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All Good Things....; Chapter 5: Recaptured!
Topic Started: Dec 10 2015, 04:21 PM (318 Views)
Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
The Shaman kept her distance from Walker, out of the deepest respect for the Dei'Lunathi's discoveries here. When he held up the picture, she flushed and waved a hand at him with a friendly scowl before running her fingertips gently over the carved animals. Memories flitted past her eyes, but she gave him his silence and shadow.

When he found the sigil in the chest, the Shaman waited with clasped hands at the door entrance to this homey cell and waited. "Your people are always welcome among the Kelkerry. I there were more of us to welcome you." She sighed. "I feel that she would have wanted you to have and care for her things. You have a great burden bearing down on you, Shadow. You will need to prepare."

Though the details of her vision were often blurred, the general ideas were clear. There was to be pain and suffering before freedom and peace - there always was. She watched him move about and would say nothing more unless he addressed her.

----

Jacintha spent her time through drills, and more drills, and she became anxious and unsettled. What was taking so long? When would she be able to watch Raka suffer for the indignities he piled upon her? When would she get the satisfaction she so patiently waited for? She had dealt with Edgar and his repulsive little minions this whole time in service to Dima.... Her nerves began to fray. It would easily come off as a rising frustration for not having found the missing slaves. (Which was, after all, partially true.)

----

Jade fidgeted in the confines of the Shaman's rooms. As she played with the hem of a rather lovely pillow, she heard movement. Glancing to her side, she saw a scowl-faced young boy peering in through the curtains of the room. She smiled at him and he gasped in surprise before fleeing the scene. She giggled at the reaction.

Raka went from pacing to sitting and back to pacing. He noticed a distinct lack of Boil, with bothered him, so he started keeping an eye out for the pilfering pest. Mid'gha didn't seem too concerned with anything, and Shana was admiring the rough wall hangings and how they were woven.

Eventually some slender, shy looking men came through the portal with trays of modest fare - desert fruits and dried meats. They served out what was surely generous portions, murmuring in KelKerry (Raka knew they were simply asking the guess to eat their food. But it was such... a formal request. It made him uncomfortable.)

Shara and Mid'gha nibbled politely, Raka grabbed a handful of the dried meat and started gnawing irritably on it, and Jade had some desert fruit - looking anxiously into the portal that Walker and the Shaman disappeared into. "They've been gone a long time."

"Not really." Raka muttered.

Shara scowled at him when Jade looked back at her fruit in dismay. Raka glanced between them a few times and shrugged. "Besides, I think walker could take an old lady."

Jade's mouth dropped open in surprise and she started to giggle. Shara punched him in the arm. Raka scowled.

Women.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
It took some time for Walker to come to grips with the idea of taking the guardian's belongings. It was only after he opened the book to a picture of a man Walker recognized as Caleb Cross; the statue they found in the goblin caves. Hidden in the man's wild hair drawn in coal was the artist/guardian's name: Melindra.

"I know her clan. We all have a style to our blade smithing, the diamond tip is what gives it away as an Arvad. One day, when I return to my land I will return Melindra's blade and her story, what I know of it. Until that day, I will use it as a guardian should, in the protection of others." He suddenly blushed when he saw the Shaman watching him.

"I've made my friends wait too long. We should return. Thank you for this." He tipped his head to her with closed eyes, a sign of trust among his people.
*****
"You're certain you have the message memorized?" Dima raised a questioning brow to the Sultan's third -or was it his fifth wife? He could never keep them straight. He had her elbow in a vice like grip and holding her in place.

"Oi! Let go, I know the message. You want me to tell him that you're going to get his missing staff and your fighters. Don't talk to me like you do to him." She hissed and tried to pull her arm free but a look into his cold eyes ceased her struggles. "Aye. I promise I will get the message to him straight."

Dima released her with a sharp nod. He then turned and left for his tower to prepare the circles and magics. He needed to track down Fiora. It was time to go.
*****
Fiora discarded the remnants of her jewellery, now useless stones and pitted metal, out a window near the gardens. She only dared stay as long as it took to crudely copy the map. She'd even needed to use her earrings, a gift from Jacintha's father. She cared nothing for the materials, it was the fact that the man had deigned to give her anything at all. But for the betterment of Jacintha, she would balk at nothing.

She returned to her quarters when there was a rap outsider he. The tall, slim figure of the Magus stepped through the curtains to her bedroom. "It's time to go. Contact your sister and tell her we're coming then gather a few things and meet me at the western orchard."

A small smile was on her face as Dima left. She missed her sister.
*****
It was a relief to finally be away from the sticky eyes of the desert elves. Boil did a sudden skip off the wall as he walked alone through a hall. Their stink was everywhere but even he had to admit their smooth cave floors were a treat for the feet.

He stopped when he heard a scuttling and dropped to all fours to scan the ground. His large eyes darted left and right until he heard scuttling again. He cantered in on the movement and smashed the fat cockroach with his hand. He gave a quick hoot then started eating his prize.

Now seemed like a good time for supper. Boil started checking e walls, much smoother than home, he imagined walking on the walls would be just as pleasant. He found a centipede that he quickly began chewing but other than that, the pickings seemed slim. He co tinted his search but wanted to check on Baba first.
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
The Shaman offered him a secret smile and bowed her head. She was glad he had accepted the gifts - inside, she had been saddened by the fact that these tools would remain, unused, and a victim to time and neglect. Such memories should never be abandoned, adn the idea that a protector would walk among the sands again filled her with joy.

She led him silently back through the tunnels to his friends, and when they arrived she bowed at them, sadness in her eyes. "Rest now. I do not know how long you will stay, but take each moment you can." And she left through the door-curtain to meet with her village. She felt the darkness creeping up over her. Something was drawing near, and she feared it was the end of their reprieve.

Jade stood up when Walker re-entered, relief plain on her face. She moved to his side, inquisitively tilting her head at his new bundle. 'Is everything alright? We began to worry." She glanced at the others - and felt color rise in her cheeks as everyone else seemed almost completely unconcerned.

Even Raka had ceased his pacing to lean on the wall with arms crossed as he chatted silently with Shara. (Well, Shara chatted silently with him and he responded with grunts, nods or scowls.) Mid'gha was munching on some sharply earthy roots, cross-legged on a pile of thin pillows.

Jade shifted her weight uncomfortably.

Mid;gha spotted Boil creeping back and held out one of the roots to him. "This is sure to wake you in the morning. Try some."

**

Jacintha ran through her katas again. And again. Several of her unit did them with her until they were called by other duties, or Jacintha dismissed them with an ire-filled glance. This waiting was too much to bear. Her movements were sharper, more abrupt in her drills. She imagined Raka's face as the target for each attack, sometimes Edgar too.

When the Moon began to descend Jacintha meditated for a few hours to refresh herself. She had been getting regular sleep for days - it was time to mix up the routine. She patrolled alone, cleaned her hooked blades, sharpened and polished them, cared for their mounts, inspected her men's equipment, watched the stars, paced, ate sparingly and then -

And then the message. Her heart hammered. She kept her face neutral afterwards, controlling the actions in her drills - keeping them frustrated and jagged to let Edgar see how frustrated she was. It would not do to be discovered this close to their goal. Dima would be here soon, with her beloved Fiora, and they would take their vengeance and rage to Raka and those worms, and she would soon be able to see the terror and anguish on their pathetic, slave faces.

it couldn't come soon enough. She prepared her report in the quiet moments just before dawn, ready and recorded within the confines of a crystal gem she had been given. (so no papers could be discovered by prying eyes) She had it in her pocket to hand to Dima with her full accounting of Edgar's failures and their botched attempt to find Raka and the others.

She was going to enjoy seeing his face, too.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
The flying carpet soared through the air, with a magic barrier erected around them, Dima and Fiora were protected by the winds and sands and so he could race through the night at dangerous speeds. The magus carried them by Fiora's directions following her connection to Jacintha. He didn't need her to find Walker or Raka. Those two he could see like glowing beacons with his eyes closed. They needed to stop for Jacintha and Di a would take a moment to let Edgar witness his complete failure.

They arrived at the outpost and Fiora needed no instruction. She stepped off the carpet and disappeared down the alley. He willed the magical fabric up into the air and turned to face the direction of his zodiac stones. Even now, Edgar was embarrassingly close to his prey. The knowledge would crush the fool.
*****
Fiora strolled in the dusty streets, as she approached a large tarp roofed tavern, she began to skip and sing a song she learned as a girl. The eyes of lusting men attached to her like spider webs to flies, she could feel their gazes and growing arousals but those weren't her goal. In among those animals were Edgar's soldiers, if not the man himself.

The cat calling started and it froze Fiora in her tracks. Then she smiled and swayed her hips as if their voices were seductive music. As the jeering and whistling grew to a crescendo she curtsied and blew her audience a kiss before skipping off. Men undoubtedly tried to follow her to sate their beastly needs but she slipped into the shadows, and with skills not as impressive as Walker's but far superior to most, she slipped away from them to suffer alone. It was quickly evident where Jacintha had set her camp. She could see Jacintha's influence by the step up of tents, pickets, and guard patterns. The men training their skills in the center was the signal signature.

Fiora already knew where her sister was. She would be training. "Oh sister!"
*****
Edgar wasn't in the tavern for Fiora,s dance. He was among a few of his own soldiers watching Jacintha train and practice. He had to admit, spending a night with her could be fun and he had heard the rumours that no man had yet to keep up with her needs, or kinks if he was going to be specific. He'd often considered taking the challenge, he could go further than most, he could even survive if things needed to get bloody before getting hot. But the bitch was in Dima's camp and that was inexcusable. Maybe after he broke the wretched snake's neck. The power vacuum would shift his way with the dusty old bastard dead.

His thoughts of murder and sex were interrupted by a sweet voice cutting through the grunts and shouts of soldiers. "Oh sister!"

Edgar saw Fiora pick her way through guards and soldiers as if she were at a festival. He watched her flirt with men and women all the way down to the grounds where Jacintha stood with her blades. Edgar nodded to his men to slip back but stay near. He pointed at his ears and then his eyes, they knew he wanted to know more though he already had suspicions.

The night was just beginning.
*****
"One of my people was here long ago. These are the last of her things." He lowered the sack to the ground letting the opening sag to reveal the book. Then he took the sword, bundled in cloth, from his shoulder. Making sure Raka was watching, he turned his full gaze on Jade and began removing the cloth. Finally the sword was revealed with the sigil hanging from the cross guard.

"She was a guardian, like me. I'm going to carry her son and keep my promises of protection with it until the day I can return it to her clan."

Suddenly there was a commotion by Mid'gha and he turned to see a lizard attacking Boil.
******
Boil padded over to Baba and sniffed what she was offering then turned and snorted to clear his nose of the smell. Putting his back to her he shook a hand at the offered root and looked for something to aim his attention at.

Raka was making mating eyes at Baba's girl so he wouldn't bother him right now. Then he noticed a movement high up near the ceiling of one of the tunnel entrances. He crept over to it so as not to disturb anyone while Walker spoke. Soon he was picking up the musky smells of a lizard, and after sniffing them he realized they were familiar. His face split open in a smile revealing all of his cracked, and crooked teeth as he thought about that fat lizard from before.

But Wretch struck first. As the goblin poked his head through the curtains, the lizard dropped from the stones and sank his fangs into the goblin's shoulder.
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
Mid'gha watched the goblin as best she could from the corner of her eye after he refused the root. As he wandered off, she thought about their stay in the desert, and it amused her to recall that Boil had such a vendetta against lizards. She remembered them tumbling around the sands in the past, and something occurred to her - That lizard, the last one they had seen in the sands....It was a lot like the lizard they had first seen. The same lizard as... each time she had seen this lizard.

She did not recall adopting a lizard. She recalled adopting Boil of course... When she heard the commotion just in the hall outside, past the curtained flap, Mid'gha sprang to her feet with the wlawyas surprising alacrity she possessed. As she passed the curtain, she saw the enormous lizard clinging to Boil, latched on with clamped jaw to the goblin's shoulder. Out of instinct, She abruptly kicked the damnable thing right in the underbelly, hoping that would be enough to dislodge it from the goblin. She also cussed rather loudly at it, calling it something rather inappropriate.

She readied another kick.

***

Raka eyed Walker as he entered with his new stuff. He didn't say anything, but the significance rested in his gaze. He thought he might be happy that Walker found something for himself here, among the dunes. Well, he was at least not-mad about it. (Baby steps. Tanjuri weren't exactly famous for their happy feelings.)

Shara and he both jerked heir heads towards the curtain, however, when Mid'gha rose and quickly exited. The curtain was flapping open behind her and he just made out her firm kick to the lizard. Raka actually snorted, letting the laugh bark off of the surrounding stone. Shara's mouth dropped open.

Mid'gha didn't turn, however, and without even so much as a nudge (that he knew was coming) from Shara, Raka ducked over in a few quick strides to see what was going on. The lizard was rather firmly attached, so Raka hissed, and instinctively reached down to try and wrangle the lizard off of Boil's shoulder, clamping his hands around the lizard's neck as they thrashed about on the floor.

***

Jade reached out as if to touch the blade then gently recoiled. She smiled up at Walker. She would have responded, but something about his eyes in the dim light of the caverns seemed to hold her there, and she felt that she could do nothing but grin.

And then there was the commotion. She pulled her eyes away and looked to Mid'gha, horror crossing her features. She made a face. "What... did she call it?" Because it didn't sound very nice. She had only a little knowledge of the language from her studies, and Shara hadn't covered cuss words.

Shara smiled knowingly but did not respond.

Raka snickered as he wrestled with the damn reptile.


***

Jacintha felt a palpable flow of relief cascade over her shoulders and down her back at the sound of her sister's voice. She finished the one set of drills and immediately turned about on her heel to march up to Fiora.

She enveloped the smaller woman in a hug (albeit a brief one,due to their watchful surroundings,) and then half-smiled down at her. She murmured, "It took you long enough." She gestured for Fiora to follow, and began to lead her to a common area where she could get a drink. When there were no prying ears about, she murmured again, 'Is he here? Is it time?"

Now that Fiora was near, the tension seemed to push out from her, as if this close to ther goal it struggled even more. Horses at a starting line. Each one edging forward in anticipation. She drummed her fingers on her thigh, and cast her eyes about. "If he wants a full report, we'll have to do it somewhere private. did you... learn anything?"
Edited by Oru, Jul 11 2016, 08:40 AM.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
Fiora took her sister's hands and gave them a gentle squeeze. She felt a wave of relief tingle through her body, something only her sister could make her feel. She wanted to embrace the warrior woman but there would be time for that later.

Fiora: He's here. Dima is making final preparations and making sure that clod Edgar knows he's about to fail. I'm excited to watch that man fall.

She released Jacintha's hands and smiled with a wink.

Fiora: Get your men ready. I may have caused a disturbance in town to keep Edgar busy.
*****

The man in question, Edgar, swore when he saw the sultry bitch meet up with her sister. That meant only one thing. He turned on his lieutenant.

Edgar: Gather the men. We're following Jacintha's army. The wizard is here and they're up to something.

A scout ran up to them and quickly relayed a message to the lieutenant. He snarled at the scout.

Lieutenant: Well tell them to sort themselves out because we're on the move!

The scout ran as if he'd just been kicked. Edgar waited patiently for the bad news his lieutenant was surely trying to reword before repeating.

Lieutenant: Some of men are....involved in a brawl in the city streets. I'm on my way to fulfill your orders, sir.

He bowed and without another word, he turned and left. Edgar needed to kill something. Of course, now, was the time for his soldiers to forget their discipline and fear of their general. He cast another look back at Jacintha and Fiora. Somehow...somehow he knew they were to blame.

Edgar called out to one of his riders.

Edgar: Get your unit ready. We're going out as a vanguard.
******

A sharp jolt struck Dima's mind. He closed his eyes to focus and found the source of the disturbance was coming from Wretch. The wizard cast his senses out magically through his familiar and witnessed the situation as it played out. The lizard had been discovered and was involved in a conflict. Through reptilian eyes, Dima saw his zodiac warriors, caught a glimpse of more Kelkerry. Dima began to whisper incantations.
******

Boil thrashed then tried to fall onto his back to pin the lizard against the ground. He could feel hundreds of needle sharp teeth release from his flesh to clamp down again. Hands were everywhere as people tried to help him. He was aware of Baba's voice but couldn't see her as he squeezed his eyes closed against the burning pain of the bites.

He fell backwards but couldn't dislodge his attacked. However, Wretch released his bite and slithered out from under the goblin. The creature turned, stood on its hind legs and snarled at everyone around him.

Then it started to grow. Teeth curved out, claws grew longer and soon it was Walker's height but twice as wide with a thick scaly hide. Now its snarl was a full blown roar.
******

Walker watched in shocked disbelief. The scorpio stone pulsed in response to the pumping of his adrenaline and the increase of his heartbeat.

He looked at the tight confines around him and realized he wouldn't be able to use Melindra's sword. The caves and tunnels were too narrow. He drew a dagger and touched his mind to the Scorpio stone. It would be dangerous to use, but he may have no other choice.

The warrior cast a glance at Raka. Walker felt confident.
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
Raka dropped the damnable lizard when it disengaged from the goblin, cursing it as it slithered off. Mid'gha quickly scooped Boil up and ducked back past the warriors, Shara quickly coming up to her side.

But there was very little time for inquiry - for the lizard grew in size before their eyes. From the other end of the hall, Jade watched with horror from behind the others as the new creature roared.

Raka clenched his fists and edged aside just enough for Walker to come up beside him. If this thing got loose in the tunnels, it would be like the Cancer stone all over again - a big stupid lizard going nuts. He glanced at Walker and his new weapon, and it was obvious that his observations matched Walkers' - there was no way he would be able to use his new blade in these confines.

Raka felt Ares growl in his chest and he looked over at Walker with an odd expression.

He knew they could be tracked by their energies. That was what had happened in the goblin tunnels, after all. Jacintha had almost had them there. Because he'd been a fool and blown something up. He unsheathed his scimitar, his other hand clenched tightly as if that could hold back the fire.

"...Your lead, Shadow." Raka muttered, eyes fixed on the lizard, large and snarling and menacing before them. At least here there wasn't any water he could get pushed under.

--

Jacintha felt herself smile and she nodded briefly at Fiora. As soon as her sister left the room, she turned and started giving quiet orders. She was not a shouter - she didn't have to. Her men knew what she wanted, and feared repercussions; not because she would turn into a cannibalistic monster, but because they knew she could beat them, and if she couldn't beat them, she knew people who could literaly make their lives hell.

It worked.

Her men were ready soon and awaiting further command, and Jacintha as well was tensed and ready to depart as son as she received word and direction.

Her vengeance was so very close. She could taste it.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
Dima stood and left to retrieve Fiora and Jacintha. It was time to go. Wretch had been revealed and it would only be a matter of time before his prey fled again. Wretch might cause some injuries but the wizard had confidence that his zodiac warriors held the advantage. But they would be sufficiently distracted.

He strode through the camp of Jacintha's army toward the cabin she was using for her quarters. Fiora was stepping outside in time to greet him. Dima stopped and with a look, Fiora went back inside.

Fiora: Jacintha, it's time my sweet sister. Let's make that goat horned savage pay.

She slipped back through the door as Dima was rubbing a length of rope between his thumb and pointer finger. Hidden in the night's sky, a floating length of fabric landed beside him. Dima stepped onto the flying carpet and waited for the women to join him.

Dima: Tell Jacintha....Ask Jacintha to ride ahead of her army with us. We won't need her troops as I have this well in hand.

He clenched his hand into a tight fist and he couldn't help but reveal a glimpse of his excitement. But then it was gone, and he was the cold, calculated mage again.
*********
Edgar met his vanguard outside of town. They were all on horseback, one of his men had an owl resting on his arm. The general nodded his approval.

Edgar: Tivar, have your bird keep a look out and alert us.

The man nodded and thrust his arm up into the sky. The owl took silent flight and was quickly swallowed up by the darkness. Tivar was clicking and making other strange sounds that Edgar would've thought no human could make. He'd seen the man in action before and there was no better nighttime tracker.

Now, they had to wait. Edgar chewed the inside of his cheek with impatience.
*******
"Your lead shadow."

Walker needed no further prompting. He stayed low and rolled toward the beast and threw his dagger which was blocked by a scaly forearm. The blade managed a superficial wound but the dagger clattered onto the ground. The shadow cloak whipped forward as if a gust of wind had tore through the caves but the only moving air was caused by the shifting and movement of bodies. The cloak whipped and snapped at Wretch's face.

"Burn!" Walker shouted to Raka. There was grim satisfaction for the Dei Lunathi knowing that Raka's scimitar would not be restricted like his own sword. Of course, it wasn't the blade that was dangerous.
******
Boil whimpered in pain but tried to keep his complaints to a minimum. The wounds began to bubble and burn. Boil scratched furiously at his shoulder, causing more bleeding. He wriggled free from Baba's embrace and landed on the floor.

He'd be a hobgoblin's daughter if he was going to let a poisonous reptile bite him without Boil getting a taste of sweet lizard meat. The goblin padded forward on his barefeet and one good hand. Without considering his actions, Boil approached one of the sand elves and held out his hand.

Boil: Gimme! Gimme!

He pointed at Walker who was still unarmed and keeping the lizard monster's attention. The elf seemed confused. Boil slapped his forehead in frustration, pointed at Walker then pointed at the sword at his hip.

Boil: Gimme! GIMME!

Finally the Kelkerry understood, drew his short sword and the goblin snatched it from his hands.

Boil: Thankee!

He remembered to be polite, like Baba.

"Here! Here!" Boil shouted then whistled sharply before sliding the sword along the ground to Walker.
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Oru
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Sol
[ *  *  * ]
Jacintha, as soon as she received the command, exited her tent and snatched the glance of the nearest man under her command. she gave the hand gestured signal of moving out and then indicated the mage before she too climbed aboard the carpet, offering a hand to her sister. WHen theyir hands met, their eyes did too, and Jacintha's were thirsty for blood and ferocious as a wild beast.

Oh yes. He was going to pay.

--

Jade watched from behind Mid'gha and Shara, all three of them pushing back and out of the reach of the creature. Mid'gha kept her eye on Boil, brow furrowing in matronly concern - that was poison. Perhaps she had something in her pouch to draw it out, but she would have to wait until this beast was slain and she could work without distraction. Her concern was that Boil was just so small... who knew how virulent the poison was?

"DO not let it bite you!" She called into the hall. Her daughter and her other daughter both had one of her arms in worry, and she to, watched with anticipation at the unfolding events.

--

Raka took up his stance, filling the gap between the beast and the women at he end of the hall after Walker changed his position. His weapon was loose and ready in his hands, and his eyes narrowed at the beast. He heard Mid'gha's warning and looked of course at the monster's teeth.

Ugh.

Walker's voice rang out next, and he grinned, other fist still clenched - but caution halted his immediate lashing out of flame and fire, and instead he reigned back the violence of the ram to charge in with his scimitar. His first blow glanced off the uninjured forearm of the creature, and he immediately ducked a swipe from the other, claws whistling overhead.

He thrust out again with his blade and nicked the beasts's side, warranting at least a roar of protest if not of pain. But it was something, anyway. He tried to hold it's attention so that Walker could access the blade Boil was calling for, as wel as get a better position -

Raka swiped and swung with little accuracy but a great deal of power int he hopes of catching a chunk of the beast. However, he was not counting on it being so quick to adapt to a new shape. Or maybe he just thought all monsters were clumsy and stupid. For after he scored a shot on the thing's thigh, it hissed, whimpered and seemed to start favoring it - so much so that when Raka thought he found an opening, it was in fact a ploy.

The damn creature tricked him. As son as he realized his error, he tried to wheel back, and he managed to tilt his head and torso to the side just enough to avoid serious injury -

But the creature still managed to swipe his chest hard enough to send him into the cave wall with a dizzying thud.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
The magical carpet soared through the sky at incredible speed but the riders were unaffected by wind or position of the carpet. Dima could fly upside down if he wanted and they would all remain firmly, and safely upon the carpet. He commanded his ride to circle a few sand dunes, the problem with looking for someone under the sand, was that everything looked the same. Though he knew he was close, they hadn't used their powers in a while and so he couldn't lock in on them. No matter, he'd thought of that and chose to sacrifice Wretch early to force a move.

Dima: Keep watch for rats fleeing their hole.

Fiora scanned the ground and immediately regretted it. She didn't mind flying on the carpet, so long as she kept her eyes forward and schooled her mind to focus on anything else but the fall. Despite her fear of falling, she had no room for failing Dima or Jacintha.

She scanned the ground sharply.
******
A sword clattered against Walker's foot. He looked down at it then up to...Boil? He'd have to be nicer to the goblin. He took up the sword, felt it's weight and balance then watched for his moment to strike. As reliable as ever, Raka stormed in with a flurry of attacks and scored some hits on the beast. Walker sidled away and was about to dart in when Wretch slashed Raka and sent him into the cave wall.

Walker snarled as the lizard monster charged the fallen Tanjuri(sp?) but Walker charged faster. He stabbed with his sword, trying to slide it between the creature's ribs but it deflective off of a rib as Wretch turned with lightning speed on Walker, abandoning Raka. It snapped its large maw at Walker. He brought his sword up and cut a slash across its lips and fell back to put himself between the monster and the women.

He could hear other Kelkerry shouting warnings and heard the bustle of movement. Perhaps aid was coming, perhaps they were fleeing. Walker was fine with either option. Wretch raised his talons to the roof then raked them down. Walker spun and his cloak wrapped around the scaly limb and with a well placed blade, he deflected the strike away. Raka was still trying to get up, Walker could see the fresh blood.

Had Mid'gha yelled something about poison? Just as her was processing the information, he had to dodge a bite. Luckily it continued to follow him instead of moving on Jade, Shara and Mid'gha.

Walker: Enough of this!

Scorpio was summoned. The power didn't flow up the Kelkerry sword though. Walker's first was glowing with power and he uppercut the lizard, knocking its head back. With its defenses opened, Walker punched it in the chest then stabbed his sword into its abdomen.

The blood and gore the sluiced out of the narrow wound didn't slow the best at all.
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[ *  *  * ]
Raka gasped, stars flitting behind his eyes for a moment as he tried to claw himself back to his feet. He groped at he wall, and shook his head, and what he saw when his vision cleared of speckles was Walker, and the shimmering tell-tale sign of his zodiac stone hard at work. Raka scowled darkly, and couldn't help but look impulsively up and down the cave halls.

Kelkerry were in a flurry at either end - and it looked at first glance as if they were fleeing. But it was more than that - they were organizing a retreat, and it wasn't from the monster.

Raka did not know this of course, he only silently praised the fact that they weren't all morons and were getting out of their way.

The Tanjuri ((yep)) snarled, and with an inner resignation, he snatched up his fallen Scimitar and lit the length of it aflame with a release of one clenched fist. It was too late for subtlety Walker had already used his stone. If he used his, it would do no more or less damage then had already been done.

Dismissing the thudding sting in his chest and the ripped shirt flapping before him, he dove in again with a furious howl and drove the fiery blade into the creatures back. With his other free hand he reached up to clamp onto a spine in the beast's shoulder, and he ignited his hands and arms as well. Fire blazed in his eyes, the Ram exhultant at once agani being released to play. He held on like a war-dog as the creature thrashed, clawing at his middle and taking useless swipes over it's shoulder.

Raka didn't let go until he had rode the beast tot he ground and it's middle was nothing but hollowed, charred, and ashen like coals.

He rolled himself off, stiffling the flames with a few panting breaths. "Stupid, stupid, stupid..." he muttered. It was unclear to whom he was speaking.

--

Jade and the others tried to remain still as the battle commenced, until Jade felt a hand on her elbow. She turned to find the wizened old KelKerry woman smile softly at her. "It is time we left. I am sorry." SHe made some hand gestures, that Jade saw as some sort of passing blessing, and then pressed two fingers to Jade's forehead with a sigh. "The road will be hard for the both of us now. Goodbye, Sky."

Jade was speechless as the small vanguard of KelKerry soldiers swept the woman up and away down the stony passages. Something was happening, and it had nothing to do with the monster. SHe looked over at the battle again in time to see the monster go down - Mid'gha had a hold on her daughter's arm, willing her to remain still until either one of the warriors addressed them.

Jade spoke softly. "Walker?" She uncertainly glanced down the halls. She was getting more and more uneasy as the moments passed, and a shared glance with SHara told her the other women felt the same.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
Dima: There.

The magus pointed with a long finger at, what appeared to be a random spot in the sand to Fiora. However, she knew better than to have doubts. He circled the carpet around some rocks until landing softly on the sand. Dima disembarked and looked around.

Dima: They're coming right to us.

The magus closed his hands together and started reciting words in a language few knew.

Fiora, for once, wasn't sure what her role would be. The magus was casting spells, and there was a part of her that was always unnerved by his magic. It was a different kind of magic, far different than the spells employed by the wizards in Jacintha's father's service. But one thing she'd been taught, was that an observant person could always find a way to be useful. All she had to do was wait and find her place.

For now, she would stand with her sister.

Fiora: Your time of retribution is close sister. Can you feel it in your blood yet?
*******
Walker immediately backed away when Raka jumped back into the fray. It would seem he had everything well in hand as he gripped onto his foe and burned the middle out of him. The smells from the burning flesh assaulted Walker's nostrils. He turned and gagged once before poking the lizard, which was now beginning to shrink and becoming a small pile of ash.

He held out his hand to Raka to pull him to his feet.

Walker: We can't stay here any longer...

He trailed off, knowing the use of his powers was a beacon for their pursuers. He looked around to thank Boil for his aide and to check on the rest of their party but Walker found himself alone with Raka. Except for a male Kelkerry who waited at a tunnel for the warriors. Walker noticed the Kelkerry's sword sheath was empty then picked up the borrowed sword again and held it to the elf.

Walker: My thanks.
*****
Edgar's squad had been following the magus as he shot through the sky. The owl tracked them through the night, returning to its master then back into the sky again to keep the search going.

The flying carpet was fast, their horses were pushed to exhaustion as Edgar set an impossible pace. He was frustrated that he was left behind, that he wouldn't get there first. That the magus had outsmarted him again.

They would make it. There was still something to be gained tonight.
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[ *  *  * ]
The Kelkerry bowed his head to Walker, and gingerly accepted his sword back. He sheathed it quickly, and then ushered them away. He did not speak their language, and had no way of telling them that the women had been taken another way to safety. But there was no time to waste on absently gesticulating to the two warriors.

Raka cast a sidelong look at Walker, but accepted his hand anyway. There was a brief gust of steam as they connected, but no pain. It would seem their energies had at least become tolerant of one another. It made Raka's face twitch as he sheathed his Scimitar and shook the dreadlocks from his face.

We got out of this once, we can do it again. Better now that the women are out of the way. He evidently aproved of the absence of the ladies around them, and he pushed on Walker's shoulder to get him following the KelKerry out.

What he didn't notice was that as Jade and Mid'gha were ushered away by other KelKerry, Shara slipped away in the confusing throng of fleeing people - women, children, the elderly, all going the same way, deeper into unknown tunnels they had charted by memory. She released her mother's arm, and ducked back the way they had come, desperately seeking the warriors.

Shara had seen blood on Raka's shirt, had not known how bad it was. She was worried, and afraid. But luckily the topmost tunnels were not as much of a maze as the ones beneath, and she managed to keep sight of them until they cleared the darkness of the caves, and moonlight greeted them above.

--

The KelKerry warrior led them out another path, to a flat slab of rock that he leaned a shoulder against and heaved to one side. Sand strained in through the opening and moonlight spilled into the tunnel behind it. He rolled it back, and before them was a passage just big enough to climb through one at a time.

The KelKerry warrior came out first.

Which meant he was the first to die -

But only after the other two managed to pull themselves out.

Jacintha didn't want them climbing back into their holes after she decapitated their elf guide.
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[ *  *  * ]
Walker came out next. Two things happened, he was stunned into disbelief as a kelkerry head flew passed his face as he stepped onto the sands. The next was a glowing blue blast that caught Walker in the ribs and lifted him off his feet. A chill swept through his entire body, the scorpio stone reeled and felt like it withdrew deeper into Walker's being. He fell to the sand, unable to breathe, unable to move. Blood dribbled from his mouth and mixed with the dirt.

What happened? No. He knew what happened. The night was cold but the magic was freezing. Oddly, it reminded him of the chill mountains of his home. He tried pushing his mind passed the pain and started pushing himself to his feet.

Dima: I'm done chasing you around.

Walker felt the familiar sensation of Dima reaching magically for his stone. Like he'd done after implanting the scorpio stone into him. For reasons beyond Walker's understanding, the magus struggled with the scorpio stone. Perhaps the icy blast had worked against the magus?

There was no time to find out. The spell's effects were becoming bearable. He drew his sword, the sword the Kelkerry had been keeping for another Dei Lunathi. He saw Jacintha standing nearby, cleaning blood from her sword, likely the Kelkerry's blood. Walker spat on the ground.

Walker: Cowards.

Fiora stepped back, the action was about to begin.

Dima: Kneel!

He shouted and when his hold on the scorpio stone didn't provide the effects he wanted, Dima summoned tendrils of energy that rose up from the sands around Walker like thorny vines. They writhed then started lashing out at the Zodiac warrior.

Dima: Jacintha, take care of the other one.
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[ *  *  * ]
Raka emerged behind Walker, and was equally as stunned when his - friend? - was struck by the energy. The Ram reeled beneath his skin in equal parts rage and terror; but the Tanjuri knew better than to show his fear.

He turned to Jacintha immediately, as soon as he saw Walker's new blade clear it's sheath. He had some sort of odd faith in the Shadow by now. If he was not cowed now, Raka perhaps hoped he never would be. It gave him courage. And seemed to allow him to be ferocious. So Raka unclipped the chain from around his chest and snarled at Jacintha.

"Hope you've been practicing." He snarled.

Jacintha laughed, eyes casting an eerie light. "Every day, in the wish of destroying you, goat." And she came at him.

She had, in fact, been practicing. And the first thing she did was duck beneath a vicious lash of the chain, to place one flat palm against his chest and push.

The stinging pain of the wound there alerted Raka to it's presence, but it only infuriated him more. Raka dropped one end of the chain and spun away from his opponent, uncoiling the rest of it's lenght into the sand. As Jacintha drew her second blade, Raka knelt low and swept a kick towards her. As he anticipated, she deftly maneuvered around it - but as she did, he snapped the chain up out of the sand to crack her across the front of her leaping shins.

Jacintha hissed but landed in a roll, pitching forward and past the Tanjori. They both regained their footing. Raka grinned a beast's grin and advanced. As he came for her, he kindled the flames within and the ram raced it's fiery trail down the chain, crackling as it careened over the sands and rippled along each link.

Raka howled as he started to move Jacintha and his own brawl away from Walker and his challenge with the Magus.

Jacintha had been practicing. But so had he. And their skills together were fierce and unyielding.

SHara watched, perched by the hole and peering up and out just outside of view. Her heart was racing. There was so much true danger here, and she didn't know what to do. For how could she help? She was just a girl!

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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
The vines lashed at Walker, keeping him moving and rolling in an effort to dodge as many hits as he could. Everytime he was even grazed, the area went numb with cold that began crawling through the flesh. He could cut the tendrils down but every time one fell, another rose up to replace it. Walker then tried moving away but the cursed magic weeds followed him.

Walker: Fine then. Let's see how you like it.

Walker charged Dima. He adopted some of his friend's qualities and gave in to reckless abandon. The magus raised his hands and a ball of flame coalesced and enlarged until it was the size of Walker's head. Then it was loosed at him and continued to grow as it flew towards its target. The dei lunathi waited in a crouch as the fireball burned through the air towards him. The vines were now right behind him and reached out towards him. He jumped as the flames of the fireball were close enough to singe his hair. He put all of his strength into his legs and pushed with every ounce of his might, he even reached for Scorpio but the power was hidden from him.

At this time, Raka was in full combat with Jacintha. Fiora watched and felt helpless. There was nothing to do except watch. Jacintha moved like a force of nature but Fiora winced when Raka scored a hit on her shins. She knew her sister would be fine, had suffered worse during training sessions, but Fiora wanted this to be a domination. And then Raka summoned his flames. Fiora watched with growing apprehension.

Dima turned his focus from Walker and upended a vial of clear liquid onto the desert floor. In the span of a few breaths, a water creature in the shape of a four armed cyclops rose and reached with a liquid hand for the flaming chain.

Walker had slipped into the shadows when Dima turned his attention away. As the last drop of magical water fell from the vial, Walker pulled himself out of Dima's shadow and swung Melindra's blade at him.

To his surprise it bounced off of the magus's skin. Dima turned on him with the slightest twitch of his lips raising up in a smile. Then he taunted Walker who swung again with the same effect.

Walker: I will kill you!

He knelt on the ground, trying to devise a way to defeat the magics. He squeezed handfuls of dirt in anger and frustration. With a push, he renewed his attacks, slashing and slashing again at the confident wizard.

Dima: You foo...cough cough

The moment he opened his mouth, Walker tossed a handful of sand to fill the space.

Walker: You talk too much.
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[ *  *  * ]
Raka felt the tingling apprehension of something new and dangerous; a furtive warning from the fiery stone in his wrist. He coiled the chain around his forearm and glanced over -

A water creature. He hissed, but actually barked a chuckle when he saw just in time the fistfull of sand assault Dima's face.

That pause allowed Jacintha to land a rather solid blow with the hilt of her one sword into his solar plexus. He gasped, thrusting a hand out to push her away, the heat singing away a layer of the leather armor she wore. He dropped the chain to the ground again and ignited out of instinct - but two great hands came down on his one shoulder and spun-dropped him to the sand. He snarled and cast out a virulent ball of flame towards the water creature. It hissed and steamed and bubbled, but was only a distraction.

Raka had to get out from underfoot. He heard Jacintha's roar of anger. "He's MINE!" SHe shouted furiously as she charged Raka again. The Tanjuri had just barely gotten to his feet when her foot connected with his jaw and sent him spinning again, scrambling up with a loose chain dragging behind.

"Damnit." Raka spat sizzling blood to the sand and turned to lay on his back, quickly whipping the chain up over his body and lashing out in a wide circle around him. It sizzled on the hesitant legs of the four armed water beast, and Jacintha ducked once, cartwheeled with no hands to touch the ground, and thrust one of her blades through the swirling chain.

When Jacintha came down the chain caught, and the sank it hilt deep into the sand before throwing herself off to avoid burning her face off.

Raka dropped the chain and as he squirreled to his feet he drew his scimitar. The fire doused on the chain and he lit the blade instead.

Jacintha was panting and her eyes were a mirror of what he felt in himself. She charged him and she parried, but she was being fueled by something more intense than what he felt. He was hoping to cause enough of a commotion to allow the others to escape. He was certain they would escape. He had to resign himself to what he feared all along - he wouldn't be getting out of this. But the women could.

And for whatever reason, he didn't want to kill the bitch.

But His lack of killing lust was hindering him.

Jacintha took advantage of it. She came in quickly, feinted, and then Raka was disarmed. Her hilt came down across Raka's face, and her leg shot out in a straight kick to his knee, and he went down.
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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
Dima was too concerned with his mouth full of mud to heed Jacintha's demand. He coughed harshly, having breathed in some of the grains. Dima made a hand gesture that sent a blast of force, knocking Walker back. The magus cleared his mouth of sand and glared at the Dei Lunathi. But the fool was right, talk less.

Smaller fireballs shot out from his hands, keeping Walker moving and jumping. Walker pulled a dagger and threw it at Dima, if nothing more than to distract him for a moment. The magus actually moved out of the way this time, not trusting anything Walker literally threw at him anymore. The magus decided to change tactics.

The cyclopean water elemental pursued Raka anytime he summoned his fire. The Tanjuri and Jacintha moved far too quickly for the elemental who would swing massive fists at his target only to have miss by a large margin. It tried to snuff the flames of his scimitar by grabbing a hold of it.

Dima muttered incantations and his hands glowed blue. Walker suspected another blast like the first one and then had an idea. He moved close to the other battle of Jacintha and Raka. Putting his back to them and keeping his eyes on Dima. The hands glowed brighter then Dima's eyes fluttered open.

Walker started running. Dima was amused, unlike the fireballs, his cold missile would track. He let it loose almost lazily and watched it streak through the sky at Walker. The dei lunathi suddenly turned on his heels and ran hard for Raka and Jacintha but more specifically towards the elemental.

The cyclops had no concept of what was transpiring. It only had its commands, so when a man garbed in black jumped through its body, it paid it no attention. So long as it wasn't aflame. That was the last of the elemental's limited thinking as the ice beam chased Walker into its body. The elemental froze instantly. Walker cut through it's legs then jumped against its chest as it fell, he ran up the length of its torso, flipped high into the air and landed on Dima, finally knocking him to the ground.
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[ *  *  * ]
Raka's hand lashed out and he grabbed Jacintha's shin as she came in, searing and sizzling at the bracer there. Jacintha hissed and leaped back, a damaging blow stayed by Raka's burning temper.

Then Walker dove through the elemental. Raka barked and slammed both hands into the sand, fire peeling out of the corners of his eyes as glass erupted from the sand, fire blasting just beneath the surface of the sand until it exploded beneath the now fallen, frozen and grounded water beast, shattering into jagged of pieces. Jacintha, in turn, was blasted back into the sands and tumbled head over heels, giving Raka a chance to get back to his feet.

His knee hurt and his face was bleeding. But other wise -

Raka went to Jacinta's blade where it pinned his chain and yanked it out. He snatched the chain and forced as much heat into Jacintha's blade as he could. As the warrior woman got back to her feet with her remaining blade, her eyes widened with abject rage as the hilt turned to slag and fell sizzling into the sand.

"Come on then." Raka hissed, slinging the chain out towards Jacintha with renewed vigor.

Shara silently cheered for her two friends, hands digging into the sand that still slowly trickled into the hidden passage.

Jacintha roared in rage and came crashing in to him, but was repelled by Raka's chain twirls. He spun and turned on his heels, repeatedly coiling and uncoiling the once again flaming links of chain. He had found a stride now, something he could work with - he hoped to exhaust her as much as he could and hopefuly he could just knock her senseless before dealing with the little twit and the bastard magus with Walker.

Jacintha was starting to get blinded by her rage, something her sister would notice all too well. Raka saw it. He knew it well, he did the same thing, but not today.

Raka snarled and baited her in as he made a show of coiling the chain tightly around his body and arm, but when she intended to strike, he ducked low and kicked up a sweep of sand and then instead of lashing the chain out, he shot his other hand out and a fireball came blasting towards her. She backpedaled quickly, and while she tried to regain her balance, Raka let the chain dangle over him and lashed out with his other arm to yank her ankle forward. She stumbled backwards, and he rolled away long enough to ready the next powerful lash of chain.

If she didn't get her feet under her, it would connect hard and fast, and if it wasn't fatal it would knock her out cold.



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Gigantor
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[ *  *  * ]
Walker had the Magus pinned to the ground beneath him. Finally, after so long and after so much torture, he had his hands on the bastard. He couldn't help the half smile that crossed his face then he raised a fist and crashed it down on Dima's nose. There was no magic barrier to protect him, but the wizard wasn't out of tricks as Walker's fist punched through Dima into desert sand.

The blade repellent magic would not work on a hand to hand assault but Dima was prepared. When Walker raised his fist with his cocky grin, the wizard was triggering his next defensive spell. Magic flowed through his body and changed his form from human flesh and bone to smoke making the punch completely useless. Walker fell through the now intangible form. The smoke moved out from under the attacker and became solid a few feet away.

As he reformed, his hands were swaying and moving in a spell formation.

Dima: Prisoner!

A bracelet around his thin forearm began slithering like a snake then flew off toward Walker with the speed of a striking cobra. The dei lunathi who was distracted by his frustration that the magus escaped again unharmed. It was a mistake he couldn't afford to make. The chain bracelet streaked toward him and a collar snapped around Walker's neck. Magic burned in the metal and became a great weight, trying to pull Walker to the ground.

The bracelet streaked out again but Walker was able to move his hand out of the way. Dima called out again, once again the chain struck out and caught Walker's ankle. The metal binndings created an unseen magical link to each other, like magnets drawn to one another. Walker's body wanted to bend but he fought, gritting his teeth against the effort.

The next strike, Walker managed to block with his sword. He took a step toward Dima, then ducked, then hopped as the chain struck out repeatedly.
*******
Edgar saw flashes of fire in the distance, heard the shouts and steel clang of combat. He'd found them and they had arrived late. Well, the one consolation is they were ahead of Jacintha's retinue.

The general sat in his saddle with the rest of his vanguard around him.

Edgar: Let's watch the show then move in to clean up the pieces.

The brought their horses to the top of a sand dune where they could finally see everything clearly. They watched a large water elemental freeze then shatter at the hands of the Tanjuri.

Edgar nodded with approval. It was a shame he lost his hold on that one.
******
Fiora saw her moment. She'd been watching Jacintha fight Raka with relish. She moved so fluidly and with such certainty. Raka was a savage and showed it with every fiber of his existence. And yet, somehow, against Jacintha nearly religious training the savage Tanjuri was scoring hits.

This upset her. Without conscious thought, she backed up and soon she was standing on fabric. She looked down and found herself on the magus's flying carpet.

Raka had just melted her sister's sword and was moving in to attack again. Fiora recalled the words Dima used to command his magical artifact. She sat and hoped a few commands would suffice. Fiora spoke the foreign words Dima had used, making sure to get the inflections just right.

The carpet began to rise up into the air. Raka had Jacintha by the ankle. Fiora cursed then spoke from memory again. The carpet shot forward, Fiora rocked back and nearly fell off the carpet. The magus must've used a spell to keep them undisturbed upon the carpet. But still, it was flying. She held on tight and directed it at Jacintha.

She reached her hand out and grabbed her sister around a waiting wrist and pulled her out of Raka's fiery path. Her sister was heavy but Fiora would never drop her unless she was falling herself. She turned the rug back toward Raka and looked down at her sister.

Fiora: Quit toying with the goat. He's...different.
Edited by Gigantor, Nov 6 2017, 09:12 AM.
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