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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    PRINCESS-CHAMPIONS OF HYPERBOREA
    EPISODE 1: Peril in the Jungles of Askaia!


    Winter’s Eye, the Kingdom of Ilumina

    Princess Morgina Fang, the Scourge of Ilumina, Azora’s Hound, is reading a book. The book is Princess Elsya Learns About Riptides: for Beginning Readers! She is engrossed.

    She finishes a page, (“and so Elsya stopped trying to swim right back to shore!”) and takes it carefully by the top. The waterproofed page tears easily under her hands, and it flutters down to join the other pages Morgina has finished. There is a collection of empty spines by her bed.

    Elsewhere, there is wicked laughter. The dark amethyst on Morgina’s collar glimmers, and she perks up. Silently, she sets the book down and pads away.

    Azora Howl has work for her.

    ***

    The Lucky Number Seven, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Under normal circumstances, visiting the island of Askaia would be a dream trip - literally. Askaia is wreathed in sacred incense, derived from the local varieties of catswort, which has a mild and pleasant hallucinogenic effect; in Askaia it is easy to lose yourself in waking daydreams, and for a time think them real. Also, they have fantastic spas.

    That was, naturally, before the Riders arrived.

    Before you is a storm, a blizzard of mist and ice, which promises in its howling to be miserable going. It has enveloped Askaia completely. To fly into the storm would be to risk becoming lost, or worse, crashing into one of the lovely glass towers that soar above the tropical treeline. (They’re quite picturesque rising out of the mist, usually.) Luckily, you princesses assembled on the deck of the barge Lucky Number Seven have a plan. Here is what I think that plan is:

    Firstly, you will land on the far side of the island, where you are least at risk of running aground upon an ice floe.

    Then, with the help of your guide, Princess Rita von Catabas of Askaia, you will brave the ice-limned jungles of Askaia, you will not lose yourself in reverie (not that it will be difficult when pelted by ice and scoured by wind), and you will make your way to Askaia City.

    Once there, you will defeat Kaja Ironpelt and her “army of eight thousand, four hundred and thirty seven ghosts”*. You will stop them from looting the sacred treasures of the Askaians, not least of which is their incense, and you will win the aid of the Askaians in your fight against Oberon.

    Rita herself- well. The young catgirl princess resembles, right now, nothing more than an overstuffed pillow. She is wearing multiple jackets, goggles, snowshoes, even a tail warmer, and hardly a hint of her fur can be seen. The poor gal isn’t used to temperatures like these in sunny, balmy Askaia.

    “Ready to go?” She asks, through the fluffy scarf over her face.

    *: I do not think ghosts are proven fact in Hyperborea. I also think that while it is likely that this is one of Azora Howl’s illusions or spells, it is not entirely unbelievable she could have found some way to bring the dead back to this world? If anyone could do it, she could.
    freedom in the flame

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Princess Adila is on edge. Nobody present has ever seen her off edge. She paces until she knocks a hole in the guard rail during a too-sudden turn, then she sits and fidgets and tries desperately to avoid sneezing, and then she stands up and stares at the clouded sky with the sense of almost-momentum like she's about to take her running jump into the air before painstakingly deciding otherwise. Sometimes she tries to lurk but she can't fit below deck and seeing a dragon try to take cover on the open deck of a barge is comical.

    She's been like this since you met her.

    In some things she is jaded - she knows the habits and customs of every kingdom and every people, and knows how to address cats and demons with all the proper courtesies. In other things she could not be more naïve. This is the first time she has ever travelled beyond the Bazaar at all, not to mention the first time to travel by boat. One mast is snapped like a twig and the guard rail is as much hole as safety feature. It's hard to forget. Every time the Dragon Princess looks at something she broke there's a brief pang of guilt that broadcasts out to the entire crew - and it's hard to find a direction she can look where she hasn't broken something. At least she doesn't get seasick.

    She has made no concessions to the cold. She is, in fact, the warmest thing on the ocean right now - a fact that has not been overlooked by nearby cats or cat-princesses. Her robes hang heavy with nesting cats, and she's become embarrassingly close to Princess Rita due to her tendency to do the same. Her attempts at stealth are further undermined by the constant low, buzzing purr that emanates from her at all times.

    +I am ready!+ broadcast Princess Adila, raising one talon into a fist in an impression of the earnest human gesture. +The criminals who did this to your home will be brought to justice, I swear it!+
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-02 at 07:59 PM.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    She's just over there at the bow of the ship, very carefully standing next to that hole in the guardrail and looking out at the storm. If you're looking for her, that is. Though I suppose it's somewhat difficult to overlook the Princess Alina Cascade.

    It's hard (some would say impossible) to just sort of stand there gracefully, but she's found a way. Her silk sleeves are billowing in the wind and her hair bounces as if the biting ocean air were actually a fan aimed at her head trying to stage a picture of her doing the exact thing she's already in the middle of. She hasn't changed out of her normal clothes. Of course, she'd want to be recognized. She definitely hadn't made the mistake of thinking Askaia would still be warm, that would be silly. As silly as her thinking she might do with a scarf right now. Absolutely not! It's a scant half a leap from a scarf to a veil, and the last thing in the world she needs right now is to step off this barge and have somebody think she's here from Jedad, thank you very much. Actually, the reason she's not freezing her princessly behind off is that she's summoned a cloak made entirely of soft, orange light. It flutters in perfect sync with her hair even though it's not a physical thing. It's also very warm, and there's a cat curled up under her feet right now. Thanks, Adila.

    She shivers anyway. Her fingers idly trace a spot above her left breast, brushing just barely across the chestpiece of her armor. Her shiver turns into a (very beautiful) wince. And she turns to look behind her and smiles over he shoulder at Princess Rita. It doesn't suit her. There's kindness there, but no light.

    "Don't worry," she says, "I'm not going to let this happen. Not again."

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    Kazelia stands at the bow of the ship, facing towards the greatest brunt of the storm. She's an odd point of calm in the storm. Not warm, nobody else would want to be near her, but this frigid gale doesn't impact her and instead blends with her, creating a stillness where she stands. Before they had reached the storm, she had simply picked a corner of the Lucky Seven near the front and away from the crew and stayed there. Even through gloves and boots, her hands and feet frosted the rails and made the deck slippery, so it was best if she didn't move around much. But in the storm, that established point didn't seem to change and so she became an island of calm. Shiva remained below decks in the animal pens and would be similarly calm in such weather, the howling winds did not faze her in the slightest, even if flying was difficult here.

    Kazelia was not looking to provide the crew with solace though, and instead her face was towards their destination trying to make out any detail of what they might face at landfall. One hand rests on her spear in anticipation. "Yes, I am ready." Then she does turn and look towards Rita, all bundled up in her coats, obviously out of her element entirely, and her face softens. "We will protect your kingdom, Rita. I won't let my father and his servants tear down another part of this beautiful land."
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
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    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    The Mist and the Jungles, the Kingdom of Askaia

    The crew of the Lucky Number Seven sees you off with, on the whole, relief. On the one hand, the cat-sailors will certainly miss Adila and the heat she radiates, and they are concerned to see their princess go off into danger.

    On the other hand, there is no further risk of Adila breaking the other mast or sitting on someone, nobody needs to smile awkwardly when Alina is having a Moment, and everyone is grateful to no longer have a Rider on board.

    They will linger by the coast for three days. If a certain signal is sent up, they will return to the coast to pick you up, should you need to retreat; should you give another, they will sail into the harbor of Askaia City with great cheerful caterwauling to celebrate your victory; if no signal is seen, they will sorrowfully go and tell the story of how you have all doubtless been frozen and turned into garden ornaments for the Riders to laugh at.

    ***

    “Stick close to me,” Princess Rita von Catabas says in the Princess Huddle, the most practical way to share last comments before the trek inland. “I know the mists better than you all do. They’ll show you your hearts, but stick by me and-“ She sneezes, her snowshoes both leaving the ground. “Ack. Stay by me and don’t think about Riders.”

    On cue, far away and distant, there comes the laughter like silver bells on a glass bridle.

    “You’ve got nothing to worry about,” she says, with obviously feigned confidence, before turning to trudge into the stiff, frozen foliage.

    ***

    Of course you have something to worry about. These mists have become somewhat Riderly. They will show you your heart and your daydreams and make it hard to distinguish what is real from what is not, but they will show you what hurts you, most of all.

    It will come to a terrible crescendo in two hours. Tell us about the first two hours- what the mists show you, make you think you hear, almost make you dart off before Rita tugs on your sleeve. It is very personal, but with telepathic bleed from Adila, it is possible, I think, that you may see or hear what is in someone else’s heart, for but a moment. It is not too overwhelming to be Overcome...

    Not yet.
    freedom in the flame

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    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
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    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
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    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    “Stick close to me,” Princess Rita von Catabas says in the Princess Huddle, the most practical way to share last comments before the trek inland. “I know the mists better than you all do. They’ll show you your hearts, but stick by me and-“ She sneezes, her snowshoes both leaving the ground. “Ack. Stay by me and don’t think about Riders.”

    On cue, far away and distant, there comes the laughter like silver bells on a glass bridle.

    “You’ve got nothing to worry about,” she says, with obviously feigned confidence, before turning to trudge into the stiff, frozen foliage.

    ***

    Of course you have something to worry about. These mists have become somewhat Riderly. They will show you your heart and your daydreams and make it hard to distinguish what is real from what is not, but they will show you what hurts you, most of all.

    It will come to a terrible crescendo in two hours. Tell us about the first two hours- what the mists show you, make you think you hear, almost make you dart off before Rita tugs on your sleeve. It is very personal, but with telepathic bleed from Adila, it is possible, I think, that you may see or hear what is in someone else’s heart, for but a moment. It is not too overwhelming to be Overcome...

    Not yet.
    The mists are nothing to Princess Adila. Her eyes glow like coals and carve terrible swathes through the fog. No illusion, darkness or cloudy glaze can keep the truth from a dragon's eyes; the island seems to her as clear and bright as a summer's day. If any Riders lurk about they will be unpleasantly surprised.

    So when the daydreams come she attributes them to the normal processes of her often absent mind.

    She daydreams of taking a human form. It is within her power - cats can become princesses, and a dragon will not be outdone by a cat. She imagines her shape - a beautiful dress like a shadow'd wedding cake, tigers-eye gemstones, earthen skin, strong muscles and decorative scales but with grace stolen from Alina... or perhaps a form in between the two, where she could still show off her neck and blazing dragon eyes and full and brilliant darkness while dancing with grace and readiness.

    She has imagined this many times, and just as swiftly as she imagines it comes the memory of why she shall not act on those images. If it is hard enough to control a dragon's strength in the body of a dragon that she has spent her entire life within, controlling that same strength from within a body less than half her size is impossible. Simple steps would drive her feet through wooden floorboards. Picking up a fork produces only shrapnel. And from a place of such little control to dream of dancing? She had been lucky no one had died.

    She could shrink her form but not her strength - nor could she do away with her flame, her eyes, her hungers. In a dragon's body at least all know the destruction you could visit if you chose.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-03 at 07:42 PM.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia walks through the mist and thinks of home. She hears the hoofbeats of the Riders, but they are just illusions of mist that melt away. Why should she be scared of such things, she thinks to herself, when she is more than a match for any of her sisters? The little cat takes her by the hand, hesitantly, but not pulling away at the chill through her mitten and helps guide her. That feels nice and she tries to stay on the path, even as she wonders how she can deceive the sisters who might appear here. Kaja is always so direct, strong of course, but easily manipulated and led astray. A few shapes of mist try to assault her out of the air and she swats them away with her sword. She wanders, following the tug of the little cat from time to time as the mist stretches on. Why should she not fly? None would dare challenge her in the air. More riders, pathetic low-level troops try to harry her, and her shadow blade and her unmatched magic easily push them away as they fade into mist.

    The little cat tugs her by the hand again, and for a moment she sees her own hand and it is like the world fractures. Her hand is thicker. That feels wrong. She draws her sword again. Her sword. That feels wrong, it should not be a sword! But of course it's a sword. Her mind feels twisted, and she suddenly pulls at the loose snow and ice to conjure for herself a mirror. A frigid mirror to look at herself, her other hand still holding her blade, thick and strong. Of course, she is Azora Howl, the firstborn and most capable daughter of her father Oberon. Oh god, she is Azora Howl?! The world cracks and the mist spins. This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong! She isn't Azora, she isn't the first, this is a lie, her name is Kazelia. Kazelia Swiftlance, but the mist feels thick and cloying around her and it swirls around her arms and makes them look wrong and around her spear and makes it look both less and more.

    The cat, Rita, her name is Rita, Kazelia knows that she's Rita! Rita tugs on her arm and she looks around herself and walks where she's guided, feeling dazed, the mirror disintegrating into fine crystal powder showering the ground in a soft sigh behind her. And the mist swirls ever thicker.
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Alina carries most of her hopes and hurts with her wherever she goes. This means the mists have much to show her. This means she's seen it all before. She sees a rainbow shimmering through the fog and her heart leaps to know that it's guiding her where she needs to go, but her feet never try to carry her toward it. She sees a little girl with matted blond hair and torn silks clutching something red screaming at her through tears to go away, go away, you ruined everything. But when she flinches and turns her gaze to the other side, the voice fades before she's even had a chance to turn and run. The one that almost gets her is when she sees her mother. It's a scene right out of her childhood: her smile more beautiful than diamonds, the same lavender hair but worn in an elaborate plait, and she's there down on one knee with her arms held wide and beckoning a younger Alina into a hug.

    She feels the pull on her sleeve, and the spell is broken. She sighs and sort of shrugs at Rita; that's the same daydream that got her lost the last time she came to visit Askaia. Which come to think of it was an advantage she should really be sharing with everyone else. She holds up a hand and wiggles her fingers in a delicate wave motion, and the green, blue, and violet crystals float off of her crown and hover over each other princess' head in turn. Her expression brightens, and it's probably the first time you've seen her with any real warmth in her face.

    "Here. If you feel like it's getting hard or confusing, you can just look for these lights. That way we'll always be able to find each other."

    This was her mistake.

    Her lights are hers to share. Her trust is hers to give. But both are His to take. She's not sure when it happens, but she can't see her lights anymore. And she can't see the other princesses anymore. She can't see anything but the mists. But she can hear him laughing at her, and she knows that condescending chuckle is real because she's heard it before. It's so dark. It's so cold. She clutches at her chest and she's crying because it's hopeless, she's let him do it again, he's got almost all of them now and she's weak.

    "You poor dear," taunts Oberon Greymane from somewhere she can't see, "You really have no idea what these silly things are for, do you?"

    She's on the ground. She's sitting on her knees with her legs splayed out to either side, her hands heavy on the ground. She's alone. She's helpless. And so, so very cold.

    The spell breaks. Also, she's wet. Which one of you was smart enough to try throwing water on her?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    The spell breaks. Also, she's wet. Which one of you was smart enough to try throwing water on her?
    Princess Adila hadn't thrown water on you - she's not mean. But her attempt at a comforting hug had melted a lot of the snow that was building up on Alina's shoulders. It's a nice warm, the warmth of a civilized shower, but when she sees you move and pulls back the cold s-n-a-p-s back in with all the ferocity that comes with stepping out of a warm shower into the cold frozen trudge to work.

    +Oh! Are you okay? Are you sick?+ she thought rapidly. +Oh, I knew you looked cold but I didn't want to say anything, I should have listened to the Operations Manual...+ Alina suddenly has a dragon-sized blanket dropped on her. +Don't worry! I'll get you somewhere warm and finish off the Riders myself! Just focus on getting better!+
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-03 at 07:43 PM.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

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    The Mist and the Jungles, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    The spell breaks. Also, she's wet. Which one of you was smart enough to try throwing water on her?
    My money's on Kazelia. Adila would have punctured a hole in a bucket if she tried to get some water from some ice-choked jungle stream, and Rita's not about to get her outer layer of mittens wet. Kazelia has just the right blend of means and motive, not to mention brainpower, to mercilessly dump water on Alina's head. But, hey, at least she probably won't go "I thought you liked water," or something like that.

    (Oh, it turns out I am wrong! This happens sometimes; not even I know everything about this story, after all. Well done, Adila.)

    ***

    You are in the heart of the jungle when it happens. Rita is carefully, painstakingly trying to navigate her way down a root-choked incline without having her snowshoes slip out from under her, and for a moment the mists relent, yield, peel back and you can see the world as it is. The frost choking the leaves is almost beautiful, if you look at it the right sort of way. In the distance, the keen eyes of Adila can see (and it is as if you all see through her eyes) the soaring spires of the Royal Clocktower. You are close! And not a Rider in sight. Your plan is fantastic, and all your scars thus far have been emotional, which means nobody ever has to know about them.

    It is then that the mists strike you hardest of all, with a great cacophony and a howl of the wind, sending great gusts of snow swirling all about you; somewhere, Rita loses her footing and goes bouncing down to the bottom of the hill. Don't worry, it's like rolling a marshmallow, she'll be fine. It's you who should be worried, because you can hear it.

    ***

    Adila!

    There are many legends about Princess Adila. The first one, that is. Stories about where she went, in the end; what exactly happened to her to make her fade into the mists of history. But that's all academic right now, because you can see her. For the first time, you can see her, and she's not a statue or an illustration. Her copper curls flare out about her as she spins like a dervish, her sabers flashing as she fights a dozen Riders single-handedly.

    You know it's her. How could it not be her? This is your chance! You can charge in, knock her opponents aside, and then she will tell you that she has heard all about you and thinks that you are exactly the right size for the sort of person you are, and yes, she would love to answer some of your questions, you beautiful young dragon, you-

    But you have the eyes that burn holes through falsehood, and I think it will be easier for you not to go charging off into the mist than it will for the others. Roll to Overcome this assault on your maiden's dreaming heart, please.

    ***

    Kazelia!

    There is something about a scream of terror that makes the heart leap and exult, is there not? Even if you don't want it to, there is that moment of adrenaline, of wanting to bare your fangs and give them something to really scream about, to make them know that you are the strongest. That's what it means to be a Rider. That's what it means to be one of Oberon's children.

    And speaking of Oberon Greymane-

    There he is. He is strolling, casually, after a snot-sobbing catgirl princess, one of Rita's siblings or cousins, Pearlion curling menacingly about his outstretched hand. The princess is on her hands and knees, a hysterical mess, and your father is doubtless chiding her for being so childish. For not facing him properly. For being so weak. This is the sort of thing he does, when he comes in glory and power into a kingdom.

    And you! You have the Dolorous Song in your possession, and you have your terrible Swiftlance, and this is your chance to teach your father that he is the weak and childish baby, not this poor princess! Defend them all, make this world yours, carve summer out of his blood-

    This, I think, is the temptation that you are offered, and if you do not steel yourself against it, you will find yourself leaping into the mist in the aspect of a warrior. Roll to Overcome this challenge to your winter-kissed heart.

    ***

    Alina!

    Oh, you doubtless felt so grown-up when you didn't go haring off into your mother's arms, didn't you? So jaded, so used to the ways of these mists already! As if that was the most painful thing they could do to you, to offer you solace and then take it away! Even after your daydreams of losing your light, that must still be a center- I have seen my mother, what else can this place do to me?

    When it comes- no child ever wishes to hear their mother scream. In pain and terror, intermingled; the sound of her before Oberon. You selfish child! You abandoned her to save your own skin! You left her before the enemy of the world who knows nothing but to take what others love!

    Run to save her, or run in shame, whichever is closest and truest to your heart when you know, you know that your mother is hurt and it's all your fault. It's your fault! Run or run! You must, you cannot stay and shut your ears to this-

    Unless you can, for you must. Roll to Overcome this, the cruelest thorn of all.
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2019-06-03 at 05:28 PM.
    freedom in the flame

    Spoiler
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Well, there was a sputtered 'thank you'. A chattering of perfect teeth, and a slightly undignified 'mrph' from underneath an oversized blanket. These things do happen. Thank goodness for Adila and her warmth and her consideration. It's just that it's difficult to linger on the moment in the face of... this.

    She knows it's fake. She knows these mists well, at least by the standards of foreigners. So yes, she knows her mother can't possibly be here any more than she was an hour ago. Can't possibly be in trouble or in pain. It's just a nasty trick. Except... that is... what if it wasn't? If this were real and happening? Then she'd have abandoned her mother to that monster twice. What is she supposed to say to that? Should she harden her heart? Ignore the horrible screams that call for "Lina, my Lina, my little light"? Her heart's already water: to harden it she'd have to turn it to ice. And then she would truly be lost. She doesn't stop to think about her companions. She doesn't think about how cold she is. She doesn't even stop to think about how much Oberon Greymane terrifies her. Right now, those screams scare her more. And the only way she knows how to stop them is to fling herself right at their owner and hold her tight, whatever else may come of it.

    You must give Alina this: she runs better than almost anyone. She looks like a figure skater more than anything as she tears out into the unknown and frozen jungle, and her boots are so light she doesn't even leave impressions on the snow. There's her moment of wide-eyed panic, a yelp that sounds like "No!" and she vanishes from sight, a picture of perfect elegance all the way over. She snaps her fingers as she goes, and her lights come with her. She has need of them all.

    Mother! Mommy, I'm coming!

    [Alina rolls a 5! Hooray!]
    Last edited by PhoeKun; 2019-06-03 at 07:29 PM.

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Perhaps it was that Princess Rita had deigned to touch her and not looked afraid. Or perhaps it was simply that recovering that she was, in fact, Kazelia Swiftlance made any temptation aimed at Kazelia Swiftlance pale by comparison. But for whatever reason, the image held no sway. The goal was to stay together, to get the group through the mists and Kazelia Swiftlance would protect her friends, no matter what. She would not go haring off after her father and abandon them. That would...that would just be like him, to seize on the object of her desires and ignore everything else. She would not do that. And obviously this wasn't him, she'd just been Azora Howl herself, really, these forests were too much.

    The spear that had leapt to her hand is once again on her back, Shiva is safe beside her and so Kazelia instead conjures her own light, a pale will-o-wisp of winter, but more than enough to see by and begins looking around for her friends to gather them back together and fetch Rita from the base of the hill.

    [6+6+0=12 to Overcome]
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    [Overcome: 14]

    Princess Adila's lip twitches. Really?

    The images melted before her gaze as the snow melts around her claws. It still hurt a little - not because for a second she believed such an absurd trick, but that someone had wanted to be that mean to her. What had she done to them? Equally: What had she done to make them think they had even the slightest chance against her? Didn't the Riders tell each other stories of the dangers of dragons?

    And besides, if they wanted to tempt her they should do it with something that actually has a chance of happening one day.

    She claps her wings like a thunderbolt. Up she goes, and in her wake the mist becomes steam and the snowfall becomes a sudden squall of rain. She sails swiftly after the fleeing Alina. She spends a long, careful moment assessing the exact amount of strength she has to apply before she can snatch up the fleeing sunbeam without hurting her.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-03 at 07:42 PM.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

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    The Mists and the Jungle, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Adila!

    If it helps, this isn’t really the Riders. There’s no planning here, no careful forethought- this is just what happens when magic, wonderful incense-mist that shows you your heart’s desire gets tainted. Gets cruel. Gets wrong.

    It’ll be easy enough to catch Alina, but first-

    Alina!

    Before Adila can catch you, can sweep you up and bring you back-

    I think the illusion is going to change. To become raw and terrible. It will show you your mother, bleeding just above her left breast; or else a frozen statue in a state of weeping or terror; or else crumpled in the snow, as Oberon says: too late, girl. Too late. You can’t come back and fix this.

    Pay a Price.

    Kazelia

    Rita comes up sputtering with snow in her mouth and tears on what’s visible of her cheeks. “This is wrong,” she says, clinging to you, almost painfully. “The stupid Riders did this. Why can’t they just leave us alone?”

    If you are vulnerable for a moment, if you try to make a connection here-

    You will make a Bond with Princess Rita von Catabas. I’ll make it official and everything.
    freedom in the flame

    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    You couldn't save her. You can't save her. There is no way to save her. You won't go home. You can't go home. You have no home. You couldn't save her. You can't save her. There is no way to save her. You won't go home. You can't go home. You have no home. You...

    Alina doesn't move. Her thoughts loop endlessly, uselessly, as her eyes continue to stare without focus at the spot where she saw her mother, her most precious missing treasure, bleed out into the snow through the exact same wound she herself had suffered. And had the lack of grace to survive. Princess Adila passes overhead, and the rains come with her. They're warm, just like home. But she has no home. The light that's been holding the shape of her cloak sputters and goes out. All of her crystals return meekly to her crown and lock in place. The pulse with soft light as if crying for their missing sisters.

    Princess Alina Cascade is the picture of Illuminan beauty. Her hair falls flat over her face and her eyes in an endlessly enchanting wave. Her sleeves and pant legs cling to her, eager to show her bare skin underneath. She's about to freeze like nobody's business, but in the moment she's snatched up by a dragon's talons, she's the kind of treasure anybody would want to steal.

    And her thoughts loop on. You couldn't save her. You can't save her...

    [Alina's light is damaged and will only act as a lantern for the rest of the scene]

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    How strange. That was Kazelia’s first thought. Rider princesses do not hug one another, indeed, physical displays of affection in public among any riders are nearly unheard of! But the little layered up cat was obviously far too small to throw her and far too upset to be planning some sort of harm. And with all those layers, already covered with snow to boot, she seemed uniquely unperturbed holding tightly to Kazelia. Perhaps you would not notice in the storm, but for a moment Kazelia’s eyes water and perfect little crystalline tears run down each cheek as she holds on to the little cat princess.

    “Because...” Kazelia’s voice catches and she starts again. “Because they don’t see you. They don’t see...you. My sisters, they just see a game. Lands to win and people to crush so they can make everything like this...like us, like father.” Kazelia just stays in the embrace. “...you’re the first person to ever come this close to me and not recoil. Thank you.”
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Princess Alina should have worn warmer clothing. Being cold is bad. Being cold and wet is, uh, extra bad. Wearing translucent Illuminian clothing when cold and wet is... not proscribed by the Operations Manual. Commanding officers must maintain discipline to ensure troops do not discard winter gear during summer campaigns. It's not like it's kidnapping a princess, it's emergency medical recovery for an allied high value asset. Focus. She's obviously sad. Oh! Whoever did this didn't even have the courage to show themselves...!

    She took a deep breath, and then another, in slowly out rapidly. Like billows stoking the fire at her heart she began to gather heat, melting a crater through the smoke and ice - a strange patch of Summer within a strange patch of winter. She's lost her light-coat-thing. Lacking other options, Princess Adila wrapped Alina head-to-toe in her blanket and pinned it into place with her badge so if she took to the snow again she'd at least carry it with her.

    Finally, nervously, she focused her thoughts down. +Hold on. I've got some cactus honey in my medical bag, the Operations Manual says you're supposed to suck on it if you're feeling sick. And it also says it's important to drink lots of fluid and quarantine the inf - I don't think that step is necessary she's the only human on this island - and soup! Um, what's your spice tolerance like?+
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-03 at 10:44 PM.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    It's a bit jarring at the best of times to get carried off by a dragon. It's unnerving to be wrapped and pinned inside dragon blankets, to say nothing of being bombarded by psychic worries from the dragon princess who's been airlifting you away from your inner horrors. All of which is to say that Princess Adila is a hero twice over today. She saved a princess, and more importantly she broke that awful, looping thought.

    Princess Alina seems startled. She trusted her heart, and the mists tried to cut it out. She trusted her heart, and her mother disappeared. She trusted her heart, and a wicked man ran it through. But if she turned her heart to ice, then she would truly be lost. She stares at Adila for a long moment and seems more perplexed than anything before giving her best and bravest attempt at a smile and fighting her way through infinite amounts of dragon-blanket to give said dragon a very awkward (by her standards) hug. It's steamy. Literally, there is steam coming off the pair of them, as Adila's heat starts drying Alina's body a little bit. Already the curls in her hair are popping back into their normal splendor.

    "I'm not sick," she says three times in a row with increasing insistence. Princesses don't get sick, "I'm... I think I'm the last one. After me, there won't be another Princess of Illumina. There's no Illumina left to have a princess. I... did you know? When I was a little girl my mother used to take me here all the time. She'd invent business in Askaia just so that I could come and play in the hot springs. I don't want this to happen here. I don't want Princess Rita to be a last, like I am. I want to save it. But I can't save anything. I don't have all my lights, five isn't enough. I can't do anything on my own. So I'm counting on you, ok? I need you to be my Red. Is that all right?"

    And she smiles, with the faint air of a person trying to remember how to do it right.

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Red-black is to be issued only to political security delegations. The Muster Rolls state that -

    The dragon shook the thought out of her head and very gently leaned into the hug. Thoughts jumbled together somewhat. Hot springs? How hot are we talking? Have I ever had a hug like this before? This must be really hard for her, I wish I could do something more. Is there subtext here? I still think she should take the honey just to be sure. Should I cut down my blanket to fit better? I wonder if Princess Swiftlance would be able to sew it back together...

    +We're going to get Illumina back as well.+ The thought cut through all the others far more firmly. For a moment her mind was still and focused after that; no doubts or followups or plans - a rare quiet from the dragon's constant chatter.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-04 at 12:23 AM.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

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    The Mists and the Jungle, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Kazelia!

    “I can’t recoil,” Rita says to you, still holding you tight. This is a moment worthy of thawing any Rider’s heart. Then...

    “My scarf is hooked on your belt,” she adds. Oh. Well then. But she doesn’t make a move to extricate herself (with mittens, even- she probably requires your help in the end) for a moment. Just holding the Princess who has promised to help her.

    Take +1 Bond: “Rita von Catabas held me close by choice.”

    Adila and Alina!

    You may, if you choose, take one further Bond on each other at this time; or mark one Bond as strong enough to be damaged twice.

    ***

    Askaia City, the Kingdom of Askaia

    In Askaia City, the mists have retreated. In their place snow hisses down like rain, and a cold sea-wind howls through the abandoned streets.

    “It’s been simply awful since you’ve been gone, your highness,” the Siamese seamstress says as she leads you through tight alleyways under the shadow of high glass towers. (If the sun were shining in the sky, rather than snow and storm clouds, the effect would be resplendent shadows cast across the sleepy townhouses and cafes and spas of Askaia City.) “All of our warriors were... well, you’ll see. The Riders have been taking anyone larger than a kitten and making them empty out the temples onto their black boats.” The seamstress hisses, before coming up quietly to a door and knocking thrice.

    You are ushered inside- with, admittedly, some pulling and squeezing to get Adila in- and before you, in what used to be a coffee shop, lie the warrior cats of Askaia, groaning piteously, each on a straw bed and blankets.

    In each are lodged phantasmal arrows, almost solid enough to touch. Almost. Their eyes are dilated, and dart from side to side, seeing everything except what is truly there. If the Petrichor Princess still had her light ready, something might be done for them, but... it is as it is.

    Rita makes a horrible sound, a strangled sob half-buried in her layers. There, strapped down onto a pallet, his chest sprouting no less than six arrows, writhing in dark and depthless mania, lies her father, the king of Askaia, who (you gather from the solemn faces of the cat-nurses) flung himself at Kaja’s face to allow his wife time to retreat.

    Rita is crying full-on sobby tears, big and snot-choked and uncomfortable. This would be a good moment to prepare, to have words with those cats who have stayed in the city, and to look upon the grim handiwork of Kaja’s ghost army.
    freedom in the flame

    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia comes in first, ducking through the door behind Princess Rita and begins looking around. She glances back as Alina comes in and then all the cats slowly prod and push at Adila. Despite the gravity of the situation, she can't help but grin at all the cats bustling around the dragon jumping up and down and working around the doorframe. This reveals Kazelia's sharp teeth and perhaps it is good that at least they are with cats and such a predatory grin is not so out of place as might be amongst the farmers or the mushrooms.

    When she sees Alina gazing about the room and the lights upon her brow do not start to move even as the cats start to tell them of the situation, she steps over to her. "When you're ready, you can come help." And then she presses on Alina's shoulder, briefly, just enough that she might jump at the chill touch but understand the reassurance as Kazelia steps away to the cat king.

    "Princess, I ask...for your trust for a moment. I am not like my sisters and I...I think I can help. Not everyone, I'm not strong enough, but, I can help your father. It may look somewhat odd though, as I try." Alina bends down to the king and inspects each of the six arrows. This is not the power of ice that she needs, but a deeper and darker power, from beyond Ouroboros. Ghosts and phantasms are just shadows and the Riders know the power of shadow and do not fear the frigid touch of shades. Kazelia's eyes darken, and the stars within fade into the tiniest of pinpricks, as the shadow lengthens and flows down to her hands. It is a terrifying sight for those unfamiliar with it, the bloodline of the beyond manifest in this world, shadows darker than black eating up the light in the room and swirling hungrily about her hands. But it is with these hands that she takes the first arrow within the king and firmly removes it, laying it safely to rest on the stone floor beside him. She places her hands upon the wound and a little of her shadow flows into him and knits through it. And again for the next arrow. And the next. And the next. Until there are six phantom arrows shimmering on the floor in a neat little pile and most of her shadow has flooded into the king to knit closed his wounds. Then, she leans down and breathes into his ear, and this is a breath of chill morning mist that says quietly "King Catabas, your people need you. Your daughter needs you. Wake up, little king." And for a cat, maybe it is refreshing and maybe it is enough that his fur would stand on end and the fine water would make him jump, but either way it will bring the life within him back to the surface.

    [I am spending a use of my magical bloodline for healing on King Catabas.]
    Last edited by Anarion; 2019-06-04 at 12:00 PM.
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Alina simply leans against Adila. Her touch is soft and intimate.

    "Thank you." she whispers

    (+1 bond: Princess Adila promised to win back Illumina)

    ***

    It's not that she doesn't want to help. Of course she does! Who could see this and not want to help? It's that every time she tries to call on her light, that image of her mother bleeding and broken and crying flashes into her mind. There's no separating the two: her mother's love is the same thing as her light. So right now, she has no faith in it. Or maybe it has no faith in her. But either way, she's not out there among them, shaping her magic to pluck out the arrows that plague these poor cats or bathing them in the light of her Green to warm their bodies and their souls back up. She wants to. And she can feel Princess Rita's eyes on the back of her head, as the person in this room she's sure knows the extent to which she could help, and isn't.

    But Princess Alina isn't idle. She glides around the coffee shop, still dragging the ends of Adila's blanket behind her, soothing what she can with a touch instead of light. She whispers songs of sunlight into the ears of the fallen soldiers in the hope that little ray of happiness will seep into their dark dreams. And she goes to Princess Rita and she hugs her close, to if nothing else give her something to cry into. She spares no thought to worrying about her silks, and simply runs her fingers through the other girl's hair while Kazelia does... something.

    "It's all right, it's all right. We can fix this. If we beat back this blizzard, everything will return to how it was."

    And in between soft strokes and quiet shhing noises, she asks questions from the cats around who can still answer her. About what happened, about where the enemy was now, about what these poor people needed from the princesses who had come to help them.

    [Speak Softly: 2d6+2 = 9. Questions are "What can they tell us about Kaja Ironpelt?" "What do they want, and how could we help them get it?" and "What would they have us do next?" one of these questions will be refused, or else have an unpleasant answer]

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    A Coffee-House of Healing, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Kazelia!

    Each terrible, ghostly shaft comes out, one after the other, and your shadow flows into the punctured parts of his soul. With each one removed, the king's violent thrashing subsides, and the violent rolling of his eyes becomes less, and less still. His breathing becomes more even, as Rita (and several of the attendant nurses) look on in awe. Finally, the last arrow falls to the ground, and you call him back to his senses.

    His eyes focus on you. He blinks, once, slowly. Then he yowls like he's on fire and thrashes furiously against the straps holding him down onto the bed. "KAJA! You vile wench! Release me at once from this infernal prison-"

    "Dad no dad it's me-"

    "How dare you bring my daughter into this hideous dungeon you constipated scoundrel-"

    "dad no it's okay dad"

    Rita starts giving her father tummy rubs, which calms him enough for the nurses to crowd around and take his temperature, loosen the straps, and get him properly up on his feet. How much fighting spirit is inside this unassuming cat! It's suddenly quite plausible that it took six of those deplorable arrows to get him to stop trying to claw Kaja's face up.

    Rita catches your eye and mouths "thank you," her cheeks still red and her eyes puffy. It's a sweet moment! Now, if only the nurses weren't looking at you like they expected you to do that for all the other warrior cats of Askaia, lost in arrow-dreams all around the room. But that took a lot out of you- are you sure you want to try to take the time to help all of them?

    I mean, you could. It'd be tough. But if you squeezed out every last bit of your shadow, and committed yourself to doing it while your companions prepared, you might just be able to pull it off. Or you could wait until after you've freed Askaia, when you have time to do it slowly and carefully, without draining yourself - and probably with Alina's help, to boot.

    Alina!

    "Don't tell young Rita," a Persian matron whispers to you as she changes the blankets on a brave young warrior cat with a ghostly arrow sticking out from his ribs, "but that Rider leading the ghost army... she thinks all of us her pets. She's got the queen in a cage on her black ship, and she carries little Natasha around everywhere, petting her head and letting her gnaw on her fingers. No, don't tell her!" One white paw is placed on your hand. "If I know the princess, she'll run off and do something foolish, and she needs the three of you to stand a chance against that evil Rider! If the ghosts don't get her, that wicked giant will catch her with one hand and carry her away laughing!"

    "And you are going to help her, aren't you?" The Siamese seamstress who led you here rubs up against your side. "Don't let her get hurt." Is that a touch of sternness in her voice? A suggestion that you are, perhaps, not very good at making sure other people don't get hurt? "Don't let the Riders sail away with our sacred treasures and our queen, banish their ghostly army, and if you wouldn't mind, some good weather would be nice. If you're not too busy."

    Then, as the other side of the room erupts into confusion, and King Catabas starts yelling furiously at Kazelia, a wee little tortoiseshell bounds into the room through the kitchen door in the back. "Riders," he huffs and puffs with his adorable wee little lungs, "leaving! Boats!" Tuckered out, he slumps onto the floor, his message of warning delivered: the Riders are finished with their looting and ravaging, and are setting off- the cats of Askaia expect you heroic princesses to go and stop them now. I mean, unless you want to try to have a thrilling naval battle without Adila accidentally setting all the ships on fire or smashing them into pieces, which would mean the loss of all those sacred treasures.
    freedom in the flame

    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Princess Adila is relaxed for the first time since she set out for adventure.

    Not because she's confident, or because the situation is in claw, or any such thing - no, she's just happy she's back in a city. A place with narrow streets and tall towers where even a dragon might hide herself if the situation called for it. She listens to the reassuring click-click of her claws against the road and the murmur of civilized life all about her - even a wounded and pained city was still far more natural than the isolation of the boat. The buzz of thoughts all around her was comforting and she no longer felt as pressed to maintain her constant chattering thoughts.

    This sense of comfort lasts until she reaches the makeshift hospital. No pulling or squeezing is necessary to get her through - she simply misjudges the space and now the door is properly dragon-sized. Cheek scales rippling in the draconic version of a blush she backs away and lurks by the door in her characteristically un-stealthy way. She is then immediately once again covered in cats looking for a warm place to nap.

    Then, the messenger arrives - there is no time at all! +I'll scout ahead!+ thought Princess Adila and climbed the tower as swiftly as a gecko. From the top she cast her golden eyes over the port and wondered what the best approach might be.

    [Look Closely: 9

    What is going on here? What do my senses tell me?
    Is something hidden or out of place? If so, what looks suspicious?
    What will happen if I pick the boats up out of the water and carry them onto the land to prevent their escape?]
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    I look at the remaining cats with downcast eyes as the shadow fades. "I'm sorry. My power is limited and so I ministered to the King. The others will have to wait until there is more time..." And then the little cat bursts through the door and collapses with his message and the hornet's nest is stirred.

    "We should go!" Kazelia looks prepared to jump out the door instantly and mount her Pegasus. "If we're quick, maybe we can free some of the prisoners with the element of surprise and stop their departure!" You'd be hard-pressed to call it a real plan, but unless you all tell her to hold her horses, she's clearly ready to ride off at once.
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Raz_Fox's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Askaia City, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Adila!

    Forgive me, noble watchman, but allow me to name a particular nearby spire: the Josune Temple spires, arched like the back of a frightened cat. From there you cast your brilliant, burning eyes across the city, your vision cutting through the storm effortlessly.

    So. What is going on here? There, a flash of white. Kaja Ironpelt, a pale Iluminan lion-pelt slung over her shoulder as a cloak, strides powerfully through what’s left of a major marketplace, headed towards the docks with a retinue of Riders in tow. She is carrying a small, bedraggled black kitten in one hand and patting its head with the other.

    Even from here, you get the sense of power and poise that radiates off her. She stands head and shoulders over the other Riders, her dark armor gleams like the carapace of a beetle, her hair falls in perfect cascades down her shoulders, and she might as well be a statue of some heavenly warrior maiden come to life. But even from here, you can also hear - filtering out the sounds of the storm - her ridiculous and blissfully unselfconscious snortgiggle as one of her companions makes a joke about blowout sales: everything must go. And though she could doubtless squish the kitten like a bug, her grip is merely firm.

    Spoiler: Kaja Ironpelt
    Show
    Riposte

    Whenever you damage Kaja Ironpelt’s stats, she will damage you back as a Hard Cut.

    This will probably take the form of suplexing you or throwing something very big at you. Even if it’s emotional damage! Catch Kaja suplexing you into the chocolate fountain at the Crystal Gala after you damaged her with a catty comment about her dress.

    This doesn’t trigger if you manage to Finish Her, but if you’ve managed to get an Advantage on her you’ve earned that reprieve.

    Invincible Sword Princess

    You have to damage this stat twice before you can damage her other stats.

    She is very good at fighting. Did I mention that? She is scary good. She doesn’t even draw her sword unless the enemy “deserves it,” because nine times out of ten she can Rider-style WWE them into submission.

    Hapless*

    When you present Kaja Ironpelt with an outrageous situation, you may treat it as a 10+ roll on Speak Softly. Damage this stat when you betray her trust in you.

    Kaja isn’t stupid! She’s just prone to getting swept up in what’s happening, or otherwise short-circuiting because she doesn’t have the emotional bandwidth to deal with what’s going on.

    So if a pretty princess** threw herself into Kaja’s arms and flirted shamelessly with her, she’d overheat and run her mouth while her brain overloaded. But if, say, Kazelia “revealed” she’d been a double agent this whole time and she’d brought a dragon on a leash as a gift for Dad while laughing evilly, that would bypass Kaja’s common sense directly. And if Adila came into the scene balancing on a rubber ball while playing a trombone and juggling fish, Kaja would take a seat and applaud and make small talk during intermission.

    (Though this doesn’t stop any other Threat on-screen from making Cuts, so maybe wait on signing up for those trombone classes, Adila.)

    This works up until she realizes that you’re taking advantage of her. Punching her in the face, handcuffing her to Adila’s tail, or letting one of her sisters butt in with proof you’ve been unraveling their plans throughout this entire conversation all count as betraying her trust.

    *: the original title for this stat was “Useless Lesbian,” but a) that was back when it was solely flirting-oriented and b) rather mean, if you’re not familiar with that particular Tumblr meme.
    **: draconic or otherwise.


    By the docks, cats are miserably securing tarps down and closing up holds, under the watchful eyes and crackling laser whips of several more Riders. If you were to seize them up and deposit them on the docks-

    Well, that would stop them from sailing off! The problem is that Kaja Ironpelt would then suplex you into the sea and then push them back in. If you want a permanent solution to stopping them from going, you need to neutralize Kaja. Or you could blow them up! That would work too, for given values of “work.”

    Right. Kaja and retinue, ships and cats, and the ghost arrows.

    Oh, right. The ghost arrows.

    Three, fanned out slightly to find you no matter how you start. The snow passes through them with a small hiss, and they waver in the air as if not truly there. But they are there, and they are hurtling towards you.

    Follow the disruption- the snow disturbed, the air expanding outwards from the source, like a trail of breadcrumbs, even as you tense up-

    And there she is, already nocking another arrow to her tri-speed longbow (with a sniper sight) up on the Askaia Clocktower. Her white hair is cut close to the scalp on one side, grown long with neon streaks of lavender on the other. Her Riders’ eyes are hidden behind goblin-made goggles, and her armor is the muted grey of shadows.

    Eska Glinteye, the Wolf’s Right Eye, is here. And suddenly everything about the ghost army makes sense.

    Then the world is black, and orange, and violently disorienting; you are alienated from yourself. When you move it pounds your brain inside your skull, and ice pricks at your thoughts. The arrow has lodged itself deep inside your soul right where your left wing meets your body.

    Damage your Sense.

    Spoiler: Eska Glinteye
    Show
    Wolf’s Right Eye

    Eska introduces herself in the scene with a Hard Cut at extreme range.

    Probably a sniper shot. Might be pulling a goblin detonator out of her jacket and setting off the crystal mines she planted beforehand. Might be revealing that she’s had you under surveillance this whole time. Any way you cut it, you’re not catching up to her without some good Grace rolls.

    Just As Planned

    Damage this stat to turn a Finish Them attempt into a 6-, then take the spotlight.

    It doesn’t have to be aimed at her, and she doesn’t even have to have line-of-sight: as long as she knows it’s happening and she’s in the scene, she can mess up your day.

    You princesses are so predictable. It’s adorable!

    Friendship is Tragic!

    Will flee from expressions of kindness or hospitality. Damage this stat permanently if you ever show her unearned mercy or grace.

    People don’t do nice things for each other unless there’s something in it for them. That means “niceness” is always a trap. Cupcakes, doubly so. Best to disengage and buy yourself time to figure out what their game is.
    freedom in the flame

    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PhoeKun's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    A princess must be beautiful. If she were someone else she might try to sneak on board the ships and wait for a vulnerable moment. Or she might wisely hold her forces to muster them for a proper attack, rightly judging that the safety of the Askaian people in the long run was worth more than sparing them immediate pain or saving their treasures. She might have sent someone to be a distraction and give her a freer hand to work and steal back everything they took. But she is Alina Cascade of Illumina, and people have asked for her help. Red was the color of physical might. Yellow was the color of magical potency. She had to believe that wasn't a coincidence.

    Her heart's pounding in her chest, but she ignores it and tosses aside the dragon-blanket with a motion so fluid they're writing poems about it right now. She leaps into the cold, plants her foot onto a barrel on the street, jumps and grabs a frozen shutter on a window the next building over, and flips and pushes off of her fingers to reach the roof. And then she's off toward the docks on that deer-like gait, as fast as any horse, leaping from rooftop to rooftop with a cartwheel or a front flip or a dive that turns into a tumble that turns into a fouette. She's a beacon in five colors. She's unignorable. And she's untouchable. Ghost arrows turn the rooftops into porcupines where her feet or her hands had been a moment before. She's a princess, and a princess must be beautiful.

    She passes over the marketplace. She spies Kaja Ironpelt. Well, sure. Better here than on a boat, she supposes. Much easier for someone to come and rescue her that way. She swallows, and she jumps with a gymnast's vault, adding three spins and two full flips to her arc before landing perfectly on the balls of her feet in front of the marauding warrior-princess from beyond time and space. Oh jeez, try not to think about it like that. Her posture's perfect. Her silks flutter in the wind. Ok jeez, try not to think about that either. When she turns to face them, her hair does a perfect flip around her neck. Somewhere, a swan is jealous without quite understanding why.

    "Oh!" she says with her best attempt at nonchalance, "That's a very pretty pelt you've got on. Did you pick it out yourself?"

    [If this isn't what Get Away is for I don't want to play this game. 2d6+ 2 = 8, and Alina arrives quickly and unharmed]
    Last edited by PhoeKun; 2019-06-04 at 11:58 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Thanqol's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Ah - ow! Ow ow! Ow - oh - there's a moment where a dragon tries very hard not to even think any bad words. That's - ow! Right between the scales. That's so mean! Ow! Princess Adila isn't used to getting hurt - she knows what it's like, but the vast majority of physical encounters in her life she could just lean on the fact that she was a dragon to avoid any meaningful consequences. Darn - bows! They shouldn't be allowed!

    She resolved to keep her mouth firmly shut throughout this fight. Getting an arrow in the mouth was like the splinter from hell. No big dramatic roaring. She was just an archer, right? She could take one measly archer.

    She detaches herself from the tower and snaps her wings fully open - ow - and flew directly at Eska Glinteye.

    [Get Away: 6-1 = 5.]
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia pulls Shiva up into the sky and takes in the situation as the Pegagus flaps her crystal wings. Alina is running below her, the image of perfect grace, and Adila is watching from the tower and then...no, no! That's Eska. And she has a clear line of sight to Adila from a distance. No! She won't let her friends be harmed. This is her purpose, to protect her friends no matter what.

    Kazelia gives Shiva a gentle nudge, and it's all the Pegasus needs. She's off like a flash, speeding through the storm with practiced ease. Eska may be a crack shot, but she still has only two eyes and one place where she can focus her attention. Paying attention to Adila in a space where her sister is used to flight means she's lot looking in a lot of other places. And Shiva is there in a flash [Burning Shiva's Flight to safely and quickly close the distance and create an advantage over Eska]. Then the Swiftspear flashes through the hail and Shiva is neighing and I am upon her! I will cleave her ghostly bow in twainl shatter her armor in a few blows and drive her from the tower.

    [Rolling to finish her with Courage. 6+5+2=13. It would do the trick right here and now if not for her one ever so tricky stat. But we'll at least get that right out of the way.]
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Raz_Fox's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Askaia City, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Kazelia!

    We have to start with you. Eska launches a few more arrows, lit from within by a sickly pale green glow, off into the dark. Really, that’s quite incautious of her; if she suspects she’s marked at all, she would usually be cutting her losses and heading for a new position. So maybe you have the drop on her, for once.

    Then she kicks a counterweight sitting next to her foot, and as she ducks to one side, the window she was standing at swings shut without so much as a whisper. While you are moving at, if not quite terminal velocity, unwise speeds, directly towards said window.

    CRASH.

    As you come through the window, jerking your arms up to shield your face from the glass, Eska clotheslines you with her bow, and you go tumbling backwards with a horrible lurch in your stomach, and you have just enough time to think about how unfair it is you can’t see the stars in the dark clouds above you-

    Eska hooks your boot with her bow, and you come crashing into the side of the clocktower hard enough to addle you a moment. Everything is upside-down snow and swirling winds, and whatever telepathic sendings you’re getting from Adila over the sound of the roaring wind.

    “Hey, Kazelia.” Oh, boy. Here it comes. The gloating. “Long time no see. You gonna be a good girl and drop that lance, or am I going to have to drop you first?”

    She’s probably bluffing. Probably. You’re family, after all. But while she’s not, shudder, Morgina... she might just drop you, jump off the tower herself, and pin you to the tower by your cloak with a few arrows in freefall. Then it’s just hanging there until she comes to drag you back to daddy.

    If you see some way to do so, feel free to try to Overcome this- to regain your footing again. Or you can take this time to have a sisterly chat.

    On the other hand, you have damaged her Just as Planned stat, so well done.

    ***

    Adila!

    Not opening your mouth was a good idea! Because whatever was in those arrows gets all over you when they explode right above you. It gets on your wings and your snout and starts hardening rapidly on contact with the air. Which, spoiler, makes it hard to keep aloft.

    You come crashing down into a bed-and-breakfast and wipe out the front dining room. Luckily(?) the owners are currently at the docks loading up the last of their biscuits onto a Rider ship, so nobody’s hurt.

    You can try to Overcome the goop all over you somehow, or else you’ll lose your flight for now. Even if you get it off, you’ll need to make a second approach to help out Kazelia or Alina, and Eska Glinteye still has plenty of tricks up her sleeve.

    ***

    Alina!

    Several of Kaja’s companions draw her swords, but the woman herself (she is very big, wow, and built like a tank that wins marathons and powerlifting competitions on the same day) just gives you a stony stare for a long moment...

    And then she smiles. Like, it’s still a scary smile, but it’s not a “ohoho look at this foolish princess” smile, if you get me. It’s just that she has resting terror face.

    “You’re right, I did,” she says brightly. “I went on this meditative training exercise up in the Iluminan mountains and when I came back I said to Azora, like, it’s this or the storm bird plumage, and she said, well, if you wear the plumage you might upset the Gwythaint and if I break its wing Dad will be all, you know, right? So, yeah, picked it out myself, really brings out my hair, in my opinion, and- wait.” The smile erodes, replaced with gears turning in her head. “Hang on. I know you. I know I know you.”

    “Yes, your highness-“ The Rider at her elbow doesn’t get very far before Kaja holds up one black-gauntleted hand.

    “Hold on, Timon, I’ve totally got it. Tip of my tongue. Never forget a face. But quick hint, um, have I terrorized you before? Sorry, weird question, I know, but you do it enough and it’s like, blah, you know? So many different people!”

    Behind her, there is a gleam of soft reds and oranges. Princess Rita von Catabas has arrived, wearing a long feather in her cap and a pretty troubadour’s outfit. She’s got a long staff in one hand, and her father riding on her shoulder, because that’s not a weird thing for me to say at all. And, even better, nobody’s noticed her. She can help you out - or you can try to send her a cleverly coded message to help someone else.

    Spoiler: Rita von Catabas
    Show
    Askaian Troubadour!

    Musical magic, charms, and fancy tricks with Askaian incense (she’s got a little burning in a special pocket on her sleeve).

    All the Powers of Cat and Girl!

    Can turn into a cat or a girl, whichever fits her needs the best. Her outfit magically resizes herself along with her. She is dangerously cute, either way!

    +1 Bond with Kazelia.


    Speaking of which, also behind her is a dragon a few blocks away who just wipes out on a bed-and-breakfast place with a distant sound of shattering timbers. You know, if you needed inspiration or something.
    freedom in the flame

    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

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