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Author Topic: stabbing westward  (Read 1883 times)

Description: Attn: Abbadon/Lucky/Kaderian

Offline Tavar al-Sabbah

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stabbing westward
« on: Apr 14, 18, 04:27:46 PM »
Spring 193- the edge of Onn


Fin could tarry no longer. It was time to return to Askavi.

The days leading up to their departure were spent with the family he’d created. Shadya was still furious with him, but she’d broken down in his arms and cried before the Sabbah left Onn. She demanded that he return to them, seconded by Amira, who was even more forceful on the subject than her prickly little sister. Fin swore to his nieces that he would do everything possible to return home. He had not found good men to take care of them or give them beautiful children that he could spoil rotten, he reminded them, earning groans and eyerolls from both women. He’d watched them sleep that evening, remembering the first time he held them in his arms on the nights they were born.

Shadya had Farrah’s look while Amira had her soul. Both women carried his late wife’s blood in their veins and Fin vowed that he would return home to protect the water of their lines until his final day came. He’d spent time with Elenor and Judiah and asked them to watch over both his nieces and each other. He asked of Elenor, once more, that she protect herself and their people. He’d asked the same of his bond-brothers, all of them, regardless of their previous relationships. Some things were more important that personal disagreements. 

He’d shaken hands with Prince Omid, who made a request that Fin did not expect.

Please watch over Prince Lucky. I know that he’s wanted this since he was very young. I know he thinks it will make him whole somehow. Maybe it will. But he must come back, Lord Fin. For the sake of our sisters, of course.” Omid said, full of dignity and purpose. Fin recognized the subtext of Omid’s request, even if the Red Prince would not speak it aloud.

I will see that he returns home to your sisters, Prince Bali. May Clan Bali prosper during their travels.” Fin said.

And may you prosper as well, Lord Fin.

He’d talked things over with Abbadon and Lucky. He’d also gone to Kaderian and explained his idea to her. He escorts weren’t pleased and they made it known, vocally and otherwise, but Fin was adamant. He would not rile the sandworms with Craft use and he would not force Abbadon to travel alone or stay behind. Even if he could, he knew that the young man would refuse on principle. The idea of meeting Drakkar was entrenched in his mind. Fin would not take it from him, even if he worried about the long-term effects.

Lucky was still angry with him about the vote and merely assented to the plan without comment.

That quiet acceptance worried Fin far more than any diatribe Lucky could have launched into. The Sabbah had left early in the day. Fin spent the rest of the time checking his weapons and, finally, going to locate the chest in which he kept his father’s bones. Preserved in Craft-enhanced cloth and layered with preservation and protection spells that had taken Fin decades to wring from various people, Fin would give Drakkar what he needed to make peace with Valar Andros’s death. Fin had made peace with it as best he could, but he’d had two centuries. Drakkar had not.

Her wore a leather jerkin made to accommodate his wings and dark breeches. His silver vambraces, engraved with the symbol of Clan Sabbah, were strapped to his forearms. His daggers and sword were strapped to his waist. He’d agreed to meet them all at the edge of town and now he waited there, speaking with a Raejian trader about news from around the realm. Fin wished to discuss the more interesting tidbits with Elenor, but that would have to wait for another day, when he could return home to his clan without the cloud of Askavi hanging over them.

He waited for the others to arrive and hoped that Lucky and Abbadon were not long in arriving.

Kaderian’s escorts would test his patience before the day was out. He just knew it.




Offline Kaderian Yrisia

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #1 on: Apr 26, 18, 02:52:59 PM »
While stuck in Onn for the month, she'd found ways to alter some local dresses to allow for her wings to not feel.. constrained.  But now that they were going to be on their way?  She'd packed those few  things away and returned to wearing the simple clothing she usually wore at Camp.  Dark breeches, dark tunic, a few leather ties for her hair to keep it out of her face, and a small bag to carry useful things without them having to be in her cabinet.

Ulamar was happy to be going home.. and furious about how slow they would be in achieving that.  She simply let him argue at her.  At her, of course, because it didn't mean she was going to let him sway her. 

"Ulamar.. the male has agreed to come back to Askavi peaceably.  He is bringing people of interest to our Territory.  We are dealing with a diplomatic nightmare.  Shut. Up."  She finally spoke those words as they drew closer to the appropriate place.  Finally set in stone, as it were, the lines between her control and his allowances. 

Perhaps she was too flexible with the males - perhaps she should have controlled them more strictly during all of this.  It didn't matter, in the end.  She'd found the target, she was bringing him back.  HOW she did that was ultimately up to her, and if Drakkar disapproved he could take the Price out of her hide.  Which.. essentially.. was what she had told all of the Hunters.

Seeing 'him' there though.. it had her shoulders tensing up.  She'd spoken with his Queen of course.  Worse, his Queen had realized something she'd kept all living souls in the world from realizing - and she had a great deal of hope that the female had not told him.  Likely futile hope.

The last thing she wanted was for any false sympathy to come out of that male's traitorous mouth.  She took a deep breath, stepping forward towards Tavar.  Fin.  Whatever the hell he was.

"Lord Sabbah."  She inclined her head, keeping her eyes on him anyways.  "I assume you will be ready to leave when the others arrive?"

We should just take him and go.
Ulamar.. if you test me, I will ensure your wings do not work the entire way home.  Keep. Your. Mouths. Shut.  Do not allow the others to start trouble.  I will not, and I repeat.. I will not tolerate it.

Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 18, 03:14:19 PM »
Abaddon had received Ghaniima's leave to understake this journey, as she would have a journey of her own.  It troubled him to leave her side, but she would not be unattended, and his Queen intuitively understood that the Black Widow Warlord Prince forever bound to her had something to settle in Askavi.  A past to seek out and lay to rest before he could turn his eyes exclusively to the future.  Abaddon had little in the way of farewells to make; Ghanima was his primary concern, but in the time between the death of The Spider and the advent of his trip, he had rediscovered his sister, Ana.  She was only recently returned to his life, and he had so few that he considered family, that he regretted having to leave her behind.  Abaddon trusted her strength, but there would be enough for him to do in Askavi, without his instincts drawing in Ana as well.

With his farewells behind him, Abaddon focused on the journey ahead.  He had hunted people into the wilderness before, out into the desert where Craft and its use were deadly mistakes.  He had a Sabbah horses loaded with what he thought a man alone might need, though he was sure that Fin would have planned the expedition down to the last drop of water.  Abaddon could not help but come personally prepared, he had done so without thinking much about it.  He realized he was far more used to journeying into the desert on his own, in pursuit of quarry, than with any sort of company or companionship.  In fact, this would be his first signifcant journey with people not somehow filtered by his Father.

Abaddon was not the first.  Kaderian and her entourage was there before him.  He walked up to where Fin stood, releasing the horse with a psychic request that the beast not wander too far off in the search for something to clip with his teeth.  The Black Widow Warlord Prince quietly walked up behind Fin, and stood behind him and slightly to his left, clear of any blade that might be drawn, or wings that might suddenly be put to use.  He inclined his head to Kaderian very slightly, and let his golden eyes drift over her Eyrien escort.  If he was impressed, or intimidated, or otherwise moved by the sight, nothing of it showed upon his face, or in his stance.  Abaddon reached out, gripped Fin's shoulder, and kept silent, at least for the moment.  There as agitation there, irritation, even anger, and he could senseit.  It rubbed at his skin, like a cat being pet in the wrong direction, and just like a cat, he did not like it.




Offline Lucky al-Izar

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #3 on: Jun 03, 18, 09:37:22 PM »
Lucky al-Izar circled in the air, letting the wind hit his face with a fevered giddiness.

Askavi.

He didn’t care much about this bastard Finn worried about. All he cared about was making sure the Voice of the Sabbah didn’t get his balls ripped off and seeing as much of Askavi as he possibly could. The mountains. The trees. Lakes. Everything that Pruul wasn’t. He believed, ever since he was young enough to look up into Gunnar’s eyes and hear his stories, that his true home was in Askavi. Even with all that had happened in Pruul, a part of him still believed it.

Landing hard in the sand, a plum of dust came up from his feet as he turned his gaze to Abaddon, Fin, and the rest of their party. He greatly wanted to spar with the Eyrien guards, testing his strength against theirs, and he very much wanted to fuck the Eyrien woman. His eyes ran up and down her body curiously and his dark scarred wings twitched. This would be a long trip across the desert. Perhaps there would be time.

The Warlord Prince put his fingers to his mouth and whistled, Little Brother galloping up, his long main jumping in the wind. “We just going to stand here until this Drakkar fucks us in the ass? Let’s get to Askavi. I have some diplomatic relations to begin.” His eyes ran over Kaderian again before he turned his attention to Fin in earnest.

As a newly elected ruler of Pruul, he fully intended to increase relations between Askavi and Pruul—in no small part because Lucky admired the territory greatly. He had spoken to Ro and Hadj about it, gathered some ideas. Now just to leave.

Offline Tavar al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #4 on: Jun 14, 18, 10:10:12 AM »
Yes, Lady Yrisia. Once Prince Sabbah and Prince Izar arrive, we’ll head head west until we reach the mountains.” Fin said, his black flaring out proudly, before tucking closely to his back. His brass pauldron gleamed on his left shoulder, while his vambraces shined from hours of careful attention. “My intention is to enter through Living Lake Province, seek refuge there for an evening, and then make our way to Gravesend.”

Fin’s eyes tracked her escorts from left to right. Lord Ulamar stared him down. The man had been spoiling for a fight ever since Fin laid eyes upon him. His face was familiar to Fin, though he was certain they’d never met. Only when he heard Ulamar’s surname of Telenov, did Fin recall a man from his unit by the name of Jindar Telenov, a Blood Seeker with a taste for rape and murdering children.

Fin had taken pleasure in watching Jindar bleed out from a Hayllian woman’s knife.

Fin’s mood lightened some when Abbadon and Lucky arrived. He no longer felt like he was fully in the presence of enemies, standing there at the edge of Onn. He knew that Abbadon had his back, but relations were still tense between him and Lucky. Between Lucky’s lusting after his Queen and the Fin’s vote against the Mineborn Council, there was much daylight between himself and the young man he’d trained. Fin had known, when casting his vote, what the result would be and he’d accepted that Lucky’s anger was the price for attempting to help him live the life that was stolen from him by the Geiba first, then Adramelech.

Yet a small voice in Fin’s head told him to tell Lucky to get the fuck over it.

Fin ignored that voice, though not easily.

Abbadon, Lucky, good to see you both. As I’ve told our escorts, we’ll heading toward the mountains.” Fin said, pointing toward the mountains in the distance.

We’ll enter through Living Lake Province, where I was born, and seek the hospitality of that province’s ruler for a night before we head to Gravesend. Gravesend is the true test, but as long as we rely on Protocol to guide us, we should reach the other side of this with no issue.

All told, this shouldn't take more than a few weeks to resolve.
” Fin said, looking at the assembled. He was careful with his language, for he didn’t know how vicious Drakkar would be in his anger. There was real possibility that Fin wasn’t coming back from this. Two Sapphires and a Red were a powerful trio, but the leader of the Blood Seekers wore the Red and was backed by thousands of warriors. Fin would not allow Abbadon or Lucky to come to harm.

He watched Lucky eye Kaderian with undisguised lust and bit his tongue. He hoped Kaderian would restrain herself in this case. Lucky and Abbadon already shared a Queen. He didn’t think that the bond between the two men would tolerate sharing much more.

Now that we’re all here, we should get moving. I’d like to have Onn well behind us before days end. Refrain from using Craft in the desert.” he said, more for Kaderian’s people than for Lucky and Abbadon. They didn’t need sandworms getting their trail.

They group headed out, stopping at regular intervals to make sure that everyone was still of good health, if not good cheer. When they were moving once more, some time after mid-day, Fin looked Kaderian.

Lady Yrisia, who is the ruler of Living Lake Province is these days? I remember Lady Tennian from my youth, but I don’t know if she survived the Purge.” Fin said.

I want to know who I’m dealing with before I walk in there.




Offline Kaderian Yrisia

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #5 on: Jun 14, 18, 12:09:43 PM »
It was clear, as she watched everyone watching each other, that this was going to be a long and taxing trip.  Abaddon was watching her as if she were a threat - and amusing as that was, it was agitating.  She was not a threat to Abaddon al-Sabbah.. at least not unless he did something truly stupid. 

Then there was Ulamar.  Ulamar was by far the worst of her Hunters when it came to disguising his bloodlust.  She supposed she couldn't entirely blame him - his brother had served with Tavar.  But still..  She flexed her jaw, her wings closing tightly about her shoulders as she took a few deep breaths to force some of the tension out of her muscles.

It wouldn't work long, but it would likely help.  Someone needed to not be ready to pull blades.  Especially as the new Warlord Prince to join them looked at her with a look that was all too reminiscent of the young.  It had a small smile playing on her lips.  The last time a young Warlord Prince had eyed her so obviously, Drakkar had almost gutted them.

Of course, that young Warlord Prince had been doing it while she was piecing one of their Blood Seekers back together, and had been distracting.  She raised an eyebrow, and then looked at Abaddon before chuckling.  "Hello, Prince."  It was almost a purr.  Almost.

Lady Yrisia.. who is the ruler of Living Lake Province these days?

She listened to his question, that warm amusement that Abaddon caused in her draining away as she turned her face towards Tav... Fin.    "You have been gone a very long time."  She said it quietly.  "Lady Tennian is gone, along with many others.  Living Lake is tended by its Steward, Vondar Shostakov."   She twitched her wings a little, closing her eyes.  "He was made Wingless in a battle against Hayll, if the rumors are true."

She licked at her lips, forcing her eyes open to look at him with what she hoped was a more neutral expression.  "When we cross into Askavi, I'll be certain to let him know we would like to seek his blessings for hospitality.  An escort from the Seekers should not be long once we enter the borders." 

Shouldn't be, but.. with the Jhinka threat?  It was possible they'd be busy.  Her eyes moved to Lucky, a hand touching her hip.  "A word of caution?  The Jhinka are.. dangerous.  Even to those blessed in the Darkness and Warlord Princes.  If we tell you to put your backs together, do so.  They are rarely in small numbers."  Her brow furrowed, eyes peering curiously at Abaddon and Lucky.  "If we are fortunate, we will not run into them.  Still.. better to plan for an unfortunate journey than one blessed by something as fickle as luck."

Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #6 on: Jun 18, 18, 10:03:01 AM »
Abaddon saw no threat in Kaderian, but her escort was another matter, and he could feel their agitation and even their anger.  It would only take one of their number to start a fight, and waste water better saved for the journey ahead.  They were likely a bit sore about his absconding with their Healer, but they should have been more careful, or they should have convinced her to be.  He kept Fin’s warning in mind, regarding the ferocity of an Eyrien warrior, but he had spent a lifetime being trained by one, and while one’s Darkness was not everything, it was still something, and Abaddon was at least half-Eyrien, with those instincts, and that of his Castes.  He was volatile at the best of times, which this was not.

Lucky’s appearance proved a brief distraction, as did his lack of Protocol, but they were supposed to be among friends, except for the Eyrien contingent.  It did little to smooth the perceived rough edges in the moment, and risked escalating them, based on how he eyed not only the winged Males, but Kaderian as well.  He nodded when Fin addressed him, and listened with half an ear to the path of their journey.  Abaddon already knew how they would be traveling, he and Fin had discussed it already.  He would be forced to keep an eye on the Eyriens, and make sure they did not use Craft that could doom them all.  He had the advantage of a long reach, and might well be able to throw himself into the Winds, but then where would he land?  It was not a good option, but rather a desperate one.

Abaddon could sense that one of Kaderian’s men was particularly agitated, even spoiling for a fight.  It rose from him like blood on the breeze, his psychic scent abrading Abaddon’s skin like a poorly made shirt.  He regarded the man, and then caught Fin’s eye, sending him a brief spear thread, *If that one is going to be trouble, it will mean Craft.  Craft in the desert could get us all killed.  Perhaps he should be made an example of now.*  It was not friendly, but it was direct and tactically sound.  That fellow’s anger threatened to boil over now, Abaddon had sensed it on his arrival, and he did not think Kaderian could control her party anymore than they could control her.




Offline Tavar al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #7 on: Jun 28, 18, 03:07:31 PM »
Fin was saddened to hear that Lady Tennian Varsoth had perished. Fin saw her once, in his youth, and imagined being bound to a Queen like her. She smiled a small smile to himself as he thought of what his life would be and how his life had turned out. He did not regret Elenor, or his nieces, or Abbadon, or Lucky. But he now understood that life took its own course rather than the one you wished for it to have. He returned his mind to the discussion at hand, focused upon the new ruler of Living Lake.

He survived the loss of his wings? That’s...that is a feat.” Fin said, feeling sorry for the man. He’d known warriors who’d part with both jewels without blinking, but balked at the idea of losing their wings. Even if they couldn’t fly afterward, they still had wings. Fin couldn’t even think about losing his wings. The very thought took his mind to a dark place. Instead, Fin set that aside and listened as one of Kaderian’s escorts, Pagnar, spoke up.

The so-called Steward wears the Gray, but he knows that he only rules because Prince Kurlov hasn’t taken the seat from him. But when Prince Estaorth gives the word, Prince Kurlov will take control of the Province and Shostakov will step aside. Or he will be dealt with.” Pagnar said. Ulamar and the others spoke in agreement. Fin remained silent, just in time to hear Abbadon’s thread to him.

Abbadon had a point. If not dealt with now, the man would be insufferable by the time they reached the mountains. Worse, he’d give the others courage. That made the decision easy. 

I remember Bassimar Kurlov. He was one of my trainers. He was a man of honor, rather than craven tactics. He knew a good leader when he saw one. My father saw it when he promoted him to lead one of the squadrons.” Fin said.

If Vondar Shostakov leads well, what point is there in replacing him?” Fin asked, turning his gaze on the other males.

Ulamar sneered. “Decorated or not, we will not be lead by a cripple.

And if you become a cripple, will these men stand by you? If they are warriors worth their salt, they should. Or do they consider you worthy solely because you have wings at this moment?” Fin asked.

Ulamar’s hand dropped to his weapon. “I will not hear about worthiness from a deserter and traitor to our people.

Yes, I am a deserter. A traitor? That remains to be seen. But I am not so stupid as to think that man’s worth is contained solely in his wings. Those can be removed.” Fin said.

Ulamar stepped forward. “Maybe I will remove yours and we can find out.

Know that using Craft in these deserts is death. One way or the other.” Fin said, noting Ulamar’s posture. For a moment, Fin thought that the man would back down.

Then he drew his sword and lunged and Fin sighed internally.

The first slash streaked toward his throat. Fin was drawing his own blade and stepping backward in response. Ulamar’s next two slashes were meant to disembowel him, but Fin stepped inside the man’s guard and drove his elbow into Ulamar’s temple. Ulamar fell to the sands in an undignified heap and did not rise immediately.

The rest of Kaderian’s warriors drew their weapons.

The next man who attacks me or my companions will be left for the sandworms. Hate me if you wish. You have a right to it. But I will not be harassed or intimidated by any Eyrien, not even your Warlord Prince. Put away your weapons, tend to your friend, and this ends now.” Fin said.

Challenge me again and I discuss with Drakkar why he has allowed the standards of the Blood Seekers to fall so low. After I tell him how I killed each of you and escorted Kaderian home because you were unworthy.

Fin locked eyes with each man, testing their resolve. Killing them gained him little, but he couldn't have them testing him or the others in a few hours.

*Abbadon...Lucky...stay back.*




Offline Kaderian Yrisia

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #8 on: Jul 08, 18, 11:21:22 PM »
Kaderian rolled her eyes as the males got their nerves ruffled by the mention of Shostakov.  She'd had this debate numerous times - Vondar's disfigurement did not change what he had done and did not change his capabilities in leadership.  After centuries of war, and the Storm, her people needed to get over the idea of hating those without wings.  Especially those who had lost them in battle or as prisoners.

But arguing with Ulamar about it now, in front of others, would do her no good.  Just as it had done no good in the numerous arguments before.

I will not hear about worthiness from a deserter and traitor to our people.

She turned, her eyes narrowing as she recognized that tone.  "Ulamar."  She hissed it, her wings mantling a little.  She even started moving forward, fingers curling.. and then Ulamar lunged.  Of course he did.  Tavar Andros, however, had not lost his edge in all these years.  He put Ulamar down in a heap, warning the others as they drew their weapons.

"THAT WILL BE ENOUGH."  She hissed it, turning her head this way and that to look at the Hunters who had come with her.  "Prince Estaroth said he is to come to Askavi, he is coming.  If any of you so much as scratch him without better cause than injured pride, so help me, I will disable you for the rest of your lives."

Let their imaginations run on that one. 

But while her words registered.. even made some of them flicker in their anger.. she knew it wouldn't be enough.  She had been travelling with them long enough, gotten to know them well enough, to know that they would not listen to a Healer in this moment. 

So she set the Healer inside of her to the side, marching towards Ulamar and planting a foot between his wings as he struggled to get ot his feet.  Then.. then she reached down and snapped the bone in his left wing.  The howl was sharp, piercing - she paid no mind to it.  Her dagger moved down, resting at the back of his neck as he began to shift his weight beneath her.

"You attacked the male we are escorting Ulamar.. be grateful I did not break both, and let it be a warning.  If you do this again.. I will peel them from your shoulders and leave them here in the desert, do you understand me?  Drakkar wants him alive.  I gave my word, and if you make a liar of me.." 

She fisted her free hand in his hair, as if readying herself.  The blade pressed, a little tighter until a drop of blood beaded against her steel, and she growled.  "If you make a liar of me after all of this, I will ruin you.  Am I understood?"

The stillness below her had her ready, willing.  Ulamar had tested her too many times for her to lose any sleep if she hurt him.  She'd like to say it wouldn't bother her to kill him - she knew better.  She was still a Healer - and it would bother her. But she'd do it.

"Yes, Lady Yrisia."

She slowly released him, taking a step back before eyeballing the wing.  "A good thing we are not flying.  I'll bind that up for you, and tend to it when we cross the border.  The rest of you... pay attention and do not piss me off.. or I'll do worse to you.  At this point, having the deserter be my escort is more attractive than dealing with any of you stupid brutes."

Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #9 on: Jul 11, 18, 03:49:10 PM »
Abaddon was beginning to think that strangers took his relative silence for a lack of interest in confrontation.  That was very far from being true.  He was, perhaps, too interested in confrontation, but he balanced out that desire with the cunning and vision of the Black Widow, even of his Castes conspired to make him inclined towards irritability.  Fin knew this, of course, and understood how to read the Red Black Widow Warlord Prince’s agitation.  Abaddon knew trouble when he saw it.  Years of hunting the Spider’s enemies had granted him that at least.  He was always able to tell who would fight, and who would run, perhaps not at first, but near the end he had a feel for it.  Few enough wanted to cross someone with his Darkness, fewer still were those that wished to trouble someone of his Castes, but there was always someone willing to roll the dice.  The Eyrien in question looked like trouble, and it pleased Abaddon that Fin took his advice seriously.

He rolled his shoulders uncomfortable as the talk of lost wings was exchanged.  He had never known what it was like to have wings, though Leila had given him a small sliver of hope.  The price for that hope being fulfilled was terribly high, and Abaddon did not know if he had it in him to demand a literal pound of flesh off of someone else’s back, friend or foe.  He made no comment, but he listened to what was said, as the mention of a Gray was enough to mark as a concern.  It did not fill him with any sense of trepidation; a Gray poisons as easily as a White, and few enough will do well with a Black Widow’s poison in their veins, and few enough were constantly on guard for such an invasion.  By all accounts, these Eyriens were combative, getting close would not be an issue.  Fin had warned him not to underestimate the prowess of Eyrien warriors, and he would not, but neither should they, in all their potential years, underestimate him.  Darkness and years were not always the final arbiters, and it was not in Abaddon to shrink.

Abaddon had trained with Fin for his entire life.  He knew when the man was preparing for something.  He watched his feet, watched the way he set his balance.  He was more than ready for the fool Eyrien’s attack, and even Abaddon had to shake his head very slightly.  Attacking in anger was a good way to get killed in this sort of fight.  A brawl to work out frustration was one thing, but this was to draw blood, potentially to the death.  It was when the rest drew their weapons that Abaddon quietly drew in Power, sucking the air out of the space around him, making it known that he and his Red were ready.  The Jewel pulsed in the abdomen of the spider that was the ring he still wore.  Better to kill them all here, with solid stone under their feet, than to let them take to the air out in the desert.  Abaddon would see Kaderian safely home himself, if it came to that.  He did not snarl, or nod when Fin sent him his command on a Sapphire thread, he simply waited and did not advance.

Kaderian took control then, once again, leaving Abaddon unimpressed by the Eyrien Escorts she was with.  They were undisciplined and uncontrolled, a far cry from the man that Abaddon had grown up with.  He let his Power fade, along with the sense of his presence, and looked to Fin, gave Kaderian a nod, and moved to his horse to check its tack and harness.




Offline Tavar al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #10 on: Jul 20, 18, 12:34:43 PM »

After that day, it was clear that their party was really two separate groups traveling in the same direction. Fin, Abbadon, and Lucky represented Pruul. The Blood Seekers saw to themselves, interacting with the others only when necessary. Kaderian was the thread between the groups, acting mostly as Drakkar’s voice. The groups came together during rests and at meal times, but mostly stayed separate. Ulamar still glared daggers at Fin, but if the Warlord notice, he made no comment. The Eyriens kept to themselves and did not attempt to harass Fin. They did, however, keep their distance from Abbadon, with the word “abomination” heard among the group, though outside the Red-jeweled male's earshot.

Moving westward, they encountered caravans and traders headed to Onn on business. Fin’s thoughts darkened as he realized that the summer festivals were not far off. If this madness dragged on, he would miss the highsummer festival. If he was truly unfortunate, he wouldn’t return until Autumn or Winsol, long after Elenor and the Sabbah returned from the migration. Fin’s mood grew somewhat surly after that realization, wings flapping in annoyance during their walks.The heat was tolerable during the daylight hours, so they traveled on until just before sunset to make camp. More than once, they had to warn the Eyriens against using Craft in the desert. Fin could not shake Prince Omid’s warning from earlier in the season about the sandworms.

They are waking, Lord Sabbah, and growing more active. I don’t think anyone is prepared for what’s coming.

He wasn’t looking forward to the long hike, but he wasn’t ready to risk flying yet. Not with the rumblings he’d been hearing at night among the sands.

The western mountains drew closer and closer each day. Fin missed his clan, Judiah, and Elenor. Even the stories he overheard during the night as the Eyriens told their stories, things he remembered from his youth, didn’t balm his soul. He wanted to march right up to Drakkar, punch him in the face, and leave. That would be his statement, his only statement, about where he’d been all these centuries. But that action risked the lives of Abbadon and Lucky in the short-term, and the lives of the Sabbah in the long-term.

He would see this through.

The end of that first week saw them arrive at the foot of the mountains. From afar, they appeared sheer, with no handholds or footholds to climb. The Blood Seekers murmured in approval, long-sick of walking and ready to take the skies. Once more, Fin cautioned them against doing that which even he wished he could do.

Two miles south is a footpath that leads into the mountains. It’s slow going, but we’d make good distance by nightfall. I want to be out of Pruul completely before we take flight. There was once a Blood Seeker outpost in the mountains. Does it still exist?” Fin asked, turning to the Eyriens.

Nicolar, second to Ulamar, spoke up. “If you’re thinking of Deephome, it’s still there. Prince Kurlov has moved operations to Stonekeep, but Deephome has a healthy contingent of warriors. They may not have much to share, but we’ll be able to restock before reaching Starfall.” Nicolar said.

Fin adjusted his vambraces. “How long would it take to reach Deephome, once we’re in the mountains?

A two days. Three, at most.” Nicolar said.

Fin nodded and adjusted his vambraces. “After Deephome, we’ll work out flying to Starfall.

The Eyriens grumbled, but they heeded his words. Fin lead the group to the path and up into the mountains. The first night in the mountains was far cooler than the deserts, and morale improved. They established guards for the camp at night, with Fin sometimes staying on the entire night to ensure that everyone was safe. Ever since their arrival in the mountains, Fin had been both anxious and excited to see Askavi again. He maintained his weapons to keep the thoughts at bay, speaking only when he was directly addressed.

The first day in the mountains passed without incident, allowing the group to make great time.  The mountains were beautiful, though the winds whistling along the rock reminded him of the Runs. Fin hadn’t flown anything so challenging as the Khaldharon run in centuries. Perhaps, if there was time, he would visit one of the runs and test himself. He wanted to know if he still had it, had the deadly edge that was once part of his adolescence.

By the time they set camp that evening, Nicolar was optimistic that they could reach the outskirts of Deephome by the following afternoon. They’d be able to rest inside a fortified location and restock their supplies before they arrived at Starfall. Fin even allowed himself to rest this night, dreaming of Elenor and Judiah awaiting him at the edge of Onn when he finally returned home. Amira would hug him as though the world was ending and Shadya, his little Spider, would cross her arms and pretend to be wholly turned off by the entire display, but Fin could see her smiling despite herself. He woke in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to make the final push to Deephome, and prepared himself what lay beyond. They woke in the morning and ate.

The Eyriens refused, pointedly, to carry Abaddon.

Fin looked to the Black Widow Warlord Prince directly.

If it isn’t an issue for you, I’ll carry you until we get to Deephome. We can rest there and then be in Starfall by tomorrow or the following day. What do you think?” Fin asked.

Better to ask and be sure than accidentally set off his friend through carelessness.




Offline Lucky al-Izar

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #11 on: Jul 20, 18, 01:14:35 PM »
Lucky al-Izar remained unmoved by the Eyrien males. They moved against Fin, they talked, they existed, but the Warlord Prince knew that Fin could handle himself. He wouldn’t look up to the man if he couldn’t. His hand remained poised to call in a sword, one of his own making, smoothly polished and inscribed with his own mark, but he did not call it in. Not once as they travelled. Instead, he watched the other males with almost curiosity. The way they moved. The way they talked. What they ate. He listened to their war stories, wrapped up in them like he had been to Gunnar’s as a child. Slowly, as the days drug on, he began to pick up a few of their movements. The way their wings folded with ease, the way they walked, the way they kept their gaze on the horizon, expecting a threat any moment.

The Mineborn had never been around so many Eyriens in his life and he absolutely loved it, even if he wouldn’t hesitate to kill any of them if they threatened their small group. The long journey did some to repair the tensions between Lucky and Fin as well, the younger male joining his mentor on watch most nights. Sometimes they just sat there in silence, looking out at the horizon, and other times, Lucky asked Fin about Askavi and what he could expect. However, where there was anxiety and anticipation nested within Fin, there was only breathless excitement within Lucky. He had waited his entire life to see Askavi, to breathe in the air and rest his eyes on the mountains. The few glimpses that Eleanor had given him were not enough.

So it was with joy that he rose the morning they were set to fly, feeling satisfaction that he could enter his ancestors land in the air.

“Better hold on tight, Prince. Wouldn’t want you to fall.” Lucky smirked and a few of Kaderian’s guards laughed, thrilling the Mineborn. He might be travelling with Abaddon and they might share a Queen, but he did not like the man. There was something about him that buried into Lucky’s skin, something that gnawed at him. But Mother Nights tits, he couldn’t figure out what it was.

Offline Kaderian Yrisia

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #12 on: Jul 23, 18, 10:40:31 AM »
She didn't stop the males from their pointed whispers at the Black Widow male.. but she did watch them.  She even tended to stay close to him, if only to prevent the males from doing more stupid things.  Drakkar needed to bend them over a damned cliff and beat their asses, as far as she was concerned.  True, this Hunt had been aggravating and long.  But they had known, when they'd agreed to go, that it could take years.  That it hadn't.. well, they should be damned grateful.

And polite.

They were neither.  And so she chose to spend her time closer to Abaddon than to them.  She'd never hated the mixed bloods, though she did pity their lack of wings when that happened.  She felt more than pity, for Abaddon.  His wings had been stolen from him.  He had been meant to soar through the sky, and it had been stolen from him. 

She didn't try to hold his hand.  She didn't try to purr or pretend at love with him - but neither did she treat him like the abomination the others called him.  He was what he was.  As far as she was concerned, he was ten times better at living than Ulamar and his damned cronies.

Still.. they were reaching a part of the journey that she had wondered about.  How was Abaddon going to keep up?  Without wings, he could not fly.  He would be much like the Landen in this case, where he could either walk or climb - but it would slow him down.  Or would he choose some other method?  One that was probably out of her capabilities? 

She had spent the last few days remaining quiet and by his side, but now she reached out to gently touch his arm.  "Your plan, Prince?"  She asked it quietly, her eyes lifting to watch his face.  There was the same gleam in them that she'd had in Pruul - coming home hadn't changed that.  But then, she'd never really cared what others thought about her tastes or behaviors.  Few Healers had the gumption to remain with the Blood Seekers, and few could handle Drakkar's temper tantrums.

She could, and did, and so that was that.

The Winds.  Of course he would.  She looked a little envious, just for a moment, and hten inclined her head.  "As you wish."  She nodded to the Hunters, watching them take wing. She wanted them up front.  Where she could keep an eye on them, though she didn't say that aloud. 

Her eyes turned to Fin, narrowing for a moment in thought.  "I'll fly beside you on this climb, Fin al-Sabbah."  She'd even managed to drain most of the disdain from her voice during their travels, when it came to his new name.  It was easier to keep her temper if she didn't call him Tavar, anyways.  "We can make sure the young one here doesn't dash himself against the mountains." 

She sounded almost wry with that statement - but then she'd seen plenty of young bucks miscalculate, and need their wings set after a bad draft.  That, after all, was a big part of her life.

Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #13 on: Jul 23, 18, 12:11:58 PM »
The problem with most people that Abaddon did not know, or that did not know him, was the the assumption that he somehow cared about their thoughts or their opinions.  There was precisely one person in the entire caravan whose perspective and opinion and thoughts mattered to him, and that was Fin al-Sabbah.  Lucky was a barking stray, made bold by unearned circumstances, and largely irrelevant to the journey.  He was not present for Fin, but rather to stoke his own considerable ego in the company of other winged elitists who, thus far, had thoroughly failed to impress.  That the entourage functioned as two distinct units was a simple and pragmatic fact, as meaningless as reminding him that the sun would rise the next day.  It was true, but ultimately changed nothing.

He rode or walked, and socialized very little.  Abaddon was not rude, he spoke when he was spoken too, and occasionally engaged Fin on conversation or query, but for the most part he was irritated and watchful.  Craft was not used as they crossed to the mountains, and for that, at least, he could be grateful.  The winged fools had not gotten them all killed, even Lucky understood that danger.  They finally came to a halt so Fin could poll the Eyriens for up to date directions.  Abaddon knew from their own conversations before the journey that Fin had not come this way in decades, maybe even centuries, and he had not crossed into Askavi at all, even if he had reason to travel in this direction.  He listened, having nothing to add to the discussion about navigation.  Thus far, the only thing he was impressed with about Askavi was the names of their forts and locations; Deephome and Starfall both had a romantic tone he would not have expected from the men that traveled with them.  Kaderian could perhaps muster such poetry.

The mountains were luxurious.  Abaddon was prepared for the journey, but the change in climate remained a surprise that he could not help but enjoy.  As they went into the mountains, there was a distinct air of humidity.  There was moisture, water in the air, in a way that never happened in Pruul.  He could smell water on the air as it blew down between the rocks and crevices that they laboriously climbed, and some of the views literally took his breath away.  Fin had to call him once, to get him moving, as he spied what could only have been a snow-covered mountaintop in the distance.  Frozen water.  He shook his head at the riches in these mountains, and continued on.  They made camp, and as ever, Abaddon silently watched and kept himself busy.  He was not ungrateful for Kaderian’s care in the face of her Males bigotry, and he understood that she did so, in part to prevent further violence in the party.  Abaddon largely assumed she did so for their sake, because he could kill them all while they slept, a simple scratch and oblivion their reward.

Abaddon showed his gratitude by asking Kaderian about the mountains, and if she had learned to fly in such places, surrounded by such visual and actual riches.  In time, they would reach the point that Fin had warned him about.  The point where they would have to fly, but Fin had already provided him with the necessary directions, and he would likely beat them to their first stop.    When Kaderian inquired, he smiled very slightly, and replied as quietly as she had asked him.  ”I will Ride the Winds.  The strands here are enough, but they require more Darkness than most.”  The Winds were not a mystery, and in some ways, they had reminded him of the Webs he worked with all the time, as he observed their increasing strength the closer they got to Askavi proper.  Abaddon turned his head slowly to Lucky after the boy’s attempt at wit.  ”Your need for the approval of strangers who are too afraid to speak to an ‘abomination’ only displays your lack of character and theirs.  It is no wonder that your first act as leader of your little Council was to leave Pruul behind.”

He turned to address the Eyrien party, ”For those of you that might be thinking Fin al-Sabbah’s position among you is somehow weakened by my absence, understand this.  While you told stories, while you bragged about your conquests, I worked and I wove a Web between you all and Fin.  His well-being is tied to yours.  Pray he remembers how to fly well.”  It was a lie, but the Eyriens did not know that.  Abaddon turned to Kaderian, ”You are, of course, excepted from this binding.”  He sent a spear thread to Fin, requesting his permission to depart, and leaned towards Kaderian as though he might kiss her.  She noticed his smile though, just before she felt a pull of Red power, and he disappeared in a roar all but hidden by the wind.




Offline Tavar al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #14 on: Jul 23, 18, 03:54:56 PM »
Fin was not pleased that Lucky seemed to seek approval from the Blood Seekers. He knew that meeting true Eyriens had been a dream of Lucky’s. While he was surprised by it, it still rubbed him a little raw. He’d taught the younger a few years now, watched over him like a favored Ward. Seeing the Blood Seekers take advantage of Lucky’s hunger for approval provoked Fin’s possessive instincts. Lucky was, in a way, his. His student. His friend. His responsibility. There were people who needed him to return from Askavi whole and safe and Fin would see that he did. While he hoped that the bond-brothers would develop a better relationship, Fin recognized that he could not bring them to that place. They had to find it for themselves.

Abbadon said that he would take the Winds to Deephome, making Fin breathe just a bit easier. He owed it to Ghanima to see that Abbadon returned home safely. Even more, he owed it to Drakkar to protect the young man. Abbadon’s friendship and faith in him could not be rewarded by simple thank-yous. Fin was glad that Abbadon had ignored all of his attempts to keep him out of this journey. He sensed that Abbadon’s wisdom and ability to see the strands of fate would be sorely needed by the time that all of this ended.

Very well, Abbadon. Be safe and wait for us before you engage with them. I do not want them using surprise as an excuse to do you harm. Though I know that they will regret trying.” Fin said.

He watched Abbadon warn the Eyriens against violence against him. The Warlord had to hide the smirk on his face even as he pondered what Abbadon said. Could he actually do that? Abbadon was one of the few Black Widows that Fin could say that he trusted without reservation (Shadya being the other), but the thought gave Fin pause. He...would bring it up later (in private) and ask Abbadon if that was possible. Fin didn’t know that he really wanted to know the answer, but all knowledge was worth having.

The Blood Seekers, for their parts, watched Abbadon with equal parts suspicion and anger as he vanished into the Winds. They relaxed, only slightly, when he was gone.

Let’s make one final sweep of this place. I won’t leave the Jhinka with anything to track us.” Fin said, glad that the day had not yet begun. Kaderian’s offer to fly with him was met with a nod of acceptance. She’d even used his name, rather than his birth name, which earned her some of Fin’s respect. He did not think that they would ever see eye-to-eye on anything, as she supported Drakkar, but they both agreed that her companions were being egregiously idiotic in their prejudices. They hated Abbadon for things that he had no control over, rather than grant him respect for the things he’d done.

He spoke to Kaderian. “Once we arrive at Deephome, it would help if you stood with me. I’d rather not have someone turn us away out of spite. Will you help me?

As Fin asked his question, Niconar appeared in his periphery. Fin looked to the male, and Niconar stepped forward with a quick nod.

My cousin is the quartermaster of Deephome. If there’s anything they can spare, I think he’ll be able to help us.” Niconar said, his gaze passing between Kaderian and Fin. Fin nodded, recognizing that Niconar’s choice to inform him probably wasn’t popular among his fellow warriors. So long as they kept their opinions short and sweet, Fin didn’t care what they said about him.

Thank you, Lord Niconar. That’s appreciated. We don’t want to put anyone in a bad way, but--

A Blood Seeker's scream split the morning air. Fin looked for the source of the disturbance and found Ulamar gripping feebly at his neck, where a feather tipped arrow protruded from his body. The man’s cry had become a choking gurgle on the blood that now dripped from his mouth. The other Blood Seekers conjured their swords and shields, but one male, Pellonar, was just a second too late. Another arrow slammed into his eyeball and he fell to the floor dead as well.

AMBUSH!” Annotar screamed, and the Blood Seekers moved to stand back-to-back, searching for the source of the attack. Fin was already shielding himself and Kaderian. An arrow bounced harmlessly off of Niconar’s shield. Fin looked around for Lucky, but he didn’t have long.

A low and deep basso sound filled the mountains around them. That sound was met by an answering cry of what must have been hundreds of voices. Fin couldn’t be sure, though he didn’t need to be. Winged shapes leaped from the rocky outcroppings above and around them, filling the sky with forms that were definitely not Eyrien.

The Jhinka had always been good at hiding their numbers.

Lucky, shields! Lord Niconar, take charge of your Blood Seekers! To the skies, now! Deephome is our only chance!” Fin said, amplifying his voice for everyone’s benefit.

A spear crashed against Fin’s Sapphire shield with thunderous force and shattered to splinters. The Jhinka who threw it, draped in something that looked like buckskin (he hoped), was taking another spear from someone and lining up his next throw. Fin fired a Purple Dusk power bolt that blew through the man’s chest and dropped him to the ground.

The rest of the Jhinka howled in anger and raced toward them. Fin drew his daggers.

Kaderian, do you have a weapon?

If she didn’t, Fin would demand that she take the sword at his hip. He thought he heard someone curse at him from the Blood Seekers’ position, but he didn’t care right now. They could lambast him if they lived.

I’m going to draw their attention. Get to Abbadon down at Deephome as fast as you can.” he said to Lucky and Kaderian. Out of the corner of his eye, Fin could see the remaining Blood Seekers fighting as a unit and cutting through the Jhinka that had landed behind them to cut off their escape route. He hated their personal foibles, but he was glad that these warriors did not panic in the face of an ambush.

They would get through this.

On a spear thread, he reached for Abbadon’s mind and was surprised when Abbadon reached for him first. Once more, Fin questioned if Abbadon’s jest about setting up a web was truly a jest, but he didn’t care right now. 

*Changes of plans, my friend. Tell Deephome we’re coming and have company.*

*Grave news, my friend.*

Fin's blood went cold.

*The Jhinka have taken Deephome.*




Offline Lucky al-Izar

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #15 on: Jul 24, 18, 12:54:59 PM »

Lucky bristled, his volatile temper sparking. Kesare had showed him how to control his rage, but that does not mean he always wanted too. “Do not speak to me about Pruul. You worked for years to destroy it. I would say that displays far more of a lack of character.” Abaddon could not escape the fact that he had been a pawn for his father. He had fought for the man, killed for him. With all his knowledge, all his self-righteous smugness, he had not done what Pruul needed. Only the Mineborn had. For every person that called them children, unschooled, small, undeserving of their place, he wanted to scream at them. Where had they been when Adramelch was destroying the territory? What had they done to stop it?

Nothing.

Lucky was glad when the prick left, leaving him alone with the Eyriens. His people. Abaddon would never understand that and even though Fin had warned him, told him of the disapproval he would face from those in Askavi, Lucky did not listen. He couldn’t. Not when he had dreamed of this since he had been alone in the mines. Not when he was finally,with a pack of Eyriens. His heart rose in his chest, so full that he felt like he could explode. As the mist parted, the fine flakes of water wetting his cheeks like tears, Lucky laid eyes on a forest for the first time. A tree. Green, tall—so much taller than he had imagined.

*Fin! Fin! Look. A tree. Lots of trees. Mother Night. Mother fucking night. Did you know they grew so tall? Fucking shit, I have never seen anything so wild in my entire life. And LOOK. A river. Can we go down and—*

He sensed something. Something strange. As a Warlord Prince, he always had his senses spread out, far out, with the help of his Sapphire. It was like, flies….But unaccustomed to Askavi, Lucky did not shield right away and arrows rained down on the party. Dogging one as it whirled by, the Warlord Prince quickly listened to Fin and threw up Sapphire shields around the entire group. He spared a skin tight one for the weaker female as Fin gave his orders.

“Stay behind me as we fly.” He commanded Kaderian. He did not care if she thought him a child. He was a Warlord Prince and if she did not listen than he would make her listen. The instinct to protect warred with his desire to kill as a wild joy took ahold of him. This was a truly stunning place. Askavi. Where Warlord Princes could kill to their hearts content. Taking flight, Lucky kept the shields around the pair as they flew, his Purple Dusk whirling around the shield like sharp knives, decimating anything in its path.

The pair crested a hill of trees and Deephome unfurled in front of them like a battle field. Bodies littered the ground like flowers, blood soaked into the grass. Blood ran down the sides of the fortress and the heat of death still warmed the earth. A wild smile crept over the Mineborn’s face and the Killing Edge beckoned. This, this is what he had dreamed Askavi would be like.

As they drew closer to the fortress, the Jhinka began to fall from the air like the flies they were, their bodies hitting the ground with a thump. The Prince looked around and sensed Abaddon close. Spying him on the roof of the fortress, Lucky sent a single word to the male.

*Truce?*

When he received agreement, the Warlord Prince landed hard next to his bond-brother, the stone crumbling under his feet.

Then the Spider of Pruul and the Warlord Prince of the Mineborn rose to the Killing Edge together, side by side.

Lucky al-Izar let the rage wash through him, his eyes dilating. As a swath of Jhinka approached them he took a deep breath, gathering his strength, and as he exhaled, so did his Sapphire. The rage that had so filled the Prince his entire life, dark dripping anger that had consumed him, turned him mindless, caused him to lose focus, flowed outward. It infected the minds of the Jhinka, freezing many of them in their tracks and causing others to claw at their own bodies, unable to express the intense emotion flowing through them. Still others turned on their own kind, eviscerating them with first swords, then their own hands.

Just as Lucky’s Saphhire froze the Jhinka, Abaddon’s Red snaked out. It was a brief surge of Craft felt at a the level of the Opal, just enough to cast the Web wide. Abaddon's expression was that of a snarl, but he barely moved as his prepared trap spread across the startled Jhinka, silvery strands just barely visible in the sun's light. Screams erupted from the enemy, where ever a strand touch, poison melted flesh or caused it to mottle into sickening purples and melting reds, and they fell from the sky melting and dying.

Where there had been thirty enemies before, there was now only blood.

Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #16 on: Jul 24, 18, 02:57:35 PM »
Abaddon sent another spear thread to Fin, the distance already bridged between them., *With Deephome fallen, if you flee for it, they will think they have you.  Flee then.  Lead them to me.*

Finding the dead at Deephome had pushed him closer to the edge.  His irritation had been a constant companion for the entire trip, hence he had avoided conversation, and kept himself busy.  Along with his preparations for the trip, he had woven and woven along the way, listening with only half and ear to the battle stories of the Blood Seekers, and recaling not only Fin’s training, but Lady Kesare’s as well.  If Fin was like a Father to him, Kesare was the only mother he had ever known.  She had been his teacher, his mentor, and the only woman that was a constant in his life growing up.  Even Adramelech had recognized her talent, and the need for her training for his gifted heir.  The heir he had foreseen, the heir he had stolen and then shaped to fit his needs.  Abaddon did not feel any further need for restraint.  The dead were piled high, Eyriens and Jhinka alike, the differences largely in their attire; the men in skins numbered among the more numerous dead, and the rest were Eyriens.

They had been overwhelmed.  Even with Craft, there was only so much even a disciplined unit can do against a swarm.  He hoped that those that were dead at Deephome were compatriots of those that pursued Fin now.  There were be less of them.  Fin might not have the Eyriens of the fortress to help him, but he had a notable advantage that it seemed the Blood Seekers overlooked, or feared.  Abaddon meant to do little to assuage their trepidation, but he had no doubt that he would be noticed.  As soon as he heard Fin was headed his way, he began to set his trap, to weave his trap.  He dashed through the fortress and made his way to the rooftop where the landing pad had been, and once back there he began his work.  They were no longer in Pruul, they were no longer at risk of being devoured by worms, Craft could be used in more than quick bursts or for internal empowerment.  Webs would not act as worm lures.

There was no reason to hold back.

There was no reason for restraint.

The Black Widow Warlord Prince conjured prepared Traps and Webs, Craft that had been ready and waiting, Craft accessible only to a Black Widow.  There was a reason The Spider had cultivated him, and a reason that the Spider himself had ruled Pruul so completely, and it was not simply because of the efficiency of a Prince.  It was because of the prescience and predatory patience of the Black Widow, it was because of his ability to plan for the long game, and to let his enemies come to him.  It was madness, in the end, that was his undoing, not his considerable skills.  Skills that had been passed down, skills that Abaddon had cultivated to pursue The Spider’s enemies, skills whose application would have been dangerous out in the desert, but that were freely available now.

Abaddon felt Fin grow closer, saw little more than dots on the horizon of an otherwise pristine view, and here he used Craft and his Jewels to pluck Jhinka from the sky, throwing them into each other, and breaking up their formation.  He both slowed the pursuit, and thinned the mob with whatever interference he could wreak from a distance; he telekinetically pulled Jhinka into each other, jerked hard at wings sending them spiraling out of the sky or into mountain sides, and just when they were close enough, he indiscriminately reached into their minds and tore away the delicate complex and tangled skeins of their minds.  Some forgot how to fly, some simply fell into seizures, others went limp, while still others screamed at the violation and plummeted to earth.  The anger in Abaddon only grew, as he felt the tap of a Sapphire thread.  He opened it immediately, not checking whose thread it was, and heard Lucky’s call for a truce.  It had not been necessary, but Abaddon agreed, before he fell deeper into the Black Widow’s mien.

Another prepared Spell was launched by the Black Widow Warlord Prince, this one finding Kaderian, securing their most important asset; the Healer.  She would only be aware of the brief touch of the web as it touched upon whatever shields already protected her, this one adding a Red layer that would hold in place until Abaddon was called on to dismiss it.  Closer and closer they came, and The Spider’s Son user more webs, some simply tangled wings, others caused their targets to burst into flames, there were larger traps to bring to bear, but they had to be closer, had to be still.  Lucky rushed in, and landed hard nearby him, rock and gravel crunching under the force of the Warlord Prince’s velocity and shields.  With unintended synchronicity with the flying annoyance that now stood with him, Abaddon consciously stepped onto the Killing Edge with a soft sigh of relief.  Senses sharpened, and when Lucky unleashed a Sapphire Psychic assault, driving the Jhinka into a wild, uncontrolled mindless rage forcing them to collectively hesitate, the Black Widow Warlord Prince unfurled his largest Web, and watched the once fearsome warriors add their dead and dying to the corpses already present.

*Circle on me.* Abaddon widely communicated with Fin, Kaderian, and the Blood Seekers.  Lucky would kill anyone that tried to disrupt his work, for some reason, he was sure of that, and that meant all he had to do was kill the enemy by any means at his disposal.  And he was right, as Abaddon worked, his focus on the Webs, Lucky circled around the Black Widow, the silver of his sword dancing in and out of flesh, keeping his bond-brother safe.  *Bring them closer.*  The suggestion a demand now.  He did not really care that they were Jhinka, he did not care that they had killed countless Eyriens right there beneath his feet, all he cared about was the release, all he wanted was to lay the enemy low, and bask in the fear and respect of those left alive.  Abaddon had his moments in Pruul, but not like this, not with so many targets available for his wrath, and not with so few risks to fully engaging.  He used many of his webs, touching on supplies that had rested in his Psychic Cabinet for some future need that turned out to be now.  He tore into them, all while using only a trickle of his Jewel’s reserves, enough to deliver explosive webs, webs that lit Jhinka on fire, and others that tightened like sharp wire and cut through leathery wings, or sheared them from the backs of the doomed.

Jhinka died and died in varied and horrible ways.  The Eyriens had called him abomination, let them believe it now.  Abaddon swiftly vanished Webs better left outside of close quarters combat, and conjured his knife, wicked and curved, with a rainbow reflection that hinted at webs woven along its edge.  A spectrum of breakaway shields snapped into place about Abaddon, and a bracer appeared about his left forearm, a reel of silk wound about it, ready for deadly use.  Without a thought, as the remnants of the swarm closed about them, he moved to stand at Lucky’s back, and waited for the rest of his prey to come to him.  He wasn’t just a predator, he was the apex predator there on that rooftop, lying in wait like spiders often do.  His rage was a bottomless well, and it shone from his golden eyes with wild glee and unsatisfied hunger.




Offline Kaderian Yrisia

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #17 on: Jul 24, 18, 03:26:28 PM »
Jhinka.  It had her teeth baring as she heard the sounds.  Shields snapped in place.. but seeing Ulamar fall hurt in a way she hadn't expected.  Yes, he was an ass.  And yes, she'd wanted to cripple him herself.  But that was different.  That wasn't fucking Jhinka killing him.

She didn't have the time to save him.  She wasn't some young thing that thought itself invincible.  She was able to lock eyes with him, to reach out with a soft tendril of spell and turn off his pain, her hand touching her heart in salute before she pulled free her dagger.

Pellonar.  Ulamar.  She hissed, tucking the long dagger against her arm as she mantled her wings and waited.  This wasn't her first ambush.. though the sheer numbers bothered her.  If they took to the air unwisely, they'd be dead before they got high enough.

And on the ground?  They'd be swarmed.  She fucking hated Jhinka.

She let out a shriek of pain and rage as she felt something slide under her wing.  From the corner of her eye, she saw the spear sail past.  Fucking monsters.

She pulled free a second dagger, slapping a spear out of the air.  She couldn't fight with swords, or spear.  That was true.  But a girl picked up hobbies when they were surrounded by idiot males.  Daggers?  Those were hers.  She smirked in satisfaction at seeing the Jhinka who had clipped her fall, her hand flexing as she called her dagger back to her hand.

Muscle tear.  It could have been worse.  Whoever had shielded her there in that moment had probably kept her wing on her body with that throw.  Her eyes slid through the morass, searching over the numbers and the chances.. they didn't look good.

Fortunately, there were Darker males here.  Their shields settled in like extra clothes, and she took a deep breath before glancing at Fin.  His offer of a sword was appreciated.. but she knew it would be silly to take it now.

"Don't worry about my sword arm, Sabbah.  You can give me pointers on it when we survive."  She growled the response, taking to the sky to follow after the puppy.  Aggravating, that.. but it was wise, too.  She wouldn't deny that the youth had a good bit of rage to spill out across the field.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw the Jhinka leaping for Fin, and she flipped around, her wings tucking tight as she barrelled for the thing.  Drakkar would kill her if he saw it.. but he wasn't here, was he?  One little muscle tear wouldn't stop her, not after she'd already sealed it off. 

She didn't try to stab the beast.  She simply slapped her palm against it as she dove past, letting a burst of white feed into the thing's arms.  It's strength faltered, and the expression of confusion she caught amused her as she pinwheeled about. 

"You take their heads, Sabbah.  I've got you."  She had to keep Fin al-Sabbah alive.  She'd promised his Queen, and she'd told Drakkar she would bring Tavar Andros. 

The flight was infuriating.  Everywhere they flew, she caught signs of death.  Teh Jhinka had swarmed.. and the closer they got to Deephome, the worse it felt.  She knew before they arrived what she'd find, and she braced for it. Even so, it hit like a punch to the gut. 

Her face hardened, hand tightening painfully on the dagger at her arm.  More than once she had to loose a weakening spell at those of their enemies that might get in too close.. and more than once Fin finished them off with his blade.  It was disturbing, how well they worked together.

It also didn't matter.  She circled, as her Black Widow Warlord Prince commanded.  And she tucked in tight, spinning in her way to try to keep an eye on her males.  They were HERS, and she wasn't going to let these Jhinka bastards claim them from her, damnit.

To the left.  We've got a bulkier one coming.  Take that one's head, and they might panic.  They've been more... coordinated of late. It was a guess.   She couldn't be certain that it would make the swarm less effective - yet.

But she was fairly certain it would work.  And if she was wrong?  Well, if she was wrong, the bulkier male dying would just be one less warrior to worry about.  She spun about, keepign her eyes on Fin, on her surviving Hunters, on Lucky and Abaddon.  Not for the first time, she was grateful she had learned to tune out the pain and death of a battlefield.. else this would be disabling.

As it was, it was just distracting.

"Any good ideas?"

Offline Tavar al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #18 on: Jul 24, 18, 11:53:28 PM »
Fin had never seen this many Jhinka in his life. The worst fights and raids he’d seen had shown him just wild packs or even small gatherings. The number of Jhinka before him now spoke to years of procreation and preparation on a scale that he hadn’t known since the Great War. If the Jhinka were truly growing smarter, as he’d heard in whispers from the Blood Seekers, then it was possible that they’d emulated the Eyriens’ preparations for the Great War in order to destroy the rulers of Askavi. 

And they’d been just over the mountain range from Pruul this whole time. Fin’s blood ran colder.

Deephome would be avenged.

Kaderian refused his sword and it was just as well, because Fin would need it. He drew it and cut down the large Jhinka that Kaderian had disabled, buying her time to get clear from where his body would fall. He let Lucky and Kaderian run for the edge and make their leaps, dropping his own shields. Black, membranous wings drew tight and hard against Fin’s back. Cool wind rushed past his face where a spear had missed him by mere inches. The Jhinka warrior who owned lunged forward, arms wide, attempting to tackle Fin to the ground.

The Warlord sunk deep into his Sapphire and saw, in crystal clarity, where the man’s throat was weakest. Fin plunged his dagger there and felt it bite into flesh, muscle, and bone to snuff its life in a single decisive moment. Hot blood gushed from the wound, some of it landing on Fin’s hand. He vanished the daggers and drew his sword, not even sparing a glance for the gurgling beast sinking to the floor. A rock from a sling smashed into his shoulder and Fin roared in anger, casting a glance in the direction it came from. Four armed Jhinka warriors, some wearing necklaces that could only be the teeth of his people, were headed in his direction with more joining them.

Fin spun and sprinted for the edge of the cliff and leaped into the open sky.

The Jhinka took wing and followed him.

Below, he saw Lucky and the Blood Seekers taking positions around the Black Widow Warlord Prince. He’d trained both men, once upon a time, encouraging them to see with more than just their eyes. The Sapphire and the Red worked in tandem, turning both the skies and ground into a Killing Field that would terrify all but the most battle-hardened of warriors. Hayll had looked like this during the occupation. People dead in the streets with more being beaten and ravaged by the conquering warriors of Askavi. The fiercest, deadliest warriors in both realms reaped the spoils of their conquests without regard to the lives they took, the jewels they broke, or the people they ruined.

Were they truly so different from the Jhinka? 

The Blood Seekers streaked across the sky in coordinated formations that kept the Jhinka within Abbadon’s and Lucky’s sights. The winged savages fell from the sky like man-sized raindrops. Bodies were  burned, broken, and bleeding. But here and there, a few of the Jhinka averted death at the last possible moment with a sharp turn here or a deft dodge there. Others climbed higher into the sky, leading their fellow warriors just outside the reach of the Warlord Princes. Fin noted the ice coating the ground and saw that all of the Warlord Princes had risen to the Killing Edge. He silently encouraged them, even as he brought his wings close to his body and let himself fall like a stone from the sky toward Lucky and Abbadon.

Wind howled in his ears as the ground rushed up to meet him. The Jhinka altered course to follow him and Fin snapped off a pair of power bolts to keep their attention trained on him. He fell and fell, praying that Lucky and Abbadon were watching for him....

He spread his wings and streaked away from the Jhinka, smiling as all four of the Jhinka pursuing him were cut to shreds by his Warlord Princes. Pride filled him, for they’d fought better and stronger than he’d ever expected. He looped back to land and join his companions. The scent of death filled his nostrils. Cold rage filled him at the sight of dead people, at the loss of Ulamar and Pellonar, but that rage didn’t rule him as iit ruled Lucky and Abbadon. Fin wanted to tear into more of the Jhinka, wanted to see them die at the edge of his blade and watch the life fade for their eyes.

After what felt like centuries of deep sleep, Tavar Andros was awake again.

Silence fell in late morning daylight as the seven warriors stood in a circle, back to back, catching their collective breath.The Blood Seekers’ weapons had tasted blood, but they all sported bruises, muscle tears, or they were all freezing their asses off despite the sunlight.

Any good ideas?” Kaderian asked.

I think not dying is a good start.” Fin replied. “Is everyone all right? Report.

The Jhinka horns sounded again. Two blasts came from the clifftop they’d left behind. Fin grimaced. Perhaps they were rethinking this fight.

Then two more sounded from a mile out.

Mother Night, how many of them are there?” Fin asked, hoisting his sword.

His question was answered as the sunlight above seemed to dim. Fin looked up.

Arrows rained from the skies.




Offline Lucky al-Izar

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #19 on: Jul 26, 18, 03:04:01 PM »
The Killing Edge felt like the inside of a woman, the sweet taste of cold water, the fullness of a large meal. It pulsed around him, soothing, right. Lucky could only hear his breath come in and out of his body, harsh and controlled, as his sword dripped with blood. His shoulder was bleeding from a stray arrow, but he could not feel it. He could not feel anything but a lust for blood on the Edge. A lust that far outstripped even a Warlord Prince’s ample sexual urges.

“What do you mean?” Lucky asked, his eyes hazy and dilated. “Everything is perfect.”

Lucky blinked and glanced around, trying to pull his attention away from killing as the others began to report on their condition. The Blood Seekers were strained, some injured. Kaderian was tired. Fin was…worried. The realization was enough to make the Warlord Prince pause, even as the battle raged around them. He had never seen his mentor scared before and for the first time, Lucky remembered that he was just a Warlord. He did not feel quiet at home on the Edge as Abaddon and Lucky did, basking in the pure ecstasy of battle.

A shame, that.

It did stir the Prince’s desire to protect them though, especially as the horns blew. They needed a refuge, one where Kaderian could be safe and those injured could rest. Taking a deep breath, Lucky al-Izar readied himself. He had destroyed things for so long, left so much rubble in his wake, but sword making had opened up a new avenue for the Mineborn. A new desire to build. With that thought, the male unleashed the full power of his Sapphire Jewel not at the Jhinka, but at the fortress below their feet.

Where he had once destroyed a building, now he rebuilt it.

The Warlord Prince of Pruul unbuilt the fortress even as they stood upon it, hovering the floor the seven stood on in the air as heavy stone flew around them, faster and faster. Bright light flared as the edges of the stone caught fire, melting, witchfire fusing them with other stones. Slowly, a dome began to form over the travelers bit by bit and Lucky lowered them to the ground.

*Leave an opening, Lucky,* Abaddon sent. The thread showed him where and how, before the Mineborn had finished his work. *Use your shields to guide them inwards.* There was a pause as Abaddon showed the funnel like shape he wanted in the Sapphire Warlord Prince's mind.

*When I ask it, create a Sapphire shield beneath the dome, shield everyone. What I will unleash will not be stopped by stones, and none here should be touched by it if you cover them.*  It was the best and quickest explanation Abaddon could give. His blade was wet with Jhinka blood, the necrotic poison on its edge leaving many in agony, groans and cries of agony reverberating off the nearly completed dome that Lucky worked to forge. As he closed it with a final molten stone—leaving open the funnel that Abaddon wished, one to lure the beasts inward in a tight group—shadowed darkness covered the sweat stained faces of the seven fighters.

And then, after a few silent moments, the loud screech of the Jhinka began to pound on the thick stone above them. 

Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #20 on: Jul 26, 18, 06:35:00 PM »
The Black Widow Warlord Prince was pleased to see that Kaderian had arrived in one peace, torn between the corpses already pleasant, and tending to her own Escort.  She offered advice, but Abaddon could understand wanting even annoying people under one’s command to remain whole.  His Bond-Brother and he understood immediately what Fin was doing, and when the older warrior returned, they were both ready to clear his trail as he led them in.  At Kaderian’s question, Abaddon gripped Fin’s shoulder, both to say that he had an idea, and that he was alright.  ”I have something that will give us room to breathe, but we will need to act swiftly.”

Abaddon had not expected the stonework, but he would take advantage of Lucky’s show of power.  His Sapphire would drain with such displays, if he was not careful, and the Black Widow Warlord Prince had the feeling that this was a marathon, not a sprint.  There was plenty of fighting left to do. He would rather exhaust a cabinet full of Webs and traps, before he drew too deeply on his own reserves. That would happen soon enough.  Even as Lucky ripped up and reformed the stone, the Jhinka within the claimed fortress were already headed towards the exits and balconies, boiling out of a the structure that suddenly seemed to be falling apart.  Abaddon felt not fear as more Jhinka were added to the numbers already on the attack, all he felt was the satisfaction that there would be more enemies to lay low, more prey to catch in the tangled strands of his webs.


The Spell Web appeared in his hand.  It was so carefully made, it almost looked as though it were made of a myriad of glass shards, yet every edge and every point had been woven and shaped by the skillful hands that now produced it.  It looked like an Askavi thistle, not that Abaddon knew what that was, he had dreamed of that shape and when he had wrought the web, he had not been entirely sure why he chose it. He held the web up, and spread it along the funnel shape he had encouraged from lucky, the thistle flew apart when it was activated.  For a moment, there was a burst of thousands of crystalline shards, but they disappeared as swiftly as they had appeared and Abaddon’s hands were now empty. Abaddon stood at the narrow end of the funnel, gazing out at the Jhinka in the gap, his bloody knife in hand.


This time, he reached down into his energy, down, down past the lighter hues, down to his Red, and he roared his challenge like a command, a wave of hatred washing out of Lucky’s dome beyond the ability of anyone present to sense, hatred for Abaddon himself.  The Jhinka roared in a mob of response, the sound a cacophonous echo to those sheltered beneath the stone. As one, the enemy surged forward, fighting to get into the gap, their numbers condensing as the compulsion took hold and commanded them forward, and as they flew and clawed their way into the channel created by Lucky’s stone and his Sapphire Shields, *Shields!*  He sent to Lucky, calling for him to shift, just a heartbeat before Abaddon activated the trap. One again, a myriad of shards appeared, each with a single silver line attaching one to the next as hundreds of tiny spiders scattered across the Jhinka and then burrowed into their skulls, sinking in like hundreds of shining teeth, teeth that hooked into their minds. Abaddon swept the web outward like a net, bagging dozens of the Jhinka, the strands leaping from one to the next.


The spiders that hit Lucky’s Sapphire shields crawled over them for a time, seeking the minds of those within, and eventually faded.  The Jhinka were not so fortunate.


The screams began quickly.  Many of the enemy clawed at their faces and their heads, as they flopped to the stones, sliding off dome and shield alike.  They uselessly filled the gap, most of them collapsing into terror other falling into catatonia. Some took to the skies and veered away, crashing to earth in an effort to split open their skulls and release the spiders that crawled across their minds.  They writhed and gibbered and pulled away from the dome, as Abaddon completed Lucky’s work and closed the rock around them, ”Fin, add your shields to Lucky’s. This will take a bit of time.” His words were laced with a growl of satisfaction, like a leopard with a gazelle up in a tree.  Gone were the sounds of weapons and fists upon the dome, gone were the noises of attempted forced entry, instead there was the gibbering of madness, the screams of terror, and the sounds of diving Jhinka snuffing out their lives upon the stones and the earth around them. Abaddon’s smile was predatory, before he turned to Fin and Kaderian, ”I can escape to the Winds with perhaps one other.  If there is a coach, I can even take more with me, albeit clumsily. In any case, we need a path to escape before they get over their fears.”




Offline Kaderian Yrisia

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #21 on: Jul 27, 18, 12:03:04 AM »
Mother Night, how many of them are there?  The sound of arrows caught her ears, her eyes turning skyward.  Shields.  Shields and Craft and, dare she think it, Hope.  The arrows did not land.

"I tried to tell you."  She said it grumpily, though a bit tired.  It wasn't the flying that had bothered her.  It wasn't even the spells to weaken their enemies.  It was the sheer numbers facing them.  The need to ignore the pain and death combining with the knowledge that.. this wasn't that unusual.

Plenty of towns, and keeps, and holds had fallen.  More would fall too.  She'd tried to tell him that Askavi was dying, and he had dared to imply that Askavi deserved this.  She licked dry lips, and then set her daggers back into her cabinet.  She had to.. there was work to do.

I have something that will give us room to breathe.

She nodded to Abaddon, letting her eyes turn away from the horde and onto her own companions.  Cuts. Wounds.  Nothing too serious in those that were here, but.. small cuts could kill.  Often in rather surprising ways.  She set hands to the closest Blood Seeker as they landed, sealing his cuts shut.  They'd scar.. but she had no time to make it pretty.

"Take a breath, Hunters.. it isn't over."

She grimaced, turning her attention towards Lucky before moving close set a hand against his shoulder.  "Let me fix this while we have time, and if you must growl, do it towards our enemies."  She didn't want to see them fall.  None of them.

Losing two of her Hunters stung, and made her want to scream.  But there was no time for that screaming, or that grief.  Not yet.  She would save that for when they got to Drakkar.. for when Drakkar would notify their loved ones.  Save her grief for when she had damned time to deal with it.

"Prince Abaddon?"  She turned, holding out a bloodied hand.  "Have you need of me?"  Of course.. then he unleashed his spiders.  Her eyes followed them, watched in fascination as they burrowed into skulls.  The sounds were fascinating.  That fascination helped her ignore the twisting of her gut at the deaths.

She was happy they were dying.  That didn't mean she liked 'feeling' that death brush across her awareness.

"We can't leave anyone here.  My people have lost enough, and I gave the Sabbah Queen my word that her Voice would return to Pruul alive."  She said it calmly, as if they were not staring death in the jaws.  "We should stay close.  Prince Abaddon.. Lord Sabbah.."  Her eyes slid over Lucky, narrowing for a moment.  "Even Prince Izar.. someone darker than I needs to reach into the Abyss and send out the call.  Blood Seekers, to Deephome.  Shout it, call it... and maybe there is a chance."

Offline Tavar al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #22 on: Jul 31, 18, 12:07:04 AM »
Fin was surprised and awed by how well both Warlord Princes worked together. The coordination between them stunned was stunning, usually only seen in males who’d spent centuries working together. That they had managed within such a short time, to put their egos aside for the greater good, spoke to their training and their personal desires to protect even those who’d treated them poorly. Fin’s pride in both males increased tenfold.

Kaderian’s gloating wasn’t appreciated, but Fin acknowledged (to himself) that she was right. She’d said that things were dire here in Askavi. Fin had expected things to be difficult, but this was unlike anything he imagined. Centuries ago, it felt like they at least had some basic knowledge of the Jhinka’s numbers and patterns. The sheer numbers they’d seen so far made him wonder just what in Mother Night’s name the war camps were doing anymore. How could this many Jhinka still exist?

Fin layered Purple Dusk and Sapphire shields just inside the stone structure, adding to Lucky’s shields while the Jhinka continued their assault. Abbadon’s power grew more and more unnerving to witness by the moment. He cared for the man like a son, but being unable to tell exact what Abbadon was doing was a little scary within itself. He told the rest of Kaderian’s escort to add their shields to his own, allowing Abbadon the maximum protect possible while he dispatched more of the Jhinka.

Outside, Jhnka screamed and died, plummeted from the sky. The canyon outside Deephome fell quiet once more, allowing the seven warriors a chance to gather their thoughts. Fin could feel fatigue setting in, but he didn’t dare rest or relax. The Jhinka had proven resourceful thus far and their numbers were greater than any of them could count. If they’d taken Deephome, there was no telling how much of this area was affected.

Good fighting, everyone. Kaderian, I don’t want to leave Pellonar and Ulamar for the Jhina, but we don’t have a choice right now. We all have to live if there’s going to be any chance of recovering their bodies. We may not be able to recover them.” Fin said, laying out situation as he saw it. The other Eyriens didn’t like that, but Fin was unmoved.

Let’s figure out how to survive this and then we’ll worry about the rest.” he said.

Abbadon, I think it’s best at this point, if you keep up what you’re doing. Things are quiet outside, but we don’t know if they’re gathering reinforcements or if they’ve truly--”


Deephome sudderedd, the ground shaking beneath their feet..

It wasn’t the world outside of the fortress. The fortress itself began to rumble. The tremors came from beneath the stone fort that Lucky had erected to protect them. Outside, Jhinka and Eyriens lay dead. Fin didn’t like this at all, and said so.

Niconar looked at the assembled group, his voice thick with disbelief. “There are hundreds of tunnels in these mountains. If the Jhinka found them, they wouldn’t have needed to attack Deephome from outside. They could have come in from beneath. Fighting to keep them out from the outside would have been easier. Down there?

Far harder.
” Niconar said.

Fin looked to Niconar. “How far was the Blood Seeker encampment from here?” he asked.

“Thirty miles...northeast. The Winds would shorten the distance, but it would still take some time to get enough warriors here to make the difference.” he said.

Kaderian had the right of it. Fin took a deep breath, sank deep into his dangerous strained Sapphire, and pushed out a call for help that he hoped could be heard.

*Deephome has fallen. We are trapped. Send aid.*

Fin repeated the message three times before he fell silent.

Now...we need to stay alive and hope that someone heard me. We should rest in shifts. Let Kaderian tend you if you’re injured. We can’t afford to let pride steal our good sense.” Fin said.

Abaddon nodded in acceptance while he continued to weave his webs. The Blood Seekers determined who would rest while the others stood guard. Fin looked to Lucky.

Good work today.” he said, looking between him and Abbadon. “Good work to both of you. Your skill fills me with pride.

He patted both men on the shoulder, then walked away to check on the other Blood Seekers. Despite their earlier disdain for him, they seemed to accept his presence for the time being. Fin spoke to each man directly, making sure that they were well enough to keep fighting. They were all wounded by the deaths of Pellonar and Ulamar, but they were ready to continue fighting.

"There's no way to know if anyone was close enough to hear me. If the Jhinka are converging on this place, they'll bring us down by sheer numbers eventually. If there's no one near enough to aid us, we'll have to make a run for it. Everyone rest, eat if you can. We can move at night, if we must." Fin said.

Abaddon and the Eyriens nodded. Twenty more minutes passed while Fin checked his weapons and readied himself for combat. Thoughts of his family crossed his mind. He couldn't wait to see Elenor, Judiah, Amira, and Shadya again.

I will not die here.

The rumbling began at near the top of the hour. It started as a low-level thrumming, but became bone-rattling after several seconds. Abaddon looked up from his weaving, sighting Fin.

"We must go. We can't stay here any longer." the Black Widow Warlord Prince said.

And then something smashed against the wall of their makeshift fortess and several stones dropped to the floor. Seconds passed before another loud crash knocked more of the stone from the walls and into their hideout. The sound of stones crashing against the walls worried Fin. The walls were holding up now, but the longer this continued, the more structural damage this place would suffer.

"Lucky, get ready to bring the dome down. We'll have to fight." Fin said.




Offline Kaderian Yrisia

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #23 on: Aug 08, 18, 09:56:21 AM »
She used only enough power to seal shut wounds, and ensure that her companions were capable of flight.  Only enough to make sure they could continue - and not for the first time wished she had more.  It was in times like these, when the odds were overwhelming, that she wished she had even descended to the Rose.

A little more, and perhaps...

It didn't matter.  A thousand years of discipline asserted itself, forcing her to clamp off the need of her Caste and only do as much as necessary.  A thousand years of training, and war, and heartbreak. 

She couldn't promise they wouldn't all die.  But she could promise to do her best to ensure they didn't.  The hour's rest did little to soothe the twitching in her wings, or the worry festering in her heart.  Deephome had been a wall, a means to keep the Jhinka back.. and it had fallen.  Deephome.. had fallen.

It wasn't the first fortress to do so.  It wasn't even the second.  But she worried it would not be the last.  The Jhinka were not Hayll, or Dhemlan, or any of the others.  The Jhinka would not enslave the Eyriens, giving them time to try to revolt.  The Jhinka would just kill them.  She would have said that was better just a few hundred years before.  Now?  Now she knew that extinction was possible, and it worried her.

But she did not share these thoughts with the others.  They were not her friends, not truly.  Perhaps the closest thing she had to a friend in this place, right now, was the Black Widow male - and the hilarity of that had her smiling in a grim fashion. 

The hour's rest ended as she expected it to.  With the sound of crashing stone against the walls.  We must go.  We can't stay here any longer.

She pulled her daggers free, taking a deep breath as she let her eyes sweep across the males in this small space with her.  They would do what they could to see her get free of this, and she knew that.  It was their way.  She wouldn't dishonor it by telling them not to.  She had promised Drakkar she would come back to him, and she had promised to bring Tavar Andros home.

She wasn't going to fail.

Her eyes closed, and she nodded once.  "Do not expect the Jhinka of old.  They have grown smarter, wily.  Be adaptable, be ready."  She said it firmly, cracking her eyes open to look at Lucky.  "Do not let your Killing Edge rule you.  They will draw you out, and climb over their dead to take your head.  Prince Abaddon."

She lifted her chin as she looked at him.  "If you can get yourself free via the Winds.. do it.  Head Northeast, and scream your status as a diplomat from Pruul when you arrive.  I doubt it will be the friendliest welcome, but you'll be breathing..."

She paused, holding up a hand.  There.  That tremble.

Kaderian.

And her lips turned up in a smile.  "Cancel that.  We have company, brace yourselves."

Offline Brekkar Vrykson

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #24 on: Aug 08, 18, 10:02:33 AM »
Patrol today had been.. a little less exciting than usual.  Which was worrisome, really.  The Jhinka were usually active in this area - and yet for the last ten miles, he'd barely seen any.  That was not a relief.  That was a sign of 'very bad things', in his experience over the last year.

He hated being proven right.

Deephome has fallen.  We are trapped.  Send aid.

Brekkar Vrykson was immediate in his reaction to that call.  His wings snapped open, and he let out the sharp whistle to call his Hunters together.  The flight to Deephome took three quarters of an hour - and they took another ten minutes when they arrived to take stock of what they were seeing.

The ground seethed with Jhinka.  And a small domed fortress seemed the object of their fury.  He bottled up his Rage at seeing Deephome in its state, and reached out to the minds of the males with him.  Bring the sides down on the left, and ready yourselves to open a way.

The Jhinka began hurling great stones at the fortress, and even from here he could see the sparking of stone on stone, the pulse of shields within.  And beneath that?  A familiar taste - one that surprised him.

Kaderian.

The burst of welcome on that thread had him smiling, grimly.  "We've a Healer trapped in that dome."  The shift of warriors' shoulders made him proud.  He pulled his blade, and then nodded to the left.  The rumble of stones collapsing down the cliff wall was his war cry, he and his men lunging into the backs of the Jhinka.  His men slashed, cut, and burned at their enemies before rockign skyward again.

He.. did not.  He simply began to move faster, dashing from one throat to the next. 

Crack the dome, go straight up.  We have their attention.  The males with you can be your guard.
You will survive this assault, Brekkar.  The command made him laugh.  Trust his cousin to order him to live, as if she could command death itself.
Of course, little cousin. Be ready.

Now... now he let out his war cry, and it was echoed by the males that were diving at Jhinka.  Echoed by the mountain in its grief.  Brekkar Vrykson, The Breaker, was going to water the graves of his fallen in Jhinka blood.

Offline Lucky al-Izar

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #25 on: Aug 09, 18, 11:33:46 PM »
Lucky took a deep breath. His Sapphire was dwindling down and down, almost drained. He hardly grumbled when the Healer came up to him, healing the scratches he had received. As the time drew out and he came down from the Killing Edge, exhaustion set in. His wings drooped slightly and he used some of his Purple Dusk to infuse his body with strength. This was not over yet. Not nearly over yet.

At least the dome was holding up well for now. He watched the others carefully as they rested, surveying them. The Blood Seekers were tired, none of them possessing the raw unbridled strength that came to Warlord Prince’s like breathing. Kaderian was weakened, her light jewels of minimal help. Lucky rolled his shoulders, hearing his neck pop as he considered the situation. It was on the three of them to get the group through this.

“Don’t you dare leave, Abaddon. We don’t flee. Not with a witch and the other pussies here to protect.” His words were a small snarl, but he had faith the Red Jeweled male would stay. Abaddon was a lot of things, but he wasn’t a coward. Lucky respected that.

Just as the dome looked like it might collapse, Kaderian ordered them to fly upward…all of them. Lucky ground his teeth and offered his hand to Abaddon. “Swallow your pride and hold onto me. I won’t drop you.” And with that, the Warlord Prince used the last of his Sapphire to blow apart the dome, sending the shards outward, slamming into the Jhinka that had been waiting too close. His powerful wings flexed once and then, hopefully with Abaddon, he took to the air. Struggling up and up and up.

Lucky spared a glance outward, watching the Jhinka amass and follow the group upward, their bodies so thick it looked like a blackened web of spiders crawling after them. The Prince sent a blast of Purple Dusk Craft downward, the blast breaking into jagged daggers that took out a wave of the beasts.

“Fly together, tight and defensive. Don’t get separated or you’ll get picked off.”

Offline Tavar al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #26 on: Aug 21, 18, 12:18:02 AM »
Fin was ready to die to ensure that every person here survived. He had no intention of making it easy for the Jhinka to send him back to Mother Night’s embrace, but he was not so foolish that he believed himself invincible. The Blood Seekers pulled themselves to their feet and readied their weapons. He sensed their fatigue and pain. He sensed their sorrow at their losses. He sensed Lucky’s desire to continue the fight and Abaddon’s iron resolve. He sensed Kaderian’s desire to return to Drakkar. They were all fighting for something, or someone, that they believed in.

He would do no less.

Lucky agreed to fly Abbadon out. Niconar looked to his brethren. “Fly straight upward and then join our brethren in battle. Give Lady Kaderian and the others every chance to reach Starfall. Now we show them what it means to be Blood Seekers!

Lucky exploded the dome, catching straggling Jhinka with debris from the remains of Deephome, and took flight with Abbadon. The Blood Seekers summoned their Craft took to the skies, flying straight upward. Fin sliced a spear out of the air, then turned to look at where it had come from. Three Jhinka peeled away from the main group that was distracted by the Blood Seekers and streaked toward him and Kaderian. Fin shielded the Healer, watching a spear crash and splinter against his shields. Something scraped against his arm and burned, but he  didn’t have time to check it. Fin fired off a pair of power bolts to scatter their enemies, watching as a trio of Blood Seekers skewered their attackers and then rejoined their unit in order to continue drawing the Jhinka’s attention.

Fin ignored the numbness in his arm, wrapped his arm around Kaderian’s waist, and then reached for the Sapphire Wind with his ebbing strength. He had to trust that Lucky and Abaddon would make their way to Starfall without his aid. He had to trust that the rest of the Blood Seekers would handle their own duties.

Sooner than expected, the Starfall Landing Pad appeare, carved into the side of the mountain by powers older and greater than any of the Eyriens and Jhinka. A bald, golden-skinned male with no wings stood waiting with seven members of his guard. Fin touched down with Kaderian beside him.

My name is Vondar Shostakov and I’m the Steward of Living Lake. The Blood Seekers advised me that you’ve come from Deephome. What is the situation there?” the Prince asked.

Fin opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out.

He collapsed.




Offline Abaddon al-Sabbah

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Re: stabbing westward
« Reply #27 on: Aug 30, 18, 09:45:07 AM »
Abaddon was willing to die for many things, and too many circumstances.  The Jhinka never made the list.  If he were to die at the hands of savage minds, it would be to the Worms of Pruul as Mother Night intended.  He had yet to delve deeply into the strength of his Jewels, and if he did, it would be nothing but calamity.  He could not trust his Red to target only the Jhinka, not in the heat of battle, not when the Eyriens and the Jhinka insisted on close combat, rather than a more strategic use of Craft.  Abaddon had used that which he felt could be the most accurate, but he was as capable of burning power as any Dark Jewel present.  However, he was sure to harm as many allies as enemies.  Fire was indiscriminate, and power bolts required a clear shot.  He could rend minds at the level of the Red, but the sweeping legs of the Spider would ruin the minds of his allies as well.  Focus was better, and so he allowed Lucky to carry him, and used the well of his power for support, and to accurately eliminate pursuit.

He did not look happy to be born aloft by Lucky, his arms all but crossed, but he focused his aggravation on the Jhinka, and watched with grim satisfaction as they fell from the sky.

Lucky grabbed the Winds and took Abaddon along for the ride.  They arrived in Starfall, and Abaddon dropped several feet to the earth, cushioned by Craft, leaving room for Lucky to land without the complication of setting the Red Black Widow Male down safely.  He eyed Vondar and waited for Fin to make the introductions, but that did not happen.  Abaddon moved to catch his old friend before he hit the ground, pulling Fin’s arm over his shoulders, and holding him up by main strength alone.  Abaddon reported in a tone he deemed calm and official, ”Deephome has fallen.  The forces in place were massacred.  The fort has suffered damage as we made our escape.  The Jhinka took the fort no more than a few days ago, by my estimation of Askavi dead.”  Abaddon was covered in the blood of that enemy, ”Our party will need rest, Prince Shostakov, we have come far and fought for too long.”

Abaddon was prepared to fight for longer, but that would not see Fin rested, or Lucky, or Kaderian or any of the rest of them.  ”We have a Healer with us, Lady Kaderian, she should be seen to first.”  He looked to her then, with a small nod, and a mild shrug that said someone had to do the talking.