. Just like those you fight. You are just to stuck on your plans and ideals to see it." He grabbed her ankle and twisted.

Alice grunted her foot still on Ergo. she then took her foot of Ergo, and ripped his armor off exposing his chest. Alice then started to knee Ergo ribs and again punched him in the face sending him to the ground, Alice put her ankle back into place and looked at the light Elf slaves terrified at Alice." This is your leader a leader who can't defend himself who has no vision of freeing all the light elves in this country, no he just want to take you all and die this is your leader?" Alice picked Ergo up by his head and looked at him. "You are so ungrateful, so what was your plan huh get on a ship and go to Lustania? How are you going to feed them huh, give them water defend yourself from pirates and bounty hunter? Answer me!"

"That is... my concern," Ergo muttered weakly, blood rolling down his cheeks. "But we would have... made an honest living. We wouldn't have survived on... pilaging... death and destruction... like you. We would be proud... to be on our own, not... going from one enslavement to a... different kind..."

"With what training?" Alice threw the man near the castle entrance." Reaper open a portal to my camp and bring in the civilians." the reaper did what it was told and opened a portal, and what came out were light Elves not in chains or wearing worn out cloths. They were wearing leather cloths and there were even children with them." These are the people I saved from the mine a few miles away, as you can see there not in chain three's no bite marks on them they are just farmer’s freed people. They hunt gather food and they do so because they choose to."

"Yeah... they're as well fed... as the rest of your army of killers..." Ergo looked over their terrified faces. "Looks like... you win. They'll stay under you... out of fear, until the day... you free you people and they need to eat. But I will not be a part of enslaving my people... as you have disgustingly enslaved yours..." He weakly stood up, and charged one last time.
 

Dahlexpert

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Part 3

Alice grabbed him by his throat and sighed out of annoyance." I had such hi hopes for you Ergo, see I was goanna promote you today. I would have given you a ship a crew and would have let you free slaves on plantations ships, all over. If you had waited then you might have had a chance, but you didn't and you’re about to die on a lie thinking I'm goanna enslave people what a waist." Alice expended her nails to where they were claws and shoved them into his chest.

Ergo grunted, his eyes glazing over as he looked sadly at his people, his thoughts with them as his life left him."

Alice threw his body in front of her soldiers.” Anyone else fell like reun this amazing day with rebellion?”

Everyone was silent, especially the Light Elves. The new ones moved to join the old ones, choosing to join Alice, but not the way she had intended. Rumi and Marlee slowly walked over, their expressions hard to read.

When Rumi spoke, her voice cracked a bit. "Do you want to dispose of Ergo... or add him to your army of undead?"

Alice kept her head down and rubbed her eyes, when she looked up a more determined look was on her face.” Heh I haven’t made new undead since the last raid, he’s not worth the waste of magic.” Alice then stepped forward and looked at her army, they all had a look of confusion on there faces.

“Today we lost a good man, a man with so much potential because someone spoke lies in his ears. Listen well when we get to my former home and sack it, know that I won’t leave you that I won’t let my people enslave anyone. Nobody here is a slave you all joined me for different reasons.” Alice pointed at the giants.” For shines.” She pointed at the harpy’s.” For more land for your people.” She look at her bandits.” For more then you ever had in your lives!” She looked at Marlee and Rumi.” To see that the world is bigger and more beautiful than you ever imagined it to be.” She then walked to the light Elves.” For freedom, it doesn’t matter why you joined me you did and you are all my family more so then my real family ever will be.” Alice excited both her hands.” I am your empress and you are all my children.”

They all nodded, looking a bit more confident.

Everyone moved about to do their jobs, securing the city and preparing for the coming Helvan army. Alice was left alone with Ergo's body. "You should have let me kill him when I had the chance." Grimora appeared next to him. "He was a traitor. Why else would he lie about another traitor in your midst? Why else would he try and take all the Light Elves from you?"

"Because someone was lying in his ear, he wouldn't do this willingly." Alice looked at the goddess. "But for now we have the city that we need to defend, and I need more soldiers as much as I don't want to I need to start hiring help now." Alice turned to Rumi and Marlee. "But there's are promotions to hand out. Rumi dew to your amazing work opening the gate and staying hidden the entire time, I’m making you my head scout I’m leaving you charge of your own people. I'll let you bring in anyone you need, your job is to cut the army where it hurts, take their supplies kill their leaders make blockades. That is your job from now on congratulations. “Alice then looked at Marlee and hugged her." Ah then there's you for your trust I’m allowing you Marlee into my inner circle you get to lead your own men recruit your own people get your own ship and are given much harder assignments congrats to you both."

Marlee smiled. "Thank you. Together... i-it won't be long until we are kicking down the doors to home and... letting the vampires roam free like they always should."

"And that's were Lilith will take over then, but for now." Alice looked at the former kings and queens." What do I do with you lot, Ou I know." Alice looked at the Light Elves." Ou I’m sorry you all had to see that form me I’m a lot nicer than that, so as a token of friendship I give you all the kings and queens of this land. We need them alive so you can't kill them, nor can we let them escape so I'm goanna let you all decide what to do with them do whatever you want with them, just don't kill them or let them escape."

The Elves nodded, taking the royalty away. Grimora placed a hand on Alice's shoulder. "Come on. Let's go rest up and get a bite to eat."

"Not exactly hungry but I could use the rest, after all I need to outfit the city for war I have a few things I wish to do to the place to make it more fortify." Alice put her hand on Grimora as they both went into Alice new palace.

As she walked out of sight, Alagor slowly approached Ergo's body, shaking his head. "Poor, poor boy. If only you had given her more time..." He looked up towards the palace, grinning under his mask. "And if only she put more faith into your suspicions. Heh... heh heh..." He grabbed the dead man's arm and dragged him away. "I have some plans for you."
 

Black0ut

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Insane Darkness & Black0ut present:
Banter Between Insults

Havenbrook Manor,
Training Grounds
5:32 AM

An armored figure watched the Havenbrook Manor with earnest. They had already convinced several powerful figures to help, even one that, despite being annoying, grew on them.
---------a couple weeks earlier-----------​
What appeared to be a ebony suit of armor stood in place in the afternoon light, giving off a decorative feel to the Training grounds. Birds flew and landed on it, unperturbed by the menacing armor and rendering it a rather adorable sight.

A little Duck Thrope noticed this and approached, a little smile on her face as she looked at each bird individually. Her eyes betrayed her true feelings, however, as she was a little confused with the suit of armor where there wasn’t such a set before.

A hand grabbed her head as the armor moved. “Hello, little one… I should rather say, hello, Faith Regallis. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

An explosion of air erupted between the two of them, pushing Faith away from the mysterious figure. What the hell?! Thank the Gods I didn’t have my hood on… “What do you want with me?” She glared at the suit of armor, air pressure rising around her body.

“No need for hostilities, I merely wish to talk. And if I were an enemy, my blade would've cleared its sheathe before you could take another breath.” The figure replied in a deep, feminine voice, tilting her head. “As for what I want… first, what elemental magics do you have?”

“You know my last name but not what I am capable of? Would you rather I tell you or show you?” Faith growled, raising her hands as she ascended. “And as for hostilities, I do not enjoy people grabbing my head as a greeting, believe it or not.”

A dark swirling ball appeared in the mysterious figure’s hand. “I do not wish to upset you… would you hear me out if I told you that I am an acquaintance of Titania’s? One that did not wish her dead and did not send lowly assassins? So… will an apology and a noble offer of something suffice as a sufficient apology?”

The girl slowly descended, her muscles releasing their tension. “I… I suppose. What do you wish t-to speak about?” Her nervous tick attacked her at the wrong time, making her cheeks flare up in red. She tried to play it off as best she could, hoping the armor didn’t notice.

A low chuckled marked that the armored figure had. “Like I said, I’d need to know whether or not you could fight, and if you could, if you were a glass cannon. If so, I’d give you a lesser role and a warning should you try to join me. As for what it is… Out of curiosity, could you share your views on slavery?”

“If you wish to ‘talk’, I do not appreciate being threatened to do so. If you wish to gain information before attacking me, I won’t stand idly by and do as you wish. Whether you’re friends with Titania or not.” Faith’s sharp tongue returned to her, as the armor’s words seemed more threatening than encouraging. “Besides, why the hell would I join someone who threatens others to do her bidding?”

“I haven’t ‘threatened’ anybody for information, as that involves me leaving them in the company of ruffians for a few days. As for my bidding, others have refused and I, as well as anyone I know, have left them alone. So… how about you stop being a petulant child for five seconds and actually listen?” The warrior asked, frustration in her voice as the ball of magic floated up and ripped apart the upper half of a tree. Raising her hand to her forehead, she murmured incoherently to herself before the hand dropped. “I apologize. Normally I can keep my coolness, but a Vampire and Dhampire have irritated the hell out of me recently, and... Just… let’s start over. I am the Black Knight and I wish to ask your help in a matter. You may say no and do nothing if you wish, and I will ensure your safety regardless. Before I can ask your help, can you please show me what you can do and how many hits you can take?”

“Well, let me ask a question before you decide to attack me to answer your own questions.” Faith stared at the helmet, her muscles much more tense than before.

“Go ahead…?” The Knight murmured, somewhat confused by the youthful character in front of her.

“Why do you choose to treat me as someone inferior? Is it because I’m a child? Because I appear weaker than everyone else? Because I seem incapable?”

“Because you are rude… rude in responses and actions. Understandably rude, but rude nonetheless. Secondly, because I am far stronger than you are. You have a ways to go before I could consider you my equal in battle. In terms of conversation, if you were to become somewhat nicer, I’d talk to you in a more respectful manner.” The Woman answered honestly, tilting her head.

“Well, someone’s a little full of themselves, are they?” Faith muttered, irritated with her explanations. “I am not rude, I am not weak, I am not one to be considered a child. I am stronger than you take me for. You know nothing of me. Don’t act so high and mighty.”

“Faith Regallis, formerly a farmgirl known as Faith… well, I won’t be rude as to include your old last name. Abusive father, ran all the way to Havenbrook. Trained by Titania and Jay Sancros in Combat, and Magic. Is skilled enough to be sent on C-rank missions. Not nearly as skilled as Kva Minerva, who is a B-rank but more close to an S-rank Hunter. I know exactly how strong you are. And if you want respect, why are you sitting here thinking that I am treating you as a child? Have I lied or scolded you? No? Then stop acting as if I had done so, or I will begin to treat you as such.”

“So, you will beat some sense into me? Is that how you treat children? Sorry, but I’ve already had my own father do that for me, as you know. As if I’m scared of you doing the same. So, if you wish to be a little bitch, I’m not afraid to fight you.” Faith’s head tilted, a smile much larger for her face lining across it. “Come on, then. Don’t tell me that I’m too weak for you when you have yet to throw a punch.”

“Trying to taunt me into attacking you is infantile at best, an insult to me at worst. And ‘beating some sense into you’ wasn’t what I was going to do. Spanking you as Titania should, would be what I would do. And furthermore…” The figure leaned in, the cold metal nearly touching the Thrope’s face. “I would just kill her. Leave you motherless. Than kill Kva, as she tried to come after me. Then Zodiak, and any actual friend you had, All the while knocking you out and letting you awake to find their mutilated bodies in front of you. That’s how I would scare you. So… will I do that? No. But keep in mind… my blade is already out and at your side. You didn’t even notice, did you? Go on, look. I’m going to put it away after you do into its sheath and then, hopefully, we can talk like adults.”

“Ah, there are the threatening and intimidation tactics. Forgive me. I was truly mistaken before. And yes, I knew it was there. The wind shifted. As if I wouldn’t notice that. Come on, now. You really do underestimate me, don’t you?”

“No. I don’t. But you obviously are too cocky.” The Knight said sheathing the blade, and turning around. “And here I was actually going to let you free slaves in Themosa… I must be out of my mind if this is how I’ll be treated.”

“Your actions and your words are contradictory. If that is your true intention, then try to ask nicely first before resorting to these psychological tactics. It may work better next time. Just a tip, for someone who clearly needs help. And not just in the way of teammates, if you catch my drift.”

Sighing, the Knight turned around. “Kiddo… I fought in wars before you were alive, lived through some terrible moments in history and have had chances to do some horrible things but didn’t. If I really, really wanted to show you even a fraction of the horrors I have seen, and done, let me put a hand on your head. I’ll let you see some, and we’ll… what am I doing…? This is wrong… no. Okay, so here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to leave and come back in a week. I should be less frustrated with all of the people I have seen and dealt with.” With that the Knight turned and began walking away, several trees suddenly bared marks on them even though the figure had not moved her arms at all.

“Tch. What a cheap parlor trick.” Faith slumped as she walked back to the manor, but not before kicking one of the dummies with a yell, which promptly sent it flying a few miles away.
 
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Black0ut

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Banter Between Insults, pt. 2


~~~~~~~~~~ One Week later~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

Promptly one week later, right on the minute, Faith was outside in the training grounds, the air around her close to forming a tornado. She held her hands in her robe pockets with a slight scowl on her face. Fuck it. I’ll just talk to her. If her cause is as noble as she claims, then I might be okay with fighting for her cause, but not alongside her. That bitch needs to learn some social skills… Then again, I can’t say much for myself, either.

A tree suddenly fell several feet in front of her, as the Knight’s guilty finger seemed to be the only cause.

“You know, I don’t think that tree deserved that.” Faith monotonically stated sarcastically.

“I chopped it in half on my way out last week. It just needed a strong push to fall down.” The Knight replied, lowering her hand. “And I am calm. Are you ready to listen to my proposal, or are you going to taunt me, challenge me, e.t.c.?”

“Someone’s going to have to replant those trees…” Faith said passive-aggressively, pointing a finger to the remaining ones that were dead but still standing. “They’re basically just zombie trees now.”

The Knight turned and began walking away back through the forest as she shook her head. “Save Themosa Thropes from slavery is impossible they said… maybe they were right. After all, people like her seem to be the ones who I can ask and be soundly met with vicious remarks…” She murmured quietly, somewhat defeated in her thoughts.

“Alright, stop playing the victim card and get back over here. I came here to listen to your benevolently amazing plan you’ve concocted to save these Thropes from one of the strongest, if not the most strongest, slave trade Terra Dolar has ever seen. Now, come on. Let’s hear it. I don’t have all day. Even ‘children’ have things to do, although I understand that they aren’t as important as things an adult must do on a daily basis, but I do my best.”

“Then follow and I will talk.” The warrior called out, continuing her journey into the forest.

“Finally. Some progress.” Faith’s voice held a slight hopefulness to it as she quickly caught up to the armor-clad woman.

“I plan to obliterate the Themosan Slave Trade in a matter of days, allowing Resistance groups to have a chance to establish a decent regime. Should it prove to be as corrupt or as bigoted as the previous iteration, I will demolish it by myself.” The Knight explained, as she sped up in her walking going much faster than before.

“So, you’re abolishing a slave trade so the people can work their asses off for once in their lives? Sounds reasonable. Is there a catch anywhere in this plan of yours, such as the fact that this will be accomplished in just a few days?”

“Yeah… They will pay me in a glass of water every time I show up to check in with them. That’s it. Why? Think I should extort them for a snack as well?” The woman snarkily replied.

“Well, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you asked. But you have been recruiting people, which means that you need people to clear up a hole in your plan. How many more people do you need to accomplish your final goal here?” Faith’s sassiness decreased slightly, actually intrigued by her answer.

“Depends. Are you going to be bitchy towards me or are we actually going to resume being polite to one another?”

“I suppose we’d both appreciate one another acting upon the latter, but things do change. I’m not personally against being polite, though. You just didn’t start off the conversation last time as well as you could have. This one, however, I could see continuing to be polite as a good idea.” Faith shrugged.

“Then I will need six others besides yourself. Kva and Zodiak already agreed to help alongside one other person. I need Three more. One person will go with me, and the other six will strike at the worst offenders of slavery, preferably Traders as they hold and own the largest amount of slaves.” The Knight answered, as a small shack in the distance popped up.

“Alright. So, is that your torture house, or…?” Faith held up a finger to point at the shack that they were making their way closer to.

“No. And I thought we were being polite…?” The Warrior shook her head slowly as she kept walking getting closer to it.

“Ah, that what someone with a torture house would say. I should’ve expected that response…” Faith chuckled lightly to herself.

“I pity the man who will become your boyfriend. He is going to have such a fun time with you.” The Knight shot back as she entered the house, looking at one of the shelves before grabbing something.

“Well, I suppose that’s something we have in common, then.” A mischievous grin crossed her face, enjoying their back-and-forth banter.

“Oh? And what, pray tell, will you do with him?” The Knight chuckled, trying to embarrass the young Thrope.

“Hmm… Probably not immediately, but we might have sex. I’m sure you’ve already done that, though, Miss or even Misses ‘Adult’. So, how was your first time, then? Come on. You don’t have to be embarrassed.” Faith read the knight’s intentions like an open book.

“I didn’t have it. He died in battle before I could… well, it doesn’t matter. The past is the past. Got to work on the present so you can have a good future with someone.” She murmured as she reached at another shelf inside.

“It seems that I’m the asshole now, huh?...” Faith’s gaze led her to the wall, of which she walked up to and started banging her head against. “Dummy… dummy… dummy…” she muttered with every slam.

An armored hand planted itself firmly on the top of her head. “Stop… you didn’t do anything to him and I am well over it. But tell me… is there anyone you’re interested in?”

“No… There’s no on-ne…” Faith stated matter-of-factly, a little disappointed.

“Well… is there anyone around your age? Anyone at all?” The Knight asked, as she held her other hand behind her back.

“Ther-re are a few, but… I don’t think th-they want a relationship-p… Not with a girl they c-can’t even kiss…” Faith gestured to her nose-beak.

“Then get help from the gods. They are a stubborn lot, but they will help eventually. They always do.”

“I’ve never been much of a religious pers-son…” Faith twiddled her fingers, a little embarrassed.

“They’re real, Faith. How do you think Titania runs so fast?” The figure asked, as she shut the door fully.

“She was born from a God… Th-that has nothing to d-do with me…”

“Doesn’t matter. If you’re at Havenbrook and you managed to attract the attention of a Demigod before you were combat ready, what makes you think that the Gods haven’t taken notice of you?” The Knight questioned.

“I have nothing that makes me s-stand out. Why would a God ch-choose me?...” Faith murmured.

“You’re kidding me, right?” The Knight started staring at Faith for a moment. “Alright, maybe you’re not. Ask yourself this: if there was nothing of worth in you, why did Titania not only agree to train you, but became your surrogate mother?”

“Because sh-she stands out…” Faith responded, without hesitation.

“No. Because she saw something in you that even the most brazen and hardy soldiers possess: The true marks of a survivor and the courage, the wisdom that can compliment the abilities you already possess.” The Woman argued, walking away as she got into a defensive stance. “So… I think it’s about time you tried to hit me. You have been wanting to for a long time now…“

“I can’t… exactly… deny… that…” Faith shrunk with each word, her face hiding within the robes.

“I’ll tell Kva… she might judge you more if you don’t…” The Knight taunted.

Faith took a deep breath, concentrating her magic on her right foot. Quickly, Faith moved to sweep the knight’s leg out from under her, using the force of the magic to push it faster out from under her.

A pure black shield blocked her, making Faith’s foot bounce off. “Try again.”

Faith pulled her leg back up to her body before she struck, aiming for the crotch with both feet this time, even including a little spin with her entire body to amplify the blow.

The Knight’s shield again appeared, but this time made her take a half-step back. “Good. Keep trying.”

Faith then moved to push both of the knight’s feet away from each other, so as to make her fall down.

A third magical shield returned the gesture by pushing Faith away. “Try a bit harder.”

The Duck Thrope placed a hand on the ground, before spinning on top of it. The wind around her caused the air pressure to increase, forming a tornado around her. A quick push off the ground had the girl landing right on top of the knight.
 
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Black0ut

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Banter Between Insults, pt 3


The Knight merely grabbed her but didn’t move her. “Weren’t you supposed to be attacking me?”

“You were just born lucky. I don’t have Chaotic Magic. That’s cheating.” Faith’s wind exploded between Faith and the knight’s hand, allowing her to go free and land on the ground gracefully. “It’s not like you’re using a form of magic that my own can compete with.”

“Not born lucky, but if you and I become closer, you’ll understand a bit more. Now.” She reached up, almost as if to scratch her head before she merely let her arm fall. “Would you like a gift? You’d have to promise not to be rude to me anymore, as I would need some kind of payment.”

“I surrender… I am inferior after all-ll… I shall tak-ke your pity gift… in exchange for the con-ndition...” Faith reached back to pull her hood over her head before slumping down in defeat.

She walked over to the shed and grabbed two items; a ring and a small weapon that looked like a dagger. Upon closer inspection, the golden ring held three jewels: An Emerald, Ruby, and a Sapphire. The Knife on the other hand was flicked and it revealed itself to be a unique trickblade. “Take both, but ask Either the Forge Master or Betty to assist in repairing the Knife. It’s too… rusted and ruined to work in its current state.”

“O-okay…” Faith nodded, her robes following suit as she held out her hands. “Thank you, I guess-ss…”

“I think I just spotted an equal… where did you come from? I only saw a rude girl moments ago… have you seen her?” The Knight held her hand up to the helm and pretended to look around. “I guess she left. I suppose I have you to thank for that?”

“Please don’t mock m-me…” Faith just sank further, more depressed than before. She slowly put away the gifts, but stood perfectly still with her robes covering her expression.

She soon found herself being dragged away by the armored hands. “No, really. I see a young woman before me capable of many things. I cannot see where the childish youth ran off to. So… I am not mocking you.”

The Duck Thrope groaned. “I don’t believe you…”

“Then I guess I’ll have to go drag your mother’s significant other into this.”

“Why d-do you keep threatening me with-th her?... I already know sh-she replaced me. I don-n’t need you to rub it-t in…”

“Sounds like you’re suffering from an inferiority complex, alongside a depressive order. Congratulations, you need to be medicated, as that happens to not be very accurate.”

“I don’t wish to int-terfere with everyone’s liv-ves… That’s why I s-stay in my room all-ll the time…”

“Medication. M-E-D-S. Go take them, you will feel better.” The Knight insisted, as they nearly made it to the treeline.

“I… don’t have an-ny medication.”

“Talk to Titania, she’ll help you get medication… And even if you can’t, just ask her why she picked you of all people to be her daughter.”

“I don’t see why I n-need to do either of those things…”

“Because telling me that you are an inferior person contrasts the snarling brat a week ago to such an extent that I feel like you’ve… become a different person altogether.” The Knight Explained.

“I am… not always of the same id-deology. I act diff-fferently when I’m fighting versus when I am talking to som-meone normally… I don’t understand it, pers-sonally…”

“So… Get someone to train you in speech then?” She suggested, tilting her head, as she threw Faith high into the air.

The Thrope gently fell back down to the ground like a feather. “I already have someone f-for that. Not that he’s in any con-ndition to help me right now…”

“Is it the crippled Light Elf that supposedly nearly killed himself?”

“Th-that’s the one… I don’t understand wh-why he did that, though. Maybe he is the on-ne that needs the meds…”

“No… he needs a shrink. You need medication and a God’s favor to give you lips. I think they usually wander onto the guild, if memory serves, so you should be able to find them, or more likely, they’ll find you.” The Knight said stoically.

“It’s not like I’m that hard-d to find… And I have lips. Th-they’re right here.” Faith pointed to the hole in her robes where her face was, of which robes were still hiding said face.

“The robes are still hiding your face, and yes… you may have them, but if you could get rid of your beak, would you?” The Knight replied as she began to walk away.

“I don’t have a clear-r answer to that…” The robes looked left, which just so happened to be the direction the Duck Thrope turned her head.

“Then take a moment to consider if your bill is a flaw or a good thing to have.” The Knight continued, getting farther and farther away from the Manor.

On Faith’s walk back inside, she did as the knight asked. Can I say for certain that this bill is something I like having?... I… don’t know...
 
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Black0ut

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Frostlich1228 & Black0ut present:
Creative Minds Come Together

Havenbrook Manor,
Tree Grove
2:41 PM


Tack sat near his Construct, who for all intents and purposes, was sleeping. Cutting an apple into slices with one of his normal arrows, he sighed. The Netzi felt bored, as he had yet to meet anyone else quite like Ed in terms of equipment maintenance or at least in technical knowhow. With another bored sigh, he tossed it into the air and took aim, sending it falling onto his Construct with a dull *thunk*.

Her ears picking up her thump, Betty looked away from Strider, Veeti's construct, who she was currently repairing while she was healing.

"What was zhat..." Betty turned around the corner of the outside of the building, spotting the Netzi and his construct not too far away. "Oh! Hello."

"Heya...?" Tack replied, tilting his head, which caused his construct to move slightly to seemingly stare at Betty. Frowning, Tack snapped a finger. "Rocky... no. Go back to sleep." The construct obeyed, and immediately laid back down, it's eye still looking at Betty.

"Zhat's an impressive looking construct... What is it?" The Fly asked.

"A fire Pitbull. Teeth are actually longswords, and claws are shortswords. Why?" He asked, his full attention on her.

"Oh, my Sister builds has one too, but she's... Hurt... right now, so I'm repairing it for her." Betty replied.

"Want some help then? Give me a copper and I'll repair it to perfect condition." He bargained, knowing full well it'd be more expensive than a copper for whatever repairs she had in mind.

"It's probably better if I do it, you don't know her and her style as well as I do after all." Betty hesitated, looking back for a moment.

"I work in the forge with Ed and make equipment and repairs. But I'll defer to your judgement on this one." He replied, shrugging. "How'd she get hurt, if you don't mind me asking?"

"By... Fighting a fire-breathing dragon construct..." Betty said simply, fully understanding how crazy that sounded.

"That... that is pretty cool. Better than being immolated by a certain kind of monster, or fighting off a bandit camp of seventy or so." Tack grinned, as he floated up and grabbed the arrowed apple.

"I don't know if I would say 'cool'..." Betty rubbed her neck.

"Uh... sorry. Didn't mean to make light of what your sister went through." The Netzi quickly apologized, floating over to her. "So, uh... how can I make up me being a jerk to you?"

"It's... It's fine..." The Fly thought for a moment before shaking her head.

"Let me start over... Hi, my name is Tarciferin, but most people call me Tack. It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms...?" He asked, trying to be more polite than he had been.

"Betty." The Thrope nodded. "It's nice having more skilled Netzi here. Have you already met Ed?"

"Yup. I interviewed and fixed a sword. Put me to work later that day teaching the newbies about repairs and crafting." Tack answered, a little pride in his voice despite his attempt to hide it with a carefree smile.

"Your Doloran is really good too, did anyone teach you?" The Fly asked simply.

"Hmmm... yeah, there were a couple of people who taught me Doloran, but it's kinda hard to use... but yeah, I learned it." He replied, before dropping into his native tongue. "But can you understand me when I talk like this?"

Betty switched over, speaking in her sim-nez, but as typical of other races speaking it, it made her sound like a child. "Yes. I can understand."

"Cool. Multilingual... so are you a forge worker or something similar?" Tack asked, tilting his head to the side.

"I'm a Hunter, but I have engineering skills..." Betty explained, holding up her gauntlet, something she had been taking with her every time she had been leaving the Manor... As not to repeat…

Floating over to examine it, Tack looked at it for a few moments before nodding and grinning. "Nice work on it. It's finely made. I'd carry a masterpiece like that with me if I were in your shoes... but I make do with a lazy Construct instead."

"Lazy?" Betty looked over. "Hardly, she's beautiful."

"He is very, very lazy. He's been in that spot for two days. He only moved when I offered to sharpen his teeth." Tack replied, looking at his construct with the thin wisp of a smile.

"My Sister gave me a controller zhat goes on my head so I can give her construct basic instructions... But every time I turn her on to activate her movement she acts all hyper and... Wants to play I zhink..." Betty looked back towards Strider, scratching her cheek.

"Well... Rocky could probably keep her entertained. Could help you work on her later." He suggested, offering a mild shrug.

"Maybe... I guess I could use a helping hand..." Betty considered.

Tack whistled, causing his Construct to get up and move towards them. "Then, lead the way. I'd be happy to help you." He tried again, wanting to help Betty with her project.

"It's just around ze corner, no need to go too far." Betty said, motioning towards the sleeping protodrake.

Hopping on top of his Construct, Tack followed her simple directions, immediately floating over to take a better look at the damaged machine.

The Protodrake lie on the ground, currently offline, the legs had been damaged but had been repaired by Betty, some of the metal on the spine was bent from an impact, but the most obvious damage was the burns and lack of it's artificial skin, the replacement sheet laying next to the construct.

Tack cracked his knuckles and immediately got to work on repairing the damaged Construct, taking out his weird toolkit to do so. "So... Betty. Mind telling me a bit about yourself?"

Betty looked to the side, everything still feeling sore. "What do you want to know?"

"Anything. Chatting with people while I work makes me do a better job." He replied, offering a brief smile as he looked at her for a moment.

"I'm from Themosa, my parents were two hunters here in the old days before Mina... But zhey went missing when I was young..." Betty sighed. "I was taken in by a Netzi family after I became an orphan, Zhat's where I met my Sister... She loved me... But my Sister's Father was... Different..."

Tack frowned, as some empathy hit him. "Well, he's a dick if he didn't show you any love. This world is so mean at times... but at least you got your sister to watch your back. And, hey, I'll pitch in as a good acquaintance of yours. If you need anyone to help with a weapon or armor, just come find me."

"Thanks. What made you decide to come here? Looking for adventure?" The Tinkerer asked.

"Oh you know, shitty circumstances, a bad Guild, change of scenery... stuff like that." Tack answered, pausing his work for a moment. "Good news or bad news first?"

"Bad news." Betty sighed.

"The price of fixing her is me hanging out with you, doing whatever cheers you up." Tack said with a straight face, trying not to laugh set his own ridiculousness.

Betty put a hand on her hip, smirking with a sarcastic tone. "Well, I'm sure I can tolerate you."

"You may regret that." Tack chuckled, his youthful nature coming out for a moment. "I tend to be a bit of a smartass and I have no problems embarrassing an acquaintance. Anyways... want the good news now?"

"Sure. Shoot."

"All the damage is repairable. The only major damage is on the spine. However, there is so little of it that I could fix this whole thing in a few days, probably four, but that is if you can get Ed to let me focus on this." Tack smiled, patting the damaged Construct. "If not, a week of on-off repairs could work."

"If I help we could cut zhat in half." The Thrope noted, lifting up her toolbox.

"Still, it'd take a couple of days at the minimum to fix and that's with me focused." He pointed out, continuing the repairs he had started.

"We have time... It'll... Be awhile until she fully recovers..." The Fly sighed, looking down.

"So... what's one of your current projects you're working on?" Tack asked, trying to distract Betty from her thoughts.

"I am putting the finishing touches on a flaming sword for my friend, based off the work I did on a handheld flamethrower." Betty answered, sitting down next to the construct.

"Well... that's impressive." Tack said somewhat distractedly, before turning to look at her. "And I mean it. I've only heard of flamethrower siege weapons and the like, but you made a handheld, which is significant for this time and age. Furthermore, a sword like that would be a marvel to behold and would likely, if you sold it, ensure you would never have to work again. So... the fact you're doing it out of the kindness of your heart is the most impressive thing I have ever heard of." Smiling after his long-winded compliment, he returned to the repairs he was doing, getting back into his distracted mindset.
 

Black0ut

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Creative Minds Come Together, cont.


Betty smiled, "Thank you. It took months to get right though... Want to see it in action?"

"I'd love to!" Tarciferin said with glee, only briefly looking at Veeti's machine with some sadness at not being able to continue the repairs. "Is there a demonstration area you have in mind?"

"There are training dummies not too far away, we could bring zhem over." Betty pointed out.

"Fair enough. I'll go find where the dummies are, and you bring the flaming masterpiece. Sound good to you?"

"Just bring zhem here, I don't wanna leave Strider here unattended." She patted the side of the lizard lightly.

Nodding, Tack floated on top of his Construct and moved back around the corner. For a few minutes, nothing happened. Then Tack reappeared floating around the corner with a single dummy while his Construct held several in its mouth. "This enough?"

"Zhat's fine." Betty pulled it from it's mouth, setting it down. "Alright, ready?"

"I can't wait, so yeah, I'm ready." Tack grinned, looking at Betty paying as close attention as he could.

Betty held her hand out straight, loading in a cartridge of fuel and flipping a switch. Suddenly, a gout of fuel shot out towards the dummy, and not even a third of a second later, the stream ignited, catching the mixture and turning it into a torrent of flames that stuck, burning it down.

Tack clapped, his eyes wide and impressed, as he seemed to get younger. "That was so awesome! And you're combining that with a sword? That is so cool... Is anyone else working with you on it or...?"

"A Light Elf named Jay has been lending me a little hand, but ze building has mostly been me." The Fly responded.

"How does he help? Is it through some modifications to either the ignition system or liquid distribution?" Tack asked, trying to remember what systems accompanied a flamethrower like weapon.

"He helps me make really precise maneuvers when working, as my hands tend to be shaky." Betty looked off. "He can also help cool zhings down with his water magic."

"So... he's kinda like your assistant, right?" Tack asked, tilting his head as he floated over to his new repair project.

"Yeah, but don't tell him zhat, he might get upset." Betty laughed.

Tack laughed as well, giving Betty a conspiratorial wink. "I promise I won't... I mean, I don't need a tall guy to start picking on me. Might make me think I'm small or something."

"So, Tack. I hope zhis means I can call you a friend." The Fly smiled softly.

"I think it does, Betty." The Netzi replied happily, the only indication that he wasn't being entirely honest was a very slight twitch in his antennae.

"So, why don't we go back to working on Strider, together? After we're done here you can meet her creator." The Thrope motioned back towards the construct.

"So in a few days? That doesn't sound too bad." He murmured, before looking up at her. "So... what's your sister's name?"

"Veeti. Her girlfriend Chivi will probably be there too. She has her own construct." Betty informed.

"It'll be interesting to meet your sister, seeing as she's probably just as kind as you." Tack tried to compliment, offering a big smile to her as he continued working.

"She's kind in her own way, she just likes to tease." The Fly warned.

"Ah, I see. I'll make sure to tease her back then." The Netzi replied, amused by the warning.

"She's preeetty good." Betty warned again, chuckling.

"I welcome the challenge, even though I'll probably lose." Tack chuckled, as his Construct walked over and nuzzled into Betty.

Betty seemed surprised by the cold metal, but she still patted it on the head. "So... You haven't told me where you're from."

"Land of the Judges, Mirandia. Not bad though, just interesting and unique. Where are you from, Ms. Betty?" Tack asked distractedly, an annoyed look on his face as his Construct laid down as a means to stop pestering her.

“Like I said, Themosa. I... Wouldn't recommend the visit." Betty dropped her smile.

"Ah... sorry. didn't mean to bring up bad memories." Tack quickly apologized, cursing himself in his own language briefly. "So, um... want me to show you something you probably haven't seen but is a marvel of engineering?"

"Go for it, friend." She stepped closer.

He floated over to his Construct, tapping a part of Rocky that whirred and opened up, revealing a bag. "Good thing I made a small compartment. Now check out... hold on... almost got it... I swear this doesn't happen often..." Tack murmured embarrassingly, as he searched the bag. "This!" He pulled out three arrows.

The first arrow seemed to have a vial melded into the metal, while the second arrow head seemed far bigger than an arrow head should be, looking far more bulbous than it should be. The third arrow looked normal save for a thin sheet of metal near the arrowhead that would weigh it down; in fact the other arrows shared this characteristic as well.

"Some kind of... Trick Arrows?" Betty guessed.

"Yup. Vial arrow is poison, the bulging one is a net, and the weighted one is normal. I could make more interesting ones, but I'm... kinda lazy." Tack answered truthfully.

Betty suddenly had an idea, pulling the fuel tank from under her weapon, she handed it to him. "Fire Pool Arrow?"

"But what would trigger ignition? I could put the fuel into one of the vial arrows... maybe an ignition pouch on the inside...? Or should there be an external one, so as to avoid complications..." The Netzi murmured aloud, switching back and forth from his original language to Doloran.

Betty tapped her chin. "Fire Crystal Arrowheads? They'll explode on impact, ze chain reaction would zhen ignite ze fuel."

"But that would depend on the price of the fuel you use and how much the crystal costs... if it's too high, it'd be impractical. Perhaps, I use my constructs attacks to light it... but it might damage Rocky too extensively." Tack mused, putting the arrows back in the pack.

"Perhaps you simply light a fuse before firing... " Betty tapped her chin. "You'd need one zhat wouldn't go out when faced with wind pressure though..."

"That.. could work... it just would be a bit unconventional... what if we built a prototype for field testing to see if the idea could hold up?" He suggested, offering a smile.

"Sounds good..." Betty nodded, looking back towards Strider. "But first things first..."
 

Black0ut

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Feb 5, 2015
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[REDACTED], Washington
Insane Darkness & Black0ut present:
A Rather Strong Yet Depressed Ham

Havenbrook Manor,
Training Grounds
12:39 PM


A bolt of water flew at Faith, narrowly missing her. “Faith… pay attention. If you don’t dodge the magic and I actually hurt you… Titania won’t be happy.” Sancros warned, something in his voice making it softer than normal.

“Y-yes… Sorry…” Faith summoned a shield of wind to protect her as she took a deep breath. “Okay… let’s do this.” Secretly, she hoped that Jay wouldn’t notice the magic travelling through her robes.

“Now I hope you studied manipulation of magic in one state into another, or this is going to hurt us both. Well, you more than me, but you get the premise.” Sancros tried to joke, as the four water orbs flew at her, two going for her shield, and two darting behind and at her.

The shield split into four, seemingly more like saw blades than shields as they cut through each of the orbs simultaneously. “Next,” Faith stated monotone.

“You’re more sassy than normal… care to explain why?” He asked as several hundred orbs shoved her in front of him, the strain showing slightly as a bead of sweat formed.

Faith jumped at the water appearing behind her back. “Geez! Warn a girl next time…” She gave the taller man a playful smile. “Not much. I’m just more serious about improving today. That’s all.”

“Okay. That’s fine. Just show me your other magic and hit me as hard as you can.” Sancros said, as he sat down and concentrated.

“Okay!” Shit… Cat’s out of the bag, I guess. Faith backed up, dusting off her robes a little, before dashing nearly as fast as Titania into a big hug with Jay and imploding on top of him with both light and wind magic.

“Fuck-” Sancros managed to say before being plowed over, groaning at the small entity clinging to him. “Old man with old wounds, Faith. Please try not to break me…”

“‘Ooh, just show me your other magic and hit me as hard as you can.’” Faith mocked, her smile wider than ever. “Don’t threaten me with a good time, ‘old man’.”

“Attack, not hug. Gods, that’s surprisingly more dangerous… How you haven’t done Titania in with one of those I will never know.” He murmured, rubbing his head. “Why the hug? I don’t believe you’ve ever given me one… much less a rib-shattering one.”

“I know you care, you old softie. Considering you have yet to attack me again, that was already clear. Besides, it was the best way to catch you off guard. Why wouldn’t I take the chance?” The Duck Thrope gripped onto Jay a little harder.

“Any other thing you could’ve done would’ve been deflected or parried. You’re getting crafty… Godsdammit Titania.” He grumbled, trying and failing not to smile. “So… time to teach you healing magic… I’ll be the test dummy, considering you shattered all the bones in my body.”

“Don’t worry, my little dummy. I left a few still intact.” Faith floated off of Jay’s virtual corpse into a sitting position beside him.

A Light orb appeared in front of her. “Do you remember our conjuration lessons? Bring out the energy in the way the element demands. To do it with light, try to focus on the sun. Remember what it does: provide food for crops, healing the sick, making people happy. Focus on that and in your mind… imagine a ball of it floating over my head.”

Faith closed her eyes. With some difficulty, she managed to form more of an oval shape than an actual sphere after a few moments. She found that light was harder to stabilize than wind, especially since she wasn’t naturally gifted with it. However, she felt the warmth radiating from it, which helped encourage her to guide the oval into a sphere. After opening her eyes, she saw the result of her labor, which gave her an exhausted yet blissful smile.

“Now imagine the orb sinking into me, repairing the damaged skin or healing the blood vessels inside of a bruise, repairing each cell as it sinks in.” He instructed tiredly, his voice waning as he groaned a little from what he assumed was going to be a harder healing than most.

The orb slowly descended as Faith started with the blood vessels. She imagined the cells running through the walls of Jay’s capillaries, veins, and arteries, allowing them to continue where they were headed instead of spilling out of the tunnels that they travelled. She then moved on the bones, imagined their powerful structure returning to their former glory, able to take a single punch and still remain undamaged. This step, she found a little more difficult, as she remembered her own fragile bones, but understood that his were much more powerful. She then moved to the muscles, the fibrous tissue that interlocks with itself to allow the objects inside and outside of a person to move around almost freely. She moved on to the skin after she finished that, imagined layers upon layers stacking one by one on top of her previous work, protecting them from the outside world. She nearly forgot about the hairs that lay on top, which she personally never had to deal with very much. Once she finished her long and intense process of healing Jay, she let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding and opened her eyes.

A slight grimace greeted her as Sancros looked at her. “You may need a bit more practice, but you didn’t do too bad. Like with Wind magic, you control how gentle you can be… try to be a bit more gentle next time, okay? That way you can have me around longer to bitch at you, coupled with training you.”

“Well, maybe if you stop stabbing yourself, it would be a little easier to help you train and bitch at me… I can’t help you if you don’t teach me how…” Faith laid her head down on Jay’s chest.

The tension in the air was thick enough to cut through as Sancros opened his gaping maw of an eye. “Faith…” He said, his voice steel-like. “Do not presume to know things about what happened, or you will see a side of me you are not prepared for.”

“I don’t know what happened. All I know is that when you came back… you were stabbed. Multiple times… And, while I don’t know much about combat or wounds or healing, I know enough about directions. And the only way you could have received those massive wounds was… if you attacked yourself…”

A watery hand lifted Faith off of the Light elf, as he got up and began walking away, his limp more prominent as he moved faster than he normally did.

“I’m sorry for bringing it up, I guess…” Faith continued looking down as she floated towards a towering leafy tree nearby, sitting down once she reached it. She picked up a loose stick off the ground and played with a few of the fallen leaves, sad yet unable to cry.

A silver-white wolf walked by the tree, laying down after spotting the Duck Thrope.

Faith swapped hands with the stick as she moved to scratch the wolf’s back. She refused to look at the wolf directly, lost in thought.

The wolf nipped at her hand as a familiar voice said. “Hey, Faith. I see you met Fred.”

Faith jumped up at the realization, narrowly missing getting hurt by the wolf. She took a quick deep breath to calm herself before slowly walking away towards the manor.

Titania’s hand stopped her approach before too long, a voice softly asking, “What’s wrong?”

“I do not wish to talk about it...” Faith grumbled, whisking past the woman’s grasp within a fraction of a second.

A sudden blur found the girl wrapped in her Mother’s arms. “Okay. Will you tell me when you’re ready, then?”

“Jay might be able to,” the Duck Thrope stated in monotone. She quickly transformed into a duck, grabbed her clothing, and transformed back fully clothed a few feet away.

Titania tackled her with a fast hug, carrying her back to the Duck Thrope’s room within seconds. I’m so getting in trouble for this… but it’s worth it. Throwing herself onto the bed while cradling Faith, Titania snuggled with her daughter, hoping this would calm her down or at the very least get her talking again.

Without hesitation, Faith asked, “Why did Jay stab himself?” She gave Titania a blank stare from within her snuggles, as stubborn as can be.

“Is that why you’re upset?” Titania asked sweetly.

“Why did Jay stab himself?” Faith repeated.

“That’s a yes…” The older Thrope sighed, kissing Faith’s head. “He… he thought I was in danger and that we didn’t have help coming. So he trapped himself in a cage of weapons and turned Tecunte into a pincushion. He… he made a mistake I think, and got hurt more than he intended.”

“So, he was selfless. Yet he gets angry when anyone mentions it.”

“Wouldn't you, if everyone got upset at you for doing that? He nearly died in my arms, so of course I yelled at him. So did Sylvie and a few others.” Titania explained.

“I wasn’t upset. I just wanted to understand why he did it…” The Duck Thrope closed her eyes, her tone somber.
 
Last edited:

Black0ut

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A Rather Strong Yet Depressed Ham, cont.


“Well… at this point in time, he’s tired of people asking it, or even mentioning it… did he do something to you?” Titania asked worriedly, gently rubbing Faith’s head.

“No… But he did threaten me… saying that I don’t know what happened. Which I don’t. Which is why I asked.” Faith’s brow crinkled into an irritated expression at remembering his words.

One of Titania’s eyes flashed feral for only a split second. “I’ll make sure he gives you an apology… but maybe you should wait for him to come back and tell you when he’s ready?” She suggested, looking at Faith with a weak smile.

Faith sighed before opening her eyes. “Okay… I mean, I never meant to piss him off. That was never my intention.”

Titania nodded, her smile fading as she brushed her daughter’s hair with her thumb. “I know, but he can be… provoked pretty easily. You could say he acts like a girl on her period, emotional and easily hurt… if a bit bitchy at times.”

“So, he has a perpetual man-period? Good Gods, that sounds shitty for everyone involved…” Faith half-joked.

Titania grinned. “It is. I feel bad for Sylvie… she has to put up with it all the time.”

“Then again, Sylvie is probably the only person who can stop his man-period. He’s always so happy around her. At least, when I’m around to see them. Or when they’re right outside my door.” The Duck Thrope’s gaze seemed far off, imagining her own future with a special someone of her own.

“They are… they usually have dates every so often, both of them dressing up, and having a nice night on the town.” Titania murmured, frowning as she and Kva had yet to have a formal date like that. “Anyways… you’ll find someone to make you happy. You just haven’t met them yet.”

“I know.” Faith had a little smile on her face as she looked into Titania’s eyes. “How are… you and Kva doing? Still mating non-stop?” The small smile quickly transitioned into a mischievous grin.

“H-hey… that is f-fairly inappropriate young lady!” Titania replied, a slight blush popping up despite her attempts to hide it. She murmured quietly, “How do you even know about that?”

“So that’s a… yes?”

“Is that you getting in trouble?” Titania asked, raising an eyebrow, seemingly recovered somewhat from her embarrassment.

“Would you like me to explode all over you? I mean, I have no one else to be dirty with, mother. Maybe I should have some fun of my own.” Faith’s own double meaning made her let out a little innocent giggle.

Titania pretended to retch, before rolling her eyes and climbing out of the bed. “You know… I am fairly repulsed and don’t even know how to respond to that… but you keep it up and I might have to convince Wilhelmina to ban you from the library for a week or two…”

The Duck Thrope lunged into a hug from behind Titania with a little, “Blep.” “Please refrain from doing so. I was just playing around. And no, I do not wish to ‘play around’ with you in that sense. I shall behave like a normal teenage girl with normal teenage girl conversation.”

“Considering it was a threat to get you to stop, my work here is done. Save the dirty talk with whoever you deem as a significant other, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it more than me.” Titania grumbled lightheartedly, poking Faith’s bill with a free hand as she steadied herself on the door.

Faith grunted and, with help from her wind magic, seemingly suplexed the Wolf Thrope onto the bed once again. “You shall never escape! Muahahaha!” The Duck Thrope’s laugh was clearly fake but still evil-sounding.

She is such a ham… I wonder where she gets it from. Titania thought before chuckling. “Am I being assaulted for not snuggling you in three days? If so, I believe I get to ask why the unfair imprisonment on your bed was necessary.” She said, her noble accent fully out.

“Imprisonment? Now you’re making me out to be an even worse person than I am! Come now, you can’t say you don’t enjoy my company. I merely wished to spend more time with you. Is that somehow too much to ask for?” Faith asked, her voice deep and somewhat masculine, or at least as close as she could get to being so.

Titania rolled her eyes, poking Faith’s bill again. “No, but you are a ham. So much drama for affection… when all you had to do was ask. Now you shall suffer the mother’s wrath!” Titania’s hands blurred as she tried to tickle Faith into releasing her. “Suffer the wrath of a thousand tickles!”

“At least I’m a ham and not a chicken!” the Duck girl yelled out between the tickles, now on the ground, before commanding her wind magic to use Titania’s hair against her to tickle her nose.

“Oh no, I’m being defeated… I can’t win this battle of the tickles!” She sneezed, before turning into a wolf, her clothes loosely hanging on her animal form as she dove under the bed with a mix of a whimper and a howl.

“Who’s the ham now, huh?” Faith peered under the bed, flashing the wolf a playful smile.

The wolf transformed back, Titania’s clothes still somewhat in place. “You are.” She replied before she disappeared from underneath the bed.

Faith stood up, understanding that Titania would probably reappear shortly. “Geez, my panties are giving me a real wedgie right now…” The Duck Thrope moved to adjust them. “I need to learn exactly at what time I should transform back so they don’t do that…”

“I’ll help you learn how to transform into your clothes better.” A distorted voice echoed off the walls, making it entirely impossible to guess where Titania was. “After I return the suplex.”

“I would prefer you didn’t…” The Duck Thrope quickly lunged for the door.

Something shut the door and placed her back where she started. A giggle that transformed into a demon’s laugh echoed off of the walls.

Faith looked around, analyzing the way that the light refracted off of the objects in the room, scanning for any position that Titania could be in. “You’re having way too much fun picking on those weaker than you…”

“I don’t believe that you’re exactly weaker than me, dear daughter.” The voice said, with a laugh.

Faith pointed a finger at her mirror, shooting a quick beam of light that bounced around the room until it harmlessly hit Titania, who was hiding under the bed. “You know, if you’re going to take my feet out from under me, you might as well do it now.”

Titania moved fast, grabbing Faith and gently suplexing her onto the bed. “I have captured you! Muhahahaha! And now, I shall go and make your favorite dessert… And let you eat it!” Titania pretended to gloat, rolling her eyes as she smiled.

Faith fake-gasped. “My favorite dessert?! And I get to eat it?! You are pure evil! How can you possibly live with yourself?!”

“That’s where you're wrong! I don’t live with myself, I have a diabolical girlfriend, A vicious daughter, and a crazy scientist! I have it all… Muhahahah.” She said as evilly as she could. I am such a ham...

Faith sniffed the air. “Do… Do you smell that?” Faith rotated her head in different directions as she continued to sniff.

“What? What is it? What are you smelling, little hero?” Titania asked, trying desperately not to laugh at how ridiculous they were being.

“I don’t know… It kind of smells like… ham? Weird…”

Titania rolled her eyes as she began tickling Faith once more. “You dare suggest I am a ham? You shall suffer with tickles galore!”

“I suggested no such thing, Dark Lord Titania!” The Duck girl commanded her wind again to tickle her mother into nose-mission.

Titania’s grip weakened as she sneezed, ducking her nose under her shirt. “You shall not beat me this day!”

Faith’s wind rose Titania into the air, right above the Duck Thrope’s hands. “You shall pay for your crimes, evildoer!” Her hands slowly rose up to the Wolf Thrope’s armpits ominously.

“No!” Titania howled in her villain voice, as she struggled to get out of the magical hold.

Faith’s fingers finally made contact with TItania’s armpits, relentlessly tickling her.

The older Thrope laughed as she continued her struggle. “N-no, my wea-kness.” Was all she could get out inbetween laughs.

“I shall give you mercy, so long as you stop your evil antics! Like making me my favorite dessert! How dare you threaten me with such an outcome?!”

“Never! I shall make that dessert, for I am the Dark Lord Titania, the most evilest mother in the world!”

“Oh no… I can’t… hold you for… much longer!”

Titania finally broke, laughing hard as she practically beamed at her daughter.

Faith rolled Titania over in midair, giving the Wolf Thrope a soft landing on the bed beside her daughter.

Titania laid there, still laughing as she tried to be serious. “I am still making you that dessert… and I think I’ll go send you out on a little bit of a meeting with someone.”

Faith shrugged. “I suppose, if I don’t have a choice.”

“Well, it’s someone stronger than me and stronger than most everyone here. Her name’s Ahusirra and she’s really nice. You should go meet her if you can. Just ask for Aife and see if she can get you a meeting.” Titania instructed, getting off the bed as she did so.

“Is there any specific place to ask for Aife, who I’ve met before?” Faith head tilted once she pushed herself up into a vertical sitting position.

“Not that I know of, but she’s pretty findable. Just follow the long stream of guys who are following her.” Titania answered, picking up Faith with a hug.

“Why, hello there.” Faith gave Titania a friendly smile.

“Hello.” Titania said, ruffling Faith’s hair. “I love you, Faith. Don’t get into too much trouble.”

“I love you too, Titania. And I will. Trouble is my middle name, after all.”
 
Frostlich1228 and Insane Darkness present...
Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Light footsteps echoed through the halls of the manor, a small Duck Thrope headed to the library due to Jay's request. So, I need Sir Dunnaham's Guide of Magic and Mysteries, Focus and Form vol. 3, and Advanced Conjuration Techniques…

Sneaking through the hall too, trying to avoid straying eyes, was Selene, chirping lightly. "Opal? Where are you..."

However, while they avoided the outroverts, their twin avoidance strategies inevitably brought them to run in to eachother... Literally.

Selene fell back, being planted on the floor as she looked up at the Duck, wide eyed.

Faith caught her own fall with her magic, landing gracefully on her feet a few centimeters from where the impact occurred. Holding out a hand to the fallen girl, she asked, "A-are you okay?", a worried but avoidant look in her eyes that was slightly hidden by her hooded robes.

Selene just stared at Faith's hand. "I-I'm f-fine..."

Faith retracted her hand before lifting up the girl and placing her on her feet with wind magic. "So, this is h-how I appear t-to others..."

Selene looked down. "Ah... Don't understand... Oh... Um... Have you seen... A bird around? Little fellow, blue tipped wings, white body?"

Faith blinked a few times, obviously confused and lost. "Um... No? Sorr-rry... I was head-ded to the librar-ry but I hav-ven't seen any such b-bird."

Selene cast her gaze down. "Oh... Where is she... I don't know my way around here very well... I spend most of my time in my room..."

A pang resounded in Faith's little heart, for what true reason, she didn't know. "I... I c-could help you..." Her gaze led left towards the wall, which was something that wouldn't give her eye contact, thank the Gods.

"You would? I'm sure you have... Better things to do... I would probably just waste your time anyway..." She said pitifully.

"Ther-re's no excuse for not help-ping someone... I can do what-t I was planning to d-do later." Faith gave the girl a nervous smile.

"Are... You a Hunter?" The girl asked slowly.

"I am... M-my name is Faith. Faith R-Regalis..." the girl herself whispered, twiddling her fingers. I'm still not used to saying that…

"Selene... Annahsvere..." The Mockingbird replied, some sadness in her voice when speaking her surname.

"Well, S-Selene, we-welcome to Havenbrook, I supp-ppose..." Faith gave Selene a half-hearted smile. She tugged slightly on her robe sleeve, a little nervous.

"I've been here for... A Month and a half...?" The Bird stared awkwardly.

"Oh, I... I never noticed... I'm s-sorry..." Faith tugged her hood down, embarrassed.

"No... That's okay... I've barely left my room..." She shook her head.

"I... I suppose that, the l-longer we stay her-re... the farther your bird will get-t..." Faith rose slightly off the ground, implying that she was ready to help the girl if she was as willing.

"Okay... I found her cage open when I woke up this morning... I don't know what happened..." The Farmgirl stated, walking alongside Faith.

"So, either she let herself out somehow or... someone else let her out." Faith mumbled, brainstorming possible answers to the problem at hand. "But... where to start?..."

"It's weird... I've never had much trouble with her before..." Selene considered. "Isn't there a pool here? Maybe she's taking a bath?"

"It's a starting p-point, I guess," Faith stated, a little more hopeful.

"Alright... Then let's go." Selene nodded, "Um... Which way is it?"

"This way." Faith held up a finger to point which direction she was referring to as she took a sharp turn around a corner. She then quickened her pace, hoping Selene would be able to keep up.

She was, barely, she hadn't done much running in a long time, so it wore her out quickly.

A quick breeze swept up Selene, as Faith helped push her a little faster without exhausting her out entirely. "Sorry... I was a l-little too fast, huh?"

"I-It's okay... I'm just... It's been a while... Since I've done anything..." Selene said with some shame.

"No prob-blem. It's... okay. I have just been-n reading books all day, every day." Faith gave the girl an empathetic smile.

"I... Thought you were a hunter..." She asked, looking over.

"Well, there's not much to do right n-now..." The Duck Thrope pulled on the collar portion of her robes.

"I'm sorry... I guess you did beat your bad guy... Mags seems pretty upset recently though... I wonder what happened..." Selene considered as she moved through the halls.

"I'm unsure. H-hopefully, everyone is-s okay." The pool made its way closer to them with every closing step. "Alright, w-we're almost there now."

As the reached the pool, the area opened up wide, the entire set up impressive to Selene, but that wasn't what she was here for. She brought two fingers to her mouth, whistling in a specific pattern, one that was quite beautiful.

But it amounted to little. "He's... Not here..."

"Well... Where sh-should we head next?" Faith asked without skipping a beat, her voice keeping hope.

"Let's try outside..." Selene looked over at an exit leading into the courtyard.

"Alright... But-t..." Faith started, a little concern edging her voice, "'Outside' is a litt-ttle... broad..."

"Um... She likes flowers... Yellow ones are her favorite. She loves honeysuckles too." The Mockingbird responded quickly.

"It's possible th-that she's in... Umm... I don-n't know if we should go th-there..." Faith's glance led to her right, towards Titania's favorite grove.

"Why not... Is it not allowed...?" The Shut-in hesitantly asked.

"Well... I might get in troub-ble for bringing someone... there..." Faith twiddled her fingers, her nervousness rising.

"I... Don't remember any rules like that when I came here..." Selene scratched her head.

"M-my mother loves this grove in th-that direction..."

"Well, we're not going to destroy it, are we?" Selene looked past her.

"I m-mean... no..." Faith shrunk into her robes.

"I... I really need to find her... She means the world to me..." The Farmgirl pleaded.
 
Birds of a Feather Flock Together pt. 2

"I suppose..." Faith hesitantly walked towards the grove, her steps much more calculated and quiet.

"So... A- buh... Mn..." Selene tried to ask, but her social anxiety quickly prevented her.

"Hmm?" Faith turned around, stopping to look at the girl.

"Is this woman... Like... Why is she so um... Important... To you?" The Farmgirl asked nervously.

"She's my adopted m-mother." Faith explained. "She was the firs-st person to take me in when I came h-here." The Duck Thrope added a little smile at the end and a slight hop to enhance her look of happiness.

"Oh..." Selene's thoughts turned to her own Mother for a moment. "Why are you scared of her then...?"

"She's a Wolf-f Thrope. She's very protect-tive of her stuff. If I bring you ther-re... I don't know what she w-will do..."

"But if she loves you... She won't kill you, right?" Selene almost asked herself, shaking her head. "I don't know..."

"It-t's because she loves me and th-the grove that she will pun-nish me..." Faith tried to explain.

"I guess I don't have a very good relationship with my Mom... So... Maybe I'm not the best for advice..." Selene admitted.

“Oh... I'm sorr-rry..." Faith looked down, feeling guilty for talking about her own adopted mother when the girl wasn't as lucky as her.

"It's... It's okay..." Selene looked down.

"I suppose I could be... a s-sister of sorts to you?" Faith glanced up, a hopeful sparkle in her eyes and a little smile to accompany it.

"I... Don't think that would be a good idea..." She hid her gaze. "I would just... Hurt you..."

"Nonsense. I don-n't believe you. Even so, I ca-can take it."

"No... All I-I do is... Make my sister's lives worse..." Selene fought.

Faith walked closer to the girl and laid her small hands on her shoulders lightly. "So, can I... at least be y-your friend?"

She was quiet for a moment, then opened her mouth, closing it as she lost her nerve to talk. "Do... Do you really want that? I... Have a lot of problems..."

"Everyon-ne does. It's not out of-f the ordinary, by an-ny means." The Duck Thrope tilted her head slightly with a friendly smile.

"W-What's wrong with you? Why are you doing this?" Selene looked up at her.

Faith's expression morphed into a frown, seemingly a little hurt by her words. "What d-do you mean?"

"I'm trying to tell you I'll hurt you! Why don't you care!? You'd be better off without me ruining your life!" Selene exclaimed, stomping her foot.

The Duck Thrope was silent for a moment. "Why don't I care?... Because I care about others more than myself! It's clear that you care about me getting hurt, but I feel the same way about you. All I want is for you to understand that you and I are not so different!" Faith stomped her own foot, causing a strong breeze to push her hair skywards, revealing her stern and slightly irritated facial expression. When the wind calmed down, the Duck Thrope's hair slowly fell back into place, as if it hadn't ever been moved.

The Mockingbird was silent, a comtemplative look on her face. "I can't understand why... Why you would choose to be hurt... Why you are so selfless..."

The Duck Thrope took a deep breath, calming herself. "I would rather help people than let them suffer from the ins-side out. That is wh-why."

Tears began to fall down her face, wetting her shirt. "You... You don't... I..."

Faith embraced her gently, holding her tightly but not enough to hurt her.

It took easily a minute for her to stop crying into Faith's shoulder, but as she finished, she pulled back and looked into The Duck's eyes sadly, her cheeks and tear ducts red.

The Duck Thrope had a sad yet happy smile for the girl as she leaned down to eye level. "I'm here for you. Don-n't worry."

"L-lets just... Go see if she's around here... O-Okay?" Selene wiped her tears on her forearm.

"Of course." Faith laid a gentle hand on the girl's back, guiding her to wherever she wished to go.

As they reached the grove, Selene whisled a very specific birdsong, hoping to draw her out, however, looking at the edge of the grove, something large stirred in the bushes.

"Stay back, Selene." Faith growled, putting a protective arm between the girl and the bushes.

Suddenly, an extremely busty woman made her way over to them from the brush, her shirt left little to the imagination. "Hello. My name is Aife, it's nice to meet you two."

Faith immediately took notice of her... assets, moving her hands to her own rather flat self. Her expression made the Duck Thrope seem a little conflicted.

Aife noticed, chuckling, "Sorry, I don't mean to make you feel inadequate..."

"Well... It's not like you did it on purpose..." Faith mumbled.

"Mmhehe... Yes..." She smiled. "You are looking for her bird, right?"

"That's right. Do you... know-w where her bird is?" Faith gestured to Selene so as to clarify who the "her" was that she was referring to.

"Her name is Opal. She has a bright white body a blue tipped wings..." Selene described quickly.

"Oh!" Aife smiled, holding out a finger. When she did, the exact bird in question flew from off left of the woods to land on it. "Is this her?"

"Opal!" The Mockingbird exclaimed happily, Opal chirping lightly.

Faith smiled at the reunion between the two. She stepped to the side, allowing ample space for the two to reunite.

The bird quickly flew over to Selene, who cupped her hands to hold her. Opal quickly settled, tilting her head back and forth and chirping happily. The Mockingbird quickly exchanged her own chirps before lovingly rubbing the side of her head against her.

"Well, I'm don-ne here, I guess..." Faith turned towards the manor, seemingly a little sad.

Aife walked forward, "And where are you going? Why not stay?"

Faith stopped in place. "I did wh-what I came out here fo-for... Besides, Selenne doesn't wan-nt me here anymore..."

The Mockingbird visibly saddened, "W-wait..."

Faith did a half turn, looking at Selene from her peripheral. "Hmm?"

"I'm... I'm sorry..." The Farmgirl closed her eyes.

"For what?" Faith turned around completely, confused.
 
Birds of a Feather Flock Together pt. 3

"For yelling at you..." She forced out.

"It's no big deal-l." Faith shrugged.

Selene stood there, opening her mouth to speak, but being unable to, feeling terrible about herself again.

Faith turned around again and continued walking, her job complete and Selene seemingly had nothing else she wanted to say.

Aife coughed, speaking in between, "Maybe you should... Stay here...?"

Faith finally gave in. "Fine..."

"If you really don't want to be here anymore... I understand..." Selene shook her head, walking back towards the Manor.

Faith put a hand in front of Selene's path. "Hey, I'm-m here now." She turned to the busty woman. "So, is ther-re something you wanted to talk about-t?"

"Were you... Serious... About wanting to be my sister?" The Mockingbird asked.

The Duck Thrope turned back to the mockingbird. "Yeah. Wh-why?"

"Well... Maybe I'm willing to... Do that..." She looked into Faith's eyes.

"Are you s-sure?" The Duck Thrope tilted her head slightly.

"I-I said yes! Don't make me question myself..." Selene countered in a mildly frustrated tone.

Faith's mouth upturned into a smile. She quickly rushed the girl before she could react, giving her a powerful hug. "Alright then, 'sister.'"

Aifé smiled as she watched them hug, beginning to turn around before suddenly focusing on Faith, sensing something familiar within the Thrope that forced her silence.

The Diety in disguise then made her way back into the forest, leaving them alone. "So... You gave her your power? Well... As long as it doesn't interfere with me..."
 

Black0ut

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Frostlich1228: "Wail"

Neren'Teva
Edge of the Great Wood

"Is everything set?" The Expedition Leader, A man in a brown robe and hood combination, asked as he looked over his temporary camp. The set-up was sparse, just a tent for each of the Seven travellers and the Guide's custom one. In the middle of the campground was a simple fire pit, nothing out of the ordinary for such a trip, merely sticks propped up by rocks, each facing in and up.

The First one out of their tent was a Light Elf Woman, Netessrah, or just Tess for short. She had long white hair, not snow white, but with a hint of blue, giving it an almost ethereal quality. Her traveling gear was a relatively simple light brown coat and thick, leather pants; she lacked a hood like the leader, mostly because she couldn't fit her river of hair into it.

"Tess." The Leader acknowledged, "Despite sleeping in the woods you somehow manage to keep that hair nice. I have to assume it's magic."

Tess held up a finger, "Not magic, I spent our final packing time on it."

"And not on... Packing?" He confirmed.

"No. I finished that up before even your first warning." She said, almost gloating, "I'll never understand you Humans, why must you wait until the last minute?"

The Expedition Leader rolled his eyes, looking over at the next members to come out.

It was a Dark Skinned man alongside his sister, Avren and Kaia. They wore traditional Kemarian travelling clothes as they originally hailed from the country. It was a medium fabric robe colored a dark red, slightly darker lines of red running up the outfits and branching out. The only difference between the two outfits was that Kaia had less chest clothing, opting for two hanging pieces of cloth to cover her breasts, alongside an cloth wrapping under to serve as a bra.

The Man had thick, sheep like hair, combed up into a plateau, while Kaia saw fit to tighten her hair into thick locks, letting them fall all around her head. These were popular types of hair among Humans in the Dutchy, or so The Leader had heard.

The two siblings glanced at each other before looking over to The Leader. "We're Ready Dav." Said Avren in a low voice

"He's right, Davous, we're done." Kaia chimed in, her voice not as low as her brothers, but still deep for a woman.

"Good." Davous smiled under his hood, "Off to a good start. I can always trust you two to be punctual, though."

Next a young Thrope almost fell out of her tent, she had white feathers along the sides of her face as well as poking out of her long travelling coat, which was much like the others. Her hair was dark brown in a messy style, if it could even be called one. The dark hair and light feathers surrounding her face brought more attention to her large blue eyes.

"Nanscy" Davous looked her over, "You didn't just get out of bed, did you?"

The Chicken Thrope looked up and him, scratching her neck. "Uhh... Maybe?"

"I hope you got everything ready. We're leaving right now." The Expedition Leader said.

"I doubt it, she didn't even have time to fix her hair." Tess looked over, the corner of her mouth turning up.

"I don't waste much time on it, I'll have you know, besides, I pack fast." Nanscy replied, her eyes shooting over toward the Elf. "Where's Drew?"

That question was answered as he came out of his tent, clad in a fur lined, rugged looking black robe and backpack. The Dark Elf climbed onto his feet, his bald head shining lightly in the daylight, despite it's dimness due to the clouds overhead.

Before saying anything, the Elf reached back into the tent, picking up a long bladed sword in it's sheath, strapping it onto his belt.

"Trying to avoid the commotion, huh?" Davous asked, but the Elf merely stood silent.

"What an odd Mercenary..." Kaia muttered, her and her brother's tents being close to his.

Counting heads, Davous realized he had overlooked a particularity fuzzy one. “Where's that Netzi Merc?”

“Scouting, Boss. Didn’t want anyone or anything sneaking up on us before we left.” Tack said with a grin, as his Construct carried him over. “Besides, if I didn’t and if something were to happen to Silent man and the Twins, I’d have a tough time sleeping at night.”

Avren raised an eyebrow. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“It means that I’d prefer certain people surviving, as they have got talent and I like ‘em enough to watch their backs, regardless of the mission at hand. Or it means I find you, Avren, adorably inexperienced. Take your pick.” The Netzi replied, rolling his eyes.

“Be careful, rat. Don't want to imply something you don't mean to.” Kaia smiled at him lightly.

Nanscy stood up looked at him with worried eyes. “You didn't go into the forest, right?”

“No… but I get this feeling something might’ve been watching me… I don’t know. Perhaps I’m just tired or maybe my ‘ratness’ is just reacting to a predator.” The Construct laid down causing Tack to nearly fall before he levitated. “Lazy hound… ”

Davous chuckled, “You know what might help that? Going to sleep. Too late now though.”

Drew proceed to give a low grunt in response.

“I agree, Silent Man. We should get going.” Tack replied light-heartedly, as his Construct got up and served as a seat for Tack once more.

Now that all of them had managed to find their way out of their respective tents, Davous looked over towards the tent of the Guide they had found for this adventure, a odd Light Elf, from Neren’tevan University of History and Culture, like the rest of them, save for Drew and Tack of course. He said he had been in and out of the forest numerous times, particularly to a small village he currently even had his own lab at. The Elf said he would take them and show them the place free of charge due to being in the same college, and of course, they agreed, although they hadn't told Neren'Tevan border patrol their plans to enter the forest.

The Quirkly looking Elf with the Bottle Glasses popped out of his tent, straightening them as he talked in a slightly goofy voice. “Uh… Wait… Are there more of you?”

Davous turned around, quickly doing a headcount, “No… What are you talking about?”

“Oh…” He pointed as Tack, straightening his glasses. “He's sitting on his construct, kinda looked like a fuzzy beaver Thrope.”

“Nope. Just your average run of the mill Netzi. Sorry to disappoint ya.” Tack said offering a warm smile.

“Well. To you and our… quiet friend there… I am Professor Pallida, I will be your guide.” He bowed slightly. “We will be heading to the village, then going to excavate an old ruin I discovered in the forest.”

He pushed his glasses up, “I have been in and out many times. You two are here to get my cohorts there and back safely.”

“Of course! You’ll be well protected, and I will make sure that you’ll get a nice contraption from me as a gift. Just make sure you tell me what you want it to do.”

“I want… A ladder…” He said simply.

“Any other kind of features, purposes?” Tack asked, hoping for more than just a plain ladder.

“Uh… Put a cup holder on it…? I need to hold my cups…” He racked his brain.

“You got it! Now, uh, back to the business at hand.” He said rather cheerily, motioning for Davous to step in.

“Alright, everyone pack up camp.” Davous turned around working on his tent, the others following his lead.

All instead of Nanscy, who made her way over to Tack, “Um… I'm not sure we've been properly introduced, we just picked you up a few towns ago, after all… I'm Nanscy, the others see me as a bit of a clutz, but I contribute just as much as them.”

“Tarciferin, but call me Tack. Armorer, Weaponsmith, and all-around Jackass. I bet your talents make you an important asset to the group. I hope we can become close friends. Gods know that I need some, especially with my wandering lifestyle.”

She chuckled, “I'm the College’s Youngest Professor in the field of Archaeology. It's a title I hold with pride, because it means that no matter what they think, they have to recognise me.”

“They should regardless. People irritate me when they argue that age affects intelligence or capabilities. Maybe they'll learn that genius comes in many forms, and hopefully, recognize it without the title.” He smiled, shrugging his shoulders. “But what do I know? I'm just a guy without any degree of higher education.”

She gave him a smile, heading back over to her tent and pulling it up. After a few minutes, everyone had packed up their gear and gathered at the forest edge, the Strange Light Elf Professor standing ready to lead them. “Uh… Now, the most important thing is to stay with the group, no… Wait… The most important thing is to have respect for nature… Do that, and the forest will deliver you safely.”

“Alright, sure.” Davous rolled his eyes. “Everyone one get that? Don't be mean to daisies…”

Tack studied the strange Light Elf’s face, trying to see if he was being serious or if he was being facetious.

He seemed serious, but his wacky demeanor betrayed that assumption. “Alrighty everyone! Follow behind me! Hut-to!”

Natessra sighed, following behind the group as they lead into the forest. Birds chirped pleasantly, the sky was the most vibrant blue they had ever seen, and butterflies flitted about. However, something felt… off… like something was watching them very carefully… something that could neither be observed nor hidden from the sight of…
 

Black0ut

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[REDACTED], Washington
Frostlich1228: "Wail, Part Two"

Tack moved over to the Thrope Professor, making sure to move slowly. “I’d recommend that you get on my Construct. I’m getting a bad feeling about this particular trip, and as a former Hunter, I'm not usually wrong about bad feelings.” He said casually, his eyes sharper than normal.

“Don't worry, it's merely the spirits of the woods, watching us foreigners.” Pallida answered casually, causing Davous to scoff.

“Don't let his hooey get to you Tack. It's just a forest like any other.”

“Speaking frankly sir, these scars on my body are from missions that were ‘like any other’, and one of those was against a cult that took out some of the best Hunters I ever knew…. So, I’m going to take caution over assumption.” Tack said quietly, his comical demeanor fading away to reveal very dead eyes, or at least eyes that had seen things.

“That's why we hired you. To deal with the odd wolf or bear…” Davous brushed off, casually signalling him over with a finger.

Tack floated over, his expression a serious one. “Yes?”

“Look… Pallida has a… Storied history of… Well, making shit up.” The Exposition leader whispered. “He once told us that he found an the ancient home of a legendary fire mage, only to find out it was a straw hut that burned down two days ago… He's a kook.”

“Even so… the feeling of something watching me is enough to put me on guard and I’m not one to be overly jump the gun. If anything take what I say now as fact: With all of my expertise in combat and scouting, this to me, is a dangerous place to traverse. Stick close to me and be cautious… I do not wish to lose any expedition member to this place, Davous.”

“Fine fine… Whatever…” He replied, relaying the advice back to the others.

As they travelled, the feeling became more and more intense, compounded by the fact that the odd animal also stopped to look at them… And especially Tack and his Construct, staring silently as they passed.

Trying once more, he said very quietly to the Thrope Professor, “I’d highly recommend that you get on the Construct for your own protection, Nanscy.”

The Chicken blinked, taking his advice and climbing on. “O-Oh okay…”

Suddenly, a large buck stood in their way, focusing down Tack and his Construct with it's eyes, walking slowly forward. Quickly, their guide held up his hands, “Don't do anything… Just ignore him…”

Tack floated down to the ground slowly, recalling their Guide’s first warning and kneeled, hoping he was doing the right thing.

The Buck slowly walked around him, causing Davous to sigh, “This is ridiculous… You probably just have some food on you or something…”

“In a sealed container I designed for the trip that negates all smell of said food from going out.” Tack argued, floating back up to head height. “I ain’t religious and I’m not going to jump to conclusions. My warning is still to be cautious… because by now, we should have encountered wolves for a forest this size or at least some other minor threat. So… I feel extreme caution is a must. Either the threats are staying away out of the goodness of their hearts or something is keeping them away. I’m inclined to believe the latter”

“Alright alright…” He stepped up, placing his hands on the side of the animal and gently pushing. “Off you go… Shoo, we don't have any food…”

Pallida shook his head. “U-Uhm… You… Shouldn't do that…”

“It's just a deer.” He turned back, but when he looked back, the deer had switched it's focused gaze onto him. “Oh… Great…”

“Hey, Twins? Mind coming over for a second? I got a question to ask you both about. It’s kinda important.” Tack asked nonchalantly, the bad feeling intensifying as the deer looked at the Expedition leader.

Avren and Kaia walked up, seeming apprehensive about the situation. The Kemari Woman looked Tack in the eyes, “If you want us to do something, I'm afraid we have no idea what to do with a deer.

“Nah, just wanted to ask you guys about Kemar. Never been to it to relax or go into it for a mission but I hear it’s a nice place. What part are you guys from?” Tack asked, evaluating the fact that the forest seemed a little too calm, a little too reserved.

Avren squinted, “I… What…?”

“Whoa!” Davous suddenly exclaimed as they deer leaned into him with it's antlers, walking him back away from the group. “Uh… Easy there…”

“Everyone go over to my Construct and stay with Rocky. He’ll keep you safe.” Tack ordered, his voice surprisingly hard and commanding. Floating over to the buck, he looked it in the eyes as he whispered to himself. “You’re only taking him, not the others… but only after he disobeyed what the Professor said to do… Sentience? Or Hive-minded? Mild corruption?”

Shaking his head, he whispered to it, hoping he wasn’t crazy. “Not him. He’s not use to rules, and although he may have broke it, I’ll make sure he follows it. And if not, you can take him then. Please.”

Unfortunately, the buck ignored him, continuing to pressure Davous. Feeling it himself, the Man in question growled lightly under his breath, taking out a small dagger and pointing it at the animal. “Okay! Alright! Last Warning! Get!”

The Guide’s eyes widened, his voice panicky. “Oh wow, okay, you really don't want to do that!”

An arrow shot the dagger out of the man’s hand. “Effective immediately, I am taking over this expedition. Davous, if I’m right, and I fucking don’t want to be, you’re looking at either the thing that’s made our journey safe, or one of its subordinates. I really need you to apologize as much as you can, make promises, whatever you can. Or I am letting it take you and I really don’t think I’ll see you again. Oh, and if you try attacking it again,” Tack started as another arrow lined his bow, “I’m going to shoot your hand, not the dagger. So… beg it to not take you.”

He fumed, putting down his foot, “This is my Expedition Dammit! Not yours! You're just a hired gun I picked up off the street! Don't you try to threaten me you piece of shit!”

Nanscy suddenly came forward, getting between Tack and Davous. “Everyone, please! Calm down!”

Tack’s eyes flicked over to Nanscy for a moment before flicking back to Davous. “You hired me to protect you and to ensure the lives of the people under your command. Should you stop and think for a moment, you might realize how calm the forest is right now, or the fact that we haven’t encountered anything that would’ve harmed this group. You might also notice that this deer hasn’t acted like any regular deer. It hasn’t gored you as it would if it was hostile towards you. Not to mention… do you hear how silent it is? Explain to me why a forest of such a huge size would ever be this quiet, under any circumstance.” Tack said, his voice calm with an edge of steel in it. “As for you Nanscy… go back. I’m not going to shoot him dead, or anything similar. Just making sure our leader regains his head before he tries to do something stupid.”

“Look I don't fucking know! Even if you're right what am I supposed to do here!?” He backed up further.

“Fucking try to ask for forgiveness, make it a promise, I don’t fucking know either! Just do it and do it quick, because you’re running out of time trying to debate this with me!” Tack said as fast as he could, growing more anxious as Davous started being dragged further into the forest.

Suddenly, the Leader backed up into what felt like a tall tree, he panicked, looking all around he saw what seemed to be two branches from the tree, flanking him on both sides. He looked closer, the branches had what looked like distinct, pointed fingers, the bark being a snowy, bone white.

His breathing quickened, in his haste to get away from the cornered situation, he grabbed onto one of the branches, snapping it off and quickly turning around to see what he had bumped in to. The tree was more like a statue of a woman rooted into the ground, the head mouthless as it looked at it's severed arm, which was now leaking a viscous, dark red fluid.

Looking down at the arm in his hand, it realized it was leaking the same fluid, causing him to throw it on the ground.

Pallida backed up, shaking his head desperately. “Oh no no no… oh no no no no no…”

Davous looked back, “W-What… the fuck is that!?”

Before he could answer though, a horrid, terrifying, inhuman wail filled every inch of the forest, echoing off everything as the sky blacked to night from day instantly, and a thick, dark fog rolled in.

Everything felt instantly wrong, so wrong… Like everything has now focused all of it's undivided attention towards them, chilling them to the bone. It took several seconds before the screaming stopped, but when it did, the Buck was gone, and the ‘Tree’ was desperately reaching out it's remaining arm towards Davous, the fluid flowing freely from it's eyes.
 

Black0ut

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[REDACTED], Washington
Frostlich1228: "Wail, Part Three"

Tossing one of his normal arrows to Davous, Tack grimaced. “I’m sorry… I can’t save you.” Turning to the group, Tack’s Construct lifted up high, allowing people to crawl under it. “Everyone, under the Godsdamned Construct!” Tack turned his head to the Thrope, slight panic in his eyes. “Run, Nanscy! Go!”

She quickly obeyed, everyone running towards the construct, including Davous, lagging slightly behind as he clutched the arrow.

“Pallida! What is happening!?” Tess asked him, behaving jittery.

“Oh this is so, so bad!” He rocked. “That tree was sacred to the forest… Like… Holy sacred… I've never see anyone even touch them!”

An arrow flew at Davous, and broke apart to reveal a net that wrapped around Davous’ upper body, that acted more as a nuisance that slightly slowed the Man down. Tack flew by briefly, whispering. “Go get your dagger. You need to defend yourself as they are coming for you.” before flying past, grabbing out two poisoned arrows.

“You're not thinking about leaving me, r-right!?” Davous tried to pull ththe net off of him quickly.

“I’ll help, but get your dagger, Hume! They’re coming after you and I think they are almost here!” The Netzi ordered, as he pulled back the arrows to shoot at whatever came.

“Wait!” Nanscy yelled, looking around, “Where's Drew!?”

“Drew?” Avren replied, “He… was right behind us…”

The Construct forced the five down onto the ground, covering them all with fake skin and metal. “At this point, it doesn’t matter. Hunter regulations goes to the tune of missing, assumed dead. Whatever you do, and I mean it, stay the fuck under the Construct.” Tack ordered, as he scanned around, trying to identify where the Elf could be while also looking for hostile things.

As Tack looked back, he noticed that the tree had uprooted itself, and was now only a few feet from where they were, skid marks in the dirt behind it, as if it had drug itself towards them. It reached out to where they were, fluid trailing behind it.

“M-Mr Tack… We need to go…” Nanscy whispered in a scared voice.

The two arrows narrowly missed the tree. “As a Hunter under contract, and as someone who respects this forest, don’t you dare touch them. They have done nothing wrong… and I won’t let you take another. The next shot will not miss and it will burn. Leave. Them. Alone.” Tack yelled, his Construct’s mouth opening to reveal a spout that was aimed at the tree.

Suddenly, roots exploded from the ground and began to dig into the legs of the robot dog, cracking the metal.

A flame sprouted out of the Construct’s mouth, darkening the tree. “Damage my Construct again, and I will burn you. Leave them alone or I will kill you. Attacking them without reason is not acceptable, as they have abided by your Godsdamned law! Are you just or are you a vile fucking thing?!”

As it burned, it screamed in agony, a mouth tearing open on the face where there wasn't one before, puking up liquid as it began to gargle, turning black and charred.

The Guide gripped Tack’s arm, “We need to get out of here! Really!”

The Construct moved surprisingly fast, lifting it’s charges onto its back, waiting only briefly for Tack and Pallida to get on before bolting off, it’s speed only slightly hampered by its damaged legs but more heartlessly leaving Davous behind to whatever lurked back there. “Where do we go, Professor?!”

“No! Don't go!” The Man’s voice screamed behind them… followed by real screams… A lot of them…

“You… You really left him…” Tess stared backwards.

“Tess, was it? If I didn’t give them, and I do mean them, something, you all were going to die. I did warn the tree not to harm you and what I would do should it not listen… Look…” Tack said firmly, “I just gave myself a death warrant. I killed the tree and others, and probably much worse, is after me. I’m getting us out of the forest and you all will stay out of the forest.” Tack said as he readied several arrows, before handing Tess a dagger. “Use it in case I die, or you’re separated. And I don’t mean to defend yourself.”

Suddenly, they found themselves back at the charred tree, blood everywhere around it, the only thing left of the person they had left being a severed arm.

Nanscy screamed out at the sight, covering her eyes.

“Shit.” Tack murmured, before rubbing his head. “Looks like the forest wants to kill us all. Great…” The Construct continued running, as Tack sighed. “Pallida, where do we go?”

“They… took him…” A gargly voice said from behind them. In the tree above was the severed upper body of the Man they had left behind, intestines strung out and wrapped around the trunk. Looking back, The Twins quickly realized he was right, he had vanished without a trace, like the fog had simply consumed him.

Rocky kept running, as Tack swore. “Hey, Forest! How about this: You let the people who you never gave a chance go, and you get me. If you agree, drop the Man’s body the next time we pass. If not, remove his arm from the ground.”

Instead however, what they came upon was a completely different clearing, three paths branching out from it. Forward was what looked like some kind of large lake… except it was a strange pink color with a boat conveniently waiting on the shore. To the right were large webs, creeping across the ground and up trees as far as they could see. And finally to the left was a normal looking stretch of forest, however, mirrors large and small littered the ground and leaned up against trees.

“Yay… y’know, Forest… giving me equally bad choices with the possibility of dying is only a step down from killing everyone.” Tack grumbled. He contemplated his options: The webs suggested spiders, giant ones, one’s he could probably ride. I.E. Nightmare Arachnids. Not a really good option. Then there was the lake of a strange substance… it could be any number of things from poison to acidic to corruption. Still bad. Then the mirrors. The Mirrors, in Tack’s opinion, were the most dangerous, as if more appeared, it could obfuscate the actual locations of the group.

Sighing heavily, he moved forward, rubbing his head. “Listen… we’re being tested. Whatever is doing this… they’re giving us a chance to live. But it also means we can still die. Now… we’re going to the Lake over there and hopefully, hopefully, whatever is running this show let’s us go.”

Making their way to the shore, the ‘'water’ of the lake seemed to be more viscous that normal water, a lot like the fluid they had see leaking from the tree. The Slime almost glisted and bubbled slightly, but there was no obvious signs of danger.

Kaia looked down at it, poking it with a stick. “What… Do you think this is?”

“Who knows?” Her brother answered. “Considering what we've seen so far, it could very well be blood for all we know…”

“Safety first, before questions.” Tack said as he floated down somewhat close to the ‘water’ and stuck one of his normal arrows in, waiting for a few seconds, before pulling it out to see what the effect was. It blubbed in the liquid, and upon pulling it out, it began to slowly spread up his arrow.

“Tess, toss me that dagger. I’m about to do something stupid, something that might come in handy.” Tack asked, as he dropped the arrow on the ground to prevent it from spreading to him.

She sighed heavily, tossing it over, “Just don't get us killed…”

Tack grabbed the bladed weapon, and considered the pros and cons before he put the tip of his finger on the end of the arrow, touching the liquid as he readied the dagger to cut his finger off if it proved too dangerous.

The slime gently climbed up his finger, hugging it warmly.

“Hmmm… headcount everyone. I need to know who's left.” Tack called, as he observed the slime, making sure to move parts of it back with the dagger so he could see his skin for cause and effect.

“Tess. Nanscy, and us, plus you makes five.” Avren counted quickly. “Whatever’s doing this is just fucking toying with us now…”

“Correction: it's giving us a chance. Davous was torn apart in less than a minute, so it could easily kill us. More to the point, this is all nature stuff, right? Pallidas said respect nature and Davous didn't do so. I think Pallidas and Drew are safe and if I'm correct, it's testing us to see if we respect nature enough or if we are going to follow Dav’s example. So… if you all really want to get of this alive, I need to know right now if you're going to listen to me.” Tack said in a nonchalant manner, heavily examining his finger.

His finger turned slightly pink, but otherwise was perfectly fine.

The others looked at eachother, but Nanscy stepped up, “I'll follow you Mr. Tack.”

“Same.” Avren agreed.

“I hope you're right.” Tess agreed.

“Just… Seriously, don't get us killed…” Kaia finished, all of them walking up.

“Okay… the ‘water’ is more of a slime and it’s not dangerous. Now… if this was a nature challenge, the boat wouldn't be natural… Guys, any estimate on the distance of this lake?”

“Wait… You want us to… swim… In that?” Tess looked at him like he was crazy.

“Just give me an estimate.” Tack replied, looking into her eyes with a somewhat softer gaze than he had been using.

“It'll probably take a few minutes… Longer considering It's Slime, not water…” Natessra judged quickly.

Rocky jumped into the slime and stated swimming, Tack’s last plan to see if it was safe to swim. “Last test.”
 

Black0ut

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Frostlich1228: "Wail, Part Four"


He was able to swim a decent way, until he was stopped in his tracks, being pulled under the surface of the slime by something unknown.

“Well shit… Everyone needs to take a step back… things are going to get… toasty…” Tack said as he floated back to what he thought was a safe distance and waited for the others to follow suit, before his Constuct activated it’s built-in fire attacks into the ‘water’.

The surface of the water rippled chaotically, the slime forming tendrils in the shape of arms that reached up towards the sky. Suddenly, something in the water spit the Dog Construct thirty feet in the air and back out at them… It slammed into the ground, kicking up dirt and sparking as it was damaged, a low rumbling vibrating through the ground.

“Rocky, stay down.” Tack ordered as he glared at the Lake then at the Forest. “If you even get angry from trying to eat us, I swear you are being the most horrible dick ever. Or you just don’t value survival and wits from a group that, save me, did nothing to you.” Looking at his group, he nodded his head behind them as a means to tell them to step back further.

They quickly obeyed, staring in awe as the shore of the lake receeded, clumping together and building itself up. After a few moments, the entire lake formed together into a massive, hundred foot tall silhouette resembling that of a human woman. It screamed it again, looking around and spotting the group. “

“You… You set us on fire! You rat!” It bellowed at them, trees shaking.

Taking a breath, he smiled. “My name’s Tack and I apologize that my dog… swam in you? Bit you? What’d he do? Please… tell me he did not piss in you. That’d be horrible…”

“W-What are you talking about?” The mass tilted it's head.

“The dog, that you threw out. Did he attack you, hurt you? Did he… try to mark you? Y’know, claim you as his own? Letting the other dogs know that you’re his territory, of which you’re not, by doing something?” Tack asked, as he thought desperately of ways to keep the massive entity from killing them all.

“No…” It said simply.

“Alright… what’d he do?” Tack casted a glance over to his Construct that made it scoot away from him.

“He set us on fire. He killed one of us!” She reclaimed her anger.

“Godsdammit, Rocky! You aren’t supposed to claim things as your own! We’ve been over this. Licking; good. Biting; bad. Rubbing up against; good. Claiming Godsdamn people by lighting them on fire is not the right fucking thing to do!” Tack yelled at the Construct as it tried to crawl away, before a combination of Tack’s connection and his hand held it still. “Oh no, you don’t! You do not get to crawl away and hide! You. Are gonna. Apologize to her. And I don’t care… that you feel bad. No incinerations at all, that was the deal! Now you killed part of her, so you best hope she’s nice enough to give you a break!” Releasing the mechanical hound, Tack pointed at her. “Go on! Look at her and try to apologize! Bad Rocky! Bad dog!”

The Construct struggled to turn and look at the giant woman, giving her its best puppy-dog eyes it could muster. Tack’s eyes remained scolding, but his thoughts were of survival and what they could do to survive angering the colossal woman.

The Woman calmed down, putting her head at eye level with them. “He may be sorry… but that doesn't fill the hole we have inside of us…”

“And what kind of repayment would you like… um, what do I call you all?” He asked, tilting his head as he floated closer to her.

“We are called the Mother Slime. Whether it is because we are the largest, or the originator, we cannot say, for that is a time before we had consciousness.” It explained.

Nanscy gulped, steadying herself, “I've heard about this… slimes become more intelligent the bigger they are… And you fill up an entire lake…”

“Well, regardless of which, it's a pleasure to meet you, Mother Slime. I wish it was under better circumstances. We are travellers lost in the woods, but the forest let us come your way. I am honored we get to meet such esteemed individuals such as yourself.” Tack said, floating closer. “I apologize for taking a bit of you earlier; I didn't know what you were made of and if you'd hurt us.”

“Do not apologize. What we seek is recompense.” She pointed, moving her finger left to right over the group. “I would like one of you to join us…”

“And how would we join you?” Tack asked, a frown settling on his lips.

“Simply step into my body…” The Giant spoke softly. “You will be freed from your body. Your mind joining hundreds of thousands in a perfect union…”

“So absorption into you by dissolving.”

“Your body will simply become a part of our biomass. You will become one with a new, better body…” The Mother Slime replied almost seductively. “We are far more intelligent and old than almost any mortal creature. You would have access to long lost, ancient wisdom, and be able to think so much more clearly than you do now…”

“With the exception of being binded to you for all eternity.” He said, looking at her with a quizzical look. “Just so you know… by letting one of us join you, you’ll kill all the other of the group to the other residents of this forest.”

“We do not want to kill you. We offer you something better than your current existence.” It placed a hand on the ground. “You will not die. Your mind will live on, you will have an equal part of us and contribute to us what you know.”

“I know what you’re saying, but I don’t think you’re understanding what I am. I’m not saying you’ll kill us. You absorb and collect knowledge. The other guardians of the forest do not. They will kill whoever is left should you absorb anyone of this group.” Tack explained floating up to look into her ‘eye’. “By doing this, you understand that you will kill four people this day, letting their lives be snuffed out without remorse.”

“Sadly. Even if I did not. You will all still die.” She responded seriously. “We heard the wail… The Painful, terrible wail, it shook us to our souls… You did that, didn't you? Destroyed a Maiden Tree?”

“They did not. I did. And the original man to blame was allowed to be claimed by the forest, and was torn to pieces. The forest let us come here, to you, so it was my hope to cross the lake, or rather you, and let these individuals leave in peace, finally returning to face what I had done. They are not the problem. I am.” He said calmly, his gaze turning more serious.

“Then the Goddess will kill you.” Her expression turned dark. “Netzi… you have committed one of the most foul felonies against this place… Even more of a crime than your original friend…”

“The Maiden Trees are alive, and they are the most important thing in the forest to the Goddess. She felt it burn, she felt it suffer as it died. You, she has already sentenced…”

Tack held a hand up. “I did give the tree a warning not to come closer, and I did not attack until it wrapped Rocky over there in vines. But it is a fair judgement.” Tack said bitterly, a short choked laugh “She really should send something to tell all of the rules to travellers. Regardless… what of them? They haven’t committed any crime, and have done as they were told. They are innocents in this forest… and they deserve to leave it before it claims them.”

“The Maiden Tree was in pain, it thought you would leave it to die, so it tried to stop you from leaving. You could have possibly fixed your crime then… But now it is far too late.”

“I will talk to your Goddess and explain, then die, but what of everyone else? They do not share the same crime and, haven’t committed any at all. Will they be allowed to leave?”

“The Goddess does not wish to talk. Her rage has bubbled over her reason, she will likely destroy all of you if she finds you.” The Mother Slime continued. “I offer you a… peaceful alternative…”

“Do not eat them. You are better than that.” Tack scolded, frowning at the massive entity. “We both know that a choice like that is permanent and should not be offered under duress. Just hide them. You know this forest better than I and where she will look and not look.”

“If she discovers we are hiding you, that would be an act of great treason.” She quickly explained.

“Do not hide me. I will face her. Hide the innocents.” He corrected, a frown playing on his lips as he floated over to Rocky, taking out his toolkit to fix the robot up.

Suddenly, something in the air felt like it shifted, a bright orange light coming towards them. The Mother Slime sighed, scooping up the group, with the exception of Tack, and placing them in a pocket of air under their body. “Good Luck, Netzi.”

“I’ll need it.” Tack said, having already finished enough repairs to get Rocky up and moving. Hopping on, The Construct began moving fast, Tack cracking his neck as he waited for the Goddess to appear.

As he charged away, what looked like the silhouette of a man holding a thin sword stood in his way. The Shadow was abnormally tall, bright green, glowing eyes being all he saw. “Where are you going?” It said mentally.

“Eh, to a grocery store. Got to go get some chocolate for your Goddess.” He replied jokingly, his hands going to his bow. “So, unless your Goddess is where you’re taking me to, no. She really needs that chocolate.”

Unamused, the figure struck instantly with his rapier, moving like a blur. His attack was so quick that by the time Tack could even register it, Rocky was already missing it's right foreleg.
 

Black0ut

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Frostlich1228: "Wail, Part Five"


The Hound moved away and Tack grinned. “Ah, a Hunter. A legit one anyways. So I take it that makes me prey… mind telling me your name before you try to kill me, which is still unfair as I wish your Goddess to stare me in the eyes as she does it.”

“I have no name.” It spoke walking forward. It was a humanoid figure in green twisted bramble armor, with elegant yellow metal accents. Its rapier’s hilt and armor were also covered in what looked to be living, blooming, flowers. Overall, not an inch of it's true body could be seen. “Though outsiders gave me the title, Flower Knight. A crude and overly simplistic moniker…”

“Then I give you a different moniker, if that one bothers you. Sir Gregory, I think that’s what I’ll call you. As for respect towards you… we both know you could’ve killed me with the first strike. Are we then only waiting for your Goddess or are you the executioner I face?”

“I simply came to halt your escape.”

Suddenly, the trees parted to reveal a massive, bramble wolf, flames licking up it's body from the inside as it roared with feral power.

“Cu Chulainn will deal with you.” The Knight said, sheathing his blade.

“You won’t disarm me? Check to make sure I can’t hurt your Goddess or this Cu Chulainn?” He asked, raising an eyebrow before gesturing to the leg. “And please just hand that to me. I’ll face your Cu Chu, but taking Rock’s leg is a bit callous and un-naturely of you.”

“That thing is un-naturely…” The Wolf growled, crushing the severed leg underfoot. “I will tear you to ribbons, defiler… Your carcass will feed the soil, but that hardly makes up for the crime you have commited here…”

“Is that before I meet the Goddess or after?”

“The Goddess only reveals herself to those who respect nature.” The Knight stepped forward. “For your deeds, you now face the Hound.”

“So she sends someone else to kill me, rather than do it herself? If this Goddess is going to kill me, it will be by her actual hand and with her watching the light go out of my eyes.” Tack said stubbornly, getting prepared to run.

“The True Goddess does not waste her time with pathetic cretins like you. You've earned what stands before you, yet you can't even accept it…” He shook his head, sending a slash through one of Tack’s antennae faster than the Netzi could see.

Tack grasped at it, before his voice dropped its cordial tone. “You… you just did something that would make me kill anyone else but you. I will not go out screaming, but… you are unworthy of killing me, wretched thing.” Tack growled, Rocky running away and leaping over the lake with Tack, albeit a short part of the lake.

“Very well.” The wolf growled, looking down at the lake. “Mother, show me the others.”

The giant slime hesitated before complying, holding the others in one hand, directly in front of the flaming wolf.

“He won't escape, but I offer all of you this, if you all agree to stay within this forest forever. He can go, otherwise, he dies.” Cu Chulainn told them, loud enough for him to hear it.

“And if I die, will you let them go?” Tack yelled at the Hound, pausing to turn Rocky around towards the creature.

“Very well. I am feeling generous.” It replied, showing its teeth.

Tack’s Construct walked forward, placing him in front of the Wolf. “Say it. Say you’ll let them go and promise me that as a creature of this forest, you’ll let them go.” He said bitterly staring into the fiery beast’s eyes.

The flames died down as it spoke. “I give you my word.”

Nanscy struggled, “No! Tack! Please don't!”

Tack floated off his damaged Construct, a soft smile on his lips. “Sorry, kiddo. My tale ends here. Yours is just beginning. This way you get to live freely and so do they. Best scenario, you live and you tell people not to come in here. That way, my death won’t be for nothing.” His eyes softened. “Go live a long life and make it as a young Professor.”

Floating back over to the Construct, he sat and sighed. Looking up he offered a rueful smile. “So your name is Cu Chulainn, right? Can you give me one last favor?”

“What is it?” The Beast’s tone softened.

“Fix Rocky up. He’s the culmination of my hopes and… well, he’ll be the last part of me after whatever you do. That way, there’s at least a little left of me in this world… and less of nothing. That’s it.” He said offering another rueful smile at the engraved names of other people. “Well, not just my little remnant of being in this world.”

The Beast’s mouth opened, a blazing heat coming from its throat as it placed its jaw around Tack’s head, all the Netzi heard was a desperate ‘No’ from Nanscy before the maw snapped shut.

---------------

Suddenly, blackness turned to light as Tack’s eyes opened, laying in the middle of nowhere outside of the forest, his trusty construct next to him like always.

“Cu Chulainn? You playing a joke on me or am I actually dead?” He called out, confusion etched into his voice.

He was interrupted when a note from Rocky’s back flew off, blowing into his face. It was addressed to him, from Nanscy…

‘'Mr. Tack. If you are reading this, then that scary wolf kept its end of the deal. I begged it not to kill you after the first bite knocked you out. I… I begged so much that it listened… It said it was surprised how much I cared… and it offered me the deal again, except just me… I would stay here forever. I… took it. You would do so much more good than I ever could, you're my hero Mr. Tack. I don't know what it will do to me, or what will happen, but I'm happy knowing you are okay, and out there saving people. The others were freed too, but I don't know where they are… Maybe one day we'll see eachother again Mr. Tack. I hope so… I guess… I really fell for you huh? Things go quick in dire straits, it seems… Good Luck, Nanscy.’

Tears dripped onto the note as Tack struggled to get ahold of himself. “I saved everyone but her… I’m such a… a… fuck…” He whispered to himself, folding the note up and placing it in a pouch on Rocky. He found his toolkit, and etched in two more names on Rocky’s back: Drew and Davous.

Collapsing on the ground, he stared into the sky. “Fuck… today just had to go to hell.” He shook his head, his eyes more determined. “I’m going to get you out of there, Nanscy… a job’s a job and I didn’t get you out of the forest…”