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Submitted By: Karen
All Characters Involved: Karen, Emberlite, Deja, Razeal

Submitted Log

The early afternoon sun was hidden behind a few traveling clouds high in the sky. Deja stood near the firepit where the fire was long doused, she was checking the ties on her armor one last time to ensure moving wasn't going to cause anything to shift. Her staff leaned against a log next to her and every so often a wolf could be moving around the camp but none were currently within the camp. [Deja]

Karen sits on a rock not too far from their fire. She seemed to be lost in thought, her eyes settled on the smouldering embers in the center of the area. Next to her was her gear and weapons, neatly cleaned and well organized. Seemingly snapping out of her daze, she cleared her throat and began to speak. "Well we should get a move on before the enemy moves onto us." She stood up, stretching, and slowly gathering her things. 

Dressed in an outfit of fur and steel, somehow coloured to a blackness that almost seems to draw in light, Emberlite steps into the clearing of the camp. His swords rest firmly in the harness over his shoulder, multiple darts and daggers secured to his body in various locations. His face, hidden behind a helmet, directs itself to the sun. He almost looks like a man attempting to drink in the final rays before a trek into a sunless hell, "I still think we should go collect an Aes Sedai." [Emberlite]

Near the extinguished fire pit, Razeal stands with one foot placed atop a lifeless stump. He's hunched over, working on tightening the various straps and laces on his boots and leggings. After a moment, he gives a solid tug and slides his foot onto the ground. "Yeah.." he says, looking at Karen. "I believe I'm ready." Walking over to his tent, he reaches inside and pulls out his two axes, holstering them at his sides. "Aes Sedai, Ember? I don't believe that's a wise move." [Razeal]

Deja looked up from where she had been checking her brace of throwing axes she peered at the others. Her hands absently continued moving, checking each weapon and tool as it made its way across her body starting at her chest and moving down until she had double checked everything one last time. She grabbed her staff, "This is not a hunt for the Aes Sedai." Deja commented sharply, "We will finish this."  [Deja]

Karen turned to face the others as she slowly put her items on her back. "I mean I don't think it would be unwise to bring an Aes Sedai here, however I feel like they might be a little timid for this kind of work." She walked over to Emberlites side and looked into the sky, seeing where the sun was. "If it is a successful hunt with no casualties, I will be happy."

"They can be nasty if all you've got is-'' He cuts off as Deja barks at him. He raises his hands up defensively and drops the topic, "We'll finish it. Sure." He replies cooly, walking towards the blight to look it over. He frowns mildly before looking back at them, "You're both Borderlanders so I imagine you've gone rather deep into the Blight but just in case; don't forget that everything and anything is lethal here. A rock sitting in the rot might be corrupted enough that a scratch will bloat you and that's the least dangerous thing out there." Saying his piece, he continues onward, leaving the camp behind. [Emberlite]

Razeal closes his eyes for a moment and takes one more deep breath, steeling himself for what is to come. Eventually, he cracks his eyes open and slowly lets his attention wander over the camp. "Right you are. The Blight is no place for a casual stroll" he says, responding to Ember. "I suppose if we are successful, we can retrieve our belongings afterwards... and if not, well, may it serve as a warning to others." His plate armor is clean and freshly polished, though he has elected to remove cloak and tabard that would identify it as belonging to the Children of the Light, at least at a distance. "I am ready" he repeats, as he drops his hands and lightly smacks at the top of his axes. "I will try not to burden you all today." [Razeal]

Despite the sun hammering down and the drought playing the world, at the edge of the Blight it feels a frozen wasteland. What trees manage to grow are stunted, where the grass is not frozen over it is browned, and an instinctual sense of dread tickles at the base of the spine. Prehistoric and primitive parts of the brain telling those who cross that this was a mistake. To leave this place.

An imaging pushed far and wide since the day before, A seeping darkness of filth, the smell of tainted blood on the air, a feeling of hopelessness and hate, a cold clean wind Deja followed the others out of the camp as a number of shadowy shapes moves from around the camp as she did so. [Deja]

Karen kept the long handle of her blade in her hands as she stepped into the Blight behind Emberlite. "I think that anyone who gets this close to the edge doesn't need a warning to let them know things aren't safe here." She said with a slight chuckle. She appeared more tense than her usual relaxed stance, and her eyes kept looking across the field in front of them. "If we don't finish this, I worry Deja might finish us." She said, trying to break the tension. 

Emberlite stops at the edge of the Blight and stares into the expanse. The cliffs and the mountains in the distance, the trees, and cannot stop himself from wanting to reach for his blades. His hand grips the hilt of one of his longswords over his shoulder before he's even aware of it and he has to wrestle with himself to let it go. He inhales heavily, his face becoming less apprehensive and becoming more controlled, the light of his pale sometimes blue sometimes grey eyes grow more intense, more aware, "Let's get it done." [Emberlite]

Pose "I hope you are correct about that. Some fools don't know better though, used to find them far north after a night of drunken idiocy." Patting at a few spots around his legs and chest, Razeal seems to allow the alarm to set in for just a fraction of a second. It disappears just as quickly though, as he spots his canteen set out in front of his tent and visibly relaxes. "Ah, there it is.." he says, before striding over and picking it up. He gives it a quick shake before attaching it to his belt. "Apologies. now I'm ready" he says, before following the group into the Blight. [Razeal]

Even overnight, the changes to the Great Blight is obvious. How quickly the Dark One's reach spreads. Where there was scant plant life, there are trees that looked as though they were more fungus than wood, cracks in the earth where an oily substance, liquid taint, bubbled. In other places, moss has turned black and spongy and the rocks they live have become cracked. These stones have sharp jutting points, crooked and dangerous almost as if they were grown there. In the distance, in every direction but the north, the howls erupt. Some distant, some close, but all at the sametime.

As the group entered the Blight, Deja strode past the others until she was in the front without saying anything. She smelled at the air for a moment before closing the high collar of her cloak and pulling the brim of her hat lower until the only part of her face visible was around her eyes. The tip of her staff was used to test anything she found suspicious enough to warrant further investigation, Deja's head raised slowly at the chorus of howling around the group and a small grin crossed her face behind her cloak. A stormfront crashing down the mountains, the silhouette of a menacing wolf in the darkness" [Deja]

Karen stepped carefully through the gross darkness, trying to avoid any spots that looked particularly moist. She tried to breath through her mouth, to avoid any unwanted smells. Her eyes were mostly on the ground, to make sure anything that needed to be stepped across, over, or avoided was seen. She watched Deja lead and spoke quietly. "So, Razeal, what type of battle experience do you have?" 

"Nobody is truly ready for the Blight." Emberlite remarks while looking at Razeal, "You can only do the best you can and try to expert the worse. The Shadow always seems to have ways to subvert that." He watches as Deja moves to the front and arches a brow; his pride says he should take it back, his sense tells him that this is her expedition. While he considers this, he hears the wolves and glances back, "Friends of yours, I hope? And not the aforementioned nasty surprise?" [Emberlite]

Razeal bunches up his nose as if he's just got a whiff of something terrible before shaking his head in an attempt to push the scent away. Perhaps seeming a little nervous, he reaches out to the pack for reassurance. "They are friends." After a moment he stands up a bit straighter and pushes an image and feeling of resolve before turning his head towards Karen, "I grew up in the Borderlands. I spent the last 4 out of the 5 years patrolling the Blight border in Kandor. I've fought my share of trollocs, though nothing beyond... and never one on one." [Razeal]

With surprising quickness, the deeper into the Great Blight they traveled, the hotter it became. Sweltering, bordering on painful, the ground felt as though it should have been on fire. The dirt becomes strangely soft in some place, hard in others, like partially baked clay or clumps of hard sand and stone. Bushes sprout around here with strangely coloured leaves of yellow, red, and pink while trees grow with fruits that are oblong and palm sized. To the north is a pair of mountains with a pass in between them, to the west and east are a large lake of a clean blue but jutting from them are large spokes of black glass.

"Ah, well hopefully you won't have to fight more than a trolloc today then." She said, entirely unconvincingly. She noticed the black glass and said nothing. Karen followed behind Deja, and occasionally wiped at her face with her sleeve. "I am glad I didn't try to wear my sneaky clothes today. I would have been half cooked by now if I had." She watched Deja's hand singles and said nothing in return as the woman barely looked back at her. "No need to fuss over the glass, we know what we're in for." [Karen]

Emberlite catches up to Deja and takes a long look behind the visor of his sallet and tilts his head, "This isn't there but the one time I saw glass like that was bad news. It was near Malkier. A reclamation effort. I'd avoid it... there was a huge... sea... creature...? of some kind in it. I don't know if that's a byproduct of it or not." Emberlite explains with a stark seriousness that contrasts his typical happy-go-lucky self. He looks over to Karen and shakes his head. Both at her comment about cooking AND about knowing what we're in for. He certainly didn't know. [Emberlite]

Bringing his right hand up to his neck, Razeal pulls at his collar in an attempt to get a little air circulated through his armor. "I was ... different the last time I faced a Trolloc. I've changed since then, I've learned a lot" he says to Karen, adding. "I've never been this far north in the Blight. I had no idea it got so hot." His eyes spare a glance over towards the glass, but only linger for a moment before prowling the distant horizons.   [Razeal]

Deja muttered to herself and nodded at Emberlite before continuing north. She studied the ground carefully before each step and did her best to avoid any of the flora at this point altogether. She glanced at the bottoms of her boots once to ensure they weren't melting, "This far into the Blight, you never know what you are in danger of. Even a blademaster can be swallowed in an instant in the Blight." Deja commented flatly but quietly to Karen as they walked.  [Deja]

Karen continues to walk forwards and takes a slow breath in and then out again. "Alright, I get it. I'll be careful. But if I get swallowed in an instant, you better avenge me, and only wear pink to my funeral." Still trying to find the peace in the tension she starts to hum a little song as she watches the ever careful Deja lead them towards the mountains. 

Frowning at the lakes, Emberlite finally unhooks his longsword and slips it into his hand. He keeps the blade flat side against his shoulder as he stares at the crystals, "Is it bad that I want to take a sample?" He asks the others. Maybe he could get Cithra to take a look at it. He glances at his companions and holds up a hand to preemptively stop them, "I'm not going to. I'm not stupid. Most of the time." Most of the time. He glances at the glass again, "We're too close to the edge to worry about worms, I would've said, but I would've said that we're not deep enough to be seeing crystals like this." [Emberlite]

"You've all been this far before? What could have driven you out here?" Razeal asks while taking care to follow behind Karen, stepping where she does in an attempt to avoid anything dangerous-looking. Upon mention of the worms, he perks up and brings his attention to Emberlite, "Worms, Ember? I've heard the tales but never spoken with anyone who has actually seen them. Do the horrific monsters truly exist? You've seen them?" he lets out a sigh, as though he already knows the answer. "Light willing, we won't see any on this trip." [Razeal]

To get to the mountain pass, one has to walk between the two lakes. This close, bits and pieces of flat black glass, broken or grown into that form, can be seen floating on the surface. The lakes are filled by small rivulets on the surface of the mountains, tiny cracks where the water runs down. Every now and again, a bead as thick as a thumbnail plops out and into the lake with a splash. Howls rise up from behind somewhere and it is met by howls up ahead.

Deja turned a glare on Emberlite as he mentioned the worms, she held the glare for a long moment. A low wind blowing through the air, the heat of the desert sun burning down, the smell of hot everything on the air Deja studied the area ahead of them, her eyes followed one of the beads falling before being drawn up to the mountains where the howls from ahead could be heard. Deja nodded at what Karen said before continuing on trying to avoid the glass for as long as possible. [Deja]

Karen stopped and looked at the lake for a moment. She rearranged her face to look displeased. "Well unless we want to deal with the shadowspawn living in that lake, let's keep pushing forwards." She spoke with a factual tone. "I can't tell what they are, but I can tell they are in here. We can take samples on our way back, Red." She started to walk forward again. 

"Samples on the way back." He agrees while looking into the water. His eyes focus on the surface of the lakes and the various formations before shaking his head. They were walking between two death traps. Didn't that make this a deathtrap? If there were anything in the water, this would be the time to attack. He glances towards Razeal and purses his lips thoughtfully, considering how to answer him, "I stand against the Shadow in all its forms. I may not be an Aes Sedai or a Child of the Light but I take the Shadow's activities, its boldness, as a personal affront... also because the White Tower had asked me, too. It's a long story." [Emberlite]

"Disrupting anything in the Blight sounds like a sure way to attract attention." Razeal takes a long look at the glass substance jutting from the lake before bringing his gaze to Deja. "I don't know what that is and I want no part of it." As the howls are heard, Razeal finds himself reaching out again, trying to get a picture of what may be occuring. The mention of the White Tower snaps his attention back to Emberlite though. "You work for the White Tower, Ember? That's unexpected, if not unfortunate. I'd like to speak about that, when we return to Camp.." [Razeal]

A closer look at the spheres show that it's a membrane of some kind. The inside is a purplish juice with hard to distinguish features. Whatever it is, it squirms. The surface of the lakes quiver slightly, like jelly and very much unlike water, but grow still again. Walking down this path between the lakes, the mountain's size becomes more and more obvious. It is much taller than anticipated and sheer, as if it were thrusted up from the earth rather than something created by wind and nature. The howls from the north come again, this time closer. Their howls echo, making it nearly impossible to distinguish.

Deja reached up and undid the ties on her cloak leaving only the clasp around the collar done as she shifted her staff from one hand to the other. She rolled her wrist causing an audible crack from the joint as she popped it before bringing the staff back into that hand. She studied the quivering jelly like substance around them, "Either we try to lure them out beyond this or find some height on the slope." She sniffed at the air before glancing back as three wolves moved out of the darkness behind them. The youngest of the group stopped near Razeal while the other two moved up near Deja while casting distrusting looks at Emberlite. [Deja]

"Red used to be the type of guy who everyone would want to be friends with, including the Tower and the Children." Karen said in a tone to indicate that she was focusing elsewhere. She watched as Deja studied the jelly and let out a small breath. "Well, height might not help much considering most of us are short range fighters. You figures we can't just quietly pass by?" While she spoke, readied her weapon between her two hands.  [Karen]

Furrowing his brows, Emberlite walks over to the jelly like substance. Knowing now that it does not have the consistency of water catches his interest and he walks over to the edge of the isthmus to poke at it with his blade, "I worked with anybody who opposes the Shadow. If I have to choose between destroying a lesser evil and allowing a greater evil to escape or vice versa, my choice is clear." He glances over to Razeal; not a defense of his actions. He doesn't sound like a man who feels his actions need  defending. He notes the three wolves and pauses, surprised to see them, but shakes his head and glances north, "Lure them out? Lure them out, how?" [Emberlite]

"I see. Hard to believe the Children would be alright with that, though I do understand your argument.. conversation for later." He trails off as he looks down at the young wolf next to him. "It's alright Prancer, I'll watch your back and you can watch mine." He pushes a small scene to the wolf. Two wolves biting out at encroaching darkness. He leans briefly from side to side, stretching out his back. Slowly, he pulls one of his axes from it's holster and flexes his hand around the hilt before responding to Ember, "I'm not sure we need to lure them out, they seem to be quite a bit closer every time they howl." [Razeal]

From above, bits of stone and dust bounce their way down the sheer side of the mountainside. The heat here is lessened compared to the trip over, the shade of the stone and the water to absorb the heat but it was hardly what one would call comfortable. The howls to the north grow silent and as if to fill that silence, five, ten, some uncountable number of howls, ring from the south. If an emotion could be tied to an animal's cry, it might be excitement. Or triumph.

Deja looked at Emberlite, "I thought you were aware? They have been hunting us as much as we have been hunting them." She stated calmly as she looked at the others before turning back to start continuing on the path they had been taking, "They are nearby, prepare yourselves." Deja held her staff in both hands as she walked while the two wolves trailed a few paces behind her with their heads down close to the ground. [Deja]

Karen seemed uneasy about the howlings, but tried to not let it show. That was Deja's to worry about. Gripping onto her glaive a little tighter she watched as the stone bounced down the mountainside. Listening, she nodded. Lowering her stance she moved a little closer to her companions. "Alrighty, let's keep each other's back well covered, and everyone keep a level head." She slowed her breathing as she tried to quell any spare thoughts she had in an attempt to enter the void. 

"If they're hunting us, I don't know why we need to be out here." Emberlite replies while swinging his weapon back and forth to get the goo off his weapon, "I've never heard of a lake filled with goo before. So many questions." He draws the weapon tip up to his face so he can examine the gunk more closely while approaching Deja and Karen, "If we're lucky, we won't see any fighting. There's so many wolves out there, I can't tell them apart anymore. If we turned around now, I doubt any of these bloody monsters will make it out alive." [Emberlite]

Razeal nods in agreement with Deja's assessment as he slips his other axe out from its holster. Flexing his fingers around the hilts of both axes now, he takes in a measured breath and mentally prepares himself. "The calm before the battle. I can't say I've missed it"  he whispers quietly, ignoring Ember's statements. Taking his cue from Razeal, Prancer crouches down on his front legs, as though he's ready to pounce on something unseen. "It's not long, now." [Razeal]

Deja stood straight and looked startled for a moment, "They come for us! The east and from the north." Deja called out as she looked ahead of them, "Do not touch the fluid or the beads, they are more dangerous than you can imagine." She commented as she stopped in the middle of the path they had been following. She looked at her wolves who stalked off to the sides but stayed close, The taste of blood on the tongue, the burn from a wound, the bite of adrenaline in the veins. [Deja]

Karen seems a little taken aback by the suddenness of the attackers coming towards them. Slowly letting her mind step into the void, she regulated her breathing, and had a firm grip on her blade. Her gaze looked up at the top of the mountain, her eyes scanning the landscape. She kept her eyes there for a few moments and then spoke softly. "There are shadowspawn up there on the mountain. Things are going to get messy rather quickly."

Emberlite frowns as he slowly backs away from the edge of the pool and glances up at the sky, near the top of the mountains, "Little late on the fluids... but I haven't touched any beads yet." Emberlite replies slowly, wondering what Deja knew. He glances towards the mountain tops again and frowns before turning to face behind them, "We're stuck on this land bridge if they're coming from both directions, we're going to have to split up our forces. Who's taking care of the rookie?" [Emberlite]

"East and North," Razeal repeats as he turns himself towards the Rear of the bridge. Prancer rises to his full height and lets out a growl. "Prancer and I can watch our rear and take a few on at once, but I do not know how many... and I suspect more are coming than we can handle." His knuckles go white as he groups the hilts tightly. After a very brief moment, he notices and forces his hands to loosen their grip slightly. "Splitting seems like the right thing to do" [Razeal]

The wolves grow silent in the distance. Not a sound could be heard. The harsh wind blows through the valley before them and the stones on the ground pop and explode where they bake in the sun too long. They can be heard now. The footsteps, the marching, the metal on metal, leather scraping against hardened leather. In the southwest, a horde of trollocs approaches, disorganized. Some of them pull one another back as they sprint, others are trampled when they slip. To the north, more rocks fall and suddenly arrows the size of small trees crash into the isthmus that the party stands on. A dozen at first, then a dozen more then silence. Were they setting up again? Were there only two dozen archers? And to the north, the sound of howling is ever closer... and the jell begins to quiver, more violently now.

As the arrows landed around them Deja stepped back and nodded at Karen as she turned around to walk past the woman to take up the rear of the group. She motioned at Razeal to follow Karen and Emberlite, "Stay between me and them, make sure nothing splits us." She ordered the man as she watched the trollocs barreling towards her as she took up rearguard. The stormfront slamming into the peaceful mountain lake, the mist rising from the lake into the trees bent from the winds, the smell of snow on the air, golden eyes peering from the mists in the trees, the feel of hot blood in the mouth, fangs tearing into flesh, the feel of the pack on the collective hunt [Deja]

Karen dodged as the arrows buried themselves deep into the ground. With a sharp breath she stepped forwards and gave a look to Emberlite. "Let's take out those archers before they cause too much of a distraction." She now realizes why Deja had asked about the bomb. Raising her blade up she seemed to be preparing to block the arrows rather than attacking. "If you can shoot down whatever is sending those arrows, I can make sure that you don't have to worry about them incoming." 

"Now how the hell am I supposed to deal with archers on top of a mountain?" Emberlite asks sourly, "I think we're expecting a little much from me, here." He unhooks his second longsword from the harness and swings them both around in a near playful manner as he studies up at the top of the cliffs wondering if he can even spot one of them, "I've got a crossbow. A small crossbow. For shooting people at ten meters. I could try to climb it but I feel like that might be a poor idea. There's always the other thing but..." He glances at Deja and Razeal behind his back and shrugs uncomfortably. He side steps an arrow coming down and cleaves at another with his weapons and frowns. [Emberlite]

After the arrows have stopped falling, Razeal's attention is drawn to the quivering jell, as if just noticing for the first time. He stares at it for a very moment before processing Deja's order to stay together. He spares a quick glance over his shoulder at the ground behind him and then steps away, back towards Deja specifically. "I don't like the look of the jell. Something is happening there" he calls out, "Are we pushing on, out of this trap? We don't have long before those twisted- trollocs are on us. What's the plan?"  [Razeal]

The trollocs come to a stop at the southern end of the bridge. They are dressed in mix and matched armour, some with helmets, others in the nude, each of them carrying a wickedly dangerous weapon of some kind. A giant two handed sword, an axe with chips in it, some with weapons that look new and far too small for them, Borderlander weapons, perhaps. Arrows continue to rain down, one falling next to Deja and another crashing into the water where it stops completely before slowly sinking it. The watery substance seems to have some kind of momentum stopping property to it. To the north, the howls have turned into vicious barks but do not appear to be coming any closer. Were they trying to lure the party in?

Deja's eyes closed for a moment, she focused on the minds of her wolves, her pack and packs that had come to assist. She opened them and gave a grin at the trollocs "You want me so badly then come and get me!" She howled at the top of her lungs and smacked her staff on the ground as if challenging them to come for her standing alone with Razeal behind her. Her wolves were nearby watching closely. [Deja]

Karen sighed and looked at Emberlite. "Well I think you know exactly what our options are don't you?" She said with annoyance. She stepped back a little further away from the cliff face and seemed to be deep in thought for a minute. She lowered her voice. "I would appreciate it if we were a little discreet, but I'll play my cards if we have too." 

"Discrete. Discrete. You want me to be discrete? You walk me all the way into the Blight to be discrete?" Emberlite mumbles to himself darkly as he focuses his attention to the edges of the mountain. He reaches into his pack and draws out what looks to be an oversized dart and concentrates for a moment. He hurls the weapon with all of his force and watches it soar towards the mountain top, "The things I do." [Emberlite]

"NEVER!" Razeal suddenly yells out, seemingly unprompted. Beside him, Prancer erupts in a short howl followed by a growl deeper than his smaller frame would suggest he should be capable of. At the appearance of the Trollocs on the southern end of the bridge, Razeal takes up a defensive stance as he steps beside Deja. "Come and get us!" he echoes, nearly letting his voice become a growl of his own. "Let's kill some Shadowspawn," he says, through a toothy grin. [Razeal]

A great number of things seem to happen at once. The trollocs slowly walk forward only to stop at the very edge of the bridge and among them one steps forward wielding a massive hammer of some kind. A close look at it shows that it's the crumbled and crushed remains of armour and weapons, sigils decorating it from all sides with a metal poke welded in. A trophy of every man he's killed all condensed into a single spherical trash heap of death. He roars and the others roar behind him. He must be a chieftain of this particular tribe. They begin throwing stones, one after another, into the twin lakes on either side of the land bridge, their beaks, their wolfen snouts, their boarish faces pulled into menacing grins. They make no attempt to close the distance.

Suddenly from behind, as the war dart crashes into the large stone monoliths, large cracks suddenly snap and pop, crevices whipping in every direction where the darts landed. Shouts of surprise and shouts come from far above as the peak of these sharp inclines begin to slide and crumble. Down, large boulders, massive stones, and a hailstorm of dust fall into the valley with a loud explosion of noise, trollocs falling among them. The ground shakes violently as some of the trollocs are crushed and those that aren't are left with bones protruding throughout their flesh, shouting in agony and pain.

The water begins to gurgle and thick disgusting bubbles begin to rise up to the surface and pop with a *glucking* noise. Only a couple at first, where the trolloc's stones land but then more and larger where nothing lands. The surface trembles threateningly. In the distant south, there is thundering, the thunder of footsteps that grow louder and louder.

Deja watches the trollocs' actions and the lakes acting weird, "Stay here." Deja orders Razeal as she takes a few steps before lunging forward, her free hand came up from under her cloak and one of her throwing axes flashed out as hard as she could throw it at the large trolloc.  [Deja]

Karen seemed pleased with the war dart that Emberlite threw. "Yes, something like that'll do nicely." Counting the group quickly she could tell there were a few dozen that were left in the pile of rubble. With a look she turned her attention towards the water. "What do you think, should we turn around onto the trollocs or keep our eyes on the water Red?" She took a look back to see what was coming towards their back. She watched as Deja ran towards the enemy. "What part of 'stick together' did she not understand?"

"Well look at that." Emberlite replies as he watches the avalanche unfold. He nods satisfied and glances over his shoulder at Karen, "The Dark One's own luck, we have." He says in a mockery of the Dark One, here in his backyard. He plunges his swords into the hard stone, hearing them grind against the bridge, and draws out a handful of war darts and begins throwing them towards whatever moving Trolloc he can see in the rubble, "I think I can keep an eye on what's left. You go help Deja... wait, hm? What do you mean, the water?" [Emberlite]

Razeal's tense attitude and stance are shattered as the earthen explosion occurs behind him. He immediately turns his head, observing the chaos before bringing his attention to the resulting carnage. He seems to be shocked. "By the Light.." he whispers quietly. His attention only lingers for a moment before he turns back around to Deja, as she charges forward. Immediately, he wrestles control of his shock and becomes focused, resuming his defensive stance, "Deja is charging them!" he yells, "Get away from the water!" [Razeal]

Deflecting the throw weapon with the shaft of his two handed hammer, the Trolloc Chieftain grunts and screams something in their foul language. The smaller trollocs, small compared to him, still huge compared to the humans, begin ratting their weapons against armor or shield and walking forward at a clipped pace. The Chieftain, however, begins to sprint, his steps short at first then huge, faster than a horse to engage Deja head on, "You fit good in Gogs belly!" He roars as he brings the hammer down from overhead with tremendous force. The air itself seems to whip away from the pressure of the strike.

Chaos breaks out in the backline among the trollocs left behind, however, as suddenly wolves seemingly appear from nowhere from the landscape and pounce on their backs. Shouts and screams break through and the trollocs in the back turn around to be engaged on. It seemed a veritable army, hundreds of wolves limited only by the width of the bridge. The trollocs in the front, who cannot see what is happening, begin to shout in panic and confusion, pushing one another around.

The gurgling in the water becomes explosive as the last stone is thrown. Whatever is down there is clearly upset and the bridge begins to rumble and jitter violently; those with poor balance nearly tumble over while the rest manage to hold on. Emberlite's darts continue to hurtle into the pile of trollocs attempting to crawl out, each one finding true purchase in their skulls.

As the chieftain brought his hammer down, Deja dodged to the side and brought her free hand up, tossing her cloak and hat to the ground. She leaped onto the chieftain reaching out trying to close the distance and inside the haft of his hammer. She howled her challenge right back as she moved after the giant trolloc as fast as she could move. [Deja]

Karen gestured towards Razeal while yelling at Emberlite. "How do you not realize that there is something massive coming out of the water if even the barely weaned pup can figure it out!?" She shook her head in annoyance as she moved herself between the water and Emberlite. "Alrighty, looks like some of the trollocs are still kicking, so let's try to handle two situations at once." Karen held up her glaive in an offensive stance for whatever was going to come out of the water, in an attempt to not be caught unawares. 

"If something wants to play whack-a-mole from the water, I'm sure you have it handled. I don't think these trollocs are going to be a problem." He replies, pulling both of his longswords free from the ground, and beginning a slow walk towards the valley. He shouts towards the sky, "Is that the best you got? You got four whee lads out here, basically infants, and you can't do any better? Is the world wrong to fear you? Should I let them know that you're just an itty bitty boob?" [Emberlite]

Razeal takes one step forward and then hesitates, as if he's torn between listening to the order and wanting to assist. He lets out a growl as he finally makes the decision to stay. Behind him, Prancer mimics behavior, growling as he drops to a low stance in preparation to pounce. "We need to get off this bridge!" he finally yells, "The wolves say don't go into the Mountains. If we listen, the only way back is the way we came! I say go back and find a different way forward!" The scowl on his face drops as he finally actually hears Ember's words. "Insult the Dark One later, Ember! Afterwards!" he says, his face betraying a hint of confusion. [Razeal]

The Chieftain moves at an incredible speed, already pulling his hammer back but not before Deja manages to get onto him. He growls, relinquishing one hand from the hammer to grab at her back and tug the woman off. He nearly doubles her size, much clearer now that they're toe to toe. His hand is neatly sliced by the blades on her back but he lifts her up regardless, snarling remarkably like a laugh, before attempting to slam the woman into the ground.

From behind, the Chieftain's troops begin to push each other back and a couple of them slip into the lake. Surprisingly, they float on the surface despite all their weight. Surprisingly, a dark shadow deep inside of the lake seems to extend like a rapidly moving shadow and reaches out to those who have fallen in. When the tendrils of shadow touch the trollocs, they simply vanish too quickly for the eye to track. The shadows begin to extend on every side of the bridge and grow thicker and thicker.

Near the boulders on the north end, there is a crackling noise, like subdued lightning and some of the stones begin to fall away. What could be causing that noise? When Emberlite taunts the sky, the crackling only grows louder and the sound of grinding steel against steel fills the air, the high pitched squeal causing him pain and grabs the attention of everybody else.

Karen watched as the tendrils came up out of the water. Her typically unwavering confidence was shaken somewhat as her eyes became wide. "Ooooohhhh it's a Kraken!" The loud noise startled her now that she had left the void in her mind, and tried to regather herself. "Might be a good idea to have a strategic retreat AWAY from the water and back to the mainland." She looked at the army of trollocs behind them. "Meaning we have two options; get rid of the trollocs or the other plan." She was shouting over the comotion, trying to quickly get her partner's thoughts. 

Screaming in pain as the noise pierces his ears, Emberlite quickly forces himself into the void. The pain was distant now. He continues approaching as strands of air fill the inside, muffling all sound. He begins to sprint towards the boulder, ignoring the watery shadow, stabbing at what trollocs still live, and climbing the boulder to see what is on the other side causing the racket. [Emberlite]

"They are going to collapse this bridge out from under us! Or they believe that creature will!" Razeal says, pointing towards the tendrils of Shadow. He looks over his shoulder, trying to assess the situation to the North. "You guys suck at making decisions." He yells out in a half-growl. "Decision made! We're listening to the wolves. We have to push through the Trollocs behind us - I'm going to help Deja!" His fingers flex around the hilts of his axes briefly before he breaks into a run towards Deja and the Trollocs. [Razeal]

The Chieftain nearly brains the Wolf Sister when Snowcap and Shadow cause him to stumble. Their teeth bury deep into his flesh but there is so much flesh to tear through. Their growls and tugs keep him from properly throwing the woman and allows her the chance to slip away and onto his torso. Ignoring Deja for the moment, her armor grinding against his own, he reaches down and grabs both of the wolves and tears them from his legs. Blood flies from his torn flesh but he doesn't seem to mind it. He slams the two wolves together as they cry out a pained yelp and collapse to the floor. They slowly force themselves up to their feet but their legs are wobbly.

When Emberlite reaches the top of the boulder pile, he sees any number of twisted suits of armour marching their way towards the battle, completely devoid of wearers. The joints screeched with supernatural levels of noise, not something that would typically be caused by their condition, moving in a disjointed mannequin like fashion. They raise their swords and they suddenly fly from their hands, given wills of their own. Behind them, though unseen, the howls and vicious barks of creatures that remain unseen echo throughout the valley. Not that Emberlite can hear it.

Ten shadowy tendrils emerge from the water, covered in the strange sticky slime-like lake, too wet and reflective to make out any details. Each tendril is as thick as a horse and they begin gripping the bridge and reaching for any life it can find. The surface of the lake is unnaturally still, now, for something this large to be stirring inside of it and the shadow in the depths continues to grow larger. Even now, it was larger than a barn and growing... how much larger would it get?

Feeling the pain from Shadow and Snowcap, Deja instinctively ordered them away until they were recovered. As the trolloc chieftain gave her the opening Deja wrapped her legs around his torso and began to violently tear at its face and neck. She dug her thumbs into each interior side of it's neck and tore outward violently targeting the tendons and blood vessels at the front of the throat. A part of her mind quickly sent a flash of imagery and sensory information. [Deja]

Karen watched as Emberlite ran off on his own. Looking back towards the kraken she knew that she had to handle it. Running towards the arms coming out of the water, she tried to quickly come up with a plan. She took a small object out of her bag and a flint. After sparking the flint, she threw the object towards the center of the arms. On impact the object makes a big exploding fireball. She took a moment to resteady herself as she entered the void again. "Alright, let's dance."

Emberlite stares down at the strange mass of twisted armour before shouting back, "I know you said something about the twisted souls of warriors or something but I'm seeing something that looks an awful lot like a bubble of evil, instead." He prepares himself to parry the flying swords and tries to quickly take count of the number before swearing under his breath. Unable to hear Razeal's command to retreat, he continues moving forward. He leaps down onto the other side, away from view, and then takes a deep breath exhaling a wave of flame throughout the valley. [Emberlite]

Stopping short of the tentacles, Razeal takes a moment to consider his options. He glances behind his shoulder to ensure no tentacle has snuck up behind him before taking a few steps back. "Deja is trapped on the other side of these... things. Any ideas...?" he trails off as he catches Karen throwing an object out towards the creature. He immediately turns back towards the tentacles in anticipation, preparing to dodge them, or strike them with his weapons as a last resort.  [Razeal]

As the order is given, the wolves pull back, not necessarily retreating but alternating between hit and run as ordered. This is where wolves shined, dragging the attention from one another. The Trollocs began to pour away from the bridge now that what they attempted to awaken had in fact awoke, leaving their Chieftain alone. Despite Deja's call for Snowcap and Shadow to retreat, they do not, leaping up to bury their teeth into the Chieftain's elbow. Where he nearly had pried the woman off, his grip slips and her fingers tear into his throat. He bleeds profusely as the pair let go of his arm, he swings violently at them but misses due to his height. They tackle him behind the knees causing him to fall over and the entire weight of Deja's body crashes into his throat crushing it. He thrashes wildly as her pack leader and spirit guide helps her finish him off.

Emberlite's breath suddenly turns into a tornado of flame and ash over the suits of armour. A brilliant light floods the valley as the stones begin to explode from the heat and in some places begin to melt. The armour begins to turn into puddles of steel and rust while the blades suddenly lose all life. The howls beyond the valley grow silent.

The explosion from Karen's explosive tears through the tentacle, doing less damage than expected but more than one could hope for. Covered in the slimy fluid, the flames dehydrate the two nearest to her and Razeal and cause them to flail, chunks being torn away. The fire continues to burn on the flesh, turning some of it to ash, and leaving the stink of burning urine in the air. Oily substances begin to squirt in every direction from the wounded tentacles and the others begin to flail unnaturally. The stone bridge cracks under the blow, as it is struck again and again, and deep below a large gurgle throws the fluid over everybody on the bridge. It's sticky and heavy but seems to cause no immediate harm.

As Deja climbed off of the corpse of the trolloc she stumbled a bit as the bridge shuddered from the blows. She quickly assessed the situation before turning back to the north and running straight down the bridge, collecting her staff as she went by. As she came upon each tentacle she attempted to go either over or under each tentacle, a vivid image was sent to Razeal of him running towards Karen and the way Ember had gone. Her wolves moved with her showing their long exposure to each other; especially as a trio, as they never got in each other's way and used each other to ensure the group moved past each tentacle. [Deja]

Karen watched the carnage of her attack and realized her friends were in danger. She attempted to slice through any of the tentacles in front of her and realized that they were looking towards Emberlite. Getting her footing sorted out, she started to run as quickly as her feet could carry her. "Ember! We are coming towards you!" She calls, almost to give him warning against making particular choices. "The bridge is going down underneath us!"

Releasing the One Power after he watches the last of the metal fade into worthless puddles, he takes a deep breath and smells the scent of burnt stone. He slips his longswords into their harness and fastens them into place before lighting a cigarette and climbing over the stone to take a peek at what's happening on the other side, "Why're you coming this way? I thought we were going around!?" He asks, glancing back at the still red stone. [Emberlite]

Razeal stumbles just a bit as the tentacles begin to strike the bridge. After just a fraction of a moment, he's able to find his balance and prepares to break into a sprint with Prancer in tow. "Deja! I'm co.." he suddenly stops as the image from Deja floods his senses. Without hesitation, he turns on his heels and breaks into a run towards Karen and Ember. "C'mon Prancer! FAST!" he yells out towards the young wolf, not yet having built the instinct to communicate directly. [Razeal]

With the Trollocs off the bridge, the tendrils slide around back and forth along the stone bridge, searching for anything that might still be on it. Moments before it touches Deja, it finds the Chieftain's corpse and in a flash almost too quick to see, the corpse simply vanishes from the bridge along with the tendril. Deja slides under one, dragged along with the aid of the wolves but is forced to attempt to jump the next. When her armor slices through it, it flicks upwards launching her through the air... fortunately where she wants to go, unfortunately into a pile of rubble and directly in front of Emberlite. She manages to adjust her landing so that her armour receives the brunt of the blow but she feels her bones rattle inside of her.

The bridge cracks under the pressure and finally collapses and with it the boulders begin to spill down. Karen, Razeal, and the wolves make it just barely to the stable parts of the debris. From here, they can see that the wolves are cleaning up the trollocs easily, the trollocs primarily fleeing now that it is an option. A number of the wolves had been slain but they took three times as many trollocs with them. Without the bridge, the wolves stare at the party.

When the party takes the time to look over the debris and into the valley, they can see pools of liquid metal and heated stone, though at this point they are mostly a dull black with hints of orange. The howling at the end of the valley never begins again though there is a harsh wind blowing, hot and humid, like the breath of a large animal, but it serves to start drying off the slime.

Karen comes to a stop by Ember and is visibly winded as she gets there. She looks back as she catches her breath. "Oh man, that went sideways a bit quicker than expected. Everyone got all their limbs still?" She gave herself a look over and then stood up straight again, looking down into the valley where Ember had been working. Noticing the heat she dusted herself off. "I guess that the sun gets reflected even more intensely down through here. If anyone is going to start taking off clothes, now is the time to do it."

Emberlite takes a deep breath of the cigarette, feeling his lungs with the tabac, and tries to run his hand through his hair only to find a helmet. He frowns at the thing before rubbing his arms instead, "Mostly." He finally replies while looking down the valley, "This place makes my skin crawl. It feels like the walls are about to come to life." [Emberlite]

Razeal takes a deep breath after jogging over to the group after the ensuing chaos. "The wolves will find another way and join us" he says, as he slides his axes into their holsters and finally takes a moment to look over the carnage on this side of the bridge. "Impressive work" he notes, before looking towards the valley walls "Which way do we go from here? I think we've brought a little bit of room to breath, but staying at the bottom of this valley leaves us open to assault from everywhere. I'm with Ember on this one, the walls are dangerous. Is everyone still up for a hike?" [Razeal]

Deja crawled to her feet after a moment and wheezed a deep breath before nodding, she grasped her staff and began making her way down the valley. Her golden eyes studied the walls on each side with overt suspicion, she kept her staff at the ready this time and her movements careful. Her two wolves stayed a few paces behind her taking as long as needed to recover before moving back up behind her. [Deja]

Karen looked as Deja moved on. She threw up her hands "Oh yeah, sure don't say anything. What happened to 'sticking together' Deja?" She looked at the cigarette that Emberlite lit and stretched a little as she started to move forwards. "I've certainly been in better places with better odds." She poked at the walls with the bottom of her glaive. "How was I supposed to kill a Kraken? Is there like a protocol for that?"

Emberlite sighs quietly as he continues smoking and glances at Deja with a slight frown. At all of them, really. He reaches out a hand and gently scrapes some of the lake with his gauntlets, "Are you going to be okay with this? Or should we take the time to clean you guys up? Is everybody alright? Do we need to settle down and do some first aid? Things aren't going to get easier from here." [Emberlite]

"I don't know about a protocol, but you certainly managed" he brings his hand up to his chin for a moment, scratching at it as he thinks back at the fight. "What was that you threw, anyway? I've never heard of anything like it." Hearing Ember, Razeal looks down at himself and seems to notice pieces of the lake for the first time. "This stuff is gross" he says, as he starts to scoop some off of himself with his gauntlets. [Razeal]

Deja stopped and growled at the others before stomping over to them and pulling a rag out of a pouch. She started trying to clean herself off and glanced at her wolves to come near, they did so wisely dropping to the dirt and rolling in it to clump it up for her before they let her start wiping them off. [Deja]

Karen gave Razeal a very nonchalant look and waved off his question. "Ah you liked that? Don't you worry your pretty little mind about that. Just some old fashion Atha'an Miere foolery." She looked at herself and weighed if it was important enough to clean herself off. "I didn't get hurt, but I agree with Razeal this stuff IS gross."

Emberlite takes a deep breath and finally removes his helmet and places it against his hip, "Well, we've a moment to think. This Ego fellow is probably trying to lure us. To darkhounds. I don't know how much experience you all have with darkhounds but even the weakest of them can kill instantly with a bite, if you're unlucky. Their slobber will rot you and there are stronger ones. There are ones immune to the blade. And even greater still... and we're in a valley that the wolves warned us had something in it. What's the call? We could try to swim back?" He asks though his tone is jestful. [Emberlite]

Emberlite takes a deep breath and finally removes his helmet and places it against his hip, "Well, we've a moment to think. This Ego fellow is probably trying to lure us. To darkhounds. I don't know how much experience you all have with darkhounds but even the weakest of them can kill instantly with a bite, if you're unlucky. Their slobber will rot you and there are stronger ones. There are ones immune to the blade. And even greater still... and we're in a valley that the wolves warned us had something in it. What's the call? We could try to swim back?" He asks though his tone is jestful. He reaches out to check on Karen for any injuries, then Deja, and finally Razeal. [Emberlite]

Razeal lets out a shrug at Karen's response before continuing to remove the gunk from his clothes, "Of course. Quite a handy secret weapon. Hope you've got more" he says, chuckling as he finishes cleaning the gunk off himself. Once he's satisfied he gestures to Prancer, signaling him to come closer. "C'mon buddy, let's get this foul stuff off of you." He calls out to the group as he's cleaning off the young wolf, "Probably shouldn't linger long. The wolves sacrificed to give us this chance. I vote we push onward, though you all know the dangers far better than I."  [Razeal]

The canyon goes up quite some ways, maybe forty yards, and the space between the two rocky outcrops is roughly five yards. There's an inky blackness on the walls, like mold or fungus, except that it listens wetly. Skeletal remains cover the floor, touched by the same inkiness. Where the ink is darkest, there appear to be oblong spheres about the size of a thumb with a soft purplish glow to them. The canyon itself appears to wind in a serpentine style with the occasional bush at the bottom or a hint of a root protruding from the wall. What was at the top was near impossible to see other than the occasional stretch of branch that hovered over the space.

Deja eyed the walls with caution but also kept a careful eye and where she stepped as the group made their way down the valley. Snowcap and Shadow were a few paces behind her, images, sensory input, and even hints of memories flashed back and forth between the three as they walked studying their surroundings as a group. She sniffed at the air, "It smells as bad as it looks." She grumbled loudly enough for the group to hear. [Deja]

Karen gives a look to Emberlite and speaks softly. "I am fine, friend. I made the mess more than anything else." She gave a nervous laugh as she looked down the valley. Stepping carefully she avoided the armour. "Well what is our intent at this point? Keep going until we reach our goal? Are we going to be sleeping or resting? It's best if we choose this now before we get to somewhere we can't return from." She says, ignoring the fact that the bridge has already collapsed. 

Emberlite spits out the rest of his tabac and places his helmet back onto his head. He begins to follow after Deja while unhooking his blades. He begins dragging his longsword across the dark patches on the wall, grinding them into the stone as he walks past them, "Karen has a point. We could make camp before we go any further. I am not looking forward to spending the night here but that wasn't exactly an effortless affair." [Emberlite]

Standing up at his full height, Razeal takes a look around as he stretches out his back, twisting from side to side. "No injuries here, Ember." He scrunches his nose now that he's got a chance to take a whiff of the area. "Smells awful here. I don't really fancy the idea of camping, but I don't see an alternative either." He steps up to the wall, looking closely but not touching it. "I really don't like this. It can't go on forever, right? Maybe we camp on the other side?" [Razeal]

Hands begin to slowly extend from the walls. Not quite hands. Skeletal hands. Missing pieces of the phalanges, bits of the metacarpal, some held together by thin strands of tissue that still remained. The oblong spheres on the ground began to pop, one after the other, and where the purple fluid touches, the skeletons slowly begin to rise. They are slow but there is a sureness about them, a lack of hesitation, and worse... they were starting to fill the entire valley back and front. The bones looked to be ancient, scoured bone white or aged to yellow, and the stench at the end of the valley only grew worse.

Deja bolted forward, her staff beginning to move and hum in her hands as she did, her wolves darted in behind and around her moving with her fluidly. She attempted to forge a path through the creatures in front of them for the group to follow her.  [Deja]

Karen watched Deja bolt down the small quarters and before she realized it, she was moving swiftly behind her. As the weird creatures reached out towards her she sliced, diced, and stabbed what she could without slowing herself down to the best of her abilities. "I don't know if this was the right choice, but it's the one we have now."

Emberlite doesn't bother to question the choice. He takes his blade and begins grinding it against anything Deja misses and sprints as quick as his legs will take him. His eyes focus on every curve ahead, "It has to end sometime." He agrees with Razeal, "But keep up. Don't want to get left behind, now." [Emberlite]

Razeal slips one of his axes out of its holster as he takes off after his companions. "This is nuts!" he yells as he brings up the rear, taking great care to dodge any remaining hands as he runs by. "Come on Prancer, keep up!" He occasionally spares a glance behind him, ensuring that Prancer doesn't get caught. [Razeal]

The skeletal warriors are not terribly durable, shattering with each blow, but any portion of them that does not become completely separated turns into its own creature. Arms that explode turn into walking hands, skulls that survive hop with their jaws. Those that are not destroyed slowly rise up and begin walking behind them. There's a strange sense of dread that emanates from them, not quite fear, not like a myrddraal... a sensation that makes one feel more lethargic, more apathetic. Why not settle down? Why not join them? Why run? Isn't it exhausting? It'd be easier to sleep. The ground is so soft here and there's so much company. They're beckoning you. Until another head is cracked, and another femur busted. Up ahead, not very far, there is barking. Loud. Tremendously loud. They're close. Another turn and before the group there is a pack of darkhounds. It looks as though there are twelve of them but two of them are much larger than the rest, standing at the fore.

Shadow and Snowcap both growled and snarled at the sight of the Darkhounds, Deja planted herself and her staff came to a stop with a hard slap of her palm as she held it at the ready. "Shadow Brothers!" Her howled words were both mournful and angry in their tone. She kept her staff between the Darkhounds and herself and her wolves. [Deja]

Karen gives a knowing look to Emberlite. Realizing that they were limited on options she gritted her teeth and called out. "Alrighty Red, time to play the cards! Razeal, uh, close your eyes real quick. I'll take the left six, you take the right." Her knuckles cracked as her grip on her glaive tightened. She seemed to steady herself and focus in on the dark hounds on the right, a blanket of air coming through the valley suddenly, and whipping around the darkhounds until they had a tight grip on the barking shadowspawn. 

Emberlite seeing the darkhounds before him immediately begins swearing as he turns to face the skeletons. He swears again before thrusting one of his blades into the ground and thumping behind himself, "Protect Deja." He barks to Razeal, "Don't get bitten." Useless advice but in this situation, it may be all he has for the Second Bannerman. At least he'll never have to explain this to Gaskan. Or Cithra. He begins walking forward shouts at the sky, "Seriously. We've been here for a day. A whole bloody day and you're going to throw pre-dead bodies at me? Are you even trying?" [Emberlite]

Razeal lets out a surprised gasp as he finally lays his eyes upon a darkhound, his heart jumping into his throat. After a very brief moment, he composes himself and slips his second axe out of its holster. His eyes search his companions for a moment, not quite understanding what they are implying,  before settling on the two biggest Darkhounds. "EGO!" he suddenly calls out, "Why do you hide behind the pack?! Come, face us yourself!" [Razeal]

As the skeletons continue to climb through the walls and Emberlite's snarl at the unseen echoes throughout the canyon, the walls begin to shake and reverberate. First small stones began to fall, then larger, massive cracks suddenly sling themselves along the edges and before long, they were unable to support themselves. The canyon behind them comes tumbling, debris and dust shooting forward blinding all vision.

Suddenly there are growls and padded feet charge forward into the blinding dust. The smell of sulfur is incredibly strong, blocking out almost any other scent. Teeth crash into Deja's staff, the bear sized animal nearly tearing it from her hands but only barely. Her fingers stress, the failure point if there ever was one, as it throws its head back and forth. The other feet begin to move through the dust carefully, their eyes glowing faintly as they attempt to find their prey. Above, there is the sound of ravens crying out, the sound of a thousand bird swings flapping simultaneously, watching how this will turn out. Strangely, only four of the twelve seem to be moving around.

Deja wrestled with the massive darkhound using her staff as the focus point, she snarled and spit right back in it's face as she did so. She gave an ironclad warning to Snowcap and Shadow to stay back as she fought for control of her weapon, trying to twist it if she could to cause the engravings to catch on the darkhound's mouth. [Deja]

As Karen counts the number of darkhounds that are still moving she seems to be happy with this result. She takes hold of the void before lunging through the dirt and dust, to strike heavily the darkhounds that were not moving. She used a whirlwind of attacks, striking quickly in succession. After she finishes the blows, she calls out to the group. "Is everyone still ok?" [Karen]

With the mess behind them dealt with, Emberlite lifts his weapon and peers into the dust cloud that seems to have formed, searching for those eyes. With Saidin in his grasp, within the void, he felt the world around him. Every breath, every step, every droplet of sweat. He moves forward and a large gust of that heavy, steamy wind that occasionally flooded the valley suddenly comes through, lifting up the dust from their eyes and their vision. With this, nodding towards Razeal and Deja, he charges towards the one closest to him and begins to unload starting with The Dance of Snakes and Foxes. [Emberlite]

As Deja pulls and wrenches at the staff, the darkhound places its paws firmly against her shoulders and jerks back. Fortunately for the Wolf Sister her grip was more durable than the creature. Fortunately for the Wolf Sister, she had trained herself a Wolf Pup. The axes bury themselves into the back of the skull of the darkhound which immediately begins to bleed and thrash. In its dying throes, its teeth shatter during the tug of war. The darkhound stumbles back into the ground and continues to violently bleed but watching it, the wounds slowly begin to seal.

The darkhounds, bound in air and frozen in place, or so Karen thought, seemingly managed to break free. Whatever invisible force held them vanished at the very last moment and her bladecraft is all that keeps her from getting mauled. Heavy blows knock them away but where one is swatted down, another leaps forward, tearing the glaive away from her. The others quickly dart forward, pouncing at her in one large group. Emberlite begins a back and forth with two darkhounds, though he struggles to find any real solid strikes, the darkhounds moving with an intelligence above that typically associated with them, working as partners and in tandem to flank him.

Recognizing she was in a dire situation, a sense of adrenaline rushed through Karen. As fast as she could manage she reached out her now empty hands. Suddenly, a whipping wind kicked up around her in an attempt to get the darkhounds off of her. She dug a little deeper in her stance and in her hands formed a shadowy weapon that looked like her glaive. Taking hold of it tightly she started to breathe heavily, trying to regain her footing. Once she is able to create some distance between her and the hounds she calls out to her comrades. "Things are more dire than I expected Red!" She prepares herself before making her next attack.  [Karen]

"How can things be MORE dire than you expected?" Emberlite cries out as he keeps his back to the newly formed wall of stone behind him. Like hell he is going to let them flank him. He adjusts his grip on his longsword and slips forward, thrusting the other into the ground, and begins to use the one he keeps more like a spear than as a sword. One hand near the base of the hilt, the other on the blade, he glances towards Karen to make sure she's okay before going full hog. Shadows Cover the Stars into Mist on the Riverbank - a quick thrust followed by a heavy spin and a high to low slash across the faces of the darkhounds in reach. [Emberlite]

Razeal lifts one axe and slams it back into the skull of the Darkhound as it's falling to the ground, before letting both weapons slide out gruesomely. He breathes hard for a second before leaping backwards, attempting to get out of range of both Deja and the Darkhound. "Afraid, Ego?" he says, his voice sharpened by anger. "I ran here willingly - knowing what awaits. I'm still here, fighting your twisted creations." Taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm himself down, he continues, "No Ego, the only coward is you. Hiding behind your darkhounds." His attention shifts just for a moment to Prancer, still at the rear before coming back to the Deja and the felled darkhound. [Razeal]

As the darkhound fell away from Deja, she stepped forward and slammed one end of her staff down into it's skull viciously. She turned towards the next darkhound nearest to her and stepped towards her with her staff spinning about her before lashing out at the Darkhound, Lioness Rampant. [Deja]

A sudden explosion of air swirls around Karen violently, stones flying in every direction as the air picks up loose debris. The force of the air can be felt in this tightly cordoned off area, whipping cloaks and threatening to rip away loosely worn items. This burst of air shoves the four darkhounds in mid-leap into the walls and into their brothers with incredible force. They slowly stand up, their legs shaky, trying to clear their heads.

Emberlite continues his duel with the two darkhounds, one strike piercing into the flesh of the one to his right, the second slash cutting through both of them. They begin to drip a thick blackish fluid from their jaws but they still seem to be alive. The first leaps and is forced back to the ground but the other manages to slip past and slam Emberlite into the wall, drooling over his armour. Immediately, his armour begins to hiss and etch, threatening to crack through his shell.

As Razeal lays another firm blow with his axes into the base of the darkhound's neck, it finally stops moving, the spinal cord severing from the impact. The creature's eyes follow him as he moves away, the last vestiges of life still inside of it.

The impact of Deja's staff causes a loud crunching noise as the darkhound nearest to her is forced to spin two hundred and seventy degrees as it is caught in mid-air. He lands on the ground, splaying out, before trying to force its way back to its feet. A quick glance reveals that her staff has collapsed the skull around its right eye and it hangs free.

The largest darkhounds continue to guard the exit, four darkhounds sitting with it, remaining perfectly still. Were they guarding the exit? Or waiting til they were more exhausted. The four darkhounds around Karen split into three groups, two for Deja, one for Karen, and one focusing entirely on Razeal.

As Razeal taunts Ego, Karen starts to laugh, even in the throws of peril. "Well first off this one is picking a fight while we are in a fight. Secondly, I may have underestimated the very deadly darkhounds." As she speaks, she starts to run towards the darkhound that was still on her, and uses her shadowy weapon in a flurry of blows against the creature. 

As she stopped her onslaught and created some distance she continued. "Which I guess is totally my fault, but in my defense.." She let go of the shadowy blade and picked up her glaive from the ground. "...I make bad choices all the time, they just usually work out." [Karen]

Emberlite growls into the face of the darkhound sitting on top of him; dropping his weapon, he wraps his hands around the sides of its skull and begins to channel spirit and earth into his palms until a blade of shadow rips through the creature's face. He kicks back at it and immediately weaves earth into his armor causing it to shatter off of him and lets it fall to the ground. He grabs the other weapon that he left plunged into the ground and moves forward, a heavy spinning swing into the second one, Last Stand of the Spearman, "If we don't spend our life daring it to get harder, then what would be the point of living?" He demands to know. [Emberlite]

"So long as we fight, Ego, you are not inevitable!" Razeal yells as turning his attention to the darkhound that is bearing down on him. He lifts his axes in front of himself and drops to a defensive stance, preparing to dodge if he is able, or parry if he is not. "Guys .. I know I killed the first one and you're all busy. But uh.. " he continues, digging in his heels, "I could really use a hand with this. Karen! Maybe one of those bombs?" he asks, before becoming silent as his eyes lock onto the darkhound. [Razeal]

Deja's face was devoid of emotion, her mind split between the calm darkness and the howl of the pack equally, she stepped to keep the two darkhounds coming for her in front of her. She seemed to be relaxed but her movements were precise, "Come to my staff Shadow Brothers!" She spat at the two darkhounds. Her staff moved in and around and out in complex movements towards the darkhounds, A Strong Wind at Dusk and Fire Consumes the Forest. Snowcap and Shadow came bounding into the darkhound that was attacking Razeal from either side. [Deja]

Blood flies everywhere as the shadowy glaive impales the darkhound several times into his face and shoulders. It shakes violently before falling over onto its side. The weapon of the One Power wavers in strength as if the blood of the creature weakens the flows that hold it together until the weapon vanishes altogether.

Emberlite's blades slice the face off the darkhound in his hands causing the blood to spill over near all of his equipment. The only thing that saves him is his armour being shed away, shattered into a million pieces and falling to the ground. His sudden move cuts the darkhound across the shoulder all the way to its ear, tearing its ear off and causing it to back off momentarily. Fear? Could darkhounds feel fear?

The two darkhounds on Deja are clapped back and forth, the first unable to see from its impacted eye. This sadness of its life is ended by the second swing collapsing its throat. It crumbles to the ground and struggles to breath, the raspiness coming through as a high pitched squeal. The second darkhound is battered back, struggling to get close enough to hurt the Wolf Sister without taking heavy blows. For a moment, its shoulder is broken but as it crawls away, the shoulder begins to snap back into place.

Razeal stands face to face with a darkhound, the creature jumping forward and nearly clamps its teeth around his arm. Snowcap tackles it, causing it to just barely miss, but a claw cuts into its fur. A toughened wolf, she doesn't even cry as she prepares to attack again. Shadow jumps with Razeal and bites into the darkhounds shoulder but quickly disengages to avoid the poisonous blood. Prancer stands behind Razeal, watching his back.

Karen turned her head to look at Razeal as he called out in desperation. With an eye on the other darkhounds, she quickly closes the gap between herself and the young wolfkin. In a dramatic leap she came crashing down with an overhead hard slash to the darkhound that was cornering them. 

"I mean you make a fair point Red, but I don't know if these two are willing to die by our reckless lifestyle." She adjusted her stance to stand in front of her friends. A bead of sweat came from her brow. "Making me work, if you managed to kill one you should be fine!"

Emberlite takes a deep breath before sprinting forward and immediately going all out on this last darkhound that was on top of him. He didn't have the luxury of armour, now, wearing nothing but the padded cloth underneath. A lot of good that would do against this creature. His weapon flies up, then around, and then forward an arching overhead followed by a series of thrusts, wrapping a band of air around its waist to keep it from moving long enough to get his attacks in. "Lucky that they're underestimating us. This Ego is an idiot, whatever else he is." [Emberlite]

"NO!" Razeal yells, almost as if he can feel Snowcap's pain as she gets cut. His fingers flex tightly around his axes and his yellow eyes light up in anger. He looks prepared to pounce, but instead, hesitates. Waiting for a slight opening. Just as he's about to jump into action against the beast, Karen comes crashing down in front of him, causing him to leap backwards. "Karen! A lifesaver if ever there was one. Snowcap got hit!" he calls out as he falls back into his defensive stance.  [Razeal]

Deja felt Snowcap's pain and a spike of anxiety coursed through her as she once again ordered them back towards Prancer. Deja stepped after the darkhound she had wounded, bringing her staff around and out in a vicious stab of the staff to end it's miserable existence. She spun around to look straight at Snowcap with an alarmed expression before her face started to cloud over as she turned around slowly to stare at the remaining darkhounds blocking the path forward. [Deja]

The constant pressure of avoiding instant death is an exhausting one. Even if it were not physically draining, the mental stress wears on. Karen strikes Razeal's darkhound from behind, catching it off guard. It stumbles forward, turning its head to meet its new opponent. It whirls around 

The darkhound prepares to side step when it finds itself caught in some unseen force. It struggles in place, the weave slowly dissipating but not before Emberlite's longsword puts an end to it. The first strike cracks its hard skull open, the second one cuts through clearly, and finally, any chance it may have had at recovering from these wounds vanishes as it is decapitated.

Deja's strike finishes off the darkhound left with her, blood coating the ends of her staff where she had successfully bludgeoned two darkhounds to death. As she faces the wall of darkhounds, the six of them stare back and begin to growl dangerously. Snowcap and Shadow quickly retreat next to Prancer and prepare to defend Razeal from any more attacks.

Karen stands up slowly, spitting on the ground before wiping at her face. "Slopey work all around. Let's do this with a bit of class this time. We can help Snowcap after this fight is over, and Deja knows we will." She flourishes her glaive slightly before putting it firmly in both hands. 

With her pride clearly at stake, Karen calls upon the winds again and rushes them towards the hounds. Keeping herself shielded from the winds, she slashes through the darkhounds in an effort to quickly reduce their numbers.

Finished with his last victim, Emberlite lifts up his second longsword and swings them around a few times clearing the blood off of them and then moves up to join Razeal with the final darkhound that had broken away from the pack. He tilts his head slightly before moving forward to engage the last one with quick sweeping slashes, hoping to take it out before it loses its interest in Karen. [Emberlite]

"Guys... I think Ego is running! His presence is fading.." Razeal calls out before yelling at the top of his lungs. "COWA-" he cuts off at the sudden draft, lowering one hand to his cloak to keep it from blocking his vision as it flaps in the strong gust of wind. As the gust settles, he notices the Darkhound has its back to him and immediately lunges forward, burying his axes into its flesh while trying to stay cautious of its hind legs. [Razeal]

Deja stepped forward in a lunge and her arm snapped overhead throwing her spear like a javelin straight at the darkhound that was in front of Razeal. A massive masterful sending of many things, the current moment, past hunts, past adventures with the tall lady dressed in all pink She charged right past Karen as she howled at the woman more than the darkhounds as she held her hands clearly out the side as she charged straight at the remaining darkhounds with enraged murderous intent. [Deja]

Deja's staff bounces off the back of the darkhound's skull causing it to faceplant into the ground. It slowly begins to stand up when the combined strikes between Razeal's axes and Emberlite's longswords finally do it good. It becomes a dismembered mess, finally being laid to death.

As Karen charges into the darkhounds who are watching from the far side, a violent wind comes crashing down on them and... disappears. The ordinary sized darkhounds are hurled violently into the walls, bears crashing into stone, and collapsing into the ground but the larger ones, the ones that made horses seem small in comparison, seemed entirely unaffected. As Karen charged forward, they charged towards her, to meet her.

Karen, realizing what Deja had done quickly grabs some air and chucks two long sticks at the Wolf Sister. She focused on the two large Darkhounds, keeping a few meters between them as she determined what she would do next. Deciding to keep with the wind theme, she starts to step away from Deja to keep her safe from her next attack. With a dramatic slash of her glaive, the wind kicks up again. This time the wind hardened in small razor-like shards and she hurled them towards one of the larger darkhounds, hoping it was enough to stop them. 

Emberlite charges forward, wasting no more time on the deceased darkhound. He moves forward to fight alongside Karen, his weapons set to the charge. He grits his teeth as he focuses flows of spirit and earth into one another and focuses them into the body of the closest giant darkhound, preparing to demolecularize it, "I'm not getting paid enough for this!" [Emberlite]

Razeal takes a step back as the Darkhound finally collapses, as if he's unsure what to do. He looks out towards the two enormous darkhounds intently, all the muscles in his body seemingly going taut. Every moment, his face seems awash with a different emotion. Finally one wins out and he lets out a wordless yell as he starts towards the large darkhounds, significantly behind Karen.  [Razeal]

Deja's pace never changed as she charged at the monstrous darkhounds, howling at them with every step. As her hands closed on familiar style handles she brought the two sticks of air around at the closest darkhound, Lioness Rampant and Petal Flutters in the Breezeaimed at the massive beast's throat and jaws. [Deja]

As Karen weaves a ring of razor sharp air around herself, they violently slice through the group of darkhounds. The horse-sized darkhound's body becomes torn up by the multitude of blades but when they crash into the larger darkhounds, the weave suddenly vanishes. The impact of the weave snapping feels like a fist in the face, causing Karen to become disoriented. The first one closes the distance and strikes her across the chest, the claws denting her cuirass inwards and causing scraps of metal to fly. She can feel them graze her flesh and the immediate sense of burning that follows it.

Emberlite experiences a similar sensation. The weaves flow into the creature and seem to be absorbed by its flesh before snapping back, knocking the air from him. As close as he is, the greater darkhound nearly bites down on him but he keeps the teeth away with crossed blades. He feels his muscles tense as the weight of the large creature bares down on him.

The smaller darkhound force themselves up to their paws and begin to charge past the duo to engage Deja and Razeal in pairs of two. They leap through the air, Deja's first strike knocking one down to the ground with a high pitched whine while the other's jaw is broken and it collapses on the ground, mouth hanging open.

Razeal finds the first one clamping down its jaws onto his bracers, slowly crushing them, teeth not quite penetrating. His forearm makes a crunching sound as the bones slowly crack, the vicious darkhound twisting and turning its head attempting to wrench his elbow from its socket. The other one flies through the air, going for his throat.

As the impact hits Karen it startles her so much that she loses her balance, and falls on her butt. She cries out as her armor is torn through and the burning sensation burns her skin. "For blood and ashes, you bilge stone sons of the sands!" She tried to hold the ground in an effort to orient herself. Slowly she is able to rise to her feet. Her teeth grinding as she steadies her blade. Taking a deep breath she lunges back at the large darkhound that she had started with, attacking as fast as she can manage while wounded. She tried her best to attain the void, to ignore the pain.  [Karen]

"Open the floor under them." Emberlite orders Karen, shaking his head and blinking the tears from his eyes. He begins channeling a mixture of flows under the feet of the enormous darkhound as the other two focus on their own targets. Even within the void, it's hard to concentrate. A sliver of light suddenly cuts the earth beneath the darkhounds feet and widens up into a widow of some other place. Snow flies up through the open area and he takes a step back and attempts to smash the darkhound into the opening. [Emberlite]

"Open the floor under them." Emberlite orders Karen, shaking his head and blinking the tears from his eyes. He begins channeling a mixture of flows under the feet of the enormous darkhound as the other two focus on their own targets. Even within the void, it's hard to concentrate. A sliver of light suddenly cuts the earth beneath the darkhounds feet and widens up into a widow of some other place. Snow flies up through the open area and he takes a step back and attempts to smash the darkhound into the opening. [Emberlite]

Razeal screams out in agony as he feels the bone in his arm start to break from the sheer strength of the darkhound. Just as he's about to make a move, he spots the second Darkhound lunging for his throat. Making a split-second decision, he lets out another wordless scream and swings his axe with all the force he can muster, attempting to catch the lunging beast in its mouth with his blade.  [Razeal]

Feeling Razeal's pain radiate out from him, Deja turned to pounce on the darkhounds that were attacking him, "Razeal!" She screamed as she brought the two staves of air down on the two darkhounds as fast as she could trying to bash their necks and heads in from the side or behind as hard as she could. [Deja]

The darkhound Karen battles with is powerful, large, and fast. Karen, a blademaster, manages to parry blow for blow but each strike causes her arms to rack with pain. Breathing is becoming difficult as the burning sensation starts to spread but she fights through it in the void. A quick pivot and she manages to slice off one of the creature's paws and it falls to the ground with a heavy thud. Before their eyes, the paw turns to a fluid and seems to seek out the body, merging with it and the stump regrows into a new paw.

As emberlite opens a window to a strange other place, his blow after blow hammers on the creature until it drops the darkhound into it, causing it to plummet who knows how far to the snowy realm below. It tumbles down the snow, falling, rolling into oblivion. Where it fell or even if it survived is unknown.

Razeal's axe flickers through the air with all the force that he can muster, catching it in the side of the head. The axe starts to bury deep before it spins away, crashing into the canyon wall. It falls to the ground, in a heap, twitching violently and gurgling. The darkhound on his arm manages to finally pierce through the armor, teeth meeting muscle but because of the metal pinning its teeth in place it's unable to pull the flesh away. Deja's staves crush its head with violent force and cause it to go limp; its teeth do not slip out but there is no longer any force behind the bite. His arm begins to feel inflamed and the sensation spreads to his shoulder.

Karen staggering now as the pain becomes much more intense she steps back. She places the tip of her blade in the ground and leans up against the shaft. She closed one eye, squinting out of pain, struggling to reach the void. Pulling what remains of her focus, she lifts up her other arm, and points at the darkhound that regained it's paw a moment ago. A dark circle opened up underneath it, showing a dark forested area that seemed to be on a different plane. Groaning she shouts out to Ember. "Honestly, I am embarrassed for myself at this point." She spits out what looks to be blood onto the ground and wipes at her mouth. 

Taking breaths that burn his dried lips, he turns his focus to the last darkhound and goes through the same process, attempting to hammer it through the space below it. His muscles ached and his chest burned where the saliva had touched him. He swallows hard and prays that the Light did not forsake them. [Emberlite]

"ARGH!" Razeal yells as his free arm reverberates from the blow to the darkhound, momentarily causing him to lose his focus entirely. As the Darkhound on his arm bites through though, he suddenly regains his clarity, biting back the pain and immediately lifting his axe - readying it for another swing. He appears to be too slow though, as the hound goes limp from Deja's strike. It takes just a split second for him to process what happened before he drives the axe into the beast's mouth and pries it's jaws open so that he can extract his arm. He stumbles backwards once he manages to free himself, dropping his weapon and holding his wrist up with his good, gauntleted hand. "It .. got me" he says in resignation. "I can feel it burning.." [Razeal]

Deja opened her hands letting the condensed air in her hands disappear as she knelt down next to Razeal, she sniffed at his wound and her nose wrinkled immediately as she glanced at the others. "We must address these wounds immediately!" She yelled at the others as she looked at his arm again as if trying to figure out how to start first aid on it. She sent a calming influence to his mind, inviting him to use the pain and accept her invitation to dream, to spend time with the pack in the Wolf Dream. [Deja]

The last of darkhounds are defeated, the gateways vanishing beneath them. The wounds between the group of them burn and ache, throbbing, the sensation getting deeper into their limbs and slowly spreading through their veins. Even Snowcap begins to whine as the aching from her small scratch starts to bruise and blacken, the fur around the injury falling out. The sound of scratching comes from behind the wall behind them, the skeletal figures slowly working their way up, the occasional crunch showing that many fall down after getting to a certain height.

Karen watches as the last of the darkhounds drop. She moves closer to Emberlite and drops to her knees. She seemed a little dazed, and her breath was still heavy. She put her hand on the man's body and took a deep and slow breath as she seemed to grasp flows of spirit. She tried to ignore her own pain as she spoke in dull tones. "When you write a song about this to perform at the Feast of Lights... leave out this part." She tried to manage a chuckle as she continued to tend to his wounds.

Emberlite walks over to Karen and allows her to tend to his wounds, grasping as much of the One Power as he can manage. As the chills flow through his body, most of the drain comes from the One Power, leaving his stamina in fairly decent shape. He returns the favor, flowing wave of heat after wave of heat into Karen's body until the wounds are treated. He then stumbles over to Deja and Razeal and kneels down to tend to them. And Snowcap, of course. He courses the weaves of spirit, water, and air into them, overflowing them with the heat that is associated with male channeling before he finally releases his hold on Saidin. He lays down on the ground, staring up at the sky, feeling rather numb, "Yeah. I think I'll leave this part out." [Emberlite]

A sense of calmness overcomes Razeal and he's left unsure as to whether or not the feeling is coming from Deja or the fact that he's accepting his fate. "I did all I could, Deja", he barks out of a cough before continuing, "For the pack" he says, falling to his knees in an attempt to conserve energy. He barely notices Emberlite walking towards him, only bringing up his eyes to meet him as he kneels down. "What are you..do.." he starts asking, but trails off as the weaves flow into him. As the pain subsides, Razeal stumbles backwards, lying on his back. "You chan.." stopping halfway through the statement, he stops, "Thank .. you" [Razeal]