The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Summerveil, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Alina, let's start with you. Your polychromatic cobblestones lead you down onto the head of the Big Hill. That's what you called it, back then, when you were on vacation here: the Big Hill. You could see Summerveil from the top of the Big Hill, and it was the perfect steepness to let you cartwheel and then roll all tumbly down the hill, with your feline playmates rushing after you. Then you could run back through the blackberry bushes and the tall-crowned trees, over the pretty stone bridge that your mother told you not to lean over (for the white-churning river below was a ways down, dearest) and onto the front porch, where your mother would be waiting for you.

    Thinking back, isn't it like thinking on a lovely dream? It's easy to remember colors, and laughter, and moments without time. The light streaming through the stained-glass windows in the big barn out back. Sitting on windowsills watching the setting sun turn colors through the mist, which was almost like a pretty Jedadi veil draped over the world. Eating pickled plums on rice, and chicken that Rita's father grilled for you out back, and running from building to building, getting lost in the garden, watching butterflies alight on flowers, and falling asleep right on the grass, only half-awaking when your mother picked you up to carry you inside.

    Though there's a little problem, now. The mists aren't that lovely, gauzy veil over the world anymore; they're heavy, and churning, and dark. The top of Big Hill is high up enough that you're not in the worst of it, but down there, even if the shrine-paint stops you from having your heart broken again, I think you'll be lucky to see a Rider before you bump into them! But you can still hear things:

    Water falling onto water, water tumbling over rocks, water dripping from leaves, water tossed up in sprays, water churning in pools. Unreal cicadas from those lost summers, singing from every tree, asking you to be their cicada princess, asking if you remember when one landed on your shoulder and slowly, over the course of hours, stepped right out of his skin and left it on you. Somewhere, drums. Elsewhere, whistles.

    ***

    Adila, let's turn to you. You have eyes that can see through anything. But looking down into the mists is like putting your huge and lovely golden eyes up to a kaleidoscope. (Of course you've looked through kaleidoscopes; they're a very popular toy in Jedad.) You have to focus to avoid seeing double, seeing things in colors that they're not, or seeing, for a moment, a person you think you recognize, but really it's just a tree, or a stump, or a shed.

    Here is what you can see, then, when you squint. There is a path that leads down from the hill, and it leads you right into a fortified camp. Trees have been cut back and bushes cleared, stakes sharpened and set up, and tents arrayed around the path. There are quite a few groups of similar-looking people down there, and most of the groups look like this: there are five or so people in blue uniforms that look a little like the Watch's uniforms, carrying glass spears, quietly freaking out at the mist all around them, and then two Riders with them, one with armor and those pale swords and one in leathers with a bow. One of the persons in blue has a little glass whistle that they blow every couple of minutes, and the Rider in leathers seems to be following a line or path that only they can see. These groups are making a nice patrol net on this side of the river-gorge, probably looking for princesses.

    On the other side of the gorge that the river has carved into the earth is a clearing set against a cliff-face. In that clearing is what used to be a very large and beautiful estate, I think, all glass and quaint woodcarvings and bungalows for guests and a little smithy by the lake; only, now, it's all swampy mire and black ice and there's rot eating away at the wood. I wouldn't like to go into such a place! I'd look at it from a distance, for fear that if I went inside one of the buildings, the roof would fall down on me, or I'd step on a rusty nail, or someone would come and yell at me for being where I'm not supposed to be, and I'd especially not want to go inside if I was as big as a dragon, because then I'd be rubbing up against those uncomfortably wet walls and ducking my head low every time I passed into a different room and trying to keep my tail from knocking into some loose and pointy slats, assuming that I, like you, had a tail.

    For a moment there's a flash of black and blue in one of the upper-story windows of the big villa in the middle of the estate- but it's gone before you can be sure that it wasn't just the kaleidoscope playing tricks on you.

    ***

    Kazelia, as for you-

    This has Asteria written all over it. She is so bossy and self-assured that it's like her superpower. People tend to do what she wants them to do, even if she doesn't say it, and if you don't do what she wants you to do, she'll be nasty and awful and probably use her laser whip until you learn to do what she wants you to do. If she wanted, she could probably make a play for Azora's job, but Azora is smarter than her, and gave her the sort of job she likes more: running the Iluminan Volunteer Corps. Terrorizing a bunch of Iluminans trying to make sure their kids are looked after back at home, or who got in trouble for seditious activities, or who got press-ganged into service, is so fun for her that she's much too busy doing that than jockeying for Azora's job.

    If anyone could get those Iluminans to turn on Asteria, it would be Alina, but even then, I don't think it's guaranteed to work! They might be too scared of Asteria, or they might think that Asteria would ease up on them if they handed Alina over to her, or even just are scared that if they turn traitor their families back home will be punished for it.

    If you get in a fight with her, she'll try to make you do what she says; she'll tie you up and tie you down; she'll snap her fingers and get her soldiers to beat you up. And once she has you in her clutches, she will be very mean. Like making Alina serve drinks at dinner and clean her boots, or using Adila as her new horse, or locking Rita up in a dog kennel, and she would make you watch.

    On the other hand, giving her an opportunity to be mean- that distracts her, every time. If she was focused on making you feel pathetic and weak, a traitor who couldn't even get betrayal right, she wouldn't even notice Adila sneaking past her.

    (And it is possible- the haze of memory suggests- that she was not always so; that she was dependable, organized, would be mean if her partners asked her oh-so-nicely, and always rubbed their shoulders after- but are you not all your father’s children?)

    Spoiler: Summerveil
    Show
    Mist-haunted. Attempts to Look Closely are rolled with Despair, here. Yes, even yours, Adila, though you still have the right to Look Closely from afar.

    Rider Patrols. There is always a patrol within earshot, here, and they will be here in a moment if they hear you, and blowing their whistle, too.


    Spoiler: Asteria Spite
    Show
    Slavemaster. When Asteria would be damaged while an ally is around, they take the damage instead.

    People tend to suddenly step in the way of attacks meant for Asteria; that is, if she doesn’t pull them in front of her herself, or take it out on them to vent her frustrations.

    Pathetic! When something goes wrong, damage this stat to make a Hard Cut immediately. If she still has Slavemaster, she can damage an ally instead of damaging this stat.

    Asteria is always at her most dangerous when she has other people around to order about- but even alone, she’s no pushover, especially when you won’t stop defying her.

    Sadistic. When things are going her way, Asteria will always pause to gloat, monologue, and rub it in.

    She just so happens to have a pretty frilly maid outfit that would fit you perfectly in her wardrobe and she’s not afraid to use it.
    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.

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    There was one advantage to being out in the countryside. Princess Adila took a breath. She let her perceptions of the fort and house flow through to the others.

    There was one advantage to be out in the wilderness surrounded by enemies: it meant that collateral damage was bonus damage. She could see through the mists, she could fly faster than the people on the ground could react. A quick pass and a breath of flame and then all would be chaos. The idea made her heart beat faster - it would be exciting to cut loose like that, but the idea was scary too. She should consider it carefully.

    [Look Closely with Despair: 1, 4, 5 +2 = 7.

    - What will happen if I burn down the fort?
    - Is something hidden or out of place? If so what looks suspicious?
    - Tell me about the manor house. How could it help me? How could it hurt me?

    I find one of these out the hard way]
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    So, Overlord. Let's go through what we know. Kazelia recognizes the pieces in play, Kaja and Eska on the island stealing, now Asteria organizing patrols and setting up camp here. I'm assuming that's all the pieces in play now, since you're bound to say when the minions of the overlord approach and you've done such a good job of doing that. And we know that they're poisoning the mist and freezing the island, twisting what was once so wholesome and it's our job as princesses to stop them and free Askaia from their control. So...do tell, and be honest. What is one way I could stop this?
    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)

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Alina's just standing there with a tear welling in one eye. Her senses are all over the place. She hears the water, rushing, roaring, tumbling down and pouring into pools, splashing over stone, all around, all around. She sees the mist, and through the choking thickness of it she can just make out the vague shapes and colors that tells her where she is. Not that she needs those. She's on Big Hill! That's the only name she's ever had for it. Does it have a real one? It doesn't matter. It's her Big Hill, and that means she's at Summerveil! And that means...

    She can feel the grass on her bare feet as she runs and tumbles down the hill. She can feel her soaked clothes and the hair clinging to her back because she was just too excited and had to go swimming right now, mommy! She can see the light shining through the window, the way it turns the sunlight into soft reds and blues and even lavender like her hair. She can taste the berries, smell the fish, hear Rita giggling next to her. And she can feel the soft boots on her feet where she's too scared to leave Big Hill and see her special place right now. She can see the mist and nothing else. And she can see Adila's thoughts, so it's like looking after all and there are the tents that shouldn't be there, and the broken shards of glass nobody cleaned up and the rot... oh no the rotting of her beautiful summers like a horrible nightmare she has to carry around inside of her forever now. There is nothing, nothing that can't be taken. She hears her mother calling for her, singing softly.

    Wash away, wash away,
    Fall down and wash away
    Let all your fears and troubles
    Wash away, wash away,
    Fall down and wash away


    There's the stirrings of another verse, but it's cut off by the sight of nervous people dressed in blue and armed with her glass spears. She doesn't need to guess what this means. Her mind seizes. It bounces without reason from past to present, both shrouded and clear, as happy as she can ever remember being and so sad she doesn't have a word for it. There's a breeze that stirs her hair and catches her in this moment. It's cruel. It's too cruel.

    She doesn't break this time. She doesn't go dashing off the hill like a deer, into blindness all by herself. Her lights don't shrink from her, her magic keeps flowing. Nice and strong, our Alina Cascade. But I think we must thank the Askaian priestess for this, because here in Summerveil? Where the mists are so thick and choking and so very very evil, and her memories are so very, very strong there might be no price she's strong enough to pay that could keep her in her right mind without the little cat paw paint she wear so prettily upon her cheeks. She's here, and you may use her if you guide her. Shouldn't a princess get some small praise for that?

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Summerveil, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Adila!

    Let’s take those one at a time, Adila. The fort is the sort of slapdash thing you throw together when you’re low on time, visibility, and are hoping a dragon will just blunder into the stakes because they’re exactly as sight-impaired as you are. Everybody inside seems to be groping their way along clearly laid-out paths with stakes and string guardrails.

    If you set that camp ablaze, you’ll neutralize a lot of the threat the Riders down there pose. You’ll certainly distract Asteria! Like, a lot. And that might be worth doing if it buys your companions time.

    But.

    People will get hurt. And not all of them will be Riders, and not all of them are here by choice. Fire is a dangerous friend, and moreso when there is no clear line-of-sight to escape it.

    Now if you identify which one is Asteria’s tent, and set that one on fire... well, there’s still the risk of it getting out of control, but at least that would be less dangerous. More surgical. I’m sure you’re great at that.

    As for Summerveil itself, it’s a shoe-in for “mystic artifact storage.” It’s sitting on a ley line for sure, it’s probably got crystals worked into the foundations and support beams, looks like it’s been smote by the fist of an angry swamp spirit. If what you’re here to collect isn’t in there, you’ve got opposable thumbs and floofy lavender hair.

    Flipside: whatever’s in there is leaking. Proper procedure here would be to quarantine the area and get specialists to safely remove whatever’s in there, then to get a cleaning detail of witches to scrub this place’s aura down thoroughly. Last time you saw something this bad, the specialist got beat up by the shadow of her own heart while inside and spent a week in the infirmary afterwards with sage and candles burning around her 24/7.

    But you don’t have specialists. You’ve got yourself, a Rider witch (possible harmony or immunity to whatever’s going on? possible risk of turning evil if exposed? not enough data), Alina Cascade (pure of heart, but also tiny and sad and vulnerable), and Rita von Catabas (experience w/ mists, probably won’t turn evil??). If you go inside, best to go as group; one-by-one is a dumb plan. Don’t be a hero, stick with your buddies.

    But.

    There’s the rub. The house looks like it’s about ready to collapse already. Your entry might expedite that process considerably. Houses: built to facilitate going from room to room, artifact likely out in open somewhere. Piles of rubble: dangerous, heavy, artifact likely buried and still leaking. Face it, Adila: like always, you’re just too big.

    As for what’s hidden here? One of the cicadas singing their constant drone rises from the hill, and it takes a second look for you to realize that its coloration is richer and more uniform than an insect really should be. It’s made of brass and clockwork, and it’s winging quick and steady off towards Summerveil itself.

    You’ve been bugged.

    ***

    Kazelia!

    Take what Azora has left here. Shatter it, destroy it, unmake it; pure water will be required, or a maiden’s tears, and that alone will not suffice. Else this place will become the Slaugh, a nightmare swamp, a Source of Power that Oberon can seize all for himself- and before you ask, allowing it to become the Slaugh deliberately would mean sacrificing Askaia on the gamble of harnessing its blasphemous power against your father. Then run, run like anything, and do not let your sisters catch you.

    ***

    Alina!

    Rita takes your hand in hers. (She’s wearing thick mittens- it’s still too cold for her- but it’s a reassuring sensation all the same, I think.) She squeezes tightly, trying to ground herself as much as she’s trying to ground you, because the alternative is being lost in those memories alongside you. Because this is a special place for her, too, and what has happened here- it is threatening to eat everything. The places she loves, her favorite sushi bars, the beach resorts, the glass towers, the winding streets and back alleys, her mother and her father. Your pain, in this moment, rhymes- and that may be a comfort. It may be another burden.

    (And yes. You are strong, Alina. You must be, to not shatter.)
    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.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Adila’s eyes are a blessing here, even if the sights are all dire. She even has the vision to pick out Eska’s handiwork and that’s enough for Kazelia to act, she thought. She snaps up a hand and makes a grabbing motion, and a hand of frigid mist coalesces and mirrors her, trying to snap the clockwork cicada out of the air. It’s already gone though, Adila’s image had only been for an instant and it must have turned or sped up. Blast, they’d need to work on that.

    “Father always taught us to act quickly, to never lose an opportunity when it appears,” she whispers, running back in her mind to another time. Asteria drilling troops. Kazelia had always been more of a forward fighter, the sort of unit a military fielded to smash a hole in a location and break a line. Asteria had always brought up the rear, and was lecturing. “Remember Kaze” (that’s pronounced “ka-zay” by the by) “a good army functions when everything has a place and meets it. If you go in when you’re not meant to, you’ll divert resources, you’ll give away valuable information, and that would be very bad. You don’t want to be a bad girl, do you?”

    Back in the present, Kazelia looks at the others. “We need to break up what they’re doing somehow. Not just cause chaos, but pull a piece of their army away from the rest. We can’t take everything as Asteria presents it. She counts on that.”
    Last edited by Anarion; 2019-06-10 at 10:15 AM.
    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)

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Thanqol's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Princess Adila would love to spend some time on this. She'd love to draw maps and force organization charts and have meetings and spend hours creeping around. But they've been rustled. The time is now.

    She had this though. It was clear as daylight.

    +We've been made. I am going to destroy the camp,+ she thought, cast iron, no hint of hesitation or doubt. +The two of you must go through to the house over that way; it is the source of the curse. I can't follow you inside but I can buy you time. Do not waste it.+

    She took a deep breath. Time to be a hero.

    She spread her wings and took off without a second thought. She kept her eyes on the tiny bug even as she gained altitude. It was going to go to the person in charge and then she was going to burn that person's tent into a smouldering crater.

    Her heart pounded louder. Should she hold back? She didn't know if her best would be too much or not enough. She didn't know what side to err on.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Delicate fingers entwine around a soft mitten. A squeeze for a squeeze. This is a burden, yes, and a hurt. But it's one she can share, and that's... it helps.

    Alina stands there stoically at the top of her Big Hill linked hand in hand with Rita, even as the dragon-princess snaps out her wings and bravely flies off with the command left hanging in the... well, not the air, but everyone's thoughts, to not waste this heroism. She stands and she watches, and her hair and clothes flutter in the sudden gust while Summerveil again becomes a thing of mist, mystery, and memory. She squeezes that mittened hand again.

    "Kazelia, you're so strong and brave. I know you said you wanted to help, but if you rode down there and confronted your sisters, that's where you would do the most good. For us, for you... and for them, too. We're all victims of your father, every one of us here. So fight bravely, but remember that. And while you do, Rita and I will slip into Summerveil, find the source of all this... and destroy it. This our special place. She and I know it better than anyone, and we should be the ones to save it."

    She swallows. She could do this, she is strong. Strong, and not alone.

    [Alina Reveals The Way to Kazelia, with the advice of 'confront your sisters directly instead of seeking this source of power. She can take this advice at face value, or refuse it and do something to spite her]

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia watches Adila fly off with some dismay. Act quickly, yes, but she meant they should have baited a trap and lured away the soldiers, not fly headlong into Asteria’s clutches. Still, still, Adila was gone and Alina was speaking. “Go and fight.” Yes, that was what she was best at, and the way Alina said it filled Kazelia with hope. She was willing to trust, really trust her friends, not like her sisters. So, she sighed, drew her spear and mounted Shiva with quiet grace.

    Then she turns to Alina. “You’ll need pure water or a maiden’s tears to destroy the source of the corruption that Azora created. And something else, I’m not sure what maybe a source of magical power as a catalyst. If you see Asteria, do something unexpected. Be well, and if you need me, call and I will come.”

    With that, she mounts up and takes wing. She’s looking for the sisters that Adila flushes out, and she’ll follow Alina’s advice as soon as she has a target.

    [this is simply waiting to see Adila’s results to pick a target, I don’t intend any moves yet.]
    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)

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    A Makeshift Fort, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Salute! Asteria!

    When the Princess comes forth from her tent, which is decorated in sea-blue velvets, you are meant to stop and salute, unless you are on a Mission Critical role, in which case, you will be punished for saluting. To make it easier for everyone to know where she is, her Iluminan bodyguard (Tam Patterley, since you asked) whistles as she exits the tent. In the mist, there is a sound like everyone in earshot hurriedly guessing where Asteria is and saluting as hard as they can.

    "Good," she says to herself, reveling in the feeling. "We'll show Eska a thing or two about proper warfare."

    Then her tent explodes.

    Tam Patterley dives onto Asteria, knocking her down onto the muddy ground, while cutlery sets and very uncomfortable-looking clamps go flying out of the tent into the mist, the entire tent sagging into briliant flame. "Dragon!" The hue and cry goes up, and there is a moment of chaos. Absolute chaos!

    Then Asteria Spite gets up, mud dripping from her lapels and her chin, and cracks her laser whip. The sound brings a chill to the spines of every woman there. And as the wingbeats of a dragon make huge eddies in the mists above-

    She shoots the whip upwards, and it curls around the throat of the dragon princess above. (One of the many advantages of a laser whip, as opposed to the more leathery version!) Stepping onto Tam Patterley in order to have the proper footing and leverage, she jerks the whip down, one hand directly on the crackling whip itself, bringing Adila of the Watch crashing down out of the sky.

    "What are you waiting for!" Asteria Spite screams, even as she pulls the whip tight, trying to keep Adila off-balance. "Muzzle her! Bind her! I will have her begging for treats by the time we go home! If she is not secured in the next minute there will be demerits!"

    There is a mad scramble for Adila from everybody. After all, the consequences are demerits. And behind the Iluminans, with their glass spears, there are Riders drawing their blades and making a tight formation around their Princess, and Tam Patterley, doing her very best not to complain about the bootprints on her shoulders.

    Spoiler: Tam Patterley
    Show
    Shieldbearers. Enemies must damage this stat before they can damage your allies. THIS STAT HAS BEEN DAMAGED!

    If there's one thing an elite Iluminan soldier is good at, it's suffering so that other people don't have to. Buy as much time for your princess as possible, no matter what.

    For Ilumina, Anything. A Sentinel fighting someone cannot be ignored, and while fighting them, you are in Despair when trying to do anything but deal with them.

    I can do this all day.


    Spoiler: Iluminan Conscripts
    Show
    Expendable. Damage this stat to prevent damage to someone else.

    "We have the utmost respect for our brave Iluminan Volunteer Corps. Why else would we allow them to be first into the fray?"

    Graceful. Damage this stat to be somewhere that's very bad for your enemies, right now.

    Like Princess, like subjects!

    Gang This enemy can act against everyone at once. When this enemy is Taken Out, this stat is damaged, or this is their only stat left, replace the Gang with two Groups of the enemy. This stat can only be damaged by Dangerous or Area attacks.


    Spoiler: Rider Valkyries
    Show
    Sighing Blades. When you Keep a Valkyrie Busy in melee combat, take one damage.

    Like many things about them, the blades of the Riders are beautiful and cruel.

    Inescapable. When you try to Get Away from a Valkyrie, they'll end up one step ahead of you.

    Perfect for hunting down Princesses.

    Group This enemy can act against two people at once. When this enemy is Taken Out, this stat is damaged, or this is their only stat left, replace the Group with two normal enemies.


    ***

    Summerveil, the Kingdom of Askaia

    A brass cicada alights on the shoulder of Eska Glinteye, who is sitting in the lee of a gable, her boots braced against the tiles, watching the mists eddy all around her. It chirps and chitters, and a slow smile spreads across Eska's face.

    "You don't say? Well. Let's let them wander right into the trap, then-"

    Across the river, Asteria's tent explodes, and Eska pinches the bridge of her nose.

    "Or that. Yes. Have fun, Asteria." If she's lucky, that's just the dragon! And her sister (who clearly has been brainwashed by Iluminan rainbows) and the crybaby, they're still coming.

    Well, let them come. Walk right into the House of Nightmares, princesses. You'll be hopping back out at swordpoint.

    The cicada lifts off, instructed now to follow Kazelia Swiftlance and keep Eska notified on her whereabouts at all times, and Eska settles in to her sniper's perch, waiting for the trap to be sprung.

    ***

    Alina!

    There is a shimmer of light, and then a comforting weight about your shoulders. Rita is with you, in her stealthiest mode, warming your neck and purring with determination. You've got this. She'll be with you until the end.

    [You may, at this time, take +1 Bond with Rita.]
    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.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Princess Adila was used to being outnumbered.

    When the Watch did training it tended to be everyone-verses-her. They needed to figure out how to use their superior numbers to take down a firebreathing dragon and she needed to figure out how to not be drowned by sheer numbers. She was out of breath after that gout of fire. Right now she needed to create a bottleneck.

    She walked backwards into the burning tent. The fire would shield her - and if she was lucky she would pull Princess Asteria into the flames with her.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia flies up, up and towards the fire as Alina urged her. And then she sees Adila go down and struggle backward away from the whip and she is filled with a hard rage, cold and silent. Twice here, her sisters have attacked her friend, and she will protect her.

    And this, this is what a Pegasus knight was made for. This was Kazelia’s battlefield role with that Riders. A shocking assault, straight for the heart of the foe. She sets her lance with one hand. With the other, she conjures an icy gale, strong and powerful. It gathers the mist with the force of the arctic wind. As she sets Shiva to the descent, she releases the gale first, shoving the foolish Illuminan with a shield backward and away. [Rolling to keep him busy and separate him Tam from Asteria. 2, 1, 4 +2=8.]

    The gale shrieks as it’s released and plows into him, though it’s clear he’ll be able to get back up when the effect subsides. Then, all her focus is on the lance, the charge, and Asteria.

    The wind howls past as Shiva picks up speed on the charge and Kazelia adjusts the lance with a practiced hand [Using mounted combat to generate an advantage] and goes straight for Asteria, hoping to strike a decisive blow and drive her sister from the field entirely. [5+2+2=9. I’ll damage Slavemaster]
    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)

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Thank goodness for friends. Alina is determined not to waste this opportunity, and she takes off running down the hill, sure footed and swift... and down into the mist. She doesn't let her eyes guide her through this, but instead follows the memories of her feet and the warm courage purring around her neck, until she finds the cobblestone bridge and hears the water rushing underneath it. And for the first time, just this one time, she disobeys her mother and she jumps in.

    Immediately, she sees her mistake. Alina Cascade is, of course, a very strong swimmer. What possible Princess of Illumina could show her face if she was not? But she hadn't counted on the current being so malicious, and she hadn't counted on how hard she'd have to fight to keep Rita above the waterline. Certainly she loses count of how many rocks she bounces off of before she's finally forced to conjure a glowing orange pole to clamber up onto the opposite sure.

    Immediately, she sees her mistake. Even in the heat of all this terrible fighting, and even in the midst she's glowing like a tiny sun, and anybody who's watching in the moment has marked her as surely as the river water drip drip dripping off her clothes up to her chest. She turns her head. Her worried green eyes meet fierce cat's eyes. And she knows without needing telepathy that the plan is to split apart and confuse the guards, so that at least one of them would reach Summerveil. And she knows just as surely that Princess Rita von Catabas intends for it to be Alina. So she shakes her head.

    "Together."

    Her crown flares briefly, but instead of emitting light, it sucks it in. The world around all around her shifts from mist soaked and hard to see, to pitch black and impossible to see. She crawls forward on the ground, not daring to make a sound. And she trusts to her memories. Somewhere in the inky dark air, the barest shimmer of indigo whips out onto the stone steps of what was once the most beautiful summer home any princess could ask for. And a moment later, Rita and Alina are inside.

    Together.

    [Get Away: 2d6+2 = 9. Alina chooses to bring Princess Rita with her, forsaking both smart options, and marks her Shadow spell to help cover their way in]

  14. - Top - End - #74
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    A Makeshift Fort, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Kazelia!

    You come down like a sudden summer storm. (How fitting.) The power of your wings sends poor Tam flying back from her charge, and the Riders (with their keening, pale blades) step back for a moment.

    Play and counterplay. You set your lance firm, aimed at her side; you’re not about to kill your sister, but you can frighten her enough to drive her away.

    She lashes out, trying to entangle your lance. Too naïve! You are Kazelia Swiftlance, finest of the King’s pegasus knights, and you will not be stopped by this. You allow her to seize your lance, and then with a flourish you channel all of your love, all of your hope, and all of your cold anger at what your sisters are willing participants in enabling, and that whip?

    That whip bursts asunder. With a hoarse cry, Asteria flings the hiltpiece away from her into the mud, where it lies, smoking; you have shattered the crystals within, burst them into pieces with your gallant ardor. She holds her hand close to her chest, unable to hide her injury. For a moment, she is merely your sister, undone.

    There is a shining moment where everyone sees you, a glorious Princess of Hyperborea, defender of the defenseless, mounted upon a Pegasus whose wings shine with two dozen colors, your noble lance held at the ready. There is a moment where it is possible that your sister shall lay down her arms and surrender, if only to stay your awesome wrath.

    But the rub is that Tam Patterley, as Alina could tell you were she here, is an Iluminan knight of the highest caliber, and she does not allow her charges to be harmed, whether they be laughing children at play or cruel Riders who terrorize their charges. The duty is the same.

    So she tackles you right off Shiva’s back with a flying leap from behind, bringing both of you down into the mud, and then punches you right in the kidneys to knock the wind out of you. You can hear the telltale moan of Riders’ blades all about you now.

    Now, here we get a chance to see the difference between Azora and Asteria. Azora Howl would leave her troops to deal with you while she saw personally to Adila, and have you both safely in her clutches. But Asteria can’t help herself, and so instead of organizing the Iluminans working to collapse the tent around Adila, she chucks you under the chin with the toe of her boot.

    “I almost thought you were trying to kill me, Kaze,” she says, with cloying, saccharine sweetness. “Whatever happened to our bonds of sororal love? I’ll have to teach you all over again how to be a good sister. It will be tough fitting your etiquette lessons in, given that I’ll have to break in my new mount at the same time, but I will do it. For you! Because you’re worth it.”

    ***

    Adila!

    Okay, so, everything in here is on fire. That’s good! Fire’s cool with you. All that comfortable sizzling and popping and wow that’s a lot of throw pillows that are now burning away.

    In this circumstance, the right play would be to use the tent against you. They’re going to collapse the tent and try to get you tangled up in the fabric long enough for everyone else to focus on you.

    And to make sure they- ow- don’t- yikes- have time and space to do that, they’re- REALLY?- going to poke you with their glass spears through the flaps of the tent and rents in the fabric, and while you are armored both above and below, that last spear thrust got you right in the hindquarters.

    But because Asteria is a total meanie-pants who’s gloating over Kazelia, that means you’ve got a moment to figure out what you’re going to do about that before the tent collapses on top of you.

    ***

    Summerveil, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Alina!

    Chaos! Your light cuts through the mist like a knife through butter, and you make out, as you clamber up onto the lake’s shore, several Rider-shaped shadows in the mist who can see you, and there are probably more who you can’t. It’s enough to make any princess squeak and drop into cover.

    Which is good, because several arrows immediately zip over your head in the dark. They probably would have sucked out all your strength where they hit you, or wrapped you up in shadows all tight and helpless. And that would have been an ignoble end to your brave expedition, wouldn’t it?

    Together, you and Rita crawl along the... icky, muddy, dank ground. A far cry from the smell of fresh-cut grass and strawberries. It reminds one, uncomfortably, of the Princess-catching Garthim. Rita’s tail is looped around your wrist, keeping the two or you close together no matter what.

    Then you’re working your way up the front porch, praying that the wood won’t creak underneath you, that you won’t run right into Eska Glinteye’s shins, that nobody picks you up and that’s it, you’ve lost-

    And then you’re inside and you’ve got the door closed behind you and Rita’s wedging a chair underneath the handle, because you’re definitely not getting out that way, and buying a little time to find the bad thing might be the difference between saving Askaia and losing another kingdom.

    The lights come back, faintly, illuminating a house that looks like it’s been flooded. Repeatedly. Pools of stagnant, reeking water are everywhere; paint is peeling off the walls, and the wood is warped and bloated; nothing is in the place where it should be. Propped up on the bottom stair is Mr Stormy, the plush storm bird who you left here all those years ago. His button eyes are gone, his seams have torn, and he is looking at you. Right at you! Even without his buttons!

    There is the sound of great wings upstairs, and thunder, and rain. Black water drips down from the ceiling. Rita gags, and pulls her warm scarf back up over her face to try to block out some of the smell of rot and dead water, which is everywhere. Mr Stormy is watching you. Somewhere there is the creak of boots on wood, a call for someone to check the next room; you are not alone in this horrible house.

    This isn’t right.

    This isn’t right!

    Spoiler: The Slaugh
    Show
    Ignore the properties of being outside. You’re not outside anymore. You’re in here.

    Black Water and Old, Forgotten Things. In a place like this- you may Pay a Price to do something, and it will take from you. If you do not, you must make the roll with Despair.

    This move triggers every time you roll. Perhaps it is better, then, to accept what the Slaugh shows you.

    Rot. Whenever a Move is failed in here, or something reckless is done-

    A route becomes closed. A stair collapses, a door wedges shut. A hole opens in the floor, and the hole is full of black water to unknown depth.

    Princess Rita von Catabas
    You have one Bond with Rita. She has the stats Askaian Troubadour and All the Powers of Cat and Girl!


    ***

    Melakh slams her shoulder against the door again, but it doesn’t give. She’s starting to sweat a little now. Riders aren’t supposed to sweat, but Riders also aren’t supposed to lose a target and be unable to pursue and subdue them. If Princess Asteria hears about this, she’ll get so many demerits, and then she’ll have... detention. She jiggles the handle, not in a frantic way, totally not in a frantic way, and slams herself against the door again.

    “Don’t bother.” Melakh spins around, crisply salutes. It’s Princess Eska, hanging by one arm off the roof. Her expression: inscrutable. “I’m in no rush to go in there. You shouldn’t be either, idiot. Just wait out here and be ready to take the Iluminan crybaby into custody.”

    “Yes, ma’am,” Melakh says. She marches briskly off the porch, but not so briskly that she misses the last thing Eska says, not to her but to herself:

    “Besides. She’s Kaja’s problem now.”
    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.

  15. - Top - End - #75
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Adila!

    Okay, so, everything in here is on fire. That’s good! Fire’s cool with you. All that comfortable sizzling and popping and wow that’s a lot of throw pillows that are now burning away.

    In this circumstance, the right play would be to use the tent against you. They’re going to collapse the tent and try to get you tangled up in the fabric long enough for everyone else to focus on you.

    And to make sure they- ow- don’t- yikes- have time and space to do that, they’re- REALLY?- going to poke you with their glass spears through the flaps of the tent and rents in the fabric, and while you are armored both above and below, that last spear thrust got you right in the hindquarters.

    But because Asteria is a total meanie-pants who’s gloating over Kazelia, that means you’ve got a moment to figure out what you’re going to do about that before the tent collapses on top of you.
    You say 'we shall collapse a tent on Princess Adila'. I say 'I have just acquired a protective cloak of flames'. An impartial observer, from a distance says 'that dragon is running around in a blind panic like a dog with a towel thrown over its head'. An impartial observer, from close range says 'oh my god there is a giant wall of fire coming right at me'.

    Princess Adila's own thoughts are more simple, more direct, and a bit more anguished: +Why does this keep happening to me?+

    She blunders into another tent. She bops her nose and flails backwards. The fire spreads.

    [Looking to Finish the Illuminian Conscripts by being a big scary out of control burning dragon: 13. Let me know if I don't have an Advantage, I could just be keeping them busy instead]
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-11 at 02:43 AM.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  16. - Top - End - #76
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Alina Cascade is soaked, and covered in mud and bits of sickly grass. Her silks are stained, her armor is smudged and not glittering. It's a testament to the absolute wrongness of this place that not even she can wear this well. She needs a good, hot bath, a hug... and for Mr Stormy to please stop staring at her. How is he doing that? He doesn't have eyes, but everywhere she sneaks, his gaze is following her from that stupid step.

    But he's a stuffed animal. And she's a princess! Not just as a term of her mother's affection, but a grown up, proper princess who met with the River King and rode on his back and everything! S-so why is this so scary? There's a rumble of thunder, and she flinches. She weaves a scarf out of light, fashion concerns be darned, and wraps it around her face in an imitation of Rita. It helps a little to not be breathing in this horrible air. But not enough. She can't help it. She sneaks over to the stairs on soft feet, careful to avoid the pools of water, hoping not to hit too many creaking floorboards, and she reaches out to Mr Stormy with one hand wrapped up in her light scarf, and she turns him so he's facing the other direction. She shudders.

    Now if she can just get over the rest of this cloying wrongness, she still knows this house. She knows where the light used to shine, she knows where the glass was and where the crystal columns held things up, and she knows which rooms her tiny lights used to shine the brightest. Which means she knows, or she should be able to guess, where she at least would choose to hide a powerful magical... thing. She won't give in to this. She won't give it anything. She'll find it and she'll break it, whatever she has to do.

    [I'm not clear what sort of roll I should be making so here's a Look Closely, rolled with despair: 5, 3, 3 = 6+1 = 7. My questions are: "Is something hidden or out of place (I mean...)? What looks suspicious(ly like a source of ick)?" "Tell me about the water here. How could it hurt me? How could it help me?" and "What will happen if I go upstairs?" One of these things I learn the hard way]

  17. - Top - End - #77
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    “I almost thought you were trying to kill me, Kaze,” she says, with cloying, saccharine sweetness. “Whatever happened to our bonds of sororal love? I’ll have to teach you all over again how to be a good sister. It will be tough fitting your etiquette lessons in, given that I’ll have to break in my new mount at the same time, but I will do it. For you! Because you’re worth it.”
    Kazelia struggles up, spitting dirt from the knight that tackled her. Damn, she'd need to compliment Alina later, that was very strong, why hadn't Ilumina been defended by knights like that the first time?

    "Wow, Asteria, really? Did Daddy take away all your horses or something? Eska was just sitting on a cage for Shiva yesterday too and now you want to break her in." Kazelia glances at the majestic pegasus and moves her eyes to say fly, encouraging Shiva to take off. No need for her to be at risk here, and with that whip broken, she had a pretty good chance of getting somewhere safe as long as everyone was still focused on the princesses on the ground. "I think you'll just have to be stuck with me though. So, where are my sisters anyway? Did you send them off the island for being bad girls yesterday and not capturing all the foreign princesses like they were supposed to?"

    Kazelia makes no attempt to stand up, not yet at least. She's happy with Asteria and the knight focused on her right now and not on the rampaging dragon barreling around. Though she does speak relatively loudly over the crackle of the flames.

    [Edit: not sure if wisdom roll for those answers or just conversation. Your call, Raz.]
    Last edited by Anarion; 2019-06-11 at 01:58 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)

  18. - Top - End - #78
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    A Makeshift Fort, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Adila!

    Running around blind and in panic and also on fire, that's a great way to disrupt and dismay a bunch of Iluminan conscripts who really didn't want to deal with anything like this today. But that's not such a great way to be able to tactically provide support to your friends, or even, really, keep an eye on where you're going. Especially when you don't just have to worry about bumping into tents but also bumping into spears! After all, there's a difference between a wimpy little person poking you with a glass spear and you flinging yourself headlong onto one!

    So what happens is that, well, you manage to blunder right out of the camp. Or, rather, some enterprising, brave, and under-appreciated Iluminans manage to herd you to one of the gaps in the fence, over by the drop down into a rocky slope, and watch with apprehension as you disappear over the lip of the slope and then vanish out of sight with a great cacophony, punctuated with one final and terrible crash at the bottom of the slope.

    So let's cut to where you are now, surrounded by trees which are now leaning at crazy angles and also on fire, a hop and a skip away from the river-gorge which runs between you and the house, and let's take a moment to think. Well, that... that kinda went terribly, didn't it? You told Kazelia that you were going to buy her time, and instead she comes zooming in and gets herself captured! When, clearly, that was your job! Well, okay, not that you wanted to get captured, but if anyone was going to, it should have been you!

    Let's take stock: Kazelia? Captured. Your enemy? Alarmed, likely taking better anti-dragon precautions right now as we speak, if not scouring the woods looking for you. Alina and Rita? Nowhere to be found, hopefully in the house. You're alone, with no one to scheme with, enemies on every side, and everything's falling to pieces. So what do you do, in a situation like this?

    ***

    Kazelia!

    Now you know what the viper's fang of betrayal feels like, my dear. Shiva has trotted willingly into the arms of the soldiers, who have such blandishments as sugar cubes to feed her and brushies for her mane. There are bucket chains trying to put out the flames, and generally, the camp around you is abuzz with activity. But you, oh, you're the focus of Asteria's attention right now, and doesn't it feel just wonderful?

    "You should know me better by now, Kaze," Asteria says, lightly tapping your chin with her boot. "Every soldier has their place on the battlefield! Mine is here, waiting for you to blunder right into my arms! Theirs is to secure our secondary objective! But if you ask me, Father will be even more pleased that I've brought back his wayward daughter and the simpering Iluminan princess! The Slaugh is such a filthy, nasty, nightmarish place and I can't imagine why he wants it to blot out this hideously kitsch kitty colony!"

    Then she lifts that muddy boot and pushes your head down into the mud, grinding the pad into your hair, not giving you a chance to breathe as she barks orders. "I want the perimeter secured! Someone bring me a new whip! Erect my backup tent! Go and bring me that dragon! If we do not have all three princesses as prisoners here by dusk I shall have dinner dumped into the river!" Finally, she lifts her boot, and snaps her fingers; Tam Patterley pulls you up and twists your arms painfully behind your back, forcing you to march after Asteria as the backup command tent is hastily erected.

    "Now, Kaze," she says, all poisoned sweetness once more, "let's have a chat about your princess friends. Let's start with a question: where is Alina Cascade?"

    ***

    The Slaugh

    Alina!

    Let's start with the certainty that pools in the bottom of your stomach: if you go upstairs, you will face your fear, you will be wounded, you will be undone. I promise you these things. Because upstairs, that's where your room is, and that's where mommy's room is, and if someone put a magical thing here of course it would be in mommy's room. It just feels right. It could be in the wine cellar, or the kitchen, or in the room with the ping-pong table, but you know that it's not, really. Because this is the sort of place that has to make you afraid to open your mother's door, because she won't be on the other side, but something awful will be. There is the beating of terrible wings, and the tramp of heavy boots, and black water which seeps down from the warped and sagging ceiling.

    What's hidden here? Well, if I was Asteria Spite, and I was trying to decide who to assign to be the guard inside the nightmare swamp house, I'd pick Kaja Ironpelt, because if a nightmare jumped out at her she'd just punch it, and she's strong enough to handle being in there for ages, and because I'm really mean and I know that Kaja would be just miserable in there. So she's definitely here, and she's definitely been ordered to not let you take the whatever-it-is. But, hey, you can probably just kiss her and walk past, right? Nothing to worry about at all. Beyond that- well, if you stay in here, you're a minute or so away from a couple of freaked-out Riders walking in from the kitchen and seeing you. At that point, you'd be the suspicious ones!

    (Out in the garden, there's a loud barking, the kind that comes from dogs with froth on their jaws. Rita reaches out for your hand, humming the lullaby her mother used to purr to her at night, trying not to cry from just how awful all of this is.)

    The water here is not your friend. It's all topsy-turvy! Water should be your special friend, you're Alina Cascade, for crying out loud! But this water is just ruining everything! Can you imagine if it spread all over the island? All those beautiful glass towers would sag and fall over, and mold would grow all over the houses of the cats! This black water wants to warp and rot and ruin the things that you love most.

    As you look around, you find a terrible, terrible example.

    Do you remember? The picture that you drew? Your mommy wore a crown of strawberries and olive leaves and sat in the garden posing for you with Queen Felicia in her lap, and they talked about all sorts of grown-up things while you sat with your ink brushes and tried to get everything just right- the light on her face, the garden all around them, the sense that your mommy was the wisest and most loving person in the whole wide world. You even signed it like a real painter, and when she saw it, your mommy had it framed and hung up on the wall and said that it was her favorite portrait she'd ever sat for. With your ink brushes, you made sure that summer afternoon was forever, and that anybody who looked at it could see your mommy through your eyes, loving and loved.

    The frame is smashed on the floor, deliberately. Glass and splinters bob in the water. The picture is soaked through, and the ink is nothing more than smudges. Your mother's face is gone. Everything you put on the paper, gone. If you try to pick it up, it will rip and tear and fall apart in your fingers. You can't see the strawberries, you can't see the smile, and- maybe it is this place- but you can't even remember. When you try to think back to that day, your mother's face is a wet smudge dripping with black water.

    Take Damage. You do not have to tell Rita, if you don't want to.

    (As for how it could help you? Uuuuhhh if you got a great big bucket of it and dumped it over Asteria's head it would ruin her uniform and she'd be super upset! She'd deserve it, too.)
    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.

  19. - Top - End - #79
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    A Makeshift Fort, the Kingdom of Askaia

    Adila!

    Running around blind and in panic and also on fire, that's a great way to disrupt and dismay a bunch of Iluminan conscripts who really didn't want to deal with anything like this today. But that's not such a great way to be able to tactically provide support to your friends, or even, really, keep an eye on where you're going. Especially when you don't just have to worry about bumping into tents but also bumping into spears! After all, there's a difference between a wimpy little person poking you with a glass spear and you flinging yourself headlong onto one!

    So what happens is that, well, you manage to blunder right out of the camp. Or, rather, some enterprising, brave, and under-appreciated Iluminans manage to herd you to one of the gaps in the fence, over by the drop down into a rocky slope, and watch with apprehension as you disappear over the lip of the slope and then vanish out of sight with a great cacophony, punctuated with one final and terrible crash at the bottom of the slope.

    So let's cut to where you are now, surrounded by trees which are now leaning at crazy angles and also on fire, a hop and a skip away from the river-gorge which runs between you and the house, and let's take a moment to think. Well, that... that kinda went terribly, didn't it? You told Kazelia that you were going to buy her time, and instead she comes zooming in and gets herself captured! When, clearly, that was your job! Well, okay, not that you wanted to get captured, but if anyone was going to, it should have been you!

    Let's take stock: Kazelia? Captured. Your enemy? Alarmed, likely taking better anti-dragon precautions right now as we speak, if not scouring the woods looking for you. Alina and Rita? Nowhere to be found, hopefully in the house. You're alone, with no one to scheme with, enemies on every side, and everything's falling to pieces. So what do you do, in a situation like this?
    For a moment Adila takes a moment to just plain old grouse to herself.

    This was the second time in as many days Kazelia flew up and surrendered to the Riders! What was she thinking? Her plan hadn't been great, sure, but Kazelia's plans seemed less like plans and more like self destruction. It almost felt worse than just fighting this war on her own - at least that way she wouldn't have to worry about hostages.

    She just lay on her back in a pile of burning debris for a moment while she thought. Okay. Focus, Adila! You've had terrible partners before. You were partnered with Jobjori The Corrupt. You can handle this! Step one: Do not fly directly back into the camp. They'll be on alert, have ballistas, maybe wizards - that would be a dumb idea for a dragon, let alone an officer of the Watch. You can't afford to be brave right now. Everything depends on you so failure is not an option.

    She finally rolled over and started pacing. Think! What would Detective Brill say? What would he do? "Scales and fire breath aren't nothing compared to a good crossbow at your side, kid," - okay, not helpful. “That’s life. Whichever way you turn, fate sticks out a foot to trip you.” Yes I know that now. "Look, kid, just because you're a dragon don't mean you have to think like a dragon. Sometimes you can think like a scumbag too."

    Oh. Ohhh? Actually...?

    She stood up, perked her ears a bit, bits of burning debris scattering off her. What would a scumbag do? Someone like Princess Valissa? Well she'd infiltrate the camp in disguise and stage a daring rescue from within, clearly. The only thing stopping her from doing that... she paused to let out a deep, frustrated sigh ... was herself and her own clumsiness. But Kazelia was in trouble and she didn't have the luxury of not showing everyone how clumsy she was.

    She took a deep breath. She focused as hard as she could. And she slowly shapeshifted into her human form.

    She could take human shape but she was not a shapeshifter like Greymane. She could only take the one shape (or one of the intermediate partial steps along the way), it took a while to accomplish, and her human shape bore more than a passing resemblance to her draconic self. She was tall, dark skinned, armoured in black and orange, regal yet shy. She rolled her jaw - oh damnit, this was the part she hated the most. People actually talked with these things!? "RepoTING bAhKh Ko-man-der," she croaked, and winced. "RePort-ing bahhk Command-er," she coughed. She'd need to practice while she walked.

    First things first. Find one of those scattered and fleeing conscripts - there were a lot of them and she imagined they'd be keen to throw down their uniforms given the circumstances. Then, so dressed, she'd join one of the patrols and let them walk her into the camp while hoping nobody raised an eyebrow at the giant dark Illumian in poorly fitting armour.

    Good enough. Let's do it.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-11 at 06:02 PM.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  20. - Top - End - #80
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    "You know, you don't have to listen to her" Kazelia says to the lovely knight, ignoring Asteria's question entirely. The knight is the one holding her, the Illuminans here are at least equal to the Riders, and Kazelia is more than enough tipping point. Shiva's horrific betrayal is sad, but expected for sugar cubes and brushies, and it really hadn't gotten much of a rise from Asteria anyway. Time to get to the point instead.

    "You know, you and the Illuminans could definitely take Asteria and those Riders, especially with me helping, and you'd have a lot fewer fiery dragons running through your camp. Alina's on the Askaian island, just listen to how worried Asteria is trying to find her! I bet it would feel a lot better to help protect your princess and all the people who live here instead of praying every day that my dear sister doesn't hurt you on a passing whim. And she seems to have lost her whip right now, hasn't she? What do you think?"

    [I'm not sure if I have the advantage for a wisdom finish, but it's either that or talk sense with Wisdom so the roll is the same regardless. 6+5+1=12 Per discussion with Raz, they are not willing to listen, so this is a keep them busy roll in which the ensuing conversation acts as a distraction. Adila should be able to act with advantage when she gets into camp.]
    Last edited by Anarion; 2019-06-11 at 08:35 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)

  21. - Top - End - #81
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    You can hurt a person and take from them, and every time you do you push them into the dirt just that little bit more. You can make a Princess not feel like a princess, or a person not feel like a person. You can tell that at its heart this is Oberon's magic and his will, because The Slaugh must take pleasure in hurting everything beautiful and pure as it does. It must, or it could never do so with such intricacy. But sometimes when you hurt a person too deeply, they don't fall down. And when this happens, you've made a mistake. The Slaugh might not know it yet, maybe it can't even think like this at all, but it's sealed its fate here and now.

    "No." It's such a tiny whisper, even Rita might not have caught it.

    But she won't miss Alina pulling her light scarf free and tossing it over into the water. She won't miss the picture lifting out of the water or the way the light carefully, so very carefully, wraps around it and dries it off. And she definitely doesn't miss the tears in Alina's eyes or her arm as it wraps around her childhood friend's shoulder and holds her close.

    It's not so much a bridge as a column made of rainbow light that rises under their feat and lifts the pair of princesses up to the second story and over the banister by the side of the steps. There are patches missing from it where a want of reds and yellows show through, and the very moment it's done it's job the column snaps and falls in glittering fragments straight into that horrible, twisted water. Fine. Take it. Memories carry Alina into her old room, and into fresh ruin. The window's been torn open and cold air whips through the room, bringing rain and moldering all of the blankets. She wants to cry even more, seeing it, but there is important work to do. She unfolds a large umbrella crafted from violet light over the pair of them. She gingerly sets the painting down onto a fresh blanket she's drawn from some impossible space in the pendant around her neck. Then she pulls an ink brush and paint from that same space, and she sets to work taking back what was stolen from her.

    Alina's heart is light, and it is love. There are many things you can take from her, this is not one of them. She can't remember her mommy's face on that day, but there are others. Alina paints the day again, and she does it with so much skill that nobody could look at this piece of paper and ever doubt again that Queen Halcyon was the world's most loving mother, or indeed the most loved. You can call it a pointless waste of time if you want to. She will not.

    "I know where to go," she says with a slight sniffle, "Let's end this. Let's take it all back."

    [Overcome (with despair!): 6 5, 3 = 8. Alina pays the price of her Bridge spell to defeat the Slaugh's wicked magic, and is making her way to her mother's room, come what may]

  22. - Top - End - #82
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    Summerveil

    Liza!

    Your name is Liza Rippley and this is one of the worst days of your life. Unfortunately, that’s a category with some stiff competition these days! What with “the day that Oberon Greymane took over the Kingdom” and “the day you signed up with the Iluminan Volunteer Corps because your little sister Kay got press-ganged and you weren’t going to let her face that alone” and “the day that you tried to confess to Beau Lakley but it turned out he was already going out with Barb Finley and you had to navigate your way out of that conversation before you started crying and you failed at that so he had to awkwardly pat you on the shoulder while you furiously willed yourself to stop crying but that just made things worse” up there as very, very bad days, too.

    But “a dragon sets your horrible awful commander’s tent on fire, then drops out of the sky, nearly runs over you, flings herself out of the camp and now you have to go follow her and somehow capture her despite being armed with a glass spear, a little bit of water magic, and some moxie” is also a very, very bad day.

    So there you are, with Kay on your left side and Moggy Lily on your right, lightly stepping through the creepy mist which likes to manifest really mean and cutting images just when you’re not expecting them, when you duck under a branch into a clearing and there’s this great big woman with imposing black armor and golden eyes there and you recognize her immediately, because how couldn’t you?

    How couldn’t you, when you regularly wrote fan fiction about Taing the River Daughter becoming a tall, pretty woman and kissing you a lot when you were a teenager? Except Taing looks much less kissable and more like she’s going to drag you into the river and eat you up, in person.

    There’s a moment where you think you might be able to back up and get away clean and never tell anybody about this, but then Kay steps on a twig and Taing the River Daughter looks up at you and you and Moggy Lily grab each other and you can feel the scream bubbling its way out of you because she’s going to eat you!

    ***

    Kazelia!

    “Ma’am,” Tam Patterley says with quiet sorrow, “the situation on the ground is a sight more complicated than that. We’ve people back home we’re worried about-“

    Asteria whirls about, and for a moment one might be afraid she’s just heard your sedition, but she’s grabbing you by the cheeks furiously for a different reason: someone’s not doing as she’s told.

    “Kazelia,” she says, all poisoned sweetness, “I know you’ve been wasting your time frolicking among undisciplined Hyperboreans, but in my camp, when I ask a question, it is answered. Where is Alina Cascade?”

    Her lip curls in disdain. (One of her camp staff has been cleaning the mud off her face as you’ve walked.) “If you don’t want to talk, we can always move forward with your etiquette training. Immediately.”

    ***

    The Slaugh

    Alina!

    You and Rita wait with feverish patience by the door until you hear the firm, steady tread of Kaja Ironpelt’s boots recede down the corridor and around the corner. That’s your window to scamper across the hall (because of course your mother’s room is across the hall from yours, just in case). The door does not want to give, has warped tight and close into the frame, but you and Rita both turn the handle and put your backs into it, and even as you hear Kaja coming back, humming a Rider lullaby to herself to keep from being scared, the door groans violently and suddenly gives way.

    There is no way Kaja will not be on your heels in a moment!

    But here, hanging gravid in the space where your mother should be, is the Wound. The Wound’s edges ripple, the peeling edges of the world, a torn rent in what Is. From it seeps the black water, which laps against your shins as you wade forward, as Rita valiantly tries to wedge the door shut behind you. Within the Wound is endless night and falling stars, like a Rider’s eyes, coalesced around-

    A dark crystal hangs there, and from it pours forth ceaselessly the black water, which stains the night.

    If Kazelia were here, she could probably tell you more, but here is a feeble attempt at an explanation, regardless: that this crystal is the terrible thing that Azora brought here. (The windows burst open at the sound of the Roc’s heavy wingbeat; the glass sinks soundlessly into the black sea.) That Azora has set the endless night beyond Ouroboros as the last and most terrible guardian. (Rita is flung backwards as the door gives way; and Kaja is here, but the turning-point of the world is you.) That to end this-

    You must declare that you reach in to take it.

    You must bid your lights not to follow you, not to lose themselves in that night, no matter what follows.

    You must draw it forth, even if in the very next moment Kaja has you fast, if you want to have even a chance of ending this.

    It will be terrible.

    But perhaps you were always meant to be here, to do this thing. Who else could?
    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.

  23. - Top - End - #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Summerveil

    Liza!

    Your name is Liza Rippley and this is one of the worst days of your life. Unfortunately, that’s a category with some stiff competition these days! What with “the day that Oberon Greymane took over the Kingdom” and “the day you signed up with the Iluminan Volunteer Corps because your little sister Kay got press-ganged and you weren’t going to let her face that alone” and “the day that you tried to confess to Beau Lakley but it turned out he was already going out with Barb Finley and you had to navigate your way out of that conversation before you started crying and you failed at that so he had to awkwardly pat you on the shoulder while you furiously willed yourself to stop crying but that just made things worse” up there as very, very bad days, too.

    But “a dragon sets your horrible awful commander’s tent on fire, then drops out of the sky, nearly runs over you, flings herself out of the camp and now you have to go follow her and somehow capture her despite being armed with a glass spear, a little bit of water magic, and some moxie” is also a very, very bad day.

    So there you are, with Kay on your left side and Moggy Lily on your right, lightly stepping through the creepy mist which likes to manifest really mean and cutting images just when you’re not expecting them, when you duck under a branch into a clearing and there’s this great big woman with imposing black armor and golden eyes there and you recognize her immediately, because how couldn’t you?

    How couldn’t you, when you regularly wrote fan fiction about Taing the River Daughter becoming a tall, pretty woman and kissing you a lot when you were a teenager? Except Taing looks much less kissable and more like she’s going to drag you into the river and eat you up, in person.

    There’s a moment where you think you might be able to back up and get away clean and never tell anybody about this, but then Kay steps on a twig and Taing the River Daughter looks up at you and you and Moggy Lily grab each other and you can feel the scream bubbling its way out of you because she’s going to eat you!
    "How do you DO, fellow soldiERs," said Taing the River Daughter, revealing her teeth and waving the limb that her talons were attached to. "I Am Julia Wetsparkly. Your fRiend and countRylady! It is good that we have met up foR I was -" she coughed loudly and there were sparks and flickers of fire. She somehow kept talking despite this: +Argh, gosh darn it! Stupid mouth!+

    She finished, then resumed her mechanical upwards-facing mouth expression. "I was lost when the dRagon attacked! But now you aRe here I am say'ved! Let us retuRn to the camp so that we can be safe togetheR!"

    She reached down to pick up the crystal spear by her side. It snapped like a twig when she so much as touched it. She looked it at for a moment and then bent the metal of the shaft like it was string and tied it into a knot. She held it up delicately between two fingers like it was proof of just what a normal soldier she was.

    [Talking Sense with Grace: 4.]
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-12 at 02:00 AM.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  24. - Top - End - #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post

    Kazelia!

    “Ma’am,” Tam Patterley says with quiet sorrow, “the situation on the ground is a sight more complicated than that. We’ve people back home we’re worried about-“

    Asteria whirls about, and for a moment one might be afraid she’s just heard your sedition, but she’s grabbing you by the cheeks furiously for a different reason: someone’s not doing as she’s told.

    “Kazelia,” she says, all poisoned sweetness, “I know you’ve been wasting your time frolicking among undisciplined Hyperboreans, but in my camp, when I ask a question, it is answered. Where is Alina Cascade?”

    Her lip curls in disdain. (One of her camp staff has been cleaning the mud off her face as you’ve walked.) “If you don’t want to talk, we can always move forward with your etiquette training. Immediately.”
    Kazelia does look sad when she hears Tam start to talk, and continues looking at Tam and not at Asteria. "That is sad, and it's just like my sister, who for some reason couldn't hear me earlier when I said that Princess Alina Cascade is right here in Askaia."

    Kazelia gives Tam as much of an apologetic shrug as she can and keeps talking. There's a game to this of course. Asteria loves being the center of attention, but she's also getting her questions answered (she's also being terribly imprecise and given her level of careful military organization and micromanagement, she really has no one but herself to blame for asking a vague question). Asteria had always been like this though. Kazelia had memories of themselves as children. Images out of time and place somehow, little icicles forming on the window of a house and the sound of a slow rain clinging to them and drip, drip, dripping down somewhere, but a pink interior, warm, with a small child-sized table and dresses with lace on the neck and sleeves. Old images, where the figures weren't clear, but she knew she was with Asteria, playing the same game. No Tam of course, no knights, but a small army of stuffed animals. Kazelia was talking to Mrs. Penguin and Billy Buffalo, her little ward instead of to Asteria, but saying just enough to them to let Asteria know that her question about the quality of the muffins had definitely been heard. Even if the muffins were much worse than last week's and didn't Mrs. Penguin quite agree with that? Asteria, of course, became more and more desperate for attention because she wasn't getting it, and went to greater and greater heights of theatrics as a result. An old game, familiar, and happening now with a somewhat more interactive audience. Indeed, the audience here was entirely necessary because Tam was the one holding Kazelia in place for Asteria. No Tam, no restraints, nothing stopping her from grabbing her nearby lance lying against the side of the tent and finishing the job started earlier.

    So, Kazelia keeps talking. "It's hard, having someone you want to protect. That's why I came in here, the dragon is a good friend of mine and I couldn't leave her alone to fight everyone, so I came to protect her. But you all, you've got a family to protect, and a land, and a princess, and a culture. So many things. It must be so hard, deciding what's the right thing to do. I'm sorry to put you in this spot. I promised I'd help save you all, I promised I'd make up for what I'd done and what my sisters are doing." Kazelia leans back into Tam's arms and listens as she waits for Asteria to cut in, as of course she will. Even here, even amidst the mist and corruption, she can still hear the singers and she begins to hum the tune she's hearing. Perhaps Asteria hears it too? Of course, it's doubtful she'll be pleased, but that's just how Asteria works.
    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)

  25. - Top - End - #85
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    It's important that you understand how much this scares her. It's important that you understand the trembling of her heart and her hands. It's important that you understand how hard she's crying. She can hardly see through her tears, in fact. It's the kind of hard sob that comes with a runny nose, that kind that unfailingly ruins your complexion no matter who you are or how perfect your face is. She hasn't cried this hard since that night here in this house when she came bursting into this very room to seek her mommy's arms to shield her from the Roc. Not even when she begged Oberon for her life. Not even the day her kingdom fell.

    And it's important that you understand all this, because in the old stories the Princesses are all pure, crystal-hearted heroines who never flinched or hesitated. When she was smaller and braver, Alina Cascade used to dream she'd be in a moment not unlike this, and the ways she'd be just like them. But she's standing here, staring down the endless night (through which the Roc has come at last. It's come for her, alone) standing shin deep in nightmare water and she can barely move for the trembling in her legs. She can't convince herself that she's grown up and strong. No light could ever survive in there, what is she to do? She holds her painting tight against her chest.

    And she turns, and as she turns her lights become five shields. They spin around her, then fly across the room to guard Rita in her stead. Her crown sits dark upon her head. She fights her way through the water into the night and the storm and the judgment of that great sovereign of the skies. She isn't moving as fast as Kaja. It doesn't matter: she reaches into the Endless Night and clutches the Wound tightly, come whatever may.

    "And then? And then?" asks a little princess in the unseen future who just will not go to bed, "What happened next?"

  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Summerveil

    Adila!

    Shockingly, this flawless disguise seems to terrify the Iluminan soldiers who have stumbled upon you; both of them are clinging to each other and screeching like harpies, begging you not to drag them into the lake and eat them. When clearly you are a normal, everyday sort of solider who would never drown somebody like that! Perish the thought.

    Both of- wait. Both of them? Weren’t there three a minute ago?

    You have just about enough time for that thought to run through your head before the smallest one tackles you from behind, wrapping her legs around your rock-hard human torso and digging her nails into any soft spot she can reach like a tiny berserker whose hour has finally come. Like, she’s obviously been wanting to do this for years, you don’t go from zero to sixty like this normally.

    Why do humans have to be so soft, squishy, and vulnerable to- ow- biting??

    [Damaging the Graceful stat to deposit an Iluminan exactly where you don’t need her.]

    ***

    Kazelia

    A Rider striding dutifully and portentously through the camp has to suddenly duck to avoid the ottoman that is hurled furiously out of the commander’s new tent.

    Asteria Spite is in a rage.

    “Why are you always like this, Kazelia? So contrary! So selfish!” The irony of one of your sisters calling you selfish is utterly lost on her. “You were already first among Father’s lancers! One of our best witches! A hammer to crush the enemy upon my anvils! And even if I couldn’t tame that impudent tongue, at least I knew you would aim your lance in the right direction!”

    Whoops, there goes a riding crop, spinning head over butt into the mists. “And instead of taking your rightful place among us as rulers of this world, taking what is ours by right, you betray us! Us, Kaze! Your family! All of us! Was it my fault? Was I too lenient with you? Did I not give you enough attention? Is this because of the tea party because we promised never to bring it up again!

    She grabs you by your front and shakes you like a doll, furious and petulant. “Why, on this world of all worlds, would you fight against your family? We’re the only people who will ever understand you, Kaze! The things we did! The worlds we ravaged! All of it!” She sounds desperate now, as if trying to convince the both of you. “Why? Why now?”

    ***

    The Slaugh

    Alina!

    When you sink your arm down to the elbow within the Wound-

    I must explain in simile.

    It is as if you are standing in a dark room, and there is a table there, and two chairs; and on the other side of the table there stands yourself, with the starry eyes of a Rider, wearing a sensible dress; and when you see yourself you smile and say, well, you may as well sit down; and when you are both seated you say to yourself that you are very pretty for someone who does not exist.

    And when you protest, quizzically, that you do exist, you laugh at yourself and your teeth are the fangs of a predator; you do not exist, you cry again, and you seize yourself with hands that are knives; there is nothing inside you that is you!

    This your hair, it is not you, it is your mother's curls and color! This your light, it is not you, it has passed from princess to princess! This your eyes, it is not you, it is your grandmother's sad green! This your grace, it is not you, it is the sum total of every motion that your muscles have learned to make! This your heart, it is not you, it is the expectation of everyone in Ilumina who you failed! This your memories, it is not you, for how can you forget yourself? This your wound, it is not you, it is the emptiness of Oberon Greymane!

    So it goes; and you sift through yourself, painlessly, dreamily, plucking the parts of yourself from yourself, letting them evaporate into the dark with each polite and thoughtful explanation of how it is not you, could never be you, how there is no you inside all of them; and finally there is one small shining little thing left on the table, and those fingers which are knives pick it up and you laugh and say, see, this...

    You stop. You give a little huff of breath through your teeth which are the fangs of a predator. You turn it from side to side, trying to get a better view of it, so that the explanation may come to you. You set it down, and stare at it for a time. Your fingers which are knives drum on the table.

    You concede that you exist, you say to the dark. And so it is that you coalesce once more on the other side of the table from yourself, hair and light and eyes and grace and heart and all again, like a pearl around adamant, so do you accrete about You, the inviolable and indivisible and inexplicable You.

    You say to yourself, I concede, and you open with your fingers which are knives a box, and inside that box is a dark jewel of infinite night, and it is wet to the touch when you take it, and it is always wet to the touch, and if you do not undo it, it will drip drip drip away at you like water against stone, and you are from Ilumina, and you know how that battle always ends, and it is not in favor of the stone.

    You say to yourself, well, now I know that there is a very pretty person named Alina Cascade, and that they provably exist. How wonderful and unfathomable everything is, the whole lot of it!

    And it is as if you say to yourself, as you are on the cusp of not being in this place any more, as you have one foot in a place that is and one foot in a place that is not, do let Oberon know that I am looking forward to his next visit!


    This is the end of the simile. You have the stone in your hand, the stone that is wet in your palm, the stone that is the heart of the Wound. You have made it come loose. You have dealt it damage of a sort, yet two more times must you do so, and the once with pure water, or the tears of a maiden. The Wound itself is closing, unraveling, fading away, and no more does the black water drip from it; it drips freely from your hand, instead.

    Take one Damage yourself, from what was as if you were taken apart and then put right back together again, and then tell us what was at the bottom of your self that was inviolable, indivisible, inexplicable; tell us what inside you was undeniably You.

    Also, Kaja is hammering the shields that surround Rita, and Rita is putting up a good fight, and if you turned around you would doubtless find the whole thing to be thrilling and shocking and desperate, but I think it would be better to take a moment for yourself, inventory, pat yourself down and remind yourself that you exist; that you are vital; that you have what you came here for.
    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 - #87
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PhoeKun's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Alina Who Was A Rider smiled through jagged teeth at Alina Who Was Nothing. And she held up this single piece of herself which was all that was left, and she opened her mouth to deny it too and finally be by herself after so, so long. But no matter how she twisted it in her knife hands and no matter how she squinted or turned her head, the argument would not come. She supposes she should have seen this coming, because this shimmering, tiny thing smells like fresh rain and ink paints, and there's only one name she could give it: Love. Not her heart or her desires or her memories, these are things she stole from the world, they could not belong to anybody who could call herself Alina. But this thing was something Alina had given to the world. If there was no Alina, then how could Queen Halcyon smile like that? How could Rita von Catabas have laughed with so much joy? How did a dragon and a traitor Rider, of all things, become so trusted? She had no power to deny these things were true, and so she could not deny Alina Cascade. So she reached out into the darkness and she plucked the pieces she'd stolen, the hair and the heart and the eyes and the grace and everything else, and she put the girl back together who must exist, because of all these people she'd touched said she must.

    Drip. Drip. Drip. Alina's hand feels fragile and painful already. But it feels! And that means it's real. She gasps, and air fills her lungs. She's soaked. She's cold. She's caked in mud. But she's here, in her mother's bedroom in Summerveil and not anywhere else, with her hand clenched tight around a jewel as dark as nothing. Her eyes aren't working right. When they look around, what they see is still indistinct and shadowy. There's a want of darkness and emptiness. She pats her chest with her free hand and feels the glass armor protecting her heart. She runs her fingers through her half soaked hair. She listens to herself gasping for air. All of it is so wonderfully, incredibly real. She's so wonderfully, incredibly solid! She did it. She did it! She wants to laugh, though the sickness of the room makes it sound choked.

    Dimly, she can hear the sounds of fighting. Ugh, moving makes her feel sick. She needs to get out of here. She'd feel better if she could just get out of here. But Rita's fighting Kaja with her lights and... why does her brain feel so slow? She's real, right? Yes, she is. She has to be. She touches her face again, just to make sure.

    [Alina's Sense has been damaged by her unmaking; she's still partway caught in unreality, and this place isn't doing her any favors]
    Last edited by PhoeKun; 2019-06-12 at 02:44 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #88
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    She grabs you by your front and shakes you like a doll, furious and petulant. “Why, on this world of all worlds, would you fight against your family? We’re the only people who will ever understand you, Kaze! The things we did! The worlds we ravaged! All of it!” She sounds desperate now, as if trying to convince the both of you. “Why? Why now?”
    Kazelia lets Asteria shake her calmly and finally looks at her sister. Within her, her eyes blaze. "Because here, I saw fire."
    Last edited by Anarion; 2019-06-12 at 03:25 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)

  29. - Top - End - #89
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Thanqol's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Summerveil

    Adila!

    Shockingly, this flawless disguise seems to terrify the Iluminan soldiers who have stumbled upon you; both of them are clinging to each other and screeching like harpies, begging you not to drag them into the lake and eat them. When clearly you are a normal, everyday sort of solider who would never drown somebody like that! Perish the thought.

    Both of- wait. Both of them? Weren’t there three a minute ago?

    You have just about enough time for that thought to run through your head before the smallest one tackles you from behind, wrapping her legs around your rock-hard human torso and digging her nails into any soft spot she can reach like a tiny berserker whose hour has finally come. Like, she’s obviously been wanting to do this for years, you don’t go from zero to sixty like this normally.

    Why do humans have to be so soft, squishy, and vulnerable to- ow- biting??

    [Damaging the Graceful stat to deposit an Iluminan exactly where you don’t need her.]
    Princess Adila hated lying. Hated it! Lying with her mouth was the worst thing of all. She had to think backwards thoughts while making sounds (and not fire) with her mouth and smiling at the same time. And she couldn't even emote because her wings and tail and neck were gone and they were responsible for 90% of body language! Everything was so much easier when she was a dragon because at least she knew how scary she was being.

    She hated it when people screamed. People weren't supposed to scream when the Watch came. For a moment she just soaked in melancholy.

    And then someone was on her back - ow, what the? What? Why hadn't she stabbed her? Had she dropped her spear to do this? Ow! Okay, the fact that she was hurting Adila made this whole thing even more tricky - it brought into clear focus just how gentle she would need to be to not hurt her in exchange. Princess Adila gingerly reached out to take one of the boots wrapped around her chest and with agonizing slowness peeled the Illuminan off her back - taking punches and bites all the way, but being careful not to accidentally break any bones. Finally when she had a solid grip she picked up the Illuminian by the scruff of the neck facing away from her, held at arms length with the sort of gingerness she normally reserved for criminals who were also cats.

    +Stop it! What's wrong with you!+ she thought. +Please stop screaming everyone. Please? I promise I won't hurt you. Please stop. Please.+

    [Overcoming at a 9. This is a temporary solution]
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-12 at 05:32 PM.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  30. - Top - End - #90
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Raz_Fox's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Summerveil

    Liza!

    Oh by Ourania’s light Taing has Kay and is threatening to hurt her (because that’s what “I promise I won’t hurt you” always means when someone really scary says it while they hold someone you love hostage). Think quick. You need to think quick.

    You clap one hand over Moggy Lily’s mouth to stop her from screaming and try to gather your wits yourself. Wow, your mouth is so wet right now. And you’re sweating so much. “Taing. Ma’am. River highness? Please don’t hurt my sister. Please. You can eat me instead if you want.”

    “It’s fine, Liza!” Kay says in a huff, hooking one leg around Taing’s arm behind her and trying vainly to break free using a Goblin Tunnel Snake Hold. “I’ve got her exactly where I want her!”

    “Stop it, Kay,” you yell, your voice cracking a little bit. “I promised Mom I’d bring you home!” You look Taing right in her weird golden eyes and try to ignore your knees trying to buckle. “If you’re going to eat anyone, eat- OW,” you yell, as Moggy Lily punches you right in the side, mad that you’re trying to do the heroic sacrifice here. “Ourania’s bedhead, Moggy, quit it! Stop! Ow!”

    ***

    Adila!

    Kay takes this opportunity to start vainly gnawing on your gauntlet. Man, she just does not give up. Imagine throwing her at Asteria’s face, right? That’s a mental image for the ages.

    ***

    Kazelia!

    When you invoke the High Queen- not even by name, but in your heart- for a moment there is a breath of summer air, faint enough that one might almost believe it an idle daydream. If you had time with it, I think you would smell on that breeze fresh cherries, and sea-spray, and fresh-cut grass.

    It is as if you are told: I see you, and I believe in you.

    Asteria, on the other hand, is impervious in her disbelieving outrage. “Fire?? Of course! How could I be so blind??” She clutches at her collarbone dramatically, eyes wide, voice hitting octaves Rider was not meant to reach. “Quick, someone go tell Kaja that chocolate-and-soft-sweet-in-a-biscuit night is canceled, it’s a threat to our national security!!!

    Several more things are thrown dramatically around the tent as Asteria dissolves into incoherent ranting. Tam Patterley thoughtfully makes sure to pick you up and lift you out of the way of the armor rack Asteria flings at your face.

    Then the storm subsides. Asteria covers her face in her hands and mutters to herself, dangerously still. You know you’re about to get it.

    “For what it’s worth,” Tam whispers in your ear, in that stolen moment, “I understand. That’d do it.”

    Then Asteria peeks out from behind her hands, and that wicked, evil, you’re-in-so-much-trouble smile spreads across her face. “Oh, Kazzy,” she purrs. “How could I stay mad at my ickle baby sister? Your head’s all confused, isn’t it? Don’t worry. I’ll take you back to Daddy so he can put you to bed. But first, let’s get you out of that nasty-wasty armor and into something a little more suitable for my cutesy widdle baby sister, hmmmm~?”

    That’s right.

    It’s time for the makeover montage.

    May Ourania have mercy on your soul.

    ***

    The Slaugh

    Alina!

    Rita comes flying over your head and hits her own head hard on the foot of the bed on her way down. It’s enough to worry anyone for a moment, especially the way she lands face-down in the water. Will you need to dredge her up, provide first aid and CPR?

    But she manages to push herself up on her elbows. She can’t get all the way up, which is Concerning, but at least she’s conscious. “I’m okay,” she pants, unconvincingly. “Tote okay. Finepants!”

    A shadow looms over you. You don’t even have to look up.

    “I don’t want to have to hurt you,” Kaja says, her voice betraying that she’s already the hurt one. But, like, emotionally. “Just give me the thingy and surrender, Alina Cascade.” Awww, she remembered your name!
    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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