So you want to be a zako? (RP, Mentos Edition)

ViridianShine

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Actually, I suggested it because I was willing to throw in all three of my characters if it happened after the next update. And, second, this break seemed pretty loaded writing-wise already and Mentos seems to already have something planned for the next update, so I wanted to let that plan go through.

It seemed like the rebellion would be its own update if it got large enough. I mean, after Severity's post, it might actually have a chance? It isn't like its a guaranteed death march because Marla is mandatory for the storyline and could just become the other Toxin divisions barreling down on us after if she somehow died prematurely.

Or am I just being a Zako myself and getting too optimistic at our chances? I guess that's why I'm here, lol.
 

Skinny73

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Now, see, Moira is much more intrigued by the idea of a rebellion than Rixa was. She's still coming down off the high of tricking Marla back at the elven tomb, and replacing Marla as Toxin's student seems like a much quicker and surer path to power than swiping the odd artifact out from under Marla's nose. After some convincing (and assurances that she will be able to take credit for the revolt when the time comes, at least in Toxin's eyes) from Arastine, Moira accepts Arastine's offer. Moira agrees to try and help Minerva convince the 'greenskin girls,' particularly Zatrilla, to join the revolt. She also manages to rope Terra into the plot, with a combination of thinly-veiled threats and promises of more 'freedom' with the elven slaves.
 

dinomoneyman

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Mentos seems to already have something planned for the next update, so I wanted to let that plan go through.
Ah but imagine the plan succeeding and the new management scrambling to carry on where Marla left off but with no idea how exactly? It'd be hilarious, lol.

Or am I just being a Zako myself and getting too optimistic at our chances? I guess that's why I'm here, lol.
After Skinny's post it's looking more and more surprisingly doable. But...

Now, see, Moira is much more intrigued by the idea of a rebellion than Rixa was. She's still coming down off the high of tricking Marla back at the elven tomb, and replacing Marla as Toxin's student seems like a much quicker and surer path to power than swiping the odd artifact out from under Marla's nose. After some convincing (and assurances that she will be able to take credit for the revolt when the time comes, at least in Toxin's eyes) from Arastine, Moira accepts Arastine's offer. Moira agrees to try and help Minerva convince the 'greenskin girls,' particularly Zatrilla, to join the revolt. She also manages to rope Terra into the plot, with a combination of thinly-veiled threats and promises of more 'freedom' with the elven slaves.
Astrid is displeased. "You'll get credit for the combat, and will get nothing but praise when we refer you to Toxin, but I'm the organizer of this revolt. The title of Miasma battalion leader is mine."
Tyris tries to tell the others, at least for now, to: "Save in-fighting until Marla's dead."
 
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ViridianShine

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Sep 18, 2018
Haha, dammit Skinny. Fiiiine, fine, you guys win.

===

McKayla found Aura along the outskirts of camp, practicing her bow and arrow yet again, something that Aura had still become very good at. After a bit of small talk, and McKayla being satisfied that Aura appeared to be relatively normal again, she brought up the reason she wanted to speak.

"So, I was just wondering if you had...caught wind of the little plot that's being hatched here," McKayla began, checking over her shoulder as she spoke.

"Oh! Yeah, the one to fight Marla right? I know," Aura responded, still in a positive tone.

"Oh, good. Of course, I assume you denied. Those girls are suicidal," McKayla chuckled to herself, reminiscent of the uptight princess that barged into her room earlier.

"What? Oh, no! I accepted."

"Wha-?!" McKayla nearly lost her balance from just standing up, before straightening herself quickly, "y-you did what?!"

"I accepted! I mean, Marla has us trapped here, and running will do us no good..." Aura trailed off slightly, "but we've had to fight so many tough elves already. Wouldnt you rather try and end this once and for all, instead of risking your life for her sake?"

...What is wrong with her? She isnt even possessed anymore, where did this come from?!

Oh, she was already a bit like that. Does that bother you that much?

Yes it does!

Wow, so you do hate it when she thinks for herself. Yeesh, I was right.

Shut up, you're just a voice in my head!


"McKayla are you okay?" Aura asked, tilting her head.

"Yes! Yes, but forget about me, what about you?! Did you see how small their group was? You're going to die!"

"We...might die anyway, so I might as well try and save everyone from Marla. Besides, they've gotten pretty big now."

"Okay, but it doesnt matter how big they've gotten, they're still being led by that useless princess!"

"...Were they? Oh, Moira asked me, so I didnt know that."

"Moira joined them?!?"

Aura, a look of deep concern on her face, walked forward and gave McKayla a hug, "it's okay McKayla," Aura spoke softly, "I...didnt know you were so concerned about me, but...I think we can do it. I think we might have a chance. And if we fail, I...I dont regret meeting you McKayla. ...I should go and prepare now, though, but I hope we see each other at the end of this."

McKayla stood there, stunned, as Aura gave her a reassuring smile. Then, after a moment, the other girl took off and had disappeared back into camp.

Wow, you really feel upset. Aren't you supposed to be evil now? That sure lasted.

Shut it, we are not helping them. I dont care about what happens.

Did you want that front row seat?

...I'm only going to watch them struggle and nothing more. ...And if I hear Aura is in trouble, I might help.

You were right. This will be entertaining!


===

Micci also accepts when asked, spouting something about justice and such. She apparently discovered what the group actually was, and did not agree with that. Members of the group question how useful she actually would be in this situation.
 

dinomoneyman

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As for Shabazik? I'd personally recommend just assuming that they simply said no unless stated otherwise, because I don't see him replying any time soon, not gonna lie. :confused:

And uh... the rebellion here is already huge now, and the only one now besides those still on the fence are the Greenskins, oh damn... :wat: I imagine Mentos is looking now and just thinking how this should work through really hard, lol sorry.
 

Severity

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August, for some reason, has let Romillie out of her isolation, and seems to be treating her like a person, rather than property. This is extremely strange, as is the fact that he's halted all construction of the slave breaking facilities.
The only thing more strange is the fact that in addition to releasing Romillie, he's giving her extra rations. And a moderately sized knife, which for some reason she isn't using on him, despite the fact that she's quite clearly rebellious.

Whatever the reason, this change seems to have improved August's mental state. He's no longer angry, and he doesn't mutter to himself either. In fact, he seems to have a permanent smile, a major change for the man who formerly seemed to only smile when causing pain.
In short, he seems... unlike himself, much to the relief of the slaves. But this unexplained change also makes him very untrustworthy, even more so when he tries to join the mutiny.
"I've got a... bit of a bone to pick with that bitch magician. I doubt she remembers me though..."
He then goes on to do something between a giggle and a cackle, full of malice and hate. It seems that no matter what the other rebels say, he's going to tag along and help them.

(The change with August's mind, from start to now, has taken ~1 week in-universe. Just wanted to clarify)
 

Mentos

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The day the Azelea siege was set to commence had finally arrived. Miasma Battalion soldiers were running haphazardly all over the camp, donning their weapons and amor, grabbing supplies, locking up slaves and setting up the finishing touches before heading out. If the raid was successful, this would be the last time they’d utilize the temple, as Toxin’s forces would opt to occupy the Elven city instead.

Marla descends from the top of the tower. No one has seen her since she returned from the graveyard. She had been hard at work experimenting with her newly acquired artifacts. As she walked down the stairs, there was a certain...bounce to her step. The Dark Mage was in the best mood you’d ever seen her in ever since she got the news of Magatha’s falling out. In her hand was the mysterious staff she had acquired from the graves, a long ornate shaft adorned with a sinister looking black raven at the top that you weren’t sure was there before.

Flanking her was Lieutenant Amanda and Shandris, which these days was business as usual. However, most notable were the addition of Marla’s “honor guard”.

9 Elves marched in step down the stairs with the trio. Each was armed in the traditional elven battle gear, with armor, cruel looking spears and twin-blades. There was one slight difference though, the armor was all jet-black. As Marla approached the bottom step, the 9 elves turned to her at once, and bowed.

More keen observers would notice that these were the elves that August had “broken in”. They had the same crazed and fanatical look in their eyes that Shandris did. The 9 elves are unsettling, and you begin to wonder if simple torture could really produce such an effect, or if there was something more sinister at work.

Marla turns to Shandris, handing her a wrapped round package, before addressing Amanda.

“Shandris will be your guide through the tunnels, but you’re in charge here. She’ll lead you to the location where you’ll activate the Arcane Bomb. The results of the explosion will be devastating to say the least, and once activated it cannot be stopped. However, there should be enough time for you and your troops to reach the surface long before the bomb detonated.”

Marla then turns to the assembled Miasma soldiers.

“Great riches and fortune await those who made it out alive. Azelea is the 2nd largest city these wretched creatures hold. Powerful magical items...gold...wine...women...all of it lies for our taking. Succeed and the rewards will be great. Fail, and your corpse will lie in some wretched sewer for eternity, forgotten by all. See you on the surface.”

With that, Marla leaves the temple and heads towards Toxin’s camp, flanked by her 9 Elven Bodyguards.

Amanda takes charge from there, and the group heads out in the opposite direction.
 

Mentos

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Or am I just being a Zako myself and getting too optimistic at our chances? I guess that's why I'm here, lol.
This might be my favorite line in this thread lol.

The rebellion plot line is interesting and greatly encouraged! Though as DM I feel I should be realistic about the chances. Marla is 7 levels higher than the highest person in the rebel party, has loyalists, and has some spooky dark magic stuff going on. There may be some better options than brute force ganking her lol.

For now though, since no one acted to rebel, Marla has left for the siege with her guard. The next update will be Mission 7. Since it’s the halfway point it’s pretty big and taking me some time, but I’ll most likely have it up by tomorrow.

For now the group has left the temple and is traveling through the forest with Shandris, heading for the hidden underground entrance.
 

dinomoneyman

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"Well, she's gone now, maybe it'll make it easier to openly discuss this," Tyris sighed. "Luckily showed no signs of knowing what we've been up to... But less luckily with her own damn personal guard now," She had been discussing with Arastine. "But after this mission? Next time we see her? That's the deadline. She's getting more powerful the longer we wait. I await your plan, Arastine."

lol Mentos reading the rebellion plot panicking trying to think of how to stop nearly the entire party from impaling themselves.
Pffffft, we can always make more. Don't cry over a little spilled milk.
 
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Severity

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Seeing Marla's new honor guard, Arastine's heart sinks. She'd begun to believe that with their numbers, they had a good chance of killing Marla in a head-on fight - but these new elves changed that.
I don't know how strong those elves are, but it would be best to not find out by fighting them.
As they march along, she tries to come up with a plan. Mireille, at her shoulder, whispers something into her ear, and Arastine nods.
"Tyris, from now on our... endeavor is going to be 'Finding a decent cook'. The end goal, then, is 'eating a good meal'. Alright?"
"Good. Now, would you go to Astrid and tell her it's her turn at the back of the column?"

One by one, occasionally a few at a time, Arastine informs the members of the mutiny of the new name. For some of the members who have less aptitude for secrecy, she has others talk loudly in between her and the potential loyalists, Amanda, and Shandris.

Mireille, though, is plotting and scheming. If the rebels 'purge' the loyalists once they reach the tunnels, they could defect to the Elven defenders and destroy the bomb. Or keep it, and use it on Toxin's forces. That relies on a quick and decisive strike against their comrades, though, and she doubts they'll be willing to strike down their own so suddenly.
A second plan, one that will take a bit longer to come to fruition, is closer to her first plan. Once they're in the city, she'll try to get an audience with Toxin herself, where she'll say that one of Miasma's slaves told her of an overheard plan. This overheard plan would be Marla preparing to attack Acid and Magatha, an attempt to finish off a hated rival. Maybe the elf honor guard were kept to blame the killing on elf remnants?
Anyway, if she's unable to get an audience with Toxin, it'll be much the same situation. The main difference will be that she'll simply spread the rumor among the slaves, and if forced to, she'll simply walk into Acid Battalion's camp in Azelea and try to convince Magatha of this plan. She'll be sure to bring up the poisoning of the river, and the fact that Acid would probably have taken much heavier losses in the siege than Miasma.

With luck, something will happen to Marla in the siege, but if not... It never hurts to have a backup plan. And an assumption that Toxin cares about her students enough to punish one for trying to kill another.

Cernya is sticking close behind Shandris, and has her hand on the pommel of her sword.

Eisenhilde has added a single horizontal stripe to the three vertical ones underneath her eyes, and seems to be carrying a small vial of blood, probably hers, underneath some of her robes.
 

dinomoneyman

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dinomoneyman
From the "Zako" section of Undertow's Discord server. I guess I underestimated Shab on keeping up with things, lol.

discord.png
 

Mentos

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Mission 7: Azelea Tunnels Excursion
Difficulty: 4/5
Soldiers: 10x Archers: 4x Rogues: 5x Mages: 5x Clerics: 3x Other: 1x

1: Lieutenant Amanda (Soldier, Claymore 24/F): 35/35 HP (Level 5) Items: Black Claymore +3 to ATK, Superior Elven Armor: +2 to DEF
2: Li Ann (Rogue, Kunais 21/F): 13/13 (Level 4) Items: Elven Daggers: +2 to Attack Rolls, Mysterious Elven Bracelet
3: Tyris (Soldier, Mace 28/F): 25/25 HP (Level 4)
4: Arastine (Stalwart Defender, Axe, Gauntlets, Tower Shield 49/F): 40/40 HP (Level 5), Items: Paladin Armor, +5 to Defense Rolls
5: McKayla (Cleric, E. Jewelry 26/F) 13/13HP (Level 5) (Spells: Heal, Shield, Gravity) Items: Elven Jewelry, +1 to Healing Spells, Black Bow
6: Moira (Dark Mage, Magic Staff 32/F): 11/11 HP (Level 4) (Spells: Shadow Bolt, Drain Life, Summon Snakes) Items: Elven Bracelet, +3 to Attack Rolls
7: Aura (Archer, Short Bow 19/F): 12/12 HP (Level 5)
8: Terra (Rogue, Axe/Dagger 27/F): 9/9 HP (Level 2)
9: Astrid (Soldier, Fencing Rapier 20/F): 25/25 HP (Level 4), Items: Elven Armor, +1 to Defense Rolls
10: Oola (Soldier, Barbed Whip 22/F): 15/15 HP (Level 2)
11: Zatrilla (Mage, 19/F): 6/6 HP (Level 2) (Spell: Fireball)
12: Judith (Soldier, Spear 19/F): 20/20 HP (Level 3) Items: Elven Glaive +3 to ATK
13: Capricia (Mage, Mage Staff 16/F): 6/6 HP (Level 2) (Spell: Fireball)
14: Rixa (Archer, Longbow 26/F) 14/14 HP (Level 5) Items: Bone Longbow, +4 to Attack Rolls, Doubles as a Melee Weapon
15: Beth (Dark Mage 25/F) 5/5 HP (Level 1)
16: Minerva (Harpy 22/F) 15/15 HP (Level 2)
17: Morella (Rogue, Axe, Spear) 9/9 HP (Level 2) Items: Elven Spear: +1 to ATK
18: Hathus (Archer, Longbow 29/M) 8/8 HP (Level 2) Items: Elven Longbow +2 to ATK
19: August (Soldier, Mace/Shield 30/M) 20/20 HP (Level 3) Items: Slaver's Beatstick, +3 to ATK, +4 against Elves,
20: Elendra (Cleric, 19/F) 5/5HP (Level 1) (Spells: Heal)
21: Anko (Rogue, Martial Arts 27/F) 7/7 HP (Level 1)
22: Yoshiko (Rogue, Kusarigama 23/F) 7/7 HP (Level 1)
23: Millie (Soldier, Axe 18/F) 10/10 HP (Level 1)
24: Eisenhilde (Archer, Crossbow/Spear, 25/F) 6/6/ HP (Level 1)
25: Cernya (Cleric, Longsword, 21/F) 5/5 HP (Level 1) (Spells: Heal)
26: Micci (Mage, 19/F) 5/5 HP (Level 1) (Spells: Water)
27: Mireille (Soldier, War Scythe ??/F) 10/10 HP (Level 1)
28: Shandris (Fencer, Twin Blades 191/F) 40/40 HP (Level 7)

The group sets out shortly after Marla's departure. The entrance to Azelea's tunnels is a few miles away from the city, and the soldiers can already hear the sounds of the siege reverberating throughout the forest. While they're walking, Beth is the first to strike up conversation among the party.

"You guys want to know something interesting about Azelea? Elves who have been convicted of a heinous crime and are sentenced to death are thrown into the tunnels. Supposedly there's a giant pit in there, and in it lies a fearsome monster. No one's ever seen it, but it's got hundreds of tentacles and a huge mouth with tons of sharp fangs and teeth! They say if it kills you, it feeds on your soul and tortures you forever!! Scary, right?

No one responds to the energetic dark mage besides Shandris, in a dead-tone manner.

"Correct. These tunnels we're going through are ancient, and they go on for miles and miles, leading into the city's sewer system. Even an elf that's lived in the city their whole lives could easily get lost in there and never be found again. Only a select few elite in Elven society are really familiar with the layout, and even then I don't know all of the routes but the most direct one."

"I-is that thing about the monster true?" replies Minerva

"Yes. It's called a Beholder. Though it only awakens upon being fed a victim. If we're lucky, we shouldn't encounter any problems from it."

Unfortunately, that does not do much to set the group at ease.

Miasma finally arrives to the entrance of the tunnels. A cave covered by foliage at the side of a riverbed leading into a mountain. The inside is completely dark, and there's only room to walk three at a time. Shandris takes a torch and heads first inside, flanked by Tyris and Arastine (Amanda decides now is not a good time to be in the front of the group.) At the back of the column, is Astrid, Judith and Terra.

The group walks through the dark tunnels for what seems like hours. Shandris leads them on a winding path, and going quickly through one passageway before taking another and then another. The torches illuminate the dark, and with it the many bones that lie strewn among the path. Some belong to animals, while a few could easily belong to an elf. Eventually, the group comes across some waist high water. The sounds of fighting above grow louder.

"We've reached the sewers." says Shandris, in her usual deadpan voice. From here on out we'll be within vicinity of the city. Our target lies further on ahead, through these waters. Come."

The group heads into the water, though not with much enthusiasm as they wade through the foul-smelling gunk. Terra is the last person in line, though before she can put her foot in a hand suddenly covers her mouth. A wicked looking elven dagger plunges into the rogue's kidneys. She thrashes in the grip of her assailant, but the hand covering her mouth prevents her from crying out, and the negligent Astrid and Judith are unable to hear her over the sounds of the splashing water. Eventually, Terra ceases her struggling, her knees buckle, and she falls face first into the water. (Terra has died)

"How much farther?" Amanda asks Shandris.

"After we get out of the water, we'll come to a large bridge overlooking a pit. From there is a staircase that will take us to the upper level of the tunnels. We'll place the bomb there, and turn around and head through another set of stairs that will lead us to the southern most part of the city, away from the explosive. If we're fast enough, they're should be no issues."

"Pit...? T-that's not where the Beholder is, is it?" asks Minerva

"Yes. Though it should be sleeping upon our arrival."

As the group continues wading through the water in silence, Judith finally realizes that Terra is no longer walking in place behind her. As she turns around to investigate, an arrow suddenly lands in-between her eyes and penetrates her brain. Her eyes follow the arrow, before she sinks into the water. (Judith has died) Unfortunately, Astrid does not notice this death either.

The group finally, makes it out of the water and back on-to dry land. Again, they follow Shandris through a series of winding narrow tunnels.

"I-I'm tired!" My legs aren't as long as all yours! cries Zatrilla. Can we take a break?"

"We have no time for breaks. As you can hear the siege is well underway. Hurry along or be left behind." says Shandris

Zatrilla pants heavily as she tries to catch her breath. She waves along the soldiers passing her ensuring she'll follow along. Just as Astrid passes her, the goblin sets out to move again, but she finds a strong pair of arms take her from behind. Covering her mouth and lifting the small mage up, the assailant dashes the goblin against the wall. Once, twice and then a final time before her face is completely pulped and destroyed. (Zatrilla has died)

The group continues following Shandris until they finally reach the "pit". It's a massive room, dark and sinister, with a single bridge connecting the two sides together. Those brave enough to look down see nothing but total darkness.

"Through here, quickly." says Shandris

The group begins to make their way across. As Astrid is still flanking the back column, she suddenly realizes that Zatrilla hasn't caught up. She turns around just in time to step out of the way of a launched arrow that hits Hathus in the shoulder. 5 Elf Assassins are standing in the doorway Miasma had just came through.

"Oh, you dunces finally noticed we're here, we've only been following you since the forest."

vs
5 Elf Assassins (Swords and Bows) (25/25 HP) Level 5

The elves quickly move to bottleneck Miasma on the bridge and cut them down one at a time. The Assassin in front charges Astrid, who begins to exchange blows with her assailant.

"Archers and mages! Get across the bridge! Soldiers hold position!" screams Amanda.

As the other elves move to join in the attack, Moira activates her necklace. A group of vipers is conjured upon the group of assassins. While most of them are able to skewer the reptiles, one unlucky elf suffers multiple bites. She immediately seizes up, and begins to violently convulse on the floor. (Kill for Moira).

Astrid, who had been receiving healing from Elendra and Cernya, manages to stick the assassin in the throat with her rapier, and kill her. (Kill for Astrid)

Another Assassin moves to take her place, while one of her comrades is peppered with arrows from Rixa and Eisenhilde, with the cultist scoring the kill. (Kill for Eisenhilde)

Astrid engages the elf in combat while her last remaining comrade attempts to dodge arrows launched at her and fire back. It seems the Assassin's plan to create a bottleneck has backfired.

"I have an idea!" yells Micci. "Leave this last one to me!"

Micci suddenly conjures water directly into the avoiding elf's path. The assassin loses her balance and begins to slip. She tries to grab hold of something, anything but is unable to find purchases. She finds herself careening off the edge of the surface she was standing on, and falling straight below into the pit, screaming all the way down. (Kill for Micci)

"YOU IDIOT!" screams Shandris, showing the first sign of emotion you can remember since falling under Marla's spell. "EVERYONE RUN, NOW".

Shandris bolts for the exit, leaving a bewildered Micci wondering what she did wrong. A sudden monstrous roar fills the tunnels. No one needs to stick around to realize what that means, and immediately everyone takes Shandris' example. Astrid finds herself still engaged with the Elf assassin, until suddenly, to her horror a giant red tentacle shoots up from the pit and wraps itself around her foe. It squeezes the life from the Elf before dragging her down into the pit. Astrid quickly bolts.

vs Beholder (??/?? HP) Level 20

The group runs in terror, completely abandoning the order of the column and trying to push past each other as they follow Shandris through a series of winding staircases. Tentacles begin crashing through the walls and knocking debris over. The scene is complete chaos. Millie, who was doing her best to keep up with the more athletic members of the unit, cries out as she feels a tentacle grab her leg. She tries to shake it off but is unable to, and in a panic grabs at the nearest fleeing comrade, in this case, Beth.

"HELP ME!!" she pleads with tears in her eyes at the dark mage. Beth, with a look of disgust and shock on her face, raises her free foot and slams the heel into Millie's nose, shattering it. The peasant girl loses her grip and is dragged off by the tentacle, screaming in terror. (Millie has died)

Debris is still being sent flying everywhere from the Beholder's wrath. One tentacle crashes through a wall and wraps itself around Capricia, carrying her screaming form away before anyone can react. (Capricia has died)

"THIS WAY! QUICKLY!" screams Shandris, as she reaches the top of the steps to approach twin ornate doors. Arastine and Tyris both heave them open and the group runs through, however Aura is trailing everyone. Ever since she lost her bow, she was no long as adept a fighter or as athletic as before. Behind her were a large amount of tentacles gaining ground.

"CLOSE THOSE DOORS NOW!" orders Amanda. When Arastine and Tyris hesitate, they are pushed out of the way by August and Yoshiko, who don't wish to be food for the demon. The doors close before Aura can reach them.

"NOOO! LET ME IN! PLE-" Aura's cries are suddenly cut off from the rest of the party behind the door. (Aura has died)

The group is in clear shock and dismay at what just happened, and many fall to the floor in an attempt to catch their breath. Shandris, seemingly unaffected at recent events, begins to head off in one of the two directions available.

"I-I think we need a breather.." shakes out Amanda

"There's no time. Up ahead is the weak point to the structure of Azelea's walls, and where we will detonate the bomb. You'll be heading through that tunnel. There's no sense in wasting the entire battalion." she begins to head further down.

"W-wait! Does that mean you're not gonna make it?!"

"Of course not. Someone needs to detonate this thing after all." Shandris turns around and faces the group, a grim smile on her face. "Excellent work, Mistresses Marla and Toxin will be most pleased with your work. Now scurry along..."

With that, Shandris disappears. Not wanting to stick around, the group immediately rushes in the opposite direction. They head up another path of long spiral staircases, that lead to an entrance way that brings them to an alley in the city of Azelea. Yoshiko and Anko are the first ones out, and get the jump on a pair of Elven Sentries, who were certainly not expecting company. Anko snaps one's neck, while Yoshiko strangles the other with her Kusarigama. (Kill for Anko) (Kill for Yoshiko)

The group hides in the alley, surrounded by the noise of the ongoing siege, and attempts to regain their breath. All of a sudden, a piercing explosion rocks the air. From their position, they're able to see Azelea's most main outer walls begin to crumble, revealing Toxin's large army gathered outside. (Shandris has died)

The sacking of Azelea has begun.

Individual Choice (Everyone does their own thing):
Toxin's army is pouring through the city and slaughtering everyone in sight. The looting and cries of the fallen fill the air. Being already in the city, you can get a head start on the looting. There's a very good chance you'll be able to obtain some excellent items in the process, albeit facing some minor resistance. You could also link back up with the main forces. This should at least guarantee your safety.
A: Get to looting! Powerful items galore!
B: Meet up with Toxin's main forces. You've had enough fighting for one day
C: Write-in option

Choice for Arastine, Tyris and McKayla:
The three of you are still struggling to come to terms with the terrors you encountered in the tunnels though. However, one thing does stick out to you. Some of your fellow soldiers clearly hold the lives of your comrades in very low regard. And it does not make you happy.
A: Confront Yoshiko, August and/or Beth
B: Leave it be
C: Write-in option
 
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Severity

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Mar 6, 2016
Dang, 6 dead in one mission. Well, that's what we have reserves for. And numbers.

Millie, terrified and fleeing as fast as she can, suddenly feels a wet, rubbery thing grab ahold of her ankle.
Oh, gods, help! Please, someone, help me!
She manages to grab one of her comrades, trying to survive.
As the dark mage's foot hits her nose, she releases her grip, shocked by both the pain and the betrayal.
She tries as hard as she can to grab on to something, anything, as she's dragged closer and closer to the monster. By the time she's near the thing's mouth, her fingers are bloody, and in some places down to the bone. She's crying quite a bit, which might be why the beholder looks at her for a moment, giving her just enough time to experience absolute terror before she's killed not-quite-instantly by the fangs.
Her last thoughts are of wordless, overwhelming terror.

Having glanced back upon hearing Millie's cry, Arastine turns her head just in time to see Beth kick her in the face and keep running, not even giving a token effort to help her.
Then, when August and Yoshiko shut the doors before Aura can get through, she snaps. This might be the kind of thing they do wherever they're from, but not under her watch. Not here.
Furious, before Beth has a chance to leave the group, she approaches the elven mage, calling out to August and Yoshiko to come over. Arastine fully intends to punch Fuzzy's gauntlet into her chest until it goes out through her spine, and Beth doesn't have much time to talk her way out of this. Neither do Yoshiko or August, the other two on her list.
(Whatever ends up happening, Arastine will return to Toxin's army this time.)

Eisenhilde, firing semi-aimed bolts at the elves as quickly as she can, is thrilled when she realizes that her bolt killed one of them.
My first true offering to Hel~! I'm nearly lost in the bliss of serving Her!
She then runs as quickly as the others, having no intention of her soul going to any other than Hel. Once they escape the tunnels, she wanders off in search of plunder and further sacrifices pretty quickly, but not before taking out her blood vial and painting a symbol of Hel on one of the walls. With her fingers, of course. She doesn't clean them afterwards.

Cernya, glad to have learned how to use some of Nergal's gifts, does her best to stay near the back, but not in the last rank. This quickly becomes as close to the front as possible when the beholder awakens. She's also very surprised when Shandris detonates the bomb, having assumed that she was a traitor. Or loyalist? Not on Miasma's side.
Ah... Damn. Marla got a 200 year old elf to worship her, just like that!? And the damn elf even died for her... I really, really, really can't cross her.
As the city falls, she excitedly kicks down the door of a nearby house and charges inside. It seems she'll be doing all the looting she can.

Mireille was in the middle of the group the whole time, and didn't really see much of the fighting. Or the beholder, which she's thankful for.
I... How... What kind of monsters do these Southerners keep!? How in the hells did they... did that... I. Am. Fucking. Leaving. Right. Fucking. Now.
She immediately sets off to the North once free of the caves, not looking back. She won't stop until she can't move her legs anymore.
There must be some of the defenders trying to break through to the North... Maybe Toxin didn't even have the city surrounded? It doesn't matter. I'm leaving.
She has no intent to fight during her escape, but if she's forced to she will without hesitation.

Hathus is hit by an Elven arrow, and it hurts. Not particularly more or less than the other times he's been hit by arrows, but it still hurts. Fortunately there are clerics nearby, and so as soon as he pulls the arrow out of his shoulder it's already half-healed. Once Miasma emerges into the city, Hathus announces his plan to return to Toxin's army to avoid further battles, and asks that any others who will form a group with him for safety.

During the march to the caves, August seemed to revert to his normal self, particularly after the Beholder is mentioned. Though he's somewhat less outwardly sadistic since he doesn't have a slave with him.
Soon after the doors close, August begins talking to himself, and within five minutes he's smiling again. He makes a strange gesture towards the doors, and repeats it twice more. It seems he's mourning the three that the beholder killed.
He has a faint, sad smile as he slowly walks over to Arastine and Beth.
If he survives Arastine's wrath, he'll wander the burning city and search for powerful or useful loot.
 

Henchgirl 29

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Oct 1, 2018
DeviantArt Username
silencio-tardis
Great mission! I'm surprised we made it out alive at all.

Amanda congratulates the units on their success and urges everyone to return with her to the rest of the Army, as a Lieutenant it's her job to make sure everyone stays as a group, however in all the chaos she can only do so much.

Li Ann decides to stick behind and search for loot, she's not one for fighting in a group.
 

dinomoneyman

Club Regular
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
DeviantArt Username
dinomoneyman
Tyris, seeing the fire in her eyes, grabs Arastine from behind and holds her back, requiring great effort to do so. "Geez! Arastine, I get it but there's a time and place for this. This'll just cause problems!"
Beth is rather offended, but is quite sassy about it. She says, "Is this about the poor woodcutter who got gobbled up back there? You'd rather we both got dragged in? Tsk, tsk, oh defender of the soldiers... Now if you'll excuse me, I off to see if any of my old confiscated trinkets, or perhaps new ones, lie in the city." She strolls away amidst the rancor. "Arastine, we're a team now. We gotta rejoin the main forces, continue surviving, and continue plotting. Extra drama and bloodshed will make things worse for all of us."
At this point, Astrid had arrived on the scene. "I concur. I shall expect you'll be accompanying me back there as well, Tyris?" she asked. Tyris sighed and nodded.

Minerva, now very frightened, had rushed to rejoin the main forces almost immediately. Tyris and Astrid had went back there as well, after the ruckus. Beth went to the city in hopes of finding magical trinkets and artifacts.
 

Skinny73

Vivacious Visitor
Joined
May 15, 2019
Location
United States
Nooo!!! Not Zatrilla and Aura! Moira’s goblin buddy and the sweetheart who things were kinda-sorta looking up for! Dammit Terra, YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED INSTEAD! :frown:

…What? Terra did die? Whoops, I didn’t notice. /shrug

------------ -------------- ----------- ------------- --------------​

The moment Terra set foot in the grimy water, shadows swarmed out of the dark and yanked her back out. One slim hand covered her mouth, while arms like coiling snakes wrapped around and immobilized her. Terra kicked uselessly at the air as she tried to scream, but her muzzled voice was lost beneath the noise of the battalion marching through the sewage. A knife, cruel and cold, slid through Terra’s armor and deep into her lower back, piercing her kidney. The pain jolted through her, and with every second that passed Terra lost more control of her faculties. She couldn’t move, couldn’t scream, could barely breathe.

Tears trickled down Terra’s face as her vision blurred. Her allies receded into the dark, leaving her behind. Gods, what did I do to deserve this? She wondered. Images swam through Terra’s mind of the elven village she had looted, the slaves she abused, and of her axe burying itself in an elven rogue’s chest. Oh, yeah. That. With a final shudder, Terra’s body went limp. The shadows waited but a moment, and then dumped the stringy-haired rogue into the sewage. Terra’s body sunk into the stinking murk with a soft sploosh and vanished from sight.

---------- ---------- ---------- --------- - ------------ ---------​

Anko and Yoshiko were the first to burst out of the gods-forsaken tunnels and into invigorating sunlight. Instantly they noticed the two spear-wielding sentries further down the alley. One elf was tall and muscular with platinum-blonde hair done up in a ponytail, the other petite with braided, navy blue hair and very prominent ears, even by elven standards. Without even trading a glance, the sisters skulked toward the elves, moving with perfect coordination. Once their prey was in reach, the ninja struck.

Yoshiko kicked the tall elf in the back of the leg, crumpling it and sending the sentry down to her knees. She looped the chain of her kusarigama around the elf’s neck and pulled it taut, then planted one foot on her upper spine while pulling back with her arms. Yoshiko’s full weight bore down on the elf’s back while the chain crushed her supple throat. As the blue-haired elf turned to her companion, Anko struck. Her kick connected with the elf’s spear-hand at full force. There was a soft crunch of bone as the broken spear clattered down the alley. Anko followed up the kick with a punch that slammed into the elf’s soft, unarmored belly and drove the air out of her lungs. Instead of crying out in pain due to her broken fingers, the elf could only wheeze as Anko casually wrapped her up in a rear naked choke that lifted the smaller woman off her feet.

Anko grinned as the petite elf wriggled against her, bare feet kicking desperately at the air. “D’aww, she’s so cute. Look at her little toesies!” Anko rubbed her nose against the elf’s cheek, listened to her choked gurgles, and then gave her a quick kiss. “Sorry about this, sweetie. Better luck next time.” Anko wound up the elf’s head and then wrenched it around savagely. A louder, deeper crunch came from the elf’s slender neck, and her struggles ceased. For a moment her fingers clung to Anko’s wrists, while one leg kicked jerkily. Anko held the elf tight until her arms drooped and her leg grew still, and then dumped her on the alley floor.

Meanwhile, the blonde elf’s mouth gaped like a fish as she tried to draw breath down into her burning lungs. Yoshiko ground her heel into the sentry’s back, showing no mercy as the elf’s body spasmed. Once the elf finally went limp, Yoshiko gave it a moment before unwrapping the chain and letting her fall to the dirt. The blue-haired ninja arched an eyebrow at her sister. “Must you always play with your food before eating it?”

Anko snorted. “Oh, like you never do? C’mon, lighten up. We made it out of that hell-hole, we deserve a little fun.”

------------ --------------- ----------------- ------------ -----------------
After watching the outer walls crumble, the sisters rejoined the rest of the battalion in time to hear Arastine confront Beth. They listen as Tyris and Astrid try to convince the soldier to let her grudge go. After Beth walks off in search of loot, Arastine glares at Hathus and Yoshiko. “What about you two? What’s your excuse?” The warrior demands.

Yoshiko meets the veteran’s gaze calmly. “Amanda gave the order to close the doors, and so I closed them. Maybe if we had let you handle things, Aura would still be alive… or maybe none of us would. Maybe if that idiot mage hadn’t woken the beast up in the first place, it wouldn’t have caught any of us.” Several members of the battalion shoot dirty looks at Micci, who fails to meet any of their eyes. “Either way, fighting over it now won’t bring anyone back.” Then Yoshiko leaves with her sister to pillage what they could before the rest of Toxin’s army catches up.

-------------- ------------------ - ---------------- -------------- --------------
To be continued…
 
Last edited:

dinomoneyman

Club Regular
Joined
Aug 23, 2014
DeviantArt Username
dinomoneyman
Minerva was the first to try to cheer Micci up. "It's okay. I'm not mad, I, uh... Know you only meant to help."

Tyris knew that the bigger failures of the night were Micci and Astrid. Micci for obvious reasons, and Astrid for not noticing others being picked off right behind her, but she wasn't too angry towards them since they had no ill intent. They were simply incompetent. She also didn't mention anything about Astrid since no one else had seemed to catch on to how oblivious she was back there, probably because then everyone would have to admit they were oblivious as well, because they all really were. She wasn't even angry at Amanda because despite everything, she at least seemed to have the well-being of the group as high priority, even urging everyone to regroup and not go loot hunting. No, Tyris was more angry towards herself. Mostly irrationally, for things she had no control over, like being oblivious to the assassins herself, and not doing anything to save Aura. She sighed, "Ugh... This is why I always used to work alone... Way easier only risking your own hide."
 

Severity

Casual Client
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
She's not happy with it, but Arastine understand Yoshiko's logic. She can't really see a flaw in her reasoning exactly - she just knows that if they'd kept the doors open enough for Aura to get in, the chances of any tentacles also getting through without being chopped off are fairly low... But still, there was a chance. So, for the moment, she grudgingly accepts Yoshiko's logic, and won't bother them further, at least about this.
Beth, though... She may not be able to get away with killing her, but a daily heavy beating should get the point across. And help Arastine relieve frustration about being unable to save others, too. After all, Millie's soul is being tormented by the Beholder, so it's really just giving Beth a taste of her own medicine. Right?
And she'll also give that moronic water mage a talking to, maybe rough her up a bit. The main goal is to avoid a repeat of this disaster, and Micci's happiness ranks far below the lives of (some of) Miasma's surviving members. Particularly because Micci can regain her happiness.
She'll start the morning after Azelea falls, before Beth wakes up after returning to camp.
 

ViridianShine

Vivacious Visitor
Joined
Sep 18, 2018
"What do you mean you're staying?!"

"Oh, well..."

McKayla rushed up to Aura and grabbed her shoulders, giving her a shake. Aura didn't flinch from the act, however, and stood firm despite McKayla's reaction.

"Marla left, this is the first time she isn't watching over us so...why won't you run now?" McKayla urged, feeling smaller as Aura continued to stare back with calming, gentle eyes. McKayla bit her lip, releasing Aura before taking a step back, "...s-sorry."

"You're a little weird you know, Kay?" Aura giggled in reaction as McKayla blinked at the sudden nickname, "you're a lot less intimidating than when we first met, you know?"

McKayla still felt taken aback by Aura's words. Did the Black Bow really have that strong of an effect, or was Aura already becoming more confident on her own without McKayla even noticing? It was still hard not to see her as that shriveling girl that McKayla pulled from the closet who needed constant surveillance and protection. "Ugh, shut up. You still didn't answer my question. Didn't you hate to kill the elves you lived with?"

"Ah, that...did I ever tell you why I was living with the elves, Kay?" Aura asked. McKayla shook her head, prompting Aura to continue, "I was...expected to be the hunter of a small village I lived in. My mother was sick, you see, and my brother was too young, so..."

"You came to the forest to learn archery?"

Aura nodded, "some relatives agreed to help my family out while I was gone. They said the elves were excellent in hunting and archery, but when I got here they...ah, nobody wanted to help. They laughed at my skills, t-they tried to kick me from village to village."

"And you wanted to spare them despite that?"

"Well, not exactly. The, umm, when you found me. The family that used to live in that house, they were really nice to me. They agreed to help with my training. I was..." Aura looked away for a moment, pausing, "I had a hard time getting used to their death, especially to the hands of the people that just forced me to join them too."

McKayla looked down, "I'm sorry, I didn't know."

Aura only smiled back, still gentle as always, "but that's the reason why I'm still here. I've...ended up learning so much being here with everyone. I was scared at first, but just like how there are some good elves, there are also good people here too with their own reasons to fight. War might be inevitable, and if I want to protect anything in the future I...I need to become stronger from this experience. I want to stay here and fight with these people."

McKayla still remained stunned at Aura's story. Sure she had just displayed bravery after heading out to what she thought was a battle against Marla, but McKayla still hadn't gotten used to the girl standing before her. She couldn't think of something to say before Aura reached forward and hugged McKayla once more.

"Even you," Aura softly giggled again, "people like you and Moira. You guys were sure scary at first, but you're actually really sweet. I-I can't say I understand why you did those...acts at the start, but I always knew you were watching over me!"

"I-I...no, I was just being selfis-..." Aura put a finger to McKayla's lips before she could continue.

"The past is the past," Aura whispered, "but I appreciate it all the same. What about you, Kay? You could escape now as well. Didn't you say you were only here because Toxin had forced everyone in your village to conscript? What about now?"

McKayla blinked at her own question being thrown back at her, but tried to think of an answer that was better than reality. Though, despite having a demon that festers on dark thoughts inside her head, McKayla's sadistic urges had began to calm down already. The wanton bloodshed was not what she desired to continue, and as the urge had subsided, McKayla felt the longing for a normal life to begin rising again. "I...I'm not sure," she finally responded.

Aura laughed, "is it me?"

"W-What?! D-Don't overstep your boundaries, y-you-! O-Of course not," McKayla blushed, turning away, but it already annoyed her how much she just gave away with that response given while she wasn't expecting the question.

"Well, I appreciate your protection all the same. I hope I can continue to get stronger so...watch over me, okay?"


...

The funny thing about gravity, is that it only goes in one direction. No amount of newfound powers could pull those doors open from a distance, which McKayla had quickly found out. She wasn't athletic. Her robes were far too long to run with. With everyone in a panic to escape from the Beholder, nobody noticed that McKayla had fallen way behind the rest of the army.

To your right!

McKayla leapt out of the way just in time to see a tentacle barely smash the wall beside her, only for it to clamber up and snatch Capricia instead, who was farther ahead than she was. McKayla, scrambling up the stairs for her very life, tried her hardest to catch up with everyone else.

Look idiot, if you get dragged down there, I will never find another host again! Hurry up!

I'm trying my fucking best! Why don't you try to run in these robes!

Above you!


McKayla flipped around to see the tentacle shoot out from the ceiling above her, diving straight down at her body. It was so fast, that McKayla could only brace for her imminent death...

Until an arrow struck the tentacle right through its tip, causing the tentacle to dive through the ground beside her instead. Higher up on the stairs, Aura had run back down with another arrow ready.

"Go, Kay, go-!" Aura yelled, sending McKayla scrambling to her feet. As the rest of the party piled into a pair of ornate doors at the top of the stairs, McKayla rushed past Aura as she continued to face the other direction, "back off from her, demon!"

McKayla didn't stop running again until she had barreled through those doors. She heard the command from Amanda to close the doors. She thought Aura was behind her.

She regretted ever turning around. McKayla couldn't catch her breath in time before watching August and Yoshiko shut the doors on Aura behind her.

...

That was a while ago. McKayla still couldn't leave that spot in front of the twin ornate doors. The tentacles were banging on them for some time, but after a while it seemed to have subsided. She heard arguing around her. Blame being thrown. Reasons being given. Some people thinking Aura was the least athletic person there.

Idiots. The lot of them. If she had the power to burn down the rest of this army from the inside, she would have. But, idiots or not, Aura had stayed and died for them. For her. For Aura, McKayla still had to see the good in some of them. The people that she worked tirelessly to heal every day. But not all of them. Not August. Not Yoshiko. Not Amanda, for giving that final command. Those three, it didn't matter anymore what they could have told McKayla, they would have to die. They will die. A life for the life they had taken.

But she knew August was nearly twice her size, Yoshiko was a trained ninja together with her sister, and Amanda was the strongest warrior in their army. McKayla hoped that in the coming battles, she could be the final twist of the dagger, the healer that turned a blind eye, anything she could possibly do with what meager strength she had. She cursed her own uselessness, even failing to keep Aura safe. What was the point of this new power if she couldn't even enact revenge on anything?

A power that feasted on negative emotions, McKayla was barely in a state to notice the voice in her head, laughing as the black mist around her grew with a slow rising intensity...
 
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