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TVC II Chapter 4 - The Queen of Mysteries

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The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
Faust had been intently fiddling with his sphere, readjusting a screw with a tiny screwdriver to alter the angle of a piece of glass. It was really quite awkward how those two gears meshed at just the wrong point, but he decided a replacement gear matrix would circumvent the problem nicely.

As he began reaching for a tiny wrench a loud shriek jarred him from his reverie. He panicked as the sphere tumbled from his hands and dove to cushion its fall. It was only once he had saved it, however, that he realised a battle was underway.

He rapidly tossed the sphere into a safe pocket and turned to pull his chain buckler from his pack, but an assassin came at him as he sat there.
Faust gulped and raised his backpack against the broadsword swinging down at him. The sword did not even splinter the wood or scratch the leather, instead shoving the backpack at Faust. The owner, surprised at the lack of dead vampire, took a step back.
"Roland!" Faust cried.
A moment later and the attacker had lost his weapon, and Faust swung the backpack at him just hard enough to send him flailing off the edge of the path. Retrieving his chain buckler he headed after Roland, seeking safe passage in his protector's wake.
 

Count michael

The Undead Sparky
Mikhail had been trudging along with the rest of the group at the slow pace of their undead escort, occasionally he would stare longingly at the Wights muttering to himself in his guttural northern tongue. Completely bored and impatient he was about to insult someone when he felt a sharp pain in his chest almost like a bite, slapping himself in the chest thinking it was a bug he realised that the bite was in fact a black bolt jutting from his chest. Immediately confused he stared dumbly at the bolt for quite some time oblivious to his soundings, it was only when the nearest wight swung it's ancient axe at him that he noticed something was wrong. Purely on animal instinct Mikhail grabbed the haft of the axe stopping the wight's attack with his strength, Mikhail continued to look at the wight with a dumb expression before becoming a feral grin as the realisation they were being ambushed finally sunk into his mind.

"Oh.... you want to fight do you?, well you could of said so earlier and saved us this damned walking" he growled striking forward with his clenched fist knocking the wight's head clean off.

Grinning and howling like like an idiot Mikhail drew both his sword and axe hacked at the nearest enemy cutting down another wight which crumbled at his feet, as he was enjoying himself a black garbed figure stabbed at Mikhail whilst he was distracted nearly gutting Mikhail who barely just managed to block the sudden attack. Caught off guard the figure forced Mikhail backed as he could only counter his assailant's attacks whose element of surprise and speed briefly got the advantage over the distracted northerner.

Still confused and distracted as to who was attacking him it was only when his opponent blocked his clumsy attack that Mikhail finally realised who was attacking him.
" Damn Vampire!!!!" he roared suddenly focusing on the combat lashing out forcing the vampire who previously had the advantage stumbling backwards who was surprised at this mortal's sudden strength and fury. As the vampire blocked his next blow Mikhail feinted right before suddenly striking forward headbutting the vampire which reeled back in shock with a sickening crunch. Taking advantage of this Mikhail hacked into the vampire's side with his axe and running through it with his sword killing it.

Mikhail was about to decapitate his fallen enemy when he heard a yell, turning around and noticing Roland who had a couple of wights closing in on him. without thinking Mikhail grabbed the nearest object which was the fallen vampire. Throwing with all his brute strength Mikhail managed to knock over one of the wights with the vampire destroying it as well as clipping the other with the thrown corpse knocking it off balance. Thinking that Roland's cry meant him, Mikhail obediently followed after Roland like a dog following a command.
 

Harland

The Colonel
True Blood
All of a sudden, something large - a corpse - smashed into one of the wights, sending it flying and staggering the other. Roland took advantage of its momentary vulnerability by reversing the grip on his right knife and slashing it across the wight's kneck, tearing out it's throat and most of the withered flesh. The wight gave out a hollowed yell, before crumbling into a heap.
At a cry from Faust, he turned to see the engineer still sprawled on the ground with another vampire readying a thrust with a broadsword. For pity's sake he thought as his knife impaled the assassin's wrist, sending the sword clattering with the ground. Faust followed up with a blow with the backpack, the assassin went sprawling, and Roland finished him with a stab to the heart while he was on the ground.
Looking over his shoulder to check that the coast was clear, and noting the presence of Mikhail, Roland turned back to the melee ensuing before him.
"The way back is clear!" he bellowed, his voice carrying over the clangour. Time to leave.
 
Ezra had been traversing the cliff face high above the entourage below, her natural, insect-like abilities helping her maneuver the crevices in the rocky wall.
Then without warning, a crossbow bolt fired into the group from way below her, the sound ringing in her ears like an executioner's bell. Only then did the cowled figures along the wall reveal themselves, firing off volleys of bolts into the group. She cursed in frustration, feeling foolish for having overlooked their presence.

She swung up onto a ledge where a figure lay in wait. She lashed out a high kick into the side of their head, forcing them to stumble off the ledge into the valley far below. Two more beside it turned to Ezra and hissed, baring dagger long fangs. She withdrew her sword and slid it through one's eye socket, piercing their brain and killing them instantly before their body fell from the ledge. The second brought a shining short sword down onto her and she blocked the blow with her arm, the majority of the strike being absorbed by her light armour but the sharp of the blade that pierced through burned her flesh like a searing flame.
She growled at the back of her throat and punched upwards with her Katar, driving the blade into the bottom of the vampire's jaw and pulling back with the force to rip the bone and flesh from it's hinges.
The now demoralised and howling vampire was shoved off the cliff face into the flurry below as Ezra barreled past. Victory wasn't an option here and other vampires had begun to take notice of her, firing silver tipped bolts across the gap. She clambered quickly along the cliff face back the way she had come, cursing herself for not having seen the attack coming and preparing better for it. She heard the call for retreat from below and prayed to whatever deity still listened that she had not inadvertently doomed the group.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
Dieter parried a stroke from one of his opponents and back handed the Assassin with all his might, sending the vampire hurdling through the air.

Focusing his attention on the disarmed opponent he advanced, it didn't matter how skilled the assassin might be in unarmed combat, the simply fact was that he lacked a weapon and had no chance against a trained and armed swordsman.

In a blur of prenatural speed Dieter brought his longsword down onto the skull of the immortal, who attempted to use an empty hand method of knocking the sword aside to save himself but he simply lacked the strength to defend against the Blood Dragon.

Not moments after finishing of this opponent the second Assassin reappeared, his blade slicing toward's Dieter's neck, the captain backed away his own sword rising and falling as he defended himself against the assailants swift blows. Catching his opponents blade on his own Dieter managed to bind with blade and force it down and out of the way but the assassin merely lashed out with his hand to punch Dieter in the throat and then went low and spun into a leg sweep throwing the armoured vampire from his feet.
Instinctively Dieter rolled and narrowly avoided a sword thrust towards his chest, with practiced ease he came back to his feet and threw a cut out to his left to decapitate an oncoming wight before turning and slashing out to ward away another oncoming blow from the assassin.

Dieter frowned, his opponents garb and his fighting style were familiar...always attacking the weak points and attempting to go for vampiric blows...western weapons but eastern hand to hand techniques.

Dieter stood in shock as he realized where he had seen this before, so slow that he failed to notice the sword stroke aimed at his ribs in time, with all the speed of a Centuries old vampire he leapt back so that only the point the assassin's sword ran along his plate armour.

"You fool! How did you not realize before...but why are they here?" he thought.

Dieter bent his knees and lowered his blade into the plough stance as he stared at the Assassin, this vampire's face was hidden by a cowl so that only his eyes were visible.

"I know you! Why are you here?" he snarled.

The assassin's eyes widened a fraction in surprise before he leapt away from Dieter, his hand went to his belt and then came up, hurtling the blades at his face.

Dieter's left hand flashed out, knocking the blades from the air with his armoured fist and stepping forward into a blindingly fast one handed thrust, extending his arm as far as it would go. The move was a risky one as it left the swordsman unable to defend against a counter however luckily it was quick and unpredictable enough to catch the vampire in the heart before he could defend.

The Greatswordsman twisted his blade and then kicked the corpse off it.

Dieter give a quick glance around to see if he could find his dropped Zweihander but it was no good.

Turning the Guardsman ran towards Morturion, as he reached the mortal he grabbed his shoulder.

"Magic!" he hissed "They have poor defenses against powerful magic!" he told the Necromancer, not bothering to explain how he knew this.
 

The Dread King

Moderator
Staff member
True Blood
Morturion had sighed internally as he was reprimanded by Anya, and insulted by the Lahmian barbarian. This is going from bad to worse...first, the Lahmian divided this group by exposing its rag-tag elements through crude manipulation, and now, she destroys what little organisation we have through enthralling the leader. I wouldn't be surprised if this contemptible band was delivered to Neferata in pieces, after its ever-so honourable members were machinated into tearing themselves apart. Somehow, this feels less like we are emissaries to the Pinnacle than a bad joke Rowhaine sent to his grandmother.

Mental grumblings gradually turned to paranoia as the necromancer climbed the path with what he fondly called the Catastrophe Council. He thought back to his discussion with Elanor and Nimrais in the carriage the day before, ruminating on Neferata's arrogant, sadistic, and worrying willful personality. Ever the strategist - and, having little else to do on the long journey - Morturion glanced around at the rocky passes the group travelled through. They were dark and unrevealing. Unlike Neferata's base servant here. The Pinnacle is extremely well-fortified. A worrying thought flickered in Morturion's mind about a potential use of such terrain, but he dispelled it as quickly as it had come. All the better to defend itself against chaos. This gives the arrogant queen yet another incentive to combat the Ruinous Powers -- she has a chance against them. Nevertheless, Morturion commanded his wight bodyguard to draw a few inches closer to him.

Time passed slowly, and Morturion travelled the path to the Pinnacle in alert silence, near Dieter. At least he wasn't entranced with that damned emissary of Neferata. Nevertheless, the mind-numbingly boring pace of the journey was nothing compared to the single moment in which, for Morturion, the world stood still - the moment in which a bolt embedded itself in a hapless tree.

The deja vu he experienced in that split-second was almost comical. A single pull of the trigger had torn into a tree, but it had also thrust a stake through the heart of a potential alliance between the Council and Neferata; it had broken the unwritten terms of diplomacy by assaulting emissaries. Others would hope for an apology and an explanation that it was all an accident. Others would stand stock still, agape and paralysed, and no doubt be butchered by the council's assailants.

But betrayal was nothing new to Morturion. That bolt was, to him, nothing more than the sword he'd thrust through the priest of Morr fighting to defend his village. And so the next bolt was immediately anticipated, and consumed in arcane flames with the others that sailed towards Morturion.

A wight raised its deadly blade behind Morturion, ready to slice him in half. Amusement played across his face as he recognised the paradox that the wight embodied: There is order in Chaos, and it's a damn sight more organised than this circus troupe. The sword promptly clattered to the necromancer's feet with a tinny, hollow clang. The wight followed, impaled on the blade of Morturion's superior bodyguard. Morturion thought smugly, But this pathetic display is not coordinated enough to match a veteran of the Cult of Nagash.

As if in sycophantic agreement with the necromancer, his former assailant rose to its feet once more, under his command. It's time to make an advance to the rear. Morturion watched, dismayed, as Anya advised the other members of the council to do the same. Internal voices whined in Morturion's brain: She's made one mistake after the other. Those who were not already planning to flee should have been left to die; they were too stupid to be worth much anyway. This is the perfect time to dispose of those fools Faust and Kavok! As if fate was mocking him, Morturion watched his hopes dashed as Roland saved the weak and irritating vampire time and time again.

The necromancer and his two wights started to cut a path through their skeletal enemies towards the Carstein coaches and their deliverance, resurrecting the assailants who were still sturdy enough to fight for Morturion after initially being cut down.

They had only bested three other wights (one of which was too damaged to serve the necromancer) before a cowled vampiric assassin with two dirks dropped down gracefully in front of Morturion's entourage. A couple of wide slashes from those blades put a definite end to the new recruits and a well-placed kick threw aside the original bodyguard. With lightning speed, the vampire leapt towards the necromancer - who promptly spouted a plume of flame from his outstretched palm.

Dieter emerged from a sea of fiercely engaged combatants and gripped Morturiom's shoulder. "Magic!" he hissed. "They have poor defences against powerful magic!"

"You're in the same boat as your comrades, then," Morturion remarked with a tinge of surprise to the sorry pile of charred flesh and ashes that sat at his feet. "Or, er, the same oven." He looked at Dieter frankly and said, "What do you suggest, then? I think we should just press this brief advantage, take the princess and leave now with anyone capable of following quickly. As Roland said, for now, the way is clea- ".

The necromancer was rudely interrupted by a bedraggled assassin falling from the ledge above onto the one wight who had recovered from the previous vampire's attack. The bodyguard's frame was torn asunder as it broke the cowled figure's fall, and the splitting sound was followed by a swivelling of cowels as a group of assassins beheld their fallen comrade's grisly end.

An angry bellow reached out across the pass from one of the vampiric watchers. "By the gods, what is going on here? I hear that the pathway is clear, and it seems that some of you imbeciles can't even keep your footing. Get over here and help me cut off this retreat, you fools!"

A series of twists, flips and turns delivered a group of reforming assassins through the group embattled council members unharmed. Clearly, they had prepared well for a fight in this area. The robed figure who had issued the reproachful orders rushed out into the breach with a cluster of subservient assassins and wights with a wickedly sharp rapier and a dagger held menacingly in the stance of an expert killer. Others quickly flocked to his lithe, albeit imposing, form, while the main body of troops that had arrived with the Lahmian guide rapidly encroached on the council from the rear as they attempted to retreat.

Morturion grimaced and resumed conversation as he blasted a wight aside with a bolt of Dhar."Were you thinking of any drastic spellcraft in particular, Dieter? The situation here does not seem too promising for us at the moment: speak now or forever rest in peace."
 
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Elanor jumped with a start as a crossbow bolt thunked deep into an ancient tree. Looking around she immediately realised they had been betrayed by the lahmian vampires. How had she not seen this coming? With a string of angry curses she drew forth her blade which burst forth into flame.
"You will pay, scum!" she roared and charged forward to hack at one of their assailants. The undead wight fought back with an ancient axe. His empty eye sockets uncaring of Elanor's fury. Elanor's blade struck through the wight's rusted armour but to little effect. This was not working particularly well and more wights were closing in.

In the distance she heard the princess sounding the retreat. She couldn't let herself and the others get surrounded here. Even if they killed hundreds of the wights they would still be dead. They had to warn the rest of the council of this betrayal.
She heard Dieter's suggestion to use magic and sheathed her sword. Raising her hands she began to chant and created a wall of flame between her and her attackers. Between the scorching heat and dense black smoke they would be safe from their attackers arrows.
"Let's run while we can," she cried out and sprinted towards the carriages.

Silence, she thought desperately. Where are you? We need to get out of here!
 

Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
Anya gasped as the bolt struck her shoulder, eyes wide as her head flew up to the sky as she was pitched back by the force. The thud as she landed crushed the air out of her lungs and it was only thanks to the tiny screaming voice in the back of her mind that she shifted, once again rendering her undetectable.

Even so that took far too much energy and she could no naught more than lay there for a moment, eyes wide, gasping as she struggled to draw in breath and push aside the pain. Suddenly there was a thud to her left, and her eyes flickered to see a bolt that had driven deep into the hard earth. Her trained eyes knew it was more than a simple deflecting, the depth would suggest it had been specifically aimed for that point.

Thud.

This time she saw the bolt, saw the intelligence of the assassin skulking on the pass way. He had guessed that she would be incapacitated and whilst he could not see her, that wasn't stopping him from hoping to strike lucky. She had to move. Mentally beseeching Neru, Anya called on all her reserves and rolled to her right side, before shuffling awkwardly away from the bolts.

The next bolts sliced through the leather of her long boots, close enough to slice the skin on her shin and draw blood but not do any serious damage. Anya realised the dust from the earth must have given her away, and the cut was enough to shock her system into action. Flinging herself forward she got on her feet and quick leapt to a nearby rock, and then another. More bolts stuck the ground where she had lain and had she not moved, she would have been dead.

Anger flared through her, and she spied a discarded crossbow nearby from a fallen assassin. Checking her attacker was still focused on where she had been Anya shifted once more, picking up the crossbow and firing in one smooth action. It struck the cowled vampire through the neck and he tumbled from his perch into the hard rocks below.

Finally having gathered herself, Anya spat out the holy incantations to heal, numbing her pain for a while. Glancing round she realised she was hidden but would not be for long. She had to move but she only had enough energy for possibly two shifts. It would have to be enough.

***

"I have a suggestion," Anya said to Morturion as she shifted into their vision, "I believe you know of Shadow magic, of misdirection? Can you create some kind of illusion, perhaps shadow us and create false shadow duplicates of us? If they do not know which is true or not, it will hopefully give us the chance we need to flee."
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
Dieter opened his mouth to reply to the Necromancer but instead of words he only managed a croak. Frowning the Blood Dragon rubbed at his throat, the wound was completely gone but for some reason it still stung.

He was distracted from his thoughts at the appearance of Anya and he listed to her speak.

"If they brought one of their mages then he will likely be a illusionist himself." Dieter told them as he glanced at Morturion "I don't know if that makes a difference." he added, his own knowledge of magic being too poor to make much of a judgement himself.

"If you could perhaps lay some magical traps encase they follow that could also help." he added "Their shadow moving abilities would make escape difficult if they pursue." he looked at the Princess and then the Mortal "Whatever is being done must be done now. Whoever fails to run with the rest of us with simply have to be left behind, this is far too dangerous to wait around."

"Not to mention how easily they can summon reinforcements if they wish." he thought to himself.


----------------

A tall slim figure stood atop the cliffs, just out of range of the fighting, as he watched the melee below. He had merged with the shadows to become utterly invisible but his vampiric eyes allowed him to easily see the Council members fighting despite victory being impossible.

His grin only grew wider as he watched on.
 

The Dread King

Moderator
Staff member
True Blood
As Morturion raised an eyebrow at Anya's sudden appearance, his thoughts raced, and he spoke them aloud, "A good idea, but risky if they have an illusionist. They will be able to see through these shadows copies and dispel them - or at least mark them out - should he or she realise what is going on and apply magical effort to do so. That will in turn, of course, make his or her presence known to us...we could then dispose of them and make new illusions, but they are probably well-guarded. And the Lahmian barbarian may also be versed in shadow magic, which could be a problem if she returns." He sighed in frustration, and threw a ball of Dhar over his shoulder into an incoming wight. It was thrown back into Elanor's wall of wire, where it promptly burnt to a crisp.

"What you did just there could come of use though, princess. If I create a few shadow copies of us, it will quickly become apparent if the enemy can see them for what they are, and, indeed, who these watchers are. Then, you could slip through their defences with that interesting technique and kill the mages before they can sabotage any new copies I make, and then make your escape via the same method. Perhaps if I pointed you in the general direction of the wizard - or, Nagash forbid, wizards - Dieter, you could lead a group of other council members in attempt to plough through enemy troops towards them. It would be suicidal to complete this mission, but, of course, you wouldn't have to - this could distract the illusionary mages to make them even more vulnerable to Anya's surprise attack. Hopefully they won't be using their magic to look for abilities like hers, so they won't spot her until it is too late - ah!" Morturion cried out as a bolt narrowly skimmed his head, drawing blood along its side before thudding into the rocky face of the pass. "How stupid of me," he mumbled under his breath, and gave a mental command to his armour, which duly engulfed his frame wholly.

A slightly muffled voice coming from a face hidden behind a helm spoke, "As for magical traps, the wall of fire Elanor has summoned should stop most of the assassins nicely, that is until the mages that might be here, as well as the Lahmian (should she reappear), try to dispel it. I could do something, I suppose, but the main worry is - who is controlling the Carstein carriages? You, Dieter? Or colonel Canaris? Either one of you summoning machines that could certainly outrun these assassins would be a great help to us - but they may already have been destroyed, unless whatever power controlling this place intends to scrounge them for their own benefit. If it's Canaris controlling those carriages, someone needs to find him - and quickly."

Another wight tried to attack Morturion from behind, but he turned around in time just to catch its blade with his scythe. The tip of the former weapon had bitten into Morturion's shoulder. He roared in pain and, with a great effort, shot bolts of dark lightning from the fingertips of his right hand that gouged great holes in the skeleton's body, causing it to collapse. "Will you STOP interrupting me?" he yelled at the corpse, before summoning a protective shield around Dieter, Anya and himself.

"Erm, I've probably spoken too much, though that all needed to be said, I suppose. I'm creating the shadow copies now; prepare yourselves!" the necromancer warned. Harsh syllables rolled off of Morturion's tongue, but the sweat rolling from his brow was thankfully hidden by his helmet, and the magical strain put upon him by casting advanced spells in a wounded state was concealed. Several shadow copies of each council member at the Pinnacle appeared at scattered points in the pass and ran in various directions. They fought with basic skill, but a simple thrust through their bodies would dispel the illusion and cause the shadows they were made up of to disperse. Already, the assassins' ambush had been mildly compromised as they fell into disarray, wasting time duelling with tricks of the light - or rather, of the shadows.

Internal shame at his weakness clouded Morturion's thoughts.
I can do better than that...much better, he mused, relishing the delicious new idea he'd just had. A group of assassins were running at high speed towards Morturion, Dieter and Anya, when another assassin appeared from the shadows cast by the wall of stone and shouted at them, "Wait!" They stopped, confused. "They're illusions! The real ones are over here." Morturion grinned menacingly as his shadowy puppets misdirected their brothers- and sisters-in-arms, at his conduction, against fake beings. He'd realised that some of the assassins would catch onto this manoeuvre also, and had prepared for this. Illusionary assassins added to the ambiguity that was ravaging a once-coordinated attack, encouraging the real cowled figures to attack their brethren, who they condemned shadow puppets. Chaos reiging amongst the servants of chaos, Morturion gloated internally. Things are how they should be.

The necromancer knew that if there were any shadow wizards amongst the strike force, the glorious madness would be over soon, but this was the opportune moment to flee. "Now, if anything goes wrong, we could always fall back onto the plans I just laid out, but hopefully it will be a smooth journey to Sylvania from here on. Run!" he urged the vampires around him. He duly did so - and to top the insanity, several shadow copies of various council members joined him.
 
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Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
"Any Necromancer could control the carriages now that I think about...that is how Nightmares are designed." he muttered with the awful feeling that the Assassins had stolen their only mode of escape.

Dieter closed his eyes and searched for the connection, the Lord Regent had been sure to have his Captain connected to the unholy steeds, after a few moments he breathed a sigh of relief and smiled faintly.

"They're were we left them, just beyond the ravine." he told Morturion, "I recommend you take control of their sorcerous 'reigns', you will be best suited to magically commanding them and empowering them if needed."

After this the Blood Dragon silently watched Morturion use his spellcraft, quietly impressed as the mortal summoned up illusionary copies of the council.

"Run!"
Morturion yelled as he followed his own advice.

Dieter's hand flashed out to propel the princess forward a few steps.

"Quick! Go!" he shouted, starting of on a quick jog himself, pulling Anya along with him to ensure she kept up with him. He was careful however not to run fast enough to hurt the human.

"And if she doesn't I'll carry her!" he told himself.


---------------------------------------------

The muscular Captain Salvator Marzaro snarled at his men, he had been commanded to lead this assault and so far it had turned into an utter farce. He tore the cowl from his face and hurled it to the ground as he cast around in an attempt to find his lieutenant Nikolaus but he couldn't see were the robed man had gotten of to.

"I shall have to handle matters personally"

Rapier and dagger in hand he stepped around a small personal guard of Wights and strode purposefully towards the Council.

The Veteran Assassin felt the winds of magic change and froze, there was a flare of light as the old sorcerer cast his magic.

"The one called Morturion" he thought thanking the Shadows that at least some of their intelligence had been correct, so far the information provided to the Strike Group had been an utter underestimation of the Council's strength.

He watched in silence as the illusionary copies of the Council members ran rampant around the area and his own men's distraction by them.

"Simpletons!" he roared and with a angry chopping gesture he banished two nearby clones of Dieter and Anya.

"You!" he spat pointing at one of his men "Tell Nikolaus to banish these, he's our only full Shadow Adept."

Turning he gestured to two of his elite swordsmen "With me. I shall deal with the Sorcerer scum myself. You will kill the Guardsman and the mortal woman".

With that the Captain and his two followers vanished into the shadows.
 
Elanor suddenly saw herself standing not too far away and came to an abrupt halt. Morturion's magic was powerful indeed. She could have been looking into a mirror. Despite being surrounded by an undead army of shadow ninjas this was rather creepy.
"Is that really what I look like from the back?" she wondered to herself. An arrow buzzed right past her face.
"Run!" someone yelled.
Elanor didn't need a second telling and took off. Running nimbly around the slow moving wights blocking her path and away from the shadow assassins.
 
As the group had advanced together with their new escorts towards only the Lady knew where, Kavok was wearing a small frown on his face. He had ended up being separated from the undead among the group he at least felt he knew somewhat, and that made him slightly nervous. Glancing around at the armored skeletons near him, he thinks to himself 'Well then... It appears I've been mistaken for a guard... So they've put me with theirs... Fun. Well, at least anything that wants to attack this group now would have to go through these animated bones and myself before they can harm the others. Guess I may as well play the part then...' He lets out a small sigh as he straps his shield on, and just continues to walk along with the rest of the group.

When the first bolt was fired, and the "allies" started their assault upon the council members, Kavok was caught completely off guard. He barely managed to see the skeleton next to him bearing its weapon and taking a swing at him, that he just managed to bring his shield up enough to block the blow from cutting into his flesh. He had however taken the full force of the strike mostly unprepared and was knocked onto his back. Likely this saved his life for those first few moments as the hooded figures just left him for the wights to deal with and focused on the targets they felt were more of a threat.

As Kavok started to fully realize what was happening, the wight that had knocked him down was now lifting its blade to deliver a finishing blow. Kavok managed to use his shield to bash the blade away, before rolling over and getting to his knees. Pulling his blade out of the sheath at his hip, Kavok quickly takes a swing at the wight, who managed to block with its own shield. Kavok quickly got to his feet as he got a bit of distance between himself and his adversary, and barely managed to notice another wight trying to stab at him. Trying to parry the blade and dodge the blade, Kavok managed to stop the blade from really going into him, but it still managed to put a shallow cut up the side of Kavok's face. Gritting his teeth, and with a grimace on his face, Kavok swung back at this new attacker and managed to swing his blade between the skeleton's sword arm and body, thus separating it from the wight. As the sword arm fell to the ground, Kavok quickly moved his shield to block an attack from the first skeleton.

Kavok exchanged a few blows with the wight with neither side really gaining any ground, before seeing the second wight putting its arm back into its place, being reattached by either the skeletons own abilities or some other magical source, Kavok didn't know. 'Right. Their undead. So I'm outnumbered against foes that don't stay dead, or even injured for long... Wonderful... I feel this is th-...' Kavok just barely managed to block a sword strike that broke his train of thought. 'Ok, yes, time to tactically advance towards allies.'

Kavok managed to block another strike with his shield, before quickly back stepping and then turning to start running through the combat taking place. Managing to block a few wights blades that swung towards him in the combat, Kavok tried to advance towards where he had last seen a face he actually felt somewhat familiar with, without actually getting into full combat with any of the skeletons that had thus far attacked him. His luck ran out though as one of the crossbowmen aimed their weapon at Kavok from the shadows of the surroundings, and managed to score a hit with their black bolts into Kavok's back. The hit made Kavok stumble and knocked the wind from his lungs as his jaw naturally clenched up and his eyes bulged slightly. Barely managing to catch himself from falling to the ground, Kavok glanced over where the bolt should have come from, and saw nothing bot darkness in the cliffs.

Quickly looking around, Kavok finally managed to spot a slightly familiar sight in Dieter's two-handed blade being swung around in a melee. Not currently engaged in melee, Kavok held his shield up between himself and the shadows that had evidently shot him, he held his sword in his shield hand. Reaching around with his now empty hand, he clenched his teeth once more as he broke off a majority of the arrow between his fist and his thumb. Quickly getting back into a combative stance, Kavok advanced towards where he had seen Dieter, trying to keep his shield between himself and the cliffs now.

When Kavok had managed to get near to where he had thought he had seen Dieter, he managed to spot the group that had gathered, just in time to see the copies of them appear and the group start to run. 'Oh great... I finally find familiar faces, and I find more then I should. I'm guessing its a retreat that we are aiming for... So I'm hoping its the horses the real people are going for... At least I hope there is still only one real... them? Would that be the wo-... No, its time to run now... Questions later...'

Kavok then starts to book it as fast as his human legs can carry him, in his heavy armor and with a bolt buried in his back.
 

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
Faust deflected a passing arrow into the ground with his chain buckler.
The blade mechanism roared to life as he sliced a fence post from the ground, slathering it in oil from the bottle in his other hand. The mountain track sloped downhill from where they were fighting and the roughly warped and slicked plank made for a unique escape opportunity. He turned to call Roland over, but stopped upon realising that he had no idea which was real.
"Escape, then regroup," he muttered to himself. "Or was it the other way round..."
As images and copies sprang up all around, Faust was the only one sleding down the hill at ridiculous speeds using his buckler as a bumper and screaming as he hit every rock on the path.
"This was not one of my best ideas!" he yelled as he barreled past a group of possible friendlies, through a group of assassins and emerged onto an unguarded pathway.
 
After a few minutes of nothing but sheer sprinting Ezra hit the edge of the cliffs, almost falling off to her own demise. She quickly glanced behind her to see that the assassins were caught up with what appeared to be the group. For a moment she believed that they would not get out in one piece.

A new character stepped into play below Ezra, cowl removed and thrown angrily. She guessed he was some sort of commanding figure in the midst of failure. Were they not doomed?
He moved into the group and some members simply vanished. She frowned at this, unfamiliar with what he had done to them before she realised that the figures she had believed to be her wards were in fact constructs of phantasmancy. The figure then gestured fiercely, obviously ordering the real group members' deaths before slinking away into the shadows.
The way he executed the order reminded her of the mentality of witch hunts in the ruins of Mordheim, specifically targeting one person in an opposing group to hinder the rest.

Child, they are targeting someone important. Unknown who it is. Find them and keep them safe. Ezra desperately hoped her order got through to the young Lahmian in time.
 

The Dread King

Moderator
Staff member
True Blood
Nikolaus perched, apathetic, on the edge of a cliff with two other assassins. The attack was going disastrously, but it looked like success for the assassins would still be the ultimate outcome. He resembled a shadowy gargoyle, seeming to fit naturally in place with his environment, as if he was not alive at all. He'd been using his magicks to hide the assassins from view up until this point, giving many of them subtle advantages in combat. Some might call this use of his skills cowardly, but the troops' speciality was surprise attacks, after all, so helping them conceal their assaults made him a valuable weapon indeed.

Not that this is interesting, mind you, he lectured himself internally. His work had some variety; that could not be debated. He'd thrown a bolt of shadow here and there at council members, and deployed a few assassins. But, he thought bitterly, his job didn't have the thrills of the combat troops. Nikolaus envied his brethren down below, testing their mettle against vampires down below under the orders of Captain Marzaro. That bastard Marzaro, leaving me up here out of the action to do menial magical augmentation. He thinks that just because I'm a capable wizard, I can't fight like the others. It's not fair that I'm stuck up here - to hell with his 'tactical deployments! '

He detected a faint breeze of air to his right and snapped back into reality. Now is not the time for undisciplined thoughts. He glanced in the direction of the breeze to find an assassin running towards him at high speed. "Sir!" the cowled newcomer said as he arrived, saluting him. "I bring orders from Captain Marzaro. You are to dispel these illusions created by the necromancer now!" There was a slight pause whilst Nikolaus pondered on the stupidity of his captain, who was so focused on stopping the main body of council troops that he'd overlooked the outliers who were already out of his reach. They're not quite out of mine, though.

"Did he tell you to report back to him?" Nikolaus asked. He likely wouldn't need this man to do so; I should think the question of whether these orders reached me or not will be confirmed by whether the illusions disappear or not. "No, sir!" the assassin replied. The shadow adept raised an eyebrow under his cowl. It seems the buffoon has also realised this. He's less stupid than I thought. "Good. Because I want you, as well as these two here - " Nikolaus gestured to his guards - " - to deal with some fast-moving elements of this Vampire Council. You are to deal with that idiot riding the plank - flit through the shadows to catch up with him, if you must. Now, go!" He waved his hand dismissively, after pointing at Faust to indicate who he was talking about. The assassin quickly climbed down the cliff face before running off in Faust's direction, using special shadow movement abilities to try to catch up with him.

He then turned to the two guards who he had just stepped away from. The two, who had previously been flanking him, looked confused. There did not seem to be any other outliers amongst the council. Nikolaus sighed. Evidently, the other two were not advanced enough to spot the shadowy figure at the edge of the cliffs of their own accord. It was only thanks to his keen sight and his spotting of three assassins falling into the pass that he'd noticed her himself. He pointed towards Ezra. "There's your target," he instructed the two assassins, who then sighted her. "She seems more dangerous than the other vampire. Be wary of her." The duo snuck off quickly towards their adversary, ready to intercept her from behind and end her unlife.

Niklaus then analysed the situation beneath him, with illusory vampires running amok. He sighed in frustration at how hard it was proving to kill this rag-tag council. At least this will prove to be mildly amusing, he pondered, closing his eyes in concentrated effort. When he opened them with a gasp his power was unleashed upon the shadow copies of the council. Picked out by shadow magic, each and every one were tory apart into little pieces by Nikolaus' magic. The scraps of flesh rapidly disintegrated into black shards of shadow magic, which in turn dissipated into the winds of magic.

What now? Nikolaus wondered. He'd seen his captain preparing to engage the necromancer who'd created the illusions in the first place, so fighting him wasn't an option. He desperately looked for an excuse not to return to his monotonous duties in the pass below...and found it in a flaming wall that caught his eye. A Lahmian had summoned it, and it appeared to be blocking a vast body of troops from attacking the council. Some of the assassins were trying to run through it without getting harmed, with varying success. Only a simple solution was needed here. Nikolaus quickly conjured up a shadowy staircase that reached over the flaming wall. For a second, troop movements didn't change. Then, a previously held back tide of wights and assassins ascended the stairway and leapt from it onto their enemies below. The sudden change in pessure from the flow was very, very likely to jar the onslaught of the defiant council and crush their escape.

Beneath his cowl, Nikolaus smiled as he seized the initiative by attempting to dispel the flaming barrier.

Perhaps there'd be some excitement today after all.

----------

Morturion gladly took the sorcerous reins from Dieter and was happy to feel that the nightmares were still under their control. Instantly, he mentally commanded them to come to the council's aid, and the coaches, with a sudden lurch, dashed up the hill. A few assassins realised that they were hostile and tried to intercept them, but their attacks were too little, too late as the coaches flew past them.

The happiest sight Morturion had enjoyed that day was not Faust, pursued by a shadowy figure, zooming by on an oiled plank (which he raised an eyebrow at), but the miraculous arrival of three coaches trundling over a rise and into his physical sight. Bolts had sunk into them, blades had scratched at them; they bore their wounds proudly, as veterans of a closing battle. "There they are!" Morturion cried exultantly as he ran towards the coaches with other members of the council. He scarcely worried about the banishment of his shadow copies and the tide of assassins rushing furiously towards the council; he was too far ahead to be caught by them now. All he could think of was his imminent escape from the maw of the beast.

Thus, he barely noticed the blade of the intercepting assassin before it would be too late for him to evade it. Morturion instinctively snapped his cloak of shadows around himself, teleporting just in front of his assailant. He turned around to see a fuming captain, his face uncowled. The officer was accompanied by two other assassins, who split up to attack Dieter and Anya.

Morturion was given a very small window of time in which to register this information before a knife flew at his face. He caught it with a protective arcane shield, before releasing the weapon, which fell to the floor. So too did a drop of blood from Morturion's nose, where the throwing knife had been just about able to puncture the wizard's toughened skin. Captain Marzaro grinned maliciously at the sight of that. "Not quite fast enough, old man!" he shouted, launching himself into a flying kicking poised to strike just under Morturion's chin.

In a split second, the necromancer retorted with a series of sharp projectiles made of Dhar. "I'd like to see you try, youngling!" he snapped. Morturion was only further infuriated when the vampire twisted away from his foe expertly in midair to avoid the shards. The necromancer snarled and, with a sweeping gesture, threw another flight of black, glistening spearheads at the assassin.
 
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Surely they are targeting the princess. She is the most important one amongst us. I am trying to protect her but I don't even know who she really is with all these copies everywhere.

A shadow assassin appeared directly in front of her. His face covered in cloth. He made no sound as he attacked with a dagger in each hand. The silence was even more unnerving then if he had been screaming in fury. Elanor blocked the attacks as best she could but he was so much faster then her. She opened her mouth and let loose a small tongue of flame. Not enough to do much damage but to make him pause and then she rolled away. Coming to a stand between two copies of herself.

"Now this is more like it," she cried out then realised it wasn't such a great idea. The shadowy copies didn't appear capable of speech. She had to be careful not to be too lifelike. The shadow assassin approached cautiously with his steel daggers held point down. He appeared uncertain. Could the shadow copies kill him? Neither of them knew. One of the shadow copies took a step forward and the assassin lunged. His twin daggers passed straight through as if there was nothing there. Elanor took her chance and ran past the assassin. She might have been able to kill him but it wasn't worth the risk. She needed to get out of here in one piece. The other copy was also running along side her. Although not really. Its legs didn't move properly, anyone watching carefully could probably detect it and then all of a sudden the shadow copy exploded into wisps of darkness and Elanor felt a shiver pass through her. It is not every day you see yourself die.
 

The Archivist

Archivist of the word The
True Blood
Faust was barreling down the slope when he realised he was being followed. A glance back had shown a shadow following him from the battle.
Spotting the coaches thundering up the path towards him he steered the makeshift sled between them.

The assassin ran past the coaches to see the plank skittering to a halt. He turned and leapt onto the last carriage, looking for Faust. He found him on top of the carriage, peculiar shield ready.
The assassin swung with both blades, catching the sharp edges of the shield to wrench it away. With a whir and a screech he was instead disarmed, and he leapt back to take a defensive martial arts stance.

Faust shot the assassin at point blank range, having taken the time to prepare his pistol. As the body of the assassin tumbled off the back of the carriage, Faust sat in the drivers seat and began laboriously reloading, the sound of gunpowder echoing across the battlefield.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
Salvator leapt backwards, flipping and twisting through the air with seemingly impossible precision and speed allowing him to dodge the fast majority of the spears that would have struck him. The assassin landed in a crouch some distance away and now there was but a single spear still heading towards him but the vampire merely stood and swung his rapier at the same time, remarkably the sword shattered the arcane projectile.

The enchantment of the blade flared slightly allowing any nearby mage to easily sense the magic void around the weapon. The sword was clearly forged for a mage-slayer although his opponent could hardly know it that had been Marzaro's specialty.

Salvator didn't even flinch as the remaining spearheads flashed past him, missing their mark.

The Assassin smiled coldly, the huge man looked slow but was remarkably quick even compared to his men but then that was hardly surprising...although he was but a Captain in the Rebel forces the assassin had once held the position of Commander of Squad 12 back when he was still a von Carstein lapdog.

"But that is the past."

Captain Marzaro began to slowly walk towards the Sorcerer.

"You talk to much mortal." Salvator told Morturion, his accent being easily recognisable as Tilean although his Reikspiel was perfect.

Slavator raised his rapier into a high guard, the blade angling down so that the tip pointed towards the Necromancer's head however as he did this the vampire's left hand made subtle spell casting gestures, mere flexing of the fingers, it didn't allow for powerful magic but this low-key spellcasting had been a trademark of the Order's training.

The spell was a specialty of the former-commander, it clouded the minds of magi in the nearby area making it hard to cast spells however the downside was that it had a limited effect on one as powerful as Morturion.

"Best move quick."

Suddenly his slow confident stride became a running blur, the vampire moving so swiftly that the mortal eye could barely keep up, in moments he was within reach and lunged forward in a downwards thrust, his blade coming down from the high guard with the tip aimed at Morturion's throat.


---------------------------------------------------------------------

Brother Fergun had moved swiftly back into a nearby shadow, like most of the assassins he could only use existing shadows for his shadow-step, he transported himself to a small patch of darkness on the ground just next to the Mortal princess. Like a viper he rose out of the darkness utterly silently thanks to the magical method of movement and within moments he was standing behind Anya with a long bladed dagger in hand.

Grinning coldly behind his cowl the vampire brought the blade flashing down towards the woman.


---------------------------------------------------------------------

Dieter saw the assassin behind Anya raise his weapon and he cried out a warning to the princess and began to run foward, raising his own sword but he knew he would never make it and the Blood Dragon was so intent on this movement that he failed to hear the Cowled figure that was running at him from behind with a short spear in hand.

Dieter grunted in surprise and pain as the assassin's weapon crashed into his back but he was saved by his plate, instead of running him through the weapon had only penetrated the soldier's armour slightly.

With the reactions of a practiced swordsmen he spun, his longsword flashing through the air at the Assassin's head but the other figure danced away lithely.

"I should have struck the back of your Neck." the assassin said conversationally.

Dieter snarled "That was your first and last mistake" as he spoke the vampire bent his knees and lowered his blade into a low stance.

Truthfully Dieter would have preferred a high stance but his wound was worst that he had let on, although the spear-tip had barely stabbed him he could see the assassin's weapon gleamed like silver.

"So...that is why the wound is closing so slowly...it has at least partially negated my regenerative abilities."

Foolishly allowing himself to be distracted by thoughts of his wound the soldier had to backpedal as the assassin leapt forward with his spear thrusting at Dieter's unprotected face making him wish he had not discarded his helmet earlier in the battle.

"This could end...badly."
 
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Disciple of Nagash

The Perverted One
Staff member
There was a screech, following by blinding light as the assassin's dagger ripped through the cloak Anya wore, only to hit the golden collar she wore underneath. Made of flexible segments of the purest gold, it hung low from her neck, over the top of her back and breasts. Though at first it appeared to be nothing more than an ostentatious display of wealth, the runes that flared into life spoke of potent protection.

The dagger snapped as the collar's power sent a shockwave back in retaliation, and the distraction have enough time for Anya to swiftly twist and lash out with the end of her staff. The blow was much less potent with only one hand, but the charged end was enough to puncture through through the vampire's gut. Even as he fell however a hidden blade unfolded from his other hand, and with almost caring gentleness his strike disembowelled the princess.

Agony that not even her gifts could overcome ran like fire through every vein in Anya's body as she fell, hand struggling to hold in the ropey coils of her intestines. The battle around her disappeared as her blood pressure dropped, eyesight going dim, hearing fading. Though it took nearly everything she had, Anya forced a mantra from her bloody lips, once....then twice, then repeating over and over as she begged for Neru to save her.
 
As Elanor ran towards the others and away from the shadow assassin chasing her she saw the princess fall, cut down by a vicious dagger blow.
"The princess is down. We must save her or all is lost." Elanor cried even though she knew everyone was preoccupied fighting their own battles. As Elanor reached Anya she fell to her knees in the dirt. There was blood everywhere and what looked disturbingly like a lot of intestines. Elanor called upon the tiny amount of high magic she possessed and poured it into the princess' battered body.
 

Get of W'soran

CN's Lord of Masks
True Blood
Dieter heard Elanor's cry and half turned to see the princess lying on the ground.

"Anya!" he roared taking a step towards the fallen woman only for his opponent to lunge forward forcing Dieter to spin and parry the blow.

Dieter snarled, he had always hated spears...his Zweihander might have given him a way to level the playing field against the spear's reach but it was lost and he had to use the shorter hand-and-a-half sword.

The tip of the spear shot out towards the Blood Dragon's face again, this time Dieter's dodge only partially got him out of the way as the weapon tore a long cut along the side of his cheek.

Then Dieter lost it as his fury rose at the situation, he let out a bloodcurdling roar and hurled himself at the enemy, dropping his sword as he did so. The assassin, shocked at the sudden ferocity and savagery of the attack only managed to thrust his spear through the Blood Dragon's shoulder who didn't appear to even feel the wound.

Dieter growled as he wrapped his hands around the assassins neck and began to crush the other undead's throat with inhuman force, fully giving himself over to the great weakness of his bloodline, the blood fury.

The assassins struck out with fists, elbows, knees and feet in an attempt to break free but Dieter simply ignored the blows as he continued to slowly crush his opponents neck.

Desperate the assassin reached for a long bladed dagger at his waist and began to draw it, intending to drive it through Dieter's throat.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The fallen figure of Anya's attacker slowly rose to his feet, his vampiric regeneration healing the worst of the damage caused by the Princess's staff.

Still gravely injured Fergun walked slowly up behind the sorceress who he noticed was healing the princess.

Moving silently so that Elanor wouldn't notice him he flipped his dagger into a reverse grip and as he loomed over the kneeling vampiress with his blade raised high to bring down onto her skull.

So focused on his target was he that Fergun didn't notice the shadow rising from the ground, nor did he notice the curved longsword in the shadow's hand which flashed through the air to remove the assassin's hand.

The assassin screamed momentarily until the curved blade removed his head as well.

Darkness peeled away from the shadow revealing a hooded man in dark clothing, his face was hidden behind a lightly coloured mask which bore a red circle on the forehead.
At the man's waist was a pair of crossed sword sheaths, the curved long blade was in the new arrival's hand whilst the second, still sheathed, blade was a shorter version of the first.

The masked man turned his head slowly to look down at Elanor and the Princess.

"Can you save her?" he asked, his voice sounding unnaturally distorted.
 
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Kavok

Wight King
Kavok did not get far before he caught sight of Dieter and Anya running and fighting together. Not sure if they were actually real, but not seeing most of the 'council' members doing much fighting, Kavok started to make his way towards them.

Blocking another wight's blade and dodging out of the weapon's range, Kavok vaguely heard Elanor's cries to the rest of the council, before Dieter roared at a cloaked figure in front of Kavok. Rushing forward to help the now apparently real council members, Kavok spotted that amidst the assassin's flailing attempts to harm Dieter with punches and kicks, the assassin was also frantically trying to reach for a dagger Kavok spotted strapped to its leg as it kicked at Dieter.

Seeing a blood craze in Dieter that Kavok had only ever seen in beasts up till now, Kavok quickly moved over to cover for Dieter's apparent lack of knowledge regarding the dagger. Swinging his blade in a backwards arc, Kavok quickly severed the assassin's arm from the rest of it's body just above the elbow. 'We need this to end quickly... The princess is still injuried and sir Dieter seems to want this man dead. Hopefully he'll come to his senses after this cloaked killer is dead... and hopefully I can still make this sort of swing with percision...' Kavok thought to himself during his assault on the dying assassin.

Grabbing the hilt with both hands, Kavok came back with his blade aiming for the gap between left open on the assassin's neck between its shoulders and Dieter's fists. The blade went cleanly through, the tip barely scratching Dieter's vambraces as it went, the body collapsing to the ground. Ichor now pouring out of the fresh cuts on the dead vampire's body, Kavok shouted at Dieter "You can't lose yourself now! You are a warrior charged with protecting the princess, and your skills are still needed if any of us want to get out of here with what ever we have left of a life!"

Looking past Dieter and seeing the new arrival, Kavok quickly charged towards this new hooded figure holding a blade.
 
Ezra glared down at the scene, the princess, deemed an important character to the group, had been struck. However, from her viewpoint, Ezra couldn't entirely make out what had happened.

Is everything-

A blade came down on her faster than she could interpret, hammering into her shoulder. Her ancient blood spattered onto her face and she groaned at the back of her throat, sweeping her leg underneath her assailant and knocking him to the ground.

As the first assassin moved back to his feet another approached her from behind, this time noticeably enough for Ezra to slam her elbow into her nose before she struck, forcing her back with a pained and slightly embarrassed hiss.
This gave Ezra time to take care of the first, whom had just clambered back to his feet and roared back into battle. He whipped his sword across Ezra's chest ferociously, his anger giving her a controlled edge as she uppercut his wielding hand with her Katar. He dropped his sword and growled in anger as his arm numbed from the poison.
"..You fucking bitch." He hissed, clutching the wounded and paralyzed limb before Ezra's sword slid into his abhorred mouth and out through the back of his head, splitting his spine. He twitched and coughed up blood then fell to the ground in a heap, still "living" but completely broken.

His partner then descended on Ezra and the assassin digging her claw-like nails into her open shoulder wound, driving Ezra's eyes open in pain.
Ezra grabbed the girl with her Katar-mounted hand and flipped her over her shoulder, slamming her to the ground with a thunderous smash. The assassin quickly recovered and pounced again, unrelenting in her assault. Ezra parried a blow with her rapier, hopping backwards to avoid another quickly aimed blow and then jabbing her sword into the girl's belly. She howled and in that instant, Ezra's twin blade slid between her ribcage and punctured a lung. She gasped and stepped backwards as her body seized up from the Black Lotus and she too soon fell backwards, frothing at her mouth. Ezra admired her handiwork, grinning down at the two paralyzed assassins at her feet, both glaring angrily at her. If they could harness flames from their eyes she be surely dead by now.

Ezra closed her eyes in relief, sheathing her sword and feeling the sting in her shoulder where the duo had virtually tortured her. She rolled her shoulder. It still seemed fine to fight with. She made a few mock thrusts and nodded approvingly. Her shoulder had passed, very barely.
I may have to break that vow sooner than I imagined.. she thought to herself.
 

The Dread King

Moderator
Staff member
True Blood
Taking a hasty glimpse of the battlefield, Nikolaus assessed the situation. It had all been going smoothly up until just a moment ago. The princess had fallen, Dieter had given in to the blood fury, and the necromancer was struggling against Captain Salvator. Then he had arrived and killed the captain's guards. Naturally, he was the captain's to fight, so Nikolaus couldn't interfere at the present directly. He was not going to let the council slip through his fingers, however. Using shadowy tendrils to expand the staircase along the walls, he allowed the rate of crossing over it to increase, further negating the effect of the flaming wall. Frustratingly, the Lahmian had shown no sign of strain under his dispel attempt. That didn't matter much any more, however, as a solid block of assassins and wights charged forth. Any council members that got too caught up in the stampede would no doubt be obliterated. The mere sight would sew panic amongst its members. And Nikolaus was about to increase that tenfold.

His concatenation of thoughts was rudely interrupted by the sound of bolts being fired into the mass below by a lone assassin standing on the opposite ridge. The shadow mage stared incredulously at him for a minute, wondering what he could possibly be thinking. There were too many assassins on the ground to do anything with those bolts but disrupt their formation, but the cloaked man mindless wasted shots again and again. "You!" the mage shouted. The assassin he had addressed looked up, surprised. "Why don't you relieve me of that engineer over there?" He pointed to Faust. "Your utter stupidity might just negate his gawky intelligence, and quite frankly if it doesn't then I'll be relieved of another fool. Why don't you take that crossbow and go kill him?"

The assassin gaped beneath his cowl. "But, sir? I thought we were supposed to shoot the council directly below until they were dead? Wasn't that the plan?" Nikolaus cradled his face in his palm for a moment. "DO YOU THINK THE PLAN WORKED?" he shouted slowly and in a monotone voice. "Erm...not yet?" the assassin replied. "There is a new plan," Nikolaus spelled out methodically and patronisingly, "and it is nice and simple. You forget the previous plan. You go and kill the engineer, or perhaps die. Whatever happens, you get out of my sight, and I don't have to hear your annoying crossbow any more."

Nikolaus' temper snapped at the sight of the yet-stationary assassin. "CAN'T YOU IMBECILES LET ME CONCENTRATE ON JUST ONE INTERNAL MONOLOGUE!?!" he ranted, his voice echoing across the pass. "Now go," he commanded, and the assassin hastily ran off to dispatch Faust. The shadow mage sighed in content. Aside from the two assassins he'd sent to kill Ezra, the ledge was empty. He could now focus on his spells without any more untimely interruptions. Grinning, he raised his arms to the sky and chanted in a high-pitched wail. The shadows falling into the pass became much darker, and hundreds of shadowy illusions of assassins leapt out from the cliff walls to slaughter the council. While these assassins were little more potent than Morturion's illusions, those who fell for the trick of the darkness and believed they were real could, when struck, succumb to damage that they believed they had taken. There would be no physical injury inflicted upon them by the unreal assassins' blows, but the brain's belief that the body had been struck would cause it to feel pain and limit the movements of body parts it thought had been injured. Severe damage could also lead to a shutdown of the brain - simply put, death. Chanelling his power into this spell and rubbing his hands together, Nikolaus chuckled. The slaughter was at last commencing, and his magic was at last in the thick of it.

The best part of it was that the hated Satsu had made his presence known, and he was finally going to be killed today.

-----

Morturion watched from the corner of his eye whilst battling the captain as events unfolded besides him. Initially, he did so with despair as he saw the imminent deaths of Dieter, Anya and Elanor, and was powerless to stop them, but when the mysterious newcomer appeared, the tide seemed to turn a little in the council's favour. He laughed bitterly at Captain Salvator's fighting style as Marzaro avoided his attacks and launched a counterstrike, but raised his scythe in time to block the captain's sword. "A mage hunter?" Morturion remarked as his weapon was slowly forced back. "You'll have to do better than that to kill me," he continued, before leaping back and hurling a flaming, spectral skull at the captain. The spell required more effort from Morturion than it should have, but he still managed to cast it. Salvator leapt to the left even as the skull hurtled right, but the blast ignited the vampire's cloak, which proceeded to blaze merrily. The assassin quickly ripped it off, revealing leather armour underneath, but in that short space of time Morturion had opened a rift in the mundane world under him. Shadowy hands grasped at the assassin's feet, but were quickly severed, scattering oozing stumps around the barren ground that quickly and mysteriously vapourised.

The assassin flipped backwards twice, evading the pull of the pit of shades, only to have to run as a wall of green hellfire spread towards him in a circle. Morturion drew his arm around quickly, but the captain was quicker and he evaded the touch of the flames that encircled the two combatants. Majestically, he leapt from a wall of the pass with a kick of the Eastern styles. It hit Morturion under the chin, and threw him backwards. He crashed into the other cave wall, and his scythe clattered to his side, out of reach for the moment. He graced the captain now running at him with a bloody grin, and hurled the shadow he was sitting it at his assailant. Marzaro was lost in a wave of darkness, and reappeared against the wall once more, incapacitated by the spell. It was meant to be lethal, but his sword and the spell he had cast to weaken Morturion had ensured that he survived the attack. Morturion staggered to his feet, stepped forward towards the captain, and laughed. "Your fate was decided ten years ago, when your master died fighting the Great Necromancer. Now you will perish at the hands of his heir, in the very same way." Uttering a few harsh syllables in the Nagashi tongue, Morturion cast the deadly spell that had stuck down Akarin. A bolt of green lightning sped forth from his outstretched index finger, and blew the captain into thousands of little black shards.

That's wrong...he's supposed to turn into dust. Morturion frowned, and realised, too late, as the shadows vapourised, that he'd been tricked. An illusion! But how could that brutish vampire possibly cast something so advanc- His chain of thoughts was brutally disjointed by a kick to the back that sent him sprawling onto the floor once more. A confident stride stamped down on his back and held him in place, even as a sword hovered above his neck. Morturion realised in horror that he'd made the exact same mistake as Nagash. I've underestimated the vampire's abilities, just as my master did. It was too late for the necromancer now, and he panicked at the thought of the horrors of Morr that awaited him in the afterlife. No! How did I allow this to happen? There was no alley of escape this time, no route to survival for Morturion now. He ruminated despondently about his imminent doom: It was already over anyway. I've been lying to myself for a decade. I thought I could rebuild his work, but I"ve just been playing in the ashes of a doomed world. The assassin whispered smugly, "You certainly have followed in his footsteps, arrogant mortal. That's why you're about to reenact what happened to him, ten years ago." Then the captain brought his sword down towards the wizard's neck in an ominous finishing strike.

-----


Nikolaus frowned as he saw Ezra make short work of the two assassins he'd sent to kill Silence. Creeping through the shadows, he caught a glimpse, from behind her, of her rolling her shoulder. With a grin, he leapt into a combat stance behind her, ready to finally engage in physical combat. Sadistic yet silent, he multiplied into six different fake copies standing alongside his real form. Lethal maces of darkness barbed with a pitch-black arcane poison sprang from each of the seven pairs of hands he was controlling. They sailed towards Ezra's unprotected back even as she stood with her eyes closed. This should incapacitate her. The next strike will kill her. "Nice work over there," the seven copies congratulated Ezra even as they moved to kill her. If she turned around in time, she would be met with seven mocking grins.

And seven pairs of ever so hungry eyes.


 
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