Influence From The Shadows

Passage Into Phaion

Another Step Towards Dreams

• Breakfast platters are waiting outside them as they wake up. J and Andrei eat their breakfasts and then go down to wait for the zeppelins. L eats and talks to Hadiyya, H mentions she is thinking of traveling to travel to Shivat to learn more about martial arts, L says she doesn’t have enough money to help her there. Shadow attempts to scope out the area and watch people go by, but doesn’t notice anything strange except for the exceptionally busy pace of the city. Shadow goes to a weapon merchant and purchases 20 +5 arrows and a replacement chakram. F goes and buys some +5 hardened leather armour made from arctic wolf hide (grey white in colour.) and then goes to the airport to wait for the zeppelin.
• H and L realize that she will probably need to borrow money from the other party members. They go looking around the hotel for them, but cannot find them. H “Do you think that they might be at the airport?” L “Hopefully.” They go to the airport, L taking Molly with her. They are able to spot the group standing around with a large gap of space around them. H addresses the entire group saying that she needs money. She needs to borrow a loan. J laughs at it. F “How much money are we talking about this, and how will you be paying it back.” H “220 GC, and paying it back with money.” F “With money and…” H “I don’t think I like where this is going. A traditional payment for the amount and interest.” F “Ah, interest.” He gives her the 220 GC. J “Congratulations, now you can come with us.” To Fenix “You know you may not ever get that money back. We don’t have a particularly good track record with women.” H “What do you mean?” J “Well, that chesty chick, what was her name,” L “Sophia. She through herself into that golem.” J “Then Taiko through that blind woman.” L cringed. H “Who throws and blind woman?!” L “He forgot I was blind.” J “Then there was that other woman that vanished.” Andrei “That was Anya.” Shadow looks around for eavesdroppers, and spots Bridgette looking at them, so Shadow glares at her, Bridgette just smiles and waves. Fenix notices Bridgette waving, checks her out. L comments on how Fenix had died once, and Bridgette checks out Fenix some more. They then wait for the zeppelin.
• At 8 pm they board The Sky Eagle, A dislikes being separated from his weapon for a time again. J makes them let him keep his weapons. The room assignments are: S, H, and J in one, Andrei, L, and Fenix in two. H and J talk H “So where are you from, what’s a northman doing here.” H “Do you really kill people for money.” J “I more kill people and take their money.” H “How does that feel?” J “Liberating.” H asks if there is anything that they shouldn’t be doing in order to avoid their hammers. J describes what makes people fight him, that he warns them first and lets them surrender and live if they ask for it.
• They travel for the time, enjoying the food, and land in Chaville for a time. H brings up the fact that they will need to leave Phaion and cross a sea in order to reach Shivat. H makes a map using foods from the table to explain things. They hadn’t though about it yet. The zeppelin then takes off once again and makes its way to Lannet. After the next chunk of time they arrive in Markusias.
• The strange arrangement of east and western culture and makes for strange sight. J finds the first rich long time person around the zeppelin and asks for the nearest port town (Hong Kua), what the fastest way to it would be (Through the Matsu Forest or following the east road), and then H asks how far it is (over 1000 km). They let the others know, they try to figure out what to do, L riding Valkyrie, F riding Buttercup. F offers to let H ride behind him, saying he’ll add it to the tab. H begins to think there is more then just money on F mind. J gets tired of the discussions about whether they need to get horses, and so goes to the market to buy rations, fills his wineskins in the fountains getting some strange looks. Notes that there are efficient looking guards that they aren’t afraid. They hear about the war between Abel and the Azure Alliance growing and threatening to begin, that The Church is preparing for their Crusade against Kushistan, and that the Eternal Shadow Wars seems to have begun again in on Varja, as well as their planning on their war against Dwanholf. F and L buy food boots and a warmer coat, H buys a horse (red with white stripes) so that she doesn’t have to ride with F, as well as food and water, boots a nice coat and a kimono. Shadow gets new boots and food. Andrei gets a white horse he names Chron and some food. They all leave through the city, J first because he was tired of waiting, assembles a fire, sees TAK leaving the city and staying off the road, gets his fire built up large before the others arrive as the sun has set.
• They sleep outside the city for the night. They are not harassed in the night.
• They travel peacefully for three days, and then they reach the edge of the Matsu Forest, and a foresting camp. L asks around in Yamato, finds a worker and asks about the animals found in the forest, nothing too big but some reports of strange lights but nothing big. They sleep for the night in the forestry camp.
• The next day they enter the forest, large pines blocking out the sun, the needles across the ground softening their footfalls and horse hooves, and the quiet filling the air. They travel all day through the woods, Andrei looks for a deer, fails to strike it the first time, chases it and wounds it with a savage slash, then with the third strike tears the beast into bloody halves. As the sun begins to set the group sees forms traveling through the woods around them, Shadow Lynn Andrei and Fenix see them before they vanish into the trees. Andrei brings the deer back. H “What did you do to it!” Andrie “Killed it. Now I’m going to eat it.” He cooks it up with the flames and offers the food to everyone but H, L gives her portion to Molly. H is understandably pissed but hides it well. Andrei takes the rest of the deer meat with him. They sleep at night, with J taking first watch, H, S and F taking second watch, and L and S taking third.
• During the third watch Lynn and Shadow see a beautiful woman with vines, leaves and flowers in her hair, quite naked. She gestures towards them, and L goes through her languages until she gets to Yamato and says “Can I help you.” Shadow wakes up the other, J angrily with his hammer, Fenix completely exhausted and H angry. The strange woman responds that they should leave the forest because it is sacred ground. J says they will continue forward. The woman warns that they will have suffering and death and pain. L translates again, but J says they are continuing forward. The woman says that that could not be good, and then vanishes. They then discuss about continuing forward and that they should H “Do these things happen to you often?” L “More often then they should.”
• The next day they continue forward through the forest, weapons out, Jormangander with both hammers out. H in Jashu “If he has these hammers out does he suspect trouble.”, L “Often enough he is, and after last night he’s probably right.” S “Those hammers are a part him, just go with it.” F in Latin “Abel Christ, can we please just talk in Latin for a moment.”
• As they travel through the forest in the later afternoon they approach a grove where a Huldra is playing their instrument, sitting around stones that look like all remains of old temples, and Shadow notices that there are also 8 Cait Fildais, 2 Hamadryads (Willows), and an Archchimera. L asks to put an Area over H, H “How do you mean.” L “Grant me access so that I can use my powers through you.” H “I don’t like that much. I don’t care much for puppetmasters.” L “I won’t control you.” F uses Erudition for a general power scaling, and senses hostility. H “Do you actually insist upon solving this with violence.” The others just shake their head as she steps down from her horse and enters the grove. She speaks to the Huldra in Yamato Shun, for a time in an attempt to understand if they can cross in peace. The Huldra says no because there is the chance that their presence will awaken forces best left to slumber. H asks if there is a way for them to pass without waking them. The Huldra says that they can’t, as their very presence shifts the worlds around them and causes disruptions around them. Their crossing would cause a great deal of pain and suffering to the world around them with their mere presence. They shouldn’t cross here. They switch to Latin so that the others can understand. H says that she will stop and go around, tries to convince J but he refuses, saying that they will continue to travel forward. The Huldra offers to let any that wish to stay live and escape, if they cannot convince J. Everyone else agrees with J on this one. H says that she will sit out this one out, goes over to the side and sits to watch. Shadow also attempts to try and negotiate whether they could go through the forest, what kind of a creature they could summon with their passage. The Huldra isn’t particularly helpful and maintains vague descriptions. She says the others should follow in H example, since she accepts that she cannot beat the forces before her and that it would lead to her death. H gets to her feat at this point and shouts “Wait now you stupid bitch, I never said anything like that!” The force of the cry startles the Huldra into breaking a string on her instrument, and she looks up with hatred in her eyes.
• The Huldra plays her lute to cast an empowered Shield Area Essence Spell, then moves behind a large pillar to cover them. The Archchimera steps over to cover the Huldra between pillars, and began having its eagle heads charge their flames. H is able to enter the area and charges towards the Willow Dryad on the left, punching through the stone shield she summoned to strike her. The other Willow Dryad fired a water blast at H, who dodged it so the water smashed against a rock. L unleashed her highly concentrated Psychic Assault, striking down against all of their mental shields against them. F unleashes his Arcane Energy Armour, but is rebuffed by the barrier of the Huldra and is unable to enter. Shadow fires a regular arrow at the injured Dryad, piercing her heart to have her crumble into dead wood, then fires a second shot at the other dryad which throws up a stone shield, but the arrow strikes her solidly. The mass of Cait Fildais lunge to swarm around H, unleashing their attacks upon her, but she is able to use her Lama to avoid their strikes. Andrei moves through the barrier and begins to transform. J is also repulsed by the bubble, so he moves around it to be on the other side of the bubble behind the Cait Fildais’s. Fenix moves to join Jormangander there as well, activates his Inner Fire, and punches a tree, J “I like that idea.” The Archchimera continues to charge his flames, moves over to Andrei and carves into him with his talons, then the tail lashes out but he soaks it up. H uses an Area Attack to kill one of the Cait Sith, she attempts to escape, but is kept pinned in there with the other 7. L fires a Mind Control through the area, dominating the Archchimera’s central head and the dryad. L tells the dryad to attack the Huldra, and tries to hit with its hands but doesn’t succeed. Andrei Transforms… he then sets about murdering some chimera, beating a solid blow into it. The Huldra accumulates Zeon. J drops one hammer to Area Attack the Cath Fildaises through the barrier directly in front of him, shattering the three within his reach easily, and then throws his hammer at the Huldra causing her head to cease to exist in a great shower of glowing magical goodness, causing the bubble to dissipate. F charges the Archchimera and attacks it with his flaming hands, causing a heavy strike against the great beast. Shadow shoots an arrow into the Archchimera, but the arrow buries itself into the tree to his left. The Archchimera unleashes its tail to strike at Fenix, but his armour stops him from being poisoned, the Archchimera then unleashes its columns of flame, one over Lynn, Andrei, Shadow, and the horses and Molly, the other over Fenix, Cait Fildais, Hadiyya, and Jormangnader, crippling Valkyrie and Chron, bruising his ribs and burning her fur, H horse is seared but still alright, Buttercup is consumed in the flames, as was Molly, Lynn takes heavy damage from the flames that roll over her, Shadow is also struck by the flames solidly, and Andrei soaks it up, Jormangander is also burnt but not as bad, Fenix ducks below it against the creature, and Haddiya is struck heavily by the flames, and all of the Cath Fildais are incinerated. L then tells it to try and attack one of the eagle heads to start trying to claw it off. H succumbs to the Sleep Pollen of the Cait Fildais. J ignored his pain with withstand pain, moving towards the chimera that attacked him. F attacks the Archchimera twice, striking it well once, and drives his second blow solidly into it. L uses Ki healing to regenerate some of her injuries. L tells the Dryad to mystically attack the chimera without hurting those around it, and so it uses it’s hair to strike at the creature, slightly injuring. Transformed Andrei brings his blade to bear against the chimera, slashing into it solidly. L tells the dryad to attack the chimera again, so it slightly hurts it again, then tells the chimera to attack its eagle head again, doesn’t quite destroy it, the eagle heads resume charging flames, and the snake lashes out at Andrei, stabbing into him slightly and failing to poison him. S fires at the chimera, hitting it twice with his arrows. F uses his flaming fists and fatigue in order to strike against the chimera, striking it heavily and causing it it to be burning. L waits and watches. J steps forward and unleashes a pair of swings against the beast, the first a great swing and the second even heavier. H strikes against the chimera, but fails to hurt the beast. Andrei swings with his blade in another great solid blow. The archchimera remains on fire and lashes out with its tail against Fenix, but his armour soaks it up, the archchimera attacks twice to tear off the one eagle head and start clawing the other. Fenix chills exhausted. L moves her shield to protect Valkyrie also, seeing the fire building once more, moving away from the side where her companions are fighting the beast. L tells the Dryad to attack the chimera, but doesn’t hurt it. J swings twice at the eagle head, the first swing failing, but the second nearly taking the eagle head off. Shadow fires an arrow at the eagle head, killing it, sending a second arrow towards the body hitting it solidly. Transformed Andrei swings twice with his blade, the first tearing a great bloody chunk from it, the second hitting him less solidly. Haddiya attacks the archchimera, hitting it incredibly solidly. L tells the chimera to attack itself twice, tearing great holes with its claws. The tail it sends against J, but his armour absorbs it. Andrei unleashes another pair of attacks, solidly striking the beast. J then unleashes two attacks that nearly topple the beast, causing it to cough up blood. H uses a heavy attack in order to hit it very solidly. L waits and has the dryad attack the chimera, but fails to hurt it again. F attacks the chimera, striking it solidly with his exhausted palms. S sends an arrow into the chimera, piercing its destroyed bird head to send it down, the rest then burning down to ashes. J crushes the dryad.
• Andrei transforms back into his regular form. L checks on the horses and tends to them. She realizes that they can be saved, and so heals them with Ki Healing to keep them alive. F “So, can we set up camp for the night here?” H “Yes, we can start a fire with this [raises the lute]” F points to the burning chimera “We have a fire right here, quite nice.” J “Should you even be traveling with us. You called us worse then slavers.” H “My family are some of the leading slave traders in Kushistan.” J “You also planned on just sitting back and not doing anything until you were called out personally.” H “Your point.” J “So why should you be allowed to travel with us still?” H “Still traveling in the same direction.” J “Not a good reason.” S “I agree with J.” Heads over to and spends time by the fire. L puts up her tent. J “You can stay with us for now, only until you’ve paid off your debt to F. Until then you can stay with us and have a chance to prove your worth.” H contemplates it for a while, setting up camp further away in the clearing.

Copyright © 2012 by Jeremy Marshall

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