The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    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.

    ***
    Okay. Deep breath. They're all falling over each other to sacrifice themselves for each other - this is normal, typical Illuminan behaviour and it means you've got time. You just need to channel that into the proper self sacrifice. You've got exactly one more chance at this. Don't mess it up!

    +Okay! Okay, look. I don't want to eat any of you, okay?+ thought Princess Adila. +That is... that is my least favourite thing to do.+

    She looked at three disbelieving faces. She gave up.

    +I only want to eat Riders,+ she thought despondently. +They are delicious. Listen. If you can sneak me into the camp so I can kidnap Princess Spite I promise I'll let all the Illuminians all go free.+

    [Talking Sense with Sense this time around: 12.]
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    "I don't want to hurt you either, Kaja."

    Alina summons her lights back to her and does her best to help Rita back onto her feet. She keeps her arm around the cat-princess' waist. It helps reassure her that things are real, which is nice. She takes tiny steps backwards, looking for a way out. Something, anything! But it's so hard, so hard to even see where she's going.

    "But I can't give this up. I can't. I have to destroy it, don't you see? This place should be..."

    Drip. Drip. Drip. Her fist is cold and numb around the jewel. For one chilling moment, it feels like she doesn't have a hand at all. She squeezes it tightly. There's no time. She makes a tile out of green light and floats her precious painting to Kaja. That's all she can say.

    "I'm sorry. If you catch me, I promise I'll surrender."

    And, clutching Rita, she steps backwards and falls out of a rotting window.

    [Get Away, Slaugh Edition: 1, 5, 3 = 4+2 = 6. These things happen...]

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    It’s time for the makeover montage.

    May Ourania have mercy on your soul.
    Kazelia sighs. The feel of the wind from Ourania and the song in her head made her feel calm, even as Asteria became progressively more shrill. She was getting very worked up though, Kazelia wasn’t sure she’d ever seen Asteria this hysterical before, which was both a compliment and utterly terrifying. She gives Tam just the briefest of nods and settles in to wait. The advantage of all of this was that Asteria was spending all this time with Kazelia, as was the best Illuminan knight here, and Eska and Kaja were elsewhere, so she had every confidence that Adila would come along to help soon.

    That said, Asteria settling on a theme was bad news. Kazelia remembered Illuminans dressed as cats and dogs running around the castle just a year prior, and before that she’d had everyone so done up in ruffles and lace they could barely walk. Which was why when she saw Asteria pull out a very thick pink dress along with a pair of matching mittens and booties from her new wooden dresser and put them on the equally new divan she’d added to the tent (where were these things coming from?) Kazelia was very concerned.

    Several minutes later, Kazelia was, with Tam’s guidance, being walked around the tent to pose, wearing her near bright pink dress with puff shoulders, lace all around the sleeves and neck, and short poofy skirts that ended at the knees. In matching pink were a pair of woolen mittens that Asteria had tied onto her hands so she couldn’t hold anything (including the lance she was being marched past as it leaned against a tent flap) and a pair of rounded woolen booties that, with the whole getup, made it very difficult to walk straight. Kazelia blushed a shade of indigo that Riders turned when they were embarrassed and did her best to suffer the indignity in silence.

    Asteria chuckled at that. “Aaah, is ickle Kazelia embawwased? She shouldn’t be, she’s too tiny!” She squealed with delight and Kazelia did her best not to look at her sister directly. This was incredibly demeaning and she would not justify it with any further acknowledgment, even if she was allowing her sister to have her way. Asteria just sighed at that “I guess someone is feeling cranky, but don’t worry, Daddy will make you all better once we get you to him!” Asteria still seems unsatisfied though. “Something’s missing,” she says to herself then slaps her forehead with a muttered “of course.” She dives back into the drawer, pulling out all sorts of fabric and lace before finding just the right thing. A giant matching pink hairbow to go with the outfit. With glee, she does Kazelia’s bright white hair up in a big ponytail, tying the bow through it so it displays prominently on her head, ever so slightly off-center to the right.

    “There, perfect!” Asteria declares. “Now, no pouting or your face will stick that way. Let’s have a big smile now that you’re all ready to be shipped to Daddy and go show all the soldiers. How does that sound?”
    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 - #94
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Summerveil

    Liza!

    The light dawns. You blush furiously as you realize the truth. “Oh,” you say, through the utterly cringeworthy embarrassment, “you’re the dragon, aren’t you? The one we’re supposed to capture?”

    “Are you kidding me,” Moggy Lily says, after taking a deep breath. “We can’t just go back and say, hey, sorry, we didn’t capture the dragon like ordered! That’s at least fifty demerits, and if I miss dinner again I am going to eat grass, Liza!”

    Of course not. You can’t go back without a captured dragon. Naturally. Everything locks into place, one step at a time.

    “But we did, Moggy,” you say, taking your treasured seashell necklace off from where you hid it under your uniform. “Turns out she was a shapeshifting princess who used her magic necklace to turn into a dragon. You and Kay and, uh, Julia Wetsparkley here managed to catch me while I was trying to disguise myself as an Iluminan, and you managed to grab my magic necklace before I could put it on.”

    You start wriggling out of your uniform. The fit is going to be atrocious, but as long as the princess doesn’t make any sudden moves it probably won’t tear? “Kay, figure out how to bleach her hair; you have five minutes and whatever herbs you can find here. Your highness, just don’t say anything with your thought words or your mouth, let Moggy do the talking.”

    “I can’t do the talking, Liza,” Moggy says as she helps you out of your soon-to-suffer boots.

    “You have to. Because it’s either you or Kay, and Kay really shouldn’t.” You know what you have to do. It’s the right moment. You touch Moggy Lily’s cheek and then lean in for the kiss. It’s perfect. Worthy of the fanfictions.

    Your lips come apart, reluctantly, and you say, quietly, “I believe in you.” And like that, a look comes into Moggy’s eye, and you know she’d climb the Ridgeback Mountains for you if you asked.

    This has to work. Don’t think about the punishment that’s going to come down on your heads if this fails. It’ll work.

    Behind you, Kay uses her mandated Spite Survival Knife to give Julia Wetsparkley a very quick and hacky haircut, because the only way she’s getting in is with a blonde crew cut.

    ***

    Kazelia

    Two words: crystal. spotlights. For dramatic purposes only, because of course they are.

    Now would be a fantastic time for a certain dragon to show up, wouldn’t it?

    Speaking of Adila- what are your thoughts on her, right now? If you’d let her just dive in and gone with Alina, you wouldn’t be in this utterly humiliating situation, now, would you? And it’s not like she’s come charging back to save you- tell us all what’s on your mind re: Adila.

    ***

    The Slaugh

    Alina!

    You plunge dramatically through the window! As you do so, the roof collapses in, burying the room behind you in rubble. It won’t stop Kaja Ironpelt, but at least it stops her from making the same mistake that you two just did.

    Because you fall through an endless stormy sky, the storm that made you hide under your blankets as a little girl raging all around you, and the storm clouds are the wings of the Roc. It can see you! Its eyes are burning cinders in the sky, and it beats its vast and terrible wings once, and once only.

    The might of that wingbeat hits you like a physical blow. Rita’s hand is torn from yours. She goes flying away from you, screaming your name, unable to check her fall.

    And you fall, and there is nowhere to catch yourself, and you know that this is a dream, but will you wake up when you hit the bottom?

    ***

    This is the lake shore. The mist moves strange over the face of the waters. There is only the sound of the cicadas; no frog or heron has dared to remain here, where the world is twisting cruel.

    A princess hurtles down out of the sky and splats into the mud, making a small and mucky crater. There is a moment of silence and stillness as she lies there, face-down, and then a grappling hook made of light lands on her back in a neat little coil.

    You’ve done it, Alina. You escaped with the heart of the Slaugh. But Rita? I think she’s still out there, falling; and she will not land, not as things stand now.

    [Rita von Catabas has become unavailable for use as a Companion.]

    ***

    A sharp whistle assembles the various Riders that Asteria has placed under Eska’s command, on the porch of the house. Beside her stands Kaja Ironpelt, covered in what suspiciously appears to be black-rotted timber and rubble.

    “Our targets are two princesses, carrying war material from the vaults of our King. One may be a cat right now. Team Alpha, you’re cutting off the bridge. Team Beta, I want the estate scoured in case they’re trying to wait us out. Team Gamma, dredge the river. They must not be allowed to rejoin their team. Kaja-“

    “I’m on it,” she says, her voice dangerous, and even Eska takes a step back. She takes three long loping steps and then- whoosh. The ground buckles where she was.

    You don’t need to be able to fly if you are very, very good at jumping.
    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.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Kazelia

    Two words: crystal. spotlights. For dramatic purposes only, because of course they are.

    Now would be a fantastic time for a certain dragon to show up, wouldn’t it?

    Speaking of Adila- what are your thoughts on her, right now? If you’d let her just dive in and gone with Alina, you wouldn’t be in this utterly humiliating situation, now, would you? And it’s not like she’s come charging back to save you- tell us all what’s on your mind re: Adila.
    Kazelia right now is mostly trying not to be too mortified at all of this. She tries to lean into the act, curtsy with the dress, though it's incredibly difficult with her inability to be steady on her feet or really grasp anything through the thick mittens. But she's putting on a show and her hope is that Adila is doing something valuable with this time. Saving her would be great, she would be very happy if Adila finished whatever her plans are and showed up to save Kazelia. But if she's helping Alina or something, that's fine too. She trusts her to come up with a plan, which is why she's not just whispering messages on the wind constantly shouting for a rescue. Her job is staying here, and in doing so, holding up Asteria, Tam, and a bunch of the patrols who are all enjoying their fashion show for as long as possible.
    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)

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Summerveil

    Liza!

    The light dawns. You blush furiously as you realize the truth. “Oh,” you say, through the utterly cringeworthy embarrassment, “you’re the dragon, aren’t you? The one we’re supposed to capture?”

    “Are you kidding me,” Moggy Lily says, after taking a deep breath. “We can’t just go back and say, hey, sorry, we didn’t capture the dragon like ordered! That’s at least fifty demerits, and if I miss dinner again I am going to eat grass, Liza!”

    Of course not. You can’t go back without a captured dragon. Naturally. Everything locks into place, one step at a time.

    “But we did, Moggy,” you say, taking your treasured seashell necklace off from where you hid it under your uniform. “Turns out she was a shapeshifting princess who used her magic necklace to turn into a dragon. You and Kay and, uh, Julia Wetsparkley here managed to catch me while I was trying to disguise myself as an Iluminan, and you managed to grab my magic necklace before I could put it on.”

    You start wriggling out of your uniform. The fit is going to be atrocious, but as long as the princess doesn’t make any sudden moves it probably won’t tear? “Kay, figure out how to bleach her hair; you have five minutes and whatever herbs you can find here. Your highness, just don’t say anything with your thought words or your mouth, let Moggy do the talking.”

    “I can’t do the talking, Liza,” Moggy says as she helps you out of your soon-to-suffer boots.

    “You have to. Because it’s either you or Kay, and Kay really shouldn’t.” You know what you have to do. It’s the right moment. You touch Moggy Lily’s cheek and then lean in for the kiss. It’s perfect. Worthy of the fanfictions.

    Your lips come apart, reluctantly, and you say, quietly, “I believe in you.” And like that, a look comes into Moggy’s eye, and you know she’d climb the Ridgeback Mountains for you if you asked.

    This has to work. Don’t think about the punishment that’s going to come down on your heads if this fails. It’ll work.

    Behind you, Kay uses her mandated Spite Survival Knife to give Julia Wetsparkley a very quick and hacky haircut, because the only way she’s getting in is with a blonde crew cut.
    Princess Adila has a certain stereotype of Illumians in her head and these conscripts have somehow hit every possible note of that simultaneously. They can go from kissing to crying to kung-fu aerobatics to transcendent heroism and then to absurd levels of fashion knowledge while you stand there waiting to take their statements. She knows of no nation in the world that trains the average soldier to bleach hair from wild herbs and berries, and their idea of 'quick and hacky haircut' still somehow involves an intricate curved lining pattern and subtle red and orange highlights. These are Princess Alina's people to the bones.

    Even the uniform she has to cram herself into is Illumian to the stitches. The boots are light and steady, for balancing on the soft sand at the bottom of rivers, not the hobnailed clunkers that are designed for mile-eating walks along cobblestone streets. The fabric feels like she'll tear the entire uniform with one solid flex. The cloak feels genuinely psychotic, someone trying to combine the ideals of 'warm winter clothing' and 'beautiful and graceful' and somehow achieving neither while over-engineering each stitch and seam in a desperate bid to hit both notes.

    She appreciates it, of course! And throughout she radiates that appreciation and her renewed determination to save their kingdom from Greymane. But goodness do they live up to their reputations.

    It's honestly bothersome because now she likes them to the point where she has to save them as well as Kazelia somehow.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Her body hurts. Her eyes still don't want to work right. Her thoughts are tearing her into pieces. One screams that she's fading, she's fading and this time she won't come back! Another's heaving with sobs for Rita who's all alone up there in that terrible storm she can't get back to because it's half a dream. Another's terrified she'll be seen. Another's terrified she never will be again. Drip. Drip. Drip. Every second makes it harder. Every second brings her closer to ruin. She looks at her hand and it's like it's made of glass. She swears she can see the night jewel through her clenched fingers.

    That's it. That's the only thing she can think of. There shouldn't be a dream to fall through. There shouldn't be a storm or a Roc or anything to hurt Rita anywhere near here. There should be strawberries and fresh grass and the sun shining over the misty waterfall. It's all this horrible thing's, the Slaugh's fault! If she can... if she can... how does she? Her ears pick up the sound of water. She doesn't trust her legs to carry her right now, so she scrambles, sobbing, on hands and knees toward it. Was this still pure? Does it count? She isn't sure. It doesn't matter; she's got tears enough to make up for it. She wants to dip the heart into the water, but she doesn't trust her fingers to keep hold of it. She wants to stick her whole hand in there, but she doesn't trust it not to disappear or shatter, or turn all black and try to hurt her. So she does the only thing that makes any sense, and with one final desperate heave she throws herself into the lake.

    [Finish with Wisdom: 2d6+2 = 7]

    And she sinks. Drip. Drip. Drip. Even in here she can feel this different water, so poisonous and wrong, running over her fingers and wearing her down into whatever shape it wanted, from a beautiful crystal down into some broken stunted thing. But she can also feel it crack. Despite the coldness of the water, despite her lungs screaming at her for more air, she feels a little bit warmer. Oh. This won't be so bad. She hurt it, at least. With some luck, Kazelia or Adila will find it before the others, and they'll know what to do. She'll just... go ahead and fade away now. That won't be so bad. She'd stop hurting, and she wouldn't need to worry anymore. Maybe when enough of her crumbles away she'd be light enough to float back up into the storm so she can push Rita back out here where she belongs. And then... and then... maybe she'd hear mommy's voice one more time. That house is so full of her, so... so...

    Her eyes flutter open. Her mother! Summerveil had drunk up all of her memories, and given them to the Slaugh. Everything was hers from the beginning, why didn't she see it sooner? Who helped her set the trap for Mr Stormy? Who guarded her from the storm and the awful revenge of the Roc? Who made everything better, when things were there worst and scariest? Whose face did the Slaugh try to erase forever? Alina's lights grow brighter. They spark and swirl around her until she's wrapped up in a warm, shimmering bubble of light flashing in all sorts of shades and colors that's shining like a tiny sun. It lifts her out of the water and she lights up the whole lake and even the waterfall in her swirling myriad of almost-rainbow magic. So what if it's not complete? It's still her mother's gift, and that means more here than anything.

    The sphere sets Alina gently down on the shore again and starts to flicker. When it finally melts away, her crown is locked again, and shines with the very softest of glows. She coughs up some water and, with difficulty, turns her head to look up at the sky. Her hand is warm and whole.

    [Alina damages her light to regain Advantage. Finish with Grace: 2d6+2 = 11]

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Summerveil

    Liza

    "How dare you! Don't touch me! I will set you all on fire! I hate you beautiful Iluminans almost as much as I hate Riders, who are delicious!"

    Okay. Listen. Look. Listen. Out of the four of you, you are the best actor, and that is a sad and terrible thing. One of your first memories is being one of the flower maids at your aunt's wedding, looking out at everyone, and then bursting into mortified tears. You are one of the worst people available for acting.

    But our options here include:
    - Julia Wetsparkley, who literally cannot act to save her life, as we have just discovered
    - Kay Rippley, who is still riding high on the fact that she just attacked a dragon and is almost vibrating out of her uniform out of delight, and also you cannot bear the thought of putting her in this much danger
    - And Moggy Lily, who needs to do all the talking for the previous two

    So if someone has to be the heroic dragon princess captured by the Riders, well, it's up to you, isn't it? Oh, Ourania's bedhead, it's up to you.

    "My fatal mistake was thinking that I could sway the loyal soldiers of the King!" Ugh. That sounds wrong coming out of your mouth. "When, clearly, all of us know that you are loyal only to-"

    Gulp. Oh, boy. There she is. Asteria Spite herself. Showing off the latest victim of her cruel and perverse whims. At least this one's a Rider. "Curse you all," you say, your enthusiasm flagging as Asteria Spite turns her gaze to you, and you start imagining all the terribly inventive ways she might be able to make you regret doing this for the dragon princess. "I... my revenge! I'll have it! On you!"

    "Shut up," Moggy growls, before saluting properly. "Your highness, the princess has been captured as ordered. The enemy was relying upon magical shapechanging capabilities to become a dragon, knowing our aversion to them." She is nailing it! "Here. This was the magical talisman she was using."

    ...oh wait Asteria's a witch isn't she she's going to know that's not magic. Well. This was a good plan right up until it wasn't, and your mouth has gone very, very dry all of a sudden.

    And then the wind begins to blow.

    ***

    Kazelia!

    Well, uh. That sure is Adila, but regular person-sized, trying not to explode out of one of the Iluminan military uniforms while some poor girl she roped into being her stooge goes white-faced in the presence of Asteria Spite. This entire situation has gone pear-shaped in the blink of an eye, and here you are, stuck in some void-cursed mittens.

    On the plus side, you've managed to keep her on the back foot for long enough that, if Adila strikes now, she might be able to capture your sister in one fell stroke. I mean, if the growing crowd around you doesn't complicate things. (Spoilers: they will almost certainly complicate things.)

    And then the wind begins to blow. And the mists soften, fade, and the air seems- calmer, now. Wounded, still, but less dangerous.

    Less dangerous, save for the rotting smell of something from the bottom of the sea, and the sound of scuttling limbs. The Garthim return to their mistress.

    ***

    Alina!

    It would be nice, I think, to have a sudden spiritual burst of rejuvenation. To have flowers spring into bloom all around you, for the waters of the lake to run clear and swift and wash the Riders away, for the mists to roll back and for the sun to shine on your face. For Summerveil to pull off its mask and say, I was only trying to spook you a little, Alina, come back inside and sit down on the comfortable seats.

    This does not happen. I think the house will have to be torn down, and maybe they will build a little shrine here instead, or maybe they will build a better house. I think that it will take time, and care, and dedication to make this place beautiful.

    But because of what you have done, because of what you have dared- maybe, just maybe, one day you will bring your daughter here by the side of the lake and encourage her to go run up the side of Big Hill with the cats, and know that it is not the Summerveil you remember, but that it is not worse than that Summerveil, either. That your daughter will be free to fall in love with the sun falling low and casting strange shadows through the mist.

    I mean, if Oberon doesn’t take over the world anyway. Still, it’s a nice-

    SPLASH.

    That’s the sound of a twisting, yowling cat hitting the lake at high speeds. Are you up for one more dive, Alina? I hope, for Rita’s sake, that you are.

    Spoiler: Summerveil Region Properties
    Show
    Twisting Mists. Your dreams and hopes are close by. Whenever you Speak Softly or Look Closely, you may always ask: “what is in your heart, and how do I see 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.

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Princess Adila knew that she didn't have to do anything other than be quiet and not laugh. Not even think about laughter.

    It was her greatest challenge yet.

    It was like if she had armed Detective Brill - himself not known for his appreciation for the subtle art of combat dressmaking - to draw a profile sketch of the Princess of Feloria using only a box of crayons. It was like what Old Tovy would come up with while breathing too deep of the hallucination fear mist. It was like the little model the Captain used in wargame planning to denote 'unknown Princess'. She had never seen Princess Kazelia as anything other than sleek, sharp, deadly. Now it was all crashing down around her. Liza's acting, Kazelia's outfit, that little nutter who'd tried to jump her, the Illuminans in general, her own costume - everything added up and it was all too much.

    She started leaking laughter-thoughts. She couldn't help it. She had been scared out of her wits, oh Ourania! She'd been terrified she was going to show up here and Kazelia would be being whipped or tortured or something. All that tension! All that hyperactive planning! And instead - instead -

    Oh. Oh no. This was totally blowing her cover. She could see Princess Spite look around angrily, trying to figure out who was laughing at her. Oh no. Um. Plan. She had a plan? Oh no do something do something quick

    Princess Adila picked up Princess Spite like a doll and threw her. Over the wall. Out of the camp. Down the hill. Into the ocean. Skipped her twice. She ripped her ill-fitting uniform to bits doing that, of course, torso now covered by scraps of cloth and cloth bindings around her chest.

    She hoped she learned how to lie between now and having to explain this to the Captain.

    [Finishing Her with a 12]
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-14 at 08:35 AM.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    PhoeKun's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Does she have one more dive in her? Truthfully, no. Her muscles ache. Her mind's half caught in a wonderful dream, and all she really wants to do is lie here and think about what it might be like to bring a little girl of her own here someday when everything is healed and whole so that she can run and laugh and play and take her paints and try to capture a perfect day. There's a voice in her head that's telling her she's done enough. She's got the right to just lie here on the shore and think of pleasant things for a change, doesn't she?

    But she's on her feet anyway, almost before the splash is even finished. She dives into the lake again and barely makes a ripple on her way in. And she does it because her pretty dream isn't worth a thing if she doesn't have Rita to share it with. Luckily, she's Alina Cascade and water is her special friend. She hardly swims so much as cuts through the water with a grace that would make a dolphin blush. It would be hard to see down here, but her light shines softly and rushes just ahead of her to guide her way. She scoops Rita up in her arms and kicks her way to the surface. From here she floats on her back to keep Rita above the surface while she makes her back to the shore. Hopefully she'd cough up her lake on the way.

    ...She doesn't. Alina's kiss of life is met with a nose full of water. She gags and makes a face in spite of everything. Then she makes a sound halfway between a laugh and a sob and she's holding her friend so tightly, for warmth and for love, and lies there on the shore.

    "It's ok, it's ok," she chokes out, "We did it. It's done. Everything's going to be ok..."

    [Not sure if a roll is even needed here, but a Get Away anyway: 2d6+2 = 11. Alina arrives safe and undamaged, and plus one kitty princess]

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Ah, there was everyone’s favorite dragon princess. Kazelia cheers and pumps her mittened fists. This had been nostalgic, in a way, but Asteria was causing a lot of problems and hurting a lot of people.

    Then, she turns to Tam, who had shown both loyalty and compassion through this whole escapade and speaks to her with quiet conviction. “Asteria is gone. I know you have people to protect at home, and I promise to help you protect them. Princess Alina is here, and the dragon is princess Adila, and we will all help free them and keep them safe. Help us protect this world and show my sisters that what they’re doing is wrong. Now, we haven’t been properly introduced.” She holds out a pink mitten. “I’m Kazelia Swiftlance, the traitor daughter. You are?”

    [Rolling to finish Tam with wisdom: 3+4+1=8. I think this damaged her last stat and forges a bond.
    Last edited by Anarion; 2019-06-14 at 05:09 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)

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Summerveil

    Adila!

    "What is the meaning of thiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiii-"

    The comparison is apt. Limbs flopping around limply like a doll, the fearsome Princess Asteria Spite goes hurtling off into the sky, taking out a bird along the way with an explosion of feathers, but such is the force of the mighty thews of Princess Adila of the Watch that not even clotheslining a majestic Askaian Mist Sparrow will arrest Asteria's arc. While not even the incredible eyes of a dragon will be able to see where she lands, I will tell you that she is going to land on a shark, and that she is going to browbeat it into submission. Such is the villainy of Asteria Spite that not even the humble shark is proof against her.

    But, also, it will take at least another five minutes for her to land on that shark, and then quite some time for her to train it to swim her back to shore, and so I do not think we need to worry about her any more.

    No, what we need to worry about is-

    Well, keep reading!

    ***

    Kazelia!

    Tam laughs. She does! It's a little tired, true, but she does laugh and grasp your mitten firmly in one calloused hand. "Tam Patterley. Knight of the Order of the Lily, your highness. I'm afraid I have to go to the aid of your sister, but, well..." She offers you a wry little smile. "I think it might take me a while."

    That's when chaos breaks out. That's right, a real three-way melee right here in the camp! Wait, you might ask, three? What's going on?

    Well, let's count them. Side number one: the Riders in the camp, who aren't going to drop their weapons and roll over just because their commander was hurled into the sky at high speeds. Not while her sisters are still around. Eska might be sarcastic at them. Alongside them are about, oh, maybe a dozen Iluminans too scared to try to defect. If you don't handle them, and quickly-

    Well, not that you have any way to know this right now, but I'll tell you anyway, to properly highlight the stakes: reinforcements are on their way from the manor. You had the advantage here because Asteria split her forces in half, but if they coalesce around you- and Kaja takes you all on, properly- you might still lose this one.

    Side number two: the Iluminans led by Moggy Lily, who are closing ranks and poking anyone around them with glass spears. They won't poke you on purpose, but in the chaos- well, you do look like a Rider, if a Rider dressed for a playdate with your stuffed animals. They intend to fight their way out and- well, they'll probably raid Askaia City a little bit to get supplies for their escape, if they do manage to fight their way out of here. Not out of malice, but just the panicked assumption that the cats wouldn't give supplies and boats to the people who just invaded them. That said, if you could calm them down and get them to listen to you, they'd be easy to pacify.

    Side number three: the Garthim. You know, the magic-eating deep sea crustaceans? The ones that Asteria was controlling by means of witchcraft? But now that she's nearing the apex of her arc, screaming bloody murder off in the beautiful blue sky, she's lost control of the spell binding them to her will. Which means they're just blundering about snapping their claws and looking for magical things to eat.

    Uh, remind me, Kazelia- you're magical, right?

    Tam vaults over a Garthim and is gone. Said Garthim starts towards you, all clicking and clattering limbs, and you've still got those blasted mittens on!

    Spoiler: Mechanics
    Show
    Side #1 is composed of a Group of Rider Valkyries - very dangerous in close combat - and a Group of Iluminan Conscripts.

    Side #2 is a Group of Iluminan Conscripts with a damaged Graceful tag.

    Side #3 is a Group of Garthim.


    ***

    Alina!

    Rita coughs, sputters, and gracefully, er, expels the water from her body. Let's imagine there are sparkles. Then her cat ears twitch, and she looks up at you with a weak little smile. "Hey, Alina. I had a really messed-up dream." But it's over! You did it. You saved your childhood friend from falling forever in an endless nightmare storm, and she saved you from being carted off by Kaja Ironpelt and not being able to stop the evil here, and in that moment- well, if you kiss her, I promise not to tell. Really! It can be your secret.

    And here, I would like to say that the two of you limp back to Asteria's camp, where you find Kazelia and Adila having tea with Liza Rippley and her Illuminan company, with a bunch of nasty puddles from discorporated Garthim being cleaned up by their Rider prisoners. You could laugh at Kazelia's silly outfit! You could giggle at Adila's haircut. You could give your princessy blessing to the Iluminans and they could tell you that they don't blame you for dumping water on Oberon's head. All of you could head back to Askaia City, and you could take a bath- three baths- you could make sure that all of that nightmare place has been scrubbed away, and gird yourself to go stop the schemes of Azora Howl in the kingdom that has a price on your adorable head but that's okay because with your friends by your side you can do anything.

    I would like to say that.

    But the mists are thinning, and Eska Glinteye is the finest archer of all her father's hosts, and a black dart strikes you and knocks you away from Rita, hitting you in the chest hard enough to leave a bruise. But it is worse than that. This is one of the shadow-arrows of the Riders, and when it strikes you it breaks apart into writhing, squirming shadow-ropes, so that when you hit the ground you can't reach out to break your fall because your arms are already stuck fast to your sides.

    Rita screams your name again, and bounds over to your side in a moment, trying to use her claws to cut through the shadows, screaming in frustration as they part and reform nigh-instantly. "Alina, I won't leave you," she says, desperately, even as another shadow-arrow comes within a hair's breadth of striking her in the shoulders.

    But-

    But if she tries to pick you up and carry you off, Eska will have two princesses, and that's the truth. She'll only be able to get away if she turns back into a cat and rushes off, right now.

    And signal-whistles are keening all about the shoreline, and here come the Riders you managed to evade on your way in. Rita can evade them, too, but only if she leaves you. Only if she abandons you. Only if you beg her to go and find your friends.

    What will it be, Alina? I wish you didn't have to choose, but that's the way it is.
    freedom in the flame

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

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    A princess never kisses and tells, so let us keep what happens between the lips of Alina Cascade and Rita von Catabas between the pair of them. But the flush of their cheeks and the coy smiles on their faces in this moment of happiness is for everyone to hear about someday.

    And then the arrow, cruel. And the ropes, crueler. And the choice, cruelest of all. If she does not tell Rita to save herself then she is the very worst of friends. But if she screams for her to run and tears them both apart again, won't that cut just as deep? It's so very cruel to ask her to choose. Hasn't she given up enough today? Does she really have to steel herself to do this, too?

    "Rita, please..."

    But whether she means to finish that though 'save yourself' or 'stay with me' or even 'don't forget I love you', we'll never know. Eska does the thing proper: the shadow coils weave around her mouth and choke off the rest. Alina lays helpless on the ground, and all she can do is look at Rita with green, watery eyes and try to wriggle her way closer. So here is what she really chooses: to trust her friend to know what's best. To trust she read things wrong. To trust that, if she should be carried off, it will mean that two princesses escape. Is this greedy? Of course it is. But if she was allowed to take comfort in the hurts they shared on Big Hill, then she is also allowed the tiny shred of solace that whatever happens now, it will happen to them together.

  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    “Tam Patterley. Pleasure to meet you. I hope we meet again soon.” With that Kazelia gives her a mittened salute and then leaps into the tent as fast as possible. Because yes, Kazelia is very magic, but also unfortunately is very poor at the type of magic that would let her control or ally with beasts and monsters like these. And while she makes a mental note to practice that, it’s not going to be relevant if a pack of Garthim carry her off to who knows where.

    She finds the spear still leaning on the tent flap and carefully starts sawing at the wool, trying to avoid cutting herself but needing to get through multiple cords. The low clack and clatter of the garthim approaches and Kazelia looks up at the side of the tent nervously, then goes back to sawing at the strands of wool faster and faster. At last, she tears a major rip and pulls a hand out, grabbing the other mitten off as well and then holding her spear with joy in her heart. She didn’t have time for any further wardrobe changes, so instead she whispers a message to Adila and sends it floating to her ears on the winter wind. “I’ll take care of the Garthim and draw them from the camp, protect the Illuminans!”

    And with that, she slices her way out of the back side of the tent (this slice may happen to be directly through Asteria’s wardrobe, which you should be assured is purely coincidental). The Garthim are almost upon her and she charges the first one to appear with her swift spear, hoping to skewer it decisively and drive the Garthim back before the whole pack can converge.

    [Unsure if “spear that can cut through anything” is advantage enough to finish some Garthim here, or just keep them busy. But either way, the roll is a 14]
    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)

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    This is still a rescue mission.

    Princess Adila is not here to fight an entire camp of riders single-handed. It's to get Kazelia and the Illuminans who risked so much to get her in here to safety. Without Princess Spite the Riders will be leaderless. However much time they brought for Princess Alina will have to be enough. And while her first move was foolish and impulsive her second one will not be.

    Wings erupt from her back. She's beginning the process to transform back into a dragon but it's slow and she needs to go through every intermediate stage before she gets there. She's vulnerable in the transition. That's fine - Kazelia is buying them time, and tossing people into the horizon has not stopped being the solution to her problems.

    She grabs the biting one first. Hurls her into the sky with similar force to Princess Spite. Liza is next, then Moggy Lily - all hurled into the sky before they have the opportunity to think about it. Then she takes a running leap, spreads her wings, and soars after them. All that Brightball practice was for this, she thinks, as she erupts into serpentine glory and obsidian scales. Catching three people on a long arc and carrying them to safety? Child's play for Princess Adila, star athlete!

    She hopes Kazelia can take care of herself now that her sister is gone. If she has to make a third trip back her so help her

    [I rolled a 7 on Get Away, and am choosing to take the Illumian conscripts with me. I may take harm or draw attention as I do - which is relevant because the Rider Valkyries have Inescapable should they wish to pursue me.]
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-15 at 05:40 AM.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  16. - Top - End - #106
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Summerveil

    Eska Glinteye!

    The second shot misses by a hair, and you curse your own impatience. It's just that you are teetering on the edge of disaster here. Kaja failing, incredibly, to stop these two princesses from just waltzing off with the void stone or whatever Azora put here - that's put you all in danger of failing your father. Then again, maybe that was your fault, too, for assuming that Kaja could avoid being tricked or outsmarted. It's not like there's anything going on upstairs in that big beautiful head of hers, just eyeliner tricks and exercise tips. ("Eska, you should really, you know, go jogging with me for a few miles!" uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh)

    Arrow number three. You can't miss. You have to hit this one, dead on, or the stupid little princess is going to bound away as a cat and try to hide out in the reeds and you are not leaving anything to chance here. No more opportunities for princesses to be clever and sneaky and ruin everything. You aim at the princess's heart, and fire.

    Bullseye.

    She goes flying off the crybaby, skidding nearly two yards away, landing face-down. Ooooh, that's gotta hurt. The shadows do their work, constricting the cat-princess. Don't try turning into a cat now, you'll just end up unable to change back, stupid. Okay. Okay. Everything's going to be okay.

    And, on cue, Kaja drops out of the sky in a three-point pose. Yeah, Kaja, nice going. Look who put them on a silver platter for you. Your sister goes over to Princess Crybaby and starts frisking her, but apparently comes up empty. Vindication. That's why you took down the cat princess, too. She's obviously got the crystal. Some precious little Iluminan thought she could get the better of Eska Glinteye by giving the crystal to the less important princess? Ha! Nice try.

    ...

    Hold up. Why's Kaja panicking.

    Hold up.

    Oh, duh. She's just too thick to figure out where it is. It's up to Eska, as per usual, so that Princess Powerhouse over here can keep having her blissfully thought-free weightlifting days or whatever. You don't need to panic. You're running over because you don't want to waste time. That's it. That's all. That's the only reason. They couldn't have broken it or demagicked it or anything like that, not in the time they had alone. They're not smart enough for that.

    "Eska, they-"

    You don't listen to Kaja. You grab the crybaby and start frisking her down thoroughly. Where do you have it? Come on, come on. You yank the gag down and force her mouth open, taking a look in there, your goggles magnifying- oh, wow, those are some quality teeth. But she's not hiding the crystal in there. We're not panicking. We're not panicking. Everything is fine. Everything is under control, you say to yourself, as the shadows slither back into place and shut her pathetic little pleas for mercy back up again.

    Okay, so it was the kitty princess. Right? Where is it? You've got three void-scourged jackets on, you little brat, they've got to be somewhere in there, you think to yourself, using your fletching knife to slash them open and tear the stuffing out, ignoring the frightened mewling noises the kitty's making.

    "Where where where," you mumble to yourself, "did you throw it in the lake, did you try to hide it in the mud, where is it," and it strikes you that there is one surefire way to figure it out. Because they didn't break it. Everything's under control. We're cool. Everything is fine and you will not have to go to Dad and explain that the Slaugh's not actually going to be happening.

    "Kaja, carry them," you say, in your calm reasonable everything-is-under-control voice that absolutely does not sound like you are one more unpleasant surprise from a breakdown. "Asteria will get them to tell us where the crystal is. And besides," you add, and maybe you snarl it a little bit, because this is a stressful day and you're allowed to be tetchy about it, "it'll be fun to watch her work them over."

    Kaja hesitates, and you do lose it a little. "Now, Kaja, before I die of old age!!" She hefts one up under each arm, and together you lead your nine-Rider team of professionals back to the bridge and Asteria's camp, where hopefully she's got the dragon under control. Everything is going to be fine. You are Eska Glinteye, and you are going to be Father's second-in-command once you show him how reliable you are, and a crybaby and a cat are not going to ruin this for you.

    ***

    Kazelia!

    Hail to you, first among the king's lancers, nimble and swift of foot! Your pretty pink skirt poofs and swirls around you as you dance from crustacean to crustacean, leading them on a merry chase. That spear of yours is like a glowing beacon to them, and they lunge for it even as you poke hole after hole in their shells, making them leak black and putrid water.

    (Don't worry! They're partially magical creatures, and they'll just collapse into water and seaweed if you manage to "kill" one of them. No gruesome death scenes here!)

    But it's taking all of your concentration to continue this whirling, vicious, adorable dance of death. If you make one wrong step, or linger a moment too long to twist your spear's grim and terrible head within their seaweed-guts, you'll be grabbed and they will converge on you, fighting each other for the right to suck your spear dry of its magic.

    If you had time, time and energy and a clear field, you could fight them all day in a death of ten thousand cuts. They would come apart, one by one, until you stood alone and victorious. The trick is not surrendering to exhaustion; or stumbling in the mist, slipping on a puddle, or tripping on a discarded glass spear; or having your allies be overwhelmed while you work.

    Decisive action by an ally would be needed to clear room for you to breathe. But fire will lick off their shells like water off a duck's back, so how is Adila to defeat these creatures, whose bodies only yield to your spear's fearsome head? And- if Alina were to arrive in a glorious charge of light- how could she try to defeat them? No, it has to be you, no matter how long it takes.

    (Or, hypothetically, if a group of Iluminan lancers interposed themselves and cleared space for you to work, letting the crustaceans run themselves headlong onto glass spears... that would be breath enough for you to disincorporate them, one by one. But it sounds like the Iluminans are busy, too.)

    ***

    Adila!

    So here's the thing. Here's the thing. Your transformation is a little, uh. Slow. Which means that you're trying to defend the three Iluminans who teamed up with you while also dealing with balance changes and sudden additions to your anatomy every minute. There are Iluminans poking you with their glass spears, but, oddly, not so many of the Riders trying to stop you from launching them off into the sky.

    Take Damage to your Blood! You end up pretty dramatically beaten up, a bit scuffed and scarred and limping a little, by the time that you take that running start and launch yourself a bit unevenly into the sky-

    And then a Rider bravo jumps right onto your back. After all, Riders are just a little bit better than the average person, and leaping from a stake onto your back while you're in flight? That's Rider aesthetic pretty clear-cut right there. Her keening sword lashes against your back as you try to dislodge her, but she's tenacious and has a surprising amount of thigh strength for sitting herself right on your back-

    And then you see several other Riders, with their pale swords and their pale hair, spurring their pegasi after you. The time you took to fully transform gave them, in turn, time to get their flying steeds ready, saddled, and up in the air. One way or another, they're going to make sure you regret bringing a fight to them.

    The good news is that down below, Kazelia just has to deal with keeping a bunch of grabby deep sea crustaceans from tackling her, as well as the pro-Rider faction of Iluminans (or, maybe, pro-cowardice) who now have, like, one person and a bunch of crabs to deal with, and might end up making the fight more awkward for both Kazelia and the crabs. Whoops!

    We're fine, though. We're cool. You've got pegasus knights trying to force you to land while you get your friends to land on your back, but also, now they're trying to deal with the Rider on your back, and the back of a dragon is not the right place for four different people to try to have a swordfight, except really it's three people because Kay Rippley is hanging on one of your horns and throwing your balance off.

    But, hey, at least you haven't caused any property damage lately! That's gotta be a big plus.
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2019-06-15 at 06:46 AM.
    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.

  17. - Top - End - #107
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia is...content. She can’t gain a decisive advantage, at least not yet, but she’s holding down the group of Garthim and Adila is free to deal with the riders, which is just what she wanted. Granted, she hadn’t had time to do more than get the mittens off, but even in constraining clothing she knew how to leap, and step, maintaining her balance as she swept this way and that with her spear. So she was a pink and blue blur of poofing dress and lace swirling about with a flashing spear. Truth be told, these clothes weren’t all that bad. Maybe with a little tailoring, a bit more freedom of movement, she’d be okay keeping them.

    As she settled into the pattern, she saw the Illuminans comingg as well. Unexpected, she had thought they would have focused on Adila. But maybe this was good. They could help, she just needed them to distract a few Garthim for a minute. “Hey! Help me!” Kazelia calls out to them. They probably seem uncertain, this is the pro-cowardice faction, after all. But they’re also Illuminan and they still have that nation’s sensibilities, so she keeps talking as she twirls between blows. “Asteria’s gone, these ugly crabs are going nuts. They’ll drain all your magic when they’re done with me!” And there is she is blocking a Garthim from barreling into the Illuminan lines. She’s trying to appeal to their pure sense of self-preservation and panic here. Lance princess good, giant enemy crabs bad, and support your princess above all else!

    [I think this is talk sense to get them to help against the Garthim. Kazelia is the only princess here and this is in their self-interest regardless of the long-term family issues, so they should be willing to listen. 4+5+1=10]
    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 - #108
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    They can look all they want, Alina does not have a stone to give them. It's gone, she broke it, she'd tell them that if they'd let her. Instead, she's gagged and getting frisked by Kaja. Which is weirdly... gentle. And thorough. Alina shivers but, again, can't give up what she doesn't have. She's got a moment to watch the giant girl panic and to somehow feel awful for her all over again when suddenly here's Eska in her face all swearing and paler than usual and looking like she's forgotten how to breathe.

    And then Alina's being frisked again. She 'mrphs' in surprise and then in protest because no one has ever handled her this roughly, and then again in surprise because she's gagless and there are fingers in her mouth. In the light cast by her crown, her teeth sparkle.

    "Please, please, don't hurmph~"

    'Hurt Rita, it's me you want' goes the rest, but do you think Oberon teaches his children to understand the muffled speech of shadow-gagged princesses? Of course not, who has time? Though he brought them a lovely book on the subject, so you can hardly blame him if they can't follow along. In any case, Alina is on the ground panting and shrieking as the knife comes out.

    And you know something? What happens next really isn't her fault. She did not ask to jump into a lake twice in one day. She didn't plan to have her clothes turn sheer or for her hair to do that thing where it tantalizingly clung to her neck and shoulders. She was just trying to get loose! It's not her fault Kaja chose to pick her up by the waist and holder under one arm. She didn't mean for her wriggling to get her twisted around and press her warm stomach against Kaja's hip. She was struggling with all the tools available to her, and it's really not her fault that effort whimpers sound embarrassingly similar to... um... you know, that. And when she finally managed to work that stupid shadow out of her mouth again she was out of breath, so she didn't mean for her voice to sound quite so husky, either.

    ...She may have meant the flutter of her eyelashes, and the look up with deep, liquid eyes. But she swears it's mostly out of pity.

    "I still see you," she breathes, and don't her lips just look so kissable? "It doesn't have to be like this..."

    [This is a Speak Softly roll at 10+, brought to you by the power of F/F shipping. The questions are "What can she tell us about what's going to happen, now that this invasion is doomed to fail?" "What would she have me do next?" and of course, "What is in her heart, and how can I see it?"]

  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    She cuts low, soaring over the river in the valley so close her claws could touch the water.

    Then she folds her wings and hits the water like a torpedo. The sudden burst of chill water washes the Illumians off her back. And then, through the pain that's still running through her body, Princess Adila finally relaxes. Everyone is gone. Everyone is safe. Thank goodness. She did it.

    She breaks from the surface of the water. Riders shadow her in every direction. There's nowhere in the skies or snow she can hide from them; this is their winter, their home brought with them. They've made this place theirs. The only way out is to make it hers.

    She soars over the rooftops of Summerveil. Fire pours from her mouth. In a flash all the buildings are ablaze, the compound a raging inferno, stone melting in the heat of a dragon's heart. She loops back around and crashes through the front door into the grand entrance hall, coming to a final halt in the midst of the new inferno. She was aware - always, painfully aware - that the houses and buildings humans built for themselves were tinderboxes.

    She had to take a moment to catch her breath - she still felt the ache where the spears had struck her, where the swords of ice had cut her, where the lances had pierced her scales. She wasn't used to battle. She hated it, didn't want any part of it ever again.

    She turned, sat, raised her head proudly. This wasn't a battle any more, though. This wasn't their home either. It was hers, and good luck to them trying to take it from her.

    [Overcome with despair: 6, 1 6: 9. Damaging my courage as the price to get the 10+ result.]
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-15 at 11:52 PM.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  20. - Top - End - #110
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    Summerveil

    Kazelia!

    There's a moment of milling about and uncertainty and "no way those things look really scary," but then- well, you're right. These are Alina's people, after all, and they know that they're supposed to support the princess. A blue-uniformed recruit interposes herself between you and one of the Garthim, poking it in the face with her spear with grim determination. Another follows her, shoulder-to-shoulder, fending off another with reckless jabs. And once they've started, it's hard for the Iluminans to stop joining the fight in twos and threes, forming a circle around you, a bristling spear-circle of defense. You're clear.

    Which means that now, you have the space and time to take them down one by one. You open up holes in their ribs and crack open their skulls, and one by one they collapse into reeking black puddles, and with each one the Iluminans cheer and keep jabbing. Soon enough there's only two left, and those two go scuttling off. Maybe they'll come back if you linger, or maybe they'll just try to add themselves to the unique Askaian ecosystem. Who's to say?

    Huzzah!

    Unfortunately, this is also when Eska yells from the other side of the camp, "What in the name of thaw and melt is happening here?"

    The Iluminans reverse their spears and now you're standing in a ring of glass spear-tips all pointed at you! Ah, the fickle winds of fortune.

    One Iluminan turns around and salutes, then cups her hands and yells, "Your highness! There, uh, there was a crab infestation, and also a dragon threw the commander into the sky!"

    And behind Eska there is a mushroom cloud of flame as Summerveil goes up.

    ***

    Alina!

    Kaja Ironpelt is very red-faced and trying very hard not to look at you. It's like- it's a little like you made one of the glass statues outside the castle embarrassed, really. Steadfastly not looking at you! Nope, not looking at the squirming, suggestively-grunting, very-suggestively-dressed princess wriggling around under her iron-firm grip. Not thinking about Illegal Kiss Crimes.

    But she does think about such things- and it is the nature of this place that it makes your heart visible to you. And maybe because you are being held by her, or maybe because you are two hearts and you have two hands, you can see her heart, too. And her heart is her father, the Robber King, walking beside her.

    “You’re not thinking about kissing her, are you?” Maybe seeing him causes panic to rise in you. Even though this is Oberon as Kaja sees him- more regal, more paternal, less a terrifying figure in shabby, torn black standing with a sword over your throat. "My instructions were very clear. Bring the Iluminan and Kazelia back to me." He looks up at her- looks up, even! But Kaja looks like a little girl trying not to look at her scolding parent. "I know she is beautiful and not frightened of you and you want to commit many illegal kiss crimes with her. But that is wrong. What is the right thing to do?"

    "To be a good daughter," Kaja mumbles to herself. Rita quirks an eyebrow and looks at you from the other side of her pillaresque torso like, whaaaaat?

    "That's right. I trust you to do the right thing."

    Kaja's face twists, and she blurts out, low and fast, "But what if she joins us? You know, like her sister? Then you wouldn't have to punish her and I could keep an eye on her and it'd be okay. I don't, you know, want to see her..."

    On the other side of you, another you, with raggedy hair and chains and a look of terror on her face, goes, "Kaja, please, I-" Then you're frozen mid-scream, and drop away into the mist.

    "That's for me to decide. Your place is to obey." And he, too, melts away into the mist, slowly, and his eyes are the last to go; his eyes, fixed on Kaja, making her sweat.

    Then-

    Cheering. Applause. Riders coming up, asking for her autograph; cats coming up, bearing sushi platters and pretty earrings; Jedadi dancing-girls (and one of them with suggestively curled lavender hair, oh my); Eska looming out of the mist and giving her a grin and a thumbs-up and "I never really thought you were stupid, Kaja." The treasures that will be laid before her, if she is victorious. If she is a good daughter. If she is a good soldier.

    Then there really is looming out of the mist- and you can see Kazelia, surrounded by- oh, no! Iluminans in Rider uniforms, pointing spears at her, and oh my stars and little lights what is she wearing? And from the yelling that Eska is doing, it's actually happening, not another mist-phantom.

    ***

    Adila!

    Well, the Riders are not dumb enough to follow you into the inferno- not all the way in, at least. They swoop down at you, trying to catch you with their swords, but the flames lick at their boots and they can't seem to get a good vantage point against you. All around you is the terrible smell of this rotting place going up like a candle.

    I think, here-

    That you can tempt them in. That you can leave yourself exposed just enough to lure them in, knock them from their horses, and make this a fairer fight. Enough so that it will count as an Advantage to Finish Them off with your dangerous, house-shattering attacks. But it will mean leaving yourself open, and letting them get several more shots in, before you have them exactly where you want them.

    Or you can just stay in here in the oh-so-comfortably warm fires, and they won't be able to touch you at all! I mean, that doesn't seem like a good idea, but you've overcome their assault, and it's your prerogative now whether or not you want to be vulnerable any more.
    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.

  21. - Top - End - #111
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    Kazelia let herself catch her breath as the Garthim retreated. That had been something. Perhaps with the Illuminans, she could go get her armor and her horse, and go find Alina. Or...perhaps Alina could find her, with two of her sisters, and the Illuminans back to their routine of serving the Riders to protect their families.

    And then Kazelia really saw Alina. And Rita. She saw the bonds from the shadow arrows and how badly off they both looked. Her heart ached. When she had left, it had not been about betrayal and revenge. It had been about the beauty she saw in this world of Hyperborea. She had sworn to protect that, to keep her friends safe no matter what. But today, Eska Glinteye had attacked all of them, one after another. And Kazelia was through with this sister.

    The stars recede from her eyes, and the shadows lengthen and leak from their corners, flaring outwards like wisps of black flame. Perhaps this is an odd sight, Kazelia in her pretty pink dress with lace and poofy skirts, but looking for all the world like an abomination of the darkest void as her eyes blaze with dark power. Her shadow elongates, and dark, sharp blades of night begin to swirl around her, faster and faster. They rise into the air and coalesce into a spear of blackest midnight, and in an instant, the swift lance surges forward with all Kazelia’s power and pierces Eska. The full force of the shadows is too fast to merely inflict a wound and instead rushes behind the spearpoint like a torrent, consuming her in the darkness.

    [Kazelia is using not to be Trifled with, damaging her Doom, Grace, and Sense to deal three damage to Eska.]
    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)

  22. - Top - End - #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Adila!

    Well, the Riders are not dumb enough to follow you into the inferno- not all the way in, at least. They swoop down at you, trying to catch you with their swords, but the flames lick at their boots and they can't seem to get a good vantage point against you. All around you is the terrible smell of this rotting place going up like a candle.

    I think, here-

    That you can tempt them in. That you can leave yourself exposed just enough to lure them in, knock them from their horses, and make this a fairer fight. Enough so that it will count as an Advantage to Finish Them off with your dangerous, house-shattering attacks. But it will mean leaving yourself open, and letting them get several more shots in, before you have them exactly where you want them.

    Or you can just stay in here in the oh-so-comfortably warm fires, and they won't be able to touch you at all! I mean, that doesn't seem like a good idea, but you've overcome their assault, and it's your prerogative now whether or not you want to be vulnerable any more.
    It seemed so necessary, that pain. She swallows as she considers it - it's so close it seems inevitable, too. Just tough it out for a little longer. One more round of battle. All that she needed to do was leave this comfortable fire and hurt just a bit more.

    She shivered. She really didn't want to do this. She'd never had a fight like this before. With no friends here to help her, with no plan? Just an ugly, brutal knock-down fight where the winner was the one who could take more pain than the other? She didn't want to go out there. She wasn't even sure she'd win. They were so quick...

    But she was also the only one keeping them from her friends. She had to. She had to!

    Princess Adila took a deep breath. She was scared. But she needed to be brave - no, not brave, brave was what had got her into this mess! She needed to be smart. Remember the mission. Mission... aha? Wasn't the whole mission here to...

    +You can wait out there all you want,+ she projected out at the waiting Riders, +But your magical altar is in here, isn't it? The thing Princess Howl is using to pollute the mists, the thing that Princess Spite came her to protect? I wonder what they'll say when they hear you let it burn down.+

    The mission. This is their problem. They can come into her ambush now, or she can take her time going door to door and burning out any hint of corruption.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2019-06-16 at 09:59 PM.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  23. - Top - End - #113
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    "You will learn respect, little girl."

    All it takes is seeing him. Even though he's a mist form. Even though he's someone else's vision. All it takes is seeing him, and she's right back there on that day. Her chest burns from the cold of it, and this time she can't even hold the wound to reassure herself. The effect on her is terrifying: Alina turns pale and her sobs jump straight past hyperventilating into dry heaving. She writhes in agony through Kaja's entire self absorbed muttering fit, and she still hasn't quite pulled herself together by the time they finish walking through the mists' justification for all this. She just hangs there limply in Kaja's arm, trying to process some amount of useful information. When they arrive at camp, she doesn't even take in the scene around her. Not Kazelia's outfit or her horrifying shadow magic or her poor, aggrieved people dressed up in Rider garb. If she lets herself see any of it she'll fall completely to pieces, and right now she needs to do that princess thing and show her enemy compassion so she might eventually stop being an enemy. Ugh, bath and vacation please.

    Panting, sweating, desperately in need of a hug. Scared out of her mind. Still oddly kissable. That's the face she presents to Kaja Ironpelt.

    "All the... all the things you dream of won't happen if you keep going like this. I know you're, you're scared but I need you to trust me just a little bit. You're a good girl, Kaja, your," and here she almost falters, "Your father will know you did everything you could. This isn't your fault. So if you want kisses and praise and... and... Jedadi dancing lessons, the first step to getting there is to be brave enough to put me and Rita down, and walk away from this. There's an Illumina for both of us. There's a happy ending. I promise, when I see you again I'll help you find it."

    And she means it, which is the sad and scary part.

    [Talk Sense: 2d6+2 = 9]

  24. - Top - End - #114
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    Summerveil

    Kazelia!

    Eska scrambles like a madwoman trying to get out of your way, the second you start channeling that spell. She's got a grappling hook, and is willing to jump on Kaja's shoulders to get away. Up she goes, hook secured on a tree branch, and is away-

    And that's when the shadows get her.

    The shadows swirl around her, contracting furiously, and Eska shrieks like a madwoman as the disc of shadows surrounding her, hiding her from view completely, shrinks down to the size of a dinner plate. Then it winks out of existence entirely, and leaves no trace of Eska behind. And if you are looking closely, as Alina is in a position to do, you can see, for a moment, stars falling forever into endless night.

    I do not think that Eska will be unmade completely, there. I think that she will be welcomed back, in a sense, and she will spend an aeon beyond what is, afraid and a thing of fear, and then she will find her way back to the broad golden back of Ouroboros, oh, sometime next week. Perhaps it will be Oberon's need of her that will serve as a lighthouse for her in a far and sunless night, and perhaps it will be the cornerstone of her being, that she is the most clever and cunning Princess of the Riders. But, oh, Alina can tell you later-

    This is a cruel and terrible thing you have done to her, and I do not think one can understand what you have just done to her and not tremble at the thought.

    But to do this thing, you have torn your shadow to shreds. And you are disassociated from yourself. You see yourself as if you are standing a few steps away from yourself, and the impulses of your body are not always firing correctly, but rather are doing their best to understand your own desires of your self as you try not to walk right into a glass spear. If this is difficult to understand, I think that you are difficult to understand, right now, with a weak and wavering shadow behind you.

    I wish you the best of luck attempting to escape this situation.

    ***

    Adila!

    Finally. This is more like it, daughter of the Watch. When the Riders come inside, duck between the buildings, they lose track of you; and that is what gives you the opportunity to burst through a wall at them, or be underneath the stairs they frantically race up, dragging them down into the crawl space as they wail and lay about them with their swords.

    And they do. They do lay about, actually. Turns out that taking down a handful of well-trained Riders is difficult, even moreso than you’d think, and leaves one with a few gleaming scars, some buckled scales, and a throbbing headache, by the time you throw the last one sprawling out of the house. (Most of them are bobbing in the lake, or swimming for shore.)

    Damage your Sense, but hold your aching head up high with pride. You did it. And also the entire place is collapsing down to the foundations, and it doesn’t look like you accidentally burned down Alina or anything, so that’s a plus.

    ...hold up, though. That thing you said? That was true. Their dark altar thing was here, so why aren’t Eska and Kaja throwing down with you? Maybe they weren’t actually here in the first place, and Asteria was your only opponent? Or maybe they’re somewhere else.

    If I were you, I’d go figure out where Alina is. Right? No Watchman left behind.

    [And just for you, I’ve let you damage their Inescapable stat, if you want to make a speedy getaway.]

    ***

    Alina!

    Oh, Alina, when Kaja looks down at you-

    I think she sees your heart. Your fear, your sincerity, your hope that one day she will be safe, and happy, and not afraid. Maybe she sees the Princess she could be, in Iluminan glass and silk, as you yourself perhaps see her. Her lips tremble and the stars streak by in her eyes, seeing that!

    “I can’t,” she says, quietly, hoarsely. “I don’t know how.”

    And just like that, you know what you have to do. What you have to offer her. What you give her to be a light in the dark for her, because her family is so terribly dark.

    Then-

    Then she hoists you up and grabs you both by the ropes, and yanks you straight out of them. Just one powerful jerk, and both you and Rita drop to the wet grass below; the shadow-ropes writhe, grabbing at her, and with terrifying casualness she crushes them into nothing. (Oh sweet and running water in retrospect she was carrying you so gently. The thought of what she could have done if she were angry at you might be almost as scary as seeing her dad.) “Leave them,” she commands her Riders. “Bring me Kazelia. We’re taking her home.”

    And she lingers a moment longer- for you to press your heart into her perfect hands- and then marches on, stalwart, and does not allow herself to look back.

    Spoiler: Formerly Eska’s Archers
    Show
    Master Trappers. Damage this stat to reveal a new Barrier in the scene.

    Shadow-Binding Arrows. Damage this stat to pin someone down with ropes of shadow and night and put them on the spot.

    Group Yadda yadda you know the drill.
    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.

  25. - Top - End - #115
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Adila!

    Finally. This is more like it, daughter of the Watch. When the Riders come inside, duck between the buildings, they lose track of you; and that is what gives you the opportunity to burst through a wall at them, or be underneath the stairs they frantically race up, dragging them down into the crawl space as they wail and lay about them with their swords.

    And they do. They do lay about, actually. Turns out that taking down a handful of well-trained Riders is difficult, even moreso than you’d think, and leaves one with a few gleaming scars, some buckled scales, and a throbbing headache, by the time you throw the last one sprawling out of the house. (Most of them are bobbing in the lake, or swimming for shore.)

    Damage your Sense, but hold your aching head up high with pride. You did it. And also the entire place is collapsing down to the foundations, and it doesn’t look like you accidentally burned down Alina or anything, so that’s a plus.

    ...hold up, though. That thing you said? That was true. Their dark altar thing was here, so why aren’t Eska and Kaja throwing down with you? Maybe they weren’t actually here in the first place, and Asteria was your only opponent? Or maybe they’re somewhere else.

    If I were you, I’d go figure out where Alina is. Right? No Watchman left behind.

    [And just for you, I’ve let you damage their Inescapable stat, if you want to make a speedy getaway.]
    For a moment Princess Adila just puts her head down and waits for her panic attack to lessen. She's never been hurt this badly in her life. She doesn't know where anyone is and even when she's winning she's just getting more and more worn down and now she can't even think clearly. What if everyone else is captured already? Again? And there were more Rider princesses out there somewhere? How was she supposed to deal with all of this? Where was she even supposed to go now? Rescue everyone again? Her breath was coming out in short little gasps. She was so scared.

    But she was still the only one she could count on.

    She let out a deeper breath. She'd thought when she'd started this she could rely on the others. Working together with real princesses, it had been like a dream! But then she'd seen Kazelia... playing dress up while she'd been risking her life to save her, what? Had that even been real? And Alina might be many things but she wasn't any sort of warrior and she was probably sick, the poor dear. So it was her job. She was just... just going to have to learn to enjoy doing this. Because she was the only one who could.

    One more time. And then as many times after that as she needed to. And then forever! They needed her and she was not going to let them down!

    [Getting away on a 4.]
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  26. - Top - End - #116
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    "You can," Alina whispers back, "I'll teach you."

    Suddenly she's on her butt, wide eyed but oddly unafraid. Because she knows in her heart that Kaja's terrifying strength doesn't matter half as much as her gentleness in spite of it. For once, she doesn't hesitate and simply reaches a hand under the armor piece on her chest and pulls free a necklace she hasn't taken off in four years. It's a tiny thing, her crown in miniature shaped from glass that's the same soft purple as her hair. Or more accurately her mother's, because it's strands from her very head that the color was drawn from. She pulls the chain off from around her neck and presses it into Kaja's palm. Then she folds those powerful fingers closed around it with both of her hands.

    "This is for you. Just for you," she says, and tries to find her mother's warm tones when she says it, "It will keep you safe. When you're sad or scared or lonely, let this remind you that you're not alone. Because I am always here with you."

    Then she kisses the fingers closed around that necklace and steps away. Just one (or maybe two) more things to take care of and then it's bath time. For six whole hours. She shares a long glance at Rita and says "Find the Ribbon", because that's the sort of thing you can say that only your best friend from when you were kids would know what you were trying to tell her. Even as a little girl, Alina was expected to be practicing all sorts of things. Reading and writing, singing and dancing, sewing and shaping. And princess dueling, naturally. But sometimes, little Alina just wanted to play. And on those times when Rita would turn up in Summerveil with her little hat and her incense, Alina would grin and she'd turn and say 'Sorry mommy, but I lost my ribbon'. And her mother would sigh dramatically and tell her, 'Well you'd better go and find it then'. Being that Alina was all of five and not terribly clever, she had exactly one hiding spot for this ribbon: inside of a bush full of her favorite berries that grew very close to the base of the Big Hill. But even if it was always the same ending, every time was a new adventure. This adventure's been a lot less fun, but where else could they end it?

    She's careful to run in the wrong direction, just in case Kaja's looking. Then there's a burst of light so bright it could swallow the sun itself, and suddenly nobody here is looking at much of anything. Alina leaps lightly from foot to foot across the camp. Her hands brush against the shoulders of the Illuminan soldiers fencing Kazelia into a circle and she pushes them gently aside. "It's ok," she says, "I forgive you. Keep them safe, I promise I'll get our home back."

    Aaaaaand, um. Well! This is. Er. That is to say... hm. Alina has to fight the urge to giggle, which is a fight she loses when she takes Kazelia's hand only for her to trip over nothing and flop onto the ground with her frilly skirt poofing just behind her. She shakes her head and scoops the tall, invincible Rider Princess up onto her back with... some difficulty. Why is everybody so big these days? It's not fair. Then she's off and running again, back through the space in the circle she opened, giving the mighty Kazelia Swiftlance a piggyback ride straight out of danger. Goodness, she's become more like her mother than she realized. By the time the light's faded and their eyesight's come back, those Riders will have nothing to see at but air and a half burned campsite, and she'll be off riding a winged horse to safety. But where was Adila? Rivers and waterfalls, if she has to save the dragon too then so help her...

    "It's over, Kazelia. We did it. So hang on and let's get you out of here and then we'll... talk about what just happened."

    [Alina expends one use of her Precious jewels to reforge her bond with Kaja Ironpelt: "I am the light for her in the darkness". She also marks her Flash Spell and rolls to Get Away: 2d6+2 = 11. She draws no attention and takes Kazelia with her]

  27. - Top - End - #117
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    Kazelia stirs groggily. Shadow magic took a lot out of her. More than it should, Azora didn’t get so drained when she did it. Kazelia tries to shake her head to clear it and her body responds slowly like a marionette. And then before anything can happen everything is light and she hears Alina calling as if from far away, and she feels her friend’s hand. Her body stumbles, and Kazelia blushes as her skirts fly up and little Alina picks her up bodily and carries her out on a piggyback ride.

    It’s easier when they reach the stable. Shiva feels cool and calm to get Rider’s hand, and the Pegasus is ready to go (is her mane completely braided now?!). She carries the both of them out of there, up and away with a warmer misty wind blowing in their faces.

    “Wh-where’s Adila?” Kazelia asks as they fly away. “I c-can send her a m-message on wind. Where are we g-going?” Then belatedly. “Th-thank you.”
    School Fox by Atlur

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

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

  28. - Top - End - #118
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    Summerveil

    Adila!

    “Don’t leave me.”

    The words are weak. Trembling. Breathless. Wicked, in the sense that they are spoken despite the speaker. For a moment, the thought crosses your mind, that you made a horrible mistake, that Alina was still here and you brought the house down around her ears. That out of everything, a huge rampaging out-of-control Dragon was what ended up hurting her.

    But it’s not Alina. (Thank you, Adila I, wherever you are.) It’s one of the Riders. You- replay the last few minutes- you knocked her through a wall with a flick of your tail, right into a shelf which collapsed on top of her. Her sword lies discarded on the floor, its pale blade marred with dark dragon blood: your blood. Her legs are pinned beneath the debris, and the fires lick around her. Her words are slurred: a mild concussion.

    She looks up at you, as best she can from where she lies, with those eyes of night and falling stars. “Please.” The audacity! She stabs you and then begs you for mercy? And the look on her face suggests that she knows it, that she is mortified to even ask, that her honor should compel her to burn in silence.

    But I do not think that such honor is worth that price; and, evidently, neither does she.

    She strains. The black wood does not shift. Such things are terrible heavy, especially when you do not have the proper leverage against them. Her voice cracks in helpless fear. ”Please.”

    You don’t have to, you know. If you walk away, her friends will find her, will dig her out, almost certainly. Riders don’t leave each other behind. Besides, catching on fire would teach her a lesson as regards stabbing other people.

    What is the well-being of one Rider when weighed against that of you and your friends? And what guarantee do you have that she will not, like a scorpion, sting you in recompense? If you were somehow magically swapped into each other’s bodies, it’s not like she would lift a claw to help you.

    But also-

    She is a creature of winter and star-lit night and viciousness, but she is also afraid, and failing to hide her fear, and fighting desperately against her own instincts to reach out to you. (Metaphorically speaking.) Maybe, just maybe, she’s cruel because she’s never been shown kindness.

    Or maybe that’s sappy garbage and you never give an enemy combatant the opportunity to stab you again, Adila. Because then they will. Fight smarter, not harder, constable.

    Up to you, really.

    ***

    Alina and Kazelia!

    You’ll need to get up in the air and do a bit of a circle up there to get to that berry-bush and pick up Rita without attracting attention, keeping an eye out for Adila on the way. Don’t worry, we’re nearly done.

    What this means, practically, as the cool air works some sense back into the groggy Rider princess, is that you have a moment to talk, if you like. Or to worry, if you prefer. A moment with Shiva’s beautiful glass wings beating the air, and the two of you safe and free.

    If only Adila was here to congratulate you two on how well you did things!
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2019-06-17 at 03:48 PM.
    freedom in the flame

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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.
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    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.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Thanqol's Avatar

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    Apr 2009

    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    It was not lost on Princess Adila that this was exactly the situation that had caused the downfall of Princess Alina and Illumina.

    She clatters when she turns her head. The lances, swords and arrows still stuck into her back rattle against each other with each movement, ash running off her scales in streams. Every thought goes through her head. None of them stop her.

    Serves her right! is one of them. Asking for help of someone while your sword was still stuck in their back? Other thoughts tumbled over each other soon after. She was so tired. She had to do this alone, she couldn't afford any more risks. She's just going to betray you. If you do this then they'll know what kind of person you are and they'll be able to use it against you. You'll lose your opportunity to escape. Her mind raced about trying to find the combination of words and ideas that would talk her out of this, out of accepting further pain. She hurt so much already.

    Sadly it wasn't her head making the decision.

    She turned around. Limped back to the Rider. Began lifting burned debris off her. If she couldn't walk then Adila would carry her to safety. Her heart demanded no less - she still had strength and while she did she would try to save everyone she could.

    The Captain had said she'd grow out of it.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Raz_Fox's Avatar

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    Sep 2008
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Summerveil

    Adila!

    So, the thing is, the Rider absolutely does turn on you while you help her limp out of the burning building. The good news is that it’s actually kinda pathetic and reflexive? She reaches over and twists the shaft of one of the arrows stuck in your scales, but half-heartedly, like she’s not even really paying attention to it. It hurts, but it hurts like carrying an injured animal and having it gnaw on you while you do so.

    “...you’re a fool,” she says, before coughing, nearly doubling over; you have to stop and support her. “All you princesses are.”

    Then you’re out in the grass between burning buildings and she crumples down onto her knees, palms flat in the black mud, hacking and sobbing and generally glad to not be on fire.

    She mumbles something that she’s too proud to speak up and say clearly, but the general feeling is unmistakable; and when you spread your wings and soar away, she does not scream for her companions to come and hunt you down, but just remains there, supporting her own weight like it’s the weight of all Hyperborea.
    freedom in the flame

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

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