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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/07/2021 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    All Cassandra could think on seeing Sophia was no. It was bad enough the Dark had taken Cody. Bad enough that they'd had to learn their abilities, understand what was happening. They hadn't been able to help Cody. They couldn't let Sophia suffer the same fate. Not this time. She opened her inner eyes, and immediately regretted it. This was the seat of the Dark's power, and it was beating down on her like...no, not a drum. More like a heartbeat, as experienced by someone currently inside the heart. Muscular contractions, compression from all sides. Constantly trying to snuff them out, crush them, consume them... It was held back by waves of Radiance that pulsed out from the Fellowship, creating a sort of bulwark against it. Cass could clearly see then how the bracelets took that Radiance in and seemed to refract it, or reflect it, amplifying it and using it to connect one to another. Unlike the normal world, there was no 'ambient' Radiance here. No sparks of life in the earth or air. Sophia did have Radiance in her...the same dim light that most things had. Hers was further muted by a patchwork web of cloying Darkness though, knotting unnaturally through her body. Even as Cassandra watched, it quivered and extended a gelatinous pseudopod, extending a little further into Sophia. This process would continue, she realized. It was an infection. Cassie experimented, mentally concentrating on her Radiance. It shaped itself to her will, rising up and flaring outwards in armlike structures. Yes. This could work...but there was a problem. The Dark was already entwined with the light of Sophia, clinging tightly. If she blasted it out, ripped it from Sophia...even if she had the strength to do that, what would happen to her? Cassandra's Sight could perceive the many layers of Sophia's person, but she didn't understand it or how not to hurt it. She needed help. "Autumn," Cassandra said, and reached out a hand. Wordlessly, the redhead took it in her own, and their perceptions shivered together. With unthinking coordination, Cassie marshaled her Radiance and hurled it at Sophia. The streams of energy split and split again, becoming a billion fractal arms that could reach between molecules by the time they reached the other girl. To the naked eye, the effect was palpable. The world itself seemed to recoil from Cassandra. A sudden wind stirred, blowing away from her...sending cinders and ash up in plumes from the dry bones at her feet. The roiling black clouds in the sky bent up as if a glass dome had just been pressed into them, and flowed outward. From the center of that dish, a beam of Light speared out. It was impossible to say if it came up from the ground, or down from on high...but it was centered not on Cassandra, but on Sophia. Sophia screamed. Not the inhuman howl she'd let out before, but something far worse. It was two voices, overlaid...a warbling, almost electronic shriek with a teenage girl's agonized scream under it. She writhed in place, and seemed to try to double over, bunch her legs...perhaps spring away. Cassandra said "No!" aloud, and reached out her hand. The wind intensified, and Sophia halted in place, bent unnaturally as if pierced by an invisible stake. She clutched at herself and wailed, thrashing but unable to escape. And she was burning...a thick black smoke starting to curl off of her. "Cass what are you DOING?!" shouted Devin. "I can FIX her, Devin!" she replied in kind. A halo of visible Radiance encompassed her now, and spread down her arm to race up and around Autumn as well. Her face was focused, concentrating entirely on Sophia and the dread battle that raged within her. Devin shook his head, sickened at the tortured cries. "You're killing her!" Cassie shook her head. "It's working," she replied. "Look." A second glance told a new story. The 'smoke' wasn't smoke. Sophia wasn't on fire. The Dark was leaching out of her like a thick black dust or ash...wrenched from her body and cast back into the fetid air. Tears started trailing from the corners of Cassandra's eyes. "Just a little bit more, Sophie...just hang in there for a second longer." Radiance speared her, touching every particle of her body with fingers of fire. The pollution that had been forcibly injected...a torture of hours and hours...was now being ripped from her, all the pain compressed into a tiny fraction of the time. Only Autumn's mind, guiding Cassandra's power, saved Sophia from being physically ruptured...caught between the opposing forces that raged throughout her. Sophia's screaming turned hoarse...turned to anguished sobbing. The 'smoke' trailing from her thinned finally, and guttered out. The spear of Light, and the wind died away...the bowl in the clouds started to smooth out. And Sophia, with a final shuddering gasp, opened her eyes. For that moment the Fellowship could see that they were clear. Her teeth and fingers normal. Then Sophia collapsed onto the bones, mercifully unconscious. "Oh my god," Cassie whispered. "Oh my god, Sophie, I didn't know...I'm so sorry..." Autumn squeezed her hand and shook her head. She had some tears leaking from her eyes as well, but her face had a harder edge. "You had to do it," she told Cassandra softly. "It hurt now, but...it would have been worse." Autumn nodded at Cody then, mutely making the point. Cassie looked that way and shook her head at what she saw. "There's almost nothing of Cody left now," she said. "I...I can't do that to him. It's had him too long. It would kill him, even with your help." Autumn frowned at that, and her chin set in a subtly defiant expression. She wasn't quite as ready to give up on Cody, it seemed.
  2. 1 point
    He couldn't stay where he was. Glowing walls of deadly radiance blocked him from his lovely, venomous quarry. The titboy's bead of painful hot light was orbiting him, ready to strike again. Fucking Bannon's flames were devouring him like thermite though butter, and even rifle in Cade's hands (and where the fuck did Mr Baseball get the Terminator's gun?) was painful, especially on top of everything else. But this was his place. Araun's place, technically, but he was Araun, was he not? Or was he Cody with Araun's power and thoughts and memories... He didn't know for sure, but he did know he had options, here in this place. He was tied to the Tree, and to the Skull, and could draw power here even as his enemies weakened. With a shriek he ripped his feet from the hindering grasp of the reshaped ground that tried in vain to hold him, but succeeded only in slightly slowing him as he leapt with only fractionally less speed for a nearby pool of blood. As he plunged into the fetid, stinking morass foul-smelling steam heralded the extinguishing of the fires that ravaged his form. He rose from the mire, blackened curdled clots dripping heavily from his body, and as his red eyes fixed again on Marissa he leered, courage and vitality renewed somewhat by the corrupt bath. And as he leered, Shelly's Teen Queen o' Mean felt a twisting, enervating pain start in her abdomen, like a clawed hand tearing at her insides, like a coat hangar scraping at her ovaries, like acid eating at her guts... Intuitively she felt the dark, malevolent energy emanating from Cody's stare and straightened, glaring back at him with every bit of hauteur and imperious willfulness she could muster. She'd suffered worse than this, and she let him know it with a smirk as the phantom pain fell away, failing to find purchase. Cody clenched his taloned hands with a scream of pure frustration, face upturned, his throat bulging and distending moments before swarms of tiny, chittering things were endlessly vomited into the air, swirling above his antlered head with a thunderous roar like a dozen angry hives of bees, spreading out like a cloud of poison and all but blotting out the sinister red glow of the sky.
  3. 1 point
    Unlike her friends, the petite French girl didn't have much to say. No, between the ghastly spectacle the Dark had made of this place and the rancid, putrefacted corruption insidiously poking at her shield, Kat was pretty alarmed. Although it only had taken the monstrous imitation of the boy Cody once used to be, rushing at them, to shake her stupefaction off, she didn't know what to do. Rather, her brains were too busy assimilating the overload of information thrown at her. Her hands were empty. The two girls holding them had run off towards the Throne. The limp, naked shape of Sophia was in trouble, as Kat noticed. Her shield couldn't be extended any further and the girl was out of reach, corruption clawing at her minute by minute. How long has she been in there? Bright flashes of light, followed by a detonation, brought her attention back to the closest of their problems. What am I gonna do? She took a few steps towards the Throne, towards Sophia, watching as the soft outline of her Shine wrapped itself again around the five distant shapes of her friends. Good enough. She sighed, and focused her senses on Devin's mind. [Devin! Tawny and Sophia, especially Sophia, are in bad shape. We need Autumn to see what she can do. I moved to get them under my shield, but this place... the air... I don't know! Something is not doing them any good.] Understatement of the century. Good job, Kat. [Oh, by the way, it's Kat.] She was short on breath. In fact, she was short on time, and turned towards the towering, menacing monster screaming its discontent. The swiftness at which it had moved from the throne, to there, was absurd. She realized that if she could kill one thing, it would be its speed. True, Kat didn't like manipulating matter, but it would probably be the most efficient way to do it. Her Shine quickly scanned the ground on which Cody was standing. Bones. Rotten flesh. Blood. The knot in her throat tightened. Great. She took a laborious breath and began tapping into that reserve, that chest filled with wonders, hidden deep inside of her. Her field of vision narrowed, blood loud in her temples as Cody's feet began sinking into the ground, bones turned liquid mixing in with the flesh and blood. Kat fell to her knees, hardly coping with the mental strain. Holy shit. You can't stop there, girl. Bones can be used as cement, right? Heat it. Just heat it. She reached once more for her reserve of Shine and extended her hand, propelling a steady stream of blazing heat towards Cody's feet. Sunk ankle deep into a mixture of nightmare, the odd mortar turned solid around them. A victorious grin stretched the girl's lips. Speed killed. Weary, she wiped the blood off her nostrils and sniffed. Blood?
  4. 1 point
    "You know that time you had us go through a hellscape? I think your subconscious was tapping into this place Sean." Cade said, ad beholding their surroundings, and his grip on the rifle tightening. The Tree, the Throne, they were grisly and foreboding, and Cade recognized he couldn't do much about them. He would have to wait for an opening. When he saw Cody, and what this place, what the Dark had done to him, Cade felt a moment of pity. Briefly he was reminded of Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but then he saw Tawny, and the pity became anger. He didn't pretend to know Tawny like Devin did, but they had practiced together, she was like them, and she didn't deserve this, no one did. He released Marissa's hand, moving to steady the rifle, loaded with the armor piercing rounds, to take a shot. Marissa had drawn Cody's ire, then Sean had hit him with a straight of laser from his option, Jason'd bathed him in flames, searing his flesh, Devin had vanished, and all of this lined up to leave Cade completely unnoticed, armed with normal weapon, aimed right at Cody. To Cade, Cody was a rabid dog, and you only did only one thing with those. Sighting Cody's chest on through the weapon's sights, he stroked the trigger of the battle rifle, knowing that if this took his life, he would have to bear the weight of that the rest of his life. The APDS round struck Cody under his right arm, and blew through muscle, bone and soft tissue beneath, before bursting out the back with a geyser of gore. It was more than enough to draw a roar of pain from Cody, his murderous eyes filled with rage, and confusion, and now the hint of fear.
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