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Thread: Story- The Meadow

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    Soulwalker Youkaiyami's Avatar
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    Default Story- The Meadow

    MILD GORE WARNING

    Reading "Leylines" is recommended but not entirely needed.

    ---

    They were talking about something, quiet hushed tones keeping her from grasping the full conversation.

    “Take care of it...”

    “Be careful.”

    Mizuki leaned only as far out of her tent as she thought would grant her cover as she saw her companion talking to each other on the other side of the now dying fireplace. Ever since their meditation session, Lorska and HaKiale, in a roundabout way had avoided her, walking on eggshells every time she started an argument. Tonight they seemed to be planning something and while she could not hear everything, she noticed that their forms were tense and hunched. It wasn’t long before both stood, motionless for a moment before exchanging a hug. HaKiale moved towards the tents as Lorska went out into the forest of Vostigar. It was stupid to go off by himself, and even though they sometimes split for scouting duties, voluntarily going alone was suicide. Immortal or not, dying hurt.

    She waited until she knew the Kelari was asleep before moving in the direction her warrior companion had traveled. She’s be damned if this stupid information hide and seek went on any longer. Asking outright got her nowhere. The Bahmi didn’t seem to be trying to hide his trail and she followed out of sight quite easily, avoiding branches and other foliage that may have given away her position. If Lorska had had his battlecat out, she may not have been so lucky. But for some odd reason, the warrior did not call upon his loyal partner for this trip, trudging through the now freshly falling snow by himself.

    The upcoming meadow was a known Storm Legion camp, small compared to some of those on the front lines, but still a hefty unit. Lorska stopped near the treeline, staring at the banked fire, doing nothing but thinking it seemed. Mizuki watched as well. The fire glinted off of the man’s eyes, reflecting the golden yellow she knew as the Beastmaster Soul until he seemed to hold his head as if in the middle of a headache. Once his eyes returned to the silent camp, the red amber she had glimpsed before shone out.

    This was the Soul he had hid from her.

    Like most Ascended with the power to costume their wardrobes, Lorska patterned most of his wear to his souls, and this outfit was something else. The dark leather was eerie, a contrast to the Bahmi’s usual choice of reds and golds, seemingly enhancing his now pale, gaunt, face. He pulled back the hood and cowl that covered nearly all of his face and grinned a grin that sent a shiver down the Elf’s spine. He lifted a large axe, a filthy and evil looking thing, onto his shoulder. Normally he dual wielded axes, making this very strange as well.

    Mizuki crouched down as her companion entered the camp, never once trying to hide the crunch of snow under his boot, even as he came upon the furthest tent. He never broke stride as his axe swung down onto the unsuspecting Storm Legion inside. The blade found its mark as the tent collapsed and the soldier inside screamed out. The axe had spliced his hip, not killing him, but simply maiming. Lorska dug the axe down, using the deadly hooks on the end of the blade to drag the poor soul closer. By now the camp had begun to come alive, shouting and yelling accompanying the slick sounds of unsheathing weapons and loading guns.

    The mage had never seen Lorska kill without reason. He fought because he had to, but looking now at him swing the blade with wanton abandon she knew something was terribly wrong.

    But she couldn’t move.

    Something held her down, something about the fevered look in the warrior’s eyes kept her from confronting him as the camp was laid to waste. The smell of death was heavy in the air, but not simply the smell of the dead, the corpses too fresh to stink, but the Plane of Death. A gunner cried out, dragging Mizuki back from her thoughts just in time to see the pustules erupt from the man’s face as Lorska took hold of his head in one large palm. As he swung the man towards his comrades as a makeshift bludgeon, his axe was used to channel a ray of magic into another group. Their skin burst as grotesque manners of bugs clambered from the wounds, dripping infection and plague when they dropped onto the reddening snow. The warrior took his own share of shots and wounds, but nothing seemed to deter the manic rage that had taken hold.

    The Bahmi turned and took another soldier in his grip, grinning as his fingers found his eye sockets and like some macabre glove made sure the man’s last moments were in tormented blindness. He still screamed as he was held aloft slightly, the blood running from the punctured socket mixing with a new strain of infectious pus. Slowly, the last man welcomed a costly death.

    None of the camp went quickly, each subject to horrors that had never should been seen outside of Regulos’s own mind. The meadow was destroyed, blood and the taint of Death sank into the ground like the rainwater of hell.

    Mizuki’s Ascended constitution did nothing to spare her some the gut wrenching sickness she felt. This was not from the odor nor even the stain of Death magic, but watching who she knew as Lorska commit such acts. He was bullheaded, argumentative, and took pleasure in riling her up....

    But this monster was something else.

    “You could never stay out of something that wasn’t your business, could you?”

    It took a moment before the mage realized she had been found out. Hoping the voice was not directed at her, she tried to back away. The amber gaze locked in on her position and she froze once more. As the Bahmi turned to her, she saw the shimmer of a cloaking spell erase his form from sight.

    Mizuki quickly stood, hoping to figure out where he had gone and knowing full well it was towards her. She just managed to get her staff up to block the deadly part of the swinging axe as it pushed her into the meadow amongst the bodies. But the was not the only swing. In a flash of insight Mizuki took upon herself the Frostkeeper and blocked a savage barrage of attacks, even though it put her to the floor.

    Each swing was not deadly in itself, but the sheer force put behind the weapon jarred her to the very bone. As she braced for the next swing, she was caught off guard as the axe did not ring against the shield, but underneath it, catching the solid magic like an ordinary buckler and pulling her up into the air until she dismissed the field.

    It was a cunning tactic that left her open long enough for not the blade, but the stock of the axe to sail down and into her shoulder. He wasn’t here to kill her, not yet, she would suffer first. Lorska looked down at the pinned Elf, the amber of his eyes glowing in the darkness.

    “And here we are.” His voice had not changed, but it held a hollow sound that chilled her body when no element normally could.

    “Why? All....of this.” Mizuki groaned through the pain as the axe was twisted. “You aren’t like this...Even I know that.”

    “You don’t know a thing. You being here shows that.” His face was blank as he talked, the horrific glee replaced by something darker. “You couldn’t let me go, couldn’t just let this lie. You had to follow me.”

    “And you do this....This is what HaKiale didn’t tell me when I asked about your meditations, isn’t it. Those sessions help you with this......Soul.” She couldn’t help but scrunch her nose as she said the word. What sick minded Ascended’s spirit called out to such a monster?

    “There you go acting like-” the sentence cut off as Mizuki wrenched her hand up and fired a bolt of lightning into Lorska’s face. She had hoped he had been distracted enough that she could call upon the Elementalist without much attention and took the opportunity to get free.

    “You and that Gods be damned lightning!” Lorska snarled as the burns healed over.

    “You’re sick...I can help.” Mizuki stepped away from the Bahmi, careful in her footing as the bodies made difficult terrain. The fevered look once more pierced into her and the mage finally understood why this Soul shot fear into her so easily. She had seen the fall of Gloamwood to Death, to the werewolves and witches and she had seen friends fall to it too. This was the look of a man possessed of Death itself.

    “So you suddenly care? Finally off your high mount?”

    “This isn’t right.”

    The sneer returned. “I am simply doing what we were made for, yes even your god chosen wretch of a soul. We kill. What difference does it matter if I do it like this or summoned by our generals?”

    “Not like this.” Mizuki’s hand swept over the meadow. “This is monstrous, without mercy.”

    Lorska laughed, a cold, unfeeling sound. “Mercy! She wants mercy! There was no mercy for Port Scion, no mercy from those who slaughtered my mother, my blind father! There was no mercy from those who cut me like a slaughterhouse pig and left me to die on those stones!”

    Each word had an equal step as he made his way towards Mizuki. “Death did not hold on to me and now I take the Planes and use them against our enemies. There will be no mercy for those who stand against us, Storm Legion, Endless, no one!”

    The Elf managed the redirect the incoming attack and dodge away from the second swing. She couldn’t keep this up. She was the older, stronger of the two, but Lorska lacked any barriers like this. She couldn’t put herself in this monster’s boots and let loose her morals.

    She’d have to kill him.

    Perhaps it would reset his spirit and whatever emotion was preyed upon by this Soul would be calmed, she had to try at least. She parried what she could and started her offensive. Spell after spell was flung and while she had the Mystical advantage, the warrior bore the brunt of the smaller spells and launched his own magical offensive. She burned away pustules that formed from an ill dodged burst, nearly tripping as the death magic set off new and horrific contagions from the bodies strewn about them.

    She was faltering and hoped she wasn’t imaging that he too began to flag under the savage battle. It wasn’t until now she understood the dept of rage this Soul held. If this was the Beastmaster, she would have won by now, but still they tore at each other. She sliced through leather with her spell blade, he nearly had one of her hands for the trouble. A stalemate brought a change in the battle though. They stood apart from each other and she watched as the fever-like stare seemed to clear up and Lorska dropped his axe to hold his head. The fight was taking its toll, but not in a way that Mizuki had thought of. The battle was taxing the Soul’s anger, the fire could only burn for so long before the fuel died and his oroborus of rage ate itself.

    “I know we fight, not this, words. But I also know this is not what you want. I don’t know what happened to you, how long this has been festering.....” She was slow to make her way over to the struggling Bahmi, trusting her instinct and calling forth her Chloromancer. If he chose to take the axe back up, she could maybe get away while healing herself, but she doubted she would get the chance. Mizuki’s hand shook as she placed it on Lorska’s back, flinching as he turned to her but not pulling his hands away from his temples.

    “It hates you.....No...I...This is my own doing.” the words were said through clenched teeth as the warrior fell to his knees. “I separated it like it was another thing....another person....but this is me.” The last part was strung out along a cry, the woods echoing the words like a mocking bully. Mizuki bent down and put her hands on his, channeling a simple healing aura, hoping that imbuing some life magic would help. She was an accomplished healer and the moment reminded her why the healing Soul had been drawn to her. To help.

    Lorska looked up with an amber gaze, but the fever was gone for now. The color shifted after a few moments as the Beastmaster took back over and his eyes shone golden once more.

    “This was my hate. I felt it when I took up your ley lines that day. I ignored it too long.”

    Mizuki was not comforted by the fact she had spent so much time with someone who hated her so much. Yes, they fought, but the rage she saw was unparalleled. He could be brutish, rude, and aggravating, but she was certain she did not hold such ill will towards him.

    “Do you really hate me that much?”

    “No......This is......much more. But I think without outlet, it.....I....singled onto you....” He seemed embarrassed to admit this and hung his head again. “This is Port Scion, the Wilds, everything in an ugly knot.”

    “And this is a Soul that called to you?”

    The Bahmi’s head shot back up. “NO. This wasn’t called to me! This monster is an infection! A parasite!” His anger flared up once more at her suggestion that he welcomed this disgusting thing. Mizuki’s healer mind had already taken over, not phased at the moment from her disgruntled patient and simply let a healing burst loose to help calm him.

    “Then what is it?”

    “From what I can find, they called them Reavers. Those who trained to master the taint of Death magic on their souls. But no one trains Reavers anymore..” Lorska sat back from his knees and looked disparagingly out at the ravaged camp. “I never let it out, not since it settled in Draumheim and havoked some time in Seratos. It tried back in Ashenfell, but Hak’s rash action changed that.”

    The Elf thought back to Ashenfell, when they were arguing about who should take the taint of the demon lord upon their souls. Lorska had attacked her but HaKiale had reached for the item and changed everyone’s priorities. She had said some nasty things that day, she admitted to herself. But now she had other things to worry about. She knew of Reavers and the fact they had had an untrained one with them made her angry. He put so many people in danger.

    “So you just carried a Soul with you hoping it would go away. A dangerous Soul.”

    “You don’t think I know that!? What do you think they will do with me if I tell anyone? Again, no one trains Reavers, as far as I know, they could just execute them. That’s why the Liberator found me, I learned to redirect the Soul.”

    He shouldn’t be so forthcoming to her. She would simply tell the next commanding officer they saw and he’d be shipped off to the Ancestors knows where and he’d never see the light of day again. He sunk his face into his hands and the coming sigh did little to hide the stuttering cry.

    “And you came out here to let it have its fun.” Mizuki said matter-of-factly.

    “Y-Yes. And you had to go and follow me.”

    “Obviously a stupid idea. But what really matters is that this Soul exists.”

    “And I do my best with it, mother.”

    The mage was actually quite happy to hear some of her companion’s typical snark returning.

    “There’s only one course of action here.” She glanced to Lorska as he lifted his head up enough to fix her with a strained eye.

    “I have to sit in on your sessions more to make you acclimate to my being there and take you out for walks every now and then.”

    “You’re not going to try to have me shipped off?”

    Mizuki let out a laugh. “As much as I’d like to get you out of my hair, you know what kind of fit HaKiale would throw knowing I sold you off like that? I know Reavers. There was nothing other than avoiding Death magic that you could have done to elude it. Maybe your anger towards Regulos and Alsbeth was the catalyst, but....” she put her hand reassuringly on Lorska’s shoulder. “I suppose it’s time we start working on us. So this doesn’t happen again.”

    She hoped it was the right thing to do.They had to work on this because she never wanted to see those amber-red eyes ever again.
    Last edited by Youkaiyami; 08-10-2018 at 11:47 AM.

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