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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:40 pm    Post subject: Fulcrum Reply with quote

“We could have been there,” shouted Brend to the knot of soldiers at his back, “in a hard days march if we weren't harried.”

It was true. It would have taken a lot out of the First Sword, but if they hadn't been continually attacked, they could have forced a march on the city that would have allowed them at least onto the plains that opened against its walls in almost a day. The refugees would be able to make it half of the way there, unprovoked as they were. His attacks pin cushioned the Dogs as they came in, lancing in and out, stabbing with surgical precision despite his sword being less than ideal for that kind of fighting. Kristoph was similarly beleaguered.

“We might not get there at all,” Kristoph's yelled comment was cut short as a veered Dog that he was about to slice into once again adopted it's four legged form and tried to dart into the middle of their knot of fighters, seeking easier prey than the two most heavily armed – Brend and Kristoph – that stood at the fore. Kristoph turned quickly and drove his knee into the beasts flank, then smashed the top of it's head with the pommel of his sword before turning back into the fray as one of the Dogs latched onto his left forearm and he had to knock it loose, too. The First Sword was losing ground. More and more they had to adapt to a more confined area. Flashes of sorcery erupted from the center of the knot as Ronin loosed minor spells into the crowd. One of the Dogs burst into flames, but it was only one among many, and the Dogs around it only suffered burned fur. The acrid smell of burned hair and the coppery scent of blood soon obliterated the smell of the forest around them.

“We need to attack,” Ronin panted loudly, and another flash of sorcery fled from his fingertips into the mass of beasts, it's effect as limited as the previous one. “Hit them hard enough to drive them back.” Somewhere behind him, standing back to back as they were, Brend laughed. No one else answered, no one else had any ideas. Everyone was getting tired. One of the benefits the Dogs had over the First Sword in terms of armament: those of the Dogs weighed next to nothing, while those of the defenders weighed enough to exhaust a man in any protracted encounter.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:44 pm    Post subject: Vibrations Reply with quote

Fiona didn't think that they would be able to keep up with the number of Dogs much longer, and desperately tried to think of something. In her position in the center of the group, she had been using her magic to project a high-pitched sound in front of her that would only be audible to the dogs. Although she had expected to see at least several of the dogs in front of her waver from the ear-piercing blast, she was disappointed. She tried using high pitched sounds sent into their inner ear to disorient them, but her efforts failed again. As the dogs continued lunging, biting, and clawing at the group, in attempts to force their way passed. Fiona could not believe it. It was if they had been rendered deaf, even though she had been careful not to go to such extremes in her attacks.

Fiona frantically tried to think of something else. She could feel the light vibrations of the ground beneath her as the group varied their footsteps and the Dogs ran around them. Focusing on the vibrations, she opened the doors in her mind as Kristoph had taught her. Attempting to act quickly, she began channeling as many vibrations through her feet and in to her body. Her heart began palpating from the kinetic energy building inside her. She began to feel lightheaded, and made her way to the front line to face the Dogs. As they began to lunge towards her, her strength seemed enhanced as she began slicing through the dogs, leaving deep and lethal wounds in their hides. The energy that had been building, absorbed vibratory energy, was released through her sword with every swing; the more frenetic the activity around her, the higher the frequency the sword attained, each swing shearing almost effortlessly through hide, sinew, and bone.

Brend cast a glance towards Fiona as the mob opened up before her renewed vigor. His own blade dispatched Dogs quickly, his arms barely seeming to move at all except at the wrists as he executed two foes with quick arterial strikes which sent their life's blood pumping down their chests. Their eyes only had time to register the recognition that something was terribly wrong before they tried to veer back into human form and grab at the wounds, trying unsuccessfully to staunch the bleeding.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:46 pm    Post subject: Until Reply with quote

Brend cast one glance behind him again, towards the center of what had become an island of First Sword officers. He was sure that Virgil and Livia must have exhausted most of their crossbow bolts by now, though he was more certain about Virgil than Livia; he could see the former fighting mostly with two long knives now, weaving in and around the more heavily armed defenders. Livia was harder to keep track of. He was used to that in general, but she was specifically harder for him to see at the moment because of Ronin. The mage had edged forward and was using his Amplifier to channel and store power, without releasing it in the form of a spell. The result were three concentric rings along his arm which were glowing like an incandescent brand he kept waving in front of him whenever something managed to draw in too close; he was managing to keep a number of the closer combatants blinded, and some of them seared, but else wise it looked like Ronin's stores were similarly exhausted.

While everyone else seemed to be gain ground around her, Livia used the opportunity to close her eyes and focus on all of those around her, using her innate arcane abilities as an extension of her senses. Feeling the aggression of the dogs, she honed in on the most savage ones preparing to lunge towards different members in her party. Her eyes opened, but she didn’t use them as she aimed one of her two crossbows and shot at one dog lunging for Brend, while instantaneously aiming the second crossbow and shooting another running towards Virgil. Both shots hit them in the center of their rage and hatred, their hearts, and dropped them immediately to the ground. Her eyes became her secondary source for sight, and she quickly cut down a few of the most vicious targets around them. She was determined to make the few bolts she had left count.

Kristoph's primary focus had been brutal defense, mercilessly cleaving through Dogs, in either two or four legged form. He had kept close to the inner core of the First Sword were fighting back to back, and he tried to ignore the battle fever which was trying to call him away. The longer he fought, the more the indignation he felt towards the Empire was stirred into a rage. He felt his body growing tired, but his heart and mind felt like they were on fire, and he was a shell trying to keep it contained.

Until Fiona had moved to flank him.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:50 pm    Post subject: The Sound of Retreat Reply with quote

Kristoph had initially thought her martial skills might make her one of the weaker links, and he hadn't been aware of the enchantments she'd cast upon herself, but he did notice when she took up position beside him. The Dogs began to melt away from her as quickly as they did himself or Brend, and she didn't have the benefit of being as well armoured as either of them. They had enjoyed the benefit of being able to kick and beat the Dogs away with armoured limbs, when there were too many for their blades.

No matter how potent their attack, he realized, the sheer numbers were against them. Even with their redoubled conviction, their determination, and will to live, in moments they would all be dead. With that realization, something broke loose inside him and he felt unencumbered, somehow. He strode into the pack of Dogs swinging his sword, not wildly but methodically, hewing limb from body, and through backbones and skulls. He began to laugh, and from somewhere behind him he heard Brend shouting something – cursing at him – but the curses only lasted for a moment until Brend's laughter was echoing his own. The Dogs began to fall back from them, those in the front ranks turning before those behind them understood what was happening, and becoming trapped between the blades of the First Sword and their pack mates. The ground under their feet was becoming slick with the blood and hides of men and beasts.

A howl sounded from behind them on the trail, a howl that belonged to something bigger than any of the Dogs, and something which caused all but the most entrenched animal fighters to pull away from the First Sword and listen. A second howl, prefaced by a sharp yip, then deeper and longer than the first, had the survivors of the pack of Dogs retreating. Their numbers had been cut almost in half by a reasonably small band of fighters. No matter how elite the team, it was nothing short of miraculous.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:52 pm    Post subject: Appeal to the Profane Reply with quote

Kristoph had given chase, and delivered a quick killing stroke to those still alive and immediately within his reach, before Brend's voice finally got through to him.

“Break time,” Brend called in almost a panting breath. He was seated on his own haunches, swaying slightly before he decided to just sit on the filthy floor. “We won, yay. They're gone.” Kristoph was moving back towards the group, slowly coming out of his battle fever. He looked at Brend, then Fiona, then the rest of the group. He blinked several times as he too swayed on his feet with a momentary look of disorientation.

“Come on,” Kristoph gestured, sparing only a moment to glance around. Except for personal belongings there wasn't really anything left to collect. Weapons and armor, both well used and battered now, and a few pack items, and very few supplies. Most everything else had gone on ahead with the refugees and the regular company soldiers. “They let us live. That means they were only supposed to find us, track us.” His heart was still racing, but his mind was refocusing.

“Yeah, but we can rest a minute.” Brend's eyes were closed. To his credit, he had probably dispatched most of the dead Dogs which were now crowding their feet.

“No, we can't. We have to run.” It wasn't an order, it was a statement of fact.

“Oh,” There was something in Brend's tone that sounded both juvenile, and disappointed, when he spoke that one word. What he uttered next was straight up profanity.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:53 pm    Post subject: Something Wild Reply with quote

Part V: The Hour of Loss

~ ~ ~

“At the temple there is a poem called 'Loss' carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it.”
― Arthur Golden


~ ~ ~

Exarch Camp. Lygian Range. Inner Arc.

Jareth sat astride a warhorse, another flanking him being ridden by a man in a long dark cloak and cowl; the other man was clearly hiding his appearance, but was being very sloppy about it. It was clear that he was either bald or had a receding hairline; the front of his hood was only pulled up far enough to cover the top of his head, not the front, and the front was smooth and marked with distinctive tattoos of lighting which seemed to streak down his face. Jareth paid his companion no mind, and looked on passively as the dire wolf approached them and transformed into a humanoid shape, with all the look and accoutrements of the old Druids of the Outer Arc. Jareth noted the man had an almost bestial set to his features even when walking on two legs. The newcomer snarled at the pair.

“Most of my Dogs are dead,” the vicious tone was contrived, he cared nothing for the Dogs. If anything, he considered them to have been in the way of his hunt. Even the title of their unit was an affront to him. Dogs were something domesticated, and Kitarlin of the Fenns was nothing like that.

“And?” Jareth asked bluntly. He didn't care about the Dogs, or about the hunt, or anything else Kitarlin cared about, including Kitarlin himself. Jareth, Lord Tain, took his orders straight from Damon, the Emperor and God-King himself. The two men continued to stare at one another hard for a moment, and for a moment, it looked like it would almost come to blows. Then the robed man nudged his horse forward to stand between the two of them.

“You're not a Dog, are you Kitarlin, Lord of the Fenns?” the robed man murmured in an appeasing tone. “You're something wild, aren't you. Something that can't be contained.” Every statement stroked Kitarlin's ego, and he didn't pick up on the contrived nature of the statements. For every statement made to the contrary, he was like a dog being scratched behind the ears. A smirking grin split his face at what he perceived to be compliments. “Something that needs to hunt,” the man continued, easily playing off the Druids emotions. “There is prey on the High Road. The man, Vicks. He's stolen the young ones; the older ones are fodder, to hard to train. The young ones, however,” the robed man paused, letting the statement hang in the air. “The man Vicks is your prey. Two of your best Dogs will accompany you.”

“I can take him down myself,” Kitarlin had immediately bristled.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:58 pm    Post subject: His Name Is Reply with quote

“We know, I know,” the man soothed. “I only ask you take them so that they may learn to hunt from you, and then shepherd the children back to us. A more fitting job for a border collie than a wolf, wouldn't you agree?”

Kitarlin slowly smirked again, and offered a slow nod. He turned his back and headed further back the trail to where it forked up into the High Road. He raised a hand to his mouth, inserted two fingers and offered a shrill whistle. A small pack of Dogs came, in human form, their exhaustion and reluctance written across the features of their faces. There was a short exchange, and two of the younger of the pack slipped in behind Kitarlin, two who must have fancied themselves young wolves.

The rest of the Dogs made for camp. There had originally been almost two hundred of them, and they had no trouble losing themselves in the camp of the Second Sword which lay arrayed before them now. The camp was over a thousand strong before they had arrived, and over half that number were heavy armed and armored fighting men. In man form, they filtered among the soldiers, not even noticing that they were treated as lessers; simply glad to be accepted somewhere, and offered scraps from the stew pots and skewers.

Jareth looked to the robed man after Kitarlin and the others nearby had filtered away.

“Is that wise, Lord Exarch? He's an animal,” Jareth meant it in the literal and figurative sense of the word. The Fenn Lord had no mind for tactics. “You're just as likely for him to get himself killed, or to have him bring back the children in pieces.” The robed man waved off Lord Tain's concerns.

“It doesn't matter. We have enough children swelling our ranks as it is. We've culled and culled, taken the best, and the best, and the best until all that's left is the rest. One small group of children won't mean anything to anyone. Damon wants them dealt with as a matter of principle,” the robed man noted Jareth's eyes narrow when he used the Emperors given name. That was tantamount to sacrilege depending upon your beliefs.

“As for me,” the robed figure never finished that thought, and a small smile twisted his lips. Chaos and death were the flavor of mischief that amused him the most. They were their own reason for sending Kitarlin out to sew destruction. “Don't call me that, I don't like people knowing my rank.”

“Sir?” Jareth asked. He wasn't sure what to call the man, who snorted at being called 'sir' as well.

“My name is Jonas.”
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:02 am    Post subject: Stories Reply with quote

Afternoon. High Road. Lygian Range. Inner Arc.

Vicks was tired.

There were a few older children, almost young adults, whose presence he was grateful for. Alone, he had too few hands to make sure the youngest were safe, and that they stayed fed and comfortable enough that they fussed as little as possible – the cries of babies would be a sure call to any hostile person or thing roaming the passes. While the rag tag party moved, he ranged both ahead and behind it, scouting and covering their trail respectively, as best he could. They'd brought with them what rations they could carry, each child that could walk bearing some small satchel or knapsack. They were fortunate enough to find wild berries along the way, picking them as they went – and those that picked indulging as they went, keeping their strength up.

When they'd began their exodus into the hills earlier in the day, Vicks had told stories to the children, encouraging their silence with the hushed volume of his storytelling. He was old Kroatoan, and he knew all the good stories about heroes and villains and monsters. Stories about Jordanian the Nightmare, the Tain who consumed his fallen foes; the Koda, Korthal, who was as strong as thirteen men; the Flight of the Prodigal Phoenix, which was a favourite tale about greedy, foolish men, who, after having gained their status at the expense of others, organized an expedition to follow a falling star they thought was their god, and drowned in the eastern ocean as a consequence, weighted down by the wealth they would not share. But those were Tribal stories, not Imperial, and that was frowned upon now.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:03 am    Post subject: 'Dog'ma Reply with quote

Even though the children he'd trained and seen grow to adults had been raised on them. There was a point to them that wasn't just Imperial dogma, and the stories could vary on who told them – they weren't rigidly constructed – because the point of them was the lesson, whether implicit or explicit.

The Imperial counterparts to the stories changed names, and somehow always served to bolster the idea of service to the Empire as the primary virtue of life; that was Petyr Silver's doing, an officer of the Fifth Sword. In the years since Petyr's initial conception, it had become Imperial dogma.

It's elevation in status had been openly encouraged by Azira Dy'Hauc, The Emperor, Damon the Makabe's adviser. That had been the first of several missteps on the part of the Imperials that had lead to Vicks leaving the direct service of the Empire, instead enlisting under Kristoph, one of the men – one of the children – Vicks himself had trained.

It had been late in the morning when he'd told his last story. The valley below the path and ridge they walked was alive with the sound of animals, but there was nothing distinct in the echoes that made their way up to Vicks and the children. Vicks was grateful for that, even though any louder sound would have drawn any and all attention from him and the children, he wouldn't want to explain to them what it was. As it was, he already had to explain to one inquisitive child who'd not yet seen a decade. The girl had asked what the noise was, after his last story and he'd smiled and answered in a hushed voice.

Kef dogs,” he added as a mental afterthought, 'hopefully'. Kef dogs were small dogs that were kept in most settlements, usually inside or close around the premises. Their primary use was in hunting rodents and other small pests that the family residing there would find undesirable. They have shrill barks, and are also known for not realizing their size, and not backing down when confronting a potentially deadly foe.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:05 am    Post subject: Two Dogs Reply with quote

People that sometimes tried keeping Kef dogs in and around sheep or swine often found that the dogs themselves were the first to be eaten by larger predators, their shrill barks at rodents and large insects or even the herds themselves having drawn wolves or large cats to them instead of away. “Just now you'll hear them yelp and run away,” he winked at the girl, and blew air through his moustaches, causing them to rise and fall. “You'll see.”

But he hadn't trusted his own assertions. Not that he thought they were the sounds of Kef dogs, but that they would end up yelping and running away. He had been out of the direct Imperial structure by the time the Dogs had arrived, but he knew of them, and their purpose.

After he entrusted the care of the smaller children to the larger, making sure they knew their bearings and when he would return to them, he backtracked and waited. He was hoping to wait for nothing, and was about to break from his vantage point after waiting only an hour – it would take him almost as long moving double time to return to his charge. Then he froze as two Dogs came into view, skinchangers in animal form, noses to the ground and searching. This wasn't his first campaign, nor his first time dealing with something that was more animal than human. He'd set his watch so that the latrine pit they'd used for their stop here was between him and those that pursued him.

He knew sometimes skinchangers who were new to their abilities found it hard to control, hard to define the line between man and animal, and that usually their demeanour favoured the animal side; as animals they were confused by their instincts just enough, and as men they were often more bestial in mien and nature. He'd known if they were men scouting for them, his skills at covering their tracks would render their tracking useless; not so with beasts, though. Fortunately for him, Vicks had always found such men to be sufficiently slow of wit for strategies that involved things like tactical ambushes.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:08 am    Post subject: Survival Instinct Reply with quote

Unfortunately for him, he was too far away to deal with both of them foes at once by surprise; his charge would reveal his location and intent. He drew a long sword and rose while sprinting forward at the same time. The Dogs raised their heads and he'd targeted one, who in a moment of eye contact realized its danger and turned quickly enough that its wiry tail was amputated the swing of his sword. The injured animal, driven by overwhelming pain and instinct to survive, fled. The remaining lunged at Vicks's unencumbered arm, the Dogs teeth biting into Vicks leather clad forearm. Vicks rolled backward with the lunge, drawing the Dog with him and rolling over onto him. The skinchanger was large, bigger than a normal dog, but Vicks was bigger still, and possessed of a wiry, unassailable knobby strength of an old man. From on top of the Dog, Vicks grabbed the skinchangers snout, and started to force its jaws open, and it started to change forms into a man – if it didn't, Vicks would tear its lower mandible clean away.

As the Dog sought humanoid form, Vicks slipped his gnawed on arm underneath the creatures throat, while beginning to rise with his knee upon its back. It couldn't stop changing midway through to defend itself. Vicks was going to snap the mans neck, and the skinchanger realized it. Panic set in and at first he tried clawing the air behind him to no avail. The Dog changed tactics, one arm still flailed uselessly, but the other had found a crude knife within its ratty tunic. Vicks spotted it, and the mans neck snapped just a moment after the blade had scored the side of Vicks calf. The skinchanger lay motionless as Vicks stared down at it. He thought about the children, and about the children he'd raised that had become the First Sword. “You shouldn't have come near my kids.”

He spat and examined his leg with his fingers. He dabbed blood away and felt it. It was a ragged cut, but not deep. He wouldn't lose any capacity to move, so he bound it loosely and set off hastily. He wanted to catch up with his charges, and didn't notice the binding becoming loose. After a mile returning towards his wards, blood and sweat had saturated the binding. His scent collected in sand and on brush, despite lack of track or broken branches.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:35 pm    Post subject: Too Old Reply with quote

Late Afternoon. High Road. Lygian Range. Inner Arc.

Barks had chased the group for nearly an hour now, the only respite being that they were few in number, and had initially been distant. The last fact changed over time, with the wild noises growing closer, gaining ground on the veteran Vicks and his would be cadre of children.

'Kristoph was right to send me up here,' Vicks thought to himself. 'I'm too old to be down there fighting,' he was puffing his breaths now, the running back and forth had worn him down. He'd have rather stood and fight. His strength was still enough to prove a deciding factor in a contest like that; he didn't have the endurance for protracted battle anymore. He was still on his feet and able bodied by virtue of will power and muscle memory alone. He spat. Just because he was an old man didn't mean he wanted to die like one. He was also a warrior, and if he was going to go...

He could tell by the growing nearness of the Dogs barking there was going to be a fight. The thought rejuvenated him somewhat. But he needed something to put his back up against, to prevent them from surrounding him. One on one, he knew he stood a chance, but if it was a group melee, him against them, they'd wear him down and bleed him out. To Vicks, that was almost as ignominious as having a heart attack. He was waiting for something before he chose his place to make a stand; the trails and ridges that cut through the side of the Lygian range mostly cut through the centre of the mountains, carving the range into peaks and valleys. He'd been guiding the group towards the eastern most paths, after having cut west and north wherever they could to distance themselves from the Second Sword and the Dogs – for all the good it had ended up doing. It was somewhat fitting, Vicks thought, that they were heading back towards the east now – towards the cliff side trails that ran parallel to the valley Kristoph and the rest of the First Sword were now, or had been, fighting in. Their flight would take them full circle back towards the valley they had been fleeing.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:37 pm    Post subject: Not Long Now Reply with quote

Time seemed to compress and expand like the palpitations of his heart as he moved back and forth along the train of children, from rearguard to scout, back and forth, back and forth. Some of the children talked to him, and he responded, though he couldn't remember what he'd said after. The oldest among his charges listened, though, and kept the younger ones aloft and corralled.

“Not long, now,” he repeated, not manic, but every few minutes like a mantra both for himself and the children. They were close, almost to the exposed ridge, then it was a straight shot to the east along the valley. Then they'd have to secure safe passage down to the plateau, he thought, then added, One thing at a time. Barks kept sounding, both close behind, and moving parallel to them. Their path gradually opened from a cleft in the rocks, forming a T-junction to the open air of a ridge overlooking the valley below. Tension had been building in Vicks chest and it was suddenly released, once they set upon the ridge path, their pursuers would be limited in how many could approach at once. He could man a narrow section of trail perhaps not indefinitely, but perhaps long enough to dissuade the Dogs from their quarry.

The shouts of older children and cries of younger ones issued from those towards the front. The time it took Vicks to arrive vanished in a blur of pounding footfalls. The children seemed to move with him in a mob as he did, cries had arisen among the others as well, and everyone moved towards the front like a wave with Vicks at its epicentre. From the western most ridge came a Dog – a skinchanger in canine form – as well as from the path along the junction they were travelling. Before them, blocking their escape were two more Dogs, as well as something else. It was bigger, its snout more tapered and shoulders broader. It must have outweighed any of the Dogs by at least a hundred pounds. As Vicks and the children came to a halt, the latter huddled around him as best they could, with the youngest being shielded by the eldest who were themselves terrified. The Dogs were growling low in their throats, and the other creature – some lupine abomination – veered into the shape of a man.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:40 pm    Post subject: Stay Away Reply with quote

“He only wants the kids,” the recently changed man spoke. His smile was wolfish and threatening as much as it had been in four legged form. “Probably let you come back, though,” the man seemed to think he was playing with Vicks as he spoke. “Train a new generation, what do you say, Vicks?”

Vicks' face turned red, then almost to purple. Stay away from my kids, the mantra began again in his head. He didn't answer. The man facing him, the man who had been a wolf, nodded to the Dogs behind them. At the signal, the Dogs veered as well, and became men. They moved towards the group, towards the children.

“Gentle now with the pups,” the lupine skinchanger made a murring sound, the canine equivalent of a purr. “He wants them... intact.”

Kitarlin. Fenn,” Vicks teeth ground together, his hands deftly travelling down his leathers. Most of his weapons were in satchels, or bags, or lashed away somewhere. Too unwieldy for the work he was doing, running back and forth. Every pound he could shed was energy he had saved. Now he was regretting it. The only weapons he was wearing were mostly short blades, save for two longer ones on his hips. “Stay away from my kids,” he growled, almost as deep and feral as the Dogs.

What happened next was a flurry of motion. Kitarlin was smirking, the Dogs were closing, and suddenly a knife sprouted from the throat of the man behind and flanking the group. Their humanoid forms had provided much easier targets than their canine ones would have. The smirk left Kitarlin's face as Vicks drew his long knives and bellowed forwards, causing the children to give him as much berth as they could. The side of the cliff was near, and it was a long fall to the fog shrouded forest floor. One of the two Dogs facing Vicks managed to knock one of the long knives not only away, but out of his hand and off the cliff. The children closest to the edge watched it vanish into the fog before their attention turned back to their protector and would be abductors.

One of the two Dogs quickly followed the long knife over the cliff, a mix of a yell and a yelp escaping his throat as he did; Vicks backhand as the result of being disarmed had knocked the Dog not only senseless, but to it's death.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:48 pm    Post subject: Wings Reply with quote

The remaining Dog was unarmed and wary of the blade that remained waving in front of him, it stepped backwards out of range, but Vicks thwarted it's intention to escape by throwing the knife at it haphazardly. As the Dog was distracted, Vicks reached out and grabbed it by the neck and groin and heaved the Dog into the air with a grunt. Almost simultaneously, one, then two, then three arrow shafts sprouted from Vicks back as he turned to heave the last Dog off the cliff. Kitarlin stood with a smirk, and a longbow. The last Dog fell with a yowl of terror as it fell, and Vicks turned towards Kitarlin. A heavy breath caused blood to spray from Vicks lips.

“Told you, stay away,” Vicks lunged towards Kitarlin. Kitarlin sidestepped and Vicks bellowed, “From my,” Vicks managed to grab the bow, tugging the leader of the Dogs forward enough to snag his arm. Kitarlin tried to pull back but Vicks sacrificed his footing to pull the other man forward into a crushing hug. “My kids!” Vicks shouted as he toppled backwards. The two of them disappeared over the edge and the children rushed forward to look.

The other Dogs that had vanished in similar fashion had left their imprints among the fog clouds below, though the rifts in the mist were slowly closing. Behind the children, a blue-white flash of energy formed, and two men materialized, their arms raised high towards each other, hands joined together to form an arch with their bodies.

“Where's Vicks?” One of the men asked as he broke contact with the other and stepped forward to the side of the cliff as well. The other man asked a question behind him, in the form of a name.

“Kaius?” The blue robed figured queried. Kaius turned back to look at him and shrugged, just as one of the children tugged at Kaius's sleeve. He looked down to the child.

“He got his wings back,” the child spoke softly, wide eyed.

Kaius turned to Atticus, and at an encouraging gesture to ask more the High Mage, looked again to the child. “Who got his wings back? Where's Vicks, he's supposed to be with you.” The child – a little girl – looked at Kaius as though he knew nothing at all. With one hand she gripped Kaius, and the other hand pointed out over the cliff.

“It's alright, he got to be an angel again,” she smiled up at him. Several of the other younger children turned away from the cliff as well, smiling at Kaius and Atticus. The older children bore a look that was half sad, and half filled with wonder. “Like she said. He got his wings back.”
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