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RPG Fanatics: The Jungle Hunt


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Hi.  I'm Teros and I started this RPG-based accountability group over a year and a half ago.  We've fought multiple demon-kings and monsters in a quest to rid the realm of NF of evil.

 

The story so far:

 

Welcome to the world of NerdFitness

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In February of 2014, the realm of NF seemed like a darkening place, although no one could put their finger on what was the cause of the decay.  A raving satyr named Teros spouted off about knowing the reason for the oncoming dread.  A group of ragtag adventurers met up with the satyr.  His proof was a small goblin that he caught, that squealed about a master plan by a monster named: Sodamus.

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Although the group did not know each other, they banded together and formed a bond. Along the way, they rescued others in the dank sewers that were held captive. One of these was a goat-monster named Sulak.  Sulak's specialty was in alchemy and crafting crystals that held magical properties. He joins the group and makes gems for the party which will use the wearer's energy to track other gems- thus making sure no one in the party is ever lost.

 

The group manages to find and kill Sodamus.  However, foreboding words were spoken that the party did not quite understand.

 

After this demon-king was slain, two ravens named Huginn and Muninn (twin ravens and guides for the group) appear to explain the sitaution.  Sodamus being slain started a chain of events that have embroiled the entire group.  Other demon-kings are throughout the realm, and this party have shown their potential to enact justice for the land.

 

The next demon-king was the FrostKing; in the frozen wasteland above the Warrior's fortress.

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Before getting to the FrostKing, one of the ravens told the satyr Teros about a prophecy that he would have to keep secret from the rest of the group.  They reached the summit as winter's sting was starting to soften. The FrostKing dispatched, the next demon-king on the horizon was Distractia and his casino.

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Before being disposed of, Distractia spoke of trying to win his lover back and of The Red One.  The ravens spoke of The Red One being the strongest evil in the land, and a foe that would need to be dealt with in due time.  This gave way to spring.

 

The group headed south to the shifting sands as summer approached, to fight off the embodiment of depression- Acerbus.

 

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The group started to realize the potential everyone had inside themselves. They had continued to best their enemies.

 

As summer turned to fall, the succubus twins, Mal and Maru, were the next wretches to be disposed of.  One was able to be killed, but the other managed to barely escape.

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The final boss was at hand: The Red One. 

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The group managed to get to the Forbidden Crags and hunt down the supreme evil in the dead of winter.  When this happened, a shift occurred in the realm. The crags were ripped asunder and crumbled into the ocean. Tidal waves swelled up as entire chunks of island crashed into the sea.  Luckily, the party were able to ride smaller pieces of landmass across the waves, as they crashed into the coast of the Adventure's town.  There was devastation done to the Adventure's humble community.  Entire houses were crushed underneath the waves and lives were lost.  Over the course of an entire year of Adventuring, the party known as the RPG Fanatics were no longer a ragtag group- they had become heroes.  Some of those heroes had fallen.  Sulak paid the ultimate sacrifice and used those gems that were made as a sort of energy to kill The Red One.  The gems that he had made were not just linked to each other; they were also feeding off emotions as an energy source for the entire party ever since Sodamus.  The ravens were both badly injured and used their magics to fuse into one being to prevent being on the brink of death.  Other heroes had simply faded into the distance, never to be heard from again. Still others required aid or medicine and were unable to continue for certain legs of the journey.  The ones that remained considered themselves family after a year-long quest.

 

The tale picks up again, exactly one year after the events of Sodamus were started.  For weeks, the group has been recuperating and helping rebuild the Adventurer's town.  There's a problem though...

 

...People have been being abducted and no one know by whom.  After yet another sleepless night, the satyr, Teros, hears dragging and odd noises outside his room at the inn.  The Adventurer's Town is being rebuilt after the tsunami from the Forbidden Crags crashing into the sea.

 

Finding out a woman was abducted and finding some clues to trace the steps; the group is reformed and head back down to the sewers where Sodamus' lair was.  They find a beast that was never felled from over a year ago; feasting on the corpses of the goblin horde and Sodamus himself.  The massive and powerful sewer monster was bested:

 

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After doing so though and returning to the surface, a mysterious figure made of smoke pointed northwest- towards Distractia's old casino.  Surely there was nothing there that the brave group did not defeat....wasn't there?

 

The adventuring family followed the vague figure's direction and went back to Distractia's Casino.  There, the casino was still intact. Puzzled, the group meets a young rebellious man named Grisham and a holy man named Pierce.  The band together and break back into the casino, attract the jester-guard's attention; and muscle their way back to Distractia's hideout.

 

While there, the voice over the speakers doesn't sounds like the defeated demon-king.  Getting through this mysterious madman's traps, the party finally gets to the heart of the casino.

 

 

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Distractia was still alive - having been brought back through some sort of outsider's aid.  Distractia spoke of a 'person greater than I' and again of winning his lost love's favor.  After his permanent defeat (one of the group severed Distractia's head and the casino was set ablaze), the group has more questions than answers.

 

Is the 'greater person' a reincarnation of the The Red One?

If not, when who is this person that has the powerful ability to raise a dead demon-king?

What does this mean for the family?

What about the smoke figure that helped aid the group? What role does this play?

Grisham and Pierce seem to have a very shadowy past. What is their story and how to they fit into this cosmic chess match?

Where does the group go from here?  Is the only clue a single large rose?

 

With Siga (the merged ravens) not having the gift of knowledge and foresight; the group is lost in the dark. Hopefully, all their questions will be answered.

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Heading to the closest inn, the group got some much needed rest while the casino burned.  The fire roared through the night, but luckily there wasn't any debris to spread the fire...

 

Then Darkness.  The feeling of being lost and adrift.  The roaring of the sea crashing into itself.  Looking up at the midnight sky, a swirl of gray clouds among the blackness.  Freezing cold.  Then vibrations against the eardrums, like very loud music that's felt.  Vibrations getting more intense, the deep rhythm drumming and changing the heartbeat.  Reverberations through the skull, making teeth chatter. Is it the brutally cold water being engulfed or some other sound or feeling? An ethereal sense of the body soon being torn asunder.  Gibberish.  Ramblings of deep, guttural-sounding madmen.

 

'y-fhtagn geb. wgah'n shagg ng shogg, grah'n.'

 

"Teros.... Teros...TEROS! You don't belong here! GO!"

 

"FWUHH!"

 

"My friend, what's wrong?" Siga the raven asked Teros.  Sitting upright and in a cold sweat, the satyr replied, "I...did you just tell me that I don't belong here?"

 

The raven squinted from his small nesting bed on the bureau.  "You woke me up.  I just heard you gasp."

 

Dazed, Teros rolled out of bed and looked outside. Pulling the curtain away; the fire was still burning but it was dying down.  Looking up at the moon, the satyr decided to leave.  "I uh... I need some air."

 

Siga was concerned now. "Gasping awake is never good. I lost my sense of foresight in the merge after The Red One, remember?  Is there something you wanna say?"

 

Rubbing his clammy hands together, Teros looked away. With the curtain being moved away from the window, a faint red glow from the fire outside poured into the small room and created an eerie hue.  "No."

 

Grabbing a small knife just in case, Teros walked out of the inn and proceeded to go downstairs and towards the dying fire.  Unbeknownst to him, the raven followed behind a few steps in silence.  Watching the flames and smoke billow in a continuous stream, the satyr stayed on his feet by squat down, knees pressed against his chest.  Hunched over, he looked into the fire.  It...calmed him.  In all the times that the group went on adventures, the satyr sometimes did this when he couldn't sleep at their campsites.  Looking into the fire helped focus his mind. The troubles always seemed to be singed and burned away as heat radiated towards his face.  His eyes burned with sleep but the cold sweat was gone in the faint breeze.  Looking at the rubble it seemed like a pyre - a funeral burning for the demon-king.  What the hell was he talking about before his death?  Teros closed his eyes.

 

"He IS better than me. *KWUH-KWUH-KWUH*"

"I just w-w-wanted to get her back"

"He just HAD to bring me back. "

"Should've left me dead. Me and all my jesters. Whatever fate they met is worse than mine."

"The.... Doctor.  Who she ran off with. Necromancer and tinkerer."

 

Opening his eyes, Teros threw a handful of sand at the nearby flame. There was an extra billow of smoke.

 

The figure. The smoke figure appeared again.  Startled, Teros stood up and took a few steps back.  He tried to talk to the smoke shape.

 

"What do you want? What are you? How can you help us? W-where do we go?" Teros asked.  His eyes darting side to side at the figure and his knuckles white from gripping the pocket knife he had with him.

 

The figure stood there and walked two paces to the left.  Matching this, the satyr too two steps to the right.  They were circling each other.  With slow and purposeful movement, the figure raised a hand and simply pointed.  Northwest, through the brush of trees past the smoldering casino rubble.

 

Just then another figure made of a lighter gray smoke appeared out of the rubble and started to head to the darker smoke.  They both dissipated as a strong wind blew.

 

"What was that?" Siga muttered.  Teros whirled around and let out a breath. He had apparently been holding it since he asked the questions to the smoke.  "I didn't know you followed me.  I...I don't know what that was. All it did was point over there, through the forest and into the jungle."

 

The raven was hesitant and thought out loud, "What was the other figure trying to do? Stop the first one?"  The two of them simply locked eyes and shared a collective shrug.  "I'm....not sleeping anymore tonight. It feels like after midnight.  What about you, Siga?"

 

The raven shook his head. "Want me to grab the gems?  We can just keep each other company out here until dawn when we wake the others?"

 

They stayed outside the rest of the night, simultaneously hoping and dreading to see the figures in smoke again.

 

 

Daybreak and Dark_Raider was the first one outside.  The flames were gone now - only charred remains and ash being kicked up by stronger winds in the morning.  He spoke, "I felt a faint disturbance last night but fell back to sleep. I supposed it's related to why you two are outside already?"  The satyr and raven nodded together, while still need the dying fire.  A trace of a smile crossed Teros' face, "I figured something out though with my studies." Dark_Raider took a few steps closer.  Teros held out a couple of gems.  Some were bright red and others were glossy and black.  "I was able to trap fire in some gems and smoke in others. If we can't start a fire, I can break one of these. And if there's a really tough situation, I think I can break these black ones and use them like smoke bombs."  The githzerai nodded in approval and said,  "So you just decided to pull an all-nighter and make these?"  Teros and Siga looked at each other.  "There's other news, Dark_Raider. But I'll wait for the rest. We have a direction to go."

 

"We have a direction?" Sylvaa asked as she strolled up to the group. "Does it have anything to do with dark water at all?"

 

Dark_Raider and Siga seemed unfazed by the odd question but Teros gulped hard.  Immediately hiding the panic that was etched on his face, Teros cleared his throat and replied, "Erm. heh. No.  The group's guess of heading towards the jungles was right.  I'll say more when everyone's awake."

 

About an hour later, the others came from their respective rooms and into the inn's dining area. Teros was shoveling eggs, sausage, and cranberry juice in his face. Siga was pecking at a piece of bacon while Sylvaa daintily ate slivers of something out of a bowl of orange-colored soup.  Dark_Raider had his eyes closed and seemed to be meditating.  Despite there starting to be a morning commotion, every time someone would tap Teros on the shoulder to join the table's breakfast he almost choked on his food with a startle. "Didn't sleep much" was his short response every time.

 

Kit was the last one to wake up and join everyone.  Just like everyone else, she poked Teros playfully on the shoulder and he started coughing on his food.  He looked up and having finished the plate of meats, he took another bite of a sort of roll he had just ordered. "Didn't sleep much" he said for at least the 10th time that morning as he held out a small roll. "Want one?"  The kitsune scrunched her nose up a little.  "What is it?" 

 

"No frigging idea. It's like an almond flour roll thingy with sage and rosemary and all sorts of crap that I don't even know" he said as he stuffed another huge bite in his mouth.  Siga was standing on the table just a few inches away from Teros. He leaned over, "Friend, you'll tell me about whatever woke you before the smoke figure, right?"  Nodding hastily, Teros took another swig of cranberry juice.

 

Wiping his face with a napkin and rubbing the condensation off the cranberry glass to wipe his hands, Teros finally said something besides his sleep one-liner.  "Saw the smoke figure last night, err, this morning I guess.  We head northwest after everyone's eaten something.  We'll also see who else wants to join us on the adventure."  A few of the party were taken aback at how abrupt Teros spoke. 

 

"Wait, what did the smoke figure do?" "What were you doing up in the middle of the night?" "Did something happen?" "Did you ask it what it even was?"  A chorus of people all talking over each other.  Teros had his head down and was already eating another almond roll. Siga spoke for him, "It was...intense.  Teros tried to ask it questions but it merely took a few steps and pointed where we need to go.  That's what it did last time and we dealt with Distractia. We have no reason not to trust this guiding force again.  There...was a possible problem though. A second figure came from the fire and it seemed like it was heading towards our guide. Both dissipated before we knew what would happen next.  That's all we have to work with for now."

 

Sylvaa seemed perturbed as she eyed Teros who just finished yet another roll and was waving a waiter for a third cranberry juice.  She muttered to herself, "But there was water. Dark water. I felt it."  She sighed and shook her head.

 

Teros made a painful face and thumped his chest a couple times.  "Air bubble... Ok. So are we all ready to get this over with?"  Grisham threw a glass on the ground and yelled, "ANOTHER!" RedEagleSpirit looked at him, "Why are you breaking these?"  Grisham made a frown, "Cuz I have the coin to?  On our way out of the casino I nabbed a nice baggy of gold."  RES pursed her mouth, "And...is that beer? Everyone else is eating food. Why the hell are you drinking at 8 in the morning?"  Irritated, Grisham replied, "Again, because I have the coin to?"

 

Siga fluttered to a coat rack pole so his voice could be heard.  "Ladies and gentlemen! You saw what this group did to that hive of scum and villainy that was plaguing the realm. If any among you want a chance to be a hero, now is your chance. We head to the jungle to fight another threat like this one.  Any who are interested, we leave in ten minutes! Make your plans!"

 

Mini #1: Smart Goals

 

Make sure your goals for this challenge are S.M.A.R.T.  Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Trackable.  Also, this is an accountability group - I'm not asking for everyone to follow everybody since these groups tend be a bit bigger. HOWEVER, I'll post a list/link of everyone's threads at the end of this mini so you can follow a few people above and below your name.

 

Even if it was done last challenge - please post your race/weapon/strength/weakness to help tailor this challenge a bit to everyone.

 

Lastly, WRITE SOMETHING!  Blue italics like this for your perspective on the story, your character's inner monologue, or whatever info you want to point out. Strike up an rpg-based convo with someone. This is supposed to be a little experimental and fun to stretch your creative legs a bit.

 

The party:

 

Teros (Satyr / Warhammer / Heartiness+Leadership? / Confidence)

Challenge: _______________

 

Kzacher

 

ChristArtist

 

RedEagleSpirit

 

Edigo

 

DarK_RaideR (Githzerai / Flaming bastard sword, two handed or dual wield with a shortsword, sorcerous powers / Discipline+Perserverance / One-track mind)

Challenge: Permabeast

 

T2SarahConnor

 

Sylvaa

 

Silvermoonlady9

 

Kitbi12

 

Hanksdottir

 

Petefeet

 

Sokkasm

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Clutching his stomach, Teros got up wobbly.  He could feel all the food that was packed away sloshing around as thought he heard someone familiar talking behind him. "I don't know. "I don't see Hughy or Mandy anywhere. Doesn't mean they're not around here somewhere, though. Those two have stealth wings... These guys are up to something... They are pretty heavily armed for just a social event..."  Teros turned around and shook hands with Hanksdottir.  "Did you really think I didn't hear you talking?" questioned the satyr.

 

Another familiar face with a bluish hue was calmly approaching the satyr.  Edigo was back.  She was happy to see it really was them, and arrived shortly after the morning explanation . She went directly to Teros to give him salutation and ask to join them once more. Then went to each one to takes news, and encounter the newcomers she hadn't met before.

 

Glancing around, the inn was in full commotion as the party was suiting up and getting ready to leave. Those that heard Siga's announcement were eying each other. Some wanted to join.  One of which was Sokkasm.

 

Brooding, the person thought to themself, "They were heading to the jungle. The same place I'm going towards. This can't be a coincidence." Either way Sokkasm felt a need to travel in a party now that this part of the realm was having darker problems and his powers were becoming unsure."

 

Pushing away from the table, Sokkasm shook hands with the satyr.  "Everything is connecting." Sokkasm said under muffled breath after approaching Teros.  Teros held his stomach for a second and squinted. "Ehh? What?  Did you just say something?"  Eyes darting around, Sokkasm simply replied, "No no. Not a care in a world right now."

 

Rita laughed at Grisham's behavior, it was funny after the disturbing scenes from the casino, so she joined him for a drink, even if it was before noon. So they were headed in to the jungle. Lots of green - definitely her sort of place, she was looking forward to being back in her natural habitat, jungle was just another kind of woodland after all. After smashing a glass and laughing at the shards, she headed outside to start with the ever growing crowd.   Grisham raised an eyebrow at Rita's...enthusiasm for breaking a mug just like him.  Tipping his hat and giving a quick glance up and down, he gave her a smirk as he made way out.

 

"Psshuh!" The noise came from behind Rita.  It was RedEagle.  RES was not a morning person...her lack of tolerance of all things ignorant meant she really didn't care for the one they called Grisham already, put that with the fact he felt the need to drink at an ungodly hour, which reminded her of too many bad issues of the past, and think that his new found wealth made him better than anyone else really irritated her...she knew he was needed for their mission, or assumed so since everyone else seemed willing to let him get away with whatever...

 

"Res, everything ok?" Rita questioned.  Pursing her lips, RedEagle only replied, "Just...be careful...round him."

 

T2 sat in the corner while everyone was eating. She noticed the exchange with between Grisham, RES, and Rita.  She kept her tongue and thought of what fun Ravnos and her would have had picking on Grisham and his drunken rowdy behavior. She will miss her sparing partner this adventure. Grisham needs to watch his pompous self. Betray my friends, you betray me. She noticed a Furyan amongst them this time. He slipped out before anyone else. "Note to self" she almost said aloud. " Stay with that when the shit hits the fan". She wondered if the others new of this races fighting prowess? She thought back to the magazine cover that she had. The one that Teros and Ravnos made such fun of her about. He was a Furyan too. She missed him. T2 was off to pack her gear and set out to where ever Teros would lead them. She had a destiny to meet.

 

The githzerai was already back in a sort of trance as people were packing up and getting ready to leave. Teros figured he must have been contemplating the most recent news.  Dark_RaideR's eyes were closed. He was channeling.  In his mind he was reliving thoughts from the night before.  - The Doctor. He had been the Demon-King's student and assistant, if not the one actually pulling the strings all along. He had learned well next to Distractia. Last time he had escaped. The Demon-King mentioned him in his dying words. Suddenly it all made sense, like the final piece of a puzzle dropping into place and revealing the horror of the greater picture. Preservation of evil. Concentration of power. Lead the Fanatics to destroy all the others, allowing their force to concentrate in one single being. -  "We're going.  Hey, we're GO-ING!"  Teros shook Dark_RaideR, breaking his concentration.  "I already have my possessions ready." the githzerai replied calmly.  Teros flashed a thumbs up and moved on.

 

As Teros was getting ready to turn away from Dark_Raider, he felt a hand on his shoulder.  It was ChristArtist.  She looked concerned.  "My friend, I...I had some sort of vision last night but I don't know what it means. I awoke and there are only foggy remains; a distant memory from an old life or something.  It was troublesome.  I went to get some water for Gabe when the water I poured was black.  Not merely dark from it being the dead of night, but devoid of all light.  There was...no reflection of shimmering despite there being a nearby candle. It was like for a moment that pool swallowed th-" ChristArtist was cut off by a newcomer.

 

"I think I might be able to help," the newcomer said quietly. "My name is Silver."  Teros let out a sharp exhale.  Despite this 'Silver' not being very loud, she was mere inches from ChristArtist and Teros.  Taking a step back, Silver looked apologetic.  She stammered, "I-I I uh I'm sorry. I didn't want to startle either of you. I just was listening in and there are s-s-so many people that want your attention. I don't mean to intrude.  May I join?" Silver tilted her head and wore a nervous and timid smile.  Moving towards ChristArtist's ear, Teros whispered "We'll continue this later."

 

KZacher slipped back to his room as quietly as possible to gather his effects and to be one with his thoughts. he thought he'd give this meditation thing that the glithzerai was always raving about. "perhaps, raving was a bit exaggerated." he thought. After a few mins with his thoughts he opened his eyes but did not feel awake. KZacher seemed to be moving in slow motion, all surroundings were grey. "great, i've fallen asleep" his conscience thought snapped him back to reality. as he shook off the cobwebs he heard the boots of the other fanatics coming to gather their things, and he smiled. KZacher always felt better when the group was on the hunt.

 

*WAP WAP WAP*  "Hey, Kzacher, you in there?"  It was Grisham knocking on the door.  "Yeah, eh. I was just trying something." Kzacher replied groggily.

 

"Something?  Combat training with your feet? Sorcery like that dagger-mage vixen? Gem-making like the 'fearless leader'?  Or that weird zoning out crap that the martian guy does? Get the hell down here. We're all leaving, man.  I gotta find Pierce. Teros wants me to round up everyone." The stomping of Grisham's boots could be heard as he hopped down the stairs, two at a time.

 

"I don't know what to make of that guy." Kzacher said to himself as he relaced his boots.

 

Petefeet has been seriously distracted as of late and almost missed the message to gather at the Inn.   Being careful not to step upon anybody's toes, the halfling weaves his way closer to the front of the group so he can hear better and hopefully find out what danger they are going to rush into this time.  "Jungles?" the halfling thought to himself.  That place is untamed. He looked down at his bare hobbit feet.  "Hope there's nothing toxic around to get on skin."

 

With everyone filing out, a nameless woman remained.  Maybe she was waiting for everyone to stop talking to the satyr. She had interest in this new group, with their talk of glory and heroism, surprised her, and she wandered closer to the table as people were standing up. She recognized familiar faces from the the Road and ordered some tea to go.  "What ho, friend?" she said to Teros while his back was turned. Puzzled, the satyr being pulled in a million different directions; he finally looked over at the last person still sitting at a table near him.  For possibly the first time this morning, Teros smiled.  "Heidi!  What are you doing here?"

 

"Well, I know that the only time you were happy was when you had mentioned this group back when you were helping apprentice under a blacksmith at the Adventurer's town.  Then you ran off one day to do whatever battles in the sewers with this family of yours. I never caught up with you after that but this..." Heidi motioned outside towards the smoldering rubble.  "...this is pretty easy to find. Put 2 and 2 together.  I'd like to join."  Most of the group was outside by now, with only Kzacher banging his feet as he was coming down the stairs.  Holding back a smile, Teros said, "It's good to see you here."  As Heidi paid for her tea, Teros gave her a big bear hug and picked her up.

 

 

The group heads northwest, towards the jungle.  Skirting along the Forest of Doubts, the hilly grassland starts to become more and more angled and barren. It's a gradual climbing. The party continues to go up steeply.  Huffing, Teros remarks, "I *huff* I thought this was supposed to be jungle this way. Why's it so frigging dry?"

 

Kit was trailing the group, seemingly lost in thought.  Figures of smoke... dark water... and necromancer in the jungle. What could it all mean? Kit couldn't keep her mind from morbid wondering: How could the necromancer control the dead? Spirits, magic, mind control, abuse of jungle's medicine? 'He is better than me.'

 

Sylvaa was also at the back of the group, treading lightly and not disturbing a single stone. A second before touching the water, Sylvaa felt it. The air seemed to buzz with anticipation and tendrils seemed to reach towards her foot. The water felt as though it were trying to suck her into its depths. She jumped back, scared at the feel of its pull and the darkness she felt. She stared at the water, trying to see the bottom or the end or anything to show her where the water stopped. The longer she stared, it was if her very reflection was being devoured. She turned away, afraid it was going to suck at her very soul.

 

"Are you ladies ok?" ChristArtist interjected. Both Kit and Sylvaa seemed to be startled awake.  The kitsune and elf only nodded.  Both wore worried expressions on their faces.

 

"It's like a graveyard; it's so bone dry!" Teros yelled loud enough that everyone heard.  Heidi was right beside him.  "We're east of the Druid's Forest.  Past these huge hills are supposed to be all the moisture. See how the tops of the hills jut straight up like a mountain ridge?  That actually pierces the clouds and keeps them from moving. It makes all the moisture rain on the other side and that starts the jungle area. Because of that, there's no dampness here since the clouds don't make it past."

 

Wincing, Teros replied, "So that means it's way too dry ova here and way too wet ova there?"  Heidi nodded. 

 

"You know for the 'fearless leader' that I've heard a couple of these folks call you; you certainly like to complain." Grisham jested as he walked by.  Teros took the comment a little hard, "Listen Newbie, you weren't here when we fought the FrostKing.  That was way up north. North.  You know? Snow. Ice.  Things that would freeze to death some of our group nowadays. I don't think you with your cowboy chaps would be able to take stabbing draugr and burning the bodies as wardrums blared. That's what I thrive on. Not...whatever the hell this is." 

 

The satyr pointed to his face, "Look at this beard and fro.  I could swim in ice water springs and be fine."  "Oh I LOVE that picture." T2 seemed to say to herself.  Grisham and Teros looked back at her; their bickering halted.  "The picture with...him... and the shot is taken right as he's getting out of the cold springs and he's wet and..."  T2's eyes rolled back in her head for a second.  Teros smacked his forehead. "She's talking about that damn magazine again."  "DON'T YOU DARE INSULT HIM!  He's.... precious."  Waving his hand away, the satyr said for everyone to ignore her.

 

The hills became more steep as time went on.  A small path cleaved between two higher mountainous hills was able to fit two people side by side.  "This is a bottleneck if there ever was one.  Stay vigilant." warned Siga as he kept his eyes locked at the sky for potential ambushes.  Hanksdottir's ravens were also looking around and skeptical of the sky.

 

"Oh my god, do you feel that?" Petefeet remarked.

 

"Yeah, we're crossing the threshold of the hills.  The air is thick with wetness.  It will get worse. It's a good thing that I've only skirted around these parts before to the Druid's Forest." said Heidi.

 

The bottleneck was made more uncomfortable by the changing of the air. It felt like a wet blanket was draped over the group. Huddled close, the party was shoulder to shoulder and breathing heavily.

 

"This goes on for about a mile.  Not looking forward to climbing down with this air. Think you can handle it, Teros?" - Rita

 

Nearing the end of the trail, the pathway widened slightly.  Leading the group, Teros turned his head slightly to speak to everyone, "So...are any of you used to this kind of climate besides Heidi apparently making a trek near here? This should be uncharted territory.  Back in the deserts with Acerbus, at least it was a dry heat until we got into the tomb.  I feel like I'd be able to wring my shirt out and- OOOH! STOPSTOPSTOP!" 

 

Stopping short, the trail had a slight bend and then ended abruptly.  The way down was at a 60 degree angle and Teros practically walked off a cliff.  Letting out a sigh, Teros yelled to the back of the group, "THERE'S A UHHHM.. CLIFF? THAT WE GOTTA CLIMB DOWN.  MOVE SLOW, PLEASE!"

 

Kzacher was closest at Teros' side and turned around to start climbing down the mountain.  There was a huge amount of foliage in stark contrast to the other side of the hills.  Fat stubby bushes with fanned out blue and green leaves were the bulk of the plants.  "Hey, where's Kit? We need some info." Teros said down the line.  Squeezing her way through, Kit made her way to the front.  Turning to her, the satyr asked, "So, these freaky leaves. They aren't, like, going to kill us or have some sort of rash?"  Petefeet looked at his feet again.  Kit knelt down and rubbed one of the leaves between her thumb and forefinger.  "It's waxy. Not oily. There may not be predators in these mountains so it doesn't need a defense."  plucking a leaf she tilted her head and narrowed her eyes, "We should be fine... for now."

 

The group followed Kzacher's lead and turned around to climb down.  Heading through the hills took the better part of the day.  It was almost dusk as the journey downward began.  Siga kept his eyes open and perched along a tangled mess of vines. The clouds started billowing in the distance.  Everyone was making their way, grabbing at roots and digging boots into the dirt. Suddenly, Siga spotted something through the canopy trees further along.  "Everyone, we might have company soon." the raven spoke.  With being only a quarter of the way down, Teros said, "What kinda company?"  Flapping his wings, the raven spoke with a tone of dread, "Crows.  Onyx crows."

 

"Onyx crows? What's that mean?  What are we doing?" Sokkasm said worriedly.  "Yeah, wh-what does that mean?" Pierce asked to deaf ears. All the veterans were already on high alert.

 

Just as Siga said the word, a couple dozen red-eyes crows started cawwing and divebombing the group.  "They waited until we were helpless and not able to fight them!" ChristArtist shouted.  "How the hell are we supposed to fend them off if we all have a hand or two to hang on from falling?" Rita yelled.  Teros grabbed his warhammer with one hand and swung wildly near him, hitting nothing.  "These stupid bastards. I can hold on to these roots without skidding but I can't aim for shit."

 

A crow swooped by and sliced at Teros' calf.  He let out a string of swears.

 

The githzerai calmed pointed out, "Division of labor..." 

 

"What if we doubled up?" suggested Sylvaa who was now near the forefront and near Teros.  "Huh? What do you mean?" RES shot back.  "Well, if some can handle holding twice the weight and bracing someone, the others can attack.  Who shoots projectiles?" Sylvaa asked.   A few people shouted in unison. "Aight, team up - some of you hold on and stand your ground. The others that can shoot, use the 'holders' as a way to brace yourself and use both hands."

 

Sylvaa put a boot on Teros' shoulder.

 

"You shitting me? So like, you're going to stand on my shoulders and shoot arrows while I'm just a stepping stone?" Teros

 

Looking down, the elf replied, "Do you have a better idea? Or would you rather just get sliced again?"

 

The satyr grabbed two handfuls of vine shrubbery and dug the toes of his boots deep into the dirt. "Uuggggggggggggggh. Step on me and kill these f*cking things."

 

Grisham yelled from a few yards away, "There a problem with that, satyr? From what I've heard, before all this adventuring business, you were used to a woman walkin all ova ya!"

 

"NOW'S NOT THE TIME TO PISS ME OFF GRISHAM!" Teros screamed back.

 

Physical Mini:

 

Crawl, Climb, and Shoot.

 

This should be interesting.  Some are stuck in place or climbing. Others are attacking. You can choose whichever of these that you want to do, or if you want then you can experiment with all of them.  The three exercises to try this week are:

 

Bear Crawls:

 

 

Mountain Climbers:

 

Archers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdc1hRpaunY

 

Towel Archers:

http://ashotofadrena...wel-isometrics/

(Scroll down to #3 and 4: Bow and Arrow Right / Left)

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The sky was getting darker.

 

The crows continued to divebomb along the crew.  Those proficient in projectiles choose their shots and executed with precision while the others were used as bracers.  The mass of crows would weave in and out of a hive-mind state: sometimes pooling together as a wave and other times shattering into splinters and rocketing in all different directions. 

 

Thunder started to rumble close by and there was a spitting of rain.

 

Teros could feel the warmth of blood seep through the leg of his pants from his calf cut.  Only able to grimace and dig into the steep foliage, the satyr waited as more of the crows were plucked out of the sky.  "GAH! Hit me good!" Sounded like Grisham.  Teros stifled back a smile.  With there being so many targets, many of the group were running out of ammunition.  A crow swung down and clipped a vine that Pierce was holding on to.  He let out a scream and started to scramble.  The rain paired with the waxy leaves made it impossible for Pierce to grip anything.  He slid down the mountain face like a slide but on his stomach.  Grisham saw and yelled down to Pierce, but it was too late - Pierce had skidded down the slope and into a darkened patch of foiliage and disappeared.

 

Choice shot were made with ammo running out.  What was once over 100 haunting birds was dwindling down to single digits.

 

 

The last few crows whipped around to head west.  Only a couple of the beasts were left.  The sky had darkened dramatically.  With the crows dead, the group was able to continue their trek and hopefully find Pierce on the jungle floor somewhere.  Heading down the mountain, Teros saw one of the crows struck through the middle with an arrow.  Pulling the arrow out, he handed it off to Sylvaa who was the closest to him.  With the dead bird in his hand, Teros noticed something was wrong with it.  There was something...mechanical on it.  With it being darker and still holding on to some dirt with his gauntlet, Teros reached behind him and put the dead crow in his bag.

 

 

The rain started to get heavier and it was hard to hear anything above the echoing of heavy rain blanketing all the surrounding jungle.  A few times people came close to slipping like Pierce did; but everyone was cautious.  Though some of the group was worried; rushing and hurting themselves in the process wasn't going to fix anything.

 

Reaching the dense jungle floor, Teros looked up at everyone else that was still climbing down.  Between the massive canopy of trees and the black clouds; it looked like it was midnight on a moonless night.  Teros dropped the last 2 feet onto the ground with a loud wet smacking noise.  The ground was already getting saturated and muddy.  He pulled his right boot out with a suction noise.

 

Everyone now on the ground, everyone looked in a short radius for Pierce. *Urrghh* the holy man grunted.  He was buried in a twisted bush with broken twigs on top of him.  Rita lent a hand to help him up.  "Nothing broken?" she asked him.  He rubbed his head and shook his head.

 

Petefeet was squishing in the mud and churning up bubbles. "Hey guys, this rain is falling faster.  I think it floods over here."  He pointed to a nearby tree that had a color ring a few feet on it.  "That's the water table, ehhh, I thnk" Petefeet motioned.  Looking down at his own boots, Teros noticed that water was starting to seep above the toe line and start to fill in and soak his socks.  He clenched his teeth.  "Wet socks.... worse that the cut I got."

 

Dark_Raider motioned to the mountain slope. "We need to find cover and fast."  Looking at the foot of the mountain, rain was falling so fast that it looked like a water fall that was hitting the ground and fanning out.  The skies were even darker and thunder rumbled above.

 

With everyone having wiped off some of the mud and ready to move, Kzacher spoke; "Birds went west.  Mine as well look for cover westward too."

 

Mini:

 

Somewhere New.  This mini is about going somewhere new. It doesn't matter what it is to do.  Could be a new walking/biking trail, a park, a new restaurant, museum; whatever.  As long as it's no place you've been before.

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Trekking west, in the hard rain and darkness; Heidi was trailing ahead with T2.  T2 had a heat-enchanted dagger giving off a faint glow. It was the only light the group had since any actual fire would be extinguished.  Dark_Raider's sword also gave off enough of a glow, so he stayed at the rear of the group; providing even faint distribution of light in case of predators.

 

Heidi and T2 shouted in unison.  "CAVE!"  Just then a spark of lightning lit up the sky; giving everyone a snapshot of the path ahead to the cave.  It was a few feet of rocks piled high before the entrance.  Hopefully it was high enough off the base of the jungle floor so water wouldn't come seeping in.  The entire crew tried to pick up the pace but by now the water was almost up to people's knees.  Slogging through the water, the group went single-file up the rock slope and down into the small cave.  It would be enough to house everyone, barely.

 

RES went in a different direction.  "RED! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"  someone yelled. It was barely audible to hear over the pelting of rain.  RES just waved and gave a look of assurance.  She took out a small knife and cut a few of the giant fanned leaves off a nearby tree and came back to the cave.  RedEagleSpirit wrung her hair out.  "I hate being wet" she grumbled as she put the huge leaves in front of the cave entrance.  Kit used her plant magic to create vine tendrils to interlock the leaves and make a makeshift doorway.

 

Rain battered the cave in all directions.  Lightning was crackling out in the wilderness while thunder roared.  An inch of plant material was enough to make the weathered rock feel safe from the elements. "W-w-w-we should start a fire to warm up." Edigo was shivering.  Although it was stifling hot; with the downpour the temperture dropped rapidly and everyone was soaked head to toe.

 

T2 flicked a pebble at the cave wall.  "We don't have anything dry enough to start a fire.  There's nothing out there.  Teros gave a devilish smile.  "I got an idea" the satyr said while he rummaged through his bag.  "Oh yeah, hold this." Teros said as he put a dead bird in Sokkasm's hand.  "Mind if I borrow that?" Teros asked T2 for the ember dagger she was holding.  Sifting around, there was the clang of glasses in his bag as Teros mumbled to himself.  "Ermmm.. that's water. rrrmm... nope. Don't need the oxy odes. *huff* AHA!"  Teros produced a small gem that looked brown and splintered. Smoothing some dirt like clay to make a bowl shape in the ground near the entrance; Teros placed the gem in the middle.  Grabbing a tiny hammer, he plinked at the gem a few times until it broke.  Pulling apart at the mess, inside the gem was brown brush that was very fine.  He kept pulled it away from itself and this somehow created more and more of the brush.  He eventually had a thick bed of dense wooden fibers.  It was smushed down into a nest.  Then he reached for Kit's bag and pulled out the deadwood from one of the monsters back at The Red One's forest.  It was bone dry.  Asking for anyone with fire magic, someone torched the deadwood as the satyr put it on the bed.  It roared into a hearty fire.  He knifed a small hole in the leaf doorway so smoke could escape out.

 

Grisham sat in the opposite corner, furthest from the entrance.  "Wut the hell was that?"  he pointed.  Teros held up a broken gem casing.  "This.  This is learning.  This is what I've been doing on all my sleepless nights. I have a whole bag here of different elements that I can infuse into gems.  This was a lot of feirnwood roots back at the Adventurer's town that I was able to fuse into the gem.  Stayed nice and dry in it's little crystal housing. Perfect for an occasion like this. I'm able to use a chemical process to condense the matter of an object into a smaller surface area and then seal the gem closed.  Break when needed.  Don't you guys remember back when we fought Acerbus and Sulak broke a gem that had gallons and gallons of water in it?  It was the size of thumb but each item and element has an opposite equality that acts like the opposite poles of a magnet and then that, like, stuffs all the matter into one spot.  It's fascinating."  Grisham merely raised and eyebrow in response.

 

"Well, since we can't go anywhere anytime soon and it was starting to become dusk before the crows showed up; it's probably already night-time.  We should get some sleep." Siga motioned.  The raven was met with a choir of half-hearted grumbles in response as some were already drifting off.

 

 

 

More black water.  The absence of all light.  Teros could feel the sharp sting all over his body as he was plunged into icy waters.  Opening or closing his eyes didn't make a difference.  There were faint flashes of light in the distance underwater.  All sounds were muffled; loud noises were drowned out.  They sounded like screams underneath the water and there was no way to tell where the sounds were coming from.  There was a...presence that Teros could feel.  Behind him? Beside him?  In front of him?  Everything was disorienting in the black abyss.  There was no sense of direction. All senses were deprived.  No being able to smell or breathe.  Not able to hear. Not able to see.  Not able to touch.  All feeling was prickly ice.  It felt like there were thousands of icecubes stuck to his skin. That suction feeling when someone accidentally touches a metal pipe outside in the dead of winter and the ice fuses to the skin. That feeling.  Everywhere.  More flashes of light coming somewhere as his lungs were starting to burn.  Freezing outside. Burning inside. 

 

*FWUH*

 

Teros gasped awake.

 

The rain was still pelting the cave and plant door but it was much softer now.  It was finally letting up.

 

The satyr was in a cold sweat.  The only person that woke up because of his was ChristArtist.  She shot him a concerned glance.  "We can continue this now?" she whispered.  Teros rubbed his eyes, trying to remember what she meant.  It clicked.  "Oh yes, we were talking about a dream you had before we left, right?" the satyr mentioned.  "Yes, well, there was a ladle of water and it was black and it felt like an omen of some kind.  What were you just dreaming of?"  She seemed more concerned for his well-being that discussing more of her own sights.  Teros put his face in his palms and whispered, "I don't know what's going on with me. I keep having this nightmare of being trapped in black waters. It's probably related to what you were talking about. The uh, the elf *pointing to Sylvaa*, she had some sort of weird premonition about it too. It's like there's something that's tapped into our collective psyche and I don't know what it is.  Is it the evil we're going to face in the jungle? Is it something stronger?  If so....what?"  Teros left his head in his hands, trying to calm down and feel the warmth of the fire radiating towards him.  "It was so cold. Deathly cold in that water. It wasn't that I was losing my life. It felt like I was losing my soul."  the satyr stated and gulped.

 

The cave was cramped but ChristArtist weaved around all of the bodies and sat side-to-side with Teros.  "We're here for you.  We'll figure it out. We always do."  She leaned her head on his shoulder.  As she was starting to fall back to sleep, Teros could barely hear her say, "Don't make me worry about you..."  With that, Teros also started to fall back to sleep.  As he drifted off, he thought he saw in the corner of his eye a miniature version of a smoke figure emanating from the fire...

 

*sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

 

"SHIT! SNAKE!" someone screamed and everyone sprung awake.  Stabbing it, Grisham let out a huff.  "That's a horrible way to wake up." he said.  The fire was a bed of embers but an odd off-green color.  The leaf door moved, the group noticed that the rain had stopped, but everything was still soaked. 

 

With the snake commotion out of the way, Teros noticed that fire lily in the middle of the room.  Kit had planted it there after Teros had fallen asleep the second time and now she was nowhere to be seen.  He was instantly hit with a wave of sorrow.  He plucked the flower and it immediately started changing color. It became a darker and darker hue: from it's vibrant red-orange color to a deep scarlet, like an aged and wilting rose.  ChristArtist, who had been concerned about Teros that night, took note of this.  She would ask him later what this meant.

 

Puddles bigger than a person and boot-high were pockmarked into the mud.  There was a faint gray haze as the air felt heavy.  Having spent the night in the warming cave, everyone's gear was dry, save for most people's hide boots.  A few twigs nearby were dry enough to restoke the fire.  After some sweet potato hash with sausage and beans were made and shared by company; the group started back toward the west.  After sloshing through the damp earth for a few hours, a bauble of a river could be heard.  Another quarter-mile and hacking through walls of vines and plants, it was revealed that the group's suspicions were right.  A river, raging directly across from the party.  Teros was eating a plum as he looked down either side of the river and said,  "Friends, it looks like this river goes on for a long damn time either way."  The raven flapped his wings in frustration.  "Maybe pick a direction and see if there's a bridge of any sort in a mile.  If not, we might have to swim it." Siga told the group.  "Nah-ah." Grisham waved his arms.  "I finally got dry. Not going to get soaked again.  We'll build a dram bridge if we need to."

 

The group voted and decided to head north and see if there was a sweet spot to cross.  After about twenty minutes of following the river, there was a small area that was bottlenecked.  It was half the width of the rest of the river and there were large stones on top - like stepping stones across.  There was tons of white froth from the river crashing into the stones. Teros was holding on to his plum pit.  Throwing it up in the air and catching it.  Talking to himself, "I wonder if I ground this or peach pits up and used the carbon as a filter if I could use that to absorb poisons or something."  Lining up to the stones to cross, Teros was up first.  Crossing two stones, Teros slipped a little and dropped the pit into the water.  Reflexively trying to grab the pit, he plunged his hand into the water to grab it but recoiled as a fish lept up a few inches to try and bite him.  Swearing, Teros barely pulled his hand back in time.  "There's pirahnas in here.  Stay balanced.... so much for the carbon idea."

 

Mini: Stretch and pose.

 

This week's mini is about keeping balance.  Pick two poses or stretches to do this week with workouts or before bed/when first waking up.  Whichever is up to you.

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After crossing the stone way, the group continued on their quest.  There was minimal issue, a few people only loosing their footing for a brief moment from the splashing from the river making certain edges of the stones slippery. 

 

Maybe it was the fatigue, the sleep, or the density in the air making everything more laborious; but most in the group were running on fumes when normally this leg of the journey was an even pace.  Wielding sword, people hacked through the thick jungle brush.  Vines spat out sap and a mashed trail of plant matter was left in their wake.  "Dealing with some of this plant stuff would be easier if Kit was here." Grisham spat after a rogue leaf bit went into his mouth as he was hacking a pathway.  Someone asked where she was.  Teros only replied, "Safe."  Teros looked more pensive and defeated.  As people were mowing through and creating a trail, Teros started lagging behind.

 

Now at the end of the group, ChristArtist slowed down and stayed by the satyr's side.  "There's something going on here and I don't understand it."  Teros looked at ChristArtist with almost hollow-looking eyes. "I wouldn't expect you to.  Maybe....tonight if I can't sleep, we'll talk."  ChristArtist noticed that the lily was in Teros' left hand; his thumb almost petting it like a good luck charm.

 

The trek through the jungle was getting quiet. Normally there would be some sort of activity in these parts - it was teeming with plants, but there was suspiciously no animals around.  Just the dull hacking of blades on leaves and vines could be heard.  The group collectively noticed this.  "There's nothing to hunt." "Yeah, but there's also nothing to try and kill us."  "Shouldn't we see more of those stupid birds?" "They're staying quiet on purpose - there's a million hiding places in this brush."

 

The moisture in the air made it difficult to breath.  Everyone was damp as a fine haze permeated the landscape.  Spirits were low.  The crow attack was at least something to break up the monotony.  People were itching to do something besides plod through wet terrain.  The party started to notice something wasn't right.  Flecks of blood on leaves, small scraps of carcasses that were covered in a mass of insects.  Kzacher looked at a fistful of bugs that were swarming something, "Could the crows have done...this? Just cleared all wildlife from this area?" RedEagleSpirit kneeled down at the bugs and squinted, "They're dangerous but there should be more of a mess from a hundred crows killing everything in sight.  That's not exactly clean.  And why would they do that? You think the crows ate everything in sight?"  Siga chimed in, "They eat bugs or fruit.  When following one before I saw a smattering of blueberry pulp at one of their posts long long ago, at the Forest of Doubts.  No...the onyx crows didn't eat all wildlife here."  People were stumped, but at least speculation brought about something to focus on.

 

As the day turned to night without anything eventful happening, the group searched for a good place to set up camp. "We did nothing but walk but I'm starving." ChristArtist.  A large meal was made. Maybe a small feast would put everyone in better spirits.

 

Mini: Protein.

This week, keep track of your protein intake and make sure you're getting enough of it.  General rule of thumb that's followed around is trying to get close to 1gram per pound of ideal bodyweight.  Let's say I'm 250 but my ideal lean weight is 200. That means 200g of protein is what I try to follow.  If I can get to 180, then I consider that a victory.
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The lone tapping of a piano in the darkness.  There wasn't any other noise heard for a hundred miles.  There was no way to tell where the piano was coming from. A faded alternating high and low note, lingering in the air.  Taking a gulp of dense air, the senses were hit with the pungent smell of the salty sea.  There was still no way to see, but there was a bearing of gravity and time.  The sound of froth from the ocean seeping through rocks and back into the waters could be heard as the piano plinked.  On hands and knees, Teros tried to curl his fingers into the ground but couldn't. Resistance - it wasn't earth that could be grasped. Something angular, smooth, like crystals or glass.  Making his way around the ground, everything felt the same.  Glass everywhere and jagged.  The mist from the sea made everything slippery.  It could have been mistaken for ice if the atmosphere was colder.  "What is this place?" Teros said to himself.  The piano that echoed through the night made it feel like time was standing still.  Only the crashing of the waves and the high and low note playing over and over.

 

Then a whisper.  Straining to listen closely over the sea and notes, Teros closed his eyes.  It didn't much matter as everything was pitch black.  The slipperyness of the glass ground was too much to be able to stand. Crawling, the satyr headed forward, towards the sea and whispers.  Hands pattering against the misted glass, there was an abrupt end to the ground. Reaching down, he felt only nothingness.  "Edge of the world" Teros said to himself.  The sea was roaring and the whispers were stronger, but still inaudible. 

 

A loud whining noise of a long note from a violin started to creep up and Teros felt like something was behind him, going to push him off the edge of the world.  Although even if he turned around, he would see nothing, an intense fear struck the satyr.  "No...no.... no no no no." he worded to himself.  He felt himself shaking.  Something was looming behind him - out of any sight. This was something else's domain and he wasn't welcome.  The violin note was still whining louder and higher pitched.  Goosebumps raised on arms, back, and legs.  "Nononononononono", Teros' teeth were chattering.  "Cmon.  CMON!"

 

Teros snapped awake. "Cmon!" ChristArtist was shaking Teros by the shoulders.  Wild-eyed, Teros started coughing as he sucked in air.  Everyone was wide awake and looking at the satyr with worry and concern.  "Whu- what...is?" was all he could fumble out of his mouth.  Sylvaa leaned forward, "You were breathing weird and then you started saying 'no no no' over and over again.  Then you started to shake.  What happened?"  Teros blinked hard a few times as he looked at the crackling fire and the goosebumps faded.  Swallowing a few times, Teros just shook his head and said, "Glass. Everything was like glass.  And the sea."  "Black waters?" ChristArtist said.  The satyr nodded, his eyes were glazed over.

 

It was still dark out, but soon until dawn.  Staring into the fire, Teros saw wisps of smoke curl up.  Eyes narrowing, Teros crept up to the fire and sat down mere inches away from it.  He stared intently.  "What are you trying to tell me?" he said under his breath.  He took some water from his bag and poured a little on the fire. It hissed back in response. More water.  A little more.  The fire all but died down and a faint plume of smoke started to rise.  Teros leaned forward, his face almost in the smoldering flames.  He saw a smaller figure in the smoke - the outline whoever was helping them.  The vague shape rose a hand and pointed to Teros, then moved their arm away and pointed northwestward.  Teros stood up and turned around to a hushed audience.  "We're almost there" he said.  "How do you know that?" asked Pierce.  Teros looked annoyed and started to reply,  "What do you mean? It pointed.  We're on the right track we-"

 

"I didn't see anything" said Heidi.  Everyone else nodded in agreement.  Scoffing, Teros looked at them all like they were crazy. "You didn't see that? You didn't just see that? The smoke figure in the fire?"  The satyr was met with a sea of stunned faces.  Almost pleading, Teros looked to his raven companion, "Siga, tell me you saw it this time too?"  The raven bowed his head, almost ashamed he couldn't help his friend.  Frustrated, Teros grabbed a random branch off the ground and flung it into the jungle.  A squawk was heard and a blip of red light seen.  It was an onyx crow.  Teros must have by random chance hit it.  It fluttered off in a hurry in the direction that the smoke figure pointed.  "See? SEE!" Teros was convinced that was enough for everyone to justify what he saw in the dying flame.  He was shaking almost violently now.  The satyr grabbed his bag and hugged it close to himself.  There was no comfort.  He was met with silence.  They trusted him, but by now everyone was concerned over him.

 

ChristArtist tried to placate him. "We're all awake now. Let's fuel up and finish this last bit of the journey after day breaks and-"

 

She was cut off by the satyr. He was shaking his head in opposition before she finished her first sentence.  "No.  Nope.  I'm not waiting.  I'm going now. Right now.  I feel like I'm becoming unhinged. I'm traveling." Teros remarked as he flung his bag onto his back instead of hugging it.  He grabbed his warhammer, fixed his boots, and started walking in a hurried pace.  Everyone was stunned. ChristArtist tried to catch up to him.  She turned around towards the group and motioned with a swooping gesture for everyone to make haste.  After having Teros stop for a second, they saw that everyone was almost packed up and ready to move.  "We end this." he said.

 

Teros marched forward, seemingly unaffected by the vines and branches that was whipping at his face and armor.  Stomping ahead for about a mile in the direction that they were supposed to be going; Dark_Raider said to hold up.  He bent down and grabbed something off the ground. It was the crow that Teros had accidentally hurt.  The githzeria clutched the bird, "It's dead. We have the element of surprise if this was the only scout.  We are moving forward but we should be quiet. We might be able to end things without much of a struggle."  Teros gave the situation a moment's notice and kept moving forward but slightly quieter.  He had calmed a bit, but not by much.

 

Breaking through the foliage, the group saw a wide opening area.  A freshly-made castle; composed of all the neighboring trees being knocked down.  Everyone stopped.  It was dawn and not a single noise was made.  Kzacher made a motion for a group huddle and whispered,  "Ok, so what's the plan of attack here? We have a sliver of light so we need to act fast. How do we approach this?"  A choir of whispers talked over each other.  "We should split into two groups and survey the area for alternate entrances." "What if we block all the doorways?" "Who should be in different teams?" "What are we even expecting in this? Is it just more stupid birds?" "Is this who we all think it is? What if she has reinforcements?" "What kind of reinforcements - it's early enough that we can storm through. Blitzkrieg this shit."

 

Teros was impatient. He was more and more angry as people tried to figure out a plan of attack.  He grabbed Dark_Raider's sword and a branch.  He wrapped the branch with tons of leaves and plants.  Then he held the sword near the end of the branch; making a large torch.  No one was paying attention to Teros doing this - all too embroiled in a strategy.  Making a few more torches, Teros had a row of 5.  He lit them all and grabbed Edigo by the hand and started sprinting towards the castle.  Edigo gasped as she ran with him.  About to call out at him, they saw him throw the torches at different spots of the castle walls.  "Wind. NOW!" Teros yelled at Edigo.  She conjured up a gust and that fed the flames; making them spread like a wildfire along the front entrance and one of the sides.  Grisham muttered to the group, "Well...that's one way."

 

Within a minute, blood-curdling screams could be heard.  The remaining crows that fled prior to their attack on the mountain started flying out of the wooden castle and were being picked off by arrows and thrown daggers.  Mass confusion on their part, the crows dropped like dead weight from the sky and back into the roaring flames.

 

Mal could be heard screaming from the back of the castle.  The group rushed together to try and catch her and stop the fight before it even started.

 

*EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH*

 

Mal screamed and the entire castle wall exploded.  Flaming chunks of debris flew towards the group.  "Oh yeah, that sonic scream thing she can do like last time..." someone said. 

 

 

Mal stood there, surrounded by flames.  One of her wings was ripped off. The other was wrapped around her chest and on her shoulder like a partial cloak.  Dr N. was by her side with a devilish grin.  "Do you think we have enough power from having everyone else fall?" the Doctor asked the bird-faced succubus rhetorically.  "Yes, my love."  Crows flew out like a cloud from the newly made exit.

 

Mini: Recommitting to your goals for the final week of the challenge. If you're doing fine then try to do a bonus workout this week as the 'final battle'.

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The element of surprise was in the group's favor and many an onyx crow had fallen, but at the call of Mal, the remaining succubus sister that wasn't killed back at the Forest of Doubts, the remaining birds whirled with reckless abandon towards the party.  They were just as fast as on the mountain side.  RedEagleSpirit cracked one across the face as it narrowly missed her.  "Why do they seem to be so much faster then at the original castle in the forest?" she asked out loud.  Dark_Raider cleaved a crow in two while giving a quick reply, "Conservation of evil?  They're probably stronger since we took down so many demon-kings."  T2 threw an enchanted frost dagger at a nearby crow - it collapsed and crashed into Pierce already in a dead heap. 

 

More crows flew out.  Teros swung and missed clocking a crow, "I thought we killed a ton of these things already."  Again, Dark_Raider responded, "Maybe with the law, they breed quicker to replace their ranks?"  A crow was about to divebomb Sylvaa when ChristArtist put up a blue-hued ward. The crow flung itself into it and broke it's own neck like it had tried to fly through a window.

 

The Dr. coolly leaned toward the succubus twin and remarked something inaudible.  They both had grins plastered across their faces as Mal nodded in agreement.  The Dr. produced a small flute that looked almost like an animal's spine.  He pressed his mouth against it and made a call. It sounded horrific- like a cross between a bird's squawk and a screaming infant.

 

Lumbering from behind the Dr and demon-queen was a mammoth creature. It was covered in bits of metal circuitry and matted with black feathers and spatters of blood. It was a 12 foot tall walking nightmare.  The stubby beak looked like it had been sewn together from multiple smaller animal beaks.  It screamed in the same fashion as the Dr.'s spine-flute and charged like a bull towards the middle of the group.  Sylvaa picked off another couple of crows.

 

People were still distracted by the regular crows attacking from above.  Kzacher screamed, "SPLIT UP!" Everyone's attention was grabbed and they knew that this monstrosity was the bigger threat.

 

The entire castle was set ablaze and was now spreading to the jungle foliage.  The entire forested ares that had stood for hundreds of years were nothing but crackling embers and gray ash.  Vines were on fire and they snapped, raining flaming debris that was originally caught up in the canopy of trees.  Although it was out in the wilderness, the sheer density of plants on fire made fighting feel almost claustrophobic.  The group made a conscious hive-mind-like decision: Two melee would lure the black-feathered monstrosity around while the long range would pelt away.  It was a stupid beast and lashed out at whatever was near it.  This made distracting it back and forth like 'monkey-in-the-middle' a relativly painless process.  The other melees were on lookout and crushed any more of the onxy crows.  Petefeet and Kzacher were swinging wildly and cleaving birds in two.

 

As the fight went on, no one noticed that the Dr had been slowly creeping away from the demon-queen while he wore a look of anxiety.  Daggers and arrows pelted the crow-monster but it didn't seem phased.  It was Teros' turn to aggro the beast away from Dark_Raider.  As the beast came charging towards the satyr, a massive tree that had been engulfed in flames crashed right into the middle of the fight.  It blocked the line of fire for the ranged classes and it's angle made it so Teros had nowhere to turn around.  He had to flee from the beast by going in to the castle. 

 

Not getting a clear shot, ChristArtist directed everyone to focus on Mal.  The succubus let out a primal scream and it's shockwave was able to richochet projectiles away from her.  She charged forward while her crow minions behind her like a general with an army.  Dark_Raider intercepted them since Teros had run into the castle with the beast.  Engaging in melee, the demon-queen slashed and parried the weapons that were striking towards her heart.  This was enough of a distraction that the remaining crows were lumped together around her in a cloud.  Ranged projectiles took out most, and the rest fled into the sky.

 

The Dr apprehensively watched the castle doorways for the satyr and the beast, while keeping an eye on the demon-queen and her battle.  The succubus' screams acted like a force-field and stopped missiles, while paired with her long talon-nails deflecting melee.  Because of the flames, the battle took a very linear look - a bottleneck with the party closed together on one side; and Mal pushing the offensive.  People were getting closer to the flaming jungle foliage.  "You kill my sister. You kill my ex.  You shred my beautiful wings and rob me of flight.  You turn my home into a wreckage and then do it again to my new castle.  You will ALL pay."  Mal inhaled a huge gust of air; ready to let out one of the strong reverberating screams - the ones that were strong enough to break sound waves and shake matter.  As she gulped air sharply, there was a scream, but not from her.

 

Teros came flying out of the 2nd story castle window and crashing right on top of Mal.  The beast's feathers had caught fire and it flung itself out of the window a few feet shy of Teros.  There was a crack as the satyr thudded on to the succubus.  A loud wail was heard and the group looked in the direction of the noise.  "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" it was Dr. N, looking in horror at the scene.  He ran at full speed.  Teros got off of Mal and scrambled to his feet as the Dr. raced forward.  "My honor!" the Dr. exclaimed.  The group was ready to lop of the Dr.'s head as he was coming but everyone stood in shock.  He didn't run towards Mal, he ran towards the creature.  The last dying screams from the monstrosity were blood-curdling as the Dr. wore an expression of utter tragedy befalling him.  Everyone was too stunned to know what to make of this.  He stands a few feet away from the creature.  "My...creation." the Dr. utters to himself, with hands outstretched.  It was like he wanted to hug the being but knew he couldn't.

 

*Ugghhh* a faint noise came from the ground.  It was Mal.  The Dr didn't even notice.  "HELP ME!" the demon-queen screamed at the Dr. which broke him out of his trance.

 

He turned to her with daggers in his eyes,  "You said you were strong enough!  You and my pet could have HANDLED THIS!"  Dr. N's face was beet red, matching everything around that was burning to the ground.  Mal didn't care about the creature.  The Dr. pulled out a small metal trinket with wires on it. It was smaller than the palm of his hand.  On it was a button.  He pressed it and the remaining crows that were watching the scene had their eyes turn from the normal blood-red, to bright white.  A choir of high-pitched caws emitted from them.  The Dr, with furrowed brow, started to run away, towards a break in the jungle flames.  Everyone was to preoccupied to see what was happening - the crows turned on Mal.  She looked up at them and cawed but nothing changed their course of action.  They started pecking at her, clawing at her face.  She screamed as she was eviscerated by her own 'children'.  No one knew what to do as they stared in horror as the demon-queen was turned into a bloody pulp, riddled with holes and carved to pieces.  The first one to snap out of the train-wreck of horror trance was Dark_Raider, who swung his sword and cleaved the rest of the now white-eyed crows into chunks.  Teros looked at the crow remnants - they all had pieces of wire attached to them, woven in part of their muscles.  Siga yelled for everyone to flee southward.  There was a small break in the jungle that wasn't set ablaze.

 

The group fled the inferno and went south...

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oh, oh, oh,

pick me, pick me, pick me

  • Like 2

LEVEL: 7 Furyan Ranger - Battle Log - in lieu of this challenge

don't look back, we aren't going that way:

Rebirth - Wrestlemania Dark Raider vs KZacher

From Tartarus with Love - Wrath of the Furyan - it's a secret! - FIGHT! - You can go your own way - The Rational Gaze - Rise from Death to Knife this Beast(part 3-the agony) - Demonized(part 2) -  By Demons Be Driven(part 1) -

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Count me in

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk

  • Like 1

RES...and I want to live days worth dying for...

Current: RES: it's all routine

Spoiler

Magickal, Eclectic, Goddess, Level 64

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|My Character Page | Tracking Spreadsheet |

Growth happens when you care more about the well being of your future self than the comfort of your present self!

"Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is." -Yoda

 

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Note to self...do not drink coffee prior to reading DR posts...

  • Like 5

RES...and I want to live days worth dying for...

Current: RES: it's all routine

Spoiler

Magickal, Eclectic, Goddess, Level 64

|1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|14|15|16|17|18|19|20|21|22|23|24|25|26|27|28|29|30|31|32|33|34|35|36|37|38|39|40|41|42|43|44|45|46|47|48|49|50|51|52|53|54|55|56|57|58|59|60|61|62|63|64|65|66|67|68|

|My Character Page | Tracking Spreadsheet |

Growth happens when you care more about the well being of your future self than the comfort of your present self!

"Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is." -Yoda

 

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Can i?

:playful:

 

Of course.

 

 

oh, oh, oh,

pick me, pick me, pick me

 

PLEASE PICK ME I'M THE ONE!

 

 

Funny, I was singing this today on my way to work

 

Oh-EE-Oh-EE-OH!

 

This is all I could think of when I heard this frigging song on the radio:

 

Don't even get me started on Will Smith VS Daft Punk...

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"Raven- Wake up, you dumb bird!"

"Caw????"

She ignored the fact that he wasn't quite awake, yet. "Look over there? It's that satyr and he seems to have collected a bunch of new friends."

"Skwak?"

" I don't know what they're doing here! Why don't YOU go ask them?"  Holle's curiosity was piqued. They had been an interesting bunch, and she couldn't imagine what they were doing here now. Her avian friend stretched one leg at time, then settled back on the branch where he was perched. She kept staring and was seriously thinking about going over there to see what was going on, for herself.

Raven shook, ruffled his feathers and finally gathered his wits about him.  "War party?" the bird mused.

Holle shook her head, "I don't know. " She quickly scanned the sky for more ravens. "I don't see Hughy or Mandy anywhere. Doesn't mean they're not around here somewhere, though. Those two have stealth wings..."

"Mandy..." the raven practically cooed.

"Get -a -grip!" she ordered.

"Caw" he reigned himself in.

"Better..." she pet his head gently. "These guys are up to something..." her attention turned back to the group that was gathering on the green. "You could be right.... They are pretty heavily armed for just a social event..."

"Wait & see --- Watch & see --- Wait & see ---"

  • Like 6

ADVENTURER

now

 

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