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May 20th, 2004, 07:50 PM
[note: this section is written in one shot and unchecked, i'll check/revise the writing tomorrow - didn't want to delay the plot]


Crossbow bolts flew through the air, heading straight for Belaris Yassassin.

"Reed!", Mystiqe shouted, sending warning.

The human remained kneeling, watching his life blood slowly drip away.

Xhao reached into his jacket, tossing several spheres amongst the crowd. White smoke billowed from their broken surfaces, polluting the air. Cupping a hand over his mouth, he darted into the aisle, running towards the raised platform.

Trying to follow him, Mystiqe leapt into the passageway, stepping over slumping bodies, holding her breath. A sword slashed at her, she ducked, missing it by a fraction. The guard toppled to the ground, knocked out by the gas, armour clanking against stone. She jumped over him and ran to the stage, taking the steps two at a time.

Xhao was kneeling on the ground, beside a leather clad body. Blood trickled over his fingers. Mystiqe ran to his side, gazing down into open eyes.

"It's not him", she called, shaking her companion's shoulder, "It isn't Belaris".

"What?", he gasped. "Where is he?".

"Xa'Chari must have dived in front when the crossbows fired", Mystiqe struggled to explain.

Xhao scrambled to his feet, choking on the white smoke swirling across the platform. A sharp burst of pain ruptured his ribcage. He stared down, hands gripping the handle of an impaled dagger. Warm liquid spilt over his skin.

"Well, well, well, what have we here?", Xcel gloated, drawing a second dagger from his belt.

The platform veered upwards, then shot back down. Xhao stared at it in disbelief. He released the dagger hilt, drawing his own blades, vision blurred. A dark figure lurched towards him, thrusting a dagger to his midriff. He stepped backwards unsteadily, legs weak, countering with his sword blade. Steel smacked against steel, forcing the dagger down.

Xcel retreated a step, laughing, circling his wounded foe. Mystiqe drew her blackened blades, red lines coursing across the steel, hissing. From the corner of her eye, she saw Reed at the back of the platform, holding his wrists out to her uncle.

"Two against one? Now this really isn't fair", Xcel taunted, raising his sword arm.

"Reed, there's nothing that b****** wouldn't do", Mystiqe yelled.

"Well he has to do something now", Reed shouted back, pain in his voice.

Nine Xa'chari surged forward, boots thudding over wooden boards. Mystiqe wheeled, drawing them away from Xhao, leading them over to the far side of the platform.

Xhao raised his dagger in the air, screaming out "Fire! Fire! Fire!".

"Get down, Reed!", Mystiqe yelled, throwing herself to the deck.

She didn't have time to see whether the man obeyed. A volley of crossbow bolts flew blind towards the platform. Dark elves screamed, their yells indistinguishable. A body crashed down across her, anguished eyes met her own.

"****", a dark elf assassin swore, clutching at his thigh.

"It's only tranqs and sleeping gas", she muttered, watching consciousness fade from his grasp. "We're not killing anyone".

Staggering to her feet, she swung her sword in a wide arc, holding five Xa'Chari at bay. Five down, five to go, she thought rapidly. She sheathed her dagger and drew a dart from her jacket, concealing it within her palm.

One of the assassins lunged for her back, dagger plummeting through the air. She heard the whistle of the blade, span and jammed the dart into her assailant's unguarded neck. The dagger struck her shoulder, she screamed without meaning to, jolted by the impact. The dark elf fell to the deck, eyes rolling unconscious.

Another lunged from behind, sword scything for her neck. She whirled round, parrying with her sword, forcing the blade back two handed. A second sword arced towards her, she drew her dagger, stabbing wildly in the wielders direction. Enough to make him jump back and stumble off-balance.

"Reed", she shouted between thrusts and parries. "Belaris was in charge of Unit X37. During the last war."

The human looked across at her blankly, face rapidly losing colour. Through the swirls of white gas, it was impossible to see either Xhao or Xcel.

"Stop messing about and kill that *****", Belaris shouted to the four standing Xa'Chari. His eyes stayed fixated on Reed.

Mystiqe glared at him, anger and fury overwhelming control. She yelled out to Reed, "X37 performed live vivisections on prisoners during the war. He developed and tested neurotoxins on them. Those were the lucky ones. The rest were sent to Cybarak for experimentation."

A glint of metal, a whirr of steel. Blades crashing down upon her. She rotates, sword and dagger rising instinctively, aware it is too late.

For a brief moment there is only the thin line dividing life from death. Fragile and tenuous, stretched to breaking point.

Then leather hits wood, steel clanking free. She is still alive, shaking inside. Four Xa'Chari lie at her feet.

"That... was way too close", Juzzza muttered, face white.

Gravin stood breathless beside him, chest heaving.

May 20th, 2004, 10:26 PM
"Reed!" Voice vaguely familiar, but no time to search memories. Mucus gathering in his mouth and nose. A cough, and close your eyes. Open them again, and there's Belaris, still staring. Calmer now? Hard to think. Noise hurt his ears.

"Reed, there's nothing the b****** wouldn't do!"

And now he knew her. The ante had been upped. A short cough, expelling mucus and saliva and then straighten up and renew your effort.

"Well, he has to do something, now."

His voice? That shaking thing his voice?

"Get down, Reed!"

Huh? And then a hissing sound. Down. A rain of bolts. A hit and it's over... No hit. Thudding sounds, then none. Getting up, so hard, so...

"Reed, Belaris was in charge of Unit X37. During the last war."

Turning to her, and there she was, a blurry thing, moving between aggressors. X dirty what?

"Stop messing about and kill that *****!" Belaris from behind.

"X37 performed live vivisections on prisoners during the war. He developed and tested neurotoxins on them. Those were the lucky ones. The rest were sent to Cybarak for experimentation."

The voice, but what words? Experiments? Later. Mystiqe, he thought. And again. The echo of her voice, and her name. Focus. Head hot, lights dancing before his eyes. Focus, damn it!

And he turned back to Belaris. Slowly he raised himself up, blood running into his sleeves. How much longer? How long before the shadows took over...


Breath. Concentrate. And Reed got up, oblivious to his surrounding. No fancy attitude, no calculated look. No time, no strength. And up he stood, eye to eye with Belaris. "Soon, now," he said. "Soon. And Derudin will go. And it will be your doing." The grin came on its own.

Belaris trembled. Fury and fear and doubt. So it was true. The rumours had been disturbing enough. Xairyen, in a human vessel. But it was true. The elvish was slurred by the human tongue, but recognizable. And yet, it couldn't be.

"Perhaps you doubt me!" The grin widened, as the human gripped the dagger with both hands.

"Not yet," the human said, and drove the dagger into Belaris' knee.

"But..." The dagger withdrawn.

"...soon!" The other knee. Belaris fell, eyes wide. The human fell, too.

Reed's vision was gone, now. With Gilli's direction, he managed to crawl towards the Master Assassin. When he could feel Belaris' breath in his face, he stopped moving and waited.

"I did it for Derudin!" Belaris' screeched. "You are wrong to trust them." The voice grew shriller with every syllable.

Reed's eyes closed, his chin hit the floor. His body was strangly insubstantial. One last summons, one last question.

And as the shadows stirred and shaped a humanoid figure, Belaris' let out a piercing scream. Curling up into a fetal position he muttered, "I did it for Derudin." And again. And again.


Yes? What do you want? What is it?

"Nothing," Reed mumbled. "Can go. Sor-" And he passed out.

"Somebody stop the bleeding if you want to live," Gilli screamed, rushing to Reed's side.

May 20th, 2004, 11:33 PM
Mya was the first to enter the cavern in which they had left the rest of the party.

Crom stood up first, seeing Mya enter into the pool of light cast by the fire. "Mya back! Where friend Boldar?"

A foul sound erupted from the darkness.

Crom smiled. "Ah, greetings from Boldar!"

Boldar emerged from the dark. "Aw... how did you know it was me?"

Crom slapped his shoulder. "Only Boldar or ogre could make such a noise... not expect other ogre, so Boldar it is!"

Mik stood up looked Mya and Boldar over. "Where's the other broad?"

Mya glared. "GINA is not with us."

Mik shrugged. "Don't get upidy little lady, she's your special friend, not mine. I was just wondering, since you went to fetch her."

Bass tottered over. He looked tired to Boldar. "Did you find Juzzza and the others, by chance?"

"No," replied Boldar. "As you recall, we weren't looking for them, but for Gina."

"Why did she not come back with you?" Bass asked.

Mya stepped forward. "She decided to stay and help Reed."

Bass frowned. "I am not sure what I think about that. You should have brought her back, and him for that matter. I think Juzzza would like to speak to him."

"She made her choice, old man, so leave it be." Mya snapped.

Boldar grunted. "I'm not their mother, and I certainly was not bringing them both back in a sack, so get over it. Perhaps if all of you mages, sages, demi-gods or whatever you are would tell the rest of us what is happening, we would not have so many tangled threads."

Bass chuckled. "Tangled? Yes, perhaps so, in an insignificant sort of way..."

"Insignificant? With the dangers of the Kult'ar, and the Advisor..."

Bass coughed an inturuption. "Ah, the Kult'ar has been, um, nutralized."

Boldar stopped dead in his tracks, speachless.

Mya found her voice first. "What do you mean, nutralized?"

Crom smiled. "Kult'ar boy heart. Albert stab him. Bass break bottle. Clouds fight and magic fixed!"

Boldar looked at Crom, trying to take it all in, then he looked to the fire where the boy sat, clearly alive and well. "The boy?"

Bass patted Boldar's arm. "There is a lot to explain. Why don't you two sit down and I'll explain as much as possible.

Boldar and Mya sat. Bass began to talk.

When it was over, Boldar turned to Crom and said, "Crom, I like your explanation better, all things said. Makes just as much sense, and takes a hell of a lot less time."

Bass grunted. "Why bother even speaking to you?"

Mya looked around. "Wait! Speaking of Albert, where is he?"

Crom answered. "Talk to Bass, then get eaten by little dragon."

Boldar sat down hard. "I have a headache."

May 21st, 2004, 11:43 AM
Xhao crashed to the ground, back slamming hard against flagstones. His sword and dagger scattered, rebounding into the gloom. The impaled dagger jerked on impact, thrusting deeper into his ribcage, tearing through flesh. He spluttered, gasping for air, choking up blood.

He clawed frantically at the knife, clutching the grip two-handed and wrenching it free. The metal slid out, releasing a searing pain. Blood gushed from the open wound, a thick red wave, running slick over black leather. He watched it as though from a distance, numb and disbelieving. This isn't happening to me. It can't be. It can't. The world faded around him, a mirage of dust and smoke. Somewhere someone yelled and screamed.

A black shadow filled the air, descending upon him. Xhao rolled aside, blood thumping in his ears. His boot snagged in the base of the scaffolding. Lying flat on his back, he tugged, trying desperately to free it. A curved sword arced down towards his thighs. With an almighty yank, he pulled the jammed leather loose, pushing backwards, feet scrambling. His boots grated on unyielding stone, feet sliding out from beneath him. The sword struck against rock.

"****", Xcel swore, recoiling from the impact.

Xhao arched his body, stomach heaving, and thrust both feet high against the outstretched arm. The soles of his boots caught the withdrawing hand. Xcel stumbled sideways, struggling for balance. Xhao rolled over, crawling onto his knees and hauling himself upright with the scaffolding. Splinters dug into his palm. He lurched towards his sword, seeing a flash of metal beneath wood, fingers flailing for the hilt.

Xcel darted towards him, eyes cold and bitter. He thrust his sword hard towards Xhao's bloodied ribcage. Xhao grasped the leather-bound hilt, bringing his blade up to parry the blow, forcing the incoming sword high. They pushed against each other, blades locked in a battle of strength.

Breaking the deadlock, Xcel slid his sword downwards, steel screeching against steel. As the blades separated, he stabbed with his dagger, puncturing Xhao's left forearm. Xhao bit his tongue hard, rotating his sword and smashing it pommel-first into the dark elf's face. The strike jarred his wrist, numbing the whole length of his arm.

Amidst screams and white smoke, the apprentice staggered backwards, hands rising to his head. Xhao brought his sword round and slammed it down on Xcel's right elbow. Metal hit stone, blackened blades falling from limp fingers.

Swallowing back blood and bile, Xhao swayed, the world spinning around him.

Xcel slumped to his knees, crashing down head first to the ground.

Xhao raised his sword, bringing it down through the back of his rival's neck.

May 21st, 2004, 12:44 PM
Regarding Mya, yep, gotta work on that. If anyone has any good ideas for that, please toss them out, we could then edit into whoever has the appropriate post (I imagine its me, since I've been writing Mya for the most part). Happy for suggestions. I have been pasting into a word doc, and finding other things to work on. One that I found was a quote that Juzzza killed Myst's father. Considering he was sacrifice, and his clone is still alive, we need to figure that out too. I also think we lost Arleena somewhere in the mix (though I have to dig around and see where she was last...)

May 21st, 2004, 01:38 PM
I also think we lost Arleena somewhere in the mix (though I have to dig around and see where she was last...)

She's back at Suz's. Have been thinking about a scene. Nothing in particular.

One thing: I thought Albert had retreated into Daniel, to satisfy the "powers that be". (As the Kult'ar is supposedly gone, so should he, from their perspective.) Did I misunderstand?

I'll be writing something later. Have to think...

May 21st, 2004, 02:07 PM

May 21st, 2004, 02:08 PM

May 21st, 2004, 02:49 PM
[-------- may use space later-----]

May 21st, 2004, 02:55 PM