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Call of the Darkness [Fin]

By Nullification

+Watch
Replies: 633 / 1 years ago

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[center [pic https://i.ibb.co/LvSyktQ/B606-F133-0-D15-4-F82-A532-DE061-DE50-D7-C.jpg]]

[center [font consolas In the Lands to the North, something has stirred. A darkness unlike any other in it's thickness.]]

[center [font consolas And it spreads, leaking and devouring.]]

[center [font consolas Dark magic, a cult has arisen with a heathen at it's forefront and this will not stand. Together in the South, a Council decide to task two 'magicks' with the task of undoing this dark Cult that threatens the world as they know it.]]

[center [font consolas Magicks, more commonly known as warlocks or witches, are trained at a young age. Most of the time they have their own given strength, whether it be an element such as fire or water, other times they can shape-shift, heal or something of the likes. It differs from person to person. Much of the time, apprentices stick with their Masters and they live in a sort of mutual respect of each other. Magicks age slower, and it is not uncommon for them to be hermits. Although, they are somewhat of local celebrities in their towns. The more powerful Magicks can have intense magic within them. The battle of light and dark has begun, and it will only end with the death of one of them.]]

[center [font consolas The Cult calls itself the Divine, believing themselves to do the world mercy by 'cleansing' the lands. At their head is a creature born from darkness, taking on whatever form it pleases at the time. This darkness ebbs into everything. The puppet master pulls the strings of those under its influence, making it a substantial foe. Divine members bear a deep mark embedded in their skin like inky tendrils. Creatures and humans alike, but these markings make for a new puppet and now and then the Lord in the North speaks through his vessels. Do not touch the dark puppets, or suffer his mark and become his newest toy.]]

[center [font consolas Cut off the head of the snake. Rip up the source root and stem, or are they on the wrong side? Faint whispers and voices enrapture the Magicks, all the whole dripping poison in their minds. Whispers of how they are being lied to, of how the other is plotting a betrayal. ]]

[center [font consolas Crafted by the old Councils, from the Elders who had once predicted such a darkness would come, a metal made from light to be used to take down the Lord in the North. If they make it that far, surrounded by sickening shadows that foam at the mouth. The Lord in the North won’t risk his throne so easily. ]]

[center [font consolas End the bad guy and return to their tower heroes of the world, simple. ]]

[center [pic https://i.ibb.co/JtnDh0R/A6-C32253-74-B9-4993-A86-E-044-E5-EECAAEF.jpg]]

[b [font consolas Message me for any interest.]]

Standard ES Rules apply, of course.
I don’t expect a post everyday but please don’t leave me waiting a month without any update!
This is really open to ideas and concepts to bounce around and I love creativity!
Taog's kiss sealed her fate right then, resigned that she would be with him until the end of her days. The farm sounded too quiet, too lonely and they had friends in every corner of the world now, even on the very seas should the temptation ever reach them and Juniper wrapped her arms around Taog, ignoring the scoffs and awkward giggling from around them. They could go anywhere and Juniper smiled softly to Taog when they broke apart.
"I want to visit the tree again, our tree someday." She said quietly and she knew it would be no problem to anyone should she decide to do that with Taog.

They were wished well upon their journey by all, Timbre always welcomed them at the hearth fires of the Dwarves, helping them to train and offering them the strong ale and good food, there were no formalities with the Dwarven folk when they arrived and each time it was an air rife with stories, others soon joined the Dwarves to trade and call home, other races. It was much the same for the other races, even the proud Fey opened their forests to the others and each time they visited, there was more they could learn about the Fey and their culture. There were dances and celebrations and good will whenever and wherever they visited from then on and they were made to feel no different than any other creature that walked the realm. It was peaceful and it was beautiful, full of hope.

Each new harvest season, they would journey to their tree, see it in the full blossom and spend some days in the wild jungles just free together, unhindered by any others. They were never chained nor bound by anything that went on around them, never sought out or called cursed. Their dreams were shared, more commonly as their powers grew with one another over time and new lands discovered, new adventures had but there was always a welcome smile and Juniper and Taog never quite settled anywhere, unable to simply stay still when so much had been denied to them and they had come far too close to losing more and more, they wanted to roam but their home was found in each city they visited by the warm welcome smile they received upon visiting Barut, upon pestering Mirriam and Gray for some days at sea, waving to Timbre on the snow covered paths and joining songs with the Fey and Elves.

They were forever blessed by the Elementals, the stories of them reaching the far reaches and furthest regions of the world. There was no desperation and those lost were never forgotten, felt at each reunion and empty space at the table but Juniper could feel them on each warm breeze and new summer sun, they were gone but never forgotten in their sacrifices.

Beyond the mountain, a new sun rose and they greeted it with fresh wonder.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 223d ago
Timbre invited them to join him on the journey back to the Dwarves. Taog felt that returning to the Vale held no merit, unless they could perform the same magic they had to the plains, which were now a lush and green field with budding trees dotted everywhere. If it meant sacrificing someone's flame for restoring the soil however, Taog felt it was better he didn't.
Taog smiled at Timbre's offer however. All of them would need to recover, physically and emotionally. He didn't think the heavy sinking feeling would ever fade. His heart was heavy over the loss of friends and familiar folk. Neither of them had even really fully grasped that the Vale was simply gone. To support Juniper, Taog held her hand.
She seemed to doubt herself.
Tension had faded. Soon they too would leave the plains.

Juniper's emerald eyes looked at him and Taog looked back warmly. Though they had lost, there were plenty of their friends still alive.
"Will you have that farm? We could go anywhere," Taog suggested.
He wanted to see more of the world, experience more, find more fire magic users and follow the river of liquid flame to its origin. More than that however, he wanted to be with Juniper.
Taog leaned in close, raised his hand to stroke Juniper's cheek and pressed his forehead against hers. This close, they were intimate, though not abnoxiously so.
"I want to be with you, wherever you want to go, I will be with you," Taog promised. He kissed Juniper then, until Timbre scoffed, Ashara looked away embarrassed and Miriam and Marigold laughed aloud.
Eritreya nudged his shoulder to break them apart, nodding at Tian, who set her first tentative steps outside the tent. She smiled at Taog, when she caught sight of him.
Taog looked back at Juniper and smiled. They were free.

Timbre would lead them to the Dwarves first. Taog's flame steadily returned and his shoulder regained its motion, though the left arm would not be as strong as his right for years to come. Rocha told him to practice and had him swing his blade in the other hand too. The large gates barring the other races from finding the Dwarves was opened and never again closed. Rumours floated freely through the city as the story of how the Great One was defeated spread across the lands. The fields and forests tainted by the blight were steadily restored as nature reclaimed what was lost. The markings of their blessings never faded from their necks. Taog occasionally felt Drit was near and whenever it rained, Taog liked to imagine Elroch was there too. Each time he saw a newly born foal or rabbit, Fir came to mind, her passion for animals inspiring him to care for beasts great and small. Tian returned to the Eye to settle her future, ferried there by Mirriam and Captain Gray on the Beth-Rose.

Taog often dreamt of the Vale, but unlike before, he was able to return to the village without the dream ending. Unlike before, there were people now. Half-breeds and outcasts, that were no longer there in the real world.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 223d ago
Juniper watched Ashara as he spoke and furrowed her brow, travel? She didn't quite believe him. It seemed bewildering to her, Half-Breeds weren't supposed to travel, they were shunned were they not?
"Where would we go?" She asked and looked to Taog, if he still wanted to travel with her of course. Her emotions were no les prominent for him but she wasn't sure if he felt the same way. "Wherever you wish. I did hear about a tree planted in our forests..." A voice said and Juniper looked over to see a woman she thought she would never see again and she smiled in relief. Her mother stood just as beautiful and wonderous as she had been before the Blight and Juniper looked to Taog. The world lay at their fingertips.

"However, don't be a stranger." Mirriam remarked and Gray had joined her. Visiting Mirriam would prove interesting and she doubted that Taog wanted to go back to the ocean, his stomach had never really adjusted to it all. Juniper thought for a while, tried to think of where they could go to make some sort of plan on what they wanted to do. Before, half-breeds had simply been allowed the Vale to roam, Taog had had less than that. No more Chosen and they could roam as they pleased, she was completely bewildered at the possibility.
"I don't know where-" She began but Timbre was quicker,
"I can't tell all those stories myself, youngsters." He chuckled and Juniper thought it was an odd feeling, to be so welcomed. Even Tyren looked warmer and Juniper swallowed a little. She was grateful but she could barely think straight about what could come next, they could explore all of the lands properly, at their leisure if they wanted, or they could settle down. They were still young, Juniper felt stumped and she watched as gentle chatter broke out amongst the others, Mirriam speaking to her mother about everything that had happened and Juniper turned to look at Taog.

Juniper watched him for a while, trying to read his face,
"What do you think?" She asked him, "I don't think I can promise you anymore wild adventures." She said with a laugh, they had both suffered grievously and Juniper knew they could defend themselves against any threat but they were not the same forlorn couple they had been at the start and she wanted him to have a choice. He didn't have to accompany her if he didn't want to, she still loved him but Taog was like a bird who needed to be set free and have his choices, he had been robbed of that so often in his life at the Vale, branded cursed and evil, which had never been true.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 223d ago
Juniper couldn't be healed. Right. Taog cast Juniper a troubled look at realizing that and sighed out after, averting his eyes as the young Fey set to work. She made him sit up, unwrapped the bandages around his shoulder to reveal the extent of the injury. Though the broken bones had been healed before, the bruises were still an angry red and quite extensive. Taog tried to relax and be accepting of the Fey's healing powers. Her magic didn't quite feel like Juniper's. The unfamiliar magic felt foreign, but managed to warm him up a little and some of the bruising faded.
Mirriam and Juniper spoke as he sat.
Soon Juniper rose and dressed, making to go outside. Taog had to wait and the young female Fey had to help him dress. His shoulder still didn't move anywhere near to what it had been, but Taog found he could now move his arm at least, which was a great improvement.
"Thank you," he said softly. The Fey looked away, embarrassed most likely, at the sight of the Seer's marks on his skin.
He was a half-breed after all.
Mirriam put his furred cloak across the bad shoulder and smiled as she sorted the broche.
"Come," she urged, breaking the awkward stalemate.

Mirriam lead them both outside, into the open. Some embers still smelled charred, but there was a fresh breeze chilling his bones. Taog shivered helplessly without his flame to kindle his inner warmth. He put a ground hand to the nape of Juniper's back, noticing her lack of balance. It reminded Taog of the first time they'd rode a horse.
Timbre greeted them first. He looked alright, all things considering. Dwynai had gotten the bad end of the deal, what with being frozen in place. Taog was grateful to see the Dwarf and Eritreya both. Ashara didn't waste any time, clearing his throat.
"There is a covenant between species," he said, in a regal voice. "If all agree, each of the races are free to cross any lands, provided they mean no harm."
Taog nodded at that. He didn't really care that much, personally.
"That includes half-breeds," Ashara said.
Taog looked up at that.
"With the Vale gone..." Ashara paused. "Either way you two are free to travel."
"The Great One is defeated," Eritreya said. "There will be no more Chosen."
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 223d ago
Juniper was silently glad that Taog didn't want to visit anyone and watched him cry, it was so peculiar to see. She sighed softly and reached up when he was sleeping to brush away the stray tears. It was difficult to swallow, that so many had died. That their friends had died and Juniper just wanted to sleep. She moved slightly to get comfortable, although in the end it didn't really matter. She was asleep before she could process what was happening. She was exhausted and she didn't stir until a Fey came in and disturbed them. She listened, eyes still closed,
"They can't heal me, Taog." Juniper mumbled sleepily as she opened her eyes and gave a tired smile. She had no wings left to heal, the bruises and such would be gone soon enough and she looked to Taog's arm.
"Let her heal you." She said to him as she pushed herself up to sit and she looked to Mirriam.

"Gray visited you." Juniper yawned, as if everything was normal, not awake enough to realise it wasn't and she rubbed her eyes. She was exhausted still, it felt like too much sleep almost.
"Hm, wants me to become a lady of the ocean." Mirriam said through some food and Juniper smiled softly. She could imagine Mirriam on the Beth-Rose, Gray at her side as they commanded the very seas and she had to admit it was rather a nice thought. Mirriam could be happy that way and the factions might just mix together and it would become normal.
"Ashara and the others will want to see you, you know?" Mirriam pointed out quietly and Juniper just nodded, finding something to drink and she took some mouthfuls of water before handing some to Taog, looking him over. She let the Fey use her magic because she wasn't even sure she could spare any right then. She was still drained and she looked around for her clothes which had been folded and thankfully, the stains were gone. She got to her feet, the leather pants she were still in place and she gingerly made her way to put her tunic on. Each movement was sore and tender right then, it was just a new sensation to be so bare and she managed to get her cloak on. Mirriam watched but declined helping, knowing full well the shame she was feeling.

Juniper didn't look herself, she even felt unbalanced, she was so used to her wings being able to counter over balancing. with her wings. A brave face was fixated in place and she couldn't help but feel wary about stepping outside. She wasn't really much of anything without her wings. She waited a while for Taog to catch up before braving the step outside, Mirriam following after she had fixed her own clothes and she guided the two towards where the others awaited.
"Well, look at you both!" Timbre proclaimed upon seeing them and chuckled, there was obvious glee at seeing them. He wanted to embrace them but he didn't,
"The stories they will tell of you both!" Timbre said with a chuckle and Ashara cleared his throat and Juniper's smile faltered slightly. Eritreya was leaning and looking a little older thanks to the battle but he seemed okay.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 223d ago
Stew was presented. Taog found it awkward to eat with one hand only, but made it work by balancing the bowl on his lap and sluggishly ladling up the food. Juniper's question was reason for pause. Taog's eyes flickered towards Barut, whose voice was grave. Fir had died. Tian was badly injured. It seemed unfair. Taog swallowed down the lump in his throat. He already knew Fir would be greatly missed, as they would miss so many others. Dwynai and Timbre returned however, which was good news. Timbre would have a great story to tell the Dwarves, who were now avenged.
Taog considered they might recover their strength there, in the welcoming embrace of the Dwarf capital. Rocha might show him more fire magic if he asked. He played with his leftover food as Barut told them about Ashara's plan to unite the races in a more free manner. Barut eventually took away what was left of their food and invited them to come out. Taog wasn't sure whether he was ready for that. The atmosphere seemed downtrodden. No one spoke without grief interlacing their voice.
Taog felt something drip down and realized he was crying.
He gingerly laid down and closed his eyes, listening to Juniper's soft murmur.
Fir had died.
Elroch had too. If only they'd have been quicker, then maybe- maybe they could've prevented it. Juniper had lost her wings. Taog looked at Juniper's back, where bandages obscured what had to be large scars. Even though Barut had commended them, Taog didn't feel they had done everything they could have. If he hadn't hesitated attacking the Great One after portaling- maybe if they'd travelled by foot instead of the portal then... then.
Taog shook his head no. He didn't want to see anyone yet. Frustrated, Taog used his good hand to brush away the stubborn tears from spilling onto his face. He didn't even have the energy to cry, really. When he closed his eyes a second time, Taog was already back to sleep.

Taog slept through it all.
Small factions gradually left the plains, keen to journey home. Ashara came up with a covenant, respected by all races, to allow free passage through each other's lands. With promise to send word, the advocates of each race took the covenant. The plains blossomed for the first time in ages, fuelled by the Great One's unleashed magic.
It was dawn when Ashara entered their tent and he didn't stay long.
When it seemed Taog would stir, the older Seer left.
Taog woke to the sight of a young Fey lifting his shirt to inspect the bandages. He was a little warmer now, but still icy to touch. The young Fey started at finding Taog's heavy-lidded gaze was upon her. She recovered and smiled, "I have come to heal."
"Juniper first," he mumbled.
"Stubborn Fey," Mirriam said from her perch on the bed. She was eating something, having just woken perhaps. "Let the Fey work," she instructed and Taog sure wasn't ready to face off against two female Fey.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 223d ago
Juniper looked to Taog, she didn't know if she was okay but he didn't reject her at the sight of her mangled, wingless body and she moved over to him. She was too tired and she moved to sit next him, leaning into his good side.
"I'm okay." She said softly, there wasn't any pain, there wasn't any aching she was just tired and saddened. The shared heat was warmer but Taog was cold to the touch, Juniper reaching out to touch his good arm. They were interrupted before anything else could be said by Barut and Juniper smiled at the sight of the Sorcerer, relieved he was alive and well. She looked to the stew and her appetite was fleeting but she did need to eat. She was quiet as she ate, thinking for a while.

"Did everyone make it?" She asked quietly and glanced to Barut. He looked solemn for a moment, he was in good enough health, a little stealth.
"Tian is still recovering, she suffered many injuries... Fir died bravely in the battle." Barut murmured quietly.
"Dwynai and Timbre returned, it took them some hours and they are a little worse for wear." Barut explained, hiding whatever emotions threatened to rise to the surface and overcome him. He wasn't as stone faced as he made out and Juniper only nodded. Fir had been brave and a friendly face amid everything, she would be missed. Juniper managed half of the stew before she set the bowl aside. She slumped back slightly and pulled over her cloak and pelt for extra warmth. Barut seemed to be mulling things over,
"Ashara is putting together a plan, for the races to move freely together and such." Barut broached, still figuring out how that was going to work exactly. Things wouldn't change overnight, that would be impossible.
"I'm sure the others would want to see you." Barut said as he gathered their bowls and looked awkward, like there was something he wanted to say but couldn't find the words.

He made for the entrance of the tent and Juniper watched him for a while, interested when he paused.
"You both did well." He murmured before taking his leave and Juniper leaned back, resting on the makeshift bed and closing her eyes. It had happened so quickly and right then she didn't feel up to seeing the others even though she desperately wanted to know for sure that they were alive and see it with her own eyes. She had to lay on her side, unaccustomed to not having her wings there to cushion her and she sighed softly.
"Should we go and see them?" She asked Taog, she would go if they had to but she was tired and so was he.
Resident Fey / Nullification / 223d ago
Taog surrendered at sitting, realizing there was no reason to be up. They had nothing to fight now. Nowhere to be. The best thing to do, was recover, so they could journey to a place where half-breeds weren't look at with hatred. He inspected the bandages. Unlike before, at the ledge, the pain was no longer crippling. His armour had been stripped down, but he still had the cloak, which served as his bedroll now. Taog looked at Captain Gray as he entered, then back to Juniper. Knowing she was alright, although be it without wings, had made any urgency flee his body.
Juniper seemed distraught.
Taog let her work through her emotions, head empty of thoughts or words to offer up to Juniper. He had never had wings; what would he understand about losing them? Mirriam might know, but she'd only just roused to Captain Gray's presence. It felt like he was witnessing something intimate, so Taog focussed on Juniper instead.

"Healing," Taog said.
He wasn't sure to what extent his shoulder had been damaged for a healer to leave his body to recover on its own in favour of helping others. Taog could only hope he would be able to use the arm again.
"June...?" He was tired, so very tired.
Taog sighed out and rested back again, pulling the furs to cover his torso. Despite that, he felt cold. Mirriam had survived. Captain Gray was here now. Had he travelled to come for her? Taog was sure there was a story there.
What about Tian, Fir? Timbre and Dwynai? Barut, Tyren and Ashara?
Taog felt numb, inside out.
"Come lay with me," Taog coaxed Juniper. Why would she sit there, watching the fires? It was best they burn the bodies. There were too many to bury. Taog didn't want to see that much decay either. Fire would turn the bodies to ashes and return the empty husks to the Earth.
"Are you okay?" Taog reached out with his good hand, though it didn't quite reach. He would sleep more, when given the chance, though Taog knew it'd be best if he ate something now. Recovering his flame was foremost. Once he was warm, Taog trusted his body to heal quickly again.

Barut entered then.
His shoulders were set low, grief weighing him down. Taog saw it, but didn't comment on it. Many of Haven had fallen, no doubt.
He brought food and bowls.
"Good, you're awake," he said when he saw Juniper and Taog both up. "Eat," he said. It was a simple stew, with stale ingredients, but better than nothing. Their hunters worked furiously to gather and find enough food to feed them all. Feriel advised them to scatter. The plains, revitalised as they were, would not feed an army for long. Ashara told Feriel that it was impossible because of the amount of injured. They were at a stalemate while they tried to heal as many wounded as possible.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 223d ago
Juniper could only follow numbly, afraid of falling or losing grip on Taog. She was scared of losing him, scared of falling and it was only when Mirriam pried them apart did Juniper comprehend what had happened.
"It's okay-" She could hear Taog calling to her, through the fog of her hurt and she mumbled something but she was quiet save the odd yelp of pain as she was put onto a makeshift stretcher. After that, she remembered nothing. It was just dark, medicinally dark she realised as she started to come to in the tent. It was quiet, the only light coming from flickering flames outside and she sat up. Her back felt tight, she realised but also lighter and she tried to turn, her wings were gone. They had been unable to save them and although the cuts were clean and would only leave a delicate scar, Juniper felt devastated. She twisted and turned, tears spilling down onto her cheeks to try and catch a glimpse. Her torso was wrapped in thick material, bandages she realised and she eventually stopped trying to turn and gave into the fact her wings were gone, like Mirriam's.

Juniper was shaking all over, still feeling foggy with the herbs in her system. It was warm in the tent and she pushed the thick pelts off of her, she needed to breathe. She needed to get out of the tent and she looked over to see Taog rousing. Whatever foolish emotions riddled her regarding her wings were washed away with relief upon seeing him alive and well. He looked drained and she figured she probably did too. She moved to the entrance to the tent to see the pyres set up and burning the bodies of the dead. It was suffocating and she felt she couldn't catch her breath, delayed shock at everything that had gone on kicking in as she slumped down and sat, staring at the pyres. There were so many, Juniper balled her hands to fists. A voice alerted her and she looked up to see none other than Captain Gray standing before her. He wasn't here for her and she looked over her shoulder to see Mirriam recovering. He gave a nod before ducking inside and Juniper swallowed, throat dry as she wiped her face. People moved around, no one seemed to be talking in their grief and loss and Juniper looked to Taog.

She didn't know what would happen, she didn't know what any of this meant. They knew the routine, they had been born into the routine of the Chosen and the different races living separately. She shivered and avoided Taog's eyes, feeling less somehow without her wings. Before, she had hated their dull colour and mottled patterns, but at least they had been there, now she felt naked and exposed, less than she had been.
"Your arm- Is it-?" Was he alright, Juniper fiddled aimlessly with her fingers, riddled with bruises and the odd scratch here and there. Ashara would want to see them no doubt, Barut and the others and she furrowed her brow. Were they all alive? She couldn't recall and she looked to some of the pyres, she didn't know who had perished and who hadn't. Mirriam was alive, she knew only that.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 223d ago
Despite being injured herself, Juniper held him close. Taog responded in kind, returning the embrace with the one arm that would listen to his commands. Her whisper was near enough list. Taog didn't think he could move a single step unaided, but Juniper didn't seem to fare much better. Her skin was pale and the scent of blood was rick, closer than the battle-field would allude to. Juniper's wings were damaged beyond repair and she was losing a lot of blood.
Pain was etched across Juniper's face and Taog shifted, guided their descent so Juniper wouldn't fall at least. Shivers rushed through him, his body empty after being a conduit for the amount of magic he'd taken from the Great One. Was everybody's flame like that? And then there were others. Eritreya. He saw them both and hailed others, shouting words Taog couldn't quite comprehend.
Taog didn't let go.
Not even when Eritreya was joined by a bloodied Mirriam, who had fortunately survived the battle. She pried his fingers free to get to Juniper. Eritreya pulled him up.
"June," Taog protested, another shiver nearly forcing him back to the ground if it wasn't for Eritreya's firm hold. Others were being helped, survivors. Fey and Humans worked together to pitch tents, shelter on the empty plain. Only it was no longer an empty plain. Plants had shot up from the ground, young trees and the likes. Water had welled up from an underground source in reaction to his sadness.
They had changed the shape of the terrain with just a feeling. Together.
Taog caught sight of Ashara's gaze meeting Feriel's, some distance away. Lovers meeting for what the first time after being apart for years. Taog decided he didn't know these people, though they were his parents.
He tried to wrestle free from Eritreya's grip to go to Juniper. She was being put on a simple carrier. Two long poles with some cloth in between made a make-shift bed. Eritreya caught him by his bad shoulder to hold him back and Taog all but crumpled at the pain.
'Taog!"
Eritreya's voice turned to noise.
Taog's unfocussed eyes met Eritreya's and then fluttered closed.

They built pires to burn the dead that night. Taog woke to the faint scent of fire and scorched flesh. It was quiet, though there were plenty of people moving and working to see to all the wounded. They were in a tent, Taog realized. The rain had let up. He shifted experimentally and found his arm was strapped close to his body, immobalized to let his shoulder heal. Someone had put herbs on it and Taog felt it'd been healed some.
A pelt covered him, shielding him from the cold, though his limbs still felt frozen.
Mirriam was there too, asleep on another bedroll. So was June.
Taog moved to sit up, wrestling with the awkwardness of the arm he couldn't use and a general weakness. Never mind the cold once the blanket fell away from his skin.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 223d ago
Juniper stared at Taog, her hand holding him tightly as she looked to the powers swirling around them in grand display and she could feel Taog was cold. She moved her hands to his face, cupping it gently to try and ground him.
"It's alright." Her wings were a minimal casualty but they both needed healing attention and Juniper felt too drained to even try to summon her magic right then. She felt Taog lean in and moved her arms around him, it was over. She didn't know what would happen next. Below them people were stunned into silence, staring upwards at the ledge in disbelief and mingled shock and relief. Juniper held onto Taog tightly, not quite willing to ever let him go again.

Mirriam was slick with blood and grime, exhausted and breathing hard. She bore some injuries but refused any attention for them, she would be fine and she looked to the ledge, not quite believing what was going on. She doubted they were in good shape and she joined in the forces to help the injured back to their feet and back to the tents. She wanted to go and see the two youngsters that had brought this to an end but they likely needed a moment. Mirriam nudged Barut and coaxed him back to Ashara's commanding tent, helping others along the way.

Juniper held Taog for a few moments, relief and worry ebbing into her along with fresh pain from her injuries. His arm.
"We need to get you help." She whispered quietly and looked to the campsite.
"Can you walk?" She breathed gently and pulled back to look at his face,
"You did it, Taog. You took his flame." She said, proud of him amid everything and she brushed some hair back from his face. She didn't want to stay here and Taog needed help and so did she, now the pain was starting to come back with vengeance and she grit her teeth, she would have stayed here in the peace but they needed help. Her eyes watered at the emotion of the moment and the pain coursing through her, what was left of her wings ached but they had done it. They had won.

Juniper turned to look at the masses filtering back towards the camp in the distance and she wasn't wasn't sure if they would make the distance back to the camp in their current state but they had to try. What about Timbre and Dwynai? Had they made it back, had their prisons been broken with the Great One's death or would they simply remain stuck where they were? Juniper knew that if she sat to rest rhen she would give into sleep and it would end poorly for them. They could make it down the ledge if they were careful, rejoin with Barut and the others.
"I don't feel so good, Taog." Juniper said quietly, swaying a little on the spot. The adrenaline was fleeing her body as had copious amounts of blood from her mangled wings.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 223d ago
Pain brought him back, but only enough to lower his gaze and look at Juniper with a faraway gaze, so distant he might as well be looking beyond her. Around them, the column of fire swirled and danced with unbridled magic, pulling in the thunder from the clouds above. Below them, the living were backing up at the powerful display, unsure at this point whether the power they witnessed was the Great One's or something else entirely.

Barut fell to his knees as his opponents ceased their efforts, weary and mouth agape at the familiar magic he felt ooze onto the plains. A Fey kneeled down beside him, checking his injuries before moving on to more dire cases.

Tyren stumbled a last few faltering steps, his armour blood-stained and dented, hair tangled with dried blood and other fluids Tyren didn't care to think about. All eyes were on the ledge. Was it the Great One to smite them all?
And then the column of magic dissipated, the magic released into the land. The clouds that had gathered eased their torrential down-pour and Tyren felt a vibrancy about the otherwise desolate fields. It felt as if he was back home, in the lush and dense forests of the Elves.

All tension left Taog's body with the last of the surplus magic. Only Juniper's magic and touch kept him grounded, but he was so incredibly tired. His shoulder hurt, a throbbing mess. If it wasn't for Juniper's hold, Taog was sure he might have sunk to the ground to rest. He reached out to Juniper with a trembling hand. The other hand was immobile at his side.
Her wings were shattered.
"Your wings," Taog mumbled softly, voice distant.
He was cold now and leaned into Juniper more heavily.

Rather than cheers of victory, Taog imagined it was more like a sigh. Finally the fighting could stop. There would be no more sacrifices. There would be no more blight on the lands and people.

"They did it," Barut breathed and laughed. It was the laugh of a man at the end of his rope. A lost man without purpose. So many had died fighting. Barut stood, slowly and wandered the fields in search of those from Haven.
He found Fir, but she lay dead. Barut kneeled down and brushed her hair back, closed her eyes and clenched his teeth to prevent tears from spilling. Second he found Tian, but the Seer's grievous wounds were already being seen to by the Fey. She might make it.
Ashara was still alive, strategically commanding the additional forces to deliver their aid more efficiently. Despite the callous nature of the Seer, Barut felt grateful for his level-headedness. Eritreya found him, a hand on his shoulder.
"Barut, are you okay?" the Fey asked. Despite being injured, Eritreya seemed fit enough to carry on.
"Taog and June?"
Eritreya nodded. "Up there," he motioned and held up a hand as if catching the magic in the air. "This was their doing."
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 223d ago
There was chills as she awaited death, hoping it was clean and quick, tensing to ready herself but the blow never came. After a few seconds there was yelling and she looked to see the Great One, buckled and in agony and she drew in shaky breaths, frightened for a moment at what was going and then she noticed Taog. He was streaming with power and it cascaded around them. It was magnificent to see but also terrifying to behold. She wasn't sure what was happening, she had never seen the flame taken from someone, she never really imagined it to be like what she was witnessing. She was rooted to the place for a moment, the dagger had dropped when the Great One crumpled and Juniper moved away from the ledge, fearful of the height and the fall should she slip and she watched Taog, breathing hard in the storming raining. She didn't feel the cold, she didn't feel much of anything, even her pain had become numb.

Juniper reached out, touching his shoulder. She wanted to help, to lend her magic as best as she could. She didn't have much of her strength right then, but she summoned and shared as much magic as she could. Her eyes moved to the battlefield. Some of the blighted had returned to themselves and others had simply fallen dead and she wondered how many had been saved. There was relief for the survivors and dread for the fallen but at least the fallen were free of the blight and could have proper burials and ceremonies. Juniper couldn't make out any actual faces of who was alive and she just hoped that their friends had lasted long enough to see the end of the battle. Juniper held onto him, not sure of how this would end or if this even was the end but she did know that she was ready to face whatever came to be with Taog at her side.

Juniper looked at the Great One in all his agony and she felt no pity, she felt no remorse and she didn't think she could even try to. He had murdered so many, molested their corpses into husks to be controlled and used like slabs of meat. He had no guilt or remorse for any of them, for what he had done to hundreds and she didn't pity him either. He deserved this and was soaked through, but she wanted to see this through. Her eyes wandered to the dagger that had taken so many lives with and she wanted to slash his throat, he had almost taken Taog, turned him against her and people were looking now, watching from below and it was quiet save for the sparks of magic and the rain.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 223d ago
Not one to ever be held down long, Juniper rose to protect him. Taog was too lost in the ocean of magic gathering around them, growing and rippling through the air, becoming so oppressive even the Great One had to feel it. Holding his wounded shoulder, Taog rose, eyes finally torn from the war fought just a breath away and stumbled.
Thunder crackled in retaliation of the Great One's threatening reach, splitting the very air into ozone. Rain lashed down, swept down by the strong torrential wind cast at their behalf. Fey and Humans descended on the blighted ones, fearlessly challenging the Great One's army in numbers unseen before.
As the thunder's crackle faded and the Great One's focus was on Juniper, Taog remembered visions of the future foretelling this exact moment. Juniper's wings were too broken to fly. She wouldn't survive a fall from where they were stood, perched high above the battle-field. Despite that, Juniper was beautiful and powerful, staring down their sworn enemy.
Taog finally managed to find his footing and the Great One readied a dagger.
"No!" Taog shouted.
All the magic that he'd released was rescinded in the space of the breath it took to utter those words. He saw every life, each flickering flame, each spark within the living and he saw the Great One's as well. And then he reached for it; reached for the Great One's flame. It was a powerful, bright flame, though it shuddered as Taog pulled it near. Like the flames he'd taken from the burning forests in the Vale, like the flame he'd taken from Rocha's hearth and any other fire he'd consumed before, so did he take the Great One's.
The effects were immediate.
The Great One's eyes bulged at the realization of what Taog was doing. Before another word could be uttered, agony etched across the Great One's face and he clutched at his chest. The Sorcerer's knees buckled. The knife clattered to the ground.
Taog felt the fierce burn of the Great One's flame, felt the impossible heat of a great power enter his body, mingling with his magic. It was overbearing and too much. Taog clenched his hand, even as the Great One's body crumpled lifelessly to the ground. He couldn't contain the magic and it released, spiralling in a whirlwind of fire towards the darkened heavens, scorching the ground he stood on. The battle below them slowed and halted. The blighted ones were no longer being controlled.
Some fell immediately, lifeless husks, too far gone to be rescued. Others came back to themselves, no longer controlled by the Great One. Taog thought he might lose himself in the overwhelming heat. He had no control over his magic no more. All that he had taken from the Great One sought a way out, any which way.
Taog / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 224d ago
Juniper felt at a loss, watching body after body fall to the ground in thick mud. Rain started, familiar feeling rain and she looked to Taog, the Great One smug in his conviction. It fell in droplets around them and Taog's magic pierced her. They hadn't come this far to die like this and she was sore all over, everything hurt and she grit her teeth as the Great One approached. Thunder rumbled somewhere and Juniper gripped Taog's hand tighter, amidst the storm brought on and she could tell this was no natural storm.
"I said, don't touch him." Her eyes lit up, strength shunted her to her feet and she glared at the Great One, all the fury brought about by the grief, the desperation of the situation and the love she held for Taog. There was something backing her strength and the Great One reached out a hand, ready to strike the half Fey down where she stood but thunder cracked downwards and smashed into the Great One from above before he could move.

Juniper stepped back, rain lashing down on her and even the wind seemed to have picked up. There was more yells from below and Juniper looked over her shoulder to see the Fey descending into the fray in their masses, colourful, some on wings. Relief ebbed into her and she turned her eyes back to the Great One who was screeching in fury and agony but he wasn't dead and Juniper knew she had to think quickly. He seemed weakened, she couldn't sense power from him and she sure as the ground beneath her feet wasn't going to die without taking him with her. Blonde hair was plastered to her face, the rain rinsing off the fresh blood, diluting it and she stepped back, precariously close to the edge,
"Those wings won't save you." He muttered as he approached her, looming over her and she clenched her fists, readying herself for the blow. A fall from here would kill her and it would be a better fate than him blighting her. She stared up at him, if in these final moments she could give anything, then she wouldn't give him the satisfaction of seeing her fear. She was out of options and she knew it very well.

More calls and the Great One yelled in frustration, the men had joined the fight and the tides were turning as fresh warriors clashed with the blighted foes. Juniper smiled, almost overcome with the emotion of it all in the pouring rain and she knew the Great One wouldn't succeed, even if he lived, his army was falling.
"You lose." Juniper said, the sheer relief and emotion of the moment causing her to laugh. If it cost her life then so be it, she took another step back as the Great One drew a dagger, it glinted and he raised it, Juniper was ready. There was odd calmness as she held her breath and outstretched her arms, chest exposed to him and she prayed it would at least be quick and clean.
Juniper / Resident Fey / Nullification / 224d ago

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