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 RULES OF NATURE, Saeran
Skulltaker
 Posted: Dec 23 2017, 09:28 PM
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7500ish years old
Khorne's Executioner
Mr. Creazil is Offline


It was a small beastman herd. There were probably less than a hundred, and none of them too strong. Just the standard mix of Gor and Ungor, aside from the Bray-Shaman. He was the one to watch today. Their meager Bray-Herd had gathered around the shaman, chanting invocations to the dark gods. The shaman had been having visions, and he meant to summon a messenger to give him the truth behind them.

The Bray-Shaman held up his hand, drawing a flint knife across his palm. He pressed his palm to the flat boulder he'd chosen as his altar, drawing the eight-pointed Star of Chaos in his blood. All around him, the chanting rose to a crescendo, a hundred voices calling out in the harsh, guttural Beastman language. The shaman took a step back, and the blood on the altar began to bubble. It began to spread, forming a puddle far larger than should be possible for how little the goatman had bled.

Suddenly, a pulse went through the clearing, shaking the trees around them. It was as if reality started to tear, opening up just enough to let something through. The blood rose in a mass, forming a towering humanoid shape. This was a Bloodletter, stronger than the usual. The first among Khorne's Heralds had shown himself. He wore some bits of armor, and a cape covered in bleached skulls hung from his back. Skulltaker turned towards the beastman who'd summoned him, looking down at the goat. The demon had a disgusted look on his face, servants of the Blood God never took too kindly to magic. "So you're the one who has seen the visions." The Fateweaver, the great demonic sorcerer who was overseeing this whole operation, had been sending cryptic dreams to some beastman, meaning to start an uprising. Could this paltry band really be his pawns?
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Saeran
 Posted: Jan 6 2018, 09:40 AM
Quote
97 years old
Waywatcher
Nil is Offline


It was a deceptive little Beastmen herd. And it was being watched.

They expected to find the camp and some trouble; they did not anticipate the ritual that shook the trees and soured the air. Saeran’s nose wrinkled as she peered through the leaves, trying to figure out what was happening on the floor of the forest ahead of her. Dark, sickening energy pierced the air. When did these creatures become so bold? She chanced a glance toward her companion, wondering if he saw what she did. A pair of eyes found her from the shadows, and a shared surprise rippled across them. Unexpected. The Waywatchers tensed, but knew it changed nothing. She turned to survey the others.

It was tempting to ignore their shapes, as an untrained eye - a beast’s eye - might. But they were there. She could make out the other Wood Elves among the trees and, looking down, on the ground, stepping out from the trunks that hid their slender frames, a cautiousness to their step that wasn’t there a moment before. Yet caution didn’t shake their resolve. They were prepared for an ambush, and they were well hidden, almost seamlessly so. It was only a temporary illusion, however - and it was about to end.

Across the trees her companion paused, cocking an ear to the side. Then he drew his bow and nocked an arrow, and Saeran found herself doing the same, knowing that, all around them, others followed suit. She tilted its tip through the foliage, where the Beastmen’s shaman quivered before its summoned entity in a grand display of uncertainty.

There was a pause, however brief, deep as the silence on the edge of winter. Saeran drew a breath. Then the elven guard below leapt into action, their ambush’s cry followed by a flood of arrows descending from the shadows of the trees. They'd come to battle, and now, tricks or no, a battle they would have.
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Skulltaker
 Posted: Jan 7 2018, 11:01 AM
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7500ish years old
Khorne's Executioner
Mr. Creazil is Offline


The beastmen seemed frozen in awe. Well, most of them. The shaman was more frozen in fear. He was knowledgeable in the ways of Chaos, he knew the distaste that Khorne and his servants had for magic. At any point, the demon could swat him aside for his cowardly use of sorcery, and there was very little he could do about it at this distance. The daemon, on the other hand, had other things on his mind. His brass eyes scanned the treeline, picking up movement. The beastmen were still unaware, but millenia of battle had trained Skulltaker well.

"To your weapons, we are not alone!" Wood elves. He knew half the beastmen would likely be dead before they could grab their spears, but maybe they would put up enough of a fight. He strode forward as they scrambled about, looking for the swiftest. As one passed, he reached out to grab the Gor's arm. The goatman's eyes widened in terror as the demon looked down at him. "Run and tell the others, a new Everchosen has come. Unite the herds, and the cities of man will burn." The goatman nodded, making a run for it.

Now he just needed to run interference. Skulltaker drew his sword, letting out a deep bellow as he moved to put himself between the messenger and the elves. His left hand went to his cloak, meaning to use the clattering cape as a shield. "Come then, elves! Make your sacrifices to the Lord of Skulls!" That was always one of his little joys, reminding his enemies that even in victory they were making sacrifices to Khorne.
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Saeran
 Posted: Feb 4 2018, 04:13 PM
Quote
97 years old
Waywatcher
Nil is Offline


Like waking from a dream, the herd moved quickly from surprise to action. It was enough warning for most of them. An unfortunate handful found their fur riddled with arrows, and a handful more met the sharp end of the Asrai blades. Drawing a fresh arrow from her hip, Saeran shifted positions in the branches above, seeking a better perspective of what was happening below.

A noise sounded beneath her. She straddled two branches and pointed her bow downward, releasing an arrow on one of the creatures as they passed by below. It gave a frustrated bray and turned, only to meet a guard who wasted no time plunging his sword deep into its belly. Satisfied, the Waywatch turned her gaze wildly over the movement below.

She saw the fleeing Gor - which meant she saw the demon.

He was impossible to miss. The Wood Elf paused as he settled his hulking form between them, towering above the battle around him. What did the beasts want with such a creature? Why did his taunts find their mark as sure as her arrows? Saeran scowled. “We belong to Athel Loren,” she reminded her companions stubbornly, “and to Athel Loren we will return!”

She hoped such sentiments would carry her forward. A list of possible scenarios raced through her head, few of them good. But it was no use now. She felt the question burden her even as the others pressed forward, testing the usefulness of their arrows and their proximity to the demon from the trees while the others fought below them, blood mixing with blood. What secret makes you flee, Gor?

As sure as the forge burned, Saeran was going to find out.
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Skulltaker
 Posted: Feb 4 2018, 06:41 PM
Quote
7500ish years old
Khorne's Executioner
Mr. Creazil is Offline


The Gor were holding surprisingly well, which wasn't to say they were actually doing well. They'd still been ambushed by a well-organized elven assault force. They were getting cut down, but they were taking some with them, keeping them busy as the courier made a run for it. He hoped they weren't prepared to cut down all stragglers, if the clearing was completely encircled then this whole visit would be for nothing.

The daemon strode forward, holding his cloak up across his body. He almost looked like those hokey drawings of vampires that accompanied many of the stories about them, his cape across the lower half of his face, hanging to block the bulk of his body. Arrows rattled off the bleached skulls, sparks of demonic energy flaring up as they scattered.

As he got closer, Skulltaker broke into a charge, cape falling behind him as his arms pumped. The elves were formidable at range, but no match for him in close combat. He slammed into a rank of their warriors, slamming a few flying with his body. The elves around him slung their bows and reached to draw their swords. The daemon looked around, a disdainful look on his face. The rank and file, no interesting skulls to claim. "Not worthy." he snarled, cutting down a few with one sweep. An elf came at him, sword raised, but he was ready. He grabbed the wood elf's wrist, lifting him into the air. The air around him hummed, shimmering as he drove the sword through the elf's chest. Skulltaker began to speak in the language of the Warp, the air around him taking a reddish tinge as that tearing sound started to echo through the clearing.
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Saeran
 Posted: Mar 10 2018, 10:07 AM
Quote
97 years old
Waywatcher
Nil is Offline


Wood Elves were formidable fighters, but invincible they were not. They’d come prepared to lose good men and women to the beasts; had they any idea that they would be up against mischief of this magnitude, their forces might look different.

But how they struck with such confidence despite it all! Saeran watched as arrows clinked harmlessly against the demon’s cloak, sending her own deep into the fur of one of the more targetable abominations with a frustrated hiss. Where did the skulls come from, she wondered? How many tales of battle were hidden in them, taken by this mighty, terrible creature? He had another coming if he thought he would lay claim to hers, and if that was all she knew, it was enough.

She hurried across the branches. The cries of her kin made the air heavy, and she tried to push them far, far away. Focus. She needed focus. The elf glanced briefly at her fellow Waywatchers, watching as they glided from one position to the next with their bows. Her arms were tense with anticipation, her fingers pinched tight around an arrow. Skill they had, but what they needed was timing - perfect timing. She wondered how long she could stand the wait as lives met their end beneath her.

And then - Praise Kurnous! - it came.

Skulltaker tore into the Asrai with devastating precision. It would hurt them in the long run, but it was a sacrifice not made in vain. For all the death that came at his hands, he rendered himself - for the briefest, sweetest of minutes - vulnerable. Vulnerable enough, if nothing else, and it would have to do. Urgency rippled down Saeran’s spine. She dropped to a branch in a mess of twisted cloak, lining her arrow with the demon’s tall form. A breath in, tension, and then, with a cry of primal satisfaction, off her arrow went ahead a wave of dozens more.
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Skulltaker
 Posted: Mar 10 2018, 11:48 AM
Quote
7500ish years old
Khorne's Executioner
Mr. Creazil is Offline


As Skulltaker started to lower the body, he saw the elves about to loose their arrows. He hadn't expected that. Elves were long-lived with low birth rates, they generally did all they could to avoid sacrificing their troops. He supposed it was just desperation. They'd come expecting just beastmen and found a daemonic herald among them. U'zuhl lifted the body, blocking some of the shots, but others went through. A few clattered off his armor but two found home, one in his thigh and one in his neck. The demon snarled in pain and rage, hurling the corpse at the elves.

That sudden shock had interrupted his ritual. Some of his younger cousins were coming through, but not as many as he'd hoped. He'd intended to call down dozens, but only six had made it through before he was distracted. It wasn't even up to Khorne's number, he felt like Slaanesh was laughing at him somewhere. Around the clearing, half a dozen more bodies took shape. Similar to his, but smaller, and without his decorations. The Bloodletters were stark naked, but with their sexless bodies they didn't really have much to hide.

He shouted out commands in the Daemonic tongue, reality straining a bit at the sound of the Warp's language. His meager band of daemons nodded, forming up and charging at the elves, close behind the Beastmen. It wasn't going to be much, but that was six more bodies to slow the elves down while the messenger slipped away. Skulltaker pulled out the arrows, trying to ignore the pain as he charged back into the fray.
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Saeran
 Posted: May 20 2018, 11:47 AM
Quote
97 years old
Waywatcher
Nil is Offline


A quick grin cracked Saeran’s face as pain rippled through the demon. But it quickly vanished, replaced by a frown as she moved to a new position within the trees. It was one thing to fell beastmen and uphold a sacred balance; it was another entirely to encounter demons.

The world was amiss, and Athel Loren at the end of its gaping maw. Her chest burned with a desire that reached beyond the grove.

Below the battle had shifted. What began as an ambush all too quickly became a battle to survive. Her companions were talented, but caught unprepared. Recalculating their original plans, they moved their fight to the edge of the clearing. Good, she thought; back into the forest, where they could exploit its dangers and secrets. It might be enough to allow a handful of them to return.

The Waywatcher drew another arrow. It pummeled through the air, one of many, aiming for the beasts racing toward the elves below. A few well-placed arrows could slow them down long enough for the troops below to do real damage. And then a small ripple of others appeared, emerging from the shadows and the leaves, their blades surprising the beastmen at the very front of the line - a temporary, but welcome, distraction.

Distraction…yes! The wood elf turned her head sharply. Noise and movement blurred around her, threatening to confuse her senses; the air took on a tangy, bitter scent as the earth met open wounds. She shut it out. Saeran squinted beyond the fray, trying to see the messenger. The Gor had something important enough to be guarded by the Skulltaker, and she yearned to know what it was. She knitted her brow, her body carrying her closer to the battle’s edge, trying in vain to sense the messenger’s fading path down roads etched deep into her memory, her being. How long until the forest started to slow it down? Would it be enough for any of them to catch up?
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Skulltaker
 Posted: May 21 2018, 12:23 AM
Quote
7500ish years old
Khorne's Executioner
Mr. Creazil is Offline


U'zuhl grimaced. He hated falling to mortals, but he wouldn't last much longer against these numbers. Fortunately, he didn't need to. Beastmen were as good at hiding as elves were at tracking, all he had to do was delay them, and make a big enough mess that they'd have a harder time following a trail. He could do that. The demon strode forward, parrying another sword blow. He didn't strike back at this one with his blade, just reaching out his hand and clamping it over the elf's face. It only took a squeeze, and he tossed the limp body aside.

He wasn't going to be able to make enough of a mess on foot. Skulltaker needed a bit of a sacrifice for this. He grabbed an unsuspectig Gor, lifting the beastman over his head. "Your brother feeds the Blood God!" he shouted to the others before driving his sword through the creature's heart, in his back and out his chest. With a flick of his wrist the body slammed against the ground, the blood starting to bubble as the rush of Warp energy filled the clearing again.

With a roar the air tore open, and a great brass beast came barreling through. Skulltaker hopped up, taking his place on his familiar mount's back. His juggernaut dwarfed the elves, its metallic hooves tearing up the ground as he spurred it into a charge. He wasn't sure how much difference this would make in the fight, but it could definitely provide a good distraction. "Crush them, old friend!" He was presenting one hell of a target, but he was also trampling some tracks, smashing down trees, and making the tracking job a goddamn nightmare.
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Saeran
 Posted: May 23 2018, 06:14 AM
Quote
97 years old
Waywatcher
Nil is Offline


Where was it going, where was -

Where was that sound coming from?

Saeran startled, turning toward the crescendo she’d been busy shutting out. And like the fiery plume from the Anvil choking the air, mayhem descended on the grove. A Waywatcher near her lifted his head, their senses in unison for a brief moment as they tried to piece the madness together. Shouts and brays, a blur, movement to her right, a tremble in the branch…

Her eyes widened. She clutched her bow tight, tensing her legs, and then - What is this? -

Then her feet were filling the space her head once occupied. The solid tree beneath her feet disappeared so quickly she almost neglected to realize she was falling. And fall she did, hard, desperation and wild instinct twisting her body through the air and to land with a crack on a branch far below her previous station. Pain burned behind her lungs. Saeran blinked heavily. She heard, more than saw, her companion sail past in a blur. She had no time to think about it. There were plenty of sounds ready to swallow the silence left at the end of his fall.

The elf stood back up, less gracefully than before. Trees toppled and swayed around her. Bodies raced around on the ground, trying to evade the monstrosity tearing the grove apart. She felt pain down her spine and a warmth on her face that she was sure meant bleeding. The beasts could wait. This thing? She reached toward her quiver, amber eyes hot.

“Stop them,” Saeran yelled. And though she was sure no one heard her, not above all else, the arrows came again.
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