Selax had also noticed the movements, but, when the others ignored it, he didn't say anything. He didn't know if whatever it was would cause trouble later or what it was planning to do. He flew up and peeked through the tree cover. He saw nothing, but he knew the assassin was probably following them. Or was already ahead of them.
OOC: Sorry for the absence.
Martel moved closer to Selax. "He's close to us." Selax nodded, and they walked for a little bit in silence. "What type of being is he?" Martel asked.
"What do you mean?" Selax replied.
"Knowing what kind of being he is would aid my combat against him when he attacks."
"No," Selax paused, "Do not attack him. It is my destiny to conquer him. I must fulfill it."
"I disagree." Martel said tersely, "I do not want anyone weighing down this group. I would have been dead long ago if a friend of mine had insisted on fighting his 'personal demons' alone, and I had listened. This group will not die. I cannot respect your decision. So, what type of being is he?"
Selax turned to Martel.
"Come with me at midnight, after we make camp. Then you will see your answers. This being is no threat to you or any of the others, unless you get between me and him. He will avoid me, if any of you attempt to interfere. Besides, you could only fight him if you use magic, otherwise he would kill you. The assassin is the one that you must watch for. We will speak no more of this."
Selax hovered up to the tree tops and stayed there.
Martel grunted. 'Magic. My brother may be an alchemist,' he thought, 'But it doesn't mean I'm going to accept magic.' Since Selax had so abruptly ended the conversation, he walked off on his own, thinking.
Selax looked at the sky. Soon, night would fall. Then, soon after, he would be fighting one of the deadliest swordsman that he had ever faced. It had been some time since he had had a true one-on-one sword fight based on skill. He had grown stronger since the last time they had fought. He would be ready.
I normally try to avoid double posting on a TS, but since its been three days...
The group continued on, heading for Catamarca. The rain continued to pour down. Selax looked up somewhat uneasily at the sky. Then, he heard the sound that he had been afraid of hearing-a roll of thunder.
Great. Lightning, just what I don't need. Hmm, nobody needs it, especially since we are surrounded by trees , he thought, glancing at the trees around them.
"How much longer until we get out of these trees?" Medoc asked Saria.
"Hopefully not too much longer, this storm doesn't seem to bad but it looks like its getting worse." Saria answered.
The rain was starting to get heavier and the lightning was starting to become more frequent. The path that they were walking on wasn't too bad, it had been used for many years so it couldn't really get too much worse. Although the trees protected them from the rain, well most of it, a lot of water was still getting through but that wasn't what everyone was woried about. The lightning strikes sounded as if they were getting closer to them which was usual for a moving storm.
"Medoc, you never answered my question." Tej said.
"What question was that?" Medoc asked.
"Why do we have trees, you said what they were but not why they are here. Animals are here to be eaten."
"Well, trees are green and they can be eaten. They are shelter as you can see now and..."
"You don't know do you?"
"Not exactly, if you are hungry enough they can be eaten, they make great shelter in the sun and rain but other than that I don't know. Does anyone know? I would also like to know."
The group kept walking through the forest, waiting to get away from all the lightning rods. The storm didn't seem like it was ever going to stop, they could only wait, wait for what ever was going to happen to happen.
Suddenly, they emerged from the forest. It was now pitch black and it was obvious that to go any further would require torches or casting some form of Embrightenment. Someone cast Embrightenment at a level sufficient for seeing. The sight that met the group's eyes filled them with dismay.
They were on a low hill, with the forest behind them and no shelter on their right. On the left, there were signs of possible camping ground. However, the attention of the group was focused on the ground below them.
The rain had turned the ground into a muddy mess covered with puddles and small lakes. Going through that mess in the day would be difficult-at night even more so. It could only be done with one of the highest forms of the spell. It also looked like it might flood, so waiting might no be wise; however, if they went, they might get caught in the flood.
"So what do we do now?" Selax asked the others.
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Avatara raised his arm and opened his palm. His hand was surrounded by first red, then blue light, then finally settled into a sphere of brilliant white light. The ball of light bagan to expand, slowly dimming as it encompassed more and more of the surrounding area. Just after the light reached back to the forest, a sharp crackling sound came from the trees, along with what sounded like hissed curses. Martel thought he had seen movement, and he started back to assess the situation.
Selax began to follow behind. "Stay back, Martel," he said. "This is probably the assassin I warned you about, and none of your business." Selax motioned back to where Avatara and the others were standing.
"I've told you before: it's my business what happens to any member of this party," Martel replied, poking into the shadows of the trees with his sword. "This should only take a minute; it doesn't seem anyone's here."
As Martel took a step forwards, Selax reached out to keep him from reentering the forest. Just as Selax's hand was about to touch Martel's shoulder, two unfamiliar hands reached out from the shadows and pulled the two of them in together.
"Martel! Selax!" Saria exclaimed as the two disappeared. She raced over to where the two of them had disappeared, but could find no trace. "It looks like we're down two men," she said. "I guess we'll have to speed up our plans; we don't want to get caught off guard. Tej, Medoc, Moonshadow - how fast do you think you can get across the valley and to the object? I'll stay with Avatara and help him keep the light up."
Martel and Selax fell unceremoniously out of the darkness, disoriented. As Martel picked his head up, he saw a lake and several flickering torches on one end. He turned around, to find another figure standing above him.
"Are you two alright?" a female voice asked. "Most people don't take well to shadowjumping."
"That was disorienting," Selax said. "We're not with the rest of our group anymore, are we?"
"No," she said, "you're about a mile up along the valley. Those torches you see there are on the top of a dam, and there are some creatures there preparing to break the dam as soon as your friends try to cross."
"Damn," Martel said. "How long do we have before they destroy it? And for that matter, who are you?"
"I think they're waiting for a signal before they start their work. And there will be time for introductions later - we don't have much time to work with here. We need to prevent them from flooding the valley"
Selax pondered the situation.
"I doubt that they will try to cross now. They will probably enter the forest to look for us. If Wizard uses his telepathy, he will be be able to find us and to sense the creatures. He will guess what they intend. For the moment, I believe that you can act against these creatures safely. You have probably thrown one of my pursuers off for a time. I can get you closer to them, but I don't think that I can help you. There is no time for explanations now. Come and grab my robe."
When he was sure that they had a good grip, he took off. He flew low to the ground, keeping out of the light and making no sound. When he had gotten them half of the way around the lake, he let them down.
Selax turned to face both of them.
"This as far as I can accompany you. Someone is waiting for me here and, if I tried to help you, he would attack me and ruin any plans. Send some sort of signal if you are successful. Goodbye and may you succeed. I will rejoin you soon after your attack."
He flew away, leaving the other two to make their plans to attack the dam.
Selax turned invisible and flew to the other end of the lake. There was a clearing by the water and he landed here. He wavered into view. Then, he turned to face the other side of the clearing. His enemy was here-he could feel him through the balance.
"Show yourself. I know exactly where you are, so you may as well stop hiding."
A moment later the air in front of Selax wavered and another figure appeared. Like Selax, he was dressed in black and hooded. In fact, he looked almost identical to Selax, but somehow, if one looked at both of them together, one could tell the difference. The figure smiled.
"You don't seem glad to see me. Does facing the only other being of your race worry you?"
This post has been edited by Selax : 19 February 2005 - 05:19 PM
Troyen last edited by
Avatara seemed confused. Normally he wouldn't have tried to ask anyone to cross a mud-slick swamp valley in the dead of night, not to mention with the ever-present danger of lightning. But something inside him urged him on, more insistant than ever, as if they delayed now, they would miss a critical opportunity.
"Do you see them?" Saria called out to Moonshadow, who had journeyed off the path a short distance in the direction Selax and Martel had vanished.
"I can't see anything, and this rain is just miserable," Moonshadow complained, emerging from the woods.
"What happened?" Tej seemed stunned.
"Martel and Selax got grabbed and...hey! Wizard, can you locate Selax?" Avatara replied, suddenly looking around for Selax's companion. The mental bond between those two should be strong enough.
"Where is Wizard anyway?" Saria asked, after a moment of silence. Avatara found himself looking at the dark object on the far end, something was definately drawing him there.
"Maybe he got grabbed too," Medoc suggested, coming out of the forest from the opposite side of the path. He shook his head, no luck locating any trace of them either.
"WIZARD!" Saria called out, the rain had distracted them, and now people were already missing.
"Got something!" Moonshadow called out from the undergrowth near where the two members were abducted. "I missed it the first time, but look!"
As Avatara shifted the ball of light closer, they were able to see footprints in the mud, a single track leading towards the spot where the two members were taken. Interestingly enough, no tracks led away.
"They aren't here," Avatara sighed. No use searching this spot for those two, they could've been zapped anywhere. He gave Moonshadow's questioning expression a nod, and she stepped out of the light. Seconds later, a white bird of prey took to the skies, braving the lightning in an attempt to spot any of their companions.
"Do you think Wizard is with them?" Medoc asked. A brief moment of silence ensued as they hoped Wizard was somewhere safe.
"Oh! I um.." Tej hesistated, as if suddenly unwilling to continue. He looked around, saw all eyes were on him, then hung his head. "Well...I overheard Martel talking about someone hunting Selax. There was something about a fight at midnight, maybe that's where they went..."
"What?" Saria burst out, "He just goes off and vanishes to pick a fight?"
"Well, someone is picking a fight with him..." Tej stumbled to try and explain.
"Damn it, Selax! Why didn't you tell us?" Avatara muttered under his breath. Why would he go off on his own, when everyone here would be willing to help? If someone was after him... Avatara suddenly began to wonder if Selax had told Wizard as well, and if maybe Wizard had gone chasing after him. He hoped if that's the case, Wizard would smack some sense into the elemental. Either way, he hoped Moonshadow could find some trace of them.
They waited for several minutes at the edge of the clearing, the rain pouring down in droves now, completely soaking all of them. The clouds above darkened, gathering together thicker than ever. The occasional rumble of thunder reached them, but the glowing orb of light obscured traces of lightning, revealing the muddy bumps and the spare patches of grass in the clearing before them.
The light was bright enough to give them seeing distance for most of the way across, but it ended before the dark rim of trees several hundred meters away, signaling the other side of the wide gulley. The light was also bright enough that it seemed to drain all color from the landscape nearby, making everything a ghastly mixture of neutral pastels. In contrast, the woods behind them were made even darker, as if the darkness itself was a giant beast, waiting for a careless step before it engulfed them, as it had with their companions.
Finally, a small bird flew downward, and Avatara dimmed the orb so it could land.
"How is it up there?" he asked Moonshadow, as she wiped the hair out of her face. Her normally graceful clothing covered in mud at the bottom.
She shook her head, "Its easier to see up there, but I can't find them." Moonshadow took hold of her right sleeve and began squeezing water out of it. "This gully stretches for quite some distance, it must have been made within the past year. It is almost as if something carved out the land: from above its just a gash."
She pointed across the wide gulley, "The graveyard should just be on the other side. There's also a line of torches on a big wall to the west, but the creatures with them aren't human."
Avatara sighed and thought for a moment. Wherever they had gone, those three would have to be on their own for now, there was nothing the group could do. Not in these conditions. The feeling inside him was growing more frantic, urging him onward, forward. If, as Moonshadow had said, the gulley was long, they would only waste time trying to find a way around it. Which meant, they needed to get across the muddy field, and soon.
"We'll have to trust that they can take care of themselves and move on. There's no time to wait."
Saria cast a questioning look at Moonshadow before following out into the unforgiving onslaught of rain.
Selax stood facing the cloaked figure across the narrow clearing. He knew that the others would have been willing to help him, but it was his duty-the others would only have been in danger if they tried to help him, otherwise they would be okay. He stirred and answered the figure's question.
"No, Balthon. On the contrary, you disgust me."
Balthon smiled again.
"Good. Before all I did was make you angry and fearful about the others. That means some things can change."
Selax didn't rise to the bait. Instead, he asked, "I don't suppose that you'd want to tell me why you convinced the Ruling Council to ignore my findings and warnings? Your presence here indicates that you knew that I was telling the truth and lied to them, thus you murdered an entire civilization. Why?"
"Maybe I was bored. In any case, why should I tell you? You are still as narrow-minded as you were when we last met. It doesn't matter. I wonder. . . Have you gotten any better with your swords?"
Balthon produced two swords from within his robe. Selax drew his own two swords. Balthon looked around and spoke one last time.
"Fitting that it should end here, isn't it?"
Then, he leapt in the air and Selax leapt to meet him.
The sounds of a battle came from the direction of the dam.
Thunder rumbled and the rain continued to pour down as the swords of the last two Sons of Air came together.
This post has been edited by Selax : 20 February 2005 - 12:46 AM
Martel cleared his eyes and stared at the dam. As an elf, he could see far and clearly. He turned to the woman next to him. "Each torch bearer is next to a bomb. They've set them on both sides of the bridge, and soon they're going to light, invoking mass suicide and the flooding of the valley. There is no way we can kill one of them without the rest lighting their bombs," Martel reasoned, "And there's no way we can kill all of them at once without igniting the bombs. You said they were waiting for a signal." The woman nodded. "We have to destroy the signal."
As the group was running along, Tej called upon the forces of nature, lightning the rain a little, and he encouraged the mud to harden. The group was able to move more swiftly, but would it be enough? Tej wondered.
Selax and Balthon met in midair. As both were capable of flying, there didn't seem a point in fighting on the ground. Both were two of the deadliest sword masters that lived, but they fought mostly in a fighting style that was obviously designed for their unique abilities (although both augmented their fighting with their experience of other fighting styles).
Balthon drove Selax back with the force of his initial attack, but, through the blinding dance of swords, Selax managed to kick Balthon in the side, evening the fight.
Balthon backed up, circling for an opening. Selax counterattacked, but Balthon parried the blows successfully, launching his own attack.
Selax blocked the attack and the two began to exchange blows with dizzying speed, but neither could force the other back.
The rain continued to pour down.
Saria pressed forward ahead of the rest of the group. As they drew closer and closer to the graveyard, she was completely disheartened by the sight.
The enemy had reached the graveyard first. Beyond the medium sized graveyard was a small grave on the outside under a large rock. Surrounding that were two shadow warriors, the wraith, and DF.
DF looked dark. His power felt different, more sickly, dark and deadly. He was concentrating his power with the wraith and the two shadow warriors.
It suddenly struck Saria, those warriors were one and the same with those she trained with. The dark soul that had taken DF was learning his spells for use against them. She realised, from experience, what a handful these things could be alone, but two of them. That was going to be a handful.
Saria quickly retreated back to the group, and relayed the information. Things were looking grim.
Tej continued to advance with the group bu broke off, and headed side ways, comming up with a plan on his way.
Another being of some kind. It lingered in every shadow, behind every tree. Wizard could sense it partially. He spoke nothing of it, though. While it did provoke him to deep thought more often than usual, he was certain the others in the group were beginning to suspect that something else was there.
It grabbed Martel and Selax, pulling them away from there. Wizard was slow in his reaction, and he had not been able to accompany them on whatever trip they were taking now.
It was but a moment before the rest of the group noticed that their comrades were not there. They had begun searching, but no one took note of Wizard walking away. He did not feel their presence in the forest. They must be ahead somewhere.
The old telepath, wet and tired, looked longingly back at the faint glow emanating from where the group was. They were making steady progress across the valley. Mr. Wizard had used telekinesis mostly to glide along as well as he could. It wasn’t very practical but it was silent and untraceable.
How stupid I was! Wizard lamented. He had rashly gone after Martel and Selax, hoping to find them. He now saw reason: Martel and Selax were not on the valley floor, they were in the mountains. He had pointlessly left the group. Now, with his manna drained to a degree, he could not safely head back. The danger of a flood was not gone. The group, he felt sure, could handle themselves.
Whether they know it or not, the power they wield together is sufficient to protect them from most of the dangers of water. All they need is to use a little wisdom, which I am sure they will should the need arise. As for me. . . Wizard knew that, had he his full strength, he could defend himself from a small flood if necessary. However, hovering such a vast distance as he had did not come without cost. He was too drained to stop the massive waves that a storm of this kind could produce, and he could not risk the travel back to the group now.
Since he was almost at the edge of the valley, he proceeded, hoping to find a place to rest on the other side.
It was Catamarca at last!
Wizard’s joy did not last long, though. He saw Desert Fox and several minions partaking in some dark spell. He did not have the strength to stop them, though. So he took a short detour, keeping them in sight all the time, trying to avoid detection.
Mr. Wizard entered the city. It was asleep. The street lamps were on, but there was also some light emitting from DF. Wizard sat down by a pool near the front of town that was now overflowing a little. There was a small awning which sheltered him for the most part.
He sat and watched, but it was bothering him. He couldn’t lay here and do nothing while this was going on. He knew that he did not have the power to stop it though. The others should be here soon. Surely they can do something. Maybe I can too. . .
Summoning what magic he had, Wizard tried to penetrate the abyss between DF and reality. He was trying to avoid the attention of the being now in control of DF’s body, but he had to try to reach DF. Perhaps only the talisman can do this, but if I can just contact him, he may be able to help us intervene.
Although both Selax and Balthon were hard to hurt physically by normal, they could hurt each other in physical combat. Thus, their sword combat was intermixed with occasional blows. Still, neither had seriously hurt the other. The desperate fight continued, with neither having a clear advantage.
Selax was worried. He couldn't continue this fight for long. The assassin might arrive soon and he had no one to deal with her. He began to look for a way out of the fight. They could finish this later. He concluded that there might not be a quick way out and he might be stuck for some time. Grimly, he launched into another attack.
Cara sat watching the two sword fighters with interest.
They had each dealt blows that would kill a normal person yet they lived and continued fighting.
Now was the time was right, this time she would hit him.
She pulled out her Kris and aimed.