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> IC: The Sun Never Sets, IC thread for The Sun Never Sets
AtroposReborn
post May 4 2012, 02:59 AM
Post #226


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Ellesar is amazed at his own speed as he hastens through the forest. Who needs vehicles? Everyone should just have their own personal wind guardian. Even the heightened sense of agility surprises him. The trees flying by his face haven't seemed to hinder him at all.

The sight of the troll crashing through the brush at equally reckless speed snaps Ellesar out of his mental aside. Chasing after this fiend leaves a bad taste in his mouth. A seemingly palpable aura surrounds the beast and his endless hordes of happy tree friends. This thing has a bigger posse than the CEO at Ares. Oh well, time to finish it off.

He raises his rifle, slowing his speed in order to fire at the troll.
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Tecumseh
post May 4 2012, 07:26 AM
Post #227


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The sound of Ellesar's gunshot is largely dampened by the magical aura surrounding him. The bullet whistles through the air before grazing across Toothy's shoulder. It didn't hurt him, but he felt it. He glances down at the nick and looks in the direction that it must have come from. He alters his course, heading in Ellesar's direction. (Give the beast credit for running toward a gunshot.) Toothy's not running straight at him, so it seems for now that Ellesar's concealment has held, but the troll and his claws are definitely getting close. A few more seconds and he'll be within arm's reach, whether Toothy knows it or not.

The thunderbird is bobbing alongside the fleet-footed metahumans before it is tackled and engaged by an invisible force. There is a crackle of mana surrounding it as it tumbles around with its astral opponent. The movements are too fast to keep track of, but the air spirit seems to be holding up.

Smohalla is resting against the tree, trying to keep his breathing from aggravating his broken ribs, when a small, mangled spirit presents itself in front of his astral eyes. It's a deformed watcher, the product of haste and an injured mind. It looks like a hunchback troll, its arm dragging limply along behind it. Its head is misshapen and its incisors prevent it from speaking clearly. It can't hold its head up straight but it stares Smohalla in the eye and hisses, "Peeeace" with a sharp, sibilant sound. A drop of drool falls from its crooked lip before it can wipe it away.
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pbangarth
post May 5 2012, 04:21 AM
Post #228


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Stogie's shout didn't draw the troll to him, but Ellesar's gunshot did the trick in the other direction. As the troll rushed through the foliage towards his friend, Stogie slowed to a halt and drew a bead, the laser line of his shotgun tracking through the foliage just ahead of the troll. Stogie breathed and squeezed, hunting as he has done a hundred times before.
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phlapjack77
post May 6 2012, 12:39 PM
Post #229


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Smohalla's gaze fastens on the small figure, his eyes unfocusing in the physical realm as they focus on the astral.

What guarantees do we have of peace?

It seems you should tell your master to surrender.

That is the natural order of things.

Surrender. Then we will talk.
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Tecumseh
post May 7 2012, 08:01 AM
Post #230


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Smohalla feels a singe in his mind. His air spirit has been damaged, the air knocked out of it (so to speak). It strikes back with vengeance, scoring a deep blow in its opponent, shredding with its beak and talons. The fighting is chaotic and brutal. The earth spirit grabs the air spirit to crush it, the air spirit buckling under the weight. Both are frightfully hurt, but continue to throttle one another in the service of their masters.

The demented watcher stares at Smohalla blankly. The shifter bristles slightly at its presence, seemingly put off by the broken piece of summoning. Smohalla isn't entirely sure if the watcher understood him or not. Is the watcher relaying the message and waiting for a response? Did it not understand at all? It hovers in place, its breath raspy and unhealthy, blinking languidly at the eagle's astral form.

Or maybe Toothy's busy. Stogie pauses ever so slightly to level his aim before squeezing off an expert shot. The slugs slip neatly through the eye of the needle, speeding past plants and trees to bury themselves in Toothy's back. The burst travels upward, from the bottom of his ribs on the left up to the shoulder blade on the right. There's an anguished cry from the troll, plus a good deal of blood. But he stays on his feet, staggering forth as he rips the saplings out of his path. He yanks one clean out of the ground, using it to pull himself forward just a little bit faster. He's looking for an extra step wherever he can find it. Stogie lowers the shotgun and resumes the hunt, chasing his prey for a closer, killing blow.

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phlapjack77
post May 7 2012, 08:54 AM
Post #231


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Tell your master to surrender and he can be spared.

We can find common ground.

There is no need to for anyone to die just yet.
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Tecumseh
post May 8 2012, 08:01 AM
Post #232


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Ellesar sees the puffs of red mist burst from Toothy's back; now is the time to strike. He raises his rifle to his shoulder, the red-dot sight easily tracking the large troll. He squeezes the trigger, confident of success.

The troll gets lucky. A large hole in front of him causes him to hurdle over it. The leap takes him over the obstacle and past Ellesar's bullet. The round slips by the troll, grazing the edge of his hip but doing nothing more. It was an excellent shot but it couldn't find its home.

Stogie presses the advantage that he created moments before. He's closing in on the troll, barely 30 meters back now. He sees the red blotches on the troll's back sealing themselves up and knows he must act to keep the wounds fresh and open. He raises the shotgun again, trains the laser sight on the shrinking red stains, and fires. Three more shots assault his ears, but the deafening noise is nothing compared to what the target must endure. Three new holes explode in the troll's back. Bits of bone and dermal deposit fall to the forest floor. There is no scream of agony this time; the troll seemed to be expecting the worst. Ellesar can see the troll's teeth trapped shut, his jaw grinding against the pain.

He's not the only one in pain. Astrally, the air spirit deftly avoids a powerful blow from the earth spirit. The air spirit counters with a penetrating strike, puncturing a deep wound in the earth spirit. The advantage is clearly with the air spirit now. One more attack should finish the job.

Toothy's mind must be jackhammering. His spirit is being torn apart, his back is being turned into hamburger, and he's taking fire from Ellesar but can hardly do anything about it. He barrels forward, plowing through the forest with little concern to the direction he's heading. He clenches a fist, bringing it up to his face as his eyes narrow into slits. It looks like he's fighting off the pain.

In the astral world in front of Smohalla, the mangled watcher bolts upright. It's posture is suddenly erect, every limb taut. It's eyes widen wildly an instant before it rifles off in the direction of the troll at the speed of a gunshot. Smohalla has no time to wonder where it went. The watcher flies straight and true, slamming into the air spirit and knocking it off balance. The earth spirit uses the moment to recover. A second watcher shrieks out of the astral, narrowly missing the bewildered, overwhelmed air spirit.

Toothy has learned. The air spirit, a breath away from triumph just a millisecond ago, is smashed into the ground by the earth spirit. It fights back ineffectually, and cannot defend against the chaos of three opponents. In the confusion, the first watcher slips behind the air spirit and shatters its being. The air spirit screeches out of existence, its cry tearing the astral world as it fades.

The wind behind Ellesar and Stogie dies. Branches catch their clothing; their steps slip on uneven rocks. Ellesar looks down to see the camouflaging greens and browns drain away from his skin and clothes, leaving his blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale complexion just as they were before. He looks up with alarm at Toothy, who is no more than 20 meters away and is now moving appreciably faster than he is. A sinking feeling hollows out Ellesar's stomach. The tables have turned.
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AtroposReborn
post May 8 2012, 11:43 AM
Post #233


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The world seemingly crashes to the ground around Ellesar as his neck-braking speed comes grinding to a halt. The realization immediately washes over him that he has no chance of outrunning the troll now. Oh god I hope that Stogie gets here quickly.
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pbangarth
post May 9 2012, 04:04 AM
Post #234


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The rush of spirit magic leaves Stogie with a shock. Branches whip his face and hands as he pulls up to protect himself. Alright then, I'll shoot from here.

The damn thing won't die, and now it is closing on Ellesar. But then, that's what crossfire is for. Stogie lines up the laser sight with the hole in the troll's back, even as it is closing. Is that a hint of a spine there? That's where Stogie places the red dot of the laser. Once more, he squeezes off a burst. Hope this does something for Ellesar.
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phlapjack77
post May 9 2012, 07:00 AM
Post #235


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Smohalla reels from the disruption of yet another of his brothers.

His vision blurs, his legs shake so hard he quickly sits down to recover.

The pain remains. He must end this now. He knows what he must do.

Gathering every ounce of his will, fighting through the confusion, he breathes life into a small mote of light.

Go! Go and tell my friends to let the troll run free.

He will escape, surely.

But I have seen his true aura. He cannot hide from me if I should seek him again.
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AtroposReborn
post May 9 2012, 11:43 AM
Post #236


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Run! The voice inside his head screams. That thing is coming right for you!

And so he does. Ellesar runs, heading back around to where he and Stogie had split, a plan forming in his head the entire time. He runs swiftly, trying his best not to trip or run into anything. It's not the same without the help of the wind. I could certainly get used to that.
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Tecumseh
post May 10 2012, 07:16 AM
Post #237


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The troll barely spares a glance for Ellesar; he's too busy trying to avoid the searing pain of hot lead in his back. Toothy ducks his head sprints forward, dodging behind a massive evergreen, trying to break Stogie's line of sight. Stogie knows he's pushing the range of his shotgun, and the laser sight is hardly of any use anymore, but he fires off one last volley before the troll disappears for good. He can't say for sure if the shots made any contact, but if nothing else they'll serve as a reminder of what awaits the troll if he chooses to return. His shotgun smokes in his hand, the smell of gunpowder lingering in the air.

Smohalla manages to summon a watcher, giving it instructions of its message to convey. The watcher gives him a wary eye, wondering if it's being sent to its doom like so many of Smohalla's recent conjurations. Word travels fast on the astral plane. The fragile wisp departs wordlessly, hoping to find Stogie and Ellesar before being torn to pieces by a crazed earth spirit five times its size. If all goes well, it will be back at home with its watcher wife and watcher children, in front of its astral fireplace with its astral pipe, within the hour. Smohalla may have to send a fruit basket home with this one to atone for the casualties of the last few minutes.

Jake sits up expectantly. He wags his tail, wondering if Stogie will be back soon.
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phlapjack77
post May 10 2012, 07:39 AM
Post #238


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Smohalla lays his head back against the tree and closes his eyes, exhausted by the recent events.

Psychically, his mind is drained. The cost, the pain, of losing his spirit allies has hit him like so many blows to the head.

Physically, he still feels a horrible grating movement in his side. Each breath sends a bolt of agony through him.

He lets his mind dwell on his advancing age. But only for a moment. There is still much to do.

Opening his eyes, he struggles back into a standing position with the help of Jake, and awaits the return of his friends.
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pbangarth
post May 10 2012, 03:56 PM
Post #239


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Stogie calls out, "Ellesar, I've lost sight of him. Can you see him?"

Is he running, or circling around?

Stogie opens his senses to the astral, to get every clue possible, and an all-round view.
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Tecumseh
post May 10 2012, 07:06 PM
Post #240


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Luckily, Stogie is pretty good at this perception thing. He slows down his breathing, concentrating his attention on the sound of the retreating troll. Stogie can distinctly hear Toothy running through plants, bushes, and overhanging tree limbs, the footsteps getting further away every second. He closes his eyes and tries to squeeze the sound out of the forest. Just for a moment, he swears he can make out the troll's labored breathing. It's clear that Toothy is running away and not being particularly subtle about it. He's not circling back or slowing down.
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AtroposReborn
post May 11 2012, 12:13 AM
Post #241


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Ellesar comes jogging through the forest, having seen Stogie a few meters out. He comes to a stop just a couple of meters away from a large tree, leaning on it to catch his breath.

"Last I saw of him he was running for his life. I haven't heard his footsteps anywhere near behind me so I assume he's not stupid enough to come back for more. Or at least I'd like to hope...." As he says this Ellesar turns to look behind him just in case. God, this thing has me paranoid now. How ridiculous.
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pbangarth
post May 11 2012, 12:46 AM
Post #242


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Ellesar's worry glows a bright yellow through his aura. "By the sounds of it, he's still running." says Stogie. "Let's get back to the rest before anything else takes a shine to us."
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Tecumseh
post May 11 2012, 05:55 AM
Post #243


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Ellesar and Stogie are both expert trackers, so there's no difficulty in retracing their steps to find Smohalla, Jake, and the shifter. They breathe heavily, adrenaline still coursing all the way through them, from their toes to their fingertips. Stogie feels hyper-alert, like everything in the world is sharper and brighter. He wonders if his magical perception is on overdrive. He can hear everything, from the water rolling over rocks along the shore to the rustle of the breeze in the very tops of the trees.

Ellesar keeps a wary eye cast over his shoulder, thumbing rounds into his rifle as he walks. The sharp click of loading rounds jars Stogie. He weighs his shotgun in his hands and notices how much lighter it feels. He pulls drum off the Enfield and stares down at the single slug remaining. There's one in the chamber too, but it's probably just as well that Toothy didn't circle back for Round Three.

About 70 meters out, Stogie's telepathic link with Jake snaps back into life. The dog leaps at the reconnection and runs to meet him. He bounces next to Stogie, running figure eights around Stogie and Ellesar, barking and wagging his tail as they make their way back.

The shifter stands up in his human form. He gives a level look at Stogie and Ellesar as they return, his expression not conveying any emotion. "You survived," he says. On the astral, he looks just the slightest bit satisfied. "Most do not."

He gestures with his chin in the direction of Toothy. "He is unaccustomed to defeat. But nor is he full of the pride of men. He will not seek revenge. His fear will stay with him, and teach him to hunt other prey."
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phlapjack77
post May 11 2012, 06:02 AM
Post #244


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Smohalla examines this look of satisfaction given off by the wolf shifter.

In his mind, he wonders.

He wonders if this encounter was not an accident. Rather a test.

He keeps these thoughts to himself as he turns to his returned companions.

Welcome back - I am glad that neither of you came to harm.
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pbangarth
post May 11 2012, 04:40 PM
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Stogie ploosters Jake vigourously, and nods to Smohalla. "Me too, buddy. Me too." Stogie is less reticent than Smohalla. He turns to the shifter, who seems to appreciate forthrightness. He keeps an astral eye, watching for the reaction.

"So, did we pass the test?"
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Tecumseh
post May 11 2012, 11:56 PM
Post #246


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The shifter sees the suspicion in the auras around him. He says, "Every day in the forest is a test. Tomorrow we can see if you passed it today."

He shakes his head at the implied accusation. "This was not a trial nor a trap. It was not arranged. If you do not trust me, we can go our separate ways." He looks over his shoulder, upstream. "If you follow this river up the canyon, the Sisters will find you."

He doesn't seem to be hiding anything, doubly so since he's standing in front of you naked.

He glances to Smohalla. "Your friend will need assistance before he can continue."
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pbangarth
post May 12 2012, 03:58 AM
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Satisfied by the shifter's honesty, Stogie grunts. "Nah. If you had ill will towards us, I think you would have expressed it as directly as you do everything else."
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pbangarth
post May 12 2012, 05:00 AM
Post #248


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Stogie thinks a moment about his shotgun as he reloads the drum and resets the mode to semi-automatic. As cool as the burst fire was, until I get some recoil compensation on this thing, I'm better off shooting single rounds. Fewer trees will die from the spray of bullets, and it'll be cheaper for me.

He keeps an eye on the perimeter while Ellesar and Smohalla work on wounds. "If necessary, I can do some first aid on any woulds left after you guys are finished."
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phlapjack77
post May 12 2012, 05:02 AM
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Smohalla takes his hand slowly from the supportive back of Jack.

His wince of discomfort is plainly visible to all, a wash of red suffusing his aura.

He looks at Stogie and says

My friend, please lend me your strength.

My ribs must be pushed back in to true to heal correctly.

Put your hands here, and here, and when I saw push, push with all your might.


Smohalla braces himself by holding to the nearest tree, and readies himself.
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pbangarth
post May 12 2012, 06:06 AM
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"Aw, Smohalla. I hate it when you ask me to do this kind of thing." Nevertheless, Stogie shoulders the shotgun, and puts his hands on the raw bones as directed. He draws mana into himself and feels the rush of strength into his arms and legs. With a mighty heave, he grinds the broken ribs deeper in. "Oh. That didn't sound right."
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