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Seraph of Swords, PRP

Adventures from Arx hope to travel to the Temple of Gloria in the woodlands south of Sanctum, and find out what has become of the renowned knight, Dame Renee, known as the 'Seraph of Swords.'

Date

Dec. 1, 2019, 5 p.m.

Hosted By

Vitalis Rysen

GM'd By

Vitalis

Participants

Alexis Ian Rohran Teagan Tescelina Colette

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Oathlands near Sanctum - The Lightgrove

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


Spring has come to Arvum and with it Spring rains. The sky is towering with great, dark rainclouds. The werelight from the sun when clouds break makes everything seem to glow. It would be beautiful if every blessed thing wasn't so WET.



The Great Road cuts a wide swath around the seat of Valardin, branching off over the hills, cutting through the wilderness and shining where rains catch the sun. The rains... Some nights were spent in good cheer at Waystations, warm and dry, well-stocked. But more nights were spent out in the open, in tents under covering boughs without much hope of keeping a fire going. The rare barn or floor of a farmer's home a welcome respite.

Rysen gets a snow white wool mantle clasped at the shoulder with a gold brooch from a reinforced canvas shoulder bag with drawstring cords.

Colette checked perception + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 0 higher.

Ian checked stamina + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 20 higher.

Rysen checked stamina + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 30 higher.

Tescelina checked intellect + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 1 lower.

Teagan checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 45, rolling 11 lower.

Rysen puts Bottle of 100 Proof Alcohol in Holster of Knightly Necessity.

they have been traveling for a while. But they are travelling in Colette's home zone. The shy little Laurent scout is doing her thing. She Usually tavels a bit ahead of the group to keep an eye out for dangers as they may arrive.

Rysen puts Crovane Sigil Canteen in Holster of Knightly Necessity.

Rysen puts a blood red confessor's mantle clasped at the shoulder with a praseodymium brooch in a reinforced canvas shoulder bag with drawstring cords.

Alexis checked stamina + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 22 higher.

Given that he was practically raised at sea, it should be no surprise that Ian's fine with the wet and the dirt that come with spring rains. He doesn't really seem bothered by the cold, either. He turns up the collar of his heavy leather coat, and gets on with things like he doesn't notice the water coming down. He's not QUITE as good about the muck, which makes walking, which is already hard for him, even harder, and you know what sailors really suck at? They suck at riding horses. Hopefully someone found him a patient one.

Rysen rides with the group through the Oathlands atop Bandit, his Crovane war horse. Some time has passed since his injuries, and he seems happy enough to be out even in the occasional shower. "Spend much time in this region?" he asks at some point, riding beside Ian, even knowing that Ian is generally only slightly more talkative than Bandit.

Tescelina has been stuck in the city for a goodly while and her skills as a questing knight are, at least, passable. The wet and dirt don't seem to trouble her at all. Though the blanketing of the sky by clouds ruins most of her nights spend in scholarly observation. She contends to survive /smart/ rather than rugged, taking few chances and relying on her knowledge to see her through the journey. She is mostly quiet through it, lingering oft in the margins of the group. When in dry patches, reading. When in the rain, napping.

The cold doesn't bother her anyway. The Cloudspine has still barely begun to melt this time of year from the winter: Arx itself is already too warm for her midday. The wet makes travel uncomfortable in the metal armor, but the cold is nothing. However, it's the trying to find places to stay that prove to be difficult. In rubicund plate and rained out, she's bare able to be her usual charming, pleasant self. All right. So she's rarely -pleasant- at the best of times. But downright cranky when finding a farmstead does little to get them a place to stay for the night either.

At least Ian doesn't look like he's hanging on for dear life, so he's got that going for him. He does occasionally put a hand on the horse to steady himself, but he doesn't have to concentrate on maintaining his seat so much that he can't talk to anyone. "Not in a while," he says to Rysen.

Alexis wears her finery alongside her armour, and has clothing changes enough to try to keep dry under heavy cloaks. Sir Betenoir is not too happy, but she suffers his grumbling and sticks close to Rysen, practiced in the saddle by now, and happy to represent the order alongside her knight-sergeant. She's got plenty of provisions brought on her heavy horse, and is able to at least somewhat add to that with rationing and snares. "These are nice lands," She muses. "We went this way, I think, when Princess Alis and Prince Fiachra were doing their tour." Her hand comes to rest at her side, at that. Remembering an old wound.

Rysen grins at Ian. "Me either," he says with a glance toward Tescelina. Turning back to Ian, he says, "Wouldn't mind visiting the Telmarch sometime soon, and seeing my mom's family."



"They are," replies Rysen to Alexis, nodding in agreement. "I hope you'll come visit the Northlands sometime soon, Paragon. Lady Tescelina can attest: the Eyre Fells are truly a sight to see."

Tescelina makes no comment on the region, perhaps she wasn't listening. Her dreamy gaze is off to the distance, riding at pace with the others, wearing a fine silk cloak that hoods her features and keeps a relative warmness. When she hears her name, she glances aside and lowers her head. "It is a place of wild beauty," she comments respectfully. "A sight worth the venture."

For the time being, Teagan is content to listen. This is no different than any other time with the woman, truly. She is prone to her bouts of introspection. Indeed, most of what she does while they ride is remain towards the rear of their motley column and keep an eye on their surroundings.

"I'm not this far inland often," Ian remarks in an even tone of voice. He looks away from Rysen as he does so, and his electric blue eyes scan the trees around them, first at ground level, and then higher. He's been doing a lot of that during the trip.

Colette, riding out ahead, spots a farmstead. Teagan assures everyone they'll spend a dry night and heads to speak with the farmers. Tescelina may have somewhere dry to read tonight. Ian did get a patient horse, more patient than Sir Betenoir who whickers at the barn he can smell. Alexis is pretty sure she recognizes this farmhouse from a tour through, though, dotted through the idyllic region, they do tend to look similar. Teagan, as it happens, was wrong and returns to the company. They'll need to 'move along now.' There are silhouettes at the enticingly bright, warm-looking windows. Watching. No place dry to sleep tonight. The next night is better. A trio of Knights of Solace see them to a waystation and then south.



Whether by personal grit or determination, the rigors of the road are endured. And endured well, when they bid adieu to the trio of Knights of Solace and strike west it is with blessings wreathing their heads. The road is a track two carts wide and paved with ancient, sunken stones. Maps of the area are little more than lines on a page. Sparse of detail. Ahead, it seems the road will cross a river before arriving at the Lightgrove. It is raining still, steadily, a gray blanket.



Then there's a sound, a low thrum. It doesn't quite register initially, the low rumble. It slowly becomes a steady roaring.

Colette holds up from her position Riding ahead and waits for the group to catch up. She turns hear head an looks at the (slowly) approaching traveling companions

Rysen rides to Colette's side. "Sense something?" he asks, glancing around. "There's been no word from the Temple. We should be wary."

"Sounds like the river's running high," Ian says in a general 'remarking on something' way; he doesn't sound like he's really speaking to anyone in particular. "Anyone know if the crossing is a ford?"

Tescelina is a bit dour in the morning when she realizes that she has only brought one more book to read and it must last her the rest of the way /and/ the way back. Otherwise she is in her usual muted spirits. As they approach the river, she cants her head at the sound. "Thunder?" She wonders to no one in particular.

Alexis furrows her brow, squinting out ahead as they ride. Still sticking to Rysen, mostly, but offering small smiles about. "We'll handle it, I'm sure - though I think you have the right of it, my lord." She agrees with Ian. "It does sound like the river running high and fierce. Hopefully it hasn't washed out the bridge, or is keeping any ferries from their duties."

To say that Teagan is sour after being turned away by the farmers would be an understatement. She's downright grouchy. Being put up by the Knights of Solace helps, but only marginally. It's not often that the woman is -turned down- (no, not like that, get your mind out of the gutter), so it was rather disappointing all told. Even if it was, perhaps, for good reason. Who would want to put up such a vanguard when they've been rained out so? As they're slowed up and that thrumming sound can be heard, she tilts her head to listen as well. Perhaps trying to place it. "Not a stampede I assume. Wrong landscape for it."

Colette looks at Rysen and has her, (as always) very serious, almost grumpy looking face, "Would you mind to be shielding me swith your ckoak so I can reference the map?"

"It's water," Ian explains to Alexis and Teagan. "The rain's made the river run high. This far out, the crossing might be a ford. Going to be a mess if so."

Rysen smiles at Colette. "Not at all, My Lady." Feeling full knightly, he stands on his stirrups, and effortlessly unclasps his snow white mantle, draping and extending it over his arms to provide a shield between the Lady of House Laurent and the falling rain.

Tescelina looks ahead at the news of high water and gives Colette a chance to examine the map. Every road trip has its hiccups.

The steady drumming of rain continues. Horses shift and grunt - wet leather chafes.

Colette slip sunder the big man from the north. He sure did make it easy for her. She turns and speaks up, "We are 'aving a bridge to cross. Worry not."

Rysen's stormy eyes glance down at Colette. He's definitely not blushing as she reads the map beneath his mantle and speaking her charming Oathlands accent. Glancing to Alexis, he says, "We should be extra careful at the bridge. It's a choke point, and if anything's gone wrong, that'd be a place an enemy might seek to control."

Alexis bobs her head in affirmative, squaring her shoulders and checking the swords that Betenoir carries at his sides. "Hopefully we'll make it past without issue," She notes. "Though if we have to detour..." She wrinkles her nose. "How far off are we, anyway?"

Colette studies the map further and looks around, making note of several things around them. "It is looking as if we are two days ride ro the bridge." She folds up the map to allow Rysen to get a break from being a human umbrella

Colette studies the map further and looks around, making note of several things around them. "It is looking as if we are two days ride to get to a different crossing. The bridge is being close." She folds up the map to allow Rysen to get a break from being a human umbrella. "I can ride a'ead to check the status of our crossing if you all are wishing."

"If it's the river..." Teagan trails off, opting for a moment to check on her bow and quiver; ensuring the rain hasn't done any undue damage to either. She adjusts the lay of some of her gear and the oilcloth over it all as a preventative. There's a glance up. "Best we just take this bridge if the next is two days out."

"Better if we stay together," Ian opines when Colette makes the offer to go out.

Sweeping his mantle over his shoulders, Rysen nods to Teagan and Ian, and and says to Colette, "Let's try the bridge, and if Lady Colette is skilled in moving silently, and wishes to ride ahead, we'll keep her in earshot, so we can assist." He turns to Alexis to see what she makes of the plan.

Alexis nods. "We will try the bridge." She concludes. Looking to Colette. "I trust in your abilities as a scout, but at the first sign of trouble, you head back, you hear. And bring a horn or something so you can call on us if you have a need." She looks to the others. "We'll advance at a sedate pace for now, to ensure that Lady Colette does not need to compromise her ability to be quiet just to keep ahead of us."

Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 24 higher.

Rysen checked perception + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 20 higher.

Tescelina checked perception + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 18 lower.

Teagan checked perception + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 17 lower.

Alexis checked perception + survival at difficulty 45, rolling 6 lower.

Colette Shrugs at Ian, "I am a scout my Lord. It is what I do. Do not be worring." She flashes a quick smile as she trades the map in her hand to Rysen and she snags his horn. She hops off her horse and goes in to scount mode, moving quicly and quietly to check the bridge.

Colette checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 28 higher.

The company presses forward and a bridge comes into view. Details are hard to make out, but...

Rysen accepts the map, and opens his mouth when Colette grabs his horn, but just shakes his head, and puts the map in the leather holster attached to his belt. He waits at the rain makes little pattering sounds on his hood, watching Colette as she advances into the distance. Once she's got a fair lead, Rysen clicks his tongue, and gently tugs at the reins to get Bandit moving alongside Alexis.



As the move a bit closer, the Crovane lord says to those near by, "The bridge is ahead and the water's high. I see a couple of guards as well. They seem to bearing sigils of Gloria."

"Templars, perhaps." Tescelina comments to Rysen's observation. "Likely to dissuade travelers from the bridge?"

Ian shades his eyes against the constant spill of water. "Damn. The Faith has guards this far out in this weather? They don't look like they're in a state to dissuade anyone of anything."

"Well, we're here on legitimate enough business and we're no threat to anyone." Alexis concludes. "No reason to stay hidden." Naive? Perhaps. But Alexis tries ever to be a good and forthright example in all things.

"Hopefully they aren't just wearing those sigils," Teagan says, almost to herself. The woman checks her bow, verifying the string is tight. She's even grabbing at an arrow, loosing it in her quiver to have it ready. "There have been... problems in the past," she speaks up suddenly, "of Abandoned who have stolen arms and armor from the Valardin troops. I would hate to hear of those who do thus to Templars." But she doesn't sound like she'd be -surprised- either.

Rysen glances to Tescelina and nods, chuckling at Ian's comment. He follows Alexis, but Teagan's words are not lost in the rain, and he loosens the straps on the saddle bag containing his blackwood spear and throwing axe.

As ever, Ian seems largely unconcerned by the situation -- as long as you don't look into his eyes, that is. His eyes are serene, but focused, and moving constantly.

"One would think Abandoned wiser than to stand out in the rain, hoping to waylay random travelers." Tescelina observes as they proceed forward, her sword resting on her hip in any regard. "But either case, we ought investigate."

Colette makes it to the bridge and spots the guards on the other side. She looks back to see how close the griup of friends are. Not too far. She turns back to the bridge. Noting the water height and ghe condtion and age of the bridge she wants to enquire it's safety.

Vitalis GM Roll checked perception(3) + survival(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.

Vitalis GM Roll checked perception(3) + survival(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Vitalis GM Roll checked charm(2) + manipulation(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

"One would hope," Alexis agrees. "And hope we shall. But still, you are wise to alert us to the possibility of deception." She doesn't put her hand on the hilt of either blade, but takes a lead position in their little group.

The guards straighten up as the group hoves into view. One squints and calls out to Colette, "Halt! The bridge isn't safe!" The other is squinting hard into the rain, vaguely in the direction of the group, but the sheeting rain makes forms indistinct.

Following Alexis, Rysen, the Knight-Sergent of the Gold Order rides up behind Colette. Bandit shakes his mighty head, blasting air and rain from his nostrils.

"The more brutal of the clans wouldn't care about the rain," Teagan answers Tescelina. "Not if there's something to be won. And not if they'd been tracking us. They can move swifter and more easily than we. They'd know the countryside." Though she may not be convinced of yet, the Blackram woman knows how the shavs work. She's dealt with them more and enough in her home. However, when the two guards call out, she does slow and watches their reaction carefully.

Colette freezes in place as the guard calls out to her. "The bridge is not being safe because of the structure or is being unsafe because because of the water 'eight?" She enquires if the guard who is speaking to her.

"Mix of the water and the structure, probably," Ian guesses as he rides up with the group. "The river's running high enough for a wood bridge not to be so trustworthy. Especially if the water's still rising."

"Ehm...! Both!" calls the guard back to Colette. He leans to speak with the other who squints across the bridge and blinks. The other guard turns on his heel to trot away, along the road. The guard across the bridge, shrugs his shoulders, shifting foot to foot. Squelch, squelch.

Rysen checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Colette turns back around and heads back to the group who is now starting to gather at the end of the bridge. "Guard is saying it unsafe to cross the bridge. But I am not 'aving a good feeling about these gguards."

Teagan checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.

Rysen nods to Ian. "Not eager to go back now," he mutters. "We've some rope, and we're traveling on behalf of the Gold Order Knights!" calls Rysen to guard. "Tie a length to yourself, or something secure. We're going to attempt to cross!"

Alexis isn't all that insightful when people are lying, so she gives a nod to Ian and Colette. "We'll see if Sir Lord Rysen's efforts bear fruit," She offers, quietly. "Or if they'll give us any sort of trouble."

Ian shakes his head to Colette. "He's right about the bridge. Probably isn't safe with the river running this high. But unless the other bridge is a stone one, it'll be the same situation there as here. Worse, if the river floods in the next two days." Then he looks to Rysen. "Rope's a bad idea if the bridge breaks. Everyone should dismount, we can take the bridge one at a time."

Holding firm to her reins with one hand and bow with the other, Teagan leans up in her saddle to study both guards. "Different sets of armor," she tells the group. "Not high quality, either, but it's been well maintained. To be honest, I don't think Abandoned would maintain it so well." She sounds a touch uncertain; still trying to suss it out. "I'll go last," she says, of the crossing. "Just be ready to duck if I have to loose an arrow."

The remaining guard blinks at Rysen's call and the riders gathering, speaking, there are one,two, three - he appears to be counting. He leans down to pick up...

...

...a rope.

Vitalis GM Roll checked strength(4) + athetletics(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 0 higher.

...

...

YANK.

Rysen grins at Teagan, and nods to Ian. "We'll use the bridge, but have a rope in case it gives way, since the current's pretty fierce." He takes a coil of robe from Bandit's saddle bag and dismounts. "Care to go first, My Lady?" he asks Colette, and also glances towards Alexis, who is smaller, but more heavily armored. Turning back to Colette, he adds, "Could be dangerous." Noticing the guard grabbing some rope, Rysen raises his hand in thanks.

Ian moves to dismount. "I probably have the best chance if the bridge breaks. I've swum worse than this. I'll go first. That guy isn't going to give me trouble." ... Unless a Bad Thing just happened and the bridge is gone.

The guard yanks on the rope. It's anchored to something. And he's pulling at it furiously, heels dug in, slipping. His eyes go wide. YANK. He slips and falls over backwards, scrambling to his feet. He's saying something, probably to himself, and likely about the rope's questionable parentage, or his friend's, or the bridge's, or the company's. It's a grab bag. He takes up the rope again and pulls again, grunting, this time when he slips, he falls. Disappearing from view with a shout. Was there a splash? Hard to say over the roar.

The bridge is still there though. ALL GOOD.

Alexis is stunned, but only for a moment. "Quick! Help him! Let's use some of these ropes!" She calls out, leaping off Sir Betenoir, and tugging the massive horse along - he'll be good for support, right. Looking over the edge to see if she can spot the poor man.

Tescelina jumps from her horse and rushes forward at the distant splash, the sound of shouting. It doesn't look like there was any thought from when she heard the sound to when it happened. Her swordbelt clattering to the ground.

"What in the name of the Abyss," mutters Rysen, as the guard slips and then struggles further until he falls. On instinct he tosses the rope to Tescelina and starts to tie it quickly to Bandit's saddle, and then wrapping a bit around his own arm, and sitting down, bracing his legs against any rock or heavy object he can find.

CREEAAAAAKKKKkkkkkk... the water roars, sending spray onto the bridge. Very quietly, over all the watery and rainy clamor, 'help! I can't-' spluttering.

Vitalis GM Roll checked stamina(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Spluttering continues, quiet coughing, 'gods, please- *cough*' CREEAAAKKKKKKKkkkkk... The rope he was tugging on is in a heap where it fell when he slipped.

"Hang on! We've got a rope coming your way!" Alexis calls out and quickly moving to mimic Rysen with a second rope tied to Sir Betenoir's saddle, while Tescelina deals with the first. Can't hurt, right?"

Tescelina takes the rope Rysen tosses and fastens it to her waist, Bandit acting as anchor. She's going to try and cross the bridge, reaching the rope in order to pull the guard up. Its likely she'll need extra hands for this, but she isn't waiting. The rope will, at least, insure she doesn't get swept away without a means to pull herself back.

Ian dismounting is not a pretty sight. No matter how careful he is, no matter how much practice he gets, his legs always give out under him, leaving him collapsed in the mud and having to pick himself up again and free his cane from where it's strapped on to the horse and the rest of his gear. So it is now. Muddy, graceless, and slow. Whatever he is or isn't going to do, he won't be fast to do it.

For the moment, Teagan remains mounted on her horse. She wouldn't be the best for pulling on a rope anyway and for now: she can stay the eyes of the group with bow in hand.

Tescelina checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.

Rysen checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.

Colette watches as the group rushes to pull the man to safety. For now she wants to stay out of the way, waiting for someone to call out to her if she is needed.

Rysen checked command + animal ken at difficulty 20, rolling 2 lower.

Colette does however keep her eyes peeled for any incoming danger

Colette checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Water rises in great swells, crashing upon the bridge. Tescelina is dauntless through it, balanced with an unparalleled grace -- coupled with aid from Rysen's strong pull on the rope -- that lets her reach the drowning guard. Its over the bridge, white knuckled, holding on for dear life. "You are alright," she calls to the man. The rope which pulled him is in sight, she reaches for it, taking firm hold to try and use it to hoist him up. "I am here."

Vitalis GM Roll checked stamina(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Once Tescelina has a hold of the guard, Rysen creates enough tension on the rope, pulling or slackening as necessary, to help Tescelina get to back to safe ground.

Teagan holds to her bow, still watching around them. They're all in a rather precarious position right now: prone, after a fashion. If someone decided to lay upon them...

With her rope tied to her waist, Alexis moves back to Tescelina to offer her a hand in pulling back, to doubly secure the rescue of the man. "Here, we'll get him up," She offers. "Well done! Now for the last bit!" She calls out, to ensure the rest of them hear.

Colette shouts to the group. "Eyes open people!" She points up river. "We got something big out there coming this way!"

As there are already two people on the bridge by the time Ian picks himself up out of the mud, he stays on the bank, and instead looks in the direction that Colette points.

Werelight rainshower gives over to a deeper darkness, something strange and unsettling gathering in the air.



"Oh gods, thank-" the man cuts off, spluttering. "-n't swim," fear and adrenaline give him terrible strength.

Tescelina checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.

Rysen checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 44 higher.

Alexis checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 48 higher.

Teagan turns in her saddle. She looks this way, that. The woman frowns and tightens her hand on her bow. She reaches for an arrow, tightening her knees against her mount... perhaps to still the mare. "Something," she says quietly, but only just. Then she cleras her throat, a bit louder. "Something is coming," the Blackram woman says a bit more firmly.

Hand over hand, Rysen pulls Tescelina as she, in turn, pulls up the guard. The Gold Order knight controls his breathing, though the words of Teagan, cause him to glance in the direction she's indicated for a moment.

Server Announcement: Server Message of the Day: Getting asked a lot, and it's still okay to submit PRP related requests, just they really should be a yes/no type response, rather than anything looking for brainstorming.

Tescelina secures a boot against the rail, yanking on the rope with a surprising amount of strength. Even as the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end, she focuses solely on the rescue of the guard with all her might. Trying not to let it distract her too much. "We have you," she calls to the man.

The paragon pauses for a moment in her hauling. Working with Tescelina, helping secure her with one arm and firmly pulling on the rope with the other. Her nostrils flaring, and her gaze rising. "...Something -is- coming..."

"Some detail would be helpful," Ian says in a dry tone of voice that suggests he's not actually expecting detail. There's a subtle change on the way that he holds his cane as he positions himself, if possible, between the people trying to save the guard and whatever is coming. (He won't go on the bridge to do this, though.)

"Faster Tes!" shouts Rysen, being uncharacteristically informal with the Wyrmguard knight. Something in the tone of Alexis seems to put an odd sort of pressure on him to get them out of a vulnerable position.

There definitely is something coming, the thing that Colette called out... bobbing, big and tumbling on the foaming swell of the river. A huge branch - most of a tree more like. It snares and snags on the riverbank... paused... poised... upstream. For now.



CREAAAAAAAKKKKKkkkkkkkkk...



"Gods, thank you, gods," the man is nearly incoherent with relief, clinging to Tes and stumbling as they make their way, assisted, back to the near side of the bank. The man collapses, shivering, praying. And then stiffens, looking off west, scrubbing a hand down his face, drained of color. His eyes crush shut, "Gods," he rips at the sodden tabard on his chest, making disgusted sounds.

Colette nods once to Ian. The request for more information has Colette running to the other side of bridge and down the banks of the swollen river to get to the branch. She does her best to grab a hold of it and pull it out of the river before it slams the bench,

"I would tell you if I could," Teagan says to Ian, drily. "I just know there is something." She nocks an arrow and partially draws her bow: waiting. For the moment, she stares west, waiting to see more herself.

Tescelina takes the man into her arms as he clears the rail, they stumble a bit but once they reach the safety of land she removes her cloak and offers it to him to dry off his features and keep himself warm. She places a hand on his back. Even as he rips off his tabard and casts it aside. "Take your time," she whispers. "You are safe. I am Lady Tescelina," this is her way of being informal. "We should return you to your barracks." Even at the feeling of something approaching, she stays near the man and looks off to the distance.

"Damn it," Ian says, as the tree branch comes into view. "We're out of time. Everyone across. One at a time."

Rysen re-winds his rope on his arm, and stows it in Bandit's saddle bag, giving the horse some affectionate pats for the rough treatment. "Sorry, my friend," he says. He takes his throwing axe from the bag and sets it in his shoulder bag, before turning to watch Colette race across. He comes to stand at the east side of the bridge and glances back at those still on his side of the bridge. When Ian, speaks, Rysen nods, and moves quickly across the bridge.

Colette makes it across the bridge and upstream to where the massive limb is caught. Water surges around it, nudging it, inch by inch, closer to the bridge. It's caught firmly, but the time, as Lord Ian notes, is slipping away, like that water under the bridge. Some of it over the bridge!

Colette is just holding on to the branch to buy as much time as she can,

Tescelina also escorts the guard across the bridge, making sure to help him balance, once he's caught his breath.

"I didn't know," the guard grabs onto Tescelina, "I wouldn't have-" he looks at the others, gathering themselves and he surges to his feet, "What are you doing?! The bridge-" he opens and closes his mouth, "-it's not safe." he finishes weakly. He scrubs anohter hand down his face, eyes roving back and forth as if he could stare something to do into existence.

Alexis unties herself, but keeps the rope tied to the saddle even as she stuffs hastily gathered coils into the saddlebags, grabbing Sir Betenoir by the bridgle. "Alright, please behave for once and come along," She offers to her willful Beast, pulling him along, ready to cross the bridge once Rysen and Ian and Tescelina are over.

Ian follows Rysen across the bridge, and, assuming he makes it across in one piece, immediately gets his rope from his saddlebags, as well as a horrible, brightly colored, scorched scarf. The wet is not making the wool smell any better. The sailor fastens a lasso from the rope.

Vitalis GM Roll checked command(5) + intimidation(5) at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Sir Betenoir tosses his head enough to test the draw of reins but not quiiiiite enough to rip them from Alexis' hands. He snorts. And then plods across the bridge. Dull thuds have never sounded so grumpy.



The guard covers his nose involuntarily at the smell of the scarf, squinting at it and the dour man who bears it, he edges away.

The branch strains against the current and against Colette's grip.

Tescelina offers the man a reassuring smile, faint as it is, "It is alright. Whatever it is, whatever you have done. I forgive you. You are safe with me. Come." Once they are secure across the bridge, she studies the branch on its course. "We seek a Dame Renee, the Seraph of Swords. Do you know where she is?"

Waiting until the others have begun their crossing and are at least mostly, if not fully across, Teagan finally dismounts. She returns her bow to her saddle and its arrow to the quiver. Her horse is grabbed by the reins and any others still on that side have their leads lashed to her own mare's to create a careful train. She can only hope that it is well done enough before she sets to follow the others.

Colette yells to everyone, "Please be...urrying! I can not 'old this for much longer."

Colette checked strength + athletics at difficulty 45, rolling 2 higher.

Everyone manages to get across, even Bandit trailing Teagan and her mount. The bridge creaks horribly, but is staying put for now. The branch that Colette is wrangling slips free and now, the little Laurent woman is all that's holding it in place. For now. Colette's feet begin to slide on the rocks and mud.

Colette checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 45, rolling 11 lower.

Ian checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 48 higher.

She did her job. Keeping the whole damn tree from taking out the bridge, but now the tree takes her in with it.

Ian stands with the lasso in his calloused hands with the easy competence of someone with a lot of experience with ropes. He was eyeballing the tree like he was going to try to snare it, but when Colette goes into the water, he changes targets fast. He tosses the line -- not to her, but to where she's going to be when it hits the water. He's accurate enough that he lassos her around the waist. It's almost like this isn't the first person he's pulled out of water.



... Of course, then there's the problem of holding her, a task his legs aren't up to. Not once it comes time to brace. "RYSEN!"

She did her job. Colette is Keeping the whole damn tree from taking out the bridge, but now the tree takes her in with it.

Rysen checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.

Alexis checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 40 higher.

Ian's voice over the rush of water springs Rysen forward, and grabs the rope Ian's tossed, wrapping a gloved hand around the rope in front of Ian, and dropping his weight, bracing his legs, and helping Ian to haul Colette back to the swollen river's bank.

Alexis has barely finished her crossing, checking on Sir Betenoir when Ian's frantic call comes. She doesn't hesitate for a second, stepping over to wrap her arms around Ian's waist, lifting him off the ground and taking two steps back. She can certainly brace. Oh. And Rysen has the rope. The tiny knight looks a mite sheepish.

Vitalis GM Roll checked strength(3) + athletics(3) at difficulty 30, rolling 10 lower.

Ian braces as best he can, but his weak legs vs. the river's powerful current is a match that doesn't last long; he's soon on his butt in the mud, sliding... Then Rysen grabs the rope, and Alexis hauls him back, and onto his feet again. "... Thanks."

Colette checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.

Vitalis GM Roll checked intellect(2) + theology(2) at difficulty 15, rolling 17 higher.

Colette just hangs on for dear life

SPLASH! Colette disappears into the water, the branch goes free, tumbling and floating towards the bridge. It isn't clear he's got her until the scarf goes taut and she's caught like a trout. Though by the waist, and neatly. Alexis and Rysen and even the guard tries to help, but he's so wrung out by adrenaline he can't make shaking hands around the rope to grab it.



It's a flurry of quick thinking and quick work, Colette is pulled ashore just as the branch slams into the bridge, it... shifts.



Out of the rainswept landscape to the west comes a terrible roar. Rage and agony. Raw misery and anger seethe in the rumbling notes. It sounds like destruction incarnate. No one misses the feeling eminating from the west.



The guard looks that way and shudders, "She's called it again. Gods." He sways on his feet. "Dame Renee," shoulders slumped, the guard addresses Tescelina, "She's in the temple. We were- are- laying siege." He licks his lips, head hanging, "I did know. Not... all of it. But-" he shakes his head, "There's nothing right about that priest."

Alexis does a quick check to ensure that everyone is at least reasonably ok. Giving Ian a pat on the shoulder. "Saddle up. And bring this..." She looks to the obviously false Templar. "...Man." She concludes. "We need to break that siege."

With that roar, Teagan continues the trek across the bridge as best she can. Or at least to try to spur the horses on to the other side. Even as she does this, she's grabbing bow and quiver again, drawing the string back with an arrow nocked as she looks to the west and whatever lies ahead of them. "She's called -what-," she calls loudly to the guard.

Tescelina follows his words toward the west. That distant, terrible roar. She steps toward it, drawing the glint of her diamond white blade that shines even in the terrible storm. "I sense it," she agrees with the man. "You ought rest. We will handle it from here." She starts walking toward that horrid sense of misery and rage.

Colette comes out of the water thanks to Ian. She is coughing and spitting up water. Right now she is too tired to get up and is just keenling on the ground.

Breathing heavily from the exertion, Rysen rises to his feet, and says to Colette, "You alright? You did great. Thanks for holding it as long as you did." The roar grabs Rysen's attention, and he takes Bandit's reigns and comes to stand beside Tescelina. "Sense what," he says softly, gazing West.

Ian takes his cane from where he jammed it into the mud to keep it upright while he handled the scarf. While Rysen and Alexis pull Colette out of the water, he once again moves to take a place where if anything comes, it will have to go through him to get to them. Not that anything that makes a roar like that would have much trouble going through him, but the sentiment is there. "Some kind of monster, probably," he says to Rysen, when the other man comes to join him.

Tescelina wields Starlight, a luminescent rapier with parrying dagger.

Colette finally builds up enough ste

"They know you're here. My comrade went to tell them," he swallows. "I know a way to the Shrine they won't expect you to use." He blinks, once, drained of energy, fight, vigor. He's harnessed dread as a substitute for determination and cobbled it into something like a spine. "Do you want to die here, or there?"

Tescelina left her horse behind, alas, but she's more than willing to walk -- and doing so! Right toward the source of the dismay. "I will assess the danger when we arrive," she promises Rysen, stopping as the quote unquote guard speaks, "Thank you, yes -- take us there." She says, politely.

When it comes time to put away the scarf, rather than wear it like a scarf ought to be worn, Ian coils it at his hip like a length whip or a length of rope. Smelling like that, it probably only goes up against his face in emergencies. "We'd better go to it. It's going to have done a lot of damage if it makes it all the way here." He doesn't sound like someone who expects to die, but that might just be his flat voice.

Alexis pauses, and looks back to the man, giving a nod. "Let's take them by surprise, then. Show us the way they won't expect us." Exhaling softly. "And I'll leave the moment of my death for the Queen to choose. I will ride to protect this Shrine, and I will stand in battle and show Gloria my determination." She asserts, before swinging herself up on Betenoir. She does, however, have a moment for Ian, and Rysen, and Colette. "There's no shame in staying behind. If we do fall, we'll need someone to report it." She points out, softly - perhaps looking especially at the water-bedraggled Colette.

Colette finally builds up enough strength to stand back up and offer thanks to everyone... Then she looks at Alexis, "Not a chance. I am coming." She cracks her knuckles.

Rysen grins gimly at Ian when he says it's probably a monster. "You're probably right," he replies. As Tescelina begins to approach the source of the roar, and then to the guard. At Alexis's words, Rysen nods, and there is a renewed flash of purpose in his grey eyes. Turning to the guard, Rysen, echoing Tescelina's words, says, "Please show us the way."

Colette climbs on to Rysen's horse with him

Tescelina nods to the man, ushering him forward. She walks beside him, following his steps through the small animal track that winds the rising trees. They creak and crack against wind and rain, shuddering overhead from the distant pulse of that rising force. Yet all the while, the Wyrmguard Knight is set on her course, unrelenting and quiet in her confidence. Moving without delay.

Ian chooses to lead his horse rather than mount back up. He has to be careful on the muddy animal track, with plenty of stones and roots to trip over, which takes a lot of his attention.

Holding Bandit's reigns lightly, Rysen and Colette ride along the animal track just behind Alexis, moving slowly to keep pace with Tescelina and Ian. He is alert to the forest around him, and to any further roaring from unknown horrors.

Alexis offers a small smile and a nod of thanks to Colette, ensuring everyone is ready to move on, before she urges Betenoir after Tescelina and the guard. Following the path carefully atop the massive animal.

The bellows continue, rising and falling, a terrible tide swelling unseen, but close. Very close. And getting closer.

More time on horseback. More time through the trees. And more time for Teagan, at the rear of the party, to hold her bow tightly with an arrow at the ready. Hearing that roaring and having been sensing it this entire time has her more than a little on edge. It has her -plenty- on edge and full of concern. "Let me know," she sends up the line, "as soon as you -see- rather than just -hear- something."

The corner of Ian's mouth quirks up a little bit. "You'll know," he says to the ground. But probably he was talking to Teagan.

Colette keeps her eyes peeled for any visual confirmation of the creature being stalked.

At the sound of the approaching roar, Rysen draws a blackwood spear out of his saddle bag. Holding it loosely in his hand, while the other grips the reigns.

Rysen gets a carved blackwood spear with a steel head from a reinforced canvas shoulder bag with drawstring cords.

Rysen wields a carved blackwood spear with a steel head.

Alexis wields The Dragon's Daughter, an Alaricite Greatsword.

The rain eases, just in time for the group to go under the cover of trees. As the undergrowth and foliage swallow them, looking back to the bridge are Tescelina and Colette's horses whinnying and crying, running back and forth, calling after the others. Their herd has left them! Terrible Things are near! Colette's braves a hoof on the bridge and shies back when it creaks, kicking and whinnying like the bridge itself is a monster. They continue to cry and pace, eyes wide and wild, heads tossing, until the forest swallows even the sound of the river.



The sense of wrongness grows as they near the Lightbridge. Very low, the guard speaks, when a round of pained roaring subsides. "It's a giant, I mean- don't know what else to call it," he grunts and stumbles, coming upright and forging on. The guard pauses to catch his breath. "The priest sings terrible hymns and it ...answers." The trees begin to thin and the guard crouches. "Normally there are patrols here, but everyone makes themselves scarce when it comes." He points at the walls. A sally gate, barred from the outside. Possibly the inside too. "Ehm. I'll stay with the horses." He offers, swallowing. Either reluctant to go face whatever it is, or possibly reluctant to step onto holy ground after what he's done.



The sally gate, once the blocks are moved, swings open. The company is met by grungy acolytes who nearly wilt with relief and pride at once. They usher everyone in in a hurry and bar the gate. Dame Renee is in the heart, the altar itself, of the Shrine which is an arena. Rain is pooled on tiles and hardpacked earth has shed most water, no mud here, open to the sky. She is kneeling, blade of her sword across her hands, stretched out. She is sitting thus when the first BOOOOM sounds.



BOOOOOM!!!



Her eyes snap open, "Brothers and sisters, I saw your coming." She smiles and rises smoothly, moving to thrust out a hand to each of those who approach, "Dame Renee. You are most welcome here if you have come-"



BOOOOOOOM!



Her eyes track to the Shrine gate, rattling with each blow. "-to fight."

Rysen puts a carved blackwood spear with a steel head in a reinforced canvas shoulder bag with drawstring cords.

As they pass into the shrine through the sally port, Ian says to Rysen in passing: "Don't think the trick with the chamber pots is going to work this time." And then he draws an alaricite sword from within his heavy cane.

Ian checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Tescelina gives the man one last pat on his shoulder and inclines her head. "Stay with the horses," she insists and moves forward to the approach of the acolytes. As they lead them to Dame Renee, her greeting is met with a knightly curtsy. "It is an honor. I am Lady Tescelina Wyrmguard. Knight and Voice of my House. We have come to aid you."

Tescelina checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Colette curtsies to Renee. Odd time to be worried about proper etiquette. The booms at the door get her attention. She starts stretching and cracking her joins. "The bigger they are the more fun they are to topple."

Colette checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Rysen gazes at Renee with a degree of admiration. "Indeed, Dame Renee, we came to seek your help, and I, and likely most if not all of my companions will gladly lend our aid to your and the acolytes." He grins at Ian, and draws his black alaracite sword etched with runes in his right hand, and his rubicund arming sword in his left. Turning to Alexis, he says, "For Gloria."

Rysen checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.

Teagan checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Rysen wields Moria - a rune-etched bastard sword.

"I've fought giants before," Alexis murmurs grimly, sliding off the horse. Giving Betenoir a pat. "Look after them, Sir Betenoir. They'll need a proper Knight of Petrichor to care and keep them safe. But keep yourself safe too, you hear? Retreat before battle." She murmurs. Then exhales, and shifts her blades to strap across her back. Moving swiftly to the sally gate and slip inside. Rolling her head from side to side, and sketching a bow to Dame Renee. "Dame Alexis Wyrmfang, Sword of Blancbier and 4th Paragon of the Gold Order." She offers. "We have indeed come to fight." Hefting the dragon's daughter, she turns towards the door, and glances to Rysen. "For Gloria. For Gild. For the Sentinel. For all of the Gods and the People of the Compact." She decrees. "WE ARE THE LIGHT THAT GUIDES! WE ARE THE FLAME THAT CLEANSES!"

Alexis checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

"A giant?" This seems to draw Teagan's attention a fair bit. She straightens a good measure and lowers her bow, looking to the man that has led them here and to the gate once they start to approach closer. "There were, long ago, fomorians in the Cloudspine they say, but..." She shakes her head. Even so, those green eyes shine with an interest. A lot of it, in fact.

"It's all real," Ian says to Teagan while he hefts the body of his cane in his off hand like a crude parrying dagger. "Whatever stories you've heard. They're real."

Vitalis GM Roll checked dexterity(4) at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Vitalis GM Roll checked dexterity(5) at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

BOOOOOOOMMMMM!! The gate shatters inward scattering stone and wood shrapnel everywhere.

Rysen checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 55 higher.

Alexis checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Ian checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

Tescelina checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 32 higher.

Colette checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.

Vitalis GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + dodge(5) at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

Teagan checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 5 lower.

Dame Renee smiles at each in turn, particularly those invoking Gloria, "Good, let's be about it then, shall we?" She turns and lifts her sword to her forehead, saluting, "For Gloria."

Shrapnel bursts inward, headed striaght for Teagan... 25 inflicted and Ian is unharmed.

...and in moving so carelessly for his own safety, right into more. 25 inflicted and Ian is unharmed.

For those at the Lodge, this is no gargantua to make one question reality. This is a flesh and blood *monster.* Terrible for its comprehendable reality. It bursts through the door, garbed in stinking hides. Its flesh is criss-crossed with scars and marks. Burned into its forehead, Gloria's symbol defiled, inverted. It bellows, spraying spittled and animosity, eyes a maddened whirl of rage and incoherent hate.

"If they're real," Teagan tells Ian, glancing sidelong at him. "Then I am part-giant." There's a slight grin toward the man. "But I would hate for anyone to think I am crazy. That is the very last thing I am. So it's all stories and folktales and nothing more." She seems wholly unperturbed, really. And then those gates burst open and because she's so not familiar with -plate- armor, she's just a little too slow in turning away from the shrapnel. Good thing Ian is there.

Tescelina checked intellect + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

As the door shatters, Ian, having just given her the Han Solo speech, forcibly grabs Teagan and shoves her behind him, at the same time turning his back so that his face doesn't bear the brunt of the shrapnel. Once the spray of metal and stone has passed, he turns back and looks at the thing that has burst through. "Well, here we go."

Rysen checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 56 higher.

Teagan checked intellect + occult at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.

As the horrifying giant bursts into the temple, Rysen hops to his left, and with the focused look of a predator, he bursts forward, losing the muscles in his arms. He sides across the ground, and slashes with all of his force at the leg of the behemoth, tightening all of his muscles at the point of impact, with a great exhalation of breath.

Tescelina slips her left hand behind her back, holding the diamondplate dagger that accompanies her matching rapier. The long blade is aimed toward the adversary. "A Fomorian," she explains to those present with a quick analysis, "A servant of the Tyrant by that sigil. There is but one way to sooth its rage, returning it to the Wheel. Gloria guide us."

RRHUUUAARRRHHHhhhh! The monstrous giant roars as Rysen's blade scores a deep gash.

Teagan checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 2 higher.

Tescelina checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 31 higher.

Having just been saved from a splintery near-death by Ian, Teagan is also provided with the added seconds to draw her bow. She offers thanks to the Kennex lord as she draws back as she turns out from behind him and lets fly over his shoulder. There is a brief uncertainty in her mien as she does so. This is, if a fomorian, something of a kin to her. In some very distant, strange sort of way.

Tescelina moves in a front facing position, square against the rampage giant. She's confident in her speed, the accuracy and purpose of her sword, which thrusts forward to attack at tendons rather than aimless strokes. Snipping muscle, like destabilizing the foundation of a house, with the arc of that diamond white-steel rapier. The lightness of her gear certainly hopes in the nimble way she moves, staying close, striking when it counts.

Alexis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 50 higher.

Alexis has no hesitation. Deftly sidestepping the flying debris, she raises the Dragon's Daughter over her shoulder, clutching the hilt with one gauntleted and, and just above the cross-guard with the other, and lets out. She yells furiously, charging the creature that's easily double her size, blade aimed as high as she can. She's mosty looking to wound the damn thing.

Ian closes more slowly than the others, at an unhurried walk, while he gauges the giant with a steady, serene gaze. It's notable how calm Ian looks -- not the calm that stands like a wall holding back other emotions, but real calm, like he's perfectly at peace with where he is and what's happening around him. In fact, he seems more comfortable in this situation than he ever does in Arx. His bright blue eyes are focused, so sharp that they could almost be lit from within. He holds his sword at a lazy angle until the last moment, then brings it up in a controlled arc. His footwork isn't fast (in fact, he doesn't really do footwork at all), but his bladework is -- fast and perfectly targeted.

The creature flinches at the arrow that glances off of its heavy brow, intelligent enough to ward its eyesight, but the blow does little damage. Tescelina's blow strikes true, clocklike precision. It roars and faces her.



Then Alexis' blade scores it across its belly, carving through furs, his roar of pain out of scale with the injury inflicted. And then Ian, methodical, implacable, deadly. It bellows at him. Enemies are everywhere. EVERYWHEREE! RRRRAUUUAHHHHRRRHHHHHHhhh!

Colette checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.

Vitalis GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + medium wpn(5) at difficulty 15, rolling 53 higher.

As the creature bellows, Rysen stands at its right flank, his grey eyes glancing over his shoulder at Colette. He nods, and as she approaches, he drops to his knees, as a man in prayer.

Colette gets a running start. Seeing Rysen kneeling down, Colette uses the Northern Knight as a spring board. He stands just as she gets feet on his shoulders and launches off of him to jump up to the creatures shoulders/neck/head area. She latches on and pulls it's head back, using it's eyes as a grip to hang on. Seems she knows that she isn't going to be able to do too much damage with just her fists, and her goal is just to distract the creature to make it easier for everyone else to hit it.

Dame Renee's style is straightforward, though not staid, she watches the others to find the rythym of this flow and moves to strike as Colette pulls the thing's head back, scoring it across the ribs as it lifts its arms to grab Colette...

Vitalis has rolled 1 9-sided dice: 6

Vitalis has rolled 1 9-sided dice: 9

Vitalis GM Roll checked strength(5) + brawl(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.

Colette checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 49, rolling 10 higher.

Vitalis GM Roll checked strength(5) + brawl(4) at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Vitalis GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + dodge(5) at difficulty 50, rolling 2 higher.

Maddened by its wounds, the creature roars and grabs at Colette, whoe is eel-like in her determination. It's eyes, lids stretched in ghastly fashion, roll and land on Renee, who he backhands - the knight stepping back smoothly, and only just, wind from the passage of the giant's fist fluttering her hair.

Rysen checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 26 higher.

Teagan checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 7 lower.

With Renee evading, Rysen steps between the creature's legs to stand behind it. He slides into a low stance, slashing violently across it's hamstring, attempting to weaken its posture, and cause it to stumble forward.

Tescelina checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

And the giant starts swinging those big hamhocks it calls fists. Teagan may be further back than some of the others, but still she dances back even further as she draws back another arrow. This does not do her any favors, unfortunately, and she finds that her next shot goes wide; the arrow finding nothing.

Tescelina focuses on evading those huge fists swinging about, moving in to try and thrust at the opposite hamstring which Rysen has attacked. Its a feat, to be so close to something so destructive, and her blade still manages to skim its hard flesh and furs.

Alexis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

Alexis hears Rysen's muttered words, and draws breath, draws back, collapsing in on herself. She exhales, shifting her grip, both hands on the hilt, now. Holding the blade vertical. Inhale. Wait for the perfect moment. She uncoils, mail jingling and well-oiled plate creaking slightly as she unfolds herself, as she rises up on her tippy-toes, as she thrusts her sword upwards with another yell of fury and frustration, aiming her blade at the neck exposed by Colette's efforts, hoping that Rysen and Ian and Tescelina can cut it down to size far enough for her to reach - and hopefully, the upward motion of her entire body can do at least a -little- damage.

Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 36 higher.

Ian makes no move to defend Renee; either he's assuming the Dame can handle herself, or he doesn't care what happens to her. Risking a very painful stomping, he moves in close, targeting his attack to try to open the giant's guard for Alexis to get a good shot at the throat.

Colette checked dexterity + brawl at difficulty 30, rolling 27 higher.

Now that Colette is firmly locked on to the giant. She uses her legs that are wrapped around it's neck to just start squeezing, cutting off all air flow.

Vitalis GM Roll checked command(5) + teaching(5) at difficulty 45, rolling 17 higher.

Every moment is a teachable moment, Dame Renee's eyes flash, "That's it! Strike like wolves! Steel yourselves! Fight! Cry Gloria's holy name!"

Blows fall all around like the rain above, which starts again, making liquid the thick ichor of the creature's black-red blood, running now in sheets down its arms and legs, horror show of its face. It staggers forward at Rysen's blow, knuckling under, the other attacks coralling, but it staggers just shy of plunging onto Alexis' great sword and staggers upright. Arrow streaks past, blows fall. RRRRrrRrrRRAAHhh-kkkk. Kkkkkk. Hhhhh... The giant's eyes could hardly bulge more, but there they go as Colette's legs lock.

Rysen checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Rysen roars, "Gloria, Lagoma - burn away this blight!" He drops his rubicund sword, and buries the black alaracite deep into the thigh of the Formorian from below, and drags downward with all his strenght and weight.

Teagan checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 2 lower.

Maybe it's the fact that they're fighting a fomorian and Teagan just doesn't know how she -feels- about that, all told. The woman stands her ground, however, and stares down the creature even as it begins to stagger. Her jaw tightens. And maybe she doesn't draw back on her bow as far as she otherwise might: the arrow goes just a bit wide once again.

Tescelina checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 26 higher.

Vitalis has rolled 1 9-sided dice: 8

Vitalis has rolled 1 9-sided dice: 8

The giant begins to reel, blood splattered from the impact of each blow landed against the terrible form. Tescelina weaves through the mess of it, the chaos, with a moonlit fluidity. She hears the call of the Dame and answers, voice clear and yet still elegant, "Gloria's light will blind you," she calls to the beast as she slices across its leg, "It shall sting." Her rapier cutting upward in a stroke across its ribs, "And when you fall, you shall be welcome in the hereafter!"

Vitalis GM Roll checked strength(5) + brawl(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.

Vitalis GM Roll checked strength(5) + brawl(4) at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.

Alexis checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 112 higher. Alexis rolled a critical!

Alexis says, "In the name of Lagoma, you will be cleansed. in the name of the Queen, you will be returned to the Wheel. BY GLORIA!" Alexis yells, finally finding actual words. "I WILL END YOU!" She draws her blade back, puts her body into it, twists at the waist, and then sweeps out with that giant, glittering alaricite blade, the gem in the dragon's eye glinting as it catches the lamplight, and she sweeps her blade against the giant's torso once more. Screw that neck, it's too far above anyway, and Colette has it covered. Literally."

Colette checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 42, rolling 2 lower.

Colette checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 48, rolling 22 higher.

The beast gropes for Colette, grabbing her leg and pulling her away by brute force, she flails enough to keep him from laying another hand on her and so is saved being ripped in two... saved... after a fashion. He dashes her against the ground like a doll.

100 inflicted and Colette is harmed for severe damage.

CRUNCH.

Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.

Ian isn't the kind of person who does a lot of hearty bellowing during fights, and so it proves here -- he fights in silence, the lambent metal of his sword red, now, with blood as he weaves around the giant's legs, avoiding its stumbling steps... But maybe he doesn't need to shout. The way he dodges the giant's stumbling has put him far enough outside that the rain from above begins to wash the blood from his sword, even as every cut baptizes the metal anew. He casts just the briefest look at the sky, and there's... something. But whatever it is, it doesn't involve shouting.

"Yes!" Bellows Dame Renee. She is unaffected by those who choose not to bellow. Her eyes narrow at the crunch of Colette's body on the ground, teeth baring, "What do you fight for?!" She hollers. Rhetorical? Is she asking for others to say, "For glory!" She moves in and raises her blade to strike and the creature...

...takes a step. It's hand twitches. It looks forlorn a moment, as if waking to a strange place. It blinks, hand fluttering to the wounds to its legs. Rysen's, Tescelina's, Ian's, Teagan's arrows - even when they miss - are disorienting. It's not it's legs it should have been worried about. A gout of blood boils out of a slash so deep on it's neck, the formorian's head is near-severed as it falls, struck dumb in final moments. It lands with a heavy thud, blood splashing in the rain.



That blood, black and stinking oozes away from it, in thick ropes, oozing towards each of the combatants, leaching out of the formorian and sizzling as it goes, stretching, like ghastly fingers...



"Step back! Ready your weapons! Know why you fight!" Dame Renee steps back, stands tall and holds out her blade, face grim as the rope of blood leaps at her.

Colette is kind of broken and a little unconscious at the moment, and can not respond to the Dame.

Though she doesn't grab another arrow, Teagan moves nonetheless. She drops the bow to her off-hand, jogging across the blood-slicked field to the downed Colette as she bends to try to gather up the unconscious woman and gather her. She doesn't answer Renee. Why she fights? Probably for the betterment of her people and for those around her. She fights out of necessity.

Ian stands in the rain after the creature falls, steadily soaked and cleaned of the mud and blood he's picked up over the course of the day by the water that comes down. Sword still drawn, he looks up at the sky again, and says something too softly to be heard.

Why do you fight, Dame Alexis? Alexis has many answers to such a question. To protect. To defend. To raise a guiding light. To cleanse the land of evil. She could speak for hours, of what she's seen and heard of. The proud ancestry of Wyrmguard, which then became Wyrmfang. Holding a blade forged before the Reckoning, and carried by one of the mythical dragonriders, the first Wyrmguard. What words are there, truly, to encompass all of this. She steps back, blood dripping black from her gleaming blade. Her nostrils flare. "For honour," She concludes, her voice quiet and determined. She drops to a simple knee. Resting her hands on the crossguard, the winged dragon. She is ready to rise again, to strike again, but for now, a prayer for her fallen foe.

The twisting ropes lunge at Dame Renee, at Rysen, at Teselina, Ian, and Teagan hovering over fallen Colette. They lunge and boil away, into bitter vapor that stings the eyes. And then... all is quiet.



The rain stops and sun breaks through the clouds. Several times on the trip this beautiful golden light fell, but only this time does an arc of color trace through the sky. A rainbow, bright and beautiful arching across the sky.



Outside the camps are in disorder. True to his word, the false templar stayed with the horses. He isn't able to learn exactly what happened, except that those who were paying the mercenaries have now absconded. A Lord Cecil, who is contesting claim to rulership of Oathlands domain and the priest at his side. Both gone. With no reason to be there, the mercenaries are packing up and getting the hells out. Sieges are miserable. And sieges with abyssal creatures around are even moreso.

Tescelina has eases from the swings of the giant, skissing across the ground as it thrashes Collette. She runs to the Lady's side, standing over the body, protecting it, and at the Dame's call -- she answers: "For the weak." Not only in the helpless, but those who have been led astray. Such as the creature writhing into nothing before them. "Be at peace."



Afterward she clears the area with the others, she's very star struck with the Seraph of Swords but tries not to be too awkward.

Colette finally opens her eyes after getting gathered up by Teagan. She coughs and some blood comes out, but she had enough strength to cover her face and not cough blood in to the Lady Blackram's face. "Did we win?"

As the rain stops, Ian slides the blade of his sword back into his "parrying dagger" and thus turns it back into a cane. He paces back inside, already moving on to the next step, now that the monster is dead. He walks over to Colette to look her over. "She'll need a doctor."

Teagan looks up at the rainbow that appears in the sky now, but she's kneeling by Colette now that she's pulled her free of the fight. "I think we did," she tells the other woman. There's an eye for her wounds and a deep frown. "We need to get you to a Mercy. And fast." And from there, she will help the woman to the horses; and a makeshift litter if need be.

Alexis rises and gives a nod of her head to her allies, as they step out, seeing the camp clear. "Thank you all, for coming." She swallows and looks to Dame Renee. "Dame. My Knight-Sergeant Rysen and I have a request to make of you. Once we are done clearing the field and restoring the shrine, perhaps you would hear us out?" She asks - she's no doctor, and looking to the others seems to ensure that Lady Colette is already in good hands.

Dame Renee is exhausted, the show of peace and strength clearly having taken a toll. Or maybe it's just that she hasn't eaten properly in several weeks. The acolytes seem a bit dazed. Renee prays over Colette.



Unpaid for further action, the mercenaries aren't any threat and the company rides out back to Arx. Knights of Solace are summoned to occupy the Shrine until a new complement of inhabitants can settle there.



"I know of the request." Dame Renee bows her head, "I will accompany you all to Arx to discuss it."



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