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Flame Tide Rising [Backstory][OOC Welcomed]


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[align=center]"Rabid teeth with gnashing maws...[/align]

[align=center]"Screams of rage from bloodstained claws...[/align]

[align=center]"Watch for signs and heed your ears...[/align]

[align=center]"When lilac comes reassure your fears...[/align]

[align=center]"With the Mother's wail,we'll all rise ...[/align]

[align=center]"No escape from Flame Tail's cries..[/align]



[align=center]-Eohji Children's Prayer[/align]

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[align=center] [/align]

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Prologue: The Night of Hunter's Moon


Sixth Astral Era , Day 23, Year 1557, Ala Mhigo Outskirts


             A violent rumbling and a high pitched hum awake her from her unconciousness. The accumulation of strange sensations made her almost fade back into the darkness. As her eyes began to focus, a smiling face of another miqo'te greeted her, cradling her head in her kneeling lap.


"Shhhh, be at ease, you're safe for the moment," the elder miqo'te caresses her ears, inspecting the garb and tattoos of the one laying in her lap.


    Raising her head, she looks around bewildered as the budding fear begins to sprout into her psyche. Numerous other races in cages similar to hers line the elongated airship cabin. Across from her she can see a diminutive creature leaning against the bars sobbing in despair. The Lallafel briefly wipes away her tears once she’s noticed and manages to give a beleaguered smile only to jump back as an armored figure bangs her cage with a halberd.


Stop your mewling slave”.


Beside her cage are male miqo’tes young and old alike, some barely conscious, others tending their wounds. “What is your name my dear?” Sitting up and rubbing the back of her head responding with a wince, “M’Haeli.” 


As soon as her voice is heard the elder female’s eyes widen and ears perk. The elder female looks around at her fellow occupants oblivious to the tone. Hearing the accent, an elder male comes closer to their cell.  


Let me take a better look at you.” He reaches through the adjacent bars and gently turns her chin to reveal her tattoos and necklace and then to her bulbous belly. “Impossible,” he whispered in both fear and amazement.      





 “How much longer,” a voice came from behind.  


Not long, get back to your post and get them ready for landing. Make sure the shock collar triggering is calibrated. I wasn’t overly fond of the mess you grunts left us last time."


Messy business that,” the co-pilot grumbled. “Lucky we didn’t mention it to Cearnus nan Daegon or you would have been stripped of rank and fed to the coeurls.”


The minister loves his test subjects and bringing them to him headless isn’t what I’d call a productive day,” the pilot chortled. “Oh and relocate that one female miqo’te to an empty cell. He was especially interested in that one.” The guard salutes then exits the cockpit.




What is it?” she whispered to him. The old miqo’te squirms toward the small circular window of his cell attempting to peer at the passing clouds.


I can’t see it,” he murmurs in agitation.


See what?” she said.


The moon”, he replied, sitting back down against the bars adjusting the uncomfortable collar around his neck. “You don’t know what she is do you?


A loud grating metal sound emanates further down the corridor, M’Haeli notices the tension and fear rise in the hall as the clang of metal boots echo closer with each step. She backs up and huddles against the metal wall as the elder female comforts her, the guards stop at their cell.    


 “This one,” the guard points to M’Haeli. She looks to both the elders and to the other young and middle aged females around her.


Leave her alone!” the elder screams, hovering over the frightened youth.


Outta the way or I’ll,” the guard presses the button on the device anyways. The elder convulses violently and falls back against the wall. “See told ya. Take her down to the first cell,” he orders the other three. One guard grabs M’Haeli by the hair and yanks her up laughing at her futile clawing attempts when she suddenly feels a wrenching pain from her belly.


No!”she moans while the others grab her feet. As the cell door closes the elder male reaches through the bars to the female recovering from her outburst and grasps her hand consolingly.


As the troupe of guards take their prisoner down the hall the old male glances at his brethren all noticing the whiff of the scent.


Lilac?” he mutters in disbelief.


    Everyone else appeared confused by this ever so slight trace as he returns to the window, the overwhelming anxiety quickening the pace of his heart. The old shaman was just a loon he told himself, his breath fogging  the window.  The airship banked when the orange hue gleamed through the cloudy sky. He wiped away the condensation to reveal his terror. The female lallafel sniffed the air and looked to her kin. “What’s that smell?”The others in her cage simply shrugged at her as she turned around to look at the stirring miqo’te. An older one begins laughing hysterically. Other miqo’te give him space for they know what’s soon to come.


          M’Haeli stumbles through to door falling to her knees into small puddle of her own vomit. She could hear the guards laughing at her prompting her to break into tears. Wiping away her mouth she crawls to the corner sobbing when another kick from her abdomen doubles her over in agony. Down the corridor, she can hear the faint laughter of the older male.


What’s gotten into you,” the elder female reaches out to the male as he clenches his head between his arms, pacing back and forth in the corner of his cell.


        “She must….she must…it’s all true haha..it’s true, no longer myth, no longer fable..she’s here, in the flesh and it’s going to happen."


What’s going to happen old fool?” an agitated male growls.


The females in the next cell mumble to themselves taken aback by the tone of the other male as tension raises the hairs on the nape of their necks.


If you don’t quiet down they’ll come back,” the elder female pleaded.


As she finished her sentence he continues to gaze at the window laughing louder and louder.


Pffsshha, it has to end someway,” he snorts. “Better this way, she has to.


She has to what?” the lallafel whispers obviously frightened.


The old miqo’te scrambles crazily to the front of the cage, kneeling down pushing his face into the bars to be at eye level to the lallafel.


If we want to live….she has to die. Now! She has to die. She has to die. We’re all going to die!” his laughter echoing down the corridor reaching M’Haeli’s ears, clenching her teeth to keep the pain at bay, tears rolling down her cheeks.



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Chapter 1: Sorrow, Jubilation and Malice



       The echoes of shuffling feet bounce fleetingly among the high arches of the auditorium ceiling. It was his first time working in the field, the itching desire to prove himself made his grasp clumsier than usual, dropping an empty vial to the floor.


      “You’d best wish your hands be more steadfast once testing begins,” a voice scolded from around the corner. “The other researchers don’t need a giant flittering gnat flailing about the laboratory. And if you think I am as tolerant you would not dare such incompetence around his grace. You are here to perform without question, to obey, understand?


Yes sir, Dr. Korvus sir,” he stutters, beads of sweat trickling down the side of his face.


    The gaunt, bald headed hyur steps forward violating the young man’s personal space, “Oh and just a friendly bit of advice, don’t do that, especially when you first see him,” casually patting the side of his disciple’s face. “He loathes it.


     The adolescent hyur nonchalantly brushes the sweat away with his sleeve in order to save face, nodding compliantly. “Make sure you get this stasis cocoon to the landing pad before the carrier arrives, my colleagues shall do the rest. If you have difficulty, get a roegadyn to help you. Also,” he snaps his fingers repeatedly in order to remember, “have the amaljaa retrieve the miqo’te slaves from the lower ward and bring them to the palisade near the pad. I’m off to receive his grace; the missive mentioned a treat, whatever that may be.”


      “He’s coming here?” the enormous armored miqo’te sighed grabbing the syringe from a compartment underneath the desk. The new recruit grimaced at the sight of the injection discoloring the veins of his superior’s neck.


Yes sir. He and his escort arrive within the hour.


       “Fantastic! Let’s give… mmmph …his grace… the grand welcome he so deserves,” gesturing in false bravado. Picking up his helmet and over-sized two-handed axe, another knock emanates from the door. “Doctor, do come in,” nodding to the sentry to proceed.


       “Spare me your insipid sarcasm Ba’srm the necessary preparations better be in place?


        “Relax. You bookworms always wet yourself when there’s any threat of imminent danger around. Accompanied by his usual vanguard is he not?”  The doctor shrugs, acknowledging the warrior’s reasoning following him out of the conference chambers.


      The crashing of waves can be heard hundreds of feet below the edge of the cliffside landing pad. A solitary flashing beacon guides the way when an utterly immense floating dreadnaught escapes back into the black clouds in the distance. A small vessel is seen jettisoning from its much larger host heading toward the reception. “The generators for the amplifier are at optimum efficiency,” one of the researchers whispered.


  “Was he of any use?” Korvus replied.


  “He was more in the way than anything but he did show some promise in calibrating the ceruleum spectrometers.”  


I see,” he murmured giving his apprentice an approving nod.


      When the ship lands, an organized precession splits into two columns, their banners lining the path from the landing pad. “Is the perimeter secure?” the warden asked.


All protocols have been met sir.


Ba’srm leans over the railing of the stockade overlook to glimpse the three dozen miqo’te slaves within the palisade, “Why just the mi…is he mocking me?” he snarls under his breath.


I’m sorry sir it was a request from Doctor Korvus.


He motions for the sentry to return to his post. “I guess the good doctor and I have much more to discuss after this farce is over”.


        The apprentice stretches to steal a glance through the group of researchers in front of him, the sound of the rear bay doors to the airship slowly opening and descending upon the ground. The echoing clang of metal legs and hissing of steam come forth out of the ship.  


“Vanguards,”he whispers excitedly to one of the researchers.


     The nearest one leans over smiling at the enthusiasm, “These ones are a bit different. The Inquisitor had them specifically customized for his overly ostentatious dramatic flair, hence all the spikes.”


     Two ten foot tall silvery monstrosities marched forward while his first glimpse of nan Daegon comes into view in between flickering banners. There was subtle elegance in the way the white cloaked and cowled figure strode between his armored bodyguards. The airship takes off with a wave of the warden’s arm.


       “These Inquisitors always give me that queasy feeling, especially this one.” “What do you expect when this one has a particular obsession for reverse engineering classified magitek,” two roegadyn banner men share a whispered exchange ten yalms from the passing figure when the rhythmic stomping  stops only accompanied by an eerie  silence.


       The heads of the two ebony vanguards swivel around revealing a beautiful ebony metallic face of a wide smiling woman with white light strobing through pupilless eyes. The banner men then peer to their left, the inquisitor’s cowl was lifted from the back revealing the same ebony face and strobing light eyes, his torso remaining  ever forward. With a feminine chuckle and lowering his cowl he ventures forward, the clunking metal and whistling of steam follow.


What just happened?” the apprentice chortled.


You’ll see soon enough” a different researcher grinned.


Your grace, I hope your transit wasn’t too uneventful?" a kneeling Korvus greeted.


    “Oh never” a metallic feminine voice cooed, an outstretched hand leaning against Korvus’s lips. “Rise my dear Korvus, as I said this evening’s festivities will not fail to disappoint,” pointing up to the now red-orange moon.  Emerging from the back of the group, the apprentice finally got the full profile of what stood before him. The lower limbs appeared to be fentlocked in nature much like a reptilian beastman or equine while the upper forelimbs exhibiting elongation and streamlined by the golden armor even encapsulating the overly long slender fingers. Turning toward him, the apprentice kneels with his face toward the ground, the quickening pulse accelerating within his veins.


Korvus you sly imp, is this your lovely assistant? Stand boy; let me see your face.” The cold metal fingers trace the contours of his jaw and cheekbones. “Such a beautiful face no stubble either,” turning the young man’s head to the side. He captures a short peripheral of the vanguards near him, all staring at him with a different face, a white fool frowning at him, the visage of the other researchers is that of predatory elation. “Can he be my present Korvus?” the ebon maiden swooned.


Well your grace, it’s entirely up to him.


    The golden fingers twist the man’s face to meet the flashing gaze of the white lidless eyes. A sudden feeling of dread then came over the young man when his fate was determined by the crawling droplet of perspiration trickling down onto a narrow golden finger. His smile then turned into a shuddering frown.


They never lie you know,” the Inquisitor mused wiping the disgusting droplet onto the tunic of the sobbing man.


    With a slow tortuous thrust, Daegon hoisted the body above his so he could see the terror. The man screamed down at the new face  that swiveled into position. Four growing metallic horns slowly being protruding forward around the helmet. A dark red demon-esque persona took over, its eyes glowing with fury aiming its gaze into his eyes. The man could no longer blink, could no longer smell, nor breathe, his body went limp.


Such a shame,” the maiden’s voice giggled, tossing the faceless body to the ground and brushing his bloodied hand on a clean researchers tunic.


      “Why isn’t everybody else laughing? LAUGH!” he commanded with a loud guttural growl. The entire courtyard and surrounding perimeter erupt in feigned laughter.


 “Are you quite finished” Ba’srm yelled, the laughter dying.


Miqo’te are so cute when they get mad, it’s those ears. They way they just flatten rarrr” the inquisitor claws playfully.


I tire of this insolence and waste of my time. If there is no reason for this charade I’ll make sure that van Baelsar hears of this personally”, irritated he begins to order troop withdrawal.


Tsk tsk tsk, speaking of charades, over exerting your own self importance a bit too far now are we, especially for undercover insurgent,” Daegon taunts tossing up vials of inhibitor drug into the air then crashing to the ground. "How do you know if it wasn't he that sent me?"


       Ba’srm halts, looking around in denial the attempts to reach for his axe as numerous sentries swarm around him.


Disarm him and bring him to me.”


Your grace!?” Korvus interrupts intrepidly.  


    Pivoting toward the doctor facing the direction of the landing pad a streaking smoldering slave carrier is seen in the distance careening out of control toward the prison. “Ahh the main event, places everyone” the metallic maiden voice squeals.


   Ba’srm looks up to the skies uttering a soft solemn prayer, “Azeyma help us.”As soon as he finishes the last syllable Daegon grabs his neck and pulls him closer to his frowning helm.


It’s not going to help you at all. I've something better in store for you”, the sobs mocking him.





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Chapter 2: Jailbreak



            It was eerily quiet in this wing of the lower ward, the echo of rat squeaking piercing the silence. Faint torchlight flickered across the stony walls lining the lallafel’s cell block. Inspecting her silvery hair leaning against a column, she reminisces about the simple amenities of life and scoffs at what she wouldn’t do for a simple tub of hot water. Another female lallafel sits down next to her sighing and staring at the waning and falling embers of an untended sconce.


         “We haven’t had a communication in three days, do you think we’ve been exposed?” she stretches with a whisper.


        Biting on and inspecting her finger nail, “Not sure but something’s going down because Ola mentioned that they were escorting all the miqo’te somewhere, could be another inspection or more indoctrination.”


        Rocking and folding her arms around her knees the other lallafel grumbles, “Or more experiments. Isn’t that why we’re here Mimori, to put an end to all this? Seems pointless if we’re just sitting here rotting away in these pens.


        With a playful flick, “I know how you feel Majhala, but remember we only get one shot at this. Too many informants have lost their lives trying to figure out where they’ve been taking insurgent captives. Even if the plan works, we’re going to have more than our hands full if an Inquisitor shows up.


       She shudders at the mention of Inquisitor. “Do you think they've located our crates? By Nymeia I hope not. Too much riding on this last batch,” Majhala utters.


       “Don’t think so. Using the inhibitor to slowly reverse the indoctrination takes time. With so many side affects it’s been hard to find those that have the constitution to manage the dosages. Sometimes even drives people crazy. Infiltrating and getting to Ba’srm took three months and this new batch has been pretty reliable with its withdrawal compensation rates. To say that he hasn’t turned on us is tough to say, he’s been so…


       The sound of large frantic footsteps echoes from the entrance to the block. All the lallafel approach the front of their respective cells to get a better glimpse of what’s going on. Two guards a roegadyn and hyur can be seen discussing something. The resident hyur sentry posture shifts from complacency to immediate action and as he turns to close and lock up the main cell block doors, the roegadyn smashes his head against the doors knocking him out instantly. The two lallafels turn to each other with wide grins as the burly roegadyn approaches their cell.


It’s about time. Was starting get a flat butt,” Majhala cheers.


What’s the situation Quick Shroud?” asks Mimori.


      Fiddling with the key ring he finds the appropriate one and begins tounlocking the door when the prison alarm is sounds over head. “Most of the guards are outside with a few remaining at their posts. And yes we do have an Inquisitor here. I rushed down here as soon as I saw the slave carrier approaching. It’s only a matter of minutes before it gets here. The others are ready all we have to do is get to the armory and relay the other cell blocks so they can stock up.”


     The door creeks open and the female lallafel pour out. Quick Shroud hands the keys to Majhala who attends the other cells. Mimori jumps up upon a crate and blows a whistle between fingers to get everyone's attention.


   “I know a lot of you do not have combat training, but in order for us to get out of here together, you must fight.” She signals Ola exiting the cell Majhala recently opened to gather the others. “Ola here will keep you informed. Those that do have some experience head over to her!” She jumps down to meet up with Quick Shroud and Majhala near the exit of the block.


    “How many patrols are there between here and the armory Quick Shroud?


    “It’s hard to say, it’s on a whole separate wing and we have to bypass the antechamber. Hopefully the chaos will divert a lot of the guards to the courtyard.


Define chaos?" Majhala inquires.


     “That slave carrier I mentioned.” Pausing to look around the corner into the adjacent hall, “it's out of control.





    A yawning jailer upon hearing the obnoxious ranting of one of the miqo’te signals for two others to follow him to the cell.  “I have had just about enough of these shenanigans.” He stops for a moment just past the weeping miqo’te they placed in the first cell. “Who’s spraying the perfume?


    “This heat, it’s unbearable,” one female miqo’te complains to another. She wipes the sweat away from her brow and sniffs the air the scent of lilac so heavy so intoxicating when a harrowing beguiling wail fills her ears from the first cell. She stands and others around stand with her in unison. Her breathing quickens she knows not why as others experiencing the same phenomenon look to each other in confusion and fear. Other occupants from adjacent cages all stand and turn their gaze to the miqo’tes and the guards opening the cell with the ranting lunatic.


    “Stand up filth before I raise the setting to your collar,” the jailer commands the hunched elderly miqo’te. Another louder wail entrances the miqo’te to their knees holding their hands against their ears. “That’s more like it.” he snorts in arrogance. Turning around, the jailer instructs one of the other two guards to go check on the screaming from the first cell.


   “She’s in labor!” the lallafel in the cage behind him yells.


  “So what! Sit down and shut up.” He aims the device at the lallafel when suddenly warm, red sputum fills his lungs spraying his fellow guard a couple feet away. Screaming at the sight of the elder miqo’te’s hand puncturing through the torso of the jailer, a light red haze arises around its head then clamps its enlarged fangs into the jailer’s jugular. At once other males hiss and scream pouncing on the barely lifeless jailer, tearing the limbs off as if they were delicate as an insect. The guard outside the cell attempts to use full setting on the shock collars but it only serves to irritate them. Female miqo’tes begin assaulting and bending the bars to their own cell screaming with ungodly rage. More males tackle and feast on the irritant, projectile blood from severed limbs flinging into the face of the shocked lallafel. A male miqo’te bares his elongated fangs reaching for her.


      The guard near the first cell begins to panic and heads toward the engine room attempting to bar the door behind him. He looks up fleetingly to see charging snarling miqo’te attacking the other cells and some heading for him with blinding speed. With the latch snapping securely into position he begins to backpedal, halberd quaking in his grasp looking around for any means of possible escape. Pitch black eyes of a screaming elderly female peer through the window causes his nerves to leave him, leaving a trickling feeling running down his greaves. The face disappears when two more enraged miqo’te charge the heavy metal door, loud indentations erupting with each thud.


     Running over the overhead grating to a crossway he attempts to climb a ladder up to the upper catwalk, the roar of the engine turbines booming below. Sounds of scraping claws on metal come from the door when it finally gives way, flying from its hinges. Three miqo’te emerge into the room sniffing the air hissing up to their prey barely holding onto a steel girder. Two of them leap and clutch the bars and inner footholds of the ships interior walls their acrobatic agility proving no difficulty in their pursuit. Horrifyingly fast and slowly closing in, the guard screams in panic slipping off the girder he was standing, falling into a whirling gory death causing the turbine to explode.


   “Beacon sighted, preparing approach. Hmm, appears nan Daegon has arrived already.


   “Joy. This should be entertaining.” the pilot snickers. “Nothing like having a psychotic, three faced megalomaniac telling you how to….” A booming explosion rocks the ship, his head violently jerking up hitting the ceiling of the cockpit. With blood dribbling down his face, the pilot attempts to adjust his vizer and regain control. “@#)(*#!!!!!! What hit us!?” The co-pilot slowly crawls back into his chair inspecting the dash, a variety of alarms filling his ears.


   “Engine two is out, rerouting power!


  “Do we have bulkhead control?! Don’t feel like dying of inhalation trying to land this thing.


  “No it’s out, they have to go manual. I’m on it!” The co-pilot springs up first leaning to regain his balance from the irregular rocking of the ship, “I’ll initiate the sequence from here and unlock the security lever. It’s going to take them a minute to close.


  “We don’t have a minute, just go. See if we have any cargo that’s still alive."


  “Will do.” The co-pilot unlatches the security lever for the pit bulkhead in the floor climbing down into the ships small living quarters. Looking back at the slow closing bulkhead he hears a cacophony of screaming, hissing from the corridor leading out to the engine room and brig. “What in the…@#(*&!!! They’re loose!


  “What!!”the pilot yells. “Get back,” the screams of his friend fill his ear,  the bulkhead hatch shutting firmly in place. “!&$*, losing altitude too fast, gotta keep her nose up.



   The scrapping of claws and thudding of fists on the bulkhead can be heard just a dozen feet behind him.





       Quick Shroud shoulder charges the door into the antechamber with the two lallafel in tow. “It’s not far, almost there. One more walkway and we’ll hit the armory. Just be mindful of the big windows looking out to the courtyard. We don’t want any undue attention from the guards along the balconies.


    With the walkway just ahead the three can make out the increasing volume of panicking soldiers outside. Majhala heads to a window to take a peak, her eyes and mouth a gasp.


Whoa! You weren’t kidding!



   “You’ll want everyone to get between the vanguards my dear Korvus. My paling barrier should prevent any damage to us or our equipment but it has to be timed perfectly so don’t get caught flat footed,” Daegon’s maiden voice chuckles.


      A deafening roar of engines befalls the courtyard, scattering frightened soldiers heading toward the palisade for cover. The carrier crashes through a cliffside control tower. Debris of concrete, metal and glass speeding through fleshy soldier bodies. An instant from impact, the vessel spins into a horizontal three–sixty eventually reaching the ground bursting shrapnel and dust flying everywhere. Rolling over soldiers, crushing all who fail to get to safety, the momentum of the ship continues to skid eventually crashing into one of the surrounding prison walls.


     The Inquisitor’s maiden face swivels back facing a coughing Doctor Korvus and the others. “See. I told you would not be disappointed.” The gangly Daegon pirouettes and begins dancing amongst the injured and deceased alike. “Tra-la la! Such sweet music in the air” kicking an injured soldier out of his way. Halting for a moment and looking toward the wreckage, Daegon raises his hand and snaps his finger, “Time to turn on the amplifier good Doctor! It’s time to finish this purge."




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Chapter 3: Bloodrage


            “It’s right around the corner here, don’t rush,” the disguised roegadyn warned a speeding Majhala unable to halt.


Hi there,” the pig-tailed lallafel waved and curtsied to the two sentries distracted by the destruction outside the armory window. “Bye there,” she taunts retreating back around the corner with the two in pursuit. “Time to improvise.” she laughed.


With a tune from the other lyrical lallafel already reaching fever pitch, Quick Shroud anxiously traces a pair of runes in the air while chanting and channeling the frostbite in his fingers into a crystalline sphere. Racing clumsily in their armor, the pursuers find themselves within the entrancing snare of the song realizing they’ve been lulled, they were too sluggish to avoid the bouldering frosty sphere coming at them. On impact the sphere explodes into numerous icy stalagmites and stalactites lining the hallway in every direction entombing the guards within.


I hate when you do that,” he sighs.


Skipping up to the frozen pair of guards, Majhala slyly winks back at the roegadyn and playfully hip checks the tomb shattering it into a shower of snowy flakes, the two guards falling over in a heap, “Boop!Too easy,” she giggles.


Mimori rolls her eyes passing the two and heads toward the armory doors. “Let’s see what we got here,” she wonders opening the entrance.  She grins and tosses an oversized pair of spiked knuckles to her compatriot who returns a contemptuous glare attempting to find a way to make her tiny hands fit.


Make due,” she snorts in laughter.


The burly hellsguard exits the door,“I’m gonna head back and retrieve everyone.


Wait, Quick Shroud,” Mimori interrupts fuddling with her newly acquired short bow, “What about the grotto?I don’t think any of us want to be trapped here on this rock.”


He shuts his eyes rubbing the bridge of his nose sighing, irritated at the thought, “We can only hope that smelly sea rat wasn’t passed out when the alarm rang."





    Visions of naked, laughing women of various races taunt him to follow them through the fog. A small twinkle of light leads toward a large velvety tent where luring gestures tease him ever forward.  Edges of his smile widen passing through the tent flap at the sight of all the assortments of wines, fruits, jewels and large treasure piles.  Enthralled by the gyrating bodies, the suave,black-mustached midlander plops down onto cushy pillows awaited by women with endless pitchers of ale and wine. He laughs as they feed him grapes seductively mouth from mouth, spilling ale upon his chest. A female miqo’te leans over to rub her chest onto his prickly face. She bats her lashes at him her lips pursed about to make her move stopping suddenly redirecting toward his ear whispering “You miserable smelly rotten good for nothing sahagin skat head!


        He giggles to himself and whispers back “I haven’t had good pillow talk in a long time darlin. What else you got for me.” He gently clasps her chin and brings her lips to lock with his noticing the resistance and eventually the hard cold smack of a metal gauntlet across his face. “Playin hard to get will get you everywhere pookums!” With the sounds and the haze fading, the disappointing slosh of and smell of the sea wake him from his dream. Alarms fill his ears and an angry large armored and scowling sea wolf female stands before him with his collar in her grip. “I take that’s a no on the foreplay then?” Using her other arm she grapples the hyur dragging him out of the dinghy to the pier.


I’m going to enjoy ringing your neck.


Maybe yer just mad that I won all that gil last night. How much did you and yer cronies lose exactly?” he grunts kneeling up to stand tauntingly palming a jingling pouch. “I do have one last request; however, at least grace my lips with one more parting smooch before snapping my spine?


     She growls and lunges albeit to slow for the nimble but hung over captain who sidesteps tripping her.  “Now as for hitting ladies…” he jumps back dodging another lumbering swing looking back to see four others from her group running down the pier to aid her, “..it’s just not my style.” Ducking underneath another fist he back flips and jumps up onto the rigging of another dinghy. “How would I ever redeem my reputation for being a gentleman,” he hiccups breaking out out a cigar lighting it then jumping down off to avoid another grab of the snarling sea wolf. 

Taunting his adversary with a puffy smoke ring, he looks disgruntled at his cigar and flicks it into the face of the charging roegadyn stunning her long enough to grab her by arm flipping her over his shoulder into the water.


Hands in the air where we can see them," two of the guards command aiming their magitek rifles. Flanking the inside pair, the other the two  following join in.“Yea what he said.


Look it was totally a fair fight, I hardly even touched her….


Arming the rifle,“If it takes a bullet to shut you up then so be it.


Kerwyn smirks at the comment when the two flanking guards switch their target to each of the inner pair and fire. “So be it,” he retorts with a smile retrieving another cigar. “Are the barracks clear?


Yes Captain. We’re ready to castoff at anytime.


Good, then I guess we wait for our cargo for now.


What about her sir?” one crew member asks of the treading roegadyn.


"What was that about being gentleman!" she taunts.


With a nod of Kerwyn’s head the other guard takes aim and fires.


Overrated,” he puffs adjusting his bandana.





    Billowing smoke plumes overtake the red moonlit sky of the courtyard, the remaining tower’s search light beaming at the rear doors of wreckage leaning against the cliffside prison wall.  The opening crescendo of moaning soldiers, shattering glass and falling rubble begin to spark laughter in the crazed Inquisitor who slowly begins to conduct as if in a symphony.


It’s here sir, we have a signal,” Korvus shouts grabbing one of the researchers portable scopes almost tripping over the corpse of his former apprentice and runs over to his superior. “The waveform,she’s alive.


Is the stasis cocoon prepped?" the ebon maiden inquires.


It’s ready your grace. Twenty five years of replicating and manipulating the gene and now our reward has finally come into fruition,” Korvus croons.


Yes dear Korvus but first, first we must observe the bloodrage itself. I’d advise you to stand behind the vanguard formation for your own protection. It’s about to get very messy very soon.”


Bloodrage,” Ba’srm coughs, slowly crawling to his knees, “so that’s what this has been all about?” With a snap of golden fingers the guards bring Ba’srm forth kicking him to the ground in front of a conducting Daegon. He reaches down to clasp the miqo’te’s neck meeting the scowl of his sorrowful mask.


It’s all for you and your pathetic rebellion.  I want to witness your transformation, to watch any sliver of hope, any shred of identity fade from your pitiful existence, to feed on your sorrow as you become one with her pride.


Sir there’s another waveform here!”one researcher yells to Korvus.


Raise the amplification and turn on the sound projection,” he commands.


The fool muses to the wriggling miqo’te in his grasp, “You smell it don’t you, the smell of sweet inevitability.


What is…this,”  he twitches, looking up to the blood red moon. Ba’srm could only concentrate on one thing, the sweet smell of lilac overtaking his senses. As the projection from the equipment blared, all he could now see was red with an endless torrent of screaming rage entering his mind.




How many are we?” Majhala counts while distributing arms and armor to the recent arrivals.


At least sixty remember they took the miqo’tes into the courtyard,” Ola grunts while looking at the overly large spear. Tugging on a roegadyn’s pant leg, she points at it and crosses her arms dejected. He smiles and snaps it two to accommodate her, the two giving each other thumbs up approval.


Inspecting her bow string, Mimori turns to Ola,“Ola I need you to take a splinter group of around eight or so and get to Kerwyn, we’re going to have to secure our escape


Don’t forget the loading elevator to the stockade. It has direct access to the grotto,” Quick Shroud adds removing his bulky armor and changing into more fitting dark robes. “We should either disable it or keep the turrets on it just in case.”


Leave that to us,” Ola salutes. She nods to her roegadyn friend and six others bolting toward the exit.


Mimori climbs upon a center table,“Alright everyone listen up. We’ll split up into two groups. Majhala will lead the ground forces through the antechambers and the auditorium to the lobby to get to the palisade. Ranged group come with me and take out their perimeter sharpshooters so we can get to the inner stockade balcony overlooking the courtyard. This flank should cause enough confusion to rescue the miqo’te and increase our numbers. Remember to stay together and cover each other.


Palming her over-sized spiked knuckles together, Majhala orders her group to follow. “Time to bag us an inquisitor!


A rebel hyur then runs into the armory panting, “The Inquisitor has Ba’srm and something else is going on too, I think they’re torturing the miqo’te, they’re all writhing on the ground screaming. Hard to see with so much smoke.


Gather to me everyone,” Mimori signals. She directs a hyur and another lallafel to join her in harmonizing an old Ala Mhigan battle paeon. When the melody fills all the ears of the room, the adrenalin begins kicking in amongst the resistance forces, Mimori then nods to Quick Shroud.


Move out!” he orders, the battle cries and the paeon following him through the corridors.



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Chapter 4: Face to Face to Face


"How far is the stockade overlook Quick Shroud?", she asks inspecting small contraptions at the end of her arrows.


"Once we get up the second level auditorium there's an exit. The perimeter extends from a small balcony to the right and left. The left route circles the palisade and lobby, the right one meanders around to the overlook. If anything the guards in the remaining tower should be our primary target. They have the highest vantage point and if they shine that spotlight it's easy pickings."


The squad of archers and mages quietly head up the auditorium stares. Gently placing his ear against the door, the hellsguard looks to his lallafel companion dispersing her special arrows awaiting her signal. "Make them count" she whispers to them.


Mimori nods, Quick Shroud returns a conniving grin while knocking on the door, sidestepping out of view. With a creek of hinges a metal helmet peeks through only to be greeted by a meaty grasp yanking him through the doorway tumbling down the stairs. An archer lets an arrow fly hitting it's mark before it reaches the bottom.


Inching his head out ever so slightly he whispers, "Clear," opening the door for Mimori. "Spotlight?" he asks.


"Nope, I can see his silhouette just fine," she lets it fly, the twang of her shortbow triggering two other archers to step through the doorway crouching and aiming at their targets. Silent precision repeats, the shadow of the slumping bodies of tower guards and perimeter sentries alike slowly allow the squad to advance. One guard at the stockade overlook notices a fellow soldier slump over running to check and signaling another but two simultaneous arrows prevent any sort of response.


"The signal," Quick Shroud gestures to Mimori ducking behind the concrete balcony wall.


Raising her bow, she ignites the arrow releasing it up to the sky. The smoldering wreckage below simultaneously releases another explosion from it's roof. From her vantage point, the rear gate of the carrier bursts forth in a chorus of rabid howls and angry hasted miqo'te berserkers meeting the force that awaits them. A large pillar of fire rockets from the roof revealing a hole of dripping melting metal. A creeping unnatural wail of both babe and mother echo throughout the courtyard. Soldiers surrounding the tortured miqo'te prisoners look to each other babbling with bewilderment and fear. One soldier drops his halberd, running over to climb into to a bipedal magitek construct flicking switches to initiate it's power up sequence.


Another abominable scream comes from within.




Leaping from ledge to ledge in the stairwell, the spear wielding lallafel and her large companion come to the final set of stairs before exiting into the grotto cavern. Warning shots halt them in their tracks when they break through the double doors.


"Ayyaaaa oiy! Hey!," Ola and the others duck looking behind at the bullet indentations in the concrete. With her hands on her hips and a sneer etched across her face, "Trigger happy much!"


"Hold your fire morons," Kerwyn yells to his men. Six other members of the group come out from the doorway their hands over their head sighing in relief.


"Are we ready to cast off?" she yells to the midlander.


"Ready and willing, what's going on topside?"


"Unfinished business," Ola yells in reply. "Where's the cargo elevator?" she asks one of the crewman.


He leads her over to the controls, "It goes up to the stockade entrance."


"I know genius, let me think." Panning the docks and the three piers she notices the two Garlean vessels docked to outer piers. "What about those" she points.


"What about what," Kerwyn yells puffing his cigar, eyes widening when the lallafel starts climbing a ladder to a magitek turret. "Wa-wait!" he shields himself.


"Hmmm this one?!" she pulls a levers releasing a barrage of heavy ammunition into a vessel facilitating it's watery grave. Her roegadyn ally laughs and climbs into the other turret to do the same. She hops down with a smile wiping her hands together giggling at his open mouth and cigar falling into the water.


Scratching his head, "I like your style," he laughs. "Crazy, total disregard for others near deadly flying projectile debris."


"Oh hyur up," she snickers looking up at him on the bow.


"What's next," he chuckles leaning over.


"You have any bomb ash? she squeeks innocently with a mischievous smile.





Majhala upon seeing the flaming arrow kicks the lobby doors open leading the charge into the courtyard. She's instantly greeted by the discharge of tank fire shattering bodies into a pulpy splatter of both soldier and miqo'te alike. Crawling back up to her feet from the shockwave, she shakes off the ringing in her ears to intercept the driver before he gets off another round.  Two highlander shield mates follow her to engage frothing mouthed berserkers clawing at soldier corpses.


Toggling the machine into gear, he blinks in disbelief at the speeding blur running at him. Pistol in hand he takes aim when it rolls underneath the tank. Leaning over he lets loose numerous rounds, then alters sides to look again.


"Too slow!"came the chirp from above. He gazed up behind him to see the lallafell clinging from the ivy laden wall jumping down at him. The onslaught of whirling pig tails and spiked fists rack his face knocking him cold. "I'm gonna borrow this. Thanks," she grunts heaving him out of the cockpit. Upon looking down at the pedals on the floor she curses her stubby legs "Really!". Accidentally elbowing a lever the tank lurches clumsily forward. A hiss from behind distracts her, a rabid miqo'te climbs up to lunge at her. An arrow from above lodges firmly in it's temple dropping it back down. Majhala sighs in relief nodding her thanks up to the midlander bard and conjurer watching over her on the walkways.


"Move!" Majhala growls in frustration reaching up pounding on a panel of buttons while attempting to press the pedals. The tank rocks back and a roar of flame comes out. She climbs up hoping she didn't catch any of her companions in her line of fire. "Phew." she sinks back into the seat when an ally highlander comes to her aid. Rubbing the back of her head she blushes, "Oops, sorry bout that." The male highlander scowls, "Ok ok you can drive."


                                                  * * * * *

Still clutching a now feral Ba'srm's neck, the inquisitor feigns his sobbing at the swipes from newly enlongated claws. The scene before him could not be more sensational. Terror manifesting instantly from every direction. From the soldiers yelling and the onset of charging rebels into the courtyard, he could feel his bloodlust beginning to peak. From calls of order amongst the ranks to screams of absolute horror that erupt when the carrier bay doors fall over with feral warcries and beserking miqo'te flowing out.



"It appears the cavalry has arrived," the fool sobs. The mask begins to swivel transitioning to the red faced Malice screeching and leering down at the snarling warden. Daegon palms the Ba'srms face, when the pillar of flame shoots out of  wrecked ship.


"Your grace the waveforms have aligned! They're now syncronized," Korvus yells. "Keep recording," he instructs the other researchers. Gazing up to the balconies and walkways he realizes that they're slowly being surrounded. Turning to the vanguards, the doctor frantically toggles their settings  to encapsulate his team in a shimmering honeycomb latticed like barrier.


Daegon pivots and turns Ba'srm around to face the ship. Metalic echoing laughter comes from the ebony maiden upon the sight of miqo'te leaping upon and tearing at unprepared soldiers running for their lives. Other groups of soldiers return fire and cleave with their halberds, the symphony of carnage slowly entering a crescendo.


After the second wail, a blazing blur skyrockets from the hole of the ship landing on the roof.  From one knee to a defiant stance there she stood with babe clutched firmly, protectively against her chest wrapped in wreaths of twirling flames. Cracking her neck with a low growl she scoures the landscape for her target. The child's flaming tail flickers and blooms endless bursts of energy enveloping and fueling his mother. He lets out a blood curdling cry bouncing around the courtyard for all to hear, shattering the rest of the windows that yet remain.



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(Stories are so much more intense when there is an Inquisitor involved :D !  Thank you for sharing this tale...you've put a lot of hard work in so far :thumbsup: )

 ((Thanks. Inquisitors are one of my favorite villain archetypes.:love:

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Chapter 5:  A Mother's Wrath


"Your matron has arrived," announces the black maiden to a clawing Ba'srm still trying to release his head from the inquisitor's grasp. "Witness her glory, her magnificence, her radiance. Something you'll never be nor comprehend.  Your pedigree wouldn't even be worthy of such a gift. All you've ever been is a mindless piece of flesh with no purpose," the maiden's voice alters to that of Malice ,strengthening his grip, crushing Ba'srm's skull exploding it into a gory display.


"Ba'srm!" Quick Shroud ducks back behind the concrete balcony avoiding the richocheting gunfire from below. "What is all this? What's that thing on the ship!"


"Perhaps that's what the they were after all along, all the missing prisoners, the experiments all leading up to....that thing," Mimori replies lighting another signalling flare. "This certainly complicates things, we need to secure the lift for retreat."


Ducking another exchange of fire, Quick Shroud gauges the stockyard perimeter, "If we're gonna get everyone to the lift, we have to deal with that vanguard barrier!"


Adjusting her trajectory, Mimori releases the screeching flare of an arrow into the air. Slowly descending, the flash illuminates the aura around the formation of automatons protecting the stasis cocoon. "I'm heading for the other landing pad tower, stay here and keep the heat on that barrier."


Nodding, Quick Shroud waves to the other balcony thaumaturges and archers to apply the pressure raining of bullets, magic and arrows conjoining together trying to break through.


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Beyond the rubble of the crumbling palisade, the combatant numbers from all sides begin to thin, those remaining take refuge behind what cover they can find. With a whistle from the tank, the rebel shieldmates align together to form a phalanx beside and behind the tank providing defense for the spearmen and ranged ground forces.


"You sure you know how to drive this thing?" Majhala quips reaching over equipping herself with a magitek rifle from the rear gun rack. She waves to her support up top to provide cover fire as the formation solidifies.


"No but at least I can reach the peddles," the male highlander laughs back.


A familiar screech and flash spurns the pig-tailed lallafel's attention across the courtyard to the glowing vanguard shield. "There! Over there. New target!"


The grinding of metal gears and stomping feet reposition taking aim at one of the vanguards. "Where's the arming switch," the highlander fumbles.


Jumping down and kicking a lever, Majhala grins almost stumbling over the side of the cockpit from the recoil. "That one!", blowing and adjusting her bangs from her eyes.



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Watching the gore drip from the golden claw, M'Haeli roars at her prey bleakly recognizing the golden armored quarry through her haze of hatred. The baby coos snug in her grasp showering her with a ticking mantra heightening her quickness. In almost a blink, she leaps from the ship leaving a large depression of metal. Aiming her momentum toward the prey, her flying kick knocks the flatfooted Daegon fifteen yalms with such force breaking through a thick concrete stockade wall.


Korvus yells to his master speeding through the wall oblivious to the panic of his fellow researches from canon fire bellowing across the courtyard, the incoming volley tearing into a corner vanguard destroying it instantly. Picking himself off the ground, Korvus looks above him the barrier flashing but still intact.


Reaching the remaining tower canopy, Mimori looks over the side toward the obliterated landing pad. Straggling enraged miqo'te leap over rubble and cover tackling soldiers over the cliff, falling to their deaths. A hiss comes from just over the side while the boom from the tank canon rings her ears. She looks over her shoulder to see the smoke coming from the barrier as well as noticing the flying golden projectile crashing through a wall. "Good fight each other," she thought redirecting her attention to the hissing miqo'te climbing over the railing. Dodging a swipe she retracts an arrow from her quiver and uses it to stab her assailant in the eye and ramming it through it's head punching it back over the side. Jumping over to the large spotlight she turns it toward the glistening magical barrier lighting the way for her allies.



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"The power!" the maiden laughs slowly picking itself off the ground. "I haven't had a challenge worthy enough in such a long time," he boasts, unlatching the clasp of the white cloak letting it fall to the ground. "You'll kneel soon enough!" M'haeli hisses back at his threat entering a defensive stance braced for impact, the careening inquisitor disappears. Smelling the air, she turns just in time absorbing the shoulder charge knocking her back twenty yalms into the wreckage. Thundering electrical bolts follow aimed at her position.




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"It's still up! Aim for another!" Majhala orders firing off another shot into a makeshift bunker of troops.


"Not sure how many rounds we have left. Recharged, hold on!" the highlander pilot warns. He releases the lever letting another round off shattering yet another target.


"Now's the time, head to the lift! Go go," Majhala raises her rifle ordering the unit forward. Repelling down from their posts, the rear ranged support run behind the phalanx hunkering down behind closely interlocked tower shields.


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"Caernus!" Korvus screamed in desperation when the second vanguard exploded, the glimmering bubble slowly fading. Other researchers panic exiting their protective barrier trying to reach the lower level stockade double doors only to be shot down and entombed in large shards of ice from above.


Deviating his attention to the last fragments of the flickering barrier, the inquisitor snaps his fingers triggering the override of the other two vanguards to meet him toward the center of the courtyard. One picks up the stasis coccoon while the other increases it's pace veering off to meet the approaching tank and contingent of rebelling prisoners. A large group of soldiers jump over their bunker walls joining in to support the golem.



"The override? No, your grace, please." Korvus scrambles from the ground using a piece of vanguard scrap to provide cover. He sprints toward the stockade doors though  with arrows penetrating into his right shoulder and flank, he makes it underneath the overhang falling over fainting from the pain.


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Quick Shroud immediately hand signals for the ranged support to make their way toward the lift, "Secure the stockade perimeter and use those crates over there to build a wall around the lift. Stay here and coordinate, I'm heading to the tower." The hyur archer nods and relays the orders jumping onto the stack of crates motioning others to follow.


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"This thing have another gear besides adamantoise? I don't feel like becoming a vanguard pancake," she aims into the rushing group of soldiers a shot hitting a knee. "Split formation and engage!" The phalanx dissolves into two groups arcing out and advancing giving the constructs ample room to duel.


Adrenalin kicking in, the highlander starts pumping his legs and feet on the pedals, "Hang on." Lurching forward, the pumping of pistons and steam pour the sluggishness fading into jolt of momentum surprising both drivers.


"Are we recharged?" glancing to her allies running beside them.


Shaking his head negatively, the driver toggles another lever accelerating the walker. The vanguard party growing ever closer, Majhala shuffles inside the seat searching for some sort of fastening harness "I hope you know what you're." Popping her head back up she squeeks as the highlander grabs her collar tossing her out the vehicle into a patch of small junipers. "Give my regards to Gundobald, friend."


Engaging in full throttle, he could hear the war chants of his brethren behind cheering him on. "Brrriiiinggg it!!!",  he yells gritting through his teeth releasing the flame thrower upon clashing into vanguard. Frantic cries of soldiers dodge the tangled pile of flaming barreling metal with scrap projecting every which way. The heap of metal on metal crashinto a wall, the highlander falls out of the flipped cockpit coughing blood looking up at the clouds circling the red hued moon. A smile etched over his face as the last breaths of air leave his body "Glorius."


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Fidgeting with the last impacting arrow in her quiver Mimori's ears perk up at the sound of the baby crying near the ship where the miqo'te landed. Quick Shroud arrives at the tower in a huff, "The lift is secure... for now. What about those three?"


"We came here to end this and that's what I intend to do," she replied readjusting the tension on her shortbow. 


"Can't we just let them both annihilate each other and get off this rock?" he sighs exasperated slumping over his back against the tower wall.



"You know that's not what's going to happen, he's after the baby," her gaze narrowing down at the vanguard approaching with the strange contraption. "Look closer."


Mouthing the word baby in puzzlement Quick Shroud winces looking over the ledge. "So we're going after the kid?"


"Precisely but we have to be extremely careful. Like any mother, her wrath will conflagrate ten fold when separated her from her newborn. It could spell doom for us both." she warns adjusting the last silencing trigger on her impact arrow placing it next to an arsenal of quivers and extra arrows.


Fetching an sparking wand from his belt, Quick Shroud evaluates the three potential foes below first gauging the vanguard. "I'm gonna need your battle requiem for this. You think you can sustain it?"


Hands on her hips with an incredulous raised eyebrow, she smirks and starts arranging the other quivers next to her. Unhinging the latch to the tower's spiral stair, the hellsguard begins the descent toward the landing pad. "Quick Shroud," she pauses until their eyes meet. "Lets finish this." Returning her warm smile with one of his own he nods and heads toward the bottom.



Hearing the empowering melody from Mimori's battle voice from above, Quick Shroud gingerly exits the door making sure he isn't spotted by any other adversaries then skirts around the edge of the tower until the trio come into view. "Bring the rain Mimori."


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Ignoring the chaos behind him, Daegon's demonic visage instructs the other vanguard to set the cocoon down facing the cratered torn metal surrounding the miqo'te shielding her child. "You and your offspring have always belonged to me, owe your very existence to me," he muses carefully unfolding the mother's arms revealing the child gently taking it from her bossom and carrying it over to the blue glowing light from the opened hatch of the stasis coccoon. "I will have my army and you'll shall be at the core of it. The White Raven's seventh legion shall become even more powerful, the Black Wolf be damned." Pulsating flames and embers from the child's tail bob to and fro mesmerizing the inquisitor laying the babe down and strapping the babe within. "Now whatever shall we do with your mother."


Closing the hatch, Daegon can feel tingling sensation of a requiem altering the air around him. Scanning to find the source he then sees the small figure atop the tower chanting and rapidly plucking a raised bow.  A debilitating shower of death ensues striking both the cocoon, vanguard and the inquisitor hampering their movements. Charged particles amass when the hellsguard appears from behind the tower using the full potential of the requiem and the barrage in conjunction enhancing his thunderous incantation.


"Intercept!" Daegon commands the construct; however, the interjection of multiple empowered lightning blasts prevents them from advancing. The vanguard falls over in a heap of electrical disarray while the inquisitor doubles over motionless.


"Go now! Get the child," she yells to Quick Shroud. Picking up the last remaining quiver Mimori jumps down the stairs bounding out the door to meet her friend.


"Right, no problem" his mind trembles. Arriving at the cocoon he opens the hatch, unsnapping the restraints. The roegadyn picks up the child only to find the flaming tail licking at his vulnerable robes slowly catching fire. He runs over to meet Mimori gently placing the child on the ground, patting and rolling himself over to put out the flames. "That tail!" he chides. The baby lets out a deafening wail fearful without the familiar embrace of it's mother.


M'Haeli's brief bout with unconsciousness comes to an end with the desperate cry from her baby. Daegon stumbles to stand angrily evoking a series of incantations, holy blinding light circling over him.  Gazing at the concentration of light, Mimori releases her last impacting arrow lodging it into one of the yes of  the demon mask bringing the summoning to an abrupt halt. Backpedaling unable to switch his mask, the inquisitor claws at the arrow trying to break it loose unaware of who he was backing into.


She greeted her foe with a leaping vicious backhanded swipe decapitating the three faced helmet from it's neck leaving a spinning mechanism spilling black ichor. Rage blistering in her veins, she rips an arm off the creature with more ooze and sparks spurting out. Finally dealing the deathblow, she thrusts her claw into the emblazoned ruby and gold chest plate tearing half of it off, tubes and black hoses dripping out of the cavity. Caernus nan Daegon collapses onto his back continously sputtering ooze and spark.


Quick Shroud finishes patting out the flames confused by the helmet skipping by. Turning around he witnesses the rest of the exchange. Kneeling toward the mewling babe he reaches for his dagger hovering over it. Mimori releases a pair of arrows as M'Haeli leaps into Quick Shroud swiping and tearing his arm from his body, throwing his large frame yalms away as if it were a mere paperweight. A quiet calm suddenly comes upon her then, the burning rage slowly being quenched, draining away. She looks to her feet to see the severed tail of her son flashing and flickering it's last embers, the conduit waning and the peace of sanity slowly returning only to be met with another arrow to her chest.


Running over to her injured friend, Mimori tries to aleve his pain with what minor healing she can muster. Not understanding what was happening she then reaims her bow at the kneeling mother cradling and caressing her child. M'Haeli knew she did not have much longer with the loss of the rejuvenating conduit. She slowly tears off a piece of her clothing creating a small turnicate to stop the babe's bleeding tail.



"Shhh. Shhhush now, mother's here," she coos, blood from her wounds still leaking from her chest. She bursts into tears, sniffling when the silver haired lallafel steps into view. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."


Unsure of how to react Mimori advances slowly still ready to release her arrow if need be. "It was him wasn't it," she points with her bow over to the corpse of the inquisitor.


M'Haeli nods sobbing, "He's the one that did this to us. We were nothing more than a project, said our blood would revive long lost power from ages ago. I never understood any of it." she coughs small tricklings of blood spitting it from her mouth. "He called us Eohji, the flame tails or whatever. I never knew that this would be the outcome. Please...." her voice growing ever weaker. "Please take him away from here, far away so he knows nothing about this place and what happened here." She hugs him tightly, her grip waning while taking off her tribal necklace wrapping it around her son handing the babe over to the lallafel.


"What name have you chosen for him?" Mimori whispers kneeling closely to her. After her question leaved her mouth the miqo'te mother slumps over to the ground coughing another breath of blood. Her shaking hand clenches Mimori's a smile brimming upon her face as her son's name leaves her dying lips.








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Epilogue : The Lost and the Found



Running past the carrier wreckage to her friends, Majhala glances over to the twitching body of the headless golden plated figure going through it's final death throes.


"Eww," she sneers at the oozing black puddle spilling from it's chest. "You two help him", she points to the injured hellsguard. Two female sea wolfs help the cringing mage up to his feet. "We need to get out of here now, they can't hold the stockade much longer."


Quick Shroud winces and whines looking down to see the still body of the miqo'te that took his arm, sighing at his lallafel ally wrapping the babe in a small cloak. "You sure you want to do this?" he groans almost passing out from the pain. "We don't exactly know what we're dealing with here."


Mimori playfully rubs the babe's nose, "This is no place for a child. Leaving him here could only prove more disastrous than taking him with us."


"You would risk us all playing nursemaid especially if it has the potential to become like that", Quick Shroud grunts, nodding at the child's mother.


"I think the risk has passed, but to assure your fears, I will retain the burden and will do what's necessary if needed," she retorts with a narrowed glare.


Not willing to debate her anymore, the roegadyn haplessly concedes motioning to his escort to assist him over to the stockade cargo lift.


Mimori stands and grimaces at Majhala bobbling the three faced head of her adversary, "What are you doing with that?"


"Souvenir," she winks, then with a look of amazement she shows Mimori the mechanisms and wiring for attachment. The two of them look at each other in disbelief slowly walking over to the convulsing Daegon.


Using an arrow to poke and pry away at the mangled torso, the two lallafels step back in horror at the image before them. Within the tangled mess of tubes, wires and ichor, the small form writhes spewing more fluids from a breathing mask.  It's arms and upper body infused into the construct revealing familiar ears and emaciated veined facial features, cloudy eyes slowly turning to meet theirs.


"Such a lost soul," Mimori whispers in disgust.


A tiny arm rips from it's tendenous tube connections to clutch a small device at it's chest, twisting it releasing a ominous beeping sound. Majhala and Mimori jump back as red crackling lightning shoots from the body, gurgling laughter growing ever louder. The two of them look up as clouds begin to swirl over the courtyard, their faces pale at the mere thought of the oncoming destruction.



"Hurry up you two!" a familar voice yells out from around the makeshift stockade barrier. Looking up at the impending summons, Ola grunts under hear breath sarcastically,  "Oh great!"


Bounding over the crates ducking rifle fire, the three of them rendezvue with the last of the remaining rebels. "Careful of the tripwire, I rigged that to explode when they come near", Ola points, stepping over the access path through the crates to the lift controls. She looks over to a passed out Quick Shroud in the arms of his two sea wolf caretakers. "Is he going to be alright?"


Mimori acknowledges and carefully protects the babe within her arms noticing Ola's eyebrows twitching in curiosity. "I'll tell you later."


With the lift cage closing Ola punches the button, gears and sirens churn when the platform begins it's descent. Looking over the dozen other exhausted and bloodied friends she instructs those that still have their tower shields to huddle and provide cover through the duration of transit. A smile creases over her face as yells and explosion come from yonder overhead, pieces of debris fall onto the shields covering the companions. Suddenly a violent rumble shakes the entire platform and the shaft around them begins to shake.


"Earthquake?" a midlander rebel moans.


"Worse," Majhala answers.


Reaching a halt, Ola instructs everyone off the platform letting her roegadyn assistant carefully guide others through the mined area of tripwires and booby traps intended for pursuers. "Is everything set?" she yells to Captain.


Boulders and stalactites dislodge from the cavern ceiling crashing around the piers and grotto pools surrounding Kerwyn's ship. "Onboard now!" he yells over to her while directing the recent passengers to cover and ordering his crew to cast off. Kerwyn heads to the railing noticing the lallafel attempting to sabotage the lift returning up to the surface. "There's no time for that now get over here!"


Cursing, Ola navigates her path to the pier climbing the rope ladder onto the Sojourn. Just as she reaches the final rung a large stalactite crumbles onto the deck scattering crewman and passengers prompting yells from the oarsmen below. Majhala runs over to pull Ola up to her feet when another loud crash booms from the stairwell.


"That's one entrance, gonna take them a bit to clear the rubble," Ola smirks.


Pulling her friend to her feet, Majhala asks,"How much did you rig?" 


Wiping some soot from her face, "Most of the pier. I have enough incendiary to provide quite the show. This oversized piece of driftwood just needs to go faster." Ola boasts elevating her voice.


"Hey!" Kerwyn's defensive voice comes from behind the wheel.


The shared laugh between lallafel is cut short when cannon fire rockets past the bow. Squinting to see the through the smoke from the shaft, Majhala and Ola look to each other in despair as the hobbling, sparking wreck of a tank driven by an arrow laden crazed researcher ordering a squad of troops to intercept.


"We're sitting gobbues if that thing reloads! Get down and oar you loafers!" Kerwyn yells to any able bodied rebels running down below deck.


A dismayed look comes over Ola's face as three troops bypass a trigger that she knew should of fired. Another large explosion blinds them as one of the turret traps triggers. Gritting her teeth, Ola looks at the edge of the pier about to pass and climbs up onto the railing. About to jump a large familiar hand prevents her from proceeding. Returning a warm determined smile, her faithful roegadyn assistant picks her up and hoists her upon his shoulders, reaching for a tower shield.


Majhala and Mimori both run up to them, "Ola?"



"This is farewell friends. I'm not about to let the fireworks fizzle and doom us with victory so near," she sniffs with a tear rubbing the hair of her compatriot. Patting his head to proceed, "In the light of the Twelve.." she waves back to both of them, the roegadyn leaping onto the end of the pier. Racing toward the remaining turret, the two are met with volleys of gunfire. Using the tower shield to deflect what he can, the sea wolf lowers Ola down to find the malfunctioned trigger. Giving him a peck on the cheek, she hops underneath the pier watching a bullet round pierce her friend's shoulder still running to get to the upper deck.


Exiting the mouth of the grotto, the Sojourn oarsmen rowing choir bellows from under deck, large rocks still dropping from the crumbling cavern ceiling.

Kerwyn's shriek alarms everyone topside to get to cover when another tank round splinters one of the masts. Ducking from the occasional stray rifle fire, Mimori looks over the side to see the large form ascending the turret ladder, being peppered with bullets along his ascent.


Calibrating another charge, Korvus briefly catches the glimpse of the turret turning to his position, "Stop him!!" he orders desperately arming another round.


"Found you!" Ola stretches reaching over to the loose trigger. Smiling at the noisy chaos from the barrage of turret fire above, she mumbles a soft prayer to herself and toggles the trigger switch. "Godspeed to you all." 


Cheers ensue topside as some of the oarsmen stumble up from below deck to witness the turret fire blast into the tank. All gasp in unison at the following sequence of incendiary blasts decimate the remnants of the prison docks. A billowing cloud of smoke rushing out the mouth of the cavern to meet them. While many rebels cheer at their victory, Majhala and Mimori tearfully look outward mournfully mouthing thanks to the sacrifice of their fellow sister in arms.



"Get up and fix that mast you dogs, we're not out of this yet!" Kerywyn yells visibly shaken at the swirling torrent of clouds and red lightning hovering above the prison. Throwing a boot at one his crewman to get below, "ROW! Row like your life depends on it! Where's the bloody wind?"


Limping up to a leaning position, Quick Shroud eyes widen to focus at the awe inspiring destruction of the summons manifesting above the prison. An enormous meteoric projectile then bursts through the dark clouds screeching toward the prison. Mimori holds B'jaern closely as she can with Majhala leaning in to provide additional cover holding onto each other, the gurgling laughter of the abomination echoing in their minds.


"Brace yourselves!" Kerywn yells, spinning the wheel, bringing the Sojourn about.


Streaking in cacophonous fury, the impact induces a tragic massive explosion with titanic pieces of the cliff face erupting into numerous landslides. The shockwave from the blast breaks the top of the main mast of the ship with deckhands and rebels falling overboard from the sheer size of the waves almost capsizing the ship. Tossing lifelines into the water, the crew pull up the remaining passengers and crewman thrown aside.


"Good riddance," Majhala chides back to the prison, plopping down sitting aside the railing. She tilts her head resting on Mimori's shoulder looking at the sleeping baby. "What's this mean for us now Mimi?"


B'jaern resting comfortably in his cloaked blanket barely stirs in Mimori's lap with the lallafel humming an old nursery tune. "I'm not so sure anymore," she pauses staring blankly then looking over her shoulder up to the fading hunter's moon. "I just don't know."




5 days later on the southeastern peninsula of the Black Shroud on the shores of the the Rothlyt Sound....


Four people empty from a small Sojourn dinghy, the oarsmen waiting patiently for the returning passengers to say their goodbyes.


"How many days till we get to Ul'dah Kerwyn?" Quick Shroud asks.


"We'll have to make port in Maslava to replenish supplies but after that should take another two weeks at least." he replies looking to his anchored ship from the shore. "You better have what's promised to me when we get there?"


Waving with his back turned "Don't worry, the brigade will compensate you handsomely." Quick Shroud meets up with the two lallafel exchanging embraces.



"Are you sure this is what you want Mimi?" Majhala leans back, hands still atop Mimori's shoulders.


With a tearful laugh, "After all this?" she pauses smiling as the one armed hellsgaurd approaches. "I think I'm ready for a different sort of adventure."


Quick Shroud kneels down using a finger to peel back the blanket covering B'jaern's sleeping face. With a deep sigh, "I sure hope you know what you're doing. He's going to want to know about his mother when he grows up. Are you prepared to tell him the truth of how his mother died?"


Palming and thumbing the tribal pendant, she tucks it around B'jaern's neck underneath his covers. "He doesn't have to know," she smiles back at him.


"Make sure to write us ok," Majhala tearfully hugs her one more time complying with the impatient captain waving to return to the ship.


"We'll make sure to come visit," Quick Shroud interrupts.


"Keep fighting the good fight," Mimori chokes up hugging him. Stepping back to look upon the two most trusted friends she's ever known another trickling tear falls down her face at the sight of them standing side by side in stance performing the Ala Mhigan salute. She returns the gesture with proud determination, watching the two enter into the small boat then slowly paddling back to the ship. She waves one more time to the both of them, picking up her duffle bag and swinging it over her shoulder, the sound of the waves spilling onto the shore with gulls over head, she looks up to the waning sun blending into the sea's horizon.


Turning to face the welcoming embrace of a copse of trees ahead of her, Mimori looks down and smiles to B'jaern, "Just you and me now." B'jaern returns a light giggle as the two of them slowly fade into the forest.


F I N                                

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