The Summoning

All things outside of Thar Shaddin.
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Sir Karsimir
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The Summoning

Post by Sir Karsimir » Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:38 pm

Most horses became agitated by the scent of blood.

With Arjen, it was uncertain. His concern was obvious, yet it was less to do with the smell of blood and more to do with who was bleeding. As far as the destrier was concerned, a close friend was badly injured, and there seemed to be little that could be done for it.

Instead, the grand charger did what he could for his dear friend, and carried him. As they waited on the street, the warrior-lord remained atop the warhorse, specifically at the steed's urging. Even so, sporadic spikes of pain shot through him where air or garment rustled on his collection of bloody slashes.

By now the blood had dried, leaving his hair deeply matted with crimson, along with reddish brown encrusted patch over the neck and shoulder of his azure surcoat, with a red path along the inside-thigh of one leg and the front-thigh of the other. As if that were not enough, a heavy darkness had gathered under each eye, the mark of spending a full day without sleep.

And weary. So weary. A hollow feeling.

While Aorle was not finished searching, and had no plans to stop until his search was done, he knew that to have spent an entire night on search and find nothing would mean that more hours searching through the streets would not do more good. Instead, he would have to use a different method to find his friend, and Asiona could provide just that.

There was the door. Dark blue with green squares, a rather ungly shade of green at that. Glances left and right were cast in case Asiona chose a different exit, yet he always stayed in sight of that door.
Last edited by Sir Karsimir on Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Asiona & Lateus » Thu Aug 23, 2007 1:23 pm

Asiona peeked out from behind the pale, pink-tinted curtains of her bedroom window. The yard was small, and the houses to each side were close enough that she could see the whole portion of the street in front of her house with ease. She saw Railtus outside and immediately disappeared from the window to retrieve the canvas bag from under her bed. At the same time she mentally nudged Lateus, who was hiding in the stables in the back yard.

Or that was what she called them, stables, but they were a very poor imitation. All that made them up were fences with a canopy overtop. There were only two horses, but they hardly fit and did not appreciate Lateus taking up more of their precious space. When they neighed and stamped their feet at his approach she had him feed them apples. Then they had grudgingly stopped and stood warily watching him. If he got too close they nipped and kicked at him.

At the mental signal he said Ready? Thank god, I think Betty’s about to charge at me

Remember, once we’re down the street you follow…and I’ll give directions
she replied, supplying an image of shaking her finger at him like a parent scolding a naughty child. She felt him roll his eyes but she was too busy sneaking down the hallway to pay much attention. Gavken’s, her father’s, snoring could be heard coming down the stairs as she walked past it to the door. Opening the door carefully and flinching as it squeaked, Asiona exited the house and then closed it just as carefully. Then the girl trotted quickly, half-running, up the path to the street where Railtus was.

“I’ve got everything,” she said breathlessly while double-checking her bag. “The spell construct pieces, candles, matches, and the book. Did you bring the--” Just then she looked up at him on top of his horse and continued, shouting this time, “HOLY! What happened to you?!” Her canvas bag dropped onto the dirt, metal clunking loudly as it hit.

To her, it looked like he had dunked parts of himself in blood. She couldn’t understand why he would want to do that. He looked terrible, tired and injured once she thought about it. It was his blood.

He looked ready to fall off his horse, and knowing from personal experience, Asiona couldn’t help but put her hand on his thigh to steady him without thinking. Right into blood. It had dried but some still stuck to and flaked on her hands. Her lip quivered when she realized it, but she kept it there in case he fell, which would be worse. For the moment she had forgotten that her neighbors or even her parents might see them.

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Post by Sir Karsimir » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:46 am

Priorities. Forgetting the existance of such serious injuries was impossible, yet he was still surprised by Asiona's reaction, all because of priorities. Rather than denial of agony, an honest judgement was made that his own pain was not a worthy priority. In essence, he had learned to deal with injury by not minding that they hurt, for hurt they did, now in ways like never before. No significance was attatched to that fact. Take away the fear and pain loses all power. So the end result was that he did not treat his own pain as something of value, and thus would fail to recognise how others would react.

"What happened to me is not important. Everything is prepared." They had all been left in Arjen's saddlebags since the matter first arose, taking action early for no better reason than that taking action was his nature. "We must not tarry. Our plan cannot take place here, and our success may be needed to save a life. I shall explain once there, but we must not tarry." he repeated, his voice still full and strong while less enunciated than normal. Another sign of lack of sleep. Suitable ground was essential for any summoning. In some cases, ritual preparations were enough. Yet as plain as the logic of the arcane could be was that a creature would resist summoning into a conflicting element, thus, an avatar of right and good and compassion would need be brought into the world away from sites of villainy and wickedness. Too much evil had been done in Marn.

Far too much.

Reaching down from the saddle, he extended a hang to swing Asiona with her canvas pack secure in place on the saddle in front of him. From this position, he could steady her in place with his own arms and she would be supported by the saddle horn, far safer than allowing her to sit on the bare back behind him.

Presuming she accepted and climbed on the saddle as she was bid, Arjen could begin a full gallop leading out of the city, then heading west towards the hills. In the space of an hour, that gallop could cover more than forty miles, even with both the riders and their gear. Sensing importance and urgency in this wish, the destrier would do no less. The goal was speed, not comfort, and it showed in the journey. Thundering hooves and rushing winds limited the options of conversation as well until the horse came to stop at a hill crest.

Of course, if she did not cooperate, he was left sitting on a horse in the open street.
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Post by Asiona & Lateus » Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:56 pm

Asiona shook her head in disbelief as she took a step back and retrieved her canvas bag. This guy was crazy. But it wouldn't be prudent to say he should wait and rest; she decided to honor his decision and took his hand. She sat down in front of him as he directed with his body, not saying a word more. Urgency now pervaded every second that passed.

The horse took off and she grabbed onto the saddle horn for dear life until she realized with Railtus' arms at both sides she couldn't fall. She relaxed, still skeptical at how long he would hold up and incredulous that he still was...and still was. Despite his injuries she felt how much strength he still had in reserves.

When she relaxed she noticed some dried blood on his gauntlets and vambraces, thrown there by whatever battle he had suffered through. Not to mention what was probably rubbing off onto her dress as she sat in front of him in the saddle. The teen wasn't normally squeamish about blood, except that in this instance it was making her queasy. Perhaps it was because it was Railtus', someone she already admired.

But instead of dwelling on her nausea she turned around as well as she could and saw her house disappear around the corner. Lateus was in the street, yet invisible. She turned back around and laughed briefly at the exhilarating rush through the streets, nausea forgotten in the frenzy of speed. The reason for the intense rush was obviously something to do with 'saving a life', but she would have to wait to find out what he had meant.

Suddenly, while still consciously connected to Lateus and excited, she had an urge to lean over and lick drops of blood off the young man's armor. Panicked, she immediately squashed the urge, and focused on directing Lateus. Disturbed at the sudden change of mind, she noticeably stiffened her posture, and therefore made the ride even bouncier.

So much had she withdrawn from her own mind she didn't notice exiting the city and emerging onto the barren plains surrounding it. Up ahead there was a slight rise that turned into a hill, which they directly headed for. The panting stallion galloped up and slowed to a stop at the crest. The hill allowed a clear view of miles around in the predawn light. Asiona didn't move, still focusing on someone behind, and was hardly aware of stopping.

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Post by Sir Karsimir » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:16 am

Once there, no time was wasted in dismounting, a courtesy to the loyal steed who had used enough effort in carrying them at such immense pace. A gauntleted hand stroked the pure white mane affectionately, before reaching out to assist Asiona from the saddle. More courtesies, remembered even when tired and wounded.

They were now far from the city, likely beyond the borders. With the insight of a keen horseman he knew the approximate speed which Arjen could cover at a full gallop, and the long-legged stallion had indeed carried them a great distance. More distance than the rider could have covered on foot within a day.

"Thank you. Rest." he bid the horse, absently patting the muzzle before undoing the saddlebags. In there, a simple icon was a set of balanced scales to represent justice, accompanied by a blindfold, laid out on blue cloth. Overlapping with that was a second cloth, white, to represent purity and innocence. On the white cloth he placed a bowl, a simple and humble bowl, which he filled with water from a marked flask. That water was blessed, holy. Next, he pulled out his sword, holding it by the quillions rather than the hilt, in a draw of peace, and lay it across both cloths. Next, a small prayer book, to demonstrate truth and honour in upright behaviour by being a symbolic record of one's deeds. Finally, a small lamp. A source of light, of hope brought with the dawn.

Going through the preparations, he began sharing the answers that he owed. "One of my men has been missing in the shantytown, we believe ambushed by a criminal. Searching from soon after dusk has revealed no sign of him." Though the statement revealed the reason for his weary state, it was a very active and sleepless night for him. "My search drew the interest of an unholy creature that feeds on souls, hence the battle." Little did he know of the parallels between the demonhag and Lateus. "Conventional searching has failed so far, I hope for more success through angelic intervention." Apparently that was all the explanation he felt was needed on the subject.

Reaching into a pouch, several tapered and rusted iron blades were drawn. "These were the creature's nails. Cast them into the holy water when you begin. Destruction of evil should assist the summoning."

"And Asiona. Thank you."
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Post by Asiona & Lateus » Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:38 pm

Asiona noticeably jolted back to her own mind by jumping slightly as Railtus got down. There was a slight blush on her cheeks, as if from fever, that made the few dashes of freckles stand out on her face. Carefully she half slid, half climbed down with the help of Railtus’ hand, feeling foolish for being healthy yet needing help from an injured man. It was a very big horse, however. Once down she watched him take items from the saddlebag and assemble them on the ground. They all looked very appropriate, and she hoped they would work. After all, her first attempt hadn’t worked. Somehow carrots and rabbit blood had summoned a demon. Now that she thought about it, perhaps blood wasn’t a good idea… perhaps fur would have worked better…

The girl lugged her canvas bag within feet of Railtus’ symbolic objects and began to take everything out. The ground was dusty, so she held her book in the crook of one arm while shaking out the rest of the items, including the matches. Alternating between holding the big book awkwardly in one arm while moving, and putting it on her lap as she connected the pieces, she quickly put together the spell construct.

Meanwhile she listened. His story was a little vague; just because the man was missing, didn’t mean he was in any danger. She wondered why he thought that a criminal had ambushed him. It was a common occurrence, as she now realized from the mugging incident, but that didn’t mean it had to have happened. There were any number of things the man could be doing that he had failed to tell the Angelsworn about. Perhaps even something shady that Railtus would most definitely disapprove of. Whoever this person was, she sure hoped they would be worth the toil and danger Railtus had gone through to find them. And she hoped they were, in actuality, safe.

Absently, she nodded to the story, taking it in with a grain of salt. Her primary motive was to still help Railtus achieve his dream of pledging his oath. What that entailed, she had no idea, but would allow Railtus to talk to the angel. She didn’t know how awake she would be during the actual summoning. The first time, with Lateus, was very hazy in her memory; the binding spell was mostly the only thing she really remembered.

At mention of the nails, she said, “Put them near there,” as she pointed at the closest point of the star where the holy items were. “No problem, Railtus,” she continued brightly, giving him a smile. It was her pleasure to practice magic. The first time she had done so for someone else. She hardly sensed what a momentous point in her life this was.

With the discolored pipes inserted into the bottoms of the candleholders, she dusted off the matches and lit all eighteen candles. The gleaming metal in the dim light and the silent expanse all around were eerie and unsettling. Trying to focus, Asiona pulled and nudged the construct so that the holy items were within one of the points of the star.

Image

Shaking her hands from the small exertion, she looked through the page markers until she found the one she needed and opened the book to that page. The words were handwritten and slightly hard to read, but she breezed through it, her eyes darting quickly over the page. The mage then walked to stand in front of the point where the objects were. She found the chant, and began. It was poetic, almost sing-song, and gibberish as far as she knew. A long dead language, written in present phonetics.

Within moments the construct’s candles had taken on a brighter glow. The holy items also began to glow white, and that light seemed to jump to the construct, which began to hum and glow the same color.

The spell was charging up.

Meanwhile, Lateus was getting closer, avoiding using his powers to go faster. It was a struggle not to, but they couldn’t afford it right now. He understood how his actions affected Asiona, even if the girl herself did not. He would arrive in time, he knew, because he was measuring his pace to do so; he was not anxious to hang around with Railtus undistracted. When Asiona activated her powers to start the chant, he reluctantly let his invisibility go. In the predawn, he was a shadow moving across the plains.

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Post by Sir Karsimir » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:20 pm

Paths outlined by the design of the construct now blazed a perfect white, cool luminescence flowed inwards through the construct in streams of pure white radiance, feeding a pool of solid brightness enclosed by the circle of pipes and candles.

More light funneled towards the center from every point of the star, intensifying as it pulsed it's way into the swiftly spreading pool of opaque illumination. When the snowy aura stretched out to the limit of the inner circle of the design around it, the growth pressed against the gaps as if held inside by an invisible barrier.

In response to the radiance still pouring in, the layer of concealing brightness climbed like a water level filling a tub, no longer a pool upon the ground but a rising column contained within the mystic circle. Each flame surrounding flared in a matching lily shade, giving off more cool illumination, with a purity unmatched by the rays of the sun.

Without weight, one end of the scales lowered, suggesting that judgement was cast in one direction.

Black iron cast into the bowl smoked and hissed, scorching and burning as the taint of their foul deeds was avenged upon even the remnants of the wickedness that those infernal talons had been part of. The smoke gathered into the column of light, as if pulled in by a vortex, causing both to begin fading.

Emerging from the fading column was a figure, who shattered any vision in the mind's eye of what an angel should look like.

Luminous eyes, pale orbs shining with a cool glow the colour of lily petals. Smooth white hair like swan feathers hung down to her shoulders in a single graceful curve. Steady overhead was a luminous silhouette in the shape of a disc, with a full center and edges traced with amber glyphs. Clearly feminine in appearance, with features that would be called delicate on any mortal woman, yet were carried with a bearing with grace and resolve that spoke of hardiness in a way that no set of bone structure could manage. Garb was mere drapings of brown cloth, much like that worn in a monk's cowl, tied at the waist with a rope chord and hanging down to her shins, beneath which the pearly-smooth skin of her slender feet and ankles was visible.

Wingless. The absence stood out, enough that Aorle peered for a more specific glance. What he saw were terrible wounds dug into the body, like gaping cavities in the flesh, ever fresh and ever bleeding, as if whatever wings once were had been brutally torn away from within.
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Post by Falcon Bertille » Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:52 am

When the pillar of light receded, a moment of perfect stillness seemed to hold the world. Then, all across the plain, insects awoke from their predawn sleep and rose up into the air like plumes of buzzing smoke. She’s here, she’s here, they hummed to each other as they formed perpetually shifting ranks, tiny soldiers ready to obey the orders of the one they had vowed to serve. And high overhead, a flock of crows ceased its migration. One by one, they dropped from the sky, and landed in a circle around the summoning construct, seeming to bow to the being that now stood inside it. Amaranda smiled at her loyal allies. Crouching down, she touched each bird on the top of its head, and thanked it in its own language. Somehow, she made even the harsh cawing of crows sound melodic.

Then, Amaranda turned her gaze at the one who had called her. The girl seemed so young, so innocent, and yet she cast such a dark shadow. Yes, a great sacrifice faced this one. That sacrifice was what had drawn the angel into the mortal realm, not the rather amateurishly performed ritual, nor the improvised spell components, nor even the holy items that rested within one point of the summoning star. There was also the sacrifice of another -- a sacrifice that had already been made, rather than one which awaited him. But, for the moment, Amaranda focused her attention on the one who had resurrected the words of a dead language in order to ask her to come to this place.

“Yes?” Amaranda’s voice was gentle, like a mother speaking to her child. “What would you have of me?”

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Post by Asiona & Lateus » Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:22 pm

Asiona was in a daze by the time the chant was done. Time jumped in spurts as if she was drunk, and the world tipped back and forth. Hardly aware, Asiona cast the talons into the bowl and didn't register the hissing or what happened next. Everything was blurry and bright. The next moment she knew she was on her knees in front of a figure that wavered in the heat from the candle in front of her. The glow from the spell was gone and all around there were birds and insects.

All the girl could do was blink slowly in amazement. The summoning had worked!

When the wingless angel focused on her, at first all she did was try to stand. It seemed rude to be kneeling. She started to, shakily, but found her limbs as heavy and bulky as steel. Immediately she stumbled and fell back to her knees. Through her labored breathing she looked up at the woman's noble face and whispered, "Railtus... his Oath of..." To her surprise the sound carried easily, but she couldn't get any more words out. Even as she tried she saw black spots before her eyes. She couldn't faint now. The spell would fade, and so would the angel. Not yet, not before Railtus got what he needed. She shivered as if cold, and she bowed her head. It was up to Railtus.

Lateus crouched a few yards behind the Angelsworn, unwilling to stand in his vision. He felt himself scrunched together with Amaranda in the Astral Plane and this plane, in both places yet in neither. Asiona was their conduit to this world, and their energy was squeezed and packed inside her tiny soul. How long it would hold was anyone's guess.

He needed more strength if she failed, because there was a strong chance he'd be sucked back with the angel. He didn't want that to happen.

The demon eyed Railtus' back. So pure and strong; a better meal he had never encountered in thousands of years. Better than the most skilled mage he had ever killed. Better than the most righteous paladin that had succumbed to his pall of death. Lateus' rough tongue licked his lips. Quiet as a cat he crept closer, carefully stepping on the gravel and sandy dirt, hardly making a sound.

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Post by Sir Karsimir » Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:56 pm

Now was not the time for pleasantries.

Both witnessing the angel bid them speak plainly, and how greatly this taxed a girl little more than a child, made the truth very clear. Customary or ritual greetings were discarded, an unwelcome fact, in a way, because custom and ritual were sources of comfort for Aorle that partly steadied his will for such a major undertaking.

Regardless, this must be done, and the trials that Asiona faced had best be given value. To do less would be to demean her efforts.

"You have been summoned on my behalf." declared Aorle, stepping forward on the first word to gain attention. "A good man has gone missing, seeking to aid a friend in need. I have sought him, but found him not, and ask your aid as a good man's life may depend on it. My friend is called Julen of Shim, he has served me for this past week and done much to aid those in need. Do what you can to return him safely, and ask what you will of me." Spoken with conviction, drawing attention to those matters that an angel would care most about. By the struggle, there was no certainty that he would achieve everything, so he began with what was most important. A choice. A decision.

A sacrifice.

No mention was made of his personal goals, they could wait. Julen's welfare would not be jeapordised for the sake of selfish desires. Instead, he gave the angel chance to speak.

Before long, a sound from behind alerted him. That sound was an angry warhorse.

Arjen stood in that space, stamping his platter-like hooves and unleashing snorts of warning, as he shook his vast head menacingly at the figure approaching. That figure was a creature with skin the colour of pure ivory covered in foul black markings that hinted at the corrupt forces which tied it to the world. Wild amber hair gave a stark contrast to the inhuman skin, and thoroughly shattered any semblance of mortality. Sharp teeth and ears removed any doubt.

Standing before him was blasphemy made flesh.

Ever loyal and devoted, the hallowed destrier stood between man and demon, ready to fight off this new threat to his beloved lord. Confronted by this dire surprise, faced with an infernal entity unknown to him, Aorle's choices were either to stand against it as wounded as he was or to leave the strained and helpless Asiona to the tender mercies of this malefic fiend.

Doing the only thing he could, he stepped to block the path between demon and girl, pulling his long-handled axe clear of the frog loop on his belt.

The second act of sacrifice.

Standing only partially protected by the position of Arjen, and badly wounded as he was, defiance and conviction still charged his voice. "Leave now, demon, or die in shame." he promised.
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Post by Falcon Bertille » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:19 pm

The angel Amaranda turned toward Aorle. She could sense the wound in his soul, could see the life trickling from it as clearly as he could see the blood dripping down her back. Like her, he had made a great sacrifice, and like her, he continued to suffer for it. But the blood of an angel is nearly infinite. Amaranda had bled for countless years and could continue to bleed until the world grew old. Mortals were not so resilient. With a deep pang of sadness, Amaranda realized that the man who now stood before her was dying.

Yet, the request he made was not a plea for his own life. Instead, he voiced concern for another, a friend who might be in danger. His selflessness strengthened Amaranda like a prayer offered in her name. Closing her eyes, she condensed space and slowed time, sending out the request to all who served her. Most knew nothing. But flashes of information came back to her from a few -- a fly that had been buzzing around a room where men were fighting, a pigeon pecking at a pile of garbage near where two bodies lay in the street. And, most unusual of all, a winged girl sleeping on the floor of a warehouse. Gently slipping inside the girl’s dreams, Amaranda appealed to her for help. Together, the girl and the angel spoke, conversing in the secret language of all winged things, although it was not a language that the girl consciously knew. And when they were finished, Amaranda knew what had happened to Julen.

All this happened in a moment. Then, Amaranda opened her eyes and answered Aorle’s question. “Your friend was gravely harmed. But he is now safe and whole, surrounded by many who care about him. I hope this puts your mind at rest.”

Amaranda remembered that the girl had said something about swearing an oath. The angel was about to request further details, when she sensed the demon’s approach. During her unimaginably long life, Amaranda had seen much, had suffered much, and a lone demon did not particularly scare her. But there were mortals present who needed to be protected from such evil. Amaranda gave no order -- all sacrifices made in her name needed to be offered willingly. But even without being commanded to do it, a swarm of gnats descended on Lateus, dying by the hundreds as they flew into his eyes, mouth and nose. At the same time, the flock of crows began pecking at his flesh.

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Post by Asiona & Lateus » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:58 pm

The demon snarled at the warhorse as it sounded an alarm and wheeled on him. The alarm called the holy one to arms, too, and his orange eyes looked back and forth between them. He began to stand, hands clenched. He bared his sharp teeth at Aorle as he sensed a weakness that could gain him access to his soul. As for the horse, it did not faze him. They were annoying creatures to be sure, but not a threat. Asiona wasn't aware enough to warn him otherwise.

Just as he stood, hundreds of insects and dozens of crows swarmed around him. He howled, the sound echoing around the whole plains, sending a chill through someone on the skirts of the city who heard it only as an undertone.

He waved helplessly with his hands in front of his face and backed off at first. His eyes squeezed shut on a few insects that had flown in, paining him in a way he wasn't aware existed. Inside his mouth they flew and he swallowed them. He snorted the others out his nose and shook his head as they went for his ears. All the while birds pecked at his skin, sending drops of blood down his features and across his ragged clothing.

Infuriated by the pain like a bull let loose in a bull-fighting ring, he turned to attack: crushing the frail bodies in fists and ripping them asunder with his teeth, all with his eyes still closed. Blood splashed onto the thirsting ground, adding shocking color to the otherwise sparse monotony.

At the same moment as the attack began, a shrill scream had matched Lateus' howl. Half asleep in another world and only partly aware of her connections to the Astral Plane, Asiona only reacted like a sleeping child in a nightmare. She wiped at invisible wounds and began to cry at the stinging pain. At the taste of blood she shrieked again and fell over from trying to get away from the sensations.

Coughing out dust, she opened her watering eyes and looked under Railtus' feet to see Lateus in a mob of bloody birds and gnats. Without thinking, she cried, "Lateus!," worry and torment in her voice.

Hearing her voice, the demon shouted back hysterically through guts and blood, "Make them stop!" He reminded her of a small child and she struggled to move, powered by his plea. Her solid limbs wouldn't let her and she didn't know what to do. Her distress focused on his sensations and Amaranda's, so she went seeking those connections to try to help him.

A realization struck her: Amaranda knew the small creatures assaulting her Lateus. With this knowledge she turned toward the angel, still lying prone on the ground. "Make them stop!" she breathed out on pure will, echoing Lateus' hysteria but with less force.

The distraction was going to make her faint, she feared. More than that she wanted the pain to stop.

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Post by Sir Karsimir » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:56 am

Hunger in that vile glare bespoke the true foulness of the wicked creature. So that was it's intent - prey, victims, souls to feast upon, innocent lives stolen and consumed like firewood as fuel for this avatar of corruption, to be destroyed for it's base pleasure.

None of this could be allowed.

Cruelty reflected in those savage teeth bared, the display of one who saw vulnerability. Even faced with the failure to catch him unawares it seemed ready to drag him down and feast on his living essence, pulling him into profound tormented agony which forbade even the release of death. To perish at those fell hands was to perish utterly, on levels beyond what mortals were ever meant to suffer.

Knowing this, still Aorle stood his ground. To leave would be to abandon the young girl who had aided him to a similar fate, and he would never do that. In truth, he would rather suffer that fate himself than permit it to meet another. So expecting to die, he resolved to sell his life dearly and hoped to strike with his last breath to send that anathema back to the hell that spawned it.

Virtue stood with him once more, for now he did not face battle alone.

The howl brought the familiar joy of seeing the downfall of the wicked, a step towards avenging every wrong the infernal creature had ever done. As close as could now be done to setting those sorrows right, and making sure that future souls would be safe from this horror.

Hearing Asiona's cry Aorle could only assume that the accursed fiend had somehow lashed out at the defencless girl in an act of spite, the attempt to cause suffering to someone, anyone, when faced with foes that resisted his torments and fought back so fiercely.

Witnessing a crow reduced to a lifeless shell in the foe's hands drove a point home. Every member of the amassed swarms, bird and insect, had attacked an embodiment of malign power which preys on the living - incarnate death - all to defend him. They were dying for him.

Staring through the tears, Aorle saw the demon flailing blindly against the buzzing insects and striking birds, which was a perfectly reasonable reaction under the circumstances, but fending off the birds and insects was not fending off the man with the axe.

Valiant crows and brave gnats engulfed the upper limbs and torso of the demon in a solid mass of black flapping wings, so the only exposed target was the leg.

He took it.

Stepping forth and stooping, he swung his long-handled axe at knee-level in an arc cut designed to bring the full weight of the weapon to bear in a heavy cutting blow.

Hearing the name of the demon surprised Aorle, but changed nothing. This vile creature had sought to feast on his very soul, forfeiting any right to mercy or parle, and could not be allowed to bring harm to others. Whatever the connection between girl and demon, Aorle was sure that severing it would be doing Asiona a favour.

Apparently, even dying with some dignity was too worthy for the fiend. It shouted pleas for mercy through the blood and organs of those it had recently slaughtered. Yes, it indeed sounded like a small child, like the small children who pleaded when Lateus preyed upon them. Of course the demon would know how a small child sounded in the grip of pain and fear.

Littering the ground were broken corpses, of those who had fought and died in battle to prevent that bestial fiend from bringing more harm. Those worthy souls deserved to be avenged, or at least deserved better than for this incarnation of taint to walk free at the will of a child and make their noble deaths be in vain.

With that in mind, he measured for a second strike, where he could attack without risking his allies. Meanwhile, Arjen was holding back, refraining from striking while the body of his foe was covered with fellows.
My faith protects me, my kevlar helps.

Falcon Bertille
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Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:15 pm

Post by Falcon Bertille » Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:22 pm

Through the link that bound them together, Amaranda felt the girl’s pain. And, because she could also sense the taint carried by that pain, she knew from whence it truly originated. The girl and demon were joined in some manner. That explained the darkness Amaranda had sensed from the girl when she’d first been summoned.

Another angel might have assumed that any mortal bound to a demon was irrevocably evil. Another angel might have lashed out at the person who so recklessly endangered them by conducting a summoning in the presence of an ancient enemy. But to Amaranda’s eyes, Asiona was only a child. A child who had made a mistake because she didn’t know any better. A child who deserved a chance to make things right.

Taking control of the energy which linked the three of them, Amaranda distorted it, so that now the demon’s pain flowed directly into her, sparing the girl. Such an effort required great strength, and even an angel would not be able to maintain it for long. But Amaranda didn’t need long. Just long enough to ask a question.

“Child,” she began, making no effort to keep Aorle from overhearing her words, provided that his battle against the demon left him with enough concentration to do so. If the girl made the right decision, he should know that. And if she made the wrong one, he should know that as well. “I cannot make them stop. They are attacking the one you call Lateus because he poses a threat which cannot be tolerated. Do you not believe me? Demons are skilled in the art of deceit -- perhaps this one has convinced you that he is a friend, a lover, a faithful servant, even a pet. But I assure you, he is none of those things. He has harmed many in the past and his link to you allows him to continue to harm them. Just now, he sought to feed off the man who accompanied you here. A man who put the welfare of his friend above his own needs. A man who was willing to give his life in defense of you.”

Raising her arm, Amaranda stretched it beyond the confines of the summoning circle. “Take my hand, Child. Make your sacrifice. Give up whatever you gain from your association with this evil being and allow me to cut the ties that bind you to it. Once you are free, you may resume your journey down the path of good.”

As she spoke, blood ran down the angel’s back in steady streams, pushed from her wounds by the strain of taking on Asiona’s pain.

Asiona & Lateus
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Post by Asiona & Lateus » Fri Sep 14, 2007 4:27 pm

There were too many of them. Lateus could not see or hear over their buzzing around his head and he only clumsily bore the birds' weight on his upper body. They had swarmed so tightly on him, ripping at his skin with sharp beaks and entering his mouth to choke him, that he could no longer fight them off. He started to turn to run at the same time as shakily taking a step back. Sharp pain entered his outthrown leg. Something had sliced almost clean through his leg. The demon howled again through the gnats clouding his mouth.

Blood began spurting from the wound as he fell hard onto the rocks and cracks of the arid plains. His claws clutched the wound while he lay prone on his side. The sensations were overpowering, making him helpless. He had never known anything could feel this amount of suffering. Yet, it was only a taste of mortality. Another strike on his injured leg severed it completely, also cutting off his fingers as they held the wound. His howled so forcefully this time that the birds and gnats retreated for a moment before coming back. He shut his mouth again to keep gnats out and quieted. All he could think was that he had to get away.

He flipped onto his stomach and used what remained of his bleeding hands to push himself up partially on his good leg. He forced himself to ignore the pecking and buzzing and thought of a plan for survival.

Meanwhile his hands and leg had started to grow back, more grotesque than his injuries. All muscles and bone and skin stretched out like branches as they grew back. It was as fast as that, however. He wouldn't heal in time to get away.

Asiona felt a taste of Railtus' first strike and screamed bloody murder. Abruptly it stopped. Had she fainted? No, she was still aware; she opened her eyes and saw Amaranda's pleading eyes. She listened in disbelief, in belief, in pain and guilt. As the angel offered her a hand of salvation she began to cry. "But I can't. I can't kill someone," she sobbed, hiding her tormented face in her hands.

The image of seeing Lateus' dead body flashed through her mind, along with all the times she had suspected him of evil. The secretive movements in the night that she had dreamed about in her sleep; the bloodlust awakened in her when he was around; the hunger that had driven her insane at first until she ignored it, allowing him to sate it. Everything became plain to her at this moment. She had made up excuses before, but no longer.

She knew what he was. And she was still not strong enough to face it.

She sobbed harder.

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