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Isabelle could hear Davon defending her off in the distance. "Stay-stay away from her! I am your enemy!!" he cried out. She clutched at her heart. He'd been wounded so horribly, yet he still had the strength of spirit within him to raise his knife to the enemy. She raised her head and offered a silent prayer to the heavens on his behalf.

Her prayer cut short when she heard a familiar voice, uttering a familiar question she'd heard so long ago: "Now, what's a saint like you doing out in a place like this?"

"Walker?..." she whispered, "Walker? Is- is that you?" She stumbled and caught herself on her cane. "Are you- are you really alive? Oh my- oh my gods. Oh Walker!" Tears welled up in her eyes, and she would have rushed into his arms right then and there had not she heard a fight break out in front of him. It took her a moment, but she realized Davon had drawn a weapon on Walker. Her lips pursed and her brow furrowed.

From that moment on, Davon was nothing to her.

When at last the fight concluded, Davon was on his knees weeping, with her name on his lips. "I- I am sorry, Isabele...h-"

Isabelle put on her Kindest Face and knelt down beside him. "There there, worry not, friend. All is forgiven," she replied, her intonation calm and soothing. "What matters is that you fought in the end, right? You fought, you struggled, and you are still alive."

She touched his withered limbs and whispered a prayer for him. "O gods in heaven, restore thee this day Davon's limbs to their former state prior to the Withering, to their condition three days prior. I offer up unto thee a portion of my blood in sacrifice." Then under her breath, so quietly even one sitting next to her could not hear, she added: "And weaken the tendons in his thumbs so he shall never again wield a weapon against my love."

"Amen."

She felt the telltale tingling of magic surge in her veins as it drew power from her blood. Isabelle felt up Davon's arm and leg to ensure the spell worked, along with a subtle exploration of his thumb, before rising to her feet to find her beloved. As she made to approach him, she remembered that his was not the only voice she'd heard. There was another, a woman's voice, and a pretty one at that. From the way they spoke, he was familiar with her. A twinge of jealousy touched her, but she pushed it aside for the moment - she had more important things to attend to, like hugging Walker. She tried to pace herself at first, not wanting to look more needy for him than she was, but her methodical pace evolved into a full-on run until she collapsed into Walker's arms.

The comforting warmth of his body coaxed a hitched sob from her throat. She pressed her face into his broad chest and nuzzled into it.

Isabelle was home again at last.
The moment she leaped after Walker's vanishing trail, she realized her life was over one way or another. So it was with grim determination that she lifted her crown to watch and see where the trail went. The wind rushed past her ears as she fell, its deafening roar a precursor of an end to follow. Had Walker survived this fall? Was it even possible? It didn't matter much, though. If he was dead, there was no point in living without him. If he was burning in hell, she would burn at his side. Whatever his end, she would meet it with him.

Then, she saw it.

Isabelle screamed.

A horrified, blood-curdling scream.

A splash, and her screams turned to muffled groans underneath the rushing river. As her mind struggled to comprehend the things she'd just witnessed, breath began to fail her, and soon she found herself instinctively clawing at the water around her. Down, down she sank, until thoughts of "air" or "surface" became but a distant memory.

Then just like that, she found both again. Isabelle burst from the water coughing and spluttering, mysteriously alive, but with no conception of where she was. Normally she'd never even go near any large body of water since she couldn't see the coastline, but now she was smack in the middle of one, an utterly foreign one at that. There might not even be a coastline, for all she knew.

She did know one thing, though: if Walker had fallen down here, he was probably floating in the water too.

"WALKER!" she cried out.

No answer.

"WALKER!" she cried again.

Still no answer.

Then she heard someone sob over the sound of the waves. It sounded like a woman's sob. Isabelle turned her head to identify where it came from. It sounded like it came from somewhere right next to her. When she picked a direction and began to paddle, she heard the sound again. Then she realized.

It had come from her own throat.

She was alone.

"...help..." came the whisper from her lips.

"Help."

"Anyone?"

"Please!"

"Oh gods."

The strength in her limbs began to fail, and soon the waters began to slosh at her nostrils once more. Just then, she espied the faint ember of a drifting soul in the distance. Isabelle summoned the last of her strength and swam toward it. "HELP ME, PLEASE!" she screamed. The ember flickered, a possible sign it heard her. The ember started drifting in her direction. Just as her arms finally gave out, someone grabbed her wrist and pull her up onto a wooden surface.

"Oi lass! Y'lalt a breath?" said a young man's voice in a strange accent. "O'll hells y'doin'n a place loik this?"

Isabelle hugged her arms close to her chest let out a few shuddering coughs. "I f-f-fell. Th-thank you f-for rescuing me."

"Ah nah jeh! Hardly a qualm, miss-" they lead to encourage her to introduce herself.

"Isabelle."

"S'moity proper a name... Moine's Davon. Tha pleasures mine, if'n oi may."

Isabelle adjusted the crown over her eyes and buried her head between her knees. She could almost feel the man staring at her as he rowed quietly back the way he came. And why shouldn't he? He'd just found a well-dressed priestess floating in the middle of nowhere. That would shock the words right out of anybody.

She lifted her head and smiled at him. "How can I ever repay you for saving my life, Devon?"

Davon awkwardly scratched his head and chuckled, a blush hidden by her blindfold as they boldy considered. "Sh't...ah, oi can think a few ways a lass loik y'self can start, ah?"

"Oh! You have but to name it, kind sir!" she replied, oblivious to his meaning.

"A-AH! W-Well..." he began, now a little nervous about exploiting her naivete, "Y'moit...y'know...show me...a good toim'n oll...when we get back, ah?"

Entertaining people certainly wasn't her forte, to be sure, but it was the least she could do for someone who'd just saved her life. Isabelle clasped her hands and replied, "Then I shall do my absolute utmost to entertain you! I cannot promise to be very good at it, but for you, I shall try my best! Do you prefer dancing, japes, or perhaps a bit of playacting?"

The man let out a long sigh, followed by an exasperated chuckle which a soft grin could almost be heard behind. "Ah hells, f'get it. Tha soft voice ouf a lass loik y'self. S'nuff fer me an tha boys. Long roads, good company, ah?"

"Are you quite sure? My dancing isn't terrible."

Devon burst out laughing. "NAH! Nah jeh jeh.. Oi'm 'eaded back ta join mi'friends, Kedvin and his crew. Oi'll insist ye accept hospitality woill ya recover, ah?"

Isabelle smiled. "That would be lovely, Devon. Thank you."


How wrong everything had gone.

Just when she thought she'd found someone she could rely on, the gods had to come and take them away from her. She could still hear their horrified screams as that creature rampaged through the camp, snuffing out their glowing embers without so much as breaking a sweat. Isabelle prayed her hiding spot concealed her, since she had no way to discern whether she was actually visible. The most she could do was stifle her breath and hold still. Hunters were drawn to motion, to change, and if she held as still as she possibly could, she would be less noticeable even if she were otherwise visible. She did not come out from her hiding spot until she heard friendly voices in the distance.

One of them sounded vaguely familiar.

Isabelle emerged from the brush and stumbled in the direction of the voices, her cane unslung from her back in case she had to defend herself.

@FunnyGuy@Zerofighter@Conejitoooo
Heliodor probably wasn't the first place you thought of when you thought of fantasy towns. It looked more at home in the Wild West, with its adobe structures and run-down buildings in a dusty old desert. Stretched out around the outskirts was the refugee camp, with tents and mud huts numbering in the thousands. Two figures made their way into the camp, one a very tall, buff human male, and the other a shorter human male smoking a cigarette.

The "human male" was the elf bodyguard Mai, magically disguised to look opposite to her natural appearance with a masculine physique, rounded ears, dark skin, and a deep voice. The other human was Lex, who was magically disguised with a lighter skin tone more in line with the average Hume citizen, together with a variety of adjustments to his face and voice. Their orders were to infiltrate the party of Reincarnations and study them, and to inform the Witch of any relevant plans the heroes might form. "I can't manipulate them if I don't know them," the Witch had explained. "I want to know who they are, what they love, what they hate, what they think. I want to know their habits, their vices, their plans. I want to know what drives them, what motivates them. Tell me everything you can find out about them. And try to help them build strength while you're at it - because remember, our true enemy is the Voidspawn. Communicate with me only when it is safe to do so."

Since she couldn't really trust a newbie with the record-keeping, the journaling of their quest fell to Enya. With the sprite being Lex's primary "weapon," she would need to acquire Bane powers in order to kill Voidspawn. Supposedly, there was an innkeeper in town who could help them with that, and their secondary objective was to rendezvous with her while they were here. Mai's job, as always, was to be a bodyguard, this time for Lex. "They will not soon return to strike at me," the Witch reasoned, "and even if they did, I am more than capable of defending myself, especially while I hold the Sealed Tower. Lex could use your protection more than I."

When they arrived at the camp, people assumed they were fellow refugees, and let them in without a second thought. Thus began the next stage of the plan: sidle up to the Reincarnations and get close to them.
@ArmorPlated
The clunk and hum of the elevator was the first sign that something was amiss. Goblins from all around the tower froze to sniff and stare at it. Snahl in particular studied it with grim determination, his ears flat against his skull. After a while, the others resumed milling about their respective duties, but Snahl refused to take his eyes off it. That elevator had been moving for a long time. After about half an hour, it suddenly ground to a halt. Then reversed direction.

Something was coming back up.

Snahl's hand drifted down to his sword and danced along the hilt. The elevator continued its relentless winding for what felt like an eternity, until at last it began to slow down. ["Gungun,"] Snahl warned softly over the comm. The old goblin trotted inside from his training outside and wiped his hands on his pants. ["Yeah boss?]

["Something's coming."]

Gungun leaned over to try and see down the elevator shaft. He scratched an ear. ["Well that's plain, innit?"]

Snahl's scowl deepened, but said nothing.

["Want me to pop off an shoot somethin'?]

["No. We wait."]

When the elevator finally ground to a halt at ground level, every goblin in the tower turned their eyes upon it for the strange sight they now beheld. Snahl visibly gulped hard as he lifted his gaze to look upon the hulk of metal standing before him - and promptly averted it when his eyes found the red glare of death staring back at him.

Gungun just raised an eyebrow and folded his arms. "So yer what, another humie? Ptooy. Got enough o' them fleshbags for one day."

Snahl whispered behind his teeth, ["Watch your tongue, old goblin..."]
@FunnyGuy
Emperor Dragan

"Ahem! I require assistance in my throne room!"

The Emperor's call brought a team of servants running back in. When they saw the dumplings scattered on the floor, they all gasped and hurriedly began picking them up. No sooner had the last dumpling made it on the tray than the palace doors opened to let a certain bald soldier through. His every step had presence in the room as he walked, and in his stern gaze was the face of a warrior.

"I have come at your request, your Majesty," he said with a deep bow. "I understand you have concerns about the quality of my service to the Empire."


@Rabidporcupine
Chatak

At Chatak's request, Kolgat closed his eyes. And began to snore again. Shaktak took out his monocle and pocket watch and started timing it. The old goblin slept standing upright for exactly 4 minutes and 31 seconds before coming back with an answer.

["We will be needing their labor back later. If you can train replacements and send them to us, that would be fine. You could also send back their products if they can be shipped quickly. However, I suggest we discuss this sort of thing when it becomes an issue. For now, just take them, and if Her Ladyship wants them back, we can talk about it then."]

Shaktak sniffed. "Well color me shocked. The old boy did it. He awoke from his slumber."

Kolgat frowned back and retorted, "Shock is not a color, stupid goblin," prompting a laugh from his victim.

"Thou learnst not of figures of speech, I see! For a scholar, thou hast much yet to learn of the linguistic arts."

The goblin gave him the side-eye and turned back to Chatak. ["If you can create a nation without that bastard, I might consider visiting. Anyway, I look forward to seeing what you come up with."]
Yeah, I'm not sure I can do it all at once anyway. Still, I do need to get on top of this RP, or it'll die out by my own hand. It may help to make a schedule, or else I'll talk myself out of it.

For my writing schedule, I'll post Dragan-FunnyGuy's and Chatak-Rabidporcupine's replies today, Faust-ArmorPlated's tomorrow, then Lex & Enya-FunnyGuy's the day after that. I've messaged Conscripts about bringing Robert back into the plot, considering Dark Cloud's absence, so we'll see where that goes.

@Conejitoooo, are you down to write about an elf lady (your character) seeking help from MacKensie to defend the elvish side of Pelinor? I've been looking for a reason to have the PCs defend a city against the Witch's forces in earnest, and Pelinor looks like the best place to do it. The elves have a secret treaty with the Empire there allowing the humans to mine for iron in elvish territory, and the Witch is looking to cripple that industry.
Today is my day off, so it'll become my Writing Day to catch up on everything and make my mega-posts. :P
@Rabidporcupine

Kolgat bowed his head and fell silent.

And there they waited. And waited. Then a quiet rumbling sound came from the goblin's nostrils. Shaktak leaned over to look in his face.

"Lo, he sleepeth." Shaktak lightly slapped the goblin on the cheek, rousing him with a loud snort.
["Hm? What? Oh, yes, yes, we have some artisans to spare."]
"Whom canst thou spare?"
["I could have told you if you hadn't interrupted my thinking."]
Shaktak narrowed his eyes. "Thine eyes were shut and thy nostrils sang of slumber."
"Moss trolls sang of summer?"
"Nostrils sang of slumber. [Your nose sang of sleep.]"
["Ah. That is how I cogitate. Please do not interrupt me again like that."]
Shaktak waved his hand with a roll of his eyes. "Continue."
Kolgat sniffed offendedly and continued. ["We can spare a couple blacksmiths, a civil engineer, and a team of old soldiers with good masonry skills. Since Her Majesty mandated we treat you as a friend, we will lend them to you free of charge. You may return them when you have finished whatever it is you are building and have trained their successors. Will that work for you?"]
Makeshift tents and campfires were erected over the course of an hour, refugees huddled together mourning the loss of their homes and the lives lost on this fateful night. It was a woeful sight to see soldiers weeping and children silent with haunted expressions on their youthful faces, so many people displaced on this most horrific of nights. On this night the cold wind carried the voices of the despaired, a symposium of melancholy that reached the ears of all within miles as it was a grim reminder of this most tragic of nights. Jared watched the people as they wandered aimlessly, fury and guilt in his heart 'These people never deserved this,' the knight slumped against the wall of a building overlooking the impromptu refugee camp, Jared put his head in the palms of his hands 'They had lives, families and homes to return to but now...' lifting his face from his hands Jared once again looked down at the people in the camp, his eyes were full of tears 'These people have nothing, no hope in this cursed world.'

'Jared.'

Jared was startled by the sudden return of the Revenant's voice, it had gone silent since the confrontation with that goblin Chatak. He wanted to respond but his voice was lost as the other's filled his mind for all but a moment 'Jared can give hope, Jared give people hope.' hearing these words from the voice of a monster was strange, to him there was a suspicion welling up within his heart yet even if the monster had a motive nothing about the words were false. Jared would lay down his life to protect those who are unable to protect themselves, and something told him maybe that was his reason for being here.

A burning determination filled his heart that replaced the despair clouding his mind, a flame of hope to beat back the darkness. Jared was that fire, a white hot flame that would never die as long as the knight still breathed.

It was on this most fateful of nights the huddled masses would mourn no longer, the winds would no longer carry the cold touch of hopelessness and despair, no this night was not the end of hope but the beginning of it. "Listen to my words, and listen well." the knight stepped from the shadows his voice silencing the cries of the crestfallen "Look at me and see who I am!" his glowing eyes flashed in the flickering firelight "Am I still standing?" now Jared's voice boomed echoing off the small cottages that dotted the village "Do I look like I have given up?" some voices cried back from the darkness "NO" "Do I look like I'm ready to lie down defeated?" then more voices arose in answer "NO"

Jared pulled his broadsword from it's sheathe with a metallic hiss and a flash of light, his jaw was hard set and his eyes burning with a fiery rage fueled by a determination to do justice for these victims of a conflict much larger than them. "THIS BLADE I WIELD, IS IT TO FIGHT WITH?" now the cries became a symphony that rolled across the hills thundering a reply.

"YES"

"THIS SHIELD IS IT TO PROTECT WITH?" he banged his sword against the old faded steel of the antiquated shield

"YES"

"I WILL NOT GIVE UP. I WILL END THIS SUFFERING" Jared's voice was getting hoarse but he continued and raised his blade high "I WILL RISE UP TO FIGHT. NOW WILL YOU?" the question hung in the air.


"FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!"

Jared whipped the people into a patriotic frenzy. Men and women, young and old, healthy and infirm, everyone burned within their hearts for vengeance against the vile witch who displaced them. With his speech concluded the knight was approached by Yakeru whom proposed Jared join him and the others for a drink.

As much as Jared would have loved to rest his sore body the knight knew he now had a duty to lead these people. So he shook his head "I'll join you later if I can, for now I have a duty to fulfil." with that Jared gave the young man a hearty slap on the shoulder and walked away.

Passing between campfires Jared was greeted with cheers by those warming by dim firelight. On his way the knight was hailed over by a group of what looked like men-at-arms, soldiers and knights who failed in the defense of their city. They did not look nearly as enthusiastic as the others. These men were battered, broken, defeated. Courage died between their pursed lips.

Their commander, unofficially promoted due to the death of their previous commander, looked at Jared with particular irritation. "How can we fight back How can anyone fight back?" he protested. "Even when we were at full strength, we were slaughtered like animals! What are we supposed to accomplish now that almost our whole force was decimated? Are you insane?" it was an understandable reaction to which in response Jared shook his head "No I'm very much sane, I don't expect us to march back and fight right now." Jared replied gesturing to their surroundings.

"I don't expect these people to march to their deaths, look at the fucking poor state these people were in. Now they have hope, that will give them a reason to push forward." the knight sat by the the fire, throwing a bit of tinder from the ground into the pit causing it to rumble and crack loudly.

"We need to get these people to safety, then we fight the people's war. I have heard that wretched woman herself and her plans of conquest." then over the fire Jared's piercing gaze bore into the commander with no humor "A bloody conquest, where innocents will be slaughtered. I want to make sure that doesn't happen." punctuating the seriousness of his remark Jared put more fuel to the fire that rained glittering sparks, popping and crackling loudly.

There was a scraping of dirt as the commander sat down beside him. "So, what do you plan to do then? Go in there and fight all by yourself? I mean no disrespect, but it's a little tough to believe you alone could handle what five of you could not."

"But we were surrounded back then," said a soldier who sat down beside the commander. "We were decimated and needed to retreat. Now that we've regrouped, we'll have a new set of advantages we didn't have previously."

"Such as?"

"Surprise, for one. I don't think the Witch will be suspecting 2000 soldiers to turn and head back to Ormouth, or that our Knight is going with us. And she won't know from which direction we'll attack."

"That's true. Hey, you've got a good head for this. Maybe you should be commander."

The soldier waved his hands. "Oh, no, I couldn't possibly! I'm much too young!"

The commander gave a wry smile. "You're never too young to lead. It's experience, not age, that qualifies a man. Anyway, is it possible for us to sneak into Ormouth and assassinate the Witch?"

The soldier gave Jared a once-over. "The man is dark and goth as hell. I bet he could sneak past the Devil himself in the dead of night." Jared laughed "Unfortunately my armor is not good for stealth soldier, and we have another problem." he thought back to when the Revenant confronted the masked woman, remembering the pointy-earred warrior with a grimace "Her right-hand is that elf," Jared glanced around noting a few nods from the men near the fire.

"Our priority is to get as far away from here as possible, I won't see you get decimated even if we have the element of surprise. Sometimes damage can be dealt in different ways, first we must destroy her reputation." before anyone could scoff the knight raised a hand cutting them off "People are afraid of her, if they didn't she would face fiercer opposition. A full blown rebellion would be brought upon her, but now I must ask you something."

Jared stood from the ground, dusting off his knees before looking around at the men and women gathered around the campfire "Are you willing to rise from the ashes of your burning city, are you not a testament to survival? Are you not the last remnants of Ormouth?" the question was met by the silence broken only by the low rumble of the hot fire as it snapped and hissed, once in awhile popping "You are the Last Remnant, the survivors of Ormouth."

The command leaned forward. "So what you're saying is, we're not going to fight her directly, but use subterfuge and undermine her politically?"

"At first yes, we can't afford for her to be aware of our efforts. Bit by bit we will grow then we will strike."

"I think we can manage that. What will you do?"

"I'm already doing my part, leading your sorry ass's out of this mess." Jared laughed giving the commander a pat on the back "I'll make sure you don't fuck up along the way."
Sorry I don't have any posts yet today, everyone. Wrestling with a number of mental blocks that'll take me some time to dispel.
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