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Vesper last won the day on January 6

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  1. Vesper gave Theo a flat look. "You're not going to want me there too, are you? Because that would make no sense."
  2. "Hey, Yuuki," Vesper called. The other girl's funk was rubbing her the wrong way. When Yuuki looked over at her, Vesper went over. "You know, a lot more people than that would have died if you hadn't been there," she said stiffly. Encouragement wasn't her usual deal, but then again NEEDING encouragement wasn't Yuuki's usual deal. "And not just on their side. I guess it doesn't feel like it, but you actually saved lives today, okay? So stop moping around." She wasn't sure how convincing it was. She herself had killed a lot less people, but the experience had still shaken her. That feeling she'd gotten when all those guards had come towards her. The fear that she'd die...and the knowledge that there was nothing she wouldn't do to avoid it. And then turning a monster on them...a force they'd been like helpless children before. They'd never had a chance. Because of her. But that wasn't how Yuuki was supposed to be. She was the confident one. The cheerful one. If she got all morose, where did that leave Vesper?
  3. "So what happens now?" asks Vesper as she, Izona and Ryan head back together. "Did we win? Are they surrendering? Because the trick I used to get in this time won't work again." "And Izona, you don't look like you can do this again. So if they want to fight more, they'll have spells." She flings her arms out to her sides in an exasperated gesture. "I don't really get how this works, okay? We 'won,' I guess, but they still outnumber us or something? What was even the point of all this? Do we just have to keep doing it over and over until there's nothing left?"
  4. Once out of the tent, Vesper made use of her disguise, and the general tumult, to get a little bit of a look around the camp. There were others in the distinctive garb of mages running around, but none of them had the same aura of respect and power as the ones she and the Therion had killed. More importantly, there were just too many soldiers scurrying around now. She and her spirit companion could carve a swath, but they'd be overwhelmed in the end. She'd done what she could. She made her way towards the edge of the encampment and found an escarpment that she used to break line of sight quickly. Once out of crossbow range, she had Therion pick her up and fly her for a little ways to avoid patrols. Finally Vesper made it to the spot Izona was maintaining her spell at. Ryan was there, a few fresh bandages on his arm and shoulder, but otherwise all right. The bodies of several assassins had been dragged away and piled up off to the side. "They sent them before I got there," Vesper said, and Ryan just nodded. She added, "I got the mages who were in charge. I don't think the rest can do anything about this." "Good news," said Ryan. "Are you okay?" Vesper took a breath and thought, then shrugged and looked away. "I'm...fine. I'll check on Yuuki before I head in." Ryan stepped forward and took hold of her arm. "She's okay, Vesper. Go back to the tents. Get some rest. You did your...you did what you had to do. You did good." She stood still, her face a mask, then pulled her arm away and walked off...towards the tents. There was a report to make. The archmages were dead.
  5. Therion barely paused as new opposition marched forward. The dark metal of his scythe didn't even glint as he twirled it effortlessly around and brought it back for yet more reaping. He slashed to the left, crashing it through two of the guards, then reversed his grip and mowed down the other two on the right. Therion Scythe Attack or Defense: 2d6+8 15 2d6+8 11 Meanwhile Vesper focused her will on the only soldier left untouched by Therion's attacks...his flaying was almost as comprehensive, but left no mark on him as he collapsed to the ground amidst the bleeding fragments of his fellows, eyes wide with a terror only he could see. Mind Blast (drain Mind 2, ennervate 5, stun): 2d6+6 13 She put her hands to her temples and closed her eyes for a second, fighting a wave of nausea and fatigue. It was one thing to see Therion working on giant bugs...but these were people. Christ, what was she doing? That wasn't all the mages, she thought, trying to force herself back on task, We can't stop now or it'll all be for nothing. "I need to...I need to get clear," Vesper said, clenching and unclenching her fists. "Therion, go out that way." She points to the tentflap. "Let them see you, but not hurt you. First, cut me a hole in the back of the tent though, so I can get out while you're distracting them." After a second she added, "Disappear once they start trying to attack you." The shadowy presence that nearly filled the tent was silent as always, then with shocking suddenness brought the half-moon of the scythe blade down very close to Vesper...slicing a neat vertical line through the back of the tent. His substance seemed to diffuse then, becoming even less solid than it had been previously...and he glided out through the front of the tent without so much as disturbing the tent flap. As cries of fear and alarm went up from outside the tent in front, Vesper slipped out the back to find a place to keep her head down. She'd need to find the other mages...but she suspected they'd probably be called to look at this exact spot quite soon. Stealth (divine intervention): 2d6+5 17
  6. "You're wrong," Vesper said, just to buy time. When they paused suspiciously she went on. "It was Therion. Therion. Therion." A cold breeze picked up out of nowhere, carrying the smell of charnel. Similarly from nowhere, a shadow fell over the mages. A shadow in the shape of an immense figure in a tattered, flowing cloak, bearing a scythe of black iron. Even as she summoned the spirit of devastation, Vesper concentrated on defending herself. Dust and grit whirled up around her feet, pulled into a sympathetic orbit as she cloaked herself with telekinetic force. Meanwhile, the Therion's scythe descended in a vicious sweep, as if reaping grain. Therion Scythe Attack or Defense: 2d6+8 14 2d6+8 17 The first stroke cleaved through robes and flesh, sending blood flying in a broad arc that sprayed out garishly across the tent and earth. With speed that belied his size, and the size of the weapon, Therion whirled then and brought the scythe down again from the other direction. The three mages were bashed against one another from the force of the strikes, and then...came apart. Their bodies, faces frozen in horror and anguish, collapsed into one another...forming a grotesque slurry of innards, with heads and arms and legs seemingly poking out at random points. Without touching the ground, without making a sound, the shadowy spirit advanced on the half-dozen soldiers nearest Vesper then, interposing itself between her and them. Its smoky shadow fell over them then, unnaturally chill. Meanwhile, as Vesper dropped back away from the soldiers, she focused her eyes on the toughest-looking one and assaulted his mind with nightmarish images...a hellish montage of her own imagining, culled from horror movies and boy band footage. Mind Blast (drain Mind 2, ennervate 5, stun): 2d6+6 18 Maybe it was the sudden danger she found herself in, but her power seemed to explode out of her, crashing into the soldier's mind with almost physical force! (40 damage, drain Mind 2, drain 25 energy; damage is nonlethal)
  7. Vesper left. It was easy to do...one small girl, quiet and unassuming, edging around the hustle and bustle of soldiers making ready for war. Yuuki with her wings and spells kept all eyes on her, those who weren't busy with duties. And of course there was just her. Groups were everything in war...an individual, unarmed, meant nothing, and Vesper was alone. Well. Not really. Not ever really. She moved out away from the castle before the first ranks of soldiers closed in, though she was still close enough to hear the buzz-whines of arrows from the walls when they fired. There was a plan at work, kind of, though calling it a 'plan' might be overgenerous. It was far more likely a set of assumptions that would get her killed. But wasn't that really all most plans were? Vesper knew the layout of the enemy army from the nights she'd bedeviled them. Back then they'd teleported to get past the sentries. This time...well, getting past the sentries would kind of defeat the purpose. "You there! Stop!" Right on schedule. Vesper stopped and turned to face the voice who'd called out. A man wearing Imperial colors with a crossbow in hand. "You're a sentry," she said. "Making sure no one can slip into the, uh...support people and officers and stuff." He frowned and raised the crossbow to aim down the bolt. "Who are you and what are you doing here?" "I'm a spy," was her reply. "I'm turning myself in. I surrender for questioning." The sentry's frown turned from suspicion to confusion. "What?" Vesper's eyes bored into his...deep and dark. He almost felt he was falling into them; like they were expanding to cover the world, blot out the sun. When she spoke again, all other sounds were silenced in his ears. "I surrender. Take me to the mages for questioning. I can tell them what's wrong with the magic. You'll be a hero." Yes. Yes of course. "Come with me," the sentry said dreamily, lowering the crossbow a bit. He didn't need it; she'd surrendered. "You have to answer the mage's questions." She put her hands behind her back, crossing her wrists so it would look like she was restrained unless someone paid close attention, and let the sentry lead her towards the enemy camp. Over her head, a tornado of wrath churned invisibly. Vesper wasn't sure how much the Therion really understood of what was happening, but she knew that in the end it didn't matter. He would do what she told him to, and then fight on in the chaos that would inevitably erupt. She wasn't sure if anyone would have the presence of mind to attack her...it was a huge gamble. Her non-magic powers didn't require incantations or hand waving like this world's spells though, so...Vesper figured there'd be a good chance they wouldn't get that she was behind it. Not at first. Not before it was too late. Best plan ever.
  8. Vesper, looking a bit pale even for her since conducting her night-time raids, looked at Theo dully. Their preparations. What a nice, clean way to put it. She shook her head and looked away. "So what's the plan for me? Am I going to try to get to the generals or whatever? I'll have trouble with a lot of soldiers at once, but there's a lot I can do with important people." There were spells, of course, but her best magic just wore her out too fast. She'd need to keep practicing to build up her tolerance before she could toss spells off as easily as Izona.
  9. This...was awkward. Vesper found herself nervous, holding a silver knife in one hand and Ryan's wrist in her other. For all the thick crust she'd built up, stabbing someone who was...at least nominally...a friend to work black magic was harder than she'd expected. Like, it was cool...but it also kind of not cool. She did understand the need. Ryan healed faster than her. It was just awkward. Ryan didn't help much either as he grinned teasingly and said, "Be gentle with me. It's my first time." Or maybe that DID help as it filled in the awkward with annoyance and anger that were MUCH easier for Vesper to deal with. She gave him a flat look and jabbed into his arm with the knife. He winced, and blood welled up from the cut. Vesper flicked the knife at the circle she'd drawn into the earth with a stick. A complicated design, with candles at the points within the circle, and runes outlined in colored powders. Magic to summon, to bind. The light from the fire they had burning nearby suddenly went out, as the flames were extinguished...only to roar back to life, but cold and green. Within the circle was an utter blackness. A pool, or well, of dark too thick and deep to be considered 'shadow.' It was a void, an abyss that could be stared into without ever seeing the end of. It opened its eyes, many sizes, many shapes, and howled. Thick tendrils or strands of that cosmic darkness rose up then, alternately twining together or flapping loosely about...but all unable to exit the boundary of the circle. Random gnashing maws filled with teeth of random descriptions formed and chomped and dissolved. Vesper held the hand with the dagger in it towards the circle, closed her eyes and incanted the words she'd been taught. On her forehead a sigil appeared, identical to the circle on the ground, but in miniature, emblazoned with orange-red light like fire. The...whatever it was...in the circle screamed again in a cacophony of competing voices. Warbling and trilling, but slowly deepening towards a throaty growl, the mass of it began to compact. From the formlessness emerged a shape. Orange-red light flashed over the thing as it went, forming the shape of the circle again. The greater mass of the thing split, then split again, and each smaller glob continued to compress and shape. Finally it was done. There were five of them. Monsters that looked like enormous wolves with burning violet eyes. The sigil of the circle faded from them, and from Vesper. They were mere outlines, silhouettes, limed in that same strange St Elmo's Fire that flickered in their eyes. Vesper opened her eyes and glanced at Ryan, who was staring at them in fascinated horror. She could feel the hate of the chaos-wolves. Hate for the world of form and boundaries, of matter and energy, where infinite possibility and uncertainty collapsed into time, location, shape and speed. Hate for her, who through blood had forced them to take form, had bound those forms to her will, and now presumed to control them. They would hurt anything, everything they could...but her most of all. The fire flared up and turned orange again. Vesper broke the circle with a foot, and immediately the hounds crowded towards her, snarling. She held a hand out, and for a moment the circle shimmered on her palm. The creatures quieted and sat, watching her. Waiting. Over the hill that she and Ryan sheltered behind were the campfires of the enemy armies. She pointed in that direction and said, "Go. Go and do what you will." The five dread wolves whirled as one and loped away. Only seconds later, the screams started. With hands that shook a little, Vesper cleaned what was left of Ryan's blood off of her knife. "That's all for tonight." Ryan glanced at his arm, which had already healed over. "You sure? I can go again." Whatever he thought about the ritual he'd seen, he didn't reveal. This was important for the war effort, and he could see it had affected her. She shook her head. "Not tonight. Tomorrow night we'll do more." From over the hill, shouts...trumpets...battle cries. More screams. With a nod, Ryan turned and cleaned up after the fire so it wouldn't be found later. He had just enough time to do so before Izona's spell took hold, and the two vanished. === The next night, Vesper performed the summoning twice, creating nine of the wolves. They attacked from a different angle, slamming into the enemy guard posts hard. The savagery of the wolves couldn't be overstated. While the first several were happy to tussle with the guards as they hastily tried to converge, several more got through into the camp itself. There they rampaged through sleeping, unarmed and unarmored troops. Their wolf-forms were not completely 'solid,' and they lashed out with barbed tentacles tipped with mouths, spines...each wolf that got through could kill dozens of soldiers before it was stopped. The deaths were ugly, as the wolves delighted in taking out their frustrations. They ripped off arms, legs...eviscerated bowels...inflicted wounds that were ultimately deadly, but in the most gruesome and painful ways possible. Before the attack, they howled. Long, with guttural and clotted voices. Vesper barely spoke at all during the rituals, taking Ryan's blood and incanting, but otherwise keeping a face of stone. === The third night was much the same, but even more wolves. Ryan was looking wan by the end of the summonings, and Vesper could feel them pushing at her...testing the barriers of magic that held them fast. They weren't close to breaking it, but that she could even feel it was...a warning. They hit from the same flank, but in even greater numbers. Even so, the army was far better prepared this time. They managed to hold most of them at the camp perimeter. Only a couple were able to break through, but this time archers were standing by within the camp itself, and the damage was much more limited. Ryan gave Vesper a look as they watched the carnage from a distance. "I think we need to change our tactics," he suggested gently. She shook her head. "This is exactly what we want," "What do you mean?" Vesper looked at him, as stone-faced as ever. "It's a lot worse to have hope, then have it taken away, than to never hope at all." == On the fourth night, she pushed Ryan to his limit. More wolves than ever before lined up around them. Their hate pounded at the Will that bound them. Still unable to break it, but Vesper could sense that there was a limit to what could be safely bound. It was not far away now. And she was not yet done. She crushed the token Izona had given her, after she'd discussed tonight's strategy. Magic flared around them, and they vanished. In Izona's study the angel studied them both critically. "You're looking pale, boy," she said to Ryan, and handed him a small flask. "Drink this. You'll need it." Then to Vesper, "Ready?" The pale girl nodded. Izona returned the gesture, and Ryan barely had time to swallow the potion before they were whisked back away. This time to a spot on the opposite flank as before. The circle had already been drawn on the site well beforehand. In the distance they could see torches converging, hear the echoing shouts as guards and archers converged on the formidable force coming against them. "Okay," Vesper said. "Now the hard part." She lifted the dagger and beckoned to Ryan. That was when Ryan noticed that this circle was much, MUCH bigger than the others had been. "Oh shit," he breathed. ... Meanwhile, the struggle against the damned beasts of Chaos was going decently. The wolves fought like the demons they were, but the massed shield wall was able to keep them from running amok, and the archers were getting into position. Another few minutes of Hell, and this attack would be repulsed like the others had been. A victory would be good for morale. That unnatural howling was stoking fear...few could sleep, for all had seen what happened to those who were caught off guard when wolves got through. Gods it was noisy though. All the screaming and roaring and howling...and there were so many more now. How many would come tomorrow? Then they realized...the noise. It was coming from the wrong direction. Behind them. The stars were blotted out. The moon vanished. Something was moving against the sky. Something huge. A sound fell over the camp, rhythmic like a monstrous heartbeat. Wind gusted in time with that beat, flattening tents and sending small items scattering everywhere. Someone, one of the scouts probably, shouted a word that wilted hope like an early frost wilted flowers. "DRAGON!!" Violet flame speared down from the heavens, drawing a line across the shield wall, consuming man and Hound alike in an all-consuming inferno! Then, horrifyingly, ANOTHER plume of flame joined in, criss-crossing it. Because what was worse than a dragon? The lines buckled and broke as surviving men panicked. The wolves, what remained of them, sensed the weakness and surged forward. Almost without resistance they plunged into the camp and the carnage began, worse than ever. Meanwhile the dragons circled overhead, roaring and immolating everything they could see...man or beast. Abruptly a shining torpedo of light shot out from the center of the army, where the officers were camped. Lightning and thunder cracked. The dragons were struck squarely, and in the blooms of light their outlines could finally be seen. Enormous, bat-winged shapes, clawed and toothed, with suggestions of the same seething formless chaos barely held in check that the wolves had. They dove towards the attackers, as the field officers rallied squads of men to hunt down the wolves. Purple dragonflame rained down, but was intercepted by a blossoming umbrella of blue magic. More lightning speared out, another arcane blast of pure energy. One of the dragons howled in anguish and rage as the magic loosed blew holes through it, and it dissolved into the night like smoke. The second landed in a titanic rush of wind, and was met by the elite guard. Several perished to venomous tooth and claw, but their swords were enchanted, and their armor mithril steel...they cut into the monster again, and again...and finally it too dissipated like the nightmare it was. From below the last of the wolves was finally hunted down as it ravaged a tent of troops trying to get into their armor. Vesper and Ryan...who was pale and shaking, hardly able to stand after the blood sacrifice to bind those dragons...watched from their vantage. "What's next?" he asked warily. "How do we top that?" She shook her head. "We don't have to. Tomorrow we'll just do a small raid. A slightly bigger one after that. Howling every night. No peace. No comfort. No security. They'll never know when another attack like that will come." Her eyes met his. "And that's how they'll be when we fight them." Ryan opened his mouth, wanting to say something but not knowing what. Then Izona's teleport went off, and the moment was gone.
  10. Vesper glanced at Ryan dourly. Stuck out in the middle of nowhere with Ryan. Meh. But...then again, fuelling like, black magic with him? That...might not be the absolute worst. "Works for me. Long as you guys are sure it's what you want. I just work here."
  11. Vesper gave Izona a quizzical look, then shrugged. "You're going to have to be more specific. I've got more tricks now than I used to. But no, invisibility isn't my trick, it's Therion's. I can make people see things though." Another Vesper suddenly leaned in from behind Ryan and said in an ominous little whisper, "She's right, you know." When Ryan looked around to get a good look though, the 'other' Vesper was gone. The real one smirked. "The issue is that if I'm casting spells, and using my powers, I'm going to tire myself out really really fast."
  12. "If we get close enough, I can send Therion after him," Vesper muses. "If they can't use magic to see him coming it doesn't really matter if we lure him out. Might even be better if he feels safe. Sends his guards out to help fight. Then? Bam. The reaper comes knocking, and he has a big fucking...curvy sword on a stick."
  13. Vesper blinked, then nodded. That'd work too. Much easier from her perspective. "Okay, so we can still use our normal powers, just not the spells you taught us. Works for me." She looks at Yuuki. "You?"
  14. "More magi doesn't mean better magi," points out Vesper. She then asked Izona "How strong are we, compared to them? I know you guys said we know more kinds of magic, but..." She trailed off thoughtfully. "What if they didn't have any magic at all? Would that be a good thing? I mean, we might not either. Except the stuff we brought with us."
  15. Vesper shrugged at the question. "Pretty successful I guess," she sighed. "I'm out of smokes though. Did not bring a year's supply. Go figure." "Anyway, I'll tell you the rest." She nodded at Yuuki. "Whether it's mine to tell or not."
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